Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed.
Glenora Single Malt Whisky

Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.
Scottish Review

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

The Southern States of America
Chapter IV - The New Alabama, 1880 - 1909

Condition of Alabama in 1880.

The year 1880, though differing in no marked respect from the years immediately preceding and following it, is a convenient one from which to date the rise of the new Alabama. Six years had elapsed since the overthrow of the carpet-bag regime and the restoration of the government into the hands of those to whom it had formerly belonged. The permanence of the restoration seemed assured, and the state had now fairly entered upon a period of retrenchment and recuperation. Through careful supervision expenditures had been greatly diminished, a balance had accumulated in the treasury, and the rate of taxation for state purposes had been reduced. The enormous public debt, which was a legacy of the reconstruction period, and which from 1874 to 1876 had offered so many perplexing problems to the commission appointed to deal with it, was now almost completely readjusted, and the state by means entirely creditable had passed from bankruptcy to good financial standing. Five years had passed since the constitution of 1868, thrust upon the people by a radical Congress, had been superseded by a frame of government more to their liking, though still embodying many features of the congressional system of reconstruction, and by 1880 the new administrative machinery had become well adjusted in all its parts and was working smoothly.

And not only in Alabama's political history, but also in the story of its industrial development, the year 1880 marks a convenient turning point. Birmingham was only a farm at the close of the War of Secession, and when incorporated as a city in 1871 had only twelve hundred inhabitants; but it was now beginning to justify the optimism of its founders. The famous Pratt mines had opened in 1879, the mineral wealth of the district was becoming known to capitalists, and the population of the city between 1871 and 1880 had increased threefold. Anniston, however, was still a village hardly known save in its own county, and Bessemer and Sheffield were yet unborn. In 1870 only 11,000 tons of coal were mined in the state; in 1880 the product was 623,972 tons, and in 1885, 2,494,000 tons.

Southern and central Alabama were undergoing no such rapid development. In the southernmost counties the lumber industry was prospering, but in the central tier of counties known as the "Black Belt," where the richest lands of the state are situated, the prosperity of ante-bellum days had not returned. Owners of large plantations were frequently selling their lands, or else leasing them under the share-tenant system and emigrating to other regions. Of the negroes, too, there was a noticeable emigration, many going to Texas and others seeking employment in the mineral belt of northern Alabama. The farm acreage of the state in 1880, although it had increased more than a fourth during the preceding decade, was still less than it had been in 1860. The value of farm property in 1880 was also less than it had been in 1860, but it was over a third greater than in 1870. The war had been followed by a period of depression in agriculture which reached its maximum in the seventies, but by 1880 there were unmistakable signs of improvement. The yield of cotton, the principal crop, clearly illustrates the agricultural conditions between 1860 and 1880. In the former year the product of Alabama was 989,955 bales; in 1870 it had declined to 429,482 bales, but by 1880 it had risen to 699,654 bales.

It is evident, therefore, that with the restoration of autonomous government, the substitution of conservatism and economy for radicalism and extravagance in state administration, the rise of new industries in northern Alabama, and the gradual recovery of agriculture from the depression following the war, the state, in 1880, was facing the dawn of a new era, brightened by the signs of political peace, industrial development and intellectual progress.


