The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 425
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the interests of his district with those of party and nation. Chapters are
devoted to each.
The homogeneity of the Fourth District during Rayburn's forty-
nine-year tenure was anachronistic even in his day: low-income farm-
ers and small businessmen, little organized labor, total Democracy,
nonvoting minorities, and the absence of in-migration. Moreover,
Rayburn managed to avoid redistricting that would add suburban or
diverse elements. His constituency found appealing his lack of pre-
tense and his intensely personal style; they never tired of his "four-cent
cotton" speech and mightily appreciated his bringing to them rural
electrification, farm-to-market roads, soil conservation, Lakes Texoma
and Lavon, and a number of wartime installations. With a locally popu-
lar network of relatives, friends, and a "neighborhood" that encom-
passed his entire district, Rayburn was able to defeat the few chal-
lengers who dared to take him on. His intelligence system enabled
him, as Carl Albert points out in the foreword, to "put out most fires
before they started burning" (x).
As noble as Rayburn was, he nevertheless had his lesser moments:
his manipulation of ambitious politicians in such a way that they
would not oppose him or his loyal local officeholders, his appeals to
racist voters, and his alliance with Lyndon B. Johnson to freeze their
liberal loyalist friends from power in the Texas Democratic party. On
the other hand, Rayburn demonstrated virtues that won for him so
much constituent trust that he could consort with liberals in Washing-
ton and in Texas when he chose to do so. He was always accessible,
generous to Fourth District visitors in Washington and in Bonham,
modest in his congressional staffing, and honest to the core.
Champagne sets this work in the context of earlier congressional
studies, such as Richard F. Fenno's Home Style, which appropriately
won a D. B. Hardeman prize from the LBJ Foundation. Champagne
offers a model in his extensive reliance upon sixty-two interviews.
(The fact that only eight of the group are female and of that number
only one an elected official in Texas is a further testament to the fact
that Rayburn's all-male organization would hardly suffice today.)
Scholars who work on Texas topics will be reminded of the value of
the North Texas State University oral history collection and of the
Rayburn Papers at Bonham. Texas readers will find it gratifying that
the loyal work of local Rayburn supporters such as R. C. Slagle, Jr.,
Buster Cole, and Ray Roberts has been documented. Congressional in-
cumbents would do themselves and their "home folks" a favor if they
would study Mr. Sam's talents for political longevity and his genuine
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/491/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.