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Liberal nominee Douglas Watson.

The 1933 Grand Council elections took place on 16 February 1933, for the purpose of choosing the Nineteenth Grand Council of the Confederation of North America.

Douglas Watson of the Liberal Party, who succeeded to the office of Governor-General upon the death of his predecessor Henderson Dewey in 1929, was considered unbeatable in 1933. This presented the opposition People's Coalition with a dilemma, which was represented by their two leading candidates. Harley Shaw of the Southern Confederation represented those who sought to emulate Watson's policies, while Councilman Bruce Hogg of Northern Vandalia represented those who wished to reject them. Shaw himself had supported many of Watson's programs, including his expansion of the National Financial Administration, though he claimed they had been mishandled. Shaw also agreed with Watson that the C.N.A. needed a stronger foreign policy, and he pledged himself "to seek a more reasonable relationship with the United Empire if elected."

P.C. nominee Harley Shaw.

Hogg, however, charged the N.F.A. with "irresponsibility," and Watson with "pandering to the basest elements of our society." He also called Watson's tentative explorations overseas, "an invitation to disaster." Their supporters engaged in a bitter struggle at the Coalition's national convention in Michigan City in January 1933 that left the party divided and dispirited. Shaw was able to gain the nomination, and Hogg conceded gracefully, pledging himself to work for a Coalition victory.

The combination of prosperity, redistricting, and the high regard for Watson's late predecessor resulted in the greatest electoral victory in the C.N.A.'s history up to that time. Afterwards, Shaw remarked that, "In the beginning I thought we might take it all. Then I hoped we might squeak out a victory. Toward the end I became assured that we would lose by a fairly large margin. But I was not prepared for Armageddon."

Following his victory, Watson pledge himself to a continuation of the policies "which have worked so well in the past, and will benefit us still more in the future."

The 1933 Grand Council Elections
Confederation Liberal Party People's Coalition
Indiana 21 9
Manitoba 20 7
Northern Confederation 17 15
Northern Vandalia 15 4
Southern Confederation 20 7
Southern Vandalia 11 4
TOTAL 104 46

Sobel makes no further mention of Shaw after his defeat by Watson. It is possible that Shaw's seat was one of the three in the S.C. that the Coalition lost to the Liberals, since the opposition to Watson in the Nineteenth Grand Council was led by Hogg. The Coalitionists also elected James Billington to a seat in the Northern Confederation, making Billington one of ten Negroes serving in the Nineteenth Grand Council.


Sobel's source for the 1933 Grand Council elections is Gerald Black's Armageddon, Watson Style (Burgoyne, 1934). Election results are from the New York Herald, 17 February 1933.


C.N.A. Grand Council Elections
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