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How Two Small Southern Towns Influenced Bill Clinton’s Attitude on Race
Unformatted Document Text:  How Two Small Southern Towns Influenced Bill Clinton’s Attitude on Race Karen Sebold, University of Arkansas, and Andrew Dowdle, University of Arkansas, Abstract:While a number of works exists on how individual personality influences future presidents, scholars still know little about the role of social context. To address this gap in the literature, this study utilizes oral history interviews from Bill Clinton’s familial and childhood peer networks to trace the development of racial attitudes within Clinton’s social context. The biographical literature on Clinton, often views the towns of Hope and Hot Springs on having differential influences on his attitudes towards race. Using a mixed-methods approach that employs a text analysis program, we analyzed the interviews for tone and content in the area of race relations between the familial and peer networks from the two towns. Despite the conventional wisdom, we find little difference between the two geographical networks in terms of racial attitudes. We believe these findings should shed additional light on the influence of social structure on the personality of Bill Clinton and, more importantly, serve as a model for future attempts to measure the effects of social context on presidential personality. Please direct all correspondence to Karen ## email not listed ##

Authors: Sebold, Karen. and Dowdle, Andrew.
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How Two Small Southern Towns Influenced 
Bill Clinton’s Attitude on Race
Karen Sebold, University of Arkansas,
Andrew Dowdle, University of Arkansas,
While a number of works exists on how individual personality influences future presidents, 
scholars still know little about the role of social context. To address this gap in the literature, this 
study utilizes oral history interviews from Bill Clinton’s familial and childhood peer networks to 
trace the development of racial attitudes within Clinton’s social context. The biographical 
literature on Clinton, often views the towns of Hope and Hot Springs on having differential 
influences on his attitudes towards race. Using a mixed-methods approach that employs a text 
analysis program, we analyzed the interviews for tone and content in the area of race relations 
between the familial and peer networks from the two towns. Despite the conventional wisdom, 
we find little difference between the two geographical networks in terms of racial attitudes.  We 
believe these findings should shed additional light on the influence of social structure on the 
personality of Bill Clinton and, more importantly, serve as a model for future attempts to 
measure the effects of social context on presidential personality.
Please direct all correspondence to Karen ## email not listed ##

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