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1898 Democratic State Convention

September 5, 2008

In conjunction with the recently-held Democratic and Republican National Conventions, this week’s entry highlights a ribbon from the 1898 state convention of the Texas Democratic Party. The ribbon is part of the library’s Albert Sidney and Adele Steiner Burleson papers (Doc 6883), and presumably he wore it as a delegate at the convention. Burleson, a native of San Marcos, enjoyed a lengthy political career in Texas before representing the state in the U.S. Congress (1899-1913) and serving as postmaster general under President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921). For more information about Burleson, see the Handbook of Texas History Online.

The Texas Democratic Party continues to hold a state convention each even-numbered year. According to the organization’s website, the purpose of the convention is to elect state party leaders, adopt a platform, and announce nominations for state offices. Moreover, in years in which a presidential election is held, delegates at the convention also “elect Delegates and Alternates to the Party’s National Convention; elect the Party’s official nominees from Texas for the Democratic National Committee…; and select the official slate of Presidential Electors.”

Members of the Democratic Party who attended the 1898 convention in Galveston nominated Joseph Draper Sayers to run for governor. Sayers had previously served as a member of the Texas legislature, as a United States Congressman, and as lieutenant governor. He served a second gubernatorial term before Democrat Samuel Willis Tucker Lanham was elected to the position in 1903. For more information about Sayers, see the Handbook of Texas History Online.

Several primary and secondary sources at the DRT Library detail the history of politics in Texas, specifically the histories of the Democratic and Republican parties in the state. Some of the library’s holdings include:

Adams, Frank Carter. Texas Democracy: A Centennial History of Politics and Personalities of the Democratic Party, 1836-1936. Austin, Texas: Democratic Historical Association, 1937.

Casdorph, Paul D. A History of the Republican Party in Texas, 1865-1965. Austin, Texas: Pemberton Press, 1965.

Moneyhon, Carl H. Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1980.

Morehead, Richard. 50 Years in Texas Politics: From Roosevelt to Reagan – From the Fergusons to Clements. Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982.

Texas Centennial of Statehood Commission. A Century of Texas Governors and Capitols: Republic and State. Austin, Texas: Press of Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1943.

These and other materials can be located using our online catalog and read on-site at the DRT Library; for those readers not residing in San Antonio, check whether a local public or academic library has the item or can request it using interlibrary loan services.

Click here for a full citation of the documents and images included in this entry.



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