Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The Democratic party and the combined Republican and Readjuster parties were approximately equal in strength in Virginia in the 1880's, the elections being won by majorities or a few thousand votes. By 1890, however, the Democratic party was in command of most branches of' the government and appeared determined to perpetuate itself in power, In the years following 1890 there arose a relatively latent political figure who, through the powerful Democratic organization and with the able assistance of his lieutenants, influenced the political affairs of Virginia to such an extent that opposition offered only token resistance. From the time he was first chosen to represent Virginie. in the United States Senate in 1893 until the end of his senatorial career in 1919, Thomas Staples Martin prevailed significantly in Virginia as well as National matters, and it is with this period that the writer is concerned.

While this paper will include some aspects of the Democratic party in Virginia as well as touch upon some political and diplomatic areas of Virginia and the nation, this study does not attempt to be a definitive work in either phase. Rather, this paper concerns itself with Thomas s. Martin as a United States Senator and. incidentally those areas of local and national life which his career affected.

The chief sources or information for this study have been state newspapers, personal papers and accounts, and government publications. The study also includes material obtained by correspondence end interviews with persons familiar with Senator Martin's career. Efforts were to secure the Senator's personal papers, but with little success. While there is a collection of newspaper clippings end letters of Martin in the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia, it is an incomplete set as far as pertinent personal correspondence is concerned. Senator Martin's own personal papers, if they exist, were not available for study, and thus many of the Senator's feelings and attitudes on domestic and national issues during his career that possibly may have been revealed through his personal correspondence remain untouched.