The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881

By Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
AT SEA WITHOUT A RUDDER

Once the election for ratification of the new constitution was over, Republican dissension worsened as the battle for control of the party accelerated, and old political wounds reopened. At this time late in 1875 former Governor W. H. Smith and Senator George E. Spencer ended their period of cooperation with each other. Smith had aided in the effort to return Spencer to the Senate in 1872, and Spencer, once safely reelected, had spent much time in New York and Washington. Smith resented Spencer's leaving to other Republicans the struggle to keep Alabama in the Republican column and accused Spencer of using his official position most often to oppress those who worked hardest for party victories. For the upcoming campaigns in 1876 Spencer proposed that if he were allowed to name the delegates to the Republican National Convention, he would permit Smith to name the state candidates. Smith was indignant at Spencer's presumptuousness, and the battle between the two was again joined.1

Late in November another circular addressed to the state Republican Executive Committee appeared. This petition called upon the committee to meet in Montgomery on December 7 with all Republicans who would come to organize for the 1976 campaign. Seven of the twelve signers of the earlier petition supported this request, and they were joined by twenty-three other prominent Republicans, including Samuel F. Rice, William H. Smith, James Q. Smith, B. F. Saffold, J. J. Martin, Benjamin Gardner, John A. Minnis. The group met as announced at noon December 7, in Montgomery. Rice again presided and reiterated that the purpose of the meeting was preparation for the coming campaign and added that the group also intended to equalize the representation of the congressional districts (drawn February 13, 1875) on the state commitU+00AOD tee. Although not publicly discussed at the time, probably the most important reason for the interest in reorganizing the membership of the state committee was the belief that Senator Spencer controlled a majority of the existing committee because several members were indebted to Spencer for federal jobs. The meeting adopted a motion to enlarge the

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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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