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G R E A T A N T I C I P A T I O N S F O R T H E T W E N T I E T H C E N T U R Y OOKING FORWARD to the twentieth century, many of the state's political leaders began to speak of the "Dawn of a New Day." As the nineteenth century drew to a close, changes in the lawconcerning voting eligibility, including, of course, the grandfather clauseeffective only until iDecember 1908, ensured the election of a majority of Democrats, thereby setting a pattern in the General Assembly that would remain unbroken for more than a century. For almost seventy-fiveyears, although only Democratic governors were elected, it became customary that they alternate geographically with one coming from the western part of the state one time and from the east the next.1 Since a governor could not succeed himself, this practicecontinued until 1977 when the state constitution wasamended to permit a governor to servetwo successiveterms. In the 1900 campaign Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charles B. Aycock of Wayne County stressed his concern for "universal education" (sometimes also adding "of the white children"), pointing out that all young men would soon be able to meet the literacy test for voting. Although benefiting from the grandfather clause, he himself played down the race issue, but his supporters were not reluctant to mention the subject. A physically grueling campaign brought Aycock the support of seventy-four of the state's ninety-seven counties and gave him a majority of 60,354 votes. The inauguration of Governor Charles Brantley Aycock on 15 January 1901 did, indeed, mark the beginning of along period of one-party rule, but a period of change, nevertheless. Aycock's biographer, Oliver H. Orr, Jr., credits the new governor with having"inspired the people with visionsof the good government which educated voters might create, the economic prosperity which educated i. Until the election of Robert Morgan from Harnett County in 1974 when Jesse Helms from adjoining Wake County wasthe other United States senator, it wasalso a long-standing custom to have one North Carolina senator from the west and the other from the east. 443 2? L 4-44 North Carolina through four Centuries workers might produce, and the cultural heights which an educated people might reach." The South Dakota Bond Case In February 1901 Aycock, as had post-Civil War governors before him, received demands from the North for payment of certain bonds issued during Reconstruction. The state earlier had classified these bonds, recognizing some as valid and in 1879 offering to pay them off at 25percent of par. Most, however, were repudiated as fraudulent and corruptly issued. Ten of the bonds issued in support of the Western North Carolina Railroad came into the possession of Schafer Brothers, a New York brokerage firm, through Governor Daniel L. Russell and Senator Marion Butler, whose Republican-Fusion party had recently been defeated by the Democrats. The brokerage firm tried to have the bonds redeemed but failed even though the state in 1879 had recognized them asvalid. In October 1901 the state of South Dakota (which Schafer Brothersclearly had drawn into its schemeasthe firm wasnamed asaparty to the suit)applied to the United States Supreme Court for permission to sue North Carolina. Since the Eleventh Amendment (for which James Iredell deserves credit) prohibited a citizen of one state from suing another state, the brokers found South Dakota willingto participate in theirplan. North Carolina officials became concerned as the value of Reconstruction bonds then was around $80 million, roughly the total value of allpersonal property in North Carolina. Governor Aycock, the attorney general, and a staff of legal counsel responded to South Dakota's complaint. Depositions were taken, the General Assembly was informed, and state leaders were confident that North Carolina would emerge victorious. The casewasheard in April1903and the Supreme Court, bya vote offive to four, ordered North Carolina to paySouth Dakota the par valueof the bonds plus interest—a total of $27,400. If the state refused, the United States marshal would seize North Carolina Railroad stock and sell it. Aycock felt that the Court could not enforce its judgment; stockholders other than the state might sue. Aycock delayed. The attorney general sought a rehearing but was turned down. Then in 1905 the governor laid the matter before the legislature, suggesting that full payment be made to South Dakota and that Schafer Brothers receive payment on the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469604466
Related ISBN
9780807818466
MARC Record
OCLC
966898551
Pages
670
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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