Insurgents All: The General (Jackson) and the Mogul (Trump)

A guest post contributed by Dr. Lacy K. Ford, Jr., senior vice provost and dean of graduate studies and professor of southern history at U of SC


Political observers are prone to search the historical landscape far and wide for analogues to the most striking phenomena of each campaign season.  This year is no exception.

Trump

Donald Trump

In a typical campaign year, the search for a counterpart of an avowed socialist challenging an experienced party veteran at the risk of harming his party’s ultimate chance for success (think Henry Wallace 1948) would provide enough fodder to occupy the punditry.  But this year the pundits are preoccupied if not obsessed with fathoming the unexpected success of billionaire real estate mogul and political novice Donald Trump in the Republican primaries.

huey long

Louisiana’s legendary populist politician Huey Long — “Every Man a King”

Historical comparisons to Trump have hatched like mosquitoes in the Congaree flood plain.  The irreverent, iconoclastic Trump and his insurgency have been compared to Barry Goldwater’s takeover of your grandfather’s Republican Party in 1964 or the maverick John McCain’s failed challenge to “W” in 2000.  Trump has even been compared to third party movements like those of Ross Perot, George Wallace, and, most aptly, Huey Long.   Each historical analogy may yield some insight into the Trump movement, but to find the most telling (and perhaps troubling) comparison, commentators might have to forage a century further back than Long, to the rise of General Andrew Jackson, the “Old Hero,” to the presidency during the 1820s.

Unlike Trump, Jackson was not a political newcomer, having served in the US House of Representatives and largely inconsequential periods in the US Senate from Tennessee, but, like Trump, his notoriety and fame emanated chiefly from outside the world of politics.

andrew jackson

General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812

Jackson exploded onto the national political scene based on his popularity as a successful military leader.  Jackson was not only the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, the decisive, face-saving American victory during the War of 1812 (actually achieved after the peace had been negotiated in Europe) and his exploits in a variety of campaigns in “Indian wars” (military engagements against Native American tribes) which had pushed the tribes further west and cleared valuable land for the expansion of slavery and the cotton kingdom across the deep South.  If Jackson earned fame as a military leader (or “chieftain” as his critics referred to him), Trump earned his as a rich (if publicity-hungry) business tycoon known for mastery of the “Art of the Deal,” and more importantly as reality TV celebrity known for delivering the lines “You’re fired” at the end of each episode of the “The Apprentice.”

trump the apprenticeThe appeal of Jackson and Trump parallel.  They voiced both the fears and aspirations of frustrated and even angry citizens who are neither comfortable nor fluent with the language of complexity and nuance or with the give-and-take compromise of politics in our republic.  They both flashed tempers and did not shy from vitriolic denunciation of their targets and opponents.  Neither won kudos for tolerance or moderation.  They both have won support by vowing to let nothing stand in the way of getting their way—perhaps including legal and constitutional restrictions.  Their urgent calls for the unrestrained pursuit of greatness resonates with impatient portions of the population, but spawn fears of authoritarian excess and a rogue presidency among others.

John C Calhoun

Jackson’s vice-president, South Carolinian John C. Calhoun, led the virulent opposition during the Nullification Crisis of 1832.

As Jackson rose to power, James Madison, John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun, men who disagreed on many issues of their day, all expressed concern that as his popularity grew Jackson might prove an American Napoleon or Cromwell.  At the very least they knew that, if elected, Jackson would be the first American president not born to that “aristocracy of talent” that Thomas Jefferson thought should lead governments.  The early national elite’s skepticism regarding Jackson proved warranted.  As a commander, he had summarily executed soldiers who deserted during battle and invaded Florida without formal approval of the Monroe administration.  As president, he refused to enforce a U.S. Supreme Court decision which favored the tribal rights of Native Americans in Georgia; he threatened to invade S.C. during the nullification crisis, and he destroyed the Second Bank of the United States, the controversial pillar of the national financial system, with fiery rhetoric.

andrew jackson

Jackson’s populist support

None of Jackson’s excesses troubled the majorities that elected him.  Whether the people, like Shakespeare’s spirits, will come in sufficient number for Trump when he calls them (as they did for Jackson) remains an open question.  But the appeal of the powerful outsider playing to fear and promising a return to past greatness (no matter how irrational the fear or improbable the restored glory) should never be underestimated.

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A Successful Evening: The Donald S. Russell Lecture with the Hon. Jean Toal

Held on the evening of February 11th, the inaugural Donald S. Russell Lecture by the Hon. Jean Toal was a great success!  We are pleased to announce that the event is available on YouTube.  The entire program is presented, including the introduction by the Hon. Judge Joe Anderson.

Here is the link to the video, and below are some still shots from the evening.

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Dean Tom McNally chats with Bud Ferillo and retired Justice Toal before the event.

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SCPC director Herb Hartsook opens the proceedings.

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Judge Joe Anderson introduces the keynote speaker.

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The audience was entertained.

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Justice Toal had them spellbound.

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We had a good crowd, and Donald Russell watched over the event with approval from a big screen.

Justice Toal caught up with former SC First Lady Ann Edwards.

Justice Toal caught up with former SC First Lady Ann Edwards.

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The new book!

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Governor on the Move: Adventures of SCPC’s Johnston Portrait

removal

Bob Wynn and Brian Harrison carefully remove the portrait from the Smith Reading Room in the Hollings Library…

SCPC is proud to hold the personal papers of most of our post-WWII governors. These include the papers of Olin D. Johnston, who served as governor from 1935 to 1939 and again from 1943 to 1945. In 1945, he entered the U.S. Senate, having defeated incumbent Ellison “Cotton Ed” Smith” in the 1944 Democratic primary. Johnston served in the Senate until his death in 1965. His collection came to us as the first major congressional acquisition received by USC. In the early 1990s, we opened over 180 feet of Johnston papers for study, and Johnston remains a linchpin collection among our holdings.

mansion

…and prepare to take it into the Governor’s Mansion.

Johnston’s daughters, Sallie Scott and former congresswoman Liz Patterson, recently donated some additional papers to our Johnston and Patterson collections. One highlight of the addition were wonderful photographs that showcase the great sense of fashion shared by Johnston and his wife Gladys. We also received the portrait of Johnston painted in 1946 by Seymour Millais Stone (1877-1957). Other Stone portraits hang in the U.S. Capitol and the National Portrait Gallery. A copy of the portrait hung for years in the South Caroliniana Library’s Johnston Room, which housed the Manuscripts Division reading room.

SCPC reached out to the Governor’s Mansion to see if they might like to exhibit the Johnston portrait and we received an enthusiastic response. Last month, we delivered the portrait to the Mansion, where it will hang until January 2018, alongside portraits of other SCPC donors including South Carolina governors John West, Jim Edwards, Dick Riley, Carroll Campbell, and Mark Sanford. Our crew received a delightful tour given by Mansion curator Nancy Bunch.

Johnston

Brian and SCPC Director Herb Hartsook reflect on the painting and the artist with Mansion Curator Nancy Bunch.

Hartsook & Bunch

Herb officially transfers the Johnston portrait to Nancy Bunch.

Johnston portrait

Olin D. Johnston back in his old home alongside portraits of former governors Richard Wilson Riley (served from 1979 to 1987) and Whitemarsh Benjamin Seabrook (served from 1848 to 1850) . The portrait will be on loan to the Mansion for the next two years.

 

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Are All Primary Seasons Crazy?

hollings windbreaker

A highlight of the exhibit is this windbreaker, one of those worn by Hollings campaign workers in 1984.

Political pundits have been shocked and amazed by the unfolding of both the Democratic and Republican presidential primary contests. No one but the candidates and their close associates gave any legitimacy or hope to Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump when they announced their bids for the presidency. Most knowledgeable folks assumed then that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would crush their opposition. After voting in Iowa and New Hampshire, the field is still muddled and all eyes turn to South Carolina. The electorate for our upcoming primary contests is more diverse and should be more focused on national security and religion.

Hollings case

The Hollings-centric case – notice the photo at left detailing the 1984 vote count from Dixville Notch, NH, as the votes came in at midnight, launching Primary Day in that state

SCPC has mounted a special exhibit in the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery showcasing past presidential primary fields, and particularly the 1984 presidential run by South Carolina’s own Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings. His campaign is represented by buttons, bumper stickers, a windbreaker, editorial cartoons, and one of my favorite items, a paper fan handed out at the 1983 Florida Democratic State Convention featuring photos of the seven Democratic candidates.

The display includes material from campaigns circa 1952 to 1992, including those of Lamar Alexander, John Anderson, Jerry Brown, John Connally, Pete du Pont, Dwight Eisenhower, Geraldine Ferraro, Steve Forbes, Lindsey Graham, Gary Hart, Hubert Humphrey, Jesse Jackson, John Kennedy, Alan Keyes, Wilbur Mills, Ed Muskie, Richard Nixon, Ross Perot, Ronald Reagan, Sargent Shriver, Paul Tsongas, and George Wallace. You may also see a vintage punch card voting machine donated by Congressman Joe Wilson.

exhibit corner

Yes, we have an old punch card voting booth!

Come see how many of these candidates you remember. The exhibit will be up through the end of the month.

Herb Hartsook

PS:  To answer my own question, I believe that indeed all primary seasons have crazy moments. Let us know what you think!

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An Invitation: The Donald S. Russell Lecture with the Hon. Jean Toal

Please join us next Thursday, February 11th!

Free and open to the public!

ToalToal2See Herb’s blog entry from last week about Justice Toal, Judge Russell, and this event.

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Force of Nature – Jean Toal

Toal and Hartsook

Chief Justice Jean Toal speaks with Herb Hartsook at the 2015 Thomas Cooper Society Dinner at the Hollings Library

We hope you will join us Feb. 11 at 5:30 in the Hollings Library to hear retired Chief Justice Jean Toal, SCPC’s newest donor, present our inaugural Donald S. Russell Lecture.

In a December feature, The State newspaper called Toal a “force of nature.” We know you will enjoy her stories of her early experience as a Civil Rights activist, education as one of a handful of women attending the USC School of Law in the mid-1960s, practice of law as an active and skilled litigator, tenure in the General Assembly, and lengthy service on the South Carolina Supreme Court. Toal will be introduced by Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.

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Forthcoming from U of SC Press

Following the presentation, Justice Toal will be available to sign the new USC Press publication, Madam Chief Justice. The 189-page volume contains 23 essays reflecting on Toal’s life and impact on the political and legal landscape of South Carolina. Among the authors are fellow jurists, legal scholars and figures from politics.

The USC Class of 1956 endowment for South Carolina Political Collections supports this signature event honoring former USC president, governor, U.S. senator, and federal judge Donald S. Russell.

Russell

Governor Donald Russell addressing the General Assembly in the early 1960s

My interview of Judge Russell remains a vivid memory. It was not a successful interview in terms of oral history, as Judge Russell had no interest in reflecting on his achievements, and I was not prepared for his rather terse answers. I learned from that experience to always have two sets of questions — broad questions for narrators who delight in sharing their stories, and detailed questions for more reticent narrators like Judge Russell. Yet Russell was also my most memorable and inspirational interview. He opened up once I turned the recorder off. He became animated while speaking of cases coming before his court. And then he grew even more excited as he contemplated several challenging cases that seemed on track to hit his courtroom in two to three years. Judge Russell never took senior status and served on the bench until his death in 1998. I remain inspired by our interview, when Russell was in his mid-80s — a man who lived in the present, for the future.

For more information about the USC Class of 1956 endowment for SCPC, or to contribute to this endowment, see the web page here.

By Herb Hartsook

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Lessons Learned in a Career of Public Service: Nick Theodore

Nick Theodore

Nick Theodore

Nick Theodore is a progressive Democrat who served over twenty years in the South Carolina House and Senate and, from 1987 to 1995, under Republican Carroll Campbell, as the state’s 85th Lieutenant Governor. Theodore knows as much about South Carolina politics as any man alive and he shares his wealth of knowledge as well as details of his remarkable life in his 2014 book, Trials and Triumphs: South Carolina’s Evolution 1962-2014. The book is both a personal narrative as well as an analysis of an era in which politics and society underwent startling change. SCPC is proud to count Theodore among our donors of collections.

When Theodore mounted his first campaign, a successful race in 1962 for the South Carolina House, the South was a Democratic stronghold. The Republican Party had been chiefly a patronage organization but had recently begun to grow through the efforts of a small group of activists. Political campaigns at that time were personalbook. Candidates met workers at factory gates (yes, South Carolina had factories, chiefly a broad base of textile plants across the state), hosted bar-b-ques, and sought votes one at a time over the months before the Democratic primary. Except for Presidential campaigns, the Democratic primary served as the real election. How things have changed.

