The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

who believes that the former could not be reformed without radically
reshaping the latter. I happen to think Palmer correct about the link-
age, but he has no business attributing our views to the Populists.
Palmer makes a similarly fallacious argument that the Populists' ex-
perience pushed them toward socialism.
Nowhere is Palmer's tendency to impose his own views on Populism
more evident than in his handling of his heroes, the antimonopoly
greenbackers. Somehow they represented what all Populists groped
toward. Yet how representative were they? Texas was their stronghold.
But when Palmer explicates the antimonopoly position in Texas
(especially pp. 182-194), his footnotes tell a curious story. The flood
of rural Populist newspapers earlier cited dries up. Four papers con-
stitute virtually all of his sources: two socialist periodicals in Austin,
unrepresentative on Palmer's own testimony, and two Dallas papers,
both controlled by the handful of greenback radicals who dominated
the state leadership. The rank-and-file disappears-probably because,
my own experience suggests, they almost never voiced such ideas ex-
cept in repeating formulas handed down in party platforms. But not
even the most articulate greenbackers ever described the "two-tier
economic structure" that Palmer has devised to cap "their" analysis.
Palmer's performance is elating and irritating--subtle, heavy-
handed, persuasive, implausible, and above all provocative. Certainly
no one seriously interested in Populism can afford to miss this book.
University of Massachusetts-Boston JAMES TURNER
Sobering Up: From Temperance to Prohibition in Antebellum Amer-
ica, I8oo-i86o. By Ian R. Tyrrell. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood
Press, 1979. Pp. xii+350o. Introduction, appendix, note on
sources, index. $23.95.)
Ian Tyrrell's Sobering Up is the first modern investigation of that
"other" prohibition. Between 1812 and 1845 the crusade against in-
toxicating beverages in the American republic grew at a steady pace,
moving from a gradualist, moral suasionist, temperance phase in the
181os, 182os, and 183os into an increasingly strident, coercive, "tee-
total" phase between 1845 and 1855. By the eve of the Civil War
thirteen states and territories had gone dry by adopting statutes mod-
eled on the legislation that had dried up Maine in 1851. It is a fasci-
nating story, and Tyrrell has done a fine job of telling it.
Tyrrell's subject is an important chapter in the history of ante-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/. Accessed November 23, 2014.