In 1880 the political complexion of the state had been Democratic for six years. The Republicans then retained control of only a few counties in the Black Belt, and in this year they placed no state ticket in the field. The party leaders, however, urged the Republican voters to support the Greenback ticket, and this attempt at fusion caused them to lose their greatest stronghold. One district in northern Alabama was carried by the GreenbackRepublican candidate for Congress, but on the general state ticket the Democrats were victorious by a majority of 90,000. From this time forward the largest Democratic majorities usually came from the counties with the largest proportion of negroes, while those counties with a very small negro population were generally carried by the Republicans. In 1882 the Republicans of the state again supported the Greenback ticket and thereafter showed very little activity until 1888, when they were encouraged to some extent by a growing disaffection among the Democrats. As early as 1886 the solidity of the white voters began to be threatened by the general discontent of the agricultural class. There had been a number of farmers' organizations, such as "granges" and agricultural "wheels," in the state for years, but in 1886 these were being supplanted by the Farmers' Alliance. A central state Alliance was organized in 1889, and in the following year there were societies in every county and the organization went actively into politics as a radical faction of the Democratic party. At the Democratic state convention in May its representatives supported Reuben F. Kolb, the commissioner of agriculture and a prominent Alliance member, as their candidate for governor. There were four other candidates for the nomination, among whom the votes of Kolb's opponents were divided. On the first ballot Kolb received 235 votes, and all the others combined only 285. Thirty-three ballots were taken without breaking the deadlock, but on the thirtyfourth the conservative element, hoping to prevent a division of the party by the Alliance, united in the support of Thomas G. Jones, who then received 271 votes to Kolb's 255, and was declared the nominee. There was now a serious breach in the Democratic ranks ; on the one side were ranged the Kolb men with the machinery of the Farmers' Alliance at their command, on the other were the conservative Democrats, with their old leaders and with the support of the regular party organization.

The contest, however, had hardly begun. Shortly after Governor Jones had assumed his office the examiner of public accounts had reported a number of minor irregularities in Kolb's conduct of the office of commissioner of agriculture. The governor took no action on the case, and the commissioner was not at all injured among his adherents by the report; in fact he rather gained additional sympathy from them as the victim of what they believed to be political canards. In September, 1891, Kolb's term as commissioner of agriculture expired, the legislature having previously made the office elective, and as his successor had not yet been chosen, Governor Jones appointed Hector D. Lane to fill the vacancy during the interim. Kolb, however, refused to surrender his office on the ground that the legislature, in making it elective, had revoked the power of the governor to fill it at any time by appointment. Lane brought suit to oust Kolb in an inferior court of Montgomery county, but lost his case. An appeal was then taken to the state Supreme Court, by which the decision of the lower court was reversed. The chief effect of these events was to embitter the factions and to make Kolb a greater idol than ever in the eyes of the Alliance men.

Although it was at this time a kind of unwritten law among the Democrats that each of their governors was entitled to two terms, or four years in office, Kolb determined to seek vindication by again opposing Jones for the Democratic nomination. The primary elections held in 1892 for the choice of delegates to the state convention resulted favorably for Jones, but the Alliance men declared that this result had been accomplished by fraud, and, believing that their leader would not receive fair treatment in the Democratic convention, they resolved to hold one of their own. There were consequently two conventions, two platforms and two tickets, and both factions declared themselves to be the real Democracy.

The platform of the Alliance faction was extreme in its advocacy of radical measures, among its demands being the abolition of the national banking system, the expansion of the currency to not less than fifty dollars per capita, the free and unlimited coinage of silver, and reform in the methods of taxation and in the convict lease system. The returns from the state election in August gave Jones a majority of 11,000, but Kolb claimed that he had been defeated by fraud, and that he was entitled to a majority of 40,000. It was undeniable that he had carried most of the white counties, and that Jones owed his election to the large majorities in the Black Belt, to obtain which must have necessitated the voting of negroes in large numbers. The Alliance men declared that the result of the Black Belt elections was due to the absolute control of the polls in these counties by their opponents. The situation was so anomalous that the regular election law failed entirely to meet the case. It provided for three inspectors at each polling place, two of whom were to be of different political parties, but as the Kolb and Jones men both claimed to be Democrats, this provision of the law apparently did not apply to their contest. The Alliance men then decided to contest the election before the legislature, but finding that there was no legal provision for such a proceeding, they attempted to persuade the governor to summon the legislature in special session for the enactment of a law to meet the emergency. When Governor Jones rejected the proposition the two factions became irreconcilable.

