Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis




Public History

First Advisor

Allison C Marsh


Layoffs have been devastating to textile producing states such as South Carolina, especially to the communities that have high numbers of people employed in the industry. Considering the thousands affected by foreign competition and the pleading letters sent to congressional offices between 1984 and 1994, it is apparent that southern politicians acted in the best interest of the textile community and their notion of the common good. U.S. Representative Butler Derrick and Senator Ernest F. Hollings recognized the threat to the common good in the early 1980s and spent the following two decades fighting to protect the textile community from the conflicting interests of the national community, even dividing themselves from textile executives during the passage of NAFTA. Understanding the obligations of the southern politicians to protect the textile community illustrates the ways in which protective legislation was for the protection of the common good.

This paper follows ever-changing notions of the common good as the shifting nuanced idea influenced the sequence of events that culminated in the failure of two textile bills, the Textile Trade Enforcement Act of 1985 and the Textile and Apparel Trade Act of 1987, and the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. Understanding the principle of common good in relationship to the decisions of southern political leaders Hollings and Derrick illustrates the intricate push and pull relationship between the local and national community.


© 2012, Katharine Marie Klein