And Theodore worked well with Republicans as that Party grew to dominate the state. He is particularly generous in his praise of James B. Edwards, our first Republican governor (1975-1979) since Reconstruction — “Edwards was recognized for his ability to work across party lines in accomplishing needed legislation. Nowhere was that more evident than in our effort to continue improving education. . . . Edwards led the charge to provide adequate financing of our effort and promised to advocate for and sign the education bill.” He then goes on to detail how the Education Finance Act of 1977 passed the South Carolina House.

Columbia Record article

Columbia Record article about the juggling of senators and governors

Trials and Triumphs is a must-read for any student of South Carolina society and politics. If you open the book at random, you will find something of interest. For instance, I have long been fascinated by the decision in 1965, following the death of U.S. Senator Olin Johnston, of then-governor Donald Russell to resign his office so that he could then be appointed to the Senate by his successor, Bob McNair. Years ago, I actually interviewed Russell about this decision. In two pages, Theodore sketches a better picture of this event than any I have seen before.

Some memoirs are better than others. Trials and Triumphs is among the best of its kind.

Herb Hartsook

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I Can Still Recall My Last Summer: Processing the Turnipseed Papers

Erin Patterson

Erin Patterson spent her internship processing the papers of Tom Turnipseed.

This past summer I had to the pleasure of completing an internship in the South Carolina Political Collections at the University of South Carolina. My project for the summer was processing the Tom Turnipseed papers, and it was a marvelous learning experience.

Before working on this project I had not heard of Tom Turnipseed and his fascinating and remarkable journey from the Old South rooted in racism to being an advocate for social justice. It is such an inspiring story. His papers show his journey from being George Wallace’s 1968 National Campaign Director to one of the loudest voices against injustice in South Carolina.

Turnipseed has been in the public eye since the late 1960s when he was the head of the Independent School Association. From there he went on to be George Wallace’s campaign director in the 1968 Presidential election. After leaving Wallace in 1971 to focus on his law practice in Columbia and his family, he began his own political journey running for office six times in 25 years. Though he was not always successful in winning elections he was able to bring issues to the forefront for public discussion. The amount of effort that Turnipseed has put into causes such as global peace,

seeds

seed packets!

homelessness, mental health, racial justice and equality is staggering. He has helped slash utility rates for South Carolinians, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, fought for those who do not have a voice and challenged the deep-seated prejudices of others through discussion.

Some of the most interesting items that I found in the collection were the campaign memorabilia from Turnipseed’s various campaigns. There are belt buckles, pins, different slogans and – the most humorous and effective – packets of actual turnip seeds. I just found the campaign seed packets to be so clever.

gubernatorial campaign

gubernatorial campaign literature from 1978

This collection has a significant amount of clippings, much more than I have ever worked with, dating from the late 1960s to the present. Many of those clippings were still a part of an entire newspaper. The most tiresome part of the entire process was searching for relevant articles and cutting them out of newspapers. There are a lot of clippings.

Though this blog post is delayed, my gratitude for this opportunity from the South Carolina Political Collections has not diminished in the slightest. The experience of working through an unprocessed collection on my own was a terrifying prospect at the beginning of the summer. It has been the largest archival project I have been given that much autonomy over to date. I am so thankful for the chance to work with Herb Hartsook and the rest of the South Carolina Political Collection team and for the opportunities that they offer students to work with them. Every day I worked there I learned something new about the archival field. My advice to those who are interested in processing and have not had the practical experience yet would be to ask questions and don’t get bogged down in the small details. These are lessons I know that I will use in my future career in the field.

bumper sticker

Turnipseed campaign bumper sticker

Contributed by Erin Patterson

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Simkins in the Fight for Integration

This blog entry was written by Graduate Assistant Clara Bertagnolli as part of a class project for FILM 710: Media and Archives. Each student was tasked with the job of designing a project using archived media.

Modjeska Simkins is well-known throughout the state of South Carolina as a strong voice in the fight for civil rights. Though nowadays, few have heard of the desegregation of the South Carolina State Hospital, to Simkins it was another one of her many battles for justice.

