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Folklore: Samuel Augustus Maverick 'maverick' term

Alice 05 Oct 08 - 11:18 AM
Azizi 05 Oct 08 - 12:26 PM
Nigel Parsons 05 Oct 08 - 12:40 PM
Azizi 05 Oct 08 - 12:46 PM
Rapparee 05 Oct 08 - 12:49 PM
Azizi 05 Oct 08 - 12:54 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Samuel Augustus Maverick 'maverick' term
From: Alice
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 11:18 AM

I found this interesting article on the origin of the term "maverick".

"I'm just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick," said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called "Maverick's." The name came to mean anyone who didn't bear another's brand.

Sam Maverick's grandson, Fontaine Maury Maverick, was a two-term congressman and a mayor of San Antonio who lost his mayoral re-election bid when conservatives labeled him a Communist. He served in the Roosevelt administration on the Smaller War Plants Corporation and is best known for another coinage. He came up with the term "gobbledygook" in frustration at the convoluted language of bureaucrats.
the rest of the article about the Maverick family

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Samuel Augustus Maverick 'maverick' term
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:26 PM

Here's an excerpt from an online article that provides additional information about the origin of the word "maverick":

" it turns out the word originates, in part, from the animal kingdom. Maverick comes out of Texas by way of a man named Samuel Augustus Maverick—land baron, lawyer, politician and reluctant cattle rancher. Maverick refused to brand his cattle, which in Texas in the 1860's was considered a major faux pas, akin, I suppose, to a Republican calling Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" as McCain did when he was still living up to his namesake.

Sam Maverick didn't brand his cattle, the story goes, because he really couldn't care less about ranching and the fact that he considered branding an inhumane practice; quaint bovine thoughtfulness when you consider that Maverick owned slaves.

Whatever the motivation, his fellow ranchers accused Maverick of being able to claim all the wandering, unbranded cattle as his own, an important consideration before the invention of the barbed wire fence. It was reported that Maverick got into many a heated, six-shooters-drawn fights over the ownership of unbranded herds that might or might not have been his. So for lack of a better name, cattlemen began to call unbranded cattle mavericks and the word stuck.

Maverick's ranching antics may have not been to everyone's taste, but he has more in common with McCain in another historical twist. Though Maverick had participated in the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836, Mexico regarded Texas as a rebellious territory and in 1842 sent troops to show the Gringos they were still in charge. Maverick and other Texans tried to flee but were captured and forced on a three month-long march to the prison town of Perote, east of Mexico City.

Maverick and his Anglo cohorts were given hard labor and endured food rations. When Maverick complained about the treatment he was put into solitary confinement. Like McCain, Maverick was offered his freedom only if he would admit that Mexico had a legitimate claim on Texas. Maverick refused, saying, "'I cannot persuade myself that such an annexation, on any terms, would be advantageous to Texas, and I therefore cannot say so, for I regard a lie as a crime, and one which I cannot commit even to secure my release."
Maverick would go on to be a state legislator and become known as a Texas patriot. For what it's worth, Maverick also happened to be a progressive Democrat. He died in San Antonio in 1870 holding nearly 60,000 acres of land, and of course all those countless unbranded cows.

So how did McCain come to butcher the good name of a Texas patriot and render his maverick-ness meaningless? It's all too evident that once McCain became the GOP's nominee, once his own party branded him, a party whose base is the Christian conservatives, his maverick image and the very word itself began to lose all meaning. Sure, McCain is still desperately brash and unpredictable as the suspense leading up to the last debates attests and more importantly, the grave, flippant choice of his maverick-lite running mate Sarah Palin. Yet there's a big difference between being plain old stubborn and being a maverick. The Oxford American Dictionary defines Maverick as "an unorthodox or independent-minded person: a person who refuses to conform to a particular party or group." McCain has shown that he is not only a flip-flopper, but a sell-out to boot. Perhaps the sad lesson in our fractured political make-up is it's simply impossible to be a true maverick and win an election.

Thankfully, though, with the death and murder of one word comes the hope of a replacement of another to enter the lexicon. McCained: verb. 1. A person of singular and restless grit who, through the influence of power and desire to triumph, loses all vestiges of their former self. 2. A person (usually a patriot) relegated to a footnote in history by succumbing to a dominant ideology that is usually backward in thinking. 3. Forced betrayal of principles".

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Samuel Augustus Maverick 'maverick' term
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:40 PM

So Maverick refused to brand his cattle & considered all unbranded cattle therefore must be his.
Fine, you find them first and apply your own brand!

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Samuel Augustus Maverick 'maverick' term
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:46 PM

The word "maverick" was popularized by the 1957-1962 US television show with that name. Here's an excerpt from that show's Wikipedia page:

Maverick is a comedy-western television series created by Roy Huggins that ran from September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962 on ABC and featured James Garner, Jack Kelly, Roger Moore, and Robert Colbert as the poker-playing traveling Mavericks (Bret, Bart, Beau, & Brent). Moore and Colbert were later additions, though there were never more than two current Mavericks in the series at any given time, and sometimes only one...

James Garner as Bret Maverick
Maverick presented James Garner as Bret Maverick (1957-1960), an adventurous gambler roaming the Old West, Jack Kelly as his equally skilled brother Bart Maverick (1957-1962), and Roger Moore as English-accented cousin Beau Maverick (1960-1961). James Garner was the only Maverick in the series during the first seven episodes, and the show is credited with launching Garner's career. Maverick often bested both The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show in audience size.

Series creator Roy Huggins inverted the usual screen-cowboy customs familiar in television and movies at the time by dressing his hero in a fancy black broadcloth gambler's suit, an outfit normally reserved in western films for villains, and allowing him to be realistically (and vocally) reluctant to risk his life, though Maverick typically ended up forcing himself to be courageous, usually in spite of himself...

Bret Maverick frequently flimflammed adversaries, but only criminals who actually deserved it. Otherwise he was scrupulously honest almost to a fault, in at least one case insisting on repaying a debt that he only arguably owed to begin with (in "According to Hoyle").

Maverick was not a particularly fast draw with a pistol, but like all TV cowboy heroes of the era, it was almost superhumanly impossible for anyone to beat him in any sort of a fistfight (perhaps the one cowboy cliché that Huggins left intact, reportedly at the insistence of the studio).

Critics have repeatedly referred to Bret Maverick as "arguably the first TV anti-hero,"[citation needed] and have praised the show for its photography and Garner's charisma and subtly comedic facial expressions."...

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Samuel Augustus Maverick 'maverick' term
From: Rapparee
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:49 PM

That's what other folks did, Nigel. That's how the term "maverick" came to be applied to any unbranded kine on the open range. In fact, more than a few of the really big cattle ranches started by branding mavericks.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Samuel Augustus Maverick 'maverick' term
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:54 PM

In my opinion, I believe that there is a positive association linked to the word "maverick" because people fondly remember the characters depicted in the "Maverick" television show.

However, I also believe that the positive association that folks have for the word "maverick" as a result of that television show is being destroyed by its overuse {and some, like me would say, erroneous use} as a descriptor for both Senator John McCain and his sidekick, Governor Sarah Palin.

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