Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dresden Enterprise Apr 24 1896 - The Illustrated Edition Part 4 "Hon. Rice A. Pierce"


This is the fourth in a multi-part series featuring the April 24 1896 edition of the Dresden Enterprise.  If you missed the previous posts you can find  part one herepart two here and part three here.



Hon. Rice A. Pierce.

A history of Union City and Obion county would be incomplete without reference to Hon. Rice A. Pierce, the distinguished statesman and lawyer, whose popularity just now is overshadowing nearly everyone else in his congressional district.  Mr. Pierce has made a reputation for consistency of which any man should feel very proud.  He has stood before those who denounced him for his financial view and defied them, and now sees them coming over and joining hands with him.



It was in 1892 that Mr. Pierce, then a member of Congress, began his fight for free silver.  He and land were alone in that fight.  Mr. Pierce made a speech which those who heard it remember well, because some of them who oppose him then are repeating the same speech now.  He made a strong speech, but free silver was not considered the hope of Democracy then, as it is by some Democrats now, and he went down in defeat, both in his fight for the free coinage of gold and silver and for his re-election to Congress.

In ninety-two Mr. Pierce positively refused to support the gold plank in the Democratic national platform.  this caused a bitter fight on him by those in his district who favored the gold plank.  He was assailed all over his district for free silver views.  He was denounced by leaders of his party, but he stood firm and said he could not be driven from his position.  He said that the free coinage of silver was the hope of the country and the Democratic party must solve the question.  But he was
defeated.  Another candidate took his place in Congress.  But during the past four years Mr. Pierce has stuck to his views and now finds the very men who opposed him and who compassed his defeat declaring that free coinage of silver is the hope of the nation and the slogan of the Democratic party ?ends of Mr. Pierce claim that his record in Congress and before the people is unassailable.  They point to his public acts. In February ninety-three, when Sherman tacked onto the civil sundry bill the 3 percent bond amendment, it passed the senate, but when it reached the house Mr. Pierce at once detected it and alone and single handed opened a fight against this amendment.  It was a hard fight and there were big odds against him, but he never flagged and kept up his struggle until he gained recruits and defeated it.  In this case as in others he was assisted first by Mr. Bland.  Many will remember the fight.  Mr. Richardson of Tennessee, was in the chair when it took place.  But it was a great victory for Mr. Pierce, and his friends point to it as a triumph for which they intend to reward him.  In the fifty-first Congress he introduced the only bill to bring about a graduated income tax and made one of the only two speeches delivered on this bill.

In ninety-four Mr. Pierce was asked to canvass the state for the Democratic party.  He consented and it cannot be denied that he did excellent work.  He is credited for this work by his friends, and Chairman Carroll said he did more for the ticket than any man in the state.

Mr. Pierce is now a candidate for Congress again.  The selection of a candidate is to be made by a primary at the regular August election.  It is no trouble to find his friends in Union City or Obion county.  He is the head and front of the free silver Democrats They are wildly enthusiastic for him. They declare he cannot be defeated for the nomination which is equivalent to an election.  They claim that he is the only consistent free silver Democrat in the party; that he has won the right to claim anything he wants.  They say that those very men who opposed him and defeated him are now falling over each other trying to get on Rice Pierce's platform.  He stands out pre-eminently as the original free silver advocate in Tennessee and it looks very much like he will take his old seat in Congress again.  These views are obtained from men who were both for and against him his last race.  As to his record on the financial question, even his enemies and political opponents are agreed and say that it "fits in mighty well with the present times."--R. Christopher in Nashville American.~~~~~

Additional information about Rice Alexander Pierce:

PIERCE, Rice Alexander, a Representative from Tennessee; born in Dresden, Weakley County, Tenn., July 3, 1848; attended the common schools in Tennessee; during the Civil War served in the Confederate States Army with the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry; after the war attended school in London, Canada; studied law in Halifax, N.C.; was admitted to the bar of the supreme court in Raleigh, N.C., in 1868 and commenced practice in Union City, Obion County, Tenn., in 1869; served as mayor in 1872; elected district attorney general of the twelfth judicial circuit in 1874; reelected in 1878 and served until 1883; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1883-March 3, 1885); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1884; elected to the Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses (March 4, 1889-March 3, 1893); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1892 to the Fifty-third Congress; elected to the Fifty-fifth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1897-March 3, 1905); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1904 to the Fifty-ninth Congress; resumed the practice of law in Union City, Tenn.; chairman of the Democratic State campaign committee in 1929; died in Union City, Tenn., July 12, 1936; interment in the City Cemetery. 

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