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Texas Matters: Gov. Thomas Campbell And The Progressive Era In Texas

Texas State Archive

The Progressive Era in Texas might sound like a contradiction in terms but there was a time, about a century ago,  when liberal reforms of government, business and society were popular. Many of the reforms are still being enjoyed today and have taken root in Texas as bedrock principles of good government.

One of the leading progressive reformers was Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell who held the officer for two two-year terms from 1907 to 1911.

This was a time when Texas was rural, agricultural, segregated and poor. The people were demanding government reforms to weed out corruption, enact consumer and worker protection and install a public education system with a method of funding.

Janet Schmelzer writes about it in her book “Our Fighting Governor – The Life of Thomas M. Campbell and the Politics of Progressive Reform in Texas.” It’s published by Texas A&M Press. Schmelzer is also a professor of history at Tarleton State University.  

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi