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Review of Maverick book Austin When one thinks, in Texas history, of Maury Maverick, the congressman from and mayor of San Antonio, one thinks back to Sam Houston and Tom Nugent or forward to Ralph Yarborough. There is no one else like him. He was one of them, he was one of those very few who are greatly bold and greatly right. When one thinks, in American history, of Maury Maverick, the leader of the New Deal’s Young Turks in the U.S. House, one re-lives, for the first or a subsequent time, the times he fought his way through, and one can see now ; clearly, that when he lost, the New Deal lost, and, over the long haul, the likes of Lyndon Johnson won. Maury Maverick fully represented what is great in the American tradition. As Roger Baldwin said of him, “He was as homespun as the Bill of Rights.” He would have made one hell of a fine President of the United States. He himself seemed to know this, and Jesse Jones of Houston was not the only rich Democrat who saw the potential in him and shuddered at the thought. I guess, for those who do not know anything about Maury Maverick, one way to tell about him in a symbol is to say that he was the Robert Kennedy of the New Deal. He was as angry; he was as good; and he was shot down. To LEARN about him as a substance in public affairs, as a meaning, one may now read Maury Maverick, A Political Biography \(UT Presi, $8.50, professor of government at Southwest Texas State in San Marcos. It is disappointing that this is only a political biography it is not much of a book about the man, himself, the anguished, inspired, vain, sober, cosmic man he must have been. Adjectives, after all, are not strong enough to carry such a life from one era into another generation. But here we do have, well researched and plainly told, the political story of the people’s crusader in Washington, the mayor of San Antonio who preserved La Villita and beautified the city’s river, and the chief of the liberal delegation to the national Democratic convention in 1952 that predicted and tried vainly to prevent the political treachery of Texas Gov. Allan Shivers that year. There were two themes in Maverick’s career. As his nobly crusading son, Maury Maverick, Jr., has often said, his father stood for “liberty and groceries.” Henderson’s biography shows that these two concerns hostility toward monopoly strangling the people and defiant championing of civil liberties were Maury Maverick’s unrelenting passions. 18 The Texas Observer Drawing by Bill Ames Maury Maverick In his second month in Congress, he advocated, in the context of neutrality legislation, public ownership of munitions manufacturing and a government-owned “central bank of issue” that would permit “the government of the United States which belongs to the people to finance itself.” As the leader of the Mavericks in the U.S. House, “the Young Turks,” Maverick spoke for a group of from three dozen to three score members who, on March 16, 1935, adopted a 16-point program. It was radical for its time, radical for the New Deal. About half of it has been enacted; the other half has not. Much of that has been won, and therefore sounds tame, was called for: limit hours in labor, insure labor its inherent right to bargain collectively, public works spending to provide jobs, federal aid to education, adequate sickness, old-age and unemployment benefits. But listen to what the Mavericks also wanted: Federal regulation of credit and currency; abolition of the issuance of tax-exempt securities; increased inheritance, income and gift’ taxes on a graduated basis; refinancing of farm debts on long-term, 1.5% interest, and lower interest rates on home loans; guarantee to farmers their average cost of production plus a reasonable profit; government ownership of all natural resources and monopolies vested with public interest; take the profit out of war. IN SAN ANTONIO, as the Depression gaped wider and wider, Maverick had founded the Diga Colony, an experiment in communal living for transient veterans. As an extraordinarily influential freshman congressman, he championed the TVA which he called “the greatest social program of this administration or any other administration in the history of the United States” and vigorously watchdogged public utilities control legislation. In return, the utilities and banks went all-out against him in 1936 and nearly beat him. Henderson notes that a Washington journalist reported that the utilities had singled out Maverick for political death and that Ralph W. Morrison, a Texas member of the Federal Reserve Board, was “reported to have expressed willingness to spend as much as $150,000 to defeat Maverick and is said already to have spent tens of thousands. .. .” By the spring of 1937, the New Deal had started to drag bottom, and Maverick was marked as the leader in the Congress of a group who were trying to move out ahead of Roosevelt on the New Deal trying to get him to lead again. Walter Lippman wrote critically that Maverick was very representative of “the little group of bold and reckless men who have been setting the pace for the President in the past few months.” The reaction had begun; but not in Maury Maverick of San Antonio. He was elected chairman of the Mavericks, who continued ‘to meet in several Washington restaurants in 1937. There was a conference between FDR and the Democratic congressmen, intended to reconcile differences between Roosevelt and the Mavericks, but Henderson cannot tell, from his sources, what happened there the question remains open and worth historians’ pursuing. What had happened in the Congress was clear. As Henderson writes, “In the summer of 1937, conservative Democrats in Congress had begun to break away from [Roosevelt’s] leadership and to slip into a coalition with Republicans to frustrate further New Deal measures.” Maverick was pushing for more New Deal programs. Roosevelt, a conventional politician and the man in charge, did not like it. Furthermore, Maverick had toyed with third-party ideas and had crossed Roosevelt on neutrality and on Roosevelt’s congenital preference for the Navy \(Maverick favored The first week in February, 1938, Maverick led a group reputedly representing more than 100 House members that called on FDR and urged “immediate revival of a fighting New Deal.” But the second half of the Young Turks’ 1935 program was nowhere to be seen; the only remnant was advocacy of a public works program “on a permanent basis.” It was over. The next month, Maverick said, correctly, that the New Deal was being abandoned. MAVERICK’S career, and Henderson’s book on the subject, suggest to me that just as the Negro issue was used by Bourbon money power to defeat Populism, of which Tom Nugent was the most eloquent Texas exponent, so also the