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California History 4

California History 4

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Published by: mia_sarx on Mar 25, 2010
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•Last part of 19th century was age of corruption •Huge corporations dominated economy and politics •Despised politicians

who they saw as weak and easily dominated


Colton: skilled in corrupting politicians; made money from special political privileges he could obtain. Big four: Colton saw himself as the fifth member; newspapers referred to the group as the four-and-a-half Widow: nothing worse than a widow scorned; after Colton’s death she got very little; sued the big four for 4 million; several hundered letters were introduced in the trial; Letters: revealed Colton’s undue political influence; discussions of how much it took to corrupt a politician. Reputation: widow was refused a larger settlement but letters became weapons against Southern Pacific; defrauding a widow



Stanford: Huntington despised politicians; thought he did most of work while Stanford received public attention; Huntington angered by Stanford’s senate election; seat was promised to Huntington’s friend Huntington: angered by university; traded for Stanford’s second term as senator for him being president of railroad; Dear Pard: letters published in newspaper by Stanford’s friend; little effect on Huntington; more evidence against the railroads


Harbor: Stanford wanted it in San Pedro; Huntington wanted it in Santa Monica because he owned land; Los Angeles: LA was growing in power and did not want to become another San Francisco; Huntington tried to argue about private vs. public funding San Pedro: congress commissioned another report; this favored San Pedro; harbor work began






Newton Booth: elected on promises to regulate railroad fares; elected to senate; Colton letters later revealed him as a friend of the railroad Secret ballot: move to have the state legislature use the Australian secret ballot for general election nominations; many other offices still had nominations by party conventions


Background: Workingmen’s party in 1870’s and the Kearney incident; wheat ranches and the need for intense and cheap labor that was seasonal; this created a pattern of migratory labor; it was a world of single men, bunking in barracks while on the job, then shoving off, their belongings and bedrolls slung across their shoulders. In the 1880s and 90s the labor force was largely white and chinese; this shifted in the early 1900s to include Japanese and East Indian workers; and by the 1920s Filipinos, African Americans, and Mexicans. Their was agitation and strife as working people sought to better their lot.



• Craft union • Each trade own local union • Link with other state and national unions • National federations of different craft unions • CA labor sought their share of private enterprise rather than socialist ownership


Burnette Haskell: not a workingman but a lawyer and journalist by training; he favored radical solutions and probably dreamed of a worker insurrection leading to the seizure of power by labor; violence was in the air; a bomb had exploded at a rally in Chicago for an eight hour work day; Coast seaman’s union: sailor’s who quit were deserters and arrested; sailor’s were flogged and had poor quarters; sailor’s were also at the mercy of the crimping system; crimps were employment middlemen; sailors needed crimps to find ships; captains needed them to find crews. Kaweah colony: a utopian cooperative for timber cutting that would help sailors have work. Demonstrated Haskell’s idealism. Furuseth: sailors turned to him instead of Haskell; responsible for the seaman’s act of 1915, no more bad treatment; for many other workers their conditions did not get any better due to an economic depression in the 1890s. Closed shop: unions surged forward in the early 1900s and many made deals with employers to only hire union employees. This is important because it contrast with the practice in Southern CA. Union Labor Party: workingmen’s party part II; the new teamsters union joined with sailors in a general strike in 1901. Two hundred ships stood idle in the bay; again the mayor, this time Mayor Phelan, called in the police to escort non-union laborers around the city and did not support the workers; violence broke out between the strikers and the police; this use of police against the workers again led to the formation of a political party; It was initially successful until it was coopted by Abraham Ruef; 14

Open Shop: the business climate in southern CA was the opposite; employers refused to make bargains requiring union membership and refused to even bargain with the unions at all; this was an example of the contrast between the two cities; southern CA was still rural before 1900 and industry was a recent phenomenon; unions were less firmly rooted in this are than in northern CA Harrison Otis: publisher of the Los Angeles Times and made his fortune through real estate; he used the military as a metaphor for social organization; soldiers never strike or boycott; he talked about industrial freedom and the “closed shop” Printer strike: first example of a conflict between unions and employers; Otis said that printers were still getting boom wages and the economy was no longer as good so a pay cut was in order; he did not negotiate but instituted a 20% pay cut and locked his union printers out; he brought in other workers and even with outside help the strike did not succeed; but it helped solidify southern CA workers M & M boycott: an employers boycott of businesses that negotiated with unions; bank loans were withheld and transferred to other companies; this was more effective than any union boycott; this attitude of southern CA employers reflected a broader movement in the United States; Dynamite of times: a strike by the metal workers; San Francisco agreed to an eight hour work day but said they could not keep it up unless southern CA employers did the same; in 1910, 1500 workers began the largest strike the city had ever seen; this strike was to determine the future of the open shop; the Times was ruthless in its assault on the strike; a few months after the strike began a dynamite bomb went off in the times building; dynamiting had been used in other places as union leaders became desperate to protect themselves against the open shop philosophy; twenty employees were killed and seventeen were injured; a private detective was hired to investigate; three people were arrested and many thought it was a plot to frame the unions, but the three union



