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Ch 8 Age Of Agrarian Discontent


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  • 1. Chapter Eight
    Age of Agrarian Discontent
  • 2. 1870 – Texas had only 583 miles of railroad tracks
    High freight rates and slow land service prevented the growth of commerce in Texas
    Economic growth depended on a large rail network
    Land Grant Law of 1876
    Texas Constitution of 1876 defined railroads as public carriers
    Land Grant Law authorized 16 sections of land for every mile of rail track
    Forty railroads received 32 million acres for roughly 3000 miles of track
    Railroads and Economic Development
  • 3. Railroad speculators promised instant prosperity to communities that subsidized routes through their town
    Many ghost towns result from over speculation
    Money for rail expansion
    Eastern investors
    Foreign investors
    Public aid from communities/towns that could afford it
    Some areas of the state were overbuilt
    Other areas lacked any rail facilities
    Railroads and Economic Development
  • 4. Old Perry (Falls County)
    Otto (Falls County)
    Osage (Colorado County)
    Anson (Jones County)
    Named after Anson Jones
    Ghost Towns Resulting from Railroad Speculation
    Otto, Texas
  • 5.
  • 6. Perry, Texas (Falls Co.)
    Osage, Texas
  • 7. Anson, Texas
    Jones County Courthouse
  • 8. Transportation company issues
    Most did not prosper from the sale of granted land
    Land was awarded in alternating sections
    Most wanted to buy land in contiguous sections
    However, the Texas Pacific Land Trust (est. 1888) is still the state’s largest landowner
    Amassed the holdings of the Texas and Pacific Railroad
    Results of rail expansion in Texas
    1872- Texas ranked 28th in the U.S. for rail mileage
    1904 – Texas led the nation in rail mileage (10,000)
    Population growth corresponded with the growth of the rail network
    Railroads and Economic Development
  • 9.
  • 10. Major Lines
    Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (Katy)
    Texas and Pacific Railroad (T&P)
    Southern Pacific
    Great Northern
    Rail influence on other industries
    Need for ties, bridges, stations, etc.
    Cotton Gins
    Railroads and Economic Development
  • 11. Patterns of trade
    The rail network broke up old patterns of trade
    Farmers and businessmen were forced to deal with markets far removed from their region
    Trade agents were impersonal and impartial to local concerns
    Criticisms of the rail industry
    Shipper discrimination
    Secret agreements between monopolistic lines
    Price discrimination
    The Texas Traffic Association (1885) attempted to regulate rates
    Atty. Gen. James Hogg won a court order to dissolve the association
    Numerous successors would attempt to regulate rates for the next 40 years
    Railroads and Economic Development
  • 12.
  • 13. 1876- Texas had 61 million acres of public land
    Two categories for land
    Permanent School Fund
    Roughly 42 million acres
    Unappropriated Public Domain
    Could be sold for numerous purposes; retire public debt, railroad allocation, economic development
    Fifty-Cent Law
    Permitted the sale of all unappropriated public domain for 50 cents an acre; no quantity limitations
    Texas sold less than 2 million acres during the law’s tenure
    However, it depressed the cost of land drastically
    Public Land
  • 14. Fifty-Cent Law
    Railroads and land-holders were forced into recievership
    Land speculators bought land at deflated values
    Critics argued that Gov. Oran Roberts sold Texas to corporations and syndicates
    Public domain land reclassified
    Agricultural, timber, or pastoral values
    No more land could be sold to railroads
    Texas legislature creates the State Land Board
    Oversee the reclassification of public domain
    Ensure settlers received priority over speculators
    General Land Office administered public land after the State Land Board was abolished in 1887
    Public Land
  • 15. Overall, land legislation’s success was debatable
    Public opinion ran against the state’s early choices
    Too many believed that farmers and small businesses fell victim to the state’s overzealous sale of land to railroads and corporations
    Public Land
  • 16. Railroads led to the expansion of barbed wire and windmills in Texas
    Cattlemen began fencing their surface water sites, pastures, ranches, and sometimes public domain in around 1883
    Disputes began to occur over fencing and “fence-cutting wars” began
    Occurred in more than ½ of the counties in the state
    1884 Fencing Law
    It was a felony for fence cutting
    Every three miles of fence required a gate
    Prohibited the enclosure of public land
    Fence-Cutting Wars
  • 17. Secret organizations were formed against fencing in general
    Saw it as a threat to republicanism (land use and democracy)
    Developed into a class consciousness that worked its way into Populism
    Were very popular in the Cross Timbers region
    Also responsible for fence cutting in the area
    Law enforcement and public opinion against fence cutting quelled the wars by 1890
    One Texas Ranger placed dynamite at a fencing location
    and rigged it to explode if the fence was cut
    Fence-Cutting Wars
  • 18.
  • 19. East Texas yellow pine grew on roughly 20 million acres
    The mild climate and cheap labor made it an ideal location for a lumber industry in Texas
    Most farmers considered pine trees a nuisance
    Overcutting in the Midwest
    White pine forests in the Upper Midwest led to depletion in the mid 1880s
    Most consumers did not prefer the yellow pine of Texas, but short supply quickly ended that preference
    Texas’ lumber industry grew from a cottage industry to one of the nation’s largest
    The Lumber Industry in Texas
  • 20. Fowlerton Lumber Yard, Fowlerton (La Salle County)
  • 21. By 1900, Texas produced more than 1 billion board feet of lumber in 637 establishments
    John H. Kirby organized the Kirby Lumber Firm
    First multi-million dollar firm in Texas
    Acquired timberlands at less than $2 an acre
    Company Towns
    Lumber entrepreneurs built company towns with churches, schools, housing, and stores
    Camden, Texas
    Over 75 of the workforce was unskilled labor that earned $1.50 to $2 a day until the early 1920s
    Companies frequently paid in merchandise checks redeemable only at the company store
    Prices were almost always inflated
    Essentially, workers who lived in company towns were at the mercy of lumber mill owners for almost all aspects of their lives
    The Lumber Industry in Texas
  • 22.
  • 23. Texas and Industrialization
    National per capita value of manufactures was $171 (1900)
    Texas’ value was $39.99
    Texas was far from being a profitable industrial state
    Cottonseed Mills
    4,514 cotton gins in the state (1 was in Osage)
    Produced roughly 34 percent of the nation’s total cotton crop
    Flour Milling
    Other Industries in Texas
  • 24. Oil
    Becomes the mineral that makes Texas rich during the early 20th century
    Industry worth over $5 million in 1900
    Most profitable mineral before the oil explosion
    Second to Coal
    Van Zandt County had the Grand Saline plant
    Some iron ores discovered in East Texas
    Cherokee County produced 50,000 tons of pig iron annually
    Minerals in Texas
  • 25. Cotton Processing, Galveston, Texas
  • 26. Dallas was the leading industrial center
    Flour and grist milling, printing, publishing
    Houston (2nd)
    Railcar construction, cottonseed processing
    San Antonio (3rd)
    Distilling of malt liquors
    Fort Worth (4th)
    Meat-packing, flour and grist milling
    Galveston (5th)
    Once the leading city in Texas, now exporting cotton
    Waco, Sherman, and Beaumont represented other significant cities
    Agricultural wealth’s concentration in major cities irritated farmers
    Cities became rich at the farmer’s expense
    This sentiment paves the way for political movements such as Populism
    Manufacturing in Texas
  • 27. Working Conditions
    12 hour work days, 6 days a week
    $12 per month for unskilled labor
    Up to $100 for skilled labor
    Works accepted terms of employment or found other jobs; no negotiation
    Texan Views of Organized Labor
    Strikes led to violence, thus, threatened stability and order
    Organized labor akin to radicalism, thus, un-American
    Organized labor was primarily a foreign influence
    Unions in Texas
  • 28. Why Unions Fail in Texas
    Majority of the workforce was unskilled
    Little reason to demand better wages when you could easily be replaced
    State government endorsed anti-unionism
    Part of the New South creed
    Need to attract industry to the region
    Had to guarantee an inexpensive and stable labor force
    Unions only complicated the matter
    Industries came in and were allowed to bust unions
    Hiring of strike-breakers
    Government force used to break strikes
    Unions in Texas
  • 29. Knights of Labor
    “reform unionism” (very political in nature)
    Claimed 30,000 Texan members in 1885
    Led numerous strikes, but public support went against them when violence resulted
    Government power used to break strikes and the union declined in Texas
    American Federation of Labor (AFL)
    “business unionism” (apolitical)
    Numerous branches of the AFL form in Texas, but overall, they do not do well
    Unions in Texas
  • 30. New South mentality
    Diversification of crops would lead to self-sufficient farms
    Wheat, corn, oats, and cotton
    Scientific farming and crop rotation would preserve the family farm and prevent sharecropping
    Political Influence
    Democrats blamed Republicans and Reconstruction for the Panic of 1873 and the subsequent agricultural instability
    If Democrats were allowed, they would restore economic stability to Texas
    Problem with these ideas
    Technology led to overproduction
    It was now too easy to get crops to market
    Everyone wanted a stake in cash crops like cotton
    Prices suffer as a result
    Agricultural Issues
  • 31.
