John S. Barbour served as a, but his biggest effect on Virginia’s political history came from his organizational skills. Barbour hailed from a politically active family and joined the House of Delegates in his twenties. After four years in the General Assembly, the Orange and Alexandria Railroad (later the Virginia Midland Railway) named him its president. Barbour held the position for thirty-four years. He began his rivalry with fellow transportation leader and politician when railroad consolidation accelerated after the (1861–1865). He reentered politics in 1880 when the wing of the nominated him for Congress, winning the first of three terms. Three years later he became state chairman of the party, now called the , and led it to convincing win in that year’s elections over Mahone’s . By emphasizing white supremacy and animosity to Mahone’s political power while accepting the Readjusters’ financial reforms, Barbour engineered the start of the Democrats’ nearly century-long domination of Virginia politics.