The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984 Page: 337
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The author shows that Texas's Republican party operated at a
disadvantage because it had no unified base. Texas Unionists prompt-
ly rekindled prewar disagreements over political personalities, or re-
newed sectional differences within the state. Furthermore, Texas Re-
publicanism suffered from a lack of unity over such major issues as
discarding laws passed during the Civil War (the so-called ab initio
question), dividing Texas into three states, financing railroads, and
protecting the frontier. The prospects of dividing Texas seemed
promising to some Republicans, whom Ernest A. Wallace criticizes
in his detailed study, The Howling of the Coyotes: Reconstruction
Efforts to Divide Texas (1979). Important as these issues were, Money-
hon argues that in the months after the war ended, "disagreement
over what should be done concerning the freedmen would be a major
impediment to the unity of Unionism" (p. 26).
Overcoming some of their disunity, Texas Republicans successfully
established a public school system (naturally staffed by loyal Republi-
can teachers) and encouraged blacks to participate in politics. Both of
these steps certainly horrified Texas Democrats, most of whom were
ex-Confederates opposed to any advancement for blacks. Moneyhon
vividly relates, however, that some Republicans balked at supporting
black suffrage, and many of them "were unwilling to accept the idea
of blacks and whites going to school together" (p. 91), something that
disconcerted white Republicans in other states, north and south.
Conservative and moderate Republicans, some of them strong Union-
ists such as Andrew J. Hamilton and Elisha M. Pease, bolted their
party and allied themselves with the Democrats. Such defections
undercut mutual trust between black and white Republicans, and
made it impossible for the radicals to build a broadly biracial party.
The conclusion may be drawn that Texas had the weakest Republican
party in the South during Reconstruction.
Moneyhon chronicles the rapid decline of the party after Con-
gressional Reconstruction and the framing of the state constitution of
1868. The Texas tradition against strong state government and ex-
penditures to sustain such a government's programs (including educa-
tion and law enforcement) undoubtedly helped Democrats to their
ultimate victory. Republican Governor Edmund J. Davis had many
critics, some of whom caught the ear of members of Congress and
cabinet secretaries. The Liberal Republican movement of 1872,
President Ulysses S. Grant's reluctance to apply federal patronage to
the advantage of Texas radicals, and Democrats' use of violence and
intimidation combined to bring down the Davis administration. By
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984, periodical, 1983/1984; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/389/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.