Connected successfully  The Okie Legacy: Vol 18, Iss 7 1904 Sale of School lands In Indian Territory

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1904 Sale of School lands In Indian Territory


In 1904, Sunday, 2 October, The Wichita Daily Eagle, Wichita, Kansas, page 10, had the following news article: "Makes Reply To Giddings; Everett Purcell Punctures democratic arguments, Lessees Threatened, and Interest of Indian Territory Against Sale of Lands."

Found on Newspapers.com

Enid, O.T., October 1 (1904) -- Everett Purcell in the Events makes the following reply to an address published and signed by E. J. Giddings. Mr Purcell said, in part:

The supreme absurdity of this campaign is the "Address to school Land Lessees," prepared by the democratic committee, signed by E. J. Giddings, published by various Democratic papers.

"The Republican platform is absolutely silent on the school land question." The Republican platform endorsed McGuire and his statehood bill. What does the McGuire-Hamilton bill provide? That school lands shall be sold by the first state legislature, preference right of purchase to be given to the lessee. Is that not sufficient?

"The Democratic platform clearly states that it favors the settlement of the final disposition of school lands by a direct vote of the people. It therefore follows that the question will be decided by the people of the new state. It likewise follows that the Indian territory, being Democratic, the Democracy's position is impregnable from every standpoint." Meaning to convey that a vote of the people would result int he sale of the lands.

Let us examine that contention for just a moment. What does the Democracy mean when it says "we will submit the question to a vote of the people?" What can the people decide? The only thing they can decide is as to whether school lands shall be sold or retained. The people cannot dispose of the lands. As a whole, they cannot constitute themselves arbiters of the matter. They can only decide by a vote as to whether the lands shall be sold or retained. If they vote to sell the lands it is when up to the legislature to devise ways and means for their sale. If they vote to retain the lands, it is up to the legislature to provide ways and means for their retention.

So ... In other words, a vote of the people must refer the disposition of lands to the legislature, or to some organized body, and in all common sense what other body is there to refer it to?

Even should a majority of voters elect that school lands be sold, the disposition would remain just where the Republican party, through McGuire, has placed it - with the legislature.

What do we find then?
We find Delegate McGuire passing a statehood bill, endorsed by his party in convention, which declares that the school lands in Oklahoma shall be sold, under the direction of the first legislature, and we find the Democratic party declaring that the question of whether the lands shall be sold or not shall be first submitted to a vote of the people, and then the lands to be disposed of accordingly by the Legislature.

What is the difference?
The Republican party comes forward, in true Roosevelt style, taking the shortest route and saying such and such shall be done, and the Democratic party, true to its negative principles, taking circuitous route and, after great labor and much bother, arriving at the conclusion reached by the Republican party years before, provided the people vote to sell the lands.

What is the meaning of this?
School land lessees, don't be deceived. The Democratic party is opposed to your interests. If the democratic party desired the sale of school lands, why did it not indorse such sale in its territorial platform, and not indorse the "submission of the question to a popular vote." Don't you know that if the Democratic party favored your interests it would so declare in its platform. The mere fact that it ended the question is evidence of its insincerity. Isn't Frank Mathews, the Democratic candidate, a noted enemy of the lessee? Did he not vote against the McTaggart bill? Has he not frustrated all good school land legislation while a member of the Oklahoma legislature?

Another point is right here: Mr. Giddings submits, and it is the base of his entire address, that, after statehood, the leases may expect the people of the Indian territory - "good Democrats" he calls them - to turn in and vote for the sale of school lands. Will they do it? Every leases in Oklahoma knows that the Indian territory will never vote to sell any of the Oklahoma school lands. And why not? For the simple reason that it is to the interest of the Indian territory that the Oklahoma school lands be not sold, for the reason that they want the continuous revenue of leased land to help educate their children and they will never vote for the sale. Mr. Giddings knows this; Frank Mathews knows it. That's why they placed in their platform that "submission plank."They desired to please the Indian territory so as to be in favor with that citizenship after statehood.

What will be the result of the submission of the disposition of Oklahoma school lands to a vote of the people of the two territories untied? The Indian Territory would vote solid for the retention and perpetual leasing of Oklahoma school lands, a large following of Democrats of Oklahoma, led by Mr. Giddings. Mr. Mathews and other Democrats, would vote for the retention and perpetual leasing of school lands, and the struggling lessees of Oklahoma and their Republican friends, would be snowed under and a perpetual tenantry system fastened upon Oklahoma.

To the mind of the lessee has McGuire not done the fair thing? His bill provides for the sale of Oklahoma school lands and stipulates that in view of there being no school lands in the Indian Territory $5,000,000 will be appropriated by congress, and he intends to work for an appropriation of $10,000,000 next congress.

Who is the friend of the Oklahoma lessee?

We will leave the answer to that question with your honest selves.

Giddings address quoted from one of the Mathew's speeches in which Mathews says "School lands will ultimately be sold," and then asks, "Can any school land lessees object to these sentiments and arguments of Mr. Mathews?" Sure not! But who didn't Mathews explain his vote not he McTaggart bill. Of course, we all know, that to catch the lessee vote, Mathews can now be found mournfully prating in sympathy for them. He is compelled to. He wants their votes. But, when he was in a position to aid the lessee by passing the McTaggart bill, why did he work and vote against it? Mr. Mathews now says he "favors the lessee." Does his past official acts sustain his statement? Hasn't he proved himself the enemy of the lessee? On the other hand MR. Mathews says in his speeches, that if elected, he will be governed by his party platform and will try to pass a statehood bill providing for the disposition of school lands by a vote of this people. Does that indicate that Mathews favors the sale of school lands?

The most brazen thing in the "address" of Mr. Giddings is his threat against the lessees. He says:
"The reason why lessees would vote for the Democratic candidate is what the democratic party will be in control of the new state. A state legislature of a state election will determine the school land question. Even Republicans admit that the new sate will be Democratic. Would the lessees by assisting to elect Mr. McGuire further the interests of the democracy of the new state, or place themselves in favor with that democracy? How could the Democrats of Oklahoma go to the democratic powers of the new state asking for the sale of the school lands when the lessees had done all they could to down the Democratic organization of Oklahoma Territory? How could we Democrats who are favorable to the sale of the school lands ask the Democratic party to assist its enemies for enemies of Democracy the lessees would be if they tried to defeat Mr. Mathews?"

The question the newspaper asked the lessees in 1904, October was, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it, lessees. How do you like it? Do you understand? Giddings says you must either vote for Mathews or the Democratic organization of the new state will oppose the sale of school lands. The cat is out of the bag. Giddings virtually says that the Democratic plank endorsing the submission of the school land question is simply and purely a club. The Democracy stands ready toe other favor or fight you, just according to whether you vote for Mathews' or not. How does that rasp your Americanism? Isn't it pleasant?
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