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Episode 584             Episode 586
Episode 585

Benjamin Tillman
Tue, 2018-Dec-11 00:26 UTC
Length - 3:09

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Tuesday, 11 December 2018 is Benjamin Tillman.

Benjamin Ryan Tillman (August 11, 1847 – July 3, 1918) was a politician of the Democratic Party who served as Governor of South Carolina from 1890 to 1894, and a United States Senator from 1895 until his death in 1918. A white supremacist who opposed civil rights for blacks, Tillman led a paramilitary group of Red Shirts during South Carolina's violent 1876 election. On the floor of the U.S. Senate, he frequently ridiculed blacks, and boasted of having helped to kill them during that campaign.

In the 1880s, Tillman, a wealthy landowner, became dissatisfied with the Democratic leadership and led a movement of white farmers calling for reform. He was initially unsuccessful, though he was instrumental in the founding of Clemson University as an agricultural school. In 1890, Tillman took control of the state Democratic Party, and was elected governor. During his four years in office, 18 African Americans were lynched in South Carolina—the 1890s saw the most lynchings of any decade in South Carolina. Tillman tried to prevent lynchings, but spoke in support of the lynch mobs, stating his own willingness to lead one. In 1894, at the end of his second two-year term, he was elected to the U.S. Senate by vote of the state legislature.

Tillman was known as "Pitchfork Ben" because of his aggressive language, as when he threatened to use one to prod that "bag of beef", President Grover Cleveland. Considered a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1896, Tillman lost any chance after giving a disastrous speech at the convention. He became known for his virulent oratory (especially against African Americans) but also as an effective legislator. The first federal campaign finance law, banning corporate contributions, is commonly called the Tillman Act. Tillman was repeatedly re-elected, serving in the Senate for the rest of his life. One of his legacies was South Carolina's 1895 constitution, which disenfranchised most of the black majority and ensured white rule for more than half a century.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:26 UTC on Tuesday, 11 December 2018.

For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Tillman.

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