2018 Regional History Series: William Goebel: The Politics of Wrath – Presented by State Historian of Kentucky Dr. James C. Klotter
Thursday, June 7, 2018
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The turbulent career of William Goebel (1856–1900), which culminated in assassination, marked an end-of-the-century struggle for political control of Kentucky. Although populism had become a strong force in the nation, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and ex-Confederates still dominated the state and its Democratic party. Touting reforms and attaching the railroad monopoly, Goebel challenged this old order.
A Yankee in a state that fancied itself southern, Goebel had to depend on a strong organization to win votes. As “The Kenton King” he created a new style of politics. To some he was a progressive reformer; to others, a tyrannical machine boss. His drive for power and his enemies’ fierce opposition aroused violent political factionalism. Goebel’s fateful duel with a rival, his partisan election law, and his ruthless convention tactics led to the bitterly contested gubernatorial election of 1899 that resulted in his murder. Although the full truth about the murder was never revealed in nearly a decade of trials and the advent of progressive politics was long delayed in Kentucky, Goebel’s death did relieve the state’s political turmoil and induce some legal reforms. Join State Historian of Kentucky Dr. James C. Klotter to learn about Goebel’s tumultuous era and to glean insight into the real man within the obscurity of his conflicting images.
A native Kentuckian, James C. Klotter received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of almost twenty prize-winning books, including the standard works on Kentucky used at the elementary, secondary, and college level. Among his books are: William Goebel: The Politics of wrath; A New History of Kentucky; Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox, 1900-1950; and Kentucky Justice, Southern Honor, and American Manhood (which won the Governors’ Award in 2007 for the best book on Kentucky history published over the past four years). Most recently, he coedited Kentucky Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852. Dr. Klotter’s study of Henry Clay and the American presidency will appear early next year from Oxford University Press. Jim Klotter was the Executive Director of the Kentucky Historical Society for many years. He currently serves as Professor of History at Georgetown College and is the State Historian of Kentucky.
The Library wishes to thank The Friends of the Campbell County Public Library for their generous support in making the 2018 Regional History Series possible. The Library also wishes to acknowledge the generosity of Comfort Suites Riverfront in providing accommodations for Dr. Klotter.
Age Range: Adult
Snacks Provided: Yes
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