Peculiar institution: seasonal migratory labor; not protected by unions and by the right to vote Japanese: with the exclusion of Chinese immigrants; the Japanese replace the Chinese as a source of cheap agricultural labor; but they were the first agricultural laborers to conduct successful strikes and quickly became successful;


One great union: a very radical group which had the capacity for violence and had a dreaded reputation; their nickname was the “Wobblies”; Free speech: this was the time of street corner gatherings to hear various speakers; the IWW would give radical speeches and the city governments would shut them down and their protests that they did not receive free speech gained them public sympathy; Unions and violence: while the unions had a capacity for violence they also had other tactics; when cities tried to arrest them for attempting to organize laborers they would bring in large numbers of outside people to fill the jails; as a demonstration of southern CA employers hostility to the group, during a labor strike in San Diego incoming wobblies were pulled off trains and roughed up, and fire hoses were used to disperse large crowds, one detainee was beaten to death, and another member was shot and killed in front of IWW headquarters; a newspaper in San Francisco asked who were the real anarchists: the union members or the good citizens Wheatland riot: Ralph Durst needed workers for his hop ranch; he sent out fliers advertising for workers and 2800 men, women, and children showed up; conditions were horrible: only eight toilets, $1.50 a day, workers had to pay for their own food and water, temperatures reached 120 degrees; with the help of the IWW a strike was organized; Richard Ford was the spokesmen for the group and was slapped by Durst; the next day law enforcement came to arrest the agitators while Ford was speaking; a bench broke, scuffling and fighting ensued, someone began swinging a two-by-four, and a deputy fired a shot above the crowd to sober them; more gunfire broke out, and the deputies hurried back to their cars; when the crown dispersed five bodies were lying on the ground: the sheriff, unconscious but alive, and the dead bodies of the district attorney, a sheriff’s deputy, and two unidentified workers; IWW fled the scene; Ford was tried and convicted on a murder since he led the strike that caused the murder and nothing happened to Durst



City boss: extralegal figure who served as a broker in a corrupt system of alliances between big business and politics that undermined democracy


Phelan: millionaire so couldn’t be influenced but he also used power to break strikes. Craft Unions: practical effects not politics Boss Ruef: used the party to get people elected to local government positions

Election of Schmitz as mayor: very popular and union labor candidate; in 1905 everyone of Ruef’s labor candidates got elected due to the new use of voting machines. It only took one lever to vote the party ticket. He was called the “smallest man mentally and the meanest man morally who ever occupied the mayor’s chair.” They corrupted every part of the executive branch through false payments and bribery; United Railroads asked for a special ordinance permitting a conversion of all cable car line to overhead electric trolleys; they paid $200,000 to Ruef and he divided $85,000 among the supervisors and the ordinance was passed. The PG&E paid Ruef $20,000 and he paid $13,250 to the supervisors and they did not raise the gas rate.


Fremont Older: when conditions became intolerable San Francisco had been in the habit of turning to vigilance committees, something of this mindset may have been in the thoughts of those who decided to attack the Ruef-Schmitz political machine; Fremont Older joined with ex-governor Phelan, and through support from Teddy Roosevelt, the services of Secret Serviceman William Burns and distinguished lawyer Francis Heney, to bring down corrupt politicians. The plan was begun in 1905 but was delayed by the 1906 earthquake. The first small breakthrough was in proving Ruef and Schmitz had extorted money from the brothels in exchange for a renewal of their liquor license Domino effect: the investigators made major headway when they were able to get one the supervisors, Lonegran, to take a planted bribe. In exchange for immunity he implicated the other supervisors, and Ruef ended up confessing. But the case took on a new turn when the men confessed to receiving bribes from utilities and other large corporations; This changed the whole investigation. As one writer put it, “In the first moment of attack on municipal corruption…[they] had the united decency of the city behind them. From the time they went beyond these small fry and reached up, not for the men who took the bribes but for the pillars of finance who gave them or sanctioned their giving, they faced a powerful opposition from the forces that govern business in San Francisco.” Making examples: implicated big companies like PG&E and the United Railroads and they large amounts of money to oppose their convictions. The trials focused on two high profile men: Patrick Calhoun and Tirey L. Ford. A highly organized discrediting campaign began throughout the state. Phelan was socially ostracized and Calhoun was portrayed as a martyr and a hero for his anti-labor stand. During the trial there were accusations of intimidation, bribery, perjury and violence. The house of the prosecutions chief witness was blown up. Fremont Older was basically kidnapped by the use of a questionable warrant and taken away to Santa Barbara. Heney was shot by an ex-convict in court when Heney revealed his criminal record to disqualify him from the jury and the convict mysteriously died in jail. This brought things into an uproar and



Now we turn to reform movements in Los Angeles. Political and moral reformers: business people, lawyers and journalists who believed that business was the best model for government, especially business efficiency and integrity Social and Economic reformers: believed that government should not only become more efficient and honest, but attempt to improve the workings of society; labor was often allied with such groups Haynes: medical doctor who built his fortune in real estate; first time the recall had been made a provision in any government in the world and was the first to use it to recall a city councilman who had awarded a printing contract to the Times even when cheaper bids were made


