Benjamin Tillman

Benjamin Tillman

Infobox Officeholder
name=Benjamin R. Tillman

office=Governor of South Carolina
predecessor=John Peter Richardson III
successor=John Gary Evans
office2=United States Senator
predecessor2=Matthew Butler
successor2=Christie Benet
date of birth=August 11, 1847
place of birth=Trenton, South Carolina
date of death=July 3, 1918
place of death=Washington, D.C.

Benjamin Ryan Tillman (August 11, 1847–July 3, 1918) was an American politician who served as governor of South Carolina, from 1890 to 1894, and as a United States Senator, from 1895 until his death. Tillman was a member of the Democratic Party.

Tillman, of German descent, was born near Trenton, South Carolina. He left school in 1864 to join the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, but was disabled by an illness that later caused the removal of his left eye and thus never fought for the Confederacy. During Reconstruction, he became a paramilitary fighter in the struggle to overthrow the interracial Republican coalition in the state and disempower the black majority. He was present at the Hamburg Massacre in July 1876, during which black Republican activists were murdered by Tillman's fellow "Red Shirts."

Presenting himself as the friend of ordinary white farmers, Tillman took over the South Carolina Farmers Alliance, and used the organization as a platform for his political ambitions. He was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1890, and served from December 1890 to December 1894. He helped establish Clemson College and Winthrop College while in office and Tillman Hall on both campuses are named in his honor. When the Alliance founded the Populist Party on the Ocala Demands, Tillman arranged for the South Carolina Democratic Party to adopt the platform, though he refused to endorse the "sub-treasury," the Populists' most ambitious economic proposal, or to countenance any appeal to black voters. The strategy prevented the development of an independent Populist Party and the biracial politics of North Carolina, thus assuring white control through the dominant, white Democratic Party.

He was largely responsible for calling the State constitutional convention in 1895 that disfranchised most of South Carolina's black men and required Jim Crow laws. As Tillman proudly proclaimed in 1900, "We have done our level best [to prevent blacks from voting] ...we have scratched our heads to find out how we could eliminate the last one of them. We stuffed ballot boxes. We shot them. We are not ashamed of it." (Logan, p. 91)

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1894, and was re-elected in 1901, 1907, and 1913. He served from 1895 to his death in 1918. A hotheaded and intemperate debater, Tillman became known as "Pitchfork Ben" after a speech he made on the Senate floor in 1896. In this speech, Tillman made several references to pitchforks and threatened to go to the White House and "poke old Grover [Cleveland] with a pitchfork" to prod him into action.

During his Senate career, he was censured by the Senate in 1902 after assaulting John L. McLaurin, another Senator. He became the chairman of the Committee on Revolutionary Claims (57th through 59th Congresses); served on the Committee on Five Civilized Tribes of Indians (61st and 62nd Congresses); and the Committee on Naval Affairs (63rd through 65th Congresses). During World War I, impatient with the Navy's requests for larger battleships every year, he ordered the United States Navy to design "maximum battleships," the largest battleships that they could use.

Tillman took the lead in railroad regulation, though his foe Republican President Theodore Roosevelt out-maneuvered him in passage of the Hepburn Act of 1906. Tillman was the primary sponsor of the Tillman Act, the first federal campaign finance reform law, which was passed in 1907 and banned corporate contributions in federal political campaigns.

Tillman opposed American annexation of the Philippines because he feared an influx of non-white immigrants would result, undermining white racial purity. Tillman maintained his white supremacist beliefs in the Senate that he had implemented as governor; he was one of the most outspoken and unapologetic advocates of white supremacy ever to serve in Congress. Another quote of Tillman's is "We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him."cite news |first=Bob |last=Herbert |authorlink=Bob Herbert |title=The Blight That Is Still With Us |url= |publisher="The New York Times" |date=2008-01-22 |accessdate=2008-01-22 ]

Tillman died in Washington, D.C. and is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery, Trenton, South Carolina. A statue of him in his honor is outside the South Carolina State House.

An early trustee of Clemson University, Tillman Hall is named in his honor.


