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Tillman

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TILLMAN, Benjamin Ryan, American legislator: b. Edgefield County, S. C., 11 Aug. 1847; d. Washington, D. C., 3 July 1918. He received his education at Bethany Academy, entered the Confederate army on the outbreak of the Civil War, but was obliged to forego active service owing to a severe illness. The close of the war found him undertaking the management of his mother's farm in the back country, a farmer in spirit and life. During the troubled days of Reconstruction he played his part in the reprisals of the whites. In the '80's a curious political situation developed in South Carolina, which finally landed Tillman in the governorship. The aftermath of war and the persistence of caste lines put a widening gulf between the aristocrats of the seaboard plain and the back country people of the mountains. With the overturning of the Republican domina tion the patrician class began to resume once more oligarchic rule of the State. There were mutterings of discontent among the moun taineers and farmers in the backwater districts. As champion of the latter Tillman suddenly found himself thrust forward. In 1890 in the most bitter campaign in the State's history he was elected governor. From the day of his inauguration to the end of his second term South Carolina was a constant ferment. The one incident of his rule that stands out among all the other turbulent affairs was his promul gation of the famous dispensary law and the events following it. This law gave sheriffs and constables the power to enter stores and private houses and to seize any liquors found there which did not bear the stamp of the State. Riots occurred; Tillman ordered out the militia ; some companies refusing to obey this summons were publicly degraded, and condi tions bordering on anarchy existed, but the law stayed and the governor was triumphant. Tillman soon became a national figure. He took

a prominent part in the State Constitutional Convention of 1895, which set an educational qualification for the franchise, and by his vio lent attitude against the negro he became the object of attack by Northern sentimentalists. He was a bitter opponent of Cleveland; his speeches against the latter gaining him the name of "Pitchfork Ben)' In the national Dem ocratic conventions of 1896, 1900 and 1904 Till man was the stormy petrel who raged at all who opposed his views. In 1894 he was elected to the United States Senate and was re-elected in 1900, 1906 and 1912. His terms in the Senate were marked chiefly by the quarrels he had. Cleveland lie had hated and it was not in the realm of possibility that he and Roosevelt could be other than enemies and enemies they frankly were during Roosevelt's incumbency of the Presidency. In his later years Tillman became less and less the bugaboo in the eyes of the people who had at first opposed him with all of the bitterness of caste and class. As he broadened into a national figure and in the Senate fought the fight of the whole South with untiring vigor, he came first to be tol erated, then respected by all the people of his State. The closing years of his life found him chairman of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, perhaps the second most important governing body in the country, and as such he worked incessantly for the building up of the navy. He advocated a greater navy, gov ernment armor-making plants, etc., and warned manufacturers that the government would force them to act fairly. He supported his friend, Secretary Daniels, maintaining in pub lic and private that Daniels was a misunder stood, much underestimated man who would prove his worth in time.