Tom Watson, Agrarian Rebel

By C. Vann Woodward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
"I Mean Business"

AS SOON AS THE FIGHT for the nomination was won--a struggle entirely within the Democratic "white man's party" be it noted --the state press, until then openly hostile or indifferent to his cause, rallied behind Watson, promising him support. The Constitution believed "The Tenth could not have elected a better man than the Hon. Thomas E. Watson"; the Atlanta Journal discovered that he was preaching "Sound democratic doctrine, sterling common sense" and the Augusta Chronicle promised solemnly to "forward his cause by every possible means and sustain him during his Congressional career by all the power we may possess."

At the same time, curiously enough, these and other papers with greater or less degree of virulence, continued unabated their onslaught upon the platform on which Watson was elected. Patrick Walsh Chronicle was especially noted for this paradoxical conduct. It warned that "the Alliance is becoming a political machine," and that it is "repugnant to free institutions." It asked desperately: "Throughout the length and breadth of the land is there no man sound enough and strong enough to confront the emergency and turn the people from their strange gods?" The Alliance platform advocated "paternalism," "communism," and "downright socialism." The farmers were "running after false gods and following false teachers." Like General Gordon and Henry Grady, Walsh reminded them that

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