On account of President Cleveland's sympathies with the conservative faction, the Kolb men were even alienated from the national Democratic organization. They now adopted the name of "Jeffersonian Democrats," and on Sept. 15, 1892, met in convention in Birmingham to nominate candidates for Congress and a list of presidential electors. The Populist party, organized in the state about four months previously, also met in Birmingham at this time, and the two organizations coalesced, chose their candidates, and drafted a platform denouncing the Cleveland administration, demanding free coinage of silver, a currency circulation equal to fifty dollars per capita, an income tax, lower tariff rates and the abolition of national banks and alien ownership of land. Many of Kolb's followers were not willing to go so far from their old party, for which they still felt some attachment, and consequently the third party ticket did not show the same strength in the November elections that the Kolb gubernatorial ticket had shown in the preceding August. When the legislature met in the following winter the Kolb members were in the minority and sought in vain to bring the contested election before that body. Their efforts, however, were not entirely fruitless, for it was largely on account of their cry of fraud that a law was passed providing for a modified form of the Australian ballot. Under the system of voting thus adopted, the voter who could not read might be assisted in marking his ballot either by one of the inspectors of the election, to be chosen by himself, or by a person selected for this purpose by the inspectors. This last provision, it will be seen, rendered many of the advantages of the Australian ballot nugatory, and in some instances perhaps even facilitated fraud.

The contest between the regular and the Jeffersonian Democrats by 1894 had reached its bitterest stage, and the political excitement throughout the state was intense. The Jeffersonians again put forward Kolb as their candidate, and adopted a platform similar to that of 1892. Their ticket received the endorsement of both the Populists and the Republicans. The Democrats nominated William C. Oates for governor, and in spite of the coalition against him he received a majority of 27,000; Kolb's defeat, therefore, according to the official returns, being more decisive than in 1892. Nevertheless the Jeffersonians again raised the cry of fraud; many were sufficiently violent in their feelings to urge resistance, and on Oates' inauguration day some of them went through the form of inaugurating Kolb governor on the streets in front of the capitol. The state thus passed through the greatest political excitement it had experienced since the days of reconstruction.

After the panic of 1893 the discontent of the small farmer class, which had made possible the Kolb movement, gradually spread to other classes, and by 1896 had contributed powerfully to creating a new party alignment. In the period 1894-96 the price of cotton and iron, the staple products of southern and northern Alabama, continually declined; labor was idle, factories and furnaces were shutting down, farmers were heavily in debt and merchants were unable to make their collections. It was inevitable, therefore, that the demand of the debtor class for more and cheaper money, which had been heard for a number of years, should spread rapidly; and Alabama, like the other Southern states, was soon swept with the free-silver craze. The conservative element now found itself greatly in the minority. The haste with which the regular Democrats accepted an issue which the Jeffersonians had already advocated did much to heal the breach within the party.

The two candidates for the regular Democratic nomination in 1896 were R. H. Clarke, a gold Democrat, and Joseph F. Johnston, a free-silver advocate. The latter was nominated and was elected by a large majority. His free-silver views won for him the support of many Populists and much larger numbers of former Jeffersonians, while the irreconcilables among the latter faction supported the Populist candidate for governor, A. T. Goodwyn, who also had the support of the Republicans. In both the Populist and the Republican parties there was much opposition to fusion this year, but an agreement was finally reached whereby the Republicans were allowed to name the candidates for secretary of state and attorney-general, and the Populists were to nominate the rest of the state ticket.. At the national election in November the party alignment was very complicated. The Populists, who were allied with the Republicans in the state elections in August, now supported Bryan for the presidency; the Democrats were divided on the free-silver issue, and the Republicans alone were free from party division and entangling alliances. The strength of the various parties is indicated by the popular vote for president : the vote cast for Bryan and Sewall was 107,137; for Bryan and Watson, 24,089; for McKinley and Hobart, 54,737, and for Palmer and Buckner, 6,462. Though the vote for the "gold Democratic" ticket was small, it was drawn from a very intelligent class of citizens. Large numbers of Democrats, moreover, supported Bryan without accepting his currency views.

