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Yellow Dogs and Republicans

Allan Shivers and Texas Two-Party Politics

By Ricky F. Dobbs

Publication Year: 2005

From the end of Reconstruction until the 1950s, Texas was classified as part of the “Solid South,” consistently electing Democrats to national, state, and local office. After World War II, however, a new politics began to emerge throughout the South that ultimately made the region as solidly Republican as it had once been Democratic. Allan Shivers wielded extraordinary influence in this about-face. Serving as governor from 1949 to 1957, Shivers stands as an important transitional figure who, while staying within the Democratic Party all his life, nonetheless led Texas into Eisenhower’s column and toward a new political alignment. Author Ricky F. Dobbs traces the political career of Allan Shivers from his student days at the University of Texas, through his World War II service with the 36th Infantry and various state offices, to his role within the party after leaving the governor’s mansion. Throughout, Dobbs places Shivers’s career in the context of the modernization and urbanization that changed the state and regional picture. He portrays Shivers as one of the state’s most powerful governors and compellingly shows his influence on modern Texas.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

When I first began studying Allan Shivers’s political career, I had no clear ideas or impression of the man. I knew vaguely that he had been governor and led an insurgency that put Texas in Eisenhower’s column in 1952 and 1956. As research increased my awareness, he loomed as a controversial and powerful figure in an era when giants walked the landscape ...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-6

From the end of reconstruction until at least the 1950s, the American South was governed by a single party, the Democrats, with almost no effective competition from Republicans.1 Politics in the Solid South were oriented toward the preservation of white supremacy, county-seat oligarchies, and rural control over political power. The one-party system relied ...

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Chapter One. Portrait of the Politician as a Young Man

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pp. 7-18

Many, if not most, Texas natives and transplants believe their state is different from, if not better than others. A traveler, however, might be forgiven for noticing little difference. It is almost as though the state’s reputation is divorced from the landscape. One of two states to be an independent nation, the largest in land area until 1959, and since 1900 never less ...

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Chapter Two. Turmoil and Transition: Shivers and the Texas Political Scene, 1938–45

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pp. 19-35

At the age of thirty-one, Allan Shivers had won a second term in the Texas senate. Although personally conservative and married to money, the young politician still represented a prolabor district. His political career began and matured during a tumultuous time for the state’s one-party Democratic system. Texas’ politics remained peculiarly southern, but the ...

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Chapter Three. “That All Depends upon God and Allan Shivers” 1945–49

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pp. 36-51

Texas democrats’ internecine bloodletting during the early 1940s badly strained party unity and opened fissures that widened afterward. Allan Shivers, meanwhile, had kept his sympathies carefully hidden. Active duty overseas also sheltered him from some of the intraparty warfare. The Port Arthur senator returned from war with ambitions for statewide office and ...

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Chapter Four. Ascent and Election in His Own Right 1949–50

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pp. 52-65

Many years later, Price Daniel recalled his feelings upon hearing of Jester’s death: “I figured I hadn’t been living right.” Shivers’s ascension presented problems for Daniel’s planned race for governor.The sudden shift in political fortunes required both to rethink their positions. While Shivers had likely planned to run for governor in 1950, his plans had not ...

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Chapter Four. Ascent and Election in His Own Right 1949–50

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pp. 52-65

Many years later, Price Daniel recalled his feelings upon hearing of Jester’s death: “I figured I hadn’t been living right.” Shivers’s ascension presented problems for Daniel’s planned race for governor.The sudden shift in political fortunes required both to rethink their positions. While Shivers had likely planned to run for governor in 1950, his plans had not ...

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Chapter Five. Maneuvers, Intrigues, and Party Leadership 1951–52

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pp. 66-81

Although Shivers’s 1950 “goat speech” had advocated “one or two liberal” state programs, it led only to stopgap solutions. Spending increases in 1949–50, combined with declining petroleum prices, brought another budget imbalance, resulting in the need for a new financial remedy in 1951. State comptroller Robert S. Calvert warned that maintaining ...

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Chapter Six. Vote Texan, Vote Ike 1952

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pp. 82-96

After New Braunfels, it appeared clear that Shivers had no intention of mending the rift in the state Democratic Party and that he was planning to wage war against the national party. Weldon Hart, Shivers’s chief political adviser, spoke as though a clash could not be prevented. Fagan Dixon telephoned Bexar County loyalist organizer Kathleen Voigt and instructed ...

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Chapter Seven. Self-Perpetuation and a Third Term 1953–54

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pp. 97-114

Eisenhower's 1952 Texas victory represented the high point of Allan Shiver's political career. struggles with an increasingly determined opposition dimmed hopes for later successes. In order to hold on to power, Governor Shivers needed a beneficial relationship with the new Eisenhower administration The forty-five-year-old politician also made tentative efforts ...

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Chapter Eight. Scandals and Decline 1955

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pp. 115-129

Allan Shivers’s authorized biographers titled their chapter about the 1954 campaign “The Mean One.” Bitter and taxing, the 1954 race had brought out the very worst in him. By the campaign’s end, the election was not about whether he or Ralph Yarborough would most improve life for Texans. Instead, he explained to an Austin audience as the runoff race drew ...

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Chapter Nine. Last Fights and Departure 1956–57

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pp. 130-146

Governor Shivers’s political fortunes had suffered tremendously in 1955. Public approval of his leadership diminished to its lowest level ever. Still, Shivers left the press, political insiders, and public guessing as to his plans for 1956. Although he decided against seeking a fourth term as governor, he worked to leave political life while still on top. Allan ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 147-150

Allan Shivers’s influence on Texas politics gradually faded after 1957. He did, however, remain active in state Democratic circles as late as the 1980s. He participated in every conservative attempt to drive Sen. Ralph Yarborough from office. The record indicates the former governor’s implacable hatred fed much of his continued interest in state affairs. The ...

Notes

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pp. 151-176

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 177-184

Index

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pp. 185-194


E-ISBN-13: 9781603446044
E-ISBN-10: 1603446044
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585444076
Print-ISBN-10: 1585444073

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 12 b&w photos.
Publication Year: 2005

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Subject Headings

  • Political parties -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
  • Texas -- Politics and government -- 1951-.
  • Texas -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
  • Shivers, Allan, 1907-.
  • Governors -- Texas -- Biography.
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