Considering recent events of what appears to be obvious election fraud in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, Florida, and likely in Arizona, as well, and the mysterious “finding” or fabricating of ballots well after the elections are over, with the appearance of rigging those elections for favored Democrat candidates, I found this near identical history lesson of local officials in eastern Tennessee in 1946 attempting to hijack elections to remain in power and the response of the local citizenry determined to prevent it.

Shortly after the end of WWII, in Athens, Tennessee, located just off I-75, roughly halfway between Knoxville and Chattanooga, the local government was controlled by corrupt Democrat politicians, especially local law enforcement leaders, who appointed like-minded corrupt deputies and cronies to enforce the will of the local Democrat leaders.

Since the Civil War, Athens and McMinn County had elected Republicans exclusively, until 1936 when a local Democrat, Paul Cantrell, from a wealthy family, was elected sheriff. It was believed that Cantrell won the election by having the ballot boxes switched prior to counting.

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Together, Cantrell and his deputies all enjoyed multiple streams of income, from their government paychecks to skimming off the moonshine trade to locking up passers-by and forcing them to pay for their freedom for invented crimes to receiving kickbacks for allowing roadhouses to operate and allowing open gambling and prostitution. The corrupt politicians and their enforcers also had their way with the local females in the community (rape) with no consequences.

Then came WWII and the boys of Athens went off to war and came home battle-hardened men. The GIs were routinely harassed, beaten, and arrested by the local corrupt deputies and vowed to end the Democrat reign of crime and corruption that had the local population under its complete control.

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After being elected sheriff in 1936, Cantrell later ran for senator in the state legislature, was elected, no doubt thanks to much election fraud, and installed another Democrat, Pat Mansfield, as corrupt as himself, as County Sheriff.

The local elections of 1946 were the boiling point. Cantrell’s candidates represented the establishment, corrupt status quo. They were opposed by the recently returned GIs who had organized an independent, nonpartisan slate of candidates.

On Election Day, 1946, Cantrell and Mansfield assigned armed deputies to watch the polling stations, to intimidate voters and do all they could to ensure that Cantrell’s candidates won the elections they were running in, but most importantly to ensure that the ballot boxes were taken to the Athens jail immediately following the closing of the polls, where, as had been the custom for many years, Cantrell and his cronies would “count” the ballots in secret, with no outside witnesses allowed, and as one would expect, the Cantrell candidates easily won every election.

Election Day was tense in Athens, with Cantrell’s armed guards controlling the polling stations and intimidating voters. Expecting trouble, nearly all businesses had closed and the mayor had left town for vacation.

Then, the first blood was shed. According to American Heritage, “Tom Gillespie, an elderly black farmer from Union Road, stepped inside the eleventh-precinct polling place in the Athens Water Works on Jackson Street. Windy Wise, a Cantrell guard, told Gillespie, “Nigger, you can’t vote here.” When Tom protested, Wise struck him with brass knuckles. Gillespie dropped his ballot and ran for the door. Wise pulled a pistol and shot him in the back as he reached the sidewalk.” Not only was Gillespie not afforded immediate medical care, but was promptly hauled off to jail. (Remember, it was Tennessee Democrats who founded the Ku Klux Klan)

The GIs got their hands on the keys to the National Guard Armory and began arming themselves with high-powered rifles, Thompson submachine guns, ammunition, and dynamite they had taken from the county’s supply shop.

After the polls had closed, Cantrell, Mansfield, and their henchmen locked themselves inside the jail to “count” the ballots. Demanding the ballot boxes, the GIs had taken a position on a ridge across the street and above the jail, a perfect, dominating site, chosen by combat veterans, experienced in selecting the most advantageous terrain for fighting positions.

For hours the GIs exchanged gunfire with the Cantrell gang who refused to surrender the ballot boxes. At 2:30 in the morning, the GI’s used their dynamite to practically blow the front off of the jail, forcing Cantrell’s cronies to surrender and turn over the boxes. Cantrell and Mansfield had escaped earlier.

The GIs counted the ballots and their candidates won every election, returning the local community to sound, honest government. No charges were placed against the GIs. The only charges placed were against the deputy who shot Tom Gillespie. He was convicted and sentenced to one to three years in prison (not enough, in my opinion).

This is how serious honest elections are, or should I say “were?” I am amazed at what has happened in Arizona and what is happening in Florida to overturn, in broad daylight, the results of important elections, unseating duly elected candidates and installing their Democrat opponents.

Of course, today’s Democrats scream racism, sexism, any card they can play when accused of election fraud. “No evidence!” “You’re crazy!” “Doesn’t happen!” And, they continue with this tired mantra no matter the hardcore evidence against them, like the case of the young Democrat in Virginia, sent to prison for registering dead people to vote, a Democrat staple that liberals deny exists.

Like The Battle of Athens, we are plagued today by corrupt Democrats forcing their will upon We the People. The difference may be that honest and transparent elections mattered enough to fight for to the citizens of Athens and McMinn County in 1946.

Will today’s Americans stand up and fight for honest and transparent elections, no matter the cost, or will they allow the Democrats to run over them and install their own evil operatives, the will of the people be damned? I fear the answer is the latter.

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