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This was not his first public appearance. It was in fact the middle of a fundraising tour that included Illinois and California (prior to) and New York (after).
Attempting to elevate this speech to the stature of a "major" event is one of the ways people try to damn Reagan with allegations of wrongdoing without actually proving it. The whole article is tainted to the "Reagan is racist" viewpoint. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 17:30, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
In an election campaign, why did Reagan use that term in that county, out of the 3,000+ counties in America? Do you really believe it was accidental on his part? No one's calling Reagan a racist. But come on, even a Reaganophile like you has to admit that he used the term to endear himself subliminally to the Southern White voters. This is absolutely true, especially since the Republican candidate of 1976, Gerald R. Ford, had faired so poorly in the South, winning only Virginia. Reagan's use of the term was a tactical move to court would-be Carter voters, that is, blue-collar Southern Whites. Case closed. If you can't see that, then you really are blind. Hommedepommes (talk) 15:33, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree. Also worthy of note is how the speech is regarded now versus then. (Case in point: Krugman makes an issue of this now. But then? He joined Reagan's council of economic advisers.) I am a white southerner, and I'm not sure I even heard of this speech until about 8 years later. It wasn't brought up once in the debates, and Jimmy Carter's 'White House Diary' also doesn't mention it in a original entry (but interestingly enough, he does discuss it in a annotation written decades after the fact as part of the preparation of the book).Rja13ww33 (talk) 04:41, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
Is simply "States rights (speech)" really the best title? Perhaps Reagans 1980 Philadelphia, MS speech, or the August 3rd, 1980 "states rights" speech would be more descriptive. It is controversial because of the place and phraseology, but perhaps the speech has more depth that simply "States' rights (speech)" conveys.--Dudeman5685 (talk) 03:46, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Of course there was more depth to the speech than that term, but if we are to take Reagan worshippers at their word that the man was intelligent and capable, it would be reasonable to say that his use of the term "States Rights" was not accidental, given that he used it in a county in which three civil-rights workers were murdered just 16 years prior, that had been a rebel county in Confederate Missisippi, that had voted for States Rights candidate Strom Thurmond in 1948 and voted for the segregationist candidate George Wallace in 1968. It's called subliminal messaging. Republicans and Democrats engage in it all the time and Reagan was no different, despite claims by his fawning admirers.Hommedepommes (talk) 15:33, 23 July 2014 (UTC)