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Governor William E. Glasscock and Progressive Politics in West Virginia

Gary Jackson Tucker

Publication Year: 2008

From 1909 to 1913, Governor William Glasscock served the state of West Virginia as an ardent progressive and reformer. In his inaugural address he proclaimed government "the machinery invoked and devised by man for his benefit and protection” and good government the guarantor of the happiness, prosperity, success, and welfare of the people. Governor William Glasscock and Progressive Politics in West Virginia recounts the life and work of West Virginia’s thirteenth governor. Born during the Civil War, Glasscock witnessed a country torn by sectional, fratricidal war become a powerful industrial nation by the turn of the twentieth century. Author Gary Jackson Tucker demonstrates how Glasscock, along with others during the Progressive Era, railed against large and powerful political and economic machines to enact legislation protecting free and fair elections, just taxation, regulation of public utilities, and workmen’s compensation laws. Never hesitating to use the power of the state to stand firm against racism and mob rule, and placing his own personal safety in jeopardy, Glasscock won the praise and admiration of average people. Glasscock’s four years in office took his own health and financial security from him, but left behind a better government—a good government—for the people of West Virginia.

Published by: West Virginia University Press

Series: West Virginia and Appalachia


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pp. Front-Cover

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. ii-v


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p. vii-vii

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pp. ix-xii

THIS IS THE POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY of a governor and his times, the Progressive Era. West Virginia Governor William E. Glasscock, West Virginia's governor from 1909 to 1913, was a member of the generation that came to power and prominence around the turn of the twentieth century. The impact of the Civil War and its aftermath certainly left its imprint on the developing personalities ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

l OWE MUCH APPRECIATION to so many people for their assistance in writing this book. First, I give much credit to my former teacher, mentor, and friend, Dr. Otis K. Rice, now deceased, for recommending Governor William E. Glasscock as a topic for my doctoral dissertation many years ago. I was also inspired by his writings about West Virginia and frontier history. In addition, I acknowledge the professional ...

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CHAPTER ONE The Origins of a Young Reformer

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pp. 1-7

THE CIVIL WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH, strong regional feelings, adjustments to the new economic conditions, and outright racism would all create heated political debate in nearly every political election until well into the twentieth century. One of these debates involved the creation of West Virginia. The rending of Virginia on June 20, 1863, was a momentous event for western Virginians. People ...

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CHAPTER TWO Mountain State Politics

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pp. 8-38

LATE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, the West Virginia economy experienced significant change. While the manufacturing and mechanical trades were on the increase, it was coal mining that had become the most important industry. A number of economic forces were responsible for this. First, since 1870, capitalists had built railroads into the underdeveloped regions of the state, extending into the rich coal lands. Money could be made by connecting branch lines with the main rail arteries of the B&O and the C&O railroads. West Virginia Democratic Party leader...

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pp. 39-49

SOON AFTER THE ELECTI0N, Governor-elect Glasscock went to Hot Springs, Virginia, for a vacation that lasted several weeks. While there, he had the opportunity to confer with President-elect Taft and try his hand at golf. After a month of intense campaigning, Glasscock felt it necessary to rest before going to Charleston to ...

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CHAPTER FOUR Settling Into Office

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pp. 49-73

AN AILING GLASSCOCK RETURNED TO MORGANTOWN for a short period of recuperation. While an exhausting experience for the delicate governor elect, it was rewarding; he had participated in the state government from top to bottom, an activity on which he reflected at home. The time to recoup his strength soon ended, however, as plans ...

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CHAPTER FIVE The Evolution of a Progressive Governor

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pp. 74-98

FOLWWING THE ADJOURNMENT of the Dawson legislature, Governor Glasscock toyed with the idea of calling an extra session and considered suggesting to the lawmakers a county local option law, a gas production tax, and a public service commission. After much deliberation, however, he concluded that it would be better to wait for the regular session, as the mood of the people was not conducive to ...

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CHAPTER SIX The Runaway Legislature of 1911

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pp. 99-114

ON NOVEMBER 18, 1910, Governor Glasscock, Republican members of the legislature, and other influential party members convened in the governor's office to discuss strategies for the coming session of the legislature. After this conference, Glasscock expressed confidence that the Republican lawmakers would work together in harmony,2 "even though they may not be ...

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CHAPTER SEVEN Divided Republicans Prepare for the War of 1912

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pp. 115-141

SINCE THE 1908 ELECTION, Governor Glasscock and other top Republicans concluded that the Republican State Committee needed a complete reorganization because they had lost confidence in its ability to lead the party to victory and to do its duties fairly. After all, the governor knew firsthand the inner workings of that ...

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CHAPTER EIGHT Governor Glasscock and Violence in West Virginia

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pp. 142-176

GOVERNOR GLASSCOCK, a religious man of peace with a strong urge to crusade against the social and economic ills of society, spent much of his time and strength reacting to racial and industrial violence in West Virginia. The governor stood firmly on the side of law and order during these critical times, ...

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CHAPTER NINE THE 1913 Legislature: One Last Chance

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pp. 177-191

A s THE DATE NEARED for the January convening of the 1913 legislature, Governor Glasscock worked on a number of bills that he hoped would ease the tension in the coalfields. First on the agenda, however, were the organization of the two houses and the election of a new United States Senator, which together promised to be time-consuming. Since there were so many important measures to consider, Glasscock called the legislators in a special session on January 2, a week before the regular term began, in order to prepare for the heavy ...

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pp. 192-196

THE GOVERNOR'S LEITERS AND PAPERS declined drastically in volume during the winter of 1912-1913. The industrial problems in the Kanawha Valley did ease up during January 1913, only to worsen in February. During the legislative session of 1913, Glasscock saw several good pieces of legislation enacted in addition to the election of a Republican to the United States Senate. Nevertheless, he looked forward to March 4, the expiration of his term of office. He expressed his feelings about the position of governor to ...


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pp. 197-204

INDEX, About the Author

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pp. 205-215

E-ISBN-13: 9781935978152
E-ISBN-10: 1935978152
Print-ISBN-13: 9781933202358
Print-ISBN-10: 1933202351

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: West Virginia and Appalachia