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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

1940 Texas Democratic Party Convention

Carter describes the chaos surrounding the 1940 Texas Democratic Party's convention.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
So, at any rate, by 1940 you had become, you and your husband had become involved to the extent that you began to try to engage in factional politics within the Democratic party at the convention level. How did Maury Maverick 3 get involved in this? Was this in Ft. 1 The former New Deal Congresman from San Antonio Worth, or was this the state convention that you are talking about?
MARGARET CARTER:
It was the state convention. Maury Maverick was in Congress at the time and I suppose he was seeking people who would give Roosevelt the support he needed. I've heard Maury Maverick talking about those conventions in the forties, but at the time, I don't really know how he found us because we weren't anybody. He may not have met my husband until he arrived at the state convention, delegates in tow. (I didn't go to the convention; our first child was born in 1940.) I do know that after that, we began to look into the machinery by which people expressed themselves through the party. In 1944, my husband ran for county chairman and won.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Would you say that 1940 was really the first time that anything like a liberal faction within the Democratic party machinery began to develop in a systematic way?
MARGARET CARTER:
In Ft. Worth.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Had anything like that existed prior to 1940 in any other area of Texas?
MARGARET CARTER:
Not that I know, but you know, I had a worm's eye view of the situation. I didn't know.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
But you would put it then around '40 or '44? When really the clevage here between the liberal and conservative factions in state politics developed?
MARGARET CARTER:
The 1940 state convention was wildly disordered. We think that we have had disorderly and usually ill-managed conventions since then, but I imagine that the 1940 convention was the most disorderly convention in the history of Texas.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Could you describe that?
MARGARET CARTER:
I wasn't there, but I know that we finally allowed some of the establishment people including the late, great Amon Carter, publisher of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, to go on the list of delegates at large with one-fourth vote. It was possible then to divide the votes into fractions as small as one-fourth. Of course, he didn't do it, he wasn't going to cast only one-fourth vote, which was our purpose. [Laughter] But he was able to persuade a good many of the people that we had elected to change sides by the time of the state convention. The elected county chairman, who was of course, looking toward the next election, had promised both factions that he would vote with us and when the time came to vote, the sides were exactly divided. It was necessary for the chairman, whose name was Mr. Kaufman to cast the deciding vote.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Kaufman?
MARGARET CARTER:
I think maybe it was Kaufman. As I said that, it didn't sound very right. I remember him very well. He had a seizure in the aisle of the convention and was carried off in an ambulance to the hospital.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
You mean when it came time for him to cast the deciding vote?
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Well, that's drama.
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes.