|Location(s):||EAST BATON ROUG, Louisiana|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
After the Civil War, political machines exerted strong control over Lousianna politics. Louis Wiltz, the Democrat who defeated Judge Taylor Beattie for the governorship in 1879, died in office in October of 1881. Wiltz was a French creole of German ancestry, who experienced great success in the Lousianna business world and became vice-president of the Louisianna State National bank before being elected the first Democratic mayor of New Orleans after the Civil War. In 1877, the Democrats installed Wiltz as leitenant governor, while the Republicans simultaneously installed Mr. C. C. Antoine, a black ex-barber in the same position under governor Packard. However, when Hayes withdrew the federal troops in New Orleans, the government under Packard and Antoine lost power and Wiltz obtained the leitenant governorship. He became the Louisianna Governor in 1879.
Wiltz's rise to the governorship demonstrates the chaos in the South that accompanied the lack of strong national power that characterized the Gilded Age of American history. Upon Wiltz's death, Leiutenant Governor Samuel McEnery took over as governor and held office until 1888. His time in office in considered the period of classical Bourbonism in Louisianna,' and he utilized the corrupted, fraudulent power derived from the state lottery system, dominated by Major E. A. Burke, and the Democratic political organization referred to as the Ring.' Political machines continued to dominate Louisianna politics throughout the early twentieth century.