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Declarations of DependenceThe Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908$
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Gregory Downs

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834442

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877760_downs

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Crazes, Fetishes, and Enthusiasms

Crazes, Fetishes, and Enthusiasms

The Silver Mania and the Making of a New Politics

(p.163) 6 Crazes, Fetishes, and Enthusiasms
Declarations of Dependence

Gregory P. Downs

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the events that occurred two years after the death of Zebulon Vance. The son of his old rival Tom Settle paged through a series of distressing field reports about the “silver craze” sweeping through his congressional district. In a campaign about the gold standard, a fantastic, incorrect rumor about a government-sponsored gift of money disrupted the younger Settle's already tenuous reelection prospects in piedmont North Carolina. As a solid supporter of his Republican Party's gold position, Settle increasingly found himself trapped by an upsurge of popular sentiment that combined Reconstruction's patronal hopes with a newly broad view of government's reach and scope. Rather than being a gift from one patron to a loyal supporter, the silver standard seemed to make a present of policy itself—a promise of a “pocket full of money whether worked for or not,” one organizer complained.

Keywords:   Zebulon Vance, Tom Settle, silver craze, congressional district, gold standard, Republican Party

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