From the foregoing it will appear that, in 1896, the Populist party was no longer seriously challenging Democratic supremacy. It had been preeminently the party of the small farmer, and its strength had lain in the prejudice of this class against nearly all other classes. The revolt of the mass of the Democratic party in the state against Grover Cleveland, and their enthusiasm for free silver, had brought many Populists back into the Democratic fold. Moreover, the fusion of the Populist and Republican parties was not conducive to the growth of the former; on account of the prejudice of the small farmer class toward the negro, the alliance of the "People's" and the "black man's" parties was to many very distasteful. The Populist movement had also encountered an insurmountable obstacle in the Black Belt. It is safe to assume that but for the heavy Democratic vote polled in this part of the state, Alabama would have been swept by a tide of Populism. In the late sixties and early seventies the Black Belt had been a Republican stronghold. After 1880, as already stated, the situation was reversed. Twelve Black Belt counties, in 1872, gave a Republican majority of 26,619; in 1892, a Democratic majority of 26,246, and in 1894 of 34,454. [See the Nation, Vol. 59, pp. 211 ff., for a very interesting discussion of Black Belt polities in 1892-94.] In 1892-94 the Populists were successful only where the proportion of negro voters was relatively small. The large Democratic vote in the Black Belt was due chiefly to the influence wielded over the colored voter by the dominant white class, the negroes as a rule voting the ticket favored by their employers. There is no doubt, however, that the manipulation of election returns was well-nigh universal in the Black Belt while the Kolb movement menaced the supremacy of this region. The Democratic state conventions were usually dominated by the Black Belt men, though the number of real Democrats whom these men represented was very small. Moreover, during the political ascendency of the Black Belt, the negro population of the region was increasing much more rapidly than the white. In 1900 there were in the centre of the state twelve counties in which there were three times as many negroes as whites, and during the preceding decade the negro population of these counties increased at the rate of 17 per cent., while the increase of the whites had been only about 10 per cent. It is not very inaccurate, then, to designate the Black Belt counties in this period as the "rotten boroughs" of Alabama. The only question was how long the rest of the state would submit to such an arrangement.

Spanish-American War.

From this narrative of the political history of the state, it is necessary to digress for a moment to show the part played by Alabama in the Spanish-American War. The state furnished three regiments, one of which was colored, and President McKinley appointed two ex-Confederates of Alabama, Joseph Wheeler and William C. Oates, respectively major-general and brigadier-general of United States volunteers. At the battle of Santiago General Wheeler was in command of all the cavalry, and later he served with much distinction in the Philippines. It was another source of pride to the people of Alabama that Richmond Pearson Hobson, the young naval officer who sank the collier Merrimac in the mouth of Santiago harbor, was a native son of their state. The war showed that American patriotism was nowhere stronger than in Alabama among the men and the sons of the men who had once fought to divide the Union.

The Negro in Politics.

The failure of the Kolb movement had fully demonstrated the impracticability of contesting the ascendency of the Black Belt so long as the negro remained a factor in politics. The benefit to the negro
of the suffrage may be readily imagined when Governor Johnston, in his message of May, 1899, declared, " There is not a negro in all the common wealth holding office under the present constitution, * * * nor has there been for nearly a generation." But this statement, which the governor had put forward as an argument against any revision of the existing constitution so as to disfranchise the negro, was to the advocates of disfranchisement a proof that the intimidation and fraud used to accomplish this result should give way to legal methods. The legislature, at its session of 1898-99, ordered an election to decide whether a convention should be held to revise the suffrage clauses in the constitution. The governor approved the act, but later he decided that he had erred, and in May he summoned a special session of the legislature which repealed the measure. For his action in this matter he was much criticized by the members of his party, and at the state convention in Montgomery, in 1900, they not only failed to follow the usual precedent of endorsing the outgoing Democratic administration, but they also declared themselves in favor of the convention, asserting, however, that no white man should be disfranchised, nor the constitution of the United States be violated by the convention's action. The question of holding this convention was the main issue before the people at the state election in August, and the result showed that the next legislature would favor the proposition. The Populist party had now noticeably declined ; there was no fusion this year between it and the Republicans, and the Democratic ticket was elected by a majority of 10,000.

