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“Alfalfa” Murray on cover of Time

“Alfalfa” Murray on cover of Time

One of the very most colorful western politicians of his day, William “Alfalfa” Murray makes the cover of Time magazine after announcing his long-shot candidacy for the Presidency.

Born in poverty near Toadsuck, Texas, in 1869, Murray dabbled in a range of careers ahead of ultimately buying law. In 1898, he moved to Oklahoma Territory, wherever he earned his odd nickname by establishing an effective farm renowned because of its alfalfa. He also created a separate fascination with Democratic politics and played a primary function to make the brand new Oklahoma state constitution in 1906. The following year he won election to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he became its speaker.

In 1916, Murray took an unpopular stand against American preparations for war in Europe that brought an abrupt and seemingly permanent end to his political career. Falling back on his farming skills, he founded an agricultural colony of U.S. citizens in Bolivia that practically bankrupted him. When he returned to the U.S. in 1929, although, the political landscape had changed to his benefit. The starting of the Great Depression pushed plenty of Americans to consider unorthodox solutions because of their problems, and Murray recommended numerous improbable plans to aid the country escape economic downturn.

Campaigning for Oklahoma governor in 1930, Murray portrayed himself as a protector of the downtrodden. His demagogic promises to take from the wealthy to provide to the indegent won him the election in circumstances hit challenging by the Depression. To further demonstrate his commitment to the impoverished, he allowed the unemployed to cultivate potatoes due to the governor’s mansion. In 1932, he produced an improbable bid for the presidency, promising to provide “Bread, Butter, Bacon, and Beans” to each hungry American. More a publicity stunt when compared to a significant bid for the presidency, Murray’s candidacy nonetheless landed him on the cover of Time magazine.

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One of the a large number of local demagogic agitators that gained national prominence in the Depression years, Murray’s political agenda was ultimately overshadowed by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Again failing woefully to win re-election in 1934, Murray spent the rest of his life attempting a political comeback and writing angry denunciations of FDR and the New Deal.

Source: History