The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 248
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Such differences within the agricultural and business classes suggest
how unlikely it would have been for the contention at the constitutional
convention to have been a simple matter of a predominantly agrarian fac-
tion fighting it out with another less identified with farm interests. Close
examination of post-Reconstruction politics in Texas makes clear that the
differences among Democrats rarely resolved themselves into a stable
two-way or even three-way factionalism. Terms like "New South" and
"Bourbon"-both of which have been applied to Texas Democrats by his-
torians as distinguished as Michael Perman-might be useful in describ-
ing opposing positions on individual issues but cannot be used to denote
contending factional blocs maintaining some semblance of solidarity over
Certainly, there were identifiable poles of allegiance within the Texas
party. Sectional alignments appeared. Democrats from various regions of
the state competed for representation within the party leadership or for
their communities' fair share of limited state resources. San Antonio De-
mocrats, for example, went so far as to call during the 187os for the es-
tablishment of a separate state of "West Texas" when it became clear that
their fellow Redeemers on the east side of the Colorado would not ante
up to support economic (particularly railroad) development west of that
river with the same generosity as it had been supported in the state's east-
ern and northern precincts.28 Erstwhile Whigs and unionists also believed
they were a group apart, feeling that they were routinely given short shrift
in a party that continued (at least until i 89o0) to be led by old secession-
ists and Confederates. At the same time, cliques formed around individ-
ual politicians and editors and competed with one another for state pa-
tronage. These various sources of alignment within the party, however,
did not resolve themselves into larger categories of affiliation, such as in-
to planter, industrialist, or New South wings whose members shared a
common perspective with respect to a whole range of issues (the delin-
eation of such an interest-group politics would be complicated in any case
Texas," SHQ 30 (Jan., 1927), 161-177, Roberts, "Political, Legislative, and Judicial History of
Texas," 225-228, 296; Brockman, "Railroads, Radicals, and Democrats," 223-225, Claude Elhott,
Leathercoat" The Life Hastory of a Texas Patriot (San Antonio: Standard Printing, 1938), 253-276.
27 Perman, Road to Redemption, 191, 203.
28G. W. L Fly to Ashbel Smith, May 27, 1872, Ashbel Smith Papers (CAH); D. M. Short to
Oran Roberts, July 29, 1873, Roberts Papers, Wilham P. Balhnger Diary, Feb. 2, Dec. 30, 1874,
William Pitt Ballinger Papers (CAH), Ashbel Smith to John Reagan, Apr. 8, 1876, John H. Rea-
gan Papers (Archives Division, Texas State Library; cited hereafter as TSA); John Ireland to
Samuel Bell Maxey, Dec. 14, 1873, Samuel Bell Maxey Papers (TSA); Galveston Daily News, July
1, Sept. 3, Dec. 14, 24, 1873, Jan. 29, 1874, Aug. 13, 1875, Feb. 23, 27, 1876, Austin Dazly De-
mocratzc Statesman, Feb. io, 1876; Paris Press, Sept. 3, 1875, North Texas Enterprise (Bonham),
Jan. 30, 1874; San Antonio Daily Herald, Jan. 19, Mar. 9, Nov. 10, Dec. 2, 20, 1875, Feb. 11,
1876. There had long been agitation for a division of the state, but during Reconstruction it
seems to have been primarily associated with Repubhcans. Ernest Wallace stressed Radicals' in-
terest m creating a more polhtcally manageable west Texas state, but Carl Moneyhon has
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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/m1/300/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.