Romance and Realism in Southern Politics

By T. Harry Williams | Go to book overview

LECTURE THREE
The Politics of Populism and Progressivism

WILLIAM PERCY, POET AND PLANTER ARISTOCRAT OF THE Mississippi Delta, could recall that as a boy he had listened on the gallery of his home to the conversation of the men who came there to consult with his father--the leaders who ruled the state after the end of Reconstruction. Percy liked to picture them: "These were the men who, before I was a listener, bore the brunt of the Delta's fight against scalawaggery and Negro domination. . . ., who stole the ballot-boxes, which, honestly counted, would have made every county official a Negro, who helped shape the Constitution of 1890, which in effect and legally disfranchised the Negro, who still earlier had sent my grandfather to the legislature to help rid the state of 'old Ames,' the carpetbag Governor."

There was some exaggeration in Percy's memories. In no state did the white bosses of the Republican party allow the Negroes more than a fraction of even the local offices; during the whole course of Reconstruction in Mississippi there was only one Negro mayor and twelve sheriffs. But his depiction of how the leaders of the New South

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Romance and Realism in Southern Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Lecture One - The Distinctive South 1
  • Lecture Two - The Politics of Reconstruction 17
  • Lecture Three - The Politics of Populism And Progressivism 44
  • Lecture Four - The Politics of the Longs 65
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