The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881

By Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
CONCLUSION

The traditional stereotype of the scalawag as the north Alabama small farmer of little education, no political experience, and Unionist sympathies does not hold true for Southern white Republican leaders in Alabama. Despite impressive evidence that most scalawag voters in Alabama lived in the Northern half of the state,1 scalawags from black counties were highly influential in the Alabama Republican party and included organizers of the party in the state as well as latecomers who joined only after the 1868 presidential election. Prominent scalawags from black counties included jurists Benjamin F. and Milton J. Saffold, Adam C. Felder, Anthony W. Dillard, Samuel F. Rice, George H. Craig, Benjamin L. Whelan, Littleberry Strange, George W. Gunn; Provisional Governor Lewis E. Parsons; Superintendents of Public Instruction Noah B. Cloud and Joseph H. Speed and Republican nominee for this post in 1874, John T. Foster; Attorney Generals Joshua Morse and Benjamin Gardner; Congressmen Charles Hays, Alexander White, and Charles Pelham, and Republican nominees for Congress Daniel B. Booth and William H. Betts; Republican electors Thomas O. Glascock, Charles C. Crowe, William J. Gilmore, John L. Pennington, S. S. Booth, William B. Jones, Winfield S. Bird; U.S. Sixth Auditor John J. Martin.

Instead of being small farmers with little education, a significant number of these men read law or attended college (including the Universities of Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina; Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, South Carolina College, New Orleans Medical College, Hampden-Sydney College, Harvard University, Yale University, Davidson College, Centenary College in Louisiana, Centre College and Transylvania University in Kentucky, Erskine College in South Carolina) or received some other type of formal education. Of the seventy-one identifiable scalawags nominated, elected, or appointed to the most lucrative and important positions between 1868 and 1881 (state executive and judicial offices and federal legislative and judicial offices) forty-six were lawyers. Others developed successful careers as newspaper editors, businessmen, physicians, teachers, manufacturers, merchants, planters, and clergymen. One listed

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