The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 237
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Of Rutabagas and Redeemers
former governor James Throckmorton, likewise proclaimed their opposi-
tion. In the years immediately preceding the convention, some had fruit-
lessly called for the state to make good on subsidies already promised to
the International, but very few Democrats of any stripe argued for con-
tinuing a policy of paying railroads to build. At the convention, there
were no signs of a rout of New South Democrats on this issue. The subsidy
prohibition generated little obvious controversy, the provision being
passed without any attempt at amendment just as it had been reported by
committee-a committee dominated by Democrats unaffiliated with the
This pattern persists through a number of the other essential matters
considered by the convention. Non-Grange Democrats played prominent
roles in the shaping of provisions traditionally ascribed to the Patrons of
Husbandry specifically or an agrarian bloc more generally, and the pas-
sage of such provisions involved no clear face-off between Grangers and
Democrats not associated with the order. Some sources credit Grangers
with the constitution's parsimony with respect to public education-the
capping of the portion of state revenues that could be devoted to schools
at 25 percent, and the elimination both of local school taxes (except by
voluntary action of towns and cities) and of a state apparatus to adminis-
ter schools. Yet the school provisions had been reported by a committee
majority that featured only a single Granger, while those championing ex-
tremes of stinginess with respect to public education included decidedly
cosmopolitan sorts, including the prominent Galveston attorney George
Flournoy and Fletcher Stockdale-lawyer, railroad man, stockraiser, and
erstwhile acting governor of the state. As for tax policy, a committee dom-
inated by Grangers did report the .5 percent ceiling on the state ad val-
orem tax rate ultimately incorporated into the constitution. Yet this state
cap was not imposed on an otherwise unwilling body, but, instead, gener-
ated relatively little controversy within or without the convention hall, the
provision being, in fact, a rather modest guarantee that the tax rate would
not exceed the highest levels of the Reconstruction era rather than en-
forcing actual rollbacks."
The convention's actions with respect to education, taxation, and
"' Galveston Daily News, June 16, Oct. 31, 1872,July 9, i8, 1874; Ernest Winkler (ed.), Platforms
ofPolitical Partzes in Texas, University of Texas Bulletm, no 53 (Austin: University of Texas, 1916),
142, 146,Journal of the Constztutional Conventzon, 164. On the politics of railroad subsidies in Texas
In the years preceding the convention, see John Brockman, "Railroads, Radicals, and Democrats:
A Study in Texas Politics, 1865-1900oo" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas, 1975); Patrick G. Williams,
"Redeemer Democrats and the Roots of Modern Texas, 1872-1884" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia Uni-
versity, 1996), 220-297.
" Journal of the Constztutional Convention, 191, 378-383, 396-397, 422-424, 451, 454-455,
464-467, 524-526, 530-531, 536, 693-695, 723, 725-726; McKay (ed.), Debates, 225, 355-357;
Thomas Cutrer, "George M. Flournoy," in Tyler, et al (eds.), New Handbook of Texas, II,
1o39-1040; "Fletcher Summerfield Stockdale," in ibid., VI, 107.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/289/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.