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Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South, Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South, 0817308954, 0-8173-0895-4, 978-0-8173-0895-7, 9780817308957, , , Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South, 0817359230, 0-8173-5923-0, 978-0-8173-5923-2, 9780817359232, , , Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South, 0817392025, 0-8173-9202-5, 978-0-8173-9202-4, 9780817392024,

Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South
Alabama's Hill Country, 1874-1920
by Samuel L. Webb

Hardcover
1997. 300 pp.
978-0-8173-0895-7
Price:  $49.95 s
Quality Paper
2018. 300 pp.
978-0-8173-5923-2
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2018. 300 pp.
978-0-8173-9202-4
Price:  $29.95 d

A challenge to the long-held view that the only important and influential politicians in post-Reconstruction Deep South states were Democrats.

In this insightful and exhaustively researched volume, Samuel L. Webb presents new evidence that, contrary to popular belief, voters in at least one Deep South state did not flee en masse from the Republican party after Reconstruction. As Webb demonstrates conclusively, the party gained strength among white voters in Upcountry areas of northern Alabama between 1896 and 1920. Not only did GOP presidential candidates win more than a dozen area counties but Republican congressional candidates made progress in Democratic strongholds, and local GOP officials gained control of several county courthouses.

Nor were these new Republicans simply the descendants of anti-Confederate families, as some historians have claimed. Rather, they were former independents, Greenbackers, and Populists, who, in keeping with the 1890s Populist movement, were reacting against what they perceived as the control of the Democratic party by "moneyed elites" and planter landlords. Webb also breaks with previous historical opinion by showing that ex-Populists in the Hill Country, who had been radical reformers during the 1890s, remained reform minded after 1900.

Webb's ground-breaking reassessment of Alabama state politics from Reconstruction to the 1920s describes a people whose political culture had strong roots in the democratic and egalitarian Jacksonian ideology that dominated north Alabama in the antebellum period. These people carried forward elements of Jacksonianism into the late 19th century, with its tenets continuing to influence them well into the early 20th century.


Samuel L. Webb is professor emeritus of history at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He coedited Alabama Governors: A Political History of the State.

"Webb has produced a well-written book that deserves the attention of historians interested in Populism and the southern branch of the Republican party."
American Historical Review

"This is a valuable study of independent political activity in the mountain and upper piedmont counties of Alabama. It is well organized, imaginatively researched in the relatively limited sources available, and analyzed with consistency and with reference to the work of other scholars."
Appalachian Journal

"Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South is essential reading for students of southern history and politics."
The North Carolina Historical Review

"All people who are interested in the history of the South or the writing of local history will want to read Two-Party Politics."
The Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"Employing solid evidence from the careers of ex-Populist leaders and from county-level histories of intra- and interparty struggle, Webb makes a convincing case that, in northern Alabama at least, Populism did not fade into crankiness and racism but was transformed into a vital progressivism within the GOP."
—Robert McMath, Georgia Institute of Technology

"Webb sheds light on an important, but little understood, aspect of Alabama history—the persistence of Jacksonian democracy in the state's hill country. By showing how this antebellum movement carried over into the New South and how it affected post-Civil War politics, he makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the continuity of southern history."
—Harvey H. Jackson III, Jacksonville State University

1996 The Anne B. and James B. McMillan Prize, sponsored by University of Alabama Press

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