The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 249
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Of Rutabagas and Redeemers
by the fact that Democratic leaders such as Richard Coke, Richard Hub-
bard, Ashbel Smith, William P. Ballinger, and Benjamin Epperson com-
bined planting interests with some sort of business involvement, whether
legal work or lobbying for railroads or local boosterism). Those who
seemed to all appearances to share common interests or backgrounds-
be they black-belt Democrats, white county farmers, or urban entrepre-
neurs-often divided among themselves on the most basic issues. And
those who made common cause with respect to certain issues frequently
disagreed over other matters.2"
This certainly seems to have been the case at the 1875 constitutional
convention. "Rutabaga" Johnson's closing remarks suggested that there
were two factions at work on the convention floor-his side and the oth-
er side (composed, he thought, of lawyers). But what one discerns in con-
vention records is not one group battling another repeatedly but instead
a procession of momentary allies and strange bedfellows. Those who, like
Reagan, Stockdale,Jacob Waelder, and William P. Ballinger, voted for pos-
itive government action in pursuit both of railroad development
(through land grants) and of population growth and an adequate labor
supply (through a state-supported immigration bureau) parted ways
when it came to spending tax money on public education. Similarly, those
who stood on the opposing side when it came to corporate land grants
and an immigration bureau divided among themselves over school fund-
ing. Jonathan Russell of Wood County supported only minimal state com-
mitments to both education and development, while Charles DeMorse
and Joseph Haynes joined their sometime opponents Ballinger and
Waelder in supporting direct school taxation. Things get even more com-
plicated when divisions over suffrage rights are factored in. DeMorse and
E. L. Dohoney both wished to allow communities to tax themselves to sup-
port local schools but opposed one another on the issue of a poll tax re-
striction on the franchise. Dohoney's fellow poll tax partisans, in turn, dif-
fered among themselves over economic development and education
noted the role of sectional economic interest in division sentiment. Ernest Wallace, The Howlzng of
the Coyotes: Reconstructzon Efforts to Dizvde Texas (College Station. Texas A&M University Press,
1979); Carl H Moneyhon, Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas (Austin University of Texas Press,
1980), 14, 84, 91-92, 100-101.
2' Brockman, "Railroads, Radicals, and Democrats," 20, 23, 166 n.48, 312, Virginia H. Taylor,
The Franco-Texan Land Company (Austm: University of Texas Press, 1969), 97n , Moretta, Wzllsam
Pitt Ballinger, 210-211, 232-245, 248-251; Martha Anne Turner, Rzchard Bennett Hubbard. An
American Life (Austin: Shoal Creek, 1979), 34-37, 45, 47, 94-95; Richard Coke scrapbook (CAH);
Elizabeth Silverthorne, Ashbel Smith of Texas, Pzoneer, Patriot, Statesman (College Station: Texas
A&M University Press, 1982), 173, 177, 179-180, 184-185;John Hancock to Benjamin Epperson,
Mar. 11, 1872, Benjamin Epperson Papers (CAH);James W Throckmorton to Epperson, Apr. 1,
1872, ibid.; Ballinger Diary, Jan. 28, 29 1874, July 21, 24, 28, 1875, Ballinger Papers; John Han-
cock to Edward Burleson Jr., Dec. 28, 1875, Edward Burleson Jr. Papers (CAH); Galveston Daily
News,July 19, 1873, Aug. 13, 1875, Mar. 12, 1876; Austin Daily Democratic Statesman,July 21, 1875;
Barr, Reconstruction to Reform, 18-19.
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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/m1/301/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.