The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972 Page: 18
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
this land of ours and for honest and progressive government con-
ducted by honest and progressive men.""
This judgment accurately caught the spirit of the prohibitionist
faction of the Texas Democracy between 1911 and 1921. Far from
being parochial advocates of cultural reaction, these politicians cam-
paigned for what seemed to them progressive changes in the state's
public policy. Prohibition was, within the Texas context, an attempt
to purify politics, improve the moral quality of life, and adapt the
traditional values of a rural society to a rapidly changing situation.
It supplied an outlet for ethnic hostility and appeared to accord with
the goals of the national party. Some dry progressives, like Love and
Morris Sheppard, even made the transition to the New Deal without
losing their reform credentials."
The record of Texas politics in this period suggests the need for a
fresh look at the internal history of the Democrats in the Wilson era.
A recent student of the 192o's argues that southern and western party
members had developed "a complex of political, social, and moral
attitudes" by 192o that was a compound "of nativism, fundamentalism,
prohibitionism, and a conviction that the American character resided
in the farm and hinterland town."" These diverse elements were fused
into a tangible public philosophy in Texas during the contests over
alcohol before 1920, and Democrats carried memories of these local
struggles into the following decade. Dry progressives who had pre-
vailed in the battles with Bailey, Colquitt, and Ferguson were hardly
likely to defer meekly to the divergent cultural views of Al Smith.
The position of these Democrats may have reflected "cultural pro-
vincialism," but it was not carelessly adopted nor lightly held. His-
torians of the Democratic party will have to give its intensive scrutiny
to comprehend fully the fascinating history of the party in the years
before the New Deal.
"Love to Wilson, May 1, 1920, Love Papers; Jesse Jones to McAdoo, May 3, 920o;
Hugh Nugent Fitzgerald to McAdoo, August 3o, Ig2o, McAdoo Papers; "The Neff and
Bailey Contest," August 3o, 192o, Horace Chilton Diaries; J. S. Pool to James G. Sims,
September 1, 192o, Pat M. Neff Papers (Texas Collection, Baylor University Library);
Dallas Morning News, May 2, 3, 192o; Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 1, 13, 21, 22,
29, 192o; Emma Morrill Shirley, The Administration of Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas,
1921-1925 (Waco, 1938), 1-30. The quote is from the Fitzgerald letter.
30Love to James A. Farley, December 2, 1935, Morris Sheppard Papers; Otis L. Graham,
Jr., An Encore for Reform: The Old Progressives and the New Deal (New York, 1967),
81Burner, Politics of Provincialism, 94.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972, periodical, 1972; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/m1/30/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.