Analysis Of The Article ' Of Rutabagas And Redeemers ' Rethinking The Texas Constitution Of 1876

1409 Words Nov 11th, 2015 6 Pages
In the years following the civil war, the Democratic Party within Texas was divided in many ways by a variety of issues. Though united against Republicans and their liberal Reconstruction policies, Texas Democrats in this period came from a variety of backgrounds and had unique motivations driving their political sentiments. In the article "Of Rutabagas and Redeemers: Rethinking the Texas Constitution of 1876," Patrick Williams argues against the pervasive characterization of the key factions in the Democratic Party during the constitutional convention consisting of agrarian versus business minded or “new South” interests. Williams contends that although convention contemporaries including noted “Rutabaga” (a semi-derogatory term for a delegate in league with the Grange) John Johnson came to believe that the constitution of 1876 represented the triumph of farmers and their allies against corporate driven “progressive” Democrats and their policies, the political reality was much more complicated. To begin his assessment of the factional politics surrounding the constitution of 1876 and the “Redeemer” convention that fashioned it, Williams points out that several historians who have discussed post-Civil war southern politics including Michael Perman, J. Morgan Kousser, and Seth McKay do indeed ascribe to the paradigm of the rise of the agrarian “rutabaga” over the “new South” cosmopolitan businessman. He attributes this perpetuation of the agrarian myth to contemporary…
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