Republicans and the railroads: was seen as subservient to the railroad and its allies; Ruef had secured the nomination for governor the railroad’s candidate James N. Gillett who got elected; Dickson and Rowell: two prominent journalists who got together to start a reform movement in CA politics Lincoln Republicans: the name chosen for the reform movement after Lincoln Steffens; they drew up an emancipation proclamation which was to fight for the emancipation of CA politics from domination by the railroads; and to introduce the direct primary, recall, referendum, and initiative into state politics; control of utility rates, outlawing of racetrack gambling; minimum wage law for women and woman suffrage; Direct primary: got this law passed in 1909 Hiram Johnson: chief prosecutor that ended in the conviction of Ruef; he ran for governor who made the mark of his campaign to kick out the railroads and he won the election


In 1910 the Lincoln-Roosevelt progressives gained control of state government and sought to overthrow the old system



State board: provided a state budget and inventory of all state property; regained embezzled money and removed 16 corrupt officials Bank Act: sponsored by businessmen who wanted more economic stability; created office of state superintendent of banks to periodically examine the financial soundness of banks


Progressives held to a positive view of human nature Initiative allowed voters to enact laws or constitutional ammendments Referendum allowed the people to veto acts of the legislature Recall allowed the recall of public officials and was the most hotly contested issue


Cross-filing system allowed a candidate to file under more than one political party and on primary ballots a candidate party affiliation was not even identified; in a sense this tried to allow non-partisan elections; this reduced parties to shambles, favored incumbents, and deceived ill informed voters


Sallie hart: rallied to allow women to hold political offices as elected members of school boards or as superintendents; irony of being elected but not allowing to elect Clara Foltz: first women to practice law in CA who induced the legislature in 1878 to repeal law that had denied women’s admission to the bar Ellen Sargent: her husband introduced the measure that would become the nineteenth amendment; she fought for womens’ right to vote but this was not passed early one because people feared woman suffrage would bring prohibition.


Johnson and labor: Johnson was sympathetic toward labor concerns and under his administration worker’s compensation benefits were made law Weinstock arbitration bill: sought to protect interests of workers by curbing power of unions and employers by forbiding strikes and lockouts in public utilities until after a board had recommended terms of a settlement; this bill did not pass Minimum wage law: for women and children; a third of women workers were being paid less than 15 cents an hour; the wheatland riot helped increase popular support for this law;


Segregated education, limits on Japanese immigration, indirect Japanese immigration, introduced the idea that rice could be grown successfully in CA and the potatoes could be grown on a commercial scale, prohibited Japanese from owning land or leasing it for more than three years Problems of succession eventually led to the decline in the progressive movement




Tensions had been growing over the past three years since the Wheatland riot. This case leads to the Criminal Syndicalism Law. Ten people were killed and forty injured. Could have been a German agent. Probably not Mooney. He got the death sentence. Governor Stephens commuted his sentence to life.


William Stevens commuted Mooney’s prison sentence. Stevens also signed the CS law. Advocating violence became a felony. The sentence was 1 to 14 years in prison. Even belonging to such a group was a felony. Directed against the IWW













Olmstead: he was the first landscape architect. He created Central Park in New York. He urged congress to give the Yosemite Valley to California. No precedent yet for a national park. Muir: never happy anywhere but the Yosemite; amatuer naturalist and pantheist; founder of the sierra club Preservation vs. conservation: “maintain the beauty of the wilderness in its natural state”; scientific forest management

























Mayor rolph: first depression governor; good city mayor, bad governor; opposed taxes; in debt to San Francisco banker Baby: wave of kidnappings; Governor Rolph let a mob seek justice









• 8,000 workers went on strike in Imperial Valley (1930). CAWIU helped them. Their tools were the car and mimeograph machine. Red scare round-ups. Nine union leaders were arrested. In 1931 they organized a strike of 2,000 cannery workers. Police used clubs and water cannons to break up the strikers. CAWIU played a role in 24 strikes in 1933. Cotton pickin strike. 10,000 strikers in San Joaquin Valley across 500 miles. Antistricker vigilantism came into play. Sheriff made 300 growers deputies to break the strike. 1933 group of 40 vigilantes went to meeting in Tulare County. Approached the crowd with guns. One person shoved pointed rifle to the ground. Fired into the crowd of those present. Strike did not have a clear winner. Showed tilt to the right. • protest employer domination of hiring halls. Longshoremen walked out in 1934. They were joined by many other unions. The Waterfront Employers union brought 2,500 strikebreakers. They housed them on ships off shore. Robert Lapham was Ivy Leaguer who represented the employers. Harry Bridges, his opposite, represented the workers. Bridges was suspected of being a communist. Police Chief William Quin organized antistrike force. Battled for a month. Employers contacted the president. Bloody Thursday was an all out battle between police and strikers on the waterfront. ILA office was attacked. Governor Frank Merriam sent in National Guard. In response, general strike in June threatened to shut down the city. John Neylan mediated the two sides. The strike ended. It showed the volatility of CA situation.













Leland Stanford mansion


Mark Hopkins mansion


Hollyhock house


Goodhue California Building





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