For decades following the Civil War, people used the expression “when Kentucky goes Republican” in the same way someone today might say “when hell freezes over” to indicate the improbability of some event. Indeed from 1859, a Democrat occupied Kentucky’s Governor’s chair for the next nine terms.
Then, in 1895, the unthinkable occurred: Kentucky elected its first Republican Governor! When Republican presidential candidate William McKinley carried Kentucky the following year, the Democrats felt something must be done to stem this alarming trend.
Their cure, styled “An Act to Further Regulate Elections,” was enacted. More commonly referred to by the name of its author, Senate Majority Leader William Goebel, the Goebel Election Law referred all election questions to a three-member commission who answered to no other authority and whose decisions were “final and conclusive.”
When the Democratic majority in the Legislature appointed three solid party members to the commission, the faithful settled back, confident that they had assured the party’s return to power. Actual events, however, would rattle the entire political environment. When the despised Goebel himself garnered the gubernatorial nomination, pandemonium reigned as the Commonwealth teetered on the brink of civil war.
Elliott’s detailed examination of the vitriolic 1899 political campaign, the ensuing assassination of William Goebel and the resulting political and civil turmoil sheds an informative and intriguing light into this darkest corner of Kentucky’s history. The author’s equally fascinating investigation of the criminal proceedings, which lasted twenty years, and the political legacy of this quintessential story of Kentucky politics prove that “politics are the damnedest” in Kentucky.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will also help other communities and organizations preserve their history through Our American Heritage Project, a non-profit organization.
About The Author
“Assassination at the State House is informative, well-written and a welcome addition to the library of any student of Kentucky political history.”-Ron Clark, Paducah Sun City Editor
Book DetailsAuthor: Ron Elliott
Product Dimensions: 6" x 9"
Cover Type: Hardcover
Case Quantity: 20