You may have heard the South Carolina State Hospital referred to as “Bull Street.” This road runs along the front of the former hospital’s property, a mildly famous mental hospital located not too far from downtown Columbia. Though the campus is now under development, in its heyday it was a densely populated mental institution. Some may consider this common knowledge, but what few people know is that from the early twentieth century up until the late 1960s, this was a white-only facility. Even less well-known is the presence of its segregated counterpart, seven miles away on Farrow Road. This facility was known as the Crafts-Farrow Hospital or the Palmetto State Hospital.

The Crafts-Farrow Hospital was constructed in the 1910s for the specific purpose of housing African American patients. Patients had been segregated by race before on the State Hospital campus itself, but overcrowding at the institution led this method to be impractical (perhaps the board of the Department of Mental Health also felt separation by building on the same campus was too integrated). When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came around, and it was time to desegregate, some groups found that the Department of Mental Health took too long to do this in their Columbia facilities. Among them was Modjeska Simkins.

In December 1964, Simkins and others lodged a complaint against the Department of Mental Health, accusing them of their non-compliance with the Civil Rights Act. In February, WIS-TV captured a tour of the two state hospital campuses that proved them not only to be segregated, but to be unequal as well. Simkins was a member of that tour group, and most likely was not happy at what she saw.simkins at bull street

Modjeska Simkins on the grounds of the State Hospital at Bull Street.

 

 

 

 

WIS-TV didn’t capture her working on this desegregation again until five months later, but by then it was clear she was displeased with the situation. In a brief interview, she explains that the Department of Mental Health had been cut off from federal funds, and they deserved this for not yet taking action. That same day, William Hall, Superintendent of the State Hospital and State Commissioner of Mental Health, released a statement on the same station, explaining that the Department has begun the process of desegregation, but expects that it will take two to five years. Unfortunately, the WIS-TV collection doesn’t include a response from Simkins, but no doubt, she would not have found that good enough. Simkins was never one to settle in the fight for justice.

Simkins being interviewed about desegregation by WIS-TVsimkins on wis

For more films on Simkins, browse the Moving Image Research Collections reference catalog, or view her film on Victory Savings Bank on their Digital Video Repository.

–by Clara Bertagnolli

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Illuminating the Season: A “History” of Christmas on the Potomac

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JFK Xmas

One of the presidential cards from the Dorn collection: the young Kennedy family

Last week Herb told you about this year’s Christmas on the Potomac exhibit, which has added a festive touch at the front of Thomas Cooper Library. Long-time friends of South Carolina Political Collections may be aware that we do a holiday card exhibit every year, and each one is titled Christmas on the Potomac – our “brand” if you will.

Prior to moving into the beautiful Hollings Library building in 2010, SCPC was housed in a warehouse in the hinterlands near the Colonial Life Arena. Granted, with all the recent and somewhat hectic University development in the Vista, that area doesn’t seem so far removed as it used to be. But at the time the holiday season gave us a golden opportunity to remind campus of our departmental presence by installing a display of cards in a prominent location at the main library – the heart of campus.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola

These exhibits started out fairly small; the first, I believe, focused solely on presidential cards received by one of our foundational donors, Congressman Bryan Dorn. Over the years, however, we have expanded our coverage to three cases, highlighting not only presidential cards (still a favorite) but also greetings from other political figures, foreign ambassadors and consulates, schools, civic and charitable entities, and corporations such as Coca-Cola and Michelin. We actively solicit holiday cards from our collection donors in anticipation of our annual display.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army

We began to incorporate additional Christmassy decorations in the displays to improve the presentation of the cards and generally add extra cheer. Ornaments, bows, mini pine cones, mini “wrapped gifts,” and ribbons festooned the cases. There was even a year or two in which we attempted the use of tinsel – a sparkling component that proved to be more trouble than it was worth when the time came to remove it from the velvet surface of the cases!

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Part of this year’s exhibit

Speaking of ornaments, Herb has a personal collection of the official – and usually quite beautiful – ornaments produced annually by both the White House and Capitol historical offices. We include selections of these each year along with the cards, and they add a marvelous dimension to the display.

Kate with some of the ornaments

Kate with some of the ornaments

Every year, SCPC staffers look forward to this season when we can peruse the new cards, decide which will be included, and unleash our creative Christmas arranging and decorating instincts. We hope those who come by and see the exhibit find joy in it, too.

By Kate Moore

xmasboar

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