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Two-party politics in the one-party South : Alabama's hill country, 1874-1920 /
Samuel L. Webb.
imprint
Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, c1997.
description
xi, 286 p. : ill., map ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0817308954 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, c1997.
isbn
0817308954 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
1579471
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [263]-273) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-05-01:
Alabama, along with other southern states, has a reputation for one-party race-based politics; rivalries supposedly occurred within the "whites only" democratic party. Students of presidential elections (those held since 1928) have known of the electoral reality of different party votes for different levels of elections. Focusing on Alabama's "hill country," Webb takes issue with the prevailing historiography of late-19th-century southern politics and argues that there was a two-party tradition that antedated the 20th century and demonstrated continuity from the Jacksonians to the postwar Republicans and Populists and early-20th-century Progressives. He bases his views on a careful discussion of election campaigns, biographical sketches of significant local politicians, and a review of the ideological differences between the parties in up-country Alabama, and he finds solid evidence from newspapers, manuscripts, official documents, and secondary sources. Unfortunately the book seldom strays from political narrative; too often missing are analyses of the deeper social and economic contexts of politics. There is also a multitude of names that may fascinate local readers but often obfuscate the larger argument of the book. Upper-division undergraduates and above. T. F. Armstrong Texas Wesleyan University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Employing solid evidence from the careers of ex-Populist leaders and from county-level histories of intra- and interparty struggle, Webb makes a convincing case that, in northern Alabama at least, Populism did not fade into crankiness and racism but was transformed into a vital progressivism within the GOP." -Robert McMath, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Employing solid evidence from the careers of ex-Populist leaders and from county-level histories of intra- and interparty struggle, Webb makes a convincing case that, in northern Alabama at least, Populism did not fade into crankiness and racism but was transformed into a vital progressivism within the GOP." Robert McMath, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Webb sheds light on an important, but little understood, aspect of Alabama history- he persistence of Jacksonian democracy in the state's hill country. By showing how this antebellum movement carried over into the New South and how it affected post-Civil War politics, he makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the continuity of southern history." -Harvey H. Jackson III, Jacksonville State University
"Webb sheds light on an important, but little understood, aspect of Alabama history- he persistence of Jacksonian democracy in the state's hill country. By showing how this antebellum movement carried over into the New South and how it affected post-Civil War politics, he makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the continuity of southern history." Harvey H. Jackson III, Jacksonville State University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 1998
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Summaries
Main Description
This study challenges the long-held view that the only important and influential politicians in post-Reconstruction Deep South states were Democrats. In this insightful and exhaustively researched volume, Samuel L. Webb presents new evidence that, contrary to popular belief, voters in at least one Deep South state did not flee en masse from the Republican party after Reconstruction. As Webb demonstrates conclusively, the party gained strength among white voters in Upcountry areas of northern Alabama between 1896 and 1920. Not only did GOP presidential candidates win more than a dozen area counties but Republican congressional candidates made progress in Democratic strongholds, and local GOP officials gained control of several county courthouses. Nor were these new Republicans simply the descendants of anti-Confederate families, as some historians have claimed. Rather, they were former independents, Greenbackers, and Populists, who, in keeping with the 1890s Populist movement, were reacting against what they perceived as the control of the Democratic party by "moneyed elites" and planter landlords. Webb also breaks with previous historical opinion by showing that ex-Populists in the Hill Country, who had been radical reformers during the 1890s, remained reform minded after 1900. Webb's ground-breaking reassessment of Alabama state politics from Reconstruction to the 1920s describes a people whose political culture had strong roots in the democratic and egalitarian Jacksonian ideology that dominated north Alabama in the antebellum period. These people carried forward elements of Jacksonianism into the late 19th century, with its tenets continuing to influence them well into the early 20th century.
Main Description
This study challenges the long-held view that the only importantand influential politicians in post-Reconstruction Deep South stateswere Democrats.In this insightful and exhaustively researched volume, Samuel L. Webbpresents new evidence that, contrary to popular belief, voters in at leastone Deep South state did not flee en masse from the Republican partyafter Reconstruction. As Webb demonstrates conclusively, the party gainedstrength among white voters in Upcountry areas of northern Alabama between1896 and 1920. Not only did GOP presidential candidates win more than adozen area counties but Republican congressional candidates made progressin Democratic strongholds, and local GOP officials gained controlof several county courthouses.Nor were these new Republicans simply the descendants of anti-Confederatefamilies, as some historians have claimed. Rather, they were former independents,Greenbackers, and Populists, who, in keeping with the 1890s Populist movement,were reacting against what they perceived as the control of the Democraticparty by "moneyed elites" and planter landlords. Webb also breakswith previous historical opinion by showing that ex-Populists in the HillCountry, who had been radical reformers during the 1890s, remained reformminded after 1900.Webb's ground-breaking reassessment of Alabama state politics from Reconstructionto the 1920s describes a people whose political culture had strong rootsin the democratic and egalitarian Jacksonian ideology that dominated northAlabama in the antebellum period. These people carried forward elementsof Jacksonianism into the late 19th century, with its tenets continuingto influence them well into the early 20th century.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 1
The Old Guard and the Populistsp. 11
James Lawrence Sheffield and the Roots of Hill Country Independencep. 31
The Growth of Dissent: Anti-Democrats, 1876-1887p. 59
Alliancemen, Populists, and Republicans, 1888-1892p. 86
Who Were the Populists, and What Did They Believe?p. 114
Triumph, Tragedy, and Disillusionment, 1893-1898p. 131
What Happened to the Upcountry Populists? 1898-1904p. 155
From Populists to Progressive Republicans, 1904-1912p. 185
Conclusionp. 213
Notesp. 221
Bibliographyp. 263
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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