The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 401
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The Governor and the Bat
more significant for Colquitt's 1910o victory than his opposition to busi-
ness regulatory measures.8
Indeed, Colquitt's distinct hostility to prohibition enabled him to gar-
ner support from all the wet forces in the state, including the beer and
liquor lobbies, Czech and German ethnic groups, South Texas political
machines and their ethnic Mexican voting blocks, and a good number of
citizens who resided in the state's larger cities. When his two leading
opponents divided the dry vote, Colquitt received a plurality. Since the
election laws then in effect did not provide for a runoff between the top
two candidates, Colquitt won the primary and then an easy victory for a
two-year term in the general election. Colquitt received the endorsement
of such luminaries as lumber magnate John Henry Kirby, attorney Jacob
F. Wolters of the Texas Wholesale Liquor Dealers Association, cattleman
and banker George Littlefield, railroad director John Hulen, and repre-
sentatives of various business interests who sought a safer climate for
investment capital from outside the state. Nevertheless, as governor,
Colquitt supported such "progressive" measures as worker's compensa-
tion, child labor and factory safety laws, and a state tuberculosis hospital."
Pressured by aggressive news coverage and a lengthy legislative investi-
gation, Governor Campbell had called state lawmakers into a special leg-
islative session in September 1910, where they enacted the reforms that
would take effect on January 2o, 1911. Despite considerable discussion
and heated debate, the legislature retained convict whipping with the
"bat" as the principal disciplinary tool. Reports concerning excessive
beatings and torture, poor prisoner food and living conditions, as well as
official malfeasance, appalled the new governor and many other Texas
leaders. Although Colquitt criticized the Campbell administration over
prison matters, he had not especially emphasized reform prior to becom-
ing governor. He rather cautiously advocated a revised managerial system
" Chpping from University of Texas News Service, Mar. 4, 1941, in Colquitt vertical file and
scrapbook, CAH, Garfield Crawford to Rawlins Colquitt, Feb 6, 1941, Colquitt Papers; and
George Portal Huckaby, "Oscar Branch Colquitt: A Political Biography" (Ph.D. diss., University
of Texas, 1946), viii-ix, 1-22, 2o1 (Ist quotation), 202, 203 (2nd quotation), 204-212, 237,
241, 301-302. Among the "progressive" measures enacted during Campbell's administrations
were pure food and drug laws; railroad regulatory laws; the Robertson Insurance Act, which
required insurance companies to invest 75 percent of their revenue in Texas; a state fire insur-
ance rating board; a banking deposit guaranty law; a state banking board; a umform school text
law; and state boards of medical examiners, pharmacy, and nursing examiners. Kenneth
Hendrickson Jr. also notes Colquitt's support for certain "progressive" measures such as a work-
er's compensation act, a state tuberculosis hospital, child labor and factory safety laws, and a
school for dehnquent girls; see Kenneth Hendrickson Jr., The Chief Executives of Texas: From
Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1995),
Lewis L. Gould, Progressives and Prohzbztionzsts" Texas Democrats an the Wilson Era (Austin Texas
State Historical Association, 1992), 45-91; Huckaby, "Oscar Branch Colquitt," 217-220,
301-321 On Texas election laws see O. Douglas Weeks, "Election Laws," in Ron Tyler, Douglas
E. Barnett, Roy R. Barkley, Penelope C. Anderson, and Mark F Odintz (eds.), The New Handbook
of Texas (6 vols.; Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1996), II, 814-815.
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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/m1/469/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.