The North Carolina Election of 1898
IntroductionHistoryPrimary SourcesTimelineBiographical SketchesGlossary

The Populists Make Their Case Against the Democrats: November 4, 1898

This editorial, originally published in the Progressive Farmer, was reprinted in the Charlotte People's Paper on November 4, just a few days before the election. The Populists accuse the "aristocratic" Democratic party of favoring business interests at the expense of poorer North Carolinians. While the paper does not appear sympathetic to African Americans, it does argue that the cries of "negro domination" are used to distract from the real issues of the campaign.

The People's Paper,

"Those Who Own the Property Should Rule."

This was the startling title of a leading editorial in the Raleigh Post, one of the leading dailies, if not the leading one - of the Democratic party in this State, on Oct. 22. This is stratling because it is a confession. To use a homely phrase, it "lets the cat out of the bag." This is a temporary raising of the sheep's clothing and gives us a temporary view of the hyprocratical wolf within.

"Those who own the property should rule." This is the law of the new Aristocratic party in this State, misnamed, the Democratic. Yes, it has come to this: the dollar is greater than the man, and money better than manhood. This is monopoly's view and this is the view taken by the so called Democratic leaders of this State.

Money must rule. Intelligence, patriotism, virtue, religion - these are nothing. Corporations, trusts, combines - these be your gods, ob Isreal. The poor struggling farmer raising his five cent cotton and striving in his humble way to serve as best he can his country and his God does not own the property and he must not rule - he must serve.

"Those who own the property must rule." The wishes of the Southern Railway, the of the American Tobacco Company, of the Sugar Trust must be respected - when the great railway corporation says "I want more money; raise passenger rates so I can squeeze more out of the people" - passenger rates must be raised - the railroad corporation "owns property" and "those who own the property must rule."

When the various trusts say to a Democratic legislature: "Pass this bill," or "kill this bill," their orders must be obeyed because they own property and

"Those who own property must rule." The first step toward this is the cry of negro. The monopolists know there is no negro rule. But the negro is poor and "those who own property must rule." Hence they will under pretense of disfranchising the negro, disfranchise at the same time the poor white man. Then, indeed, "those who own property will rule," and the purpose of the Post and other "nigger yellers" will have been accomplished.

We do not believe there is a Democratic negro yelling orator in the State more opposed to negro domination than we, - not one who is a more earnest advocate of white supremacy than we. But we have read both sides, we have looked up their record, and are convinced that it is a hypocritical cry hatched up for the purpose of deceiving the voters, in order to elect a legislature which will be the tool of plutocracy - of the moneyed men, and that will give us an election law, whose meaning shall be "those who own property must rule."

This is what we are fighting: we are honest in this fight, and we are earnest in it. We beg every voter to consider carefully the great question before him.

To realize that "nigger" is only a campaign cry you have only to recall that six months ago you heard nothing of "nigger domination," and that the leading "nigger howler" in the State, the News and Observer, then declared that the "negro" was a minor issue ; that financial reform was the " paramount issue " and that if silver leaders did not have patriotism, wisdom and statesmanship enough to drop minor issues, such as the negro question and wage the fight on the paramount issue that we must live and die under the crushing domination of the gold standard. Now the Democratic leaders have proved their insincerity on the paramount issue and the same newspaper slave of party is yelling itself to death over a "minor issue in order that the people may live and die under the crushing domination of the gold standard."

How have the mighty fallen!

Yes, "Those who own the property must rule"- that is the meaning of the "nigger cry." The poor negro as a political factor must go and the poor white man will go with him or go soon after. Mark our prediction. And again we say think well before you cast your vote, or you may regret your rashness when regrets will be of no avail. If you do not care if property becomes of more importance than patriotism, manhood than money, and "property owners than patriots," then you need not worry; if otherwise, we advise caution.

"Men deal unadvisedly sometimes, Which after hours give leisure to repent." - Progressive Farmer.

Source: The People's Paper (Charlotte, N.C.), 4 November 1898, page 2. Scanned from microfilm.

The North Carolina Election of 1898North Carolina CollectionUNC-Chapel Hill Libraries