C/ec Wilson Jioecment in
OR MORE than half a century after the Civil War Texas was
the "dark and bloody battle ground" of progressive and con-
servative Democratic factional struggles. Although the state
was traditionally and historically Southern, it was too much
a frontier to be politically conservative. The Farmers' Alliance,
from which Populism grew, had its beginnings within the wide
borders of Texas, and the agrarian-progressive movement swept
throughout the state. The last decade of the nineteenth century
was the heyday of agrarian reform in Texas.2 And Texas was
a pioneer in successful progressive legislation. Many significant
reforms were enacted during Governor James Stephen Hogg's
administration,3 but a succession of progressive governors-
Charles Allen Culberson, Joseph D. Sayers, Samuel W. T.
Lanham, and Thomas M. Campbell-carried on Hogg's liberal
By 1910, however, Texas was in a state of conservative re-
action. The rise to power of Joseph Weldon Bailey, called by his
biographer the "last Democrat," had served as an effective
check to the progressive movement. This young politician,
brilliant of intellect and charming of personality, was a vigorous
champion of the status quo. By means of the superb political
organization he had erected, Bailey's influence was so wide-
spread that he was one of the dominant forces in Texas politics.
In 1910, Bailey was the junior United States Senator from
Texas. The "last Democrat's" control in Texas politics was ap-
'Research on this article was made possible by a grant from the Julius
2Roscoe C. Martin, The People's Party in Texas (Austin, 1933), is a
splendid treatment of this subject.
3Among the numerous progressive reforms of Hogg's administration
were the following: establishment of a railroad commission with power to
set freight and passenger rates; passage of a law regulating the issuance
of railroad stocks and bonds; important land reforms; insurance and
monetary regulatory laws; labor legislation, a mechanics' lien law, and an
anti-trust law. See Paul L. Wakefield, "James Stephen Hogg, the Great
Democrat," in Frank Carter Adams (ed.), Texas Democracy (Austin,
1937), especially pp. 312-314.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/. Accessed September 1, 2015.