Reconstruction Bonds & Twentieth-Century Politics: South Dakota v. North Carolina, 1904

Reconstruction Bonds & Twentieth-Century Politics: South Dakota v. North Carolina, 1904

Reconstruction Bonds & Twentieth-Century Politics: South Dakota v. North Carolina, 1904

Reconstruction Bonds & Twentieth-Century Politics: South Dakota v. North Carolina, 1904

Excerpt

Preparing a projected book about Senator Marion Butler and North Carolina Populism, I had returned to the splendid Southern Historical Collection in the University of North Carolina Library in order to examine relevant papers of Governor Daniel L. Russell. Russell, who holds the distinction of being North Carolina's only Republican governor since the Reconstruction era, collaborated in the late 1890's with Marion Butler in the Populist-Republican program of co-operation which Democrats labeled for posterity as "Fusion."

Disappointed in the rather skimpy material for my purposes in the Russell papers, I was preparing to move on to another collection when Dr. James W. Patton, director of the Southern Historical Collection, informed me that he had just brought up from Wilmington an old trunk full of Russell material, mostly letters, which I could examine as soon as his staff completed processing them.

The new material, saved over the long years since Russell's death by his last young law partner, proved to be a complete and intimate history of the famous interstate lawsuit which figured prominently in North Carolina politics in the first decade of this century and echoed importantly long after Russell himself had died. Proud of his legal skill and ingenuity in masterminding South Dakota's lawsuit against North Carolina--or as he put it, against Tarheel Democrats who had captured control of the state in 1898 and 1900--Russell apparently saved every incoming scrap of correspondence about the case and carefully made, or had made, handwritten copies of his outgoing letters when typed carbons were not available. As the intricate story unfolded through the hundreds of old letters, quite a few of them being of the type which the writers wanted burned, I realized that the "South Dakota bond" story deserved telling.

The unprecedented lawsuit and the United States Supreme Court's decision in the case are significant in constitutional history. The story illumines North Carolina, and indirectly Southern and also Western, politics in the years after Populism and Bryanism had spent most of their powers. In North Carolina certainly, and in South Dakota to a lesser extent, the bond case became a . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.