rexas Colglressiola/ Ceaders aid the
)ew reedo, 1913-1917
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM, JR.
HE national elections of 1912 witnessed a sweeping victory
for the Democrats, giving them secure control of both
the executive and legislative branches of the government.
Not only did the elections result in a change in national party
control, it also brought a major shift in geographical control,
since southern congressional leaders, because of high seniority
through long service, completely dominated the key positions in
Congress. In the Sixty-third Congress, which began its work in
1913, southerners headed twenty-two of the twenty-seven impor-
tant committees of the two houses, while even two of the five
remaining committees were controlled by men from the border
state of Oklahoma. This fact was extremely significant since
committee action has been a controlling factor in the American
congressional system. For the first time in over fifty years the
South had regained the federal domination it so often enjoyed
in ante-bellum days.
Under the inspiring leadership of Woodrow Wilson, the south-
erners proceeded in the next four years to enact a progressive
domestic program of pre-eminent importance which has become
known in American history as the "New Freedom," and which
was a worthy finale to the "Progressive Era."
The Texas congressional delegation was the largest state group
from the South. While Texans in Congress made up the most
numerous individual opposition from the South to various parts
of the Wilsonian program, they usually gave strong support to
the administration in the passage of the "New Freedom." The
tendency to keep congressmen in office for long periods of time
operated in Texas to the same extent that it did in other parts of
the South; this gave the Texans some of the much-desired com-
mittee leadership, and furnished them an opportunity to play
a significant part in passing the new legislation.
1For the purposes of this paper the South will be considered as including only
the eleven secession states.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/. Accessed April 19, 2015.