*cite book|last=Burton|first=Orville Vernon|title=In My Father's House Are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina|year=1985|publisher=University of North Carolina Press|location=Chapel Hill, N.C.|id=ISBN 0-8078-1619-1 New social history; [ online edition]
*cite book|last=Kantrowitz|first=Stephen|title=Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy|year=2000|publisher=University of North Carolina Press|location=Chapel Hill, N.C.|id=ISBN 0-8078-2530-1
* Stephen Kantrowitz. "Ben Tillman and Hendrix McLane, Agrarian Rebels: White Manhood, 'The Farmers,' and the Limits of Southern Populism." "Journal of Southern History." 66#3 (2000) pp 497+. in JSTOR; [ online edition]
*cite book|last=Logan|first=Rayford W.|authorlink=Rayford Logan|title=The Betrayal of the Negro, from Rutherford B. Hayes to Woodrow Wilson|year=1997|origyear=1965|publisher=Da Capo Press|location=New York|id=ISBN 0-306-80758-0 This is an expanded edition of Logan's 1954 book "The Negro in American Life and Thought: The Nadir, 1877-1901".
*cite book|last=Simkins|first=Francis Butler|authorlink=Francis Butler Simkins|title=The Tillman Movement in South Carolina|year=1926|publisher=Duke University Press|location=Durham, N.C. [ online edition]
*cite book|last=Simkins|first=Francis Butler|title=Pitchfork Ben Tillman, South Carolinian|year=2002|origyear=1944|publisher=University of South Carolina Press|location=Columbia, S.C.|id=ISBN 1-57003-477-X
*cite book|last=Simon|first=Bryant|title=A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948|year=1998|publisher=University of North Carolina Press|location=Chapel Hill, N.C.|id=ISBN 0-8078-2401-1 [ online edition]

External links

* [ "Their own Hotheadedness": Tillman speech in Senate advocating disenfranchisement of blacks and lynching of those who protested]
* [ "The White Man's Burden" as Prophecy. Tillman speech in Senate denouncing U.S. imperialism in the Philippines on humanitarian and patriotic grounds]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Benjamin Tillman — Benjamin Ryan Tillman (* 11. August 1847 in Trenton, South Carolina; † 3. Juli 1918 in Washington DC) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und von 1890 bis 1894 Gouverneur von South Carolina. Anschließend hatte er einen Sitz im Senat der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Benjamin Ryan Tillman — Benjamin Tillman Benjamin Ryan Tillman (* 11. August 1847 in Trenton, South Carolina; † 3. Juli 1918 in Washington DC) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und von 1890 bis 1894 Gouverneur von South Carolina. Anschließend war er auch im Senat der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tillman — may refer to:;People * Andy Tillman, Oregon llama rancher, businessman, and author * Barrett Tillman, military historian and author * Benjamin Tillman (1847 ndash;1918), an American politician who served as Governor of South Carolina from 1890 to …   Wikipedia

  • Benjamin R. Tillman — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Benjamin R. Tillman Benjamin Ryan Tillman (11 de agosto de 1847, Condado de Edgefield, Carolina del Sur 3 de julio de 1918, Washington D.C.) fue un político estadounidense. Traba …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tillman — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Benjamin Ryan Tillman (1847–1918), US amerikanischer Politiker Charles Tillman (* 1981), US amerikanischer Footballspieler Floyd Tillman (1914–2003), US amerikanischer Country Musiker George D. Tillman… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Benjamin F. Whittemore — Benjamin Franklin Whittemore (* 18. Mai 1824 in Malden, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; † 25. Januar 1894 in Montvale, Massachusetts) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Zwischen 1868 und 1870 vertrat er den …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Benjamin Huger (Politiker) — Benjamin Huger (* 1768 in Charleston, South Carolina; † 7. Juli 1823 bei Georgetown, South Carolina) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Zwischen 1799 und 1805 sowie nochmals von 1815 bis 1817 vertrat er den Bundesstaat South Carolina im US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Benjamin Franklin Perry — (* 20. November 1805 im Pickens County, South Carolina; † 3. Dezember 1886 in Greenville, South Carolina) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und 1865 Gouverneur von South Carolina. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Jahre und politischer Aufstieg 2… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Benjamin Guerard — (* 1740 in Charleston, South Carolina; † 21. Dezember 1788 ebenda) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und von 1783 bis 1785 Gouverneur von South Carolina. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Jahre und politischer Aufstieg 2 Gouverneur von South Carolina …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tillman County — Verwaltung US Bundesstaat: Oklahoma Verwaltungssitz: Frederick Adresse des Verwaltungssitzes: County Courthouse P.O. Box 992 Frederick, OK 73542 0992 Gründung: 16. Juli 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.