Parties and Interest Groups

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Entries - Entry Category: Parties and Interest Groups - Starting with B

Black and Tan Republicans

The Republican Party of Arkansas was formed in April 1867. Powell Clayton—a Union officer during the Civil War who moved to Arkansas to become a planter early in Reconstruction—became the key leader of the party. During Reconstruction, Republicans were elected to state offices at all levels—including governor. This Republican dominance ended, however, with the enfranchisement of former Confederate loyalists as Reconstruction ended in the state in 1874. Even after Reconstruction, the party remained visible, with newly enfranchised African Americans joining white Republican loyalists in biracial support of the party, with many Black men being elected to local office and the Arkansas General Assembly. In order to attract white Democrats, one faction within the Republican Party, known as the “Lily Whites,” …

Brindletails [Political Faction]

Dissention within the Republican Party of Arkansas began following the 1868 constitutional convention. The schism in the Arkansas Republican Party, like in the national party, threatened to end the party’s political dominance in the state. Two groups within the state party—the Minstrels (aligned with the national regular Republican leadership) and the Brindletails (aligned with the Liberal Republican movement)—emerged. The Minstrel faction, allegedly named due to the past profession of one of its members, relied on newcomers (often pejoratively labeled “carpetbaggers”). Joseph Brooks, who broke with Governor Powell Clayton and the political machine under his control, formed a faction of the Republican Party known as the “Brindletails,” named because his voice was said to sound like a Brindletail bull. Brooks criticized …

Brothers of Freedom

One of several farmers’ organizations formed in Arkansas during the early 1880s, the Brothers of Freedom originated in Johnson County in 1882. Founded by Isaac McCracken and Marion Farris, the organization spread rapidly across northwestern Arkansas, recruiting between 30,000 and 40,000 members within three years. The Brothers of Freedom ceased to exist in 1885 when it merged with another Arkansas-based farmers’ organization, the Agricultural Wheel, and assumed the name of the latter organization. The impact of the Brothers of Freedom lived on, however, not only through the Agricultural Wheel but also through the Union Labor and Populist parties. McCracken and Farris organized the Brothers of Freedom, originally (but only briefly) as a secret organization, in order to enable farmers to …