Tom Watson was an American  Politician in the populist party, a U.S. senator. The main principle of the populist party was to support black. He also tried to protect black voters from mob lynching. By 1908 he shifted his racial views from supporting black voters to white supremacists. He verbally showed his intense hatred against blacks through very influential magazines and newspapers.

Other than being a congressman, he was also a Criminal lawyer. He wrote many books. One of them was the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk.

A Brief about Henry Grady

Henry Grady was a journalist and orator. After the reconstruction period which was from 1865 to 1877 through northern investments, he brought about industrial development. He has also written many books like The New South, The complete Orations, and speeches by Henry W. Grady.

The speech “New South” was one of his famous speeches given by him. He became a special reporter in The New York Herald. After three years he established a famous influential newspaper in the South Atlantic constitution. Through his speeches and newspaper, he supported industrial development and race issues.

Why did Tom Watson and the Populists Criticize Henry Grady?

In the Atlantic  constitution, industries were supported over farmers and along with that, voting rights for women, equal rights for African Americans were also supported. Henry Grady, being a believer of urbanization, worked on the Atlantic constitution. But Tom Watson and the other members of the Populist party didn’t take it in an easy way leading to criticism of Grady.

The Populist Party and the Farmers

In 1892, the farmer alliances that were disturbed due to crop failure, falling prices, and poor marketing facilities formed a group referred to as the people’s party or Populist party. They also wanted to include laborers and other small groups but at last, it was only farmers that were included in the party.

To provide farmers an equal share of status and payment with industrial people, the Populist party asked for an increase in income tax, tariff, and direct election of U.S. senators.

What Cause did Tom Watson and other Populists Support at the Turn of the Twentieth Century?

Along with the emergence of the south after the reconstruction period, there was also the emergence of farmers’ protests for industrial development. Then there was a formation of an alliance which was known as farmer alliances. The farmers and Tom Watson protested against the issue of abolition of the national bank, opposition to paper money.

Even though the experimental program of free mail delivery to interior places got support from Watson, the new seat holder in the U.S. House of Representatives, the New South didn’t support the farmer alliance’s demand.

In the twentieth century, Tom Watson and other Populists supported the interest of farmers. Thus, to promote farmers’ interests they formed the populist party.

The Bourbon Triumvirate

Joseph E. Brown, Alfred H. Colquitt, and John Brown Gordon were the three powerful Georgian politicians in the democratic party. They are referred to as ‘The Bourbon Triumvirate’. These three hold the positions of the governor of Georgia and Senators from Georgia. Colquitt is a planter, Brown is an industrialist and Gordon is both a planter and industrialist.

The Bourbon Triumvirate was highly interested in the railroad and coal mining industries, but they were also experts in white supremacists. Henry Grady played a major role in strategizing the Bourbon Triumvirate.

After Gordon was established as the governor, the unity of the Bourbon Triumvirate was starting to fall. After the establishment of low-tariff laws by the US President Grover Cleveland, the conflict between Colquitt and Brown became public.

The Takeaway

So now we know the reason behind the criticism of Henry W. Gardy by Tom Watson and his Populist party. Though Tom Watson protested against industrial development because he had the right to criticize, Henry Grady was not wrong too. Agricultural and industrial development both play an important role in strategizing the country. Both should be given equal opportunities to grow.

What do you think, the criticism of Henry Grady by Tom Watson and his party was correct? Comment down on your opinion.