  • 32. Tenant farming and sharecropping increase despite the grand rhetoric of agricultural advisors and the Democratic party
    Sharecropping and Cotton
    The only way for sharecropping to fail miserably was for cotton prices to increase
    As most speculated it would
    However, cotton prices did not increase at the rate needed to keep sharecroppers out of chronic indebtedness
    These issues lead to the rise of Populist sentiment during the mid-1890s
    Agricultural Issues
  • 33. Problems
    Overcrowding and inadequate correctional facilities
    Result of population growth and lawlessness in West Texas
    Prison labor force to essentially run the prison
    Gov. Oran Roberts believed pardoning and self-reliance in the prison system would help
    Convict Leasing
    Private individuals could lease convicts from the prison system to work whatever economic necessity the renter desired
    The system is overhauled numerous times with little success
    It became a bigger issue around 1920
    Prison Reform
  • 34. Convicts working at a quarry, Marble Falls, 1880
  • 35. Law of 1884
    Completed reorganized the public school system
    Mandated a partial return to a centralized system
    State superintendants, record keeping, teacher certification, etc.
    Local districts were allowed to tax themselves (with the county’s help) to support common schools
    Beginning of “independent school districts”
    Regular attendance mandated
    Ages eight to sixteen
    Success of the law was somewhat limited
    Scattered settlement patterns
    Education in the city was better than in rural areas
    Common Education
  • 36. Texas A&M
    First public college in Texas opened in 1876
    Located near Bryan
    It was originally designed to be a part of the University of Texas system
    The Morrill Act required that the all male school provide military training
    Lawrence “Sul” Ross, former Confederate hero and Waco local became president in 1891
    Blacks could not attend Texas A&M per state law
    Higher Education
  • 37. University of Texas
    Chartered in 1839, but did not begin classes until 1883
    Austin was picked for the main campus
    Galveston was selected for the medical school
    Former Texas Gov. Oran Roberts served as the first dean of the law school
    University was financed through general revenues and the permanent fund (from the sale/lease of UT’s 2 million acres of land)
    Higher Education
  • 38. Prairie View Normal Institute
    Opened in 1879
    Provided an agricultural education for black students
    Also became a college to train teachers
    Sam Houston State Normal School
    Opened in 1879 in Huntsville
    Became the institutional model for other normal schools throughout the state
    Later becomes Sam Houston State University
    Higher Education
  • 39. Democrats became the de facto party of choice after Reconstruction
    Welded to the “Lost Cause” mentality
    The party almost became a homage to the Confederate dead and their cause
    Whites Voting against the Democratic party meant dishonoring the party of their fathers
    This mentality lingers well into the 1940s
    Major achievements from 1876-1886
    Building the new state capitol
    Overall, Democrats strove to maintain the status quo and did little to help the poor and dispossessed
    Prohibition becomes a key issue during the 1880s, yet they do nothing
    Conservative Democratic Control
  • 40. Norris Wright Cuney (Galveston) becomes head of the Republican party in Texas due to his influence with black voters
    Strength of the party was in East Texas and the Gulf Coast
    White Republicans formed “lily-white factions” in protest of blacks controlling the party
    They wanted to become more influential with the national Republican party
    They decline due to their refusal to merge with any other third parties
    Republicans in the 1880s
  • 41. First third-party to challenge Democratic control of Texas
    Organized in response to deflation of the national money supply
    U.S. gov’t took the country off the gold standard during the Civil War
    Gov’t issued “greenback” paper money that was not backed by gold during the war
    Greenbacks caused inflation, but allowed for economic expansion
    The problem with greenbacks
    Financiers and Wall Street brokers wanted to redeem their greenbacks for gold
    In response, the U.S. gov’t goes back to the gold standard in 1875 (Specie Resumption Act)
    The Greenback Party
  • 42. The problem with greenbacks
    As a result, the amount of money in circulation declines
    Interest rates increase
    Farmers are hit especially hard
    They are already fighting a recession (1873)
    Greenback party’s goal
    Reverse the policies that were leading farmers to financial ruin
    Especially the Specie Resumption Act
    Railroad regulation, better school system, elimination of convict leasing, reduction of useless offices in state gov’t
    The Greenback Party
  • 43. Constituency
    Radical farmers
    Courted white Republicans from lily-white factions
    Talk of fusion with these factions produced nothing
    Had most of their strength in East Texas, the Cross Timbers, and other poor, farming counties
    Peaked during 1882-1883 as George “Wash” Jones runs for Texas Governor
    However, they remain a distant third with voters
    Their party declines, but their issues get raised again with the Populist party
    The Greenback Party
  • 44. Governor James “Jim” S. Hogg
  • 45. Attorney General (1887-1891) and Governor of Texas (1891-1895)
    Ushered in a new era of Progressive Democrats
    Had not fought in the Civil War
