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Benjamin Tillman (PS-1)

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Benjamin Tillman
Timeline: Puget Sound-1

Tillman
Portrait of Benjamin Tillman

6th President of the Confederate States
1892-1898

Predecessor: James Longstreet
Successor: W.H.F. Lee
Vice President: John McEnery

Confederate States Senator from South Carolina
1884-1892

Predecessor: Wade Hampton

Governor of South Carolina
1880-1884

Predecessor: Johnson Hagood
Born: August 11, 1847
Trenton, South Carolina, USA
Died: July 3, 1918
Political Party: Democrat
Profession: Lawyer and Politician

Benjamin Ryan Tillman (August 11, 1847 - July 3, 1918) was the 6th President of the Confederate States of America.

Tillman won the election in 1891 by presenting himself as a friend of ordinary white farmers at a time when the Confederacy was undergoing rapid changes.

Young and charasmatic, Tillman was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1880 during which time he helped establish Clemson and Winthrop College. In 1884 he was elected to the Confederate States Senate where he served for eight years before running for President.

As a presidential nominee, Tillman argued against abolition while promising to veto any bill that empowered already freed blacks. While campaigning in his home state of South Carolina in early 1891 he is quoted as saying, "We of the Confederacy have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him." Aside from his promise to keep freed blacks disempowered, Tillman called for the abolition of national banks; the increase of money in circulation to not less than $50 per capita; the abolition of futures of all agricultural and mechanical productions; the introduction of free silver; the prohibition of non-white/alien ownership of land, the reclamation of all lands held by railroads and other corporations in excess of what was actually used and needed by them, held for actual settlers only; legislation to ensure that one industry was not be built up at the expense of another; removal of the tariff tax on necessities of life; a graduated income tax; the limitation of all national and state revenues to the necessary expenses of the government economically and honestly administered; and strict regulation or ownership of the means of public communication and transportation.

Despite an ambitious platform, Tillman found it difficult to get much of his agenda through a primarily conservative Congress and as a result he is generally remembered more as a racist demagogue than a great President. During his tenure, Tillman opposed Confederate annexation of Cuba because he feared an influx of non-white immigrants would result, undermining white racial purity. Tillman maintained the white supremacist beliefs as President that he had implemented as governor and senator and is considered by many to be the most outspoken and unapologetic advocates of white supremacy ever to serve as commander-in-chief. Despite some successes in railroad reform and providing tax relief for farmers, under President Tillman the Confederacy plunged into its first deep recession as cotton prices fell while industrialization costs increased. Because of his disgustingly racist policies as well as his inablity to compromise with Congress and pass legislation to prevent a recession early on during his presidency, Tillman is consistently ranked by most historians as one of the C.S.A's worst Presidents.

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