The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987 Page: 158
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
What this dapper, engaging, thirty-five-year-old physician brought
to this spectacular agrarian movement was a timely combination of atti-
tudes and assets. According to Lawrence Goodwyn, Macune was "a
strikingly handsome man,.. . both a lucid writer and a sonorous, au-
thoritative public speaker," who "possessed untapped talents as an
organizer," and was, "above all,... a creative economic theorist." To
Robert C. McMath, Jr., Macune was "the organization man par excel-
lence; ... his knowledge of how the Alliance organization functioned,
his knack for occupying the center ground, and his ability to work with
or coerce those to the right and left of him enabled Macune to domi-
nate the order between 1887 and 1891." These personal qualities have
been noted by virtually all historians who have traced Macune's perfor-
mance while in the limelight of the Farmers' Alliance and Populist party
However, Macune's background and experiences before that brief
episode ih his long life provide a more complete portrait of a figure
that historian Goodwyn describes as "one of the most talented and en-
igmatic mnen brought forward by the agrarian revolt." We find in 1886
a young man with a minimum of formal education and little if any
evidence of economic affluence, though the picture might have been
brightening by that date. In both areas, his experience was not very dif-
ferent from that of his parents. On the other hand, he had an excep-
tionally wide range of travel and work experiences, including farming,
already under his belt. He was personable, intellectually curious and
bright, highly energetic, versatile, a loyal southern Democrat, of evan-
gelical Methodist persuasion, and, his children would recall, a man
without fear of anything but God.58 Without any apparent, precon-
ceived ideology or formulas to resolve the farmers' problems, he would
evidently have to trust common-sense analysis, pragmatism, and inno-
vation in quest of solutions.
57Goodwyn, Democratic Promise, 84 (1st quotation); McMath, Populist Vanguard, 29, 146 (2nd
quotation); Hicks, Populist Revolt, 107; Theodore Saloutos, Farmer Movements in the South,
z865-1933 (Los Angeles, 196o), go; Dictionary of American Biography, s.v. "Macune, Charles
William"; Shannon, "C. W. Macune and the Farmers' Alliance," 330-335; Smith, "'Macuneism'
or the Farmers of Texas in Business," 220-244.
58Goodwyn, Democratic Promise, 83; Dennis Macune to C. W. M., Nov. 17, 1963, interview;
Katharine Macune to C. W. M., Dec. 26, 1963, interview.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987, periodical, 1986/1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/m1/196/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.