    Less bound by tradition than conservative Democrats
    Identified with the common man and sympathized with their issues
    Progressive agenda
    Use state powers to regulate railroads and trusts
    Railroad Commission (1891) – appointive body that could set rates and fares
    Prevent foreign ownership of Texas public land
    Farmers and agriculturalists loved his stance towards big business
    James S. Hogg: Progressive Democrat
  • 46. “Hogg laws”
    1 – establishing the Railroad Commission
    Supreme Court upheld the commission after 7 railroads sued
    2 – railroad stock and bond law
    Allowed the Railroad Commission to regulate railroad stock
    3 – law forcing land corporations to sell off holdings in 15 years
    4 – Alien Land Law
    Forbid further land grants to foreign corporations
    Attempted to put land back in the hands of Texans
    5 – Restriction on the amount of bond debt that county and municipalities could legally undertake
    James S. Hogg: Progressive Democrat
  • 47. Agrarian Groups
    Patrons of Husbandry “The Grange”
    Secret, fraternal organization comprised mostly of family farmers
    Offered educational and social benefits to its membership; later focused on economic issues affecting farmers
    While the organization was apolitical, it encouraged members to take political action
    Catered primarily to higher middle-class farmers
    Texas Farmers’ Alliance
    Takes the place of the Grange in the mid 1880s
    Grass-roots organization originating from the Cross Timbers region
    Based on voluntary associations
    Never denied that it was a political organization
    By 1886, it claimed 100,000 members, making it a viable potential for a third party
    As depression set in the early 1890s, members readily joined the Populist party
    Populism “The People’s Party”
  • 48. The Subtreasury Plan
    National legislation that would have allowed farmers to store staple crops in gov’t storage
    Farmers could receive loans against the market value of crops
    Gov’t notes could be used as currency
    Conservative Democrats saw this as an excess of federal gov’t control
    The plan was also a direct attack on national banks
    However, this plan fell in line with Greenback ideology
    Democrats and members of the Texas Farmers’ Alliance split primarily over this issue
    The Subtreasury Plan becomes a symbol for the Populist Party
    Populism “The People’s Party”
  • 49. Populist Concepts
    Crusade of rural Americans attempting to raise awareness of economic failure for the rural class
    Believed they were being true to Jacksonian ideals
    Promoting the “common man”
    Fit well with Texas republicanism
    Denounced monopolistic corporations and banks
    Essentially a reaction to the Gilded Age
    Was Populism a liberal or conservative movement?
    Populism “The People’s Party”
  • 50. Conservatism
    Jeffersonian and Jacksonian ideals of democracy
    Denouncing large banks, railroads, and corporations
    Conservative Protestantism used in stump speeches and organization of camp-style meetings
    Changing hymns to fit their political cause
    Big business grew so fast that the common man could not fight back by himself
    The federal government was needed to help
    Create credit
    Inflate the currency
    Stave off abuses of big business on the common man
    Populism “The People’s Party”
  • 51. A bi-racial party
    For Populism to succeed in Texas, the party had to appeal to both whites and blacks
    John B. Rayner was the most prominent black Texan to support Populism
    Democrats were forced to appeal to black voters to keep control of the state
    They often used violence and intimidation to keep blacks from voting for the Populist party
    By 1894, the Texas Farmers’ Alliance had recruited close to 200,000 members
    Populism “The People’s Party”
  • 52. William Jennings Bryan
  • 53. The Campaign of 1896
    Very bitter election on the state level
    Democrats readily used violence to intimidate Populist voters
    Also charged racial betrayal and attempting to reinstate Reconstruction against the Populists
    National level
    William Jennings Bryan is selected to run for president
    Did not endorse the Subtreasury Plan
    More focused on free silver and low tariffs
    Populists and Democrats fuse to endorse him
    Texan Populists did not care for the fusion
    Bryan loses to William McKinley
    The Populist movement quickly loses momentum with Bryan’s failed campaign
    Populism “The People’s Party”
  • 54. Populists are temporarily alienated from politics after the Campaign of 1896
    Many Populists return to the Democratic party as “reform Democrats” at the turn of the century
    Populists on the state level that refused to join the Democratic party later join the Socialist movement
    This unique fusion of Populist and reform agendas pave the way for the Progressive era of the early 20th century
    Legacy of the Populist Party
  • 55. White Populists sided with black Populists under an alliance of convenience for the party
    After the Campaign of 1896, racial discrimination in Texas politics become more entrenched
    Democrats resolve to remove black voters from local and county elections
    Populists had the most success on these levels
    Terrell Election Laws
    The Democratic party institutes a white primary
    Blacks could still vote in the general election though
    Meaningless in a one-party state
    Poll Taxes
    Another means to disenfranchise blacks and poor whites
    Democrats believed this would end future third-party challenges
    The Dark Side of Populism