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Populists, Progressives, and the Reaction - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Populists, Progressives, and the Reaction. Course Theme:. Which is more important in southern politics? Race or Economics? Or is it somewhere in between We will see this again when we talk about post World War II rise of the Republican Party. Why Disfranchisement?.

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Course Theme:

  • Which is more important in southern politics?

  • Race or Economics?

  • Or is it somewhere in between

  • We will see this again when we talk about post World War II rise of the Republican Party

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Why Disfranchisement?

  • White fear that African-American votes will matter or put them back in control.

  • Fear of coalitions of blacks, Populists, Republicans

  • Effect is to remove blacks and many whites from the electorate

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The Populists

  • Farmer’s Alliances in the 1890s

  • Sometimes a Populist-Republican or Populist alone coalition

  • Black alliance threatens Democratic rule

  • Blacks sometimes can cast deciding votes

  • This is unacceptable to whites

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Farmers and Populists

  • Farmers’ Alliance strong in South and Midwest - some states more than others

  • Starts as educational organization

  • Becomes political as farmers suffer economic hardships

  • Farmers Alliance is segregated but works together to improve conditions

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Populist platform

  • Oversimplifying - but

  • For abolishing national banks, creating a “subtreasury” system for federal loans

  • For the income tax

  • For direct election of U. S. Senators

  • Railroad regulation

  • Anti-corruption, Anti-monopoly

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Leading Southern Populists

  • Tom Watson of Georgia

  • Democrat turned Populist, VP nominee in 1896

  • Becomes racial demagogue later

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Populists collapse

  • Populists were especially strong in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina - where they joined with Republicans to control the state briefly

  • Democrats co-opted many of their issues

  • Violence, fraud suppressed them

  • With Populists defeated, South becomes a one-party region

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Southern Progressivism

  • There’s a lot to reform in the South!

  • Progressivism is an urban middle-class professional movement

  • One goal is reformist - dealing with political corruption

  • Another is to try to solve problems of an industrial society

  • In the south, progressives are segregationists and moral reformers

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Reactions to alcohol

  • http://blogs.wofford.edu/from_the_archives/2011/03/28/spartanburg-and-blind-tigers/

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Southern Textiles

  • Becomes the principal Southern industry, at least in the Piedmont

  • Starts with local capital, but quickly attracts outside support

  • Lots of unskilled and semi-skilled labor

  • Problems of an industrial work force

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Textile Politics

  • SC’s Cole Blease

  • Erratic, demagogic

  • Governor, 1911-15

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Return of the South to power

  • Nationally, that is…

  • Woodrow Wilson has southern roots

  • 1912 election puts many southern Democrats into influential positions in Congress

  • Half of Wilson’s cabinet members are from the South

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Wilson’s agenda

  • 1913-14 is the high-water mark of Progressivism at the federal level

  • South generally supports Wilson

  • Wilson segregates Washington, removes many blacks from federal jobs

  • In the end, 1920 Republican landslide puts Democrats and South back out of power