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Military commander removes Texas Supreme Court justice

October
31
1869

On this day in 1869, Colbert Caldwell was removed from his position on the Texas Supreme Court, a victim of the political infighting that characterized the Reconstruction period in Texas. The commander of the Military District of Texas took the action in response to complaints by Radical Republicans that Caldwell, though a member of the party, was unsympathetic to freedmen's aspirations and the goals of congressional Reconstruction. Caldwell, born in Tennessee in 1822, moved to Texas in 1859, and Gen. Phil Sheridan appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1867. Caldwell's outspoken Republican partisanship earned him a reputation among Democrats as a rabble-rouser; he was the subject of death threats in the Stockade Case, and successfully campaigned for a seat at the Constitutional Convention of 1868-69 despite an assassination attempt in Marshall. Radicals elected E. J. Davis over Caldwell as president of the convention, at which Caldwell led the moderate Republicans. Caldwell died in 1892.

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