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Nation within a NationThe American South and the Federal Government$
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Glenn Feldman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049878

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049878.001.0001

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Tom Watson and Resistance to Federal War Policies in Georgia during World War I

Tom Watson and Resistance to Federal War Policies in Georgia during World War I

(p.67) 2 Tom Watson and Resistance to Federal War Policies in Georgia during World War I
Nation within a Nation

Zachary C. Smith

University Press of Florida

Zachary C. Smith's chapter on Tom Watson of Georgia will certainly raise eyebrows and stimulate thought and discussion. Smith adopts a starkly different perspective than those that have been customarily employed on Watson, including that by the dean of southern historians, C. Vann Woodward. While giving a nod to what may only be called Watson's pathological anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, Negrophobia, and venomous stance toward the federal government, the chapter wrestles with both the anti-war and anti-capitalist rhetoric of the former Populist leader during the years of the Great War. In Watson's vitriol against the central government—increasingly conflated in his mind and that of many of his rural Georgia followers with the big-moneyed interests of the North and East—Smith also finds continuity with Watson's Populist past, supposed by many to have disintegrated after 1908. Smith argues that a region-wide appeal of Watson's resistance to federal war policies denotes a persistent, if sporadic, tradition of anti-capitalistic and anti-militaristic thought and rhetoric in the South.

Keywords:   Thomas C. Watson, Georgia, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Catholicism, Negrophobia

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