The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881

By Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA

Hardly had these Republicans grown comfortable with their new political affiliation when they plunged into the party's family squabbles in a determined effort to influence state politics and federal patronage. They found the seeds of dissension already flourishing within the party. The standard complaint of the natives about the division of spoils was developing into what some Democrats called a full-scale "row." Without bothering to evaluate just what portion of state offices they did control, the natives increasingly lamented that the Northern men not only did not divide fairly, but also did not divide at all.1 A second festering sore within the party was the problem of how to retain its biracial membership.

The scalawags in their new strength directed their first assault to obtain a larger share of offices at the congressional seats to be filled in an August, 1869, election. Ku Klux Klan activity again accelerated, especially in western Alabama and in the Tennessee Valley, signifying that the Democrats intended to fight in the congressional election. Republicans nominated carpetbaggers for Congress in the first and second districts. In the third congressional district scalawag Chester Arthur Bingham of Talladega, then state treasurer, contested the renomination of the carpetbagger incumbent, Major Benjamin W. Norris of Montgomery. Bingham narrowly lost the nomination by two votes in the district convention to scalawag Robert S. Heflin of Randolph County. Norris accused Heflin of being nominated by fraud and threatened to run as an Independent Republican. Subsequently, Norris reconsidered and withdrew, urging all Republicans in the district to support Heflin.2

In the fourth district scalawag Charles Hays of Eutaw fought General C. W. Dustan, carpetbagger, for the congressional seat vacated by a carpetbagger. Democrats encouraged this competition between natives and newcomers rather than uniting behind one Democratic nominee. In contrast to the intra-party battle in the fourth district, the fifth district quietly nominated Judge W. J. Haralson, a prominent De Kalb County scalawag, to run against the Democratic nominee.3

The sixth congressional district saw even more Republican dissension. There scalawag incumbent Thomas Haughey of Morgan County ran as

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The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • BARUCH AWARDS - 1927-1976 ii
  • Title Page ii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - UNIONISTS HAVE THEIR DAY 5
  • Chapter 2 - REVOLUTIONARY TIMES 18
  • Chapter 3 - CROSSING THE RUBICON 33
  • Chapter 4 - THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA 56
  • Chapter 7 - AT SEA WITHOUT A RUDDER 108
  • Chapter 8 - CONCLUSION 128
  • Appendix - REPUBLICAN NOMINATIONS AND APPOINTMENTS, ALABAMA, 1868-1881 136
  • Notes 154
  • Bibliography 191
  • Index 203
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