Multiparty Politics in Mississippi, 1877-1902

By Stephen Cresswell | Go to book overview

THREE
Fusion Confusion, Republicans, and Independents

THE CHARGES SURFACED EARLY IN THE 1881 GUBERNATORIAL campaign. "Independent People's candidate" Benjamin King sometimes went shiftless and was in the habit of wearing coarse brogan shoes. In a flourish of fair play, the Democratic Jackson Comet noted that the allegations were surely untrue: "It is absurd for the papers to start any such report." Yet King himself soon admitted the truth of the charges, saying that "he dressed to suit himself." Moreover, the Comet reported that although King was wearing shirts while campaigning, he often went without a shirt collar: "Now he would be a pretty specimen to put in the executive mansion." The Greenback newspaper, the Water Valley National Record, argued that it should not be held against King that he wore brogan shoes instead of stylish boots. King's own campaign organ, the Jackson Crisis, mocked the state's journalists for their horror over King's workingman's dress, and pleaded, "No, no, friend, in pity raise not that issue. Do not crush us to earth with your gloves, and your beaver hats, your rose water and cologne, your delicate silk handkerchief, your powder and cosmetics." 1

Benjamin King was a popular state senator from Copiah County, a former Whig who had been a Democrat since the Civil War. The idea of asking King to run for governor as the representative of Greenbackers, Republicans, and Independents, was conceived by Republican leader John

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Multiparty Politics in Mississippi, 1877-1902
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps viii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • One - Introduction 3
  • Two - Birth of the Greenback Party 22
  • Three - Fusion Confusion, Republicans, and Independents 58
  • Four - A New Constitution and New Directions for Agrarians 100
  • Five - Heyday for Populists 126
  • Six - The Decline of All Opposition 156
  • Seven - Conclusion 199
  • Notes 229
  • Bibliography 263
  • Index 275
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