Tom Watson, Agrarian Rebel

By C. Vann Woodward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
The Victory of 1890

"Shall the people accept orders from Congress?"

"Who shall rule, the politicians, or the people?"

"Shall we allow these, our servants, to dictate to us, their masters?

"We are sovereigns of this land and we come to our representatives and not to our lords."

"Shall the agent be allowed to grow too insolent to obey the instructions of his principal?"

"When your congressmen come home and begin their preconcerted attack on your platform, ask them what better plan they have advocated during all these years that they have been enjoying fat salaries."1

THESE AND SIMILAR CHALLENGES peppered the columns of the Georgia Alliance papers; they were flung in the faces of Congressional committees; they glared from the letters of constituents. It was in such a mood that the Alliance in 1890 determined to apply its "yardstick," the St. Louis platform. All candidates must "stand up and be measured." Woe to any office holder, of whatever military rank or valor, who confessed doubts as to the subtreasury plan, abolition of the national banks, or government ownership of the means of transportation and communication.

Unlike their Western brethren, who were already resorting to independent political organizations, the Southern Alliancemen believed themselves powerful enough, by boring from within, to take over the old party for their own purposes and thus to work

____________________
1
Clippings, 1889-1890, Watson Scrapbooks.

-146-

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