New Constitution.

The legislature, at its next session, authorized a special election to decide the question of a constitutional convention. The vote was taken on the 23d of April, 1901, and resulted in a majority for the convention of 24,000. On the 21st of May this body, consisting of 155 delegates, of whom all but fourteen were Democrats, met in Montgomery and sat continuously, with only one week's intermission, until the 3d of September. The chief problem before it was to secure the disfranchisement of the negro on grounds other than those prohibited by the United States constitution, and at the same time to deprive no white man of the ballot. To accomplish this purpose it took advantage of certain social and economic differences between the races, which would permit the exclusion of the negro from the suffrage for reasons other than those of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The right to vote, therefore, was made dependent, first, on a long term of residence; secondly, on the payment of all poll taxes due from the voter since 1901; and thirdly, upon the ability to read and write any part of the Federal constitution in the English language, and upon the pursuit of some lawful occupation during the greater part of the previous year, or upon the ownership of forty acres of land or three hundred dollars worth of property. These provisions, if rigidly enforced, would disfranchise nearly every negro voter in the state, and a great many white voters as well; but the convention fulfilled its promise to disfranchise no white man by adopting temporary "grandfather" and "good character" clauses, which gave the right of permanent registration before Dec. 20, 1902, first, to soldiers and sailors who had served in the War of 1812 or any subsequent war of the United States, and to their lawful descendants ; and secondly, to persons who were of good character and understood the duties and obligations of citizenship under a republican form of government. Among the other changes which were embodied in the new frame of government were the substitution of quadrennial for biennial sessions of the legislature, the provision for a lieutenant-governor, the restriction of special legislation and of the power of municipalities to contract indebtedness, and the extension of the terms of elective state officers from two to four years, with the provision that none should be eligible for a second term, and that the governor might hold no state office nor enter the United States Senate within a year after the expiration of his term. The state tax rate was reduced from seventy-five to sixty-five cents on every hundred dollars worth of property, thirty cents of which, or nearly one-half, was to be applied to the support of public schools. The new constitution was adopted in the convention by a vote of 132 to 12, one Democrat voting against it. On the 11th of November it was submitted to a vote of the people and was adopted by a majority of 26,879.

Thus was enacted the final scene in the "undoing of reconstruction" in Alabama. All the evidences of submission to the radical programme of Congress in the sixties and seventies, which had been included in the constitution of 1875, namely, the denial of the principle of secession, the declaration that all persons born or naturalized in the United States and residing in Alabama were citizens of the state, and the prohibition of educational or property qualifications for the suffrage or office holding, did not appear in the new instrument. The effect of the new requirements for voting was readily seen in the following year in the registration of voters; the number of negroes registering in this year being about 2,500, while the registration of white voters amounted to about 180,000. With the disfranchisement of the negro disappeared the political ascendency of the Black Belt. In Montgomery county, the most populous part of this region, only twenty-seven negroes registered in 1902, out of a total colored population of about 52,000. [See the International Yearbook for 1902. The total registration in 1904 was 208,932, the colored registration being 3,654.]

A test case was soon brought in the courts to determine the constitutionality of the new suffrage clauses. A negro named J. W. Giles brought suit in the United States circuit court against the registrars of Montgomery county, seeking to compel them to allow him to register as a voter. In his suit he alleged that the suffrage clauses in the constitution of Alabama were repugnant to the constitution of the United States. In 1903 the case reached the United States Supreme Court, which decided against the plaintiff, declaring, first, that he asked to be registered under a law which he himself asserted to be "unconstitutional in fact and fraudulent in intent"; and secondly, that the plaintiff asked the court to undertake a task beyond its jurisdiction ; the alleged injury was political, and the remedy should also be political.

