Watson, Thomas Edward

Watson, Thomas Edward, 1856–1922, American political leader, b. Columbia co., Ga. A successful lawyer, he practiced in Thomson, Ga., before serving (1882–83) in the state legislature and as a Farmers' Alliance Democrat in Congress (1891–93), where he worked for rural free delivery of mail. He was a spokesman for Populism, and in 1896 the Populists nominated him for Vice President; in 1904 he was their presidential nominee. He was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1920 and served until his death. In the course of his career he published Tom Watson's Magazine, Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine, the Weekly Jeffersonian, the Sentinel, and numerous books, including biographies of Thomas Jefferson (1903) and Andrew Jackson (1912). Watson launched virulent attacks on Roman Catholics, blacks, Jews, and Socialists, and was prosecuted for The Roman Catholic Hierarchy (1910), a diatribe against Catholics. Although indicted three times, he was never convicted.

See biography by C. V. Woodward (1938, repr. 1963).

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