TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Texas Democratic Party Records, 1998-2003
The Democratic Party in Texas has played an important role in the political history of Texas since its declaration of independence from Mexico in 1836. Settlers from the south and east brought an overwhelming allegiance to the Democratic Party, making it the only competitive political party in the state throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party’s dominance in local, state, and federal government over an ineffective Republican party, resulted in both a great influence on the government of the United States and an extremely factional one-party political system within the state of Texas. In the first half of the 20th century, Texas Democrats such as John Nance Garner, Thomas T. Connally, James P. Buchanan, and Sam Rayburn wielded considerable power in addressing the Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II.
By the 1950s however, a conservative electorate and a growing Republican party in Texas split the Democratic Party in Texas into a conservative wing that usually controlled state politics, a liberal wing that had supported the New Deal and championed the rights of women and ethnic minorities, and a group in the middle. In the years after the 1952 presidential election, a party split began to emerge with Democratic Gov. Allan Shivers delivering the state's votes to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Known as Shivercrats, these conservative Democrats battled the more moderate Democratic supporters of Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson. Although Johnson’s presidency increased the influence of more moderate Democrats at the national level, state politics turned more conservative under Gov. John Connally. While more open to the interests of women and minorities throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Democratic Party in Texas continued to lose ground to the GOP. Along with the election of Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson in 1993 and then Republican Gov. George W. Bush in 1994, the Republican Party became the majority party of the state of Texas. In 1998, Molly Beth Malcolm became the first woman chair of the Texas Democratic party. She served two more uncontested terms until resigning in October 2003.
Young, Nancy Beck. “DEMOCRATIC PARTY.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed June 19, 2012. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/wad01.
Scrapbooks, correspondence, memoranda, and newspaper clippings compose the Texas Democratic Party Records, 1998-2003, relating to political campaigns and the activities of the Democratic Party. Scrapbooks are comprised of newspaper clippings of Molly Beth Malcolm in the news and the 2000 National Convention. Correspondence, memoranda, and newspaper clippings document Malcolm’s dealings during her term as the party’s chair.
This collection is open for research use.
Texas Democratic Party Records, 1998-2003, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Maria Soscia, June 2012. Revisions made by Stefanie Lapka, April 2013.