A peculiar innovation in 1906 was the nomination by the Democratic party in its primaries of "alternate senators," who were to succeed the venerable senators Morgan and Pettus in case they should fail to serve out their complete terms. In the following year both of these revered statesmen died, and, in obedience to the will of his party, Governor Comer appointed former Congressman J. H. Bankhead and ex-Governor Johnston, who had polled the highest number of votes in the contest for "alternates," to the vacant seats.

Governor Comer's Administration.

The contest for the governorship among the Democrats in 1906 was full of excitement. In the primaries B. B. Comer, the anti-railway and anti-corporation candidate, defeated his more conservative opponent, R. M. Cunningham, the lieutenant-governor, and was elected without serious opposition. The Comer administration began in January, 1907, and immediately concerned itself with the regulation of the railways. The Alabama legislature, like that of about a score of other states, passed laws reducing passenger rates. When the Southern Railway sought to secure an injunction from the Federal court, restraining the state officials from enforcing the rate law until its constitutionality could be decided, the charter of the road was declared forfeited under the terms of a law forbidding appeal from a state to a Federal court, and the railway officials agreed to a compromise. Other roads, however, under the protection of a Federal injunction, successfully resisted the law, and in November the governor convened the legislature in extraordinary session to determine, as he said, whether the railways or the people should rule the state. A large number of new bills for fixing rates were passed, and these were supposed to be "injunction proof," inasmuch as they prohibited, on pain of heavy fines, all appeals from the state to the Federal courts. The legislature had hardly adjourned, however, before the enforcement of the rate laws was effectively prevented by Federal injunction. The hostility to the railways was strongest among the same classes that in 1892 were aligned with the Kolb movement, and it was a remarkable coincidence that Thomas G. Jones, the man who, as candidate for governor, then led the conservative forces of his state against the revolt, in 1907, as Federal district judge, was again called upon to check the spirit of radicalism within Alabama.

Material Progress.

After this review of the principal political movements in the state from 1880 to 1909, it may be well to describe the material and educational progress during the same period. In spite of the remarkable increase in mines and factories, agriculture remained the leading industry. The cotton crop alone, in 1906, was worth over seventy-three millions of dollars, an amount four times as great as the value of the state's coal product for that year, and over two and a half times as great as the value of its product of pig iron. The cotton crop in 1880 was 699,654 bales; in 1890, 915,210 bales; in 1900, 1,106,840 bales, and in 1904, 1,461,990 bales ; the product for this last year being the greatest in the history of the state. In the amount of cotton produced in 1880, 1890 and 1900, Alabama was surpassed by only three other states. The total value of farm products increased from $56,872,994 in 1879 to $91,387,409 in 1899. The value of farm property increased 36 per cent. from 1870 to 1880, 37 per cent. from 1880 to 1890, and 22 per cent. from 1890 to 1900. Though the total farm acreage showed very little increase between 1880 and 1900, there was a striking increase in the number of farms and a decrease in their size, an indication, perhaps, that agriculture was becoming more intensive. The average size of an Alabama farm in 1860 was 346.5 acres, in 1880, 138.8 acres, and in 1900, 93 acres. It is less encouraging, however, to observe that after 1880 the proportion of farms operated by their owners steadily decreased. In 1900 about one-fourth of the farms of the state were operated by share tenants, and a third by cash tenants, but the proportion of share tenants was much smaller than in many other Southern states. The amount of improved farm land was steadily increasing, and after 1900 more and more attention was given to diversified farming and to the raising of improved breeds of live stock. Scientific methods, once ridiculed, were replacing the crude systems of cultivation employed by previous generations, and the farmers, as a class, were more prosperous in 1908 than they had been at any time since 1860.

In the development of its mines and manufactures the state also made remarkable progress after 1880. Between 1900 and 1905 the value of its factory products increased over 50 per cent., and the capital invested in these industries increased over 75 per cent. During this five-year period the value of the lumber and timber products of the state increased over 27 per cent., the iron and steel products over 40 per cent., and the cotton factory products 105 per cent. There were six steel works and rolling mills in the state in 1900 and ten in 1905; the number of spindles in its cotton mills in 1900 was 411,328; in 1907, 876,944. In 1906 Alabama ranked third in the production of iron ore, fourth in the production of pig iron, and fifth in the production of bituminous coal. The development of the great coal and iron industries after 1880 was very rapid. The production of coal in Alabama is recorded as early as 1834, and there was a desultory working of coal beds until about 1870, when the production was 11,000 short tons. From this date there was a steady increase until, in 1906, the total product was 13,107,963 tons, valued at $17,514,786. It has been estimated that the Warrior Coal Field alone, embracing an area of about 3,000 square miles in north central Alabama, contains enough coal to supply the world for nearly three centuries. Iron, like coal, was produced on a small scale in Alabama before 1870, especially during the war. A furnace was built in Franklin county about 1818, and was worked for several years. The modern industry, however, came in with the increased production of coal, and its progress was facilitated by the presence of rich limestone deposits in the vicinity of the furnaces. The output of pig iron in the state in 1906 was valued at $28,450,000.

Educational Progress.

But the progress of the state was not confined solely to material affairs. In educational matters there was the same notable advance. Between 1880 and '1906 the school enrollment increased 209 per cent. ; the proportion of school population enrolled increased from 42 to 60 per cent., and the sum expended on public schools increased 300 per cent. In 1907 the legislature made more liberal appropriations for educational purposes than ever before in the history of the state. Each county received an annual grant of a thousand dollars for the erection and repair of rural school houses; the regular sum for the support of public schools was supplemented by an additional appropriation of $300,000 for 1908, and of $350,000 for each succeeding year; a special appropriation was made for the establishment of a high school in every county, and two new normal schools were established. Nearly all the other state educational institutions received increased appropriations. In addition to the special state tax for school purposes, forty counties, by 1907, were levying school taxes to supplement the regular state fund.


On the first day of the year 1908 another important social movement within the state almost reached its culmination. Fifty of the sixty-seven counties, by this date, had prohibited the sale of intoxicating liquors within their limits. For over twenty years the legislature at every session had been granting to various localities the right to vote on the question of prohibition within their respective jurisdictions, and as a result the no-license system under local option had become widely extended. A general local option law passed at the regular session of 1907 had greatly facilitated the progress of the movement, and when the legislature reconvened in special session in the autumn public sentiment against the liquor traffic was so strong that a new law was passed prohibiting the sale of liquors within the entire state after the 1st of January, 1909. Alabama was thus the second Southern state to adopt statutory prohibition, Georgia having taken the lead.

This brief story of the progress of the state seems amply to justify the title of "the New Alabama" which has been given to this chapter. But while it is correct to say that a new commonwealth arose after 1880, it should also be borne in mind that the new order was not too much unlike the old. Industrial development, indeed, wrought great changes, but in its ideals and sympathies the society of the state still remained all that is implied by the term "Southern."

BIBLIOGRAPHY. - No comprehensive history of the state for this period exist; Certain phases of the state's history after 1880 are dealt with in Brant and Fuller's Memorial Record of Alabama, 2 vols. (Madison, Wis., 1893). Among the numerous smaller works, intended chiefly for school use, consult William Garrott Brown's History of Alabama (New York, 1900), Thomas M. Owen's Annals o f Alabama, published as a supplement to an edition of A. J. Pickett's History o f Alabama (Birmingham, 1900), Joel C. Du Bose's Sketches of Alabama History (Philadelphia, 1901), L. D. Miller's History of Alabama (Birmingham, 1901), and John W. Beverly's History of Alabama for the Use of Schools (Montgomery, 1901). Much useful information concerning the material progress of the state may be obtained from the files of the Manufacturers' Record (Baltimore).

Assistant Professor of History, Louisiana State University.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus