The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

Book Reviews

Country, 1874-1920 is an extension of his Ph.D. dissertation written at the
University of Arkansas. Webb, a native of Sumter County, Alabama, teaches at
the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In Two-Party Politics. Webb details the
history of county politics in the Alabama Upcountry from the 1870os to 1920. He
challenges scholars who maintain that after Democracy's destruction of pop-
ulism in the 1890s, Alabama, like other "Deep South" states, adhered to a stag-
nant, one-party political system. "Alabama's politics has been far more complex,"
Webb claims, "and the state's white people have been far less unified, than these
general characteristics suggest" (p. 1).
Webb admits that in statewide politics the paradigm of one-party loyalty held.
"No non-Democrat was elected to statewide office between 1872 and 1980,"
Webb points out, "yet two party politics was common in hill counties from 1868
to the 1920s" (p. 3). In the 1920 presidential election, thirty-two percent of
Alabama's voters chose the Republican ticket, with a majority of voters marking
GOP ballots in nine Upcountry counties. "The rise of Upcountry Republicans
between 1896 and 1920 can more clearly be understood as the third in a series
of rebellions against the ruling elite of the Democratic party, which began as
soon as Reconstruction ended," Webb writes (p. 7). Before the Civil War,
Alabama Democrats adhered to Jacksonian ideology. After the Redemption of
1874, the party compromised its Jacksonian principles to welcome whiggish,
New South men. In addition to elitist politics, economic distress and the
Democratic party's corruption of the electoral process fueled the yeomen's
anger. Upcountry anti-Democrats stoked the flames of revolt for fifty years:
through the Independent and Greenback movements of the 1870s, then
through the Farmers Alliance of the 188os and the Populist party of the 189os,
and finally through the Republican party. Theodore Roosevelt attracted many of
the former populists into the progressive fold, and they rallied to his banner in
the divisive 1912 campaign.
Webb presents his challenge to traditional scholars with a confidence that
derives from the thoroughness of his research. His up-close look at local politics
provides a picture of Alabama politics that bird's-eye, statewide research has not
disclosed. Two-Party Politics is a model of local-history research that is applicable
to any state-study. Webb's prose plods and the detailed accounting of county-by-
county political intrigue will be tedious for some. However, the account is con-
vincing and the writing is clear. All people who are interested in the history of
the South or the writing of local history will want to read Two-Party Politics
Texas A&M Universzty-Texarkana ToM WAGY
Gutzon Borglum: His Life and Work. By Robin Borglum Carter. (Austin: Eakin
Press, 1998. Pp. 96. Foreword, preface, illustrations, notes, bibliography,
index. ISBN 1-57168-247-3. $21.95, paper.)
After his ouster in 1924 from the problem-plagued Confederate memorial at
Stone Mountain, Georgia, the noted, sometimes notorious sculptor Gutzon
Borglum moved into the Menger Hotel in San Antonio. In a pump house-
turned-studio, Borglum prepared his model for a monument commissioned by
the Texas Trail Drivers Association, while he developed his scheme to carve four

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed October 23, 2014.