On James S. Hogg Campaigning for Governor in 1890

Hogg campaigned with awareness that there were more common people in Texas than any other kind, and he suited his merchandize [sic] to the market. He was a great commoner. He knew the dirt farmer's soul, and which allusions grabbed his mind. Hogg was earthy in his speech, inventive in his epithets--though "by gatlings" was the worst he essayed when ladies were around. Hogg was a flaming reformer on the hustings, standing against everything the embattled farmer hated, inventing some things the farmer had not yet imagined. But Hogg was no fool, nor was he really radical. He was a flamboyant, but deeply folk-conservative man; he knew how to survive in party politics, whom to fight, and with whom to make a deal. He was a hoeman champion, but no farmer himself; he ended up quite rich. Hogg had a keen mind, and he proved it more than once in court against some able outside legal talent. Above all else, however, in the public eye he was a stump man.

On the stump, he could hold a crowd of Texas farmers for hours, blasting railroads, bloated capitalists, insurance companies, gold; he extolled the simple life and the virtue of the men who tilled the soil. He threw off his coat and worked up sweats; he dropped his suspenders and splashed water over his brow, got his second wind, and went on to new heights amid cheers. Hogg and his railroad commission plan won by a huge vote.

Fehrenbach, T.R. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. New York, American Legacy Press, 1968. pp. 620-1.

Last Updated: 7/20/2015 12:17:55 PM