History 383 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer
Discussion Guides - Labor, Reform, Industry, and Politics
Economic terms for discussion: capitalism, socialism, communism, anarchy, corporation
Discussion Goals - Labor, Reform, Industry, and Politics
Goal #1: To understand the three national movements that spilled over into California at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century: the battle between labor and capital; the anti-immigrant campaign, and progressive reform
At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century, three major national movements spilled over into California and in so doing, dramatically influenced its political, economic, and social development:
"The Central Pacific Railroad men are thieves, and will soon feel the power of the workingmen. When I have thoroughly organized my party, we will march through the city and compel the thieves to give up their plunder. I will lead you to the City Hall, clean out the police force, hang the Prosecuting Attorney, burn every book that has a particle of law in it, and then enact new laws for the workingmen. I will give the Central Pacific just three months to discharge their Chinamen, and if that is not done, Stanford and his crowd will have to take the consequences." (San Francisco Evening Bulletin, November 5, 1877)
Harrison Otis Gray, publisher of the New York Times:
NATIONAL MOVEMENT #2: ANTI-IMMIGRATION CAMPAIGN - Selected Actions Relating to Immigration Restriction and Reform at the National Level and in California - 1790-2008
1790 Naturalization Act was the first federal law governing the process to become a naturalized citizen. Citizenship was limited to "aliens" who were "free white persons" and thus left out all dependents - indentured servants, slaves, and most women and to persons of "good moral character." The law required a two-year period of residence in the US prior to naturalization and one year in the state of residence when applying for citizenship. While the law was amended many times, it was not nullified in 1952.
1798 Alien and Sedition Acts required an alien to file a declaration of intention to become a citizen 5 years before becoming a citizen and increased the period of residence to 14 years; gave the president unlimited power to order out of the country any alien "whom he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States; and in case of war, allowed male enemy aliens 14 years and older to be apprehended and confined.
1840s-1850s Know Nothing Party gained prominence in the US by suggesting that the foreign born be banned from holding any federal, state, or local political offices. During the 1854 election, the Know Nothings emerged as the nation’s second largest party; members elected 5 senators and 43 representatives to Congress. In the 1856 election, the Party’s Presidential candidate, Millard Fillmore, won 21% of the vote.
1850s Anti-Catholicism was at its peak in America. A dozen churches were burned during the middle 1850s; countless more were attacked, their crosses stolen, their alters violated, and their windows broken. At Sidney, Ohio, and at Dorchester, Massachusetts, Catholic houses of worship were blown to pieces with gunpowder. In New York City, a mob laid siege to the prominent cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul and only the arrival of the police saved the building.
1859 The Oregon Constitution declared that no "Chinaman" could ever own property in Oregon.
1875 Revised Federal Statutes, Section 2169, Title XXX specified that racially, only two types of aliens - persons of white or black descent - were eligible to become American citizens. All Asian immigrants, being neither white nor black, were classified as "aliens ineligible to citizenship."
1878 The Workingmen's Party campaigning on it "The Chinese Must Go" slogan, won about a third of the seats to California's constitutional convention.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited entry to all Chinese people except teachers, students, merchants, tourists, and officials. This was the first - and only - federal law restricting immigration based upon nationality and race. The Act was repealed in 1943.
1884 A segregated Oriental School was established in San Francisco for Asian students.
1887 American Protective Association organized by middle-class whites to revive immigrant restriction endeavors. Members of the organization were required to take a secret oath which revealed the depth of Protestant distrust and fear of Catholics holding public office.
1892 Ellis Island opened as the Office of Immigration's first attempt to implement national immigration policy. It served as the nation's principal federal immigration station until its closure in 1954. More than 12 million immigrants were processed through the station which spread over 3 connected islands with numerous structures including a hospital and contagious disease wards. It is estimated that over 40% of all citizens can trace their ancestry to those who came through Ellis Island. About 2%, or 250,000, people who came to America were turned away at Ellis Island.
1894 Immigration Restriction League organized by a young Harvard graduates who wanted the nation to decide whether they wanted their country "to be peopled by British, German and Scandinavian stock, historically free, energetic progressive, or by Slav, Latin and Asiatic races historically down-trodden, atavistic, and stagnant." League members made a distinction between the "old immigrants" of English, Irish, and German stock and the "new immigrants" from Italy and Eastern Europe. They claimed that these recently arrived "undesirables" were inherently unable to participate in self-government or to adopt American values.
1900 One of the great migratory movements began in 1900. Between 1900 and 1930 more than 1,000,000 Mexicans came into the United States from Mexico. During these two decades, Mexicans made up the greatest number of new immigrants to the United States.
1906 The San Francisco Board of Education ruled that all Japanese and Korean students should join the Chinese at the segregated Oriental School. There were 93 Japanese students in the 23 San Francisco public schools at that time, 25 of whom had been born in the United States.
1907 Expatriot Act provided that an American woman, naturalized or native born, who married a foreigner, lost her citizenship.
The Gentlemen's Agreement was negotiated by President Roosevelt whereby the Japanese government agreed not to issue passports to laborers immigrating to the United States. However, parents, wives, and children of laborers already in the United States could immigrate, as well as laborers who had already been here.
1913 California Alien Land Law passed prohibiting "aliens ineligible for citizenship" (i.e., all Asian immigrants) from owning land or property, but permited three year leases. It affected the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California. The law was invalidated in 1952 by the California Supreme Court s a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Despite the , Japanese land holdings increased as Japanese farmers used various strategies to circumvent the law especially by assigning title in the name of citizen children.
1917 The first Bracero Program was an exception to 1917 Immigration Act that prohibited the entry of immigrants who were "induced ...to migrate to this country by offers or promises of employment," imposed a head tax, and excluded immigrants over 16 who could not read in any language. With "Food to Win the War" as a World War I motto, farmers and railroads persuaded the U.S. Department of Labor to suspend until 1921 the head tax and the literacy test for Mexican workers coming to the United States with contracts for up to 12 months. No Mexican worker could depart for the US without a contract signed by an immigration official specifying the rate of pay, place of employment, work schedule and other conditions. Many of these first Braceros did not return as scheduled and some U.S. employers did not pay Braceros the wages promised.
1920 California Alien Land Initiative passed with a majority of every California county voting to outlaw all the measures the Japanese used to circumvent the 1913 law. In the 1920s, various California Supreme Court cases upheld the constitutionality of the law
1921 An amendment to the California State Political Code allowed the establishment of separate schools for children of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, or Mongolian parentage. These children were not to be integrated into other public schools once separate schools were established. School districts in Sacramento County elected to maintain separate schools in the communities of Florin, Walnut Grove, Isleton, and Courtland. Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino children in these school districts attended segregated schools until World War II.
1922 The Cable Act revoked the citizenship of any woman who married an Asian alien. The Act was repealed in 1936.
1924 Immigration Act established the first national law designed to limit immigration through creating quotas to reduce immigration from southern and eastern Europe (especially Jews and Italians). As a result, the percentage of visas available to individuals from the British Isles and Western Europe increased, but newer immigration from other areas like Southern and Eastern Europe was limited. The Act set an annual limit of 150,000 immigrants; forbade the admission of “aliens ineligible to citizenship” - all Asians, including wives of Asians already in the US; denied all Asians naturalization rights; and prohibited Asians from marrying a Caucasian and from owning land. Upon signing the Act, President Calvin Coolidge commented, "America must remain American."
Naturalization Act amended to give American Indians citizenship.
1929 to 1937. In response to the huge numbers Mexican immigrants working in California's agricultural economy, the United States immigration Bureau worked with authorities in Los Angeles to send illegal Mexican workers back to Mexico. By 1937, half a million Mexicans were sent back to Mexico from the US.
1940 The Naturalization Act was amended to give Latin Americans citizenship.
1942 The second Bracero Program began whereby Mexican contract laborers came to the U.S. with a promise to be returned to Mexico at the end of a specific term. During the war years, braceros worked in 21 (but mainly California and Texas) states where in 1944 alone, they harvested crops worth $432 million. Ranchers paid low wages and provided barely livable facilities. The program ended in 1964.
1943 Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act repealed the exclusion of Chinese immigration. Because the US allied with China during WWII, a quota of 105 per year was set for Chinese immigration (based on a formula set on one-sixth the total population of that ancestry in the 1920 census.) Japanese were still excluded.
The Zoot Suit Riots erupted in Los Angeles. White mobs, including several hundred servicemen, rioted and terrorized zoot suiters for three nights, dragging them out of movies, stores, and houses, beating them, and tearing apart their clothes. The police responded by arresting over 600 Mexican-American youths arguing that they were being taken into "preventive custody." Later that summer, the LA city council outlawed the wearing of zoot suits.
1945 Naturalization Act amended to give citizenship to Filipinos and Asian Indians.
1952 The McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act nullified the Naturalization Act of 1790, thus ending racially-based naturalization ban and the 1924 ban on Asian immigration. The Act was amended to read, "The right of a person to become a naturalized citizen...shall not be denied or abridged because of race or sex or because such person is married."
1954 Operation Wetback began with the goal of removing all illegal aliens from the southwestern United States, with a focus on Mexican nationals. Over one million Mexican laborers, most from the Bracero Program, were deported. Raids were carried out by INS, local law enforcement, and armed military forces. Many American citizens of Mexican descent were deported without cause.
1965 Immigration Reform Act lifted numerical restrictions against Asian immigrants and set new restriction limits - 120,000 immigrants annually from the Western Hemisphere and 170,000 from other countries. The legislation intended to liberalize immigration policy and as such, be an extension of the civil rights movement. The Act emphasized that immigration was devoted to reunifying families of American citizens. Immigrants had to have a sponsor who in turn, had to pledge to support arriving relatives or workers.
1978 Immigration Reform Law was amended to allow a global ceiling of 290,000 immigrants annually. In reality, the annual numbers have been much higher.
1980 Refugee Act amended the Immigration and Naturalization Act, which had favored those fleeing communism, repealed that stipulation and accepted the United Nations' definition of "refugee" as a person unwilling or unable to return to his or her country of origin because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinions. The 1980 Refugee Act also authorized federal funds to aid in the resettlement of refugees, thereby creating a new legal category of refugee, an "aslyee" or refugee who applied for entry into the US while already here either legally or illegally.
1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granted amnesty to any illegal immigrant who entered the US before 1982 and had continuously resided here since. Of the 3.7 million eligible for amnesty, 2.6 million accepted. For the first time, employers who hired illegal aliens became subject to fines and jail sentences if a pattern of hiring illegals could be found. Employers were not obligated to verify the validity of documents. Consequently, many growers simply ignored the growing reality of counterfeit documents for illegals. The law did not make a substantial change.
1990 The H-1B visa program was created as part of the 1990 Immigration Act as a response to claims of an impending shortage or skilled labor. It allows employers to recruit skilled workers from abroad for professional “specialty occupations.” The initial H-IB visa cap was 65,000. It has been very controversial proponents argue thatCongress should increase the visa cap to relieve what employers contend is a shortage of domestic labor, while opponents claim that the shortage is a myth and an excuse for employers to displace American workers with cheaper foreign-born labor.
1994 California’s Proposition 187 made undocumented immigrants ineligible for three kinds of public services: social services including mental health and rape crisis intervention; health services except for events defined as emergencies under federal law; and education at elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools. Required employees of public agencies to report any persons they suspected of being in the US illegally to two governmental bodies. In 1998, a federal judge ruled that most of Proposition 187 was unconstitutional.
1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act increased the federal government’s border enforcement efforts by authorizing 1,000 additional Border patrol Agents each year from 1997-2001; allowed wiretaps for investigating alien smuggling operations and increased the criminal penalties for such actions; permanently barred from the US any alien convicted for an aggravated felony; reduced the number of documents employers may accept as proof of work authorization; authorizes 300 additional investigators - half who will investigate employer sanction violations each year from 1997 to 1999; added new grounds for refugee status and limited the number of such refugees to 1,000 annually; allowed the Attorney General to revoke asylum status if home-country conditions improve; and established a program to monitor foreign students.
1998 The H-1B visa program increased the cap for the number of annual H-IB visas from 65,000 to 115,000 foreign workers who had training or experience in high-tech fields - especially engineering, accounting, and programming.
1999 H-1B Visa amendments attempted to close the loophole that allows Americans to be openly fired and replaced by H-1B workers in the computer industry. In these amendments, however, it remained legal to fire Americans and replace them with H-IB workers. The vast majority of H-1B workers come from China and India.
2000 H-1B Visa amendments increased the number of temporary visas for foreign skilled high-tech workers from 115,000 annually to 195,000 annually for the next three years. High Tech companies contended they faced a shortage of 300,000 workers and a 1.4% unemployment rate in the information technology industry. If they cannot draw the needed workers from abroad, they argued, they will be forced to move their facilities and research overseas.
US Census Supplemental Survey drawn from an experimental national survey showed that California had the most foreign-born residents of any state - 25.9% of the population was comprised of immigrants, down from 33% in 1970. Of these immigrants, 44% were Mexican, 10% were from other Latin American nations, and 34% were from Asia. Fourteen other states have foreign-born populations above 10% - with New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Hawaii following. Almost 4 in 10 Californians ages 5 and older speak a language other than English at home, the highest percentage in the nation - 25% speak Spanish, 8.8% speak an Asian language. Among those who are foreign-born in California, 60% are not citizens - which mirrors the percentage for the nation as a whole and represents a decrease from 70% in 1990. The number of Mexicans in California grew from 2.5 million in 1990 to about 3.7 million in 2000 - a 52% increase.
2004 Pew Hispanic Center estimated that 10.3 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the United States: 57% from Mexico, 24% from the rest of Latin America, 9% from Asia, 6% from Europe and Canada, and 4% from Africa and other nations. The majority live in eight states, with the largest percentages - living in order of highest concentration - in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, and North Carolina.
2005 Minutemen Civil Defense Corp was created by a group of private individuals in the United States to monitor the United States–Mexico border's flow of illegal immigrants. Co-founded by Jim Gilchrist and Chris Simcox, the name derives from the Minutemen, militiamen who fought in the American Revolution.
2006 The Secure Fence Act allowed over 700 miles of double-reinforced fence to be built across cities and deserts between California and Texas in areas that have been prone to illegal drug trafficking and illegal immigration. It authorized the installation of more lighting, vehicle barriers, and border checkpoints, while putting in place more advanced equipment like sensors, cameras, satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles in an attempt to watch and control illegal immigration into the United States.
NATIONAL MOVEMENT #3: PROGRESSIVE REFORM
The Progressives - Across the nation, the government of cities was a conspicuous failure of American democracy.
Goal #2: To carefully examine the rise and fall of progressive reform in California in the early 20th Century
Three Questions about Progressive Reform in California, 1880-1920
What factors brought Progressive reform to California?
Two events ushered in the Progressive Era began in San Francisco: the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that occurred in April was the first event and the second event was the Graft Prosecution that began in October 1906.
The 1906 earthquake. The quake was a disaster - the initial shock started more than 50 separate fires almost immediately by breaking gas connections and chimneys, overturning stoves, and shattering most of the flimsy water mains that fire fighters could not use to put out the fires.
- The fires merged into one giant disaster and raged for 3 days and 2 nights.
- Over 500 city blocks - most of the city - was destroyed.
- Early estimates of deaths were 500 but recent research indicates that as many as 3,000 people may have died and that $1 billion worth of property was destroyed.
In the aftermath of the disastrous quake, San Franciscans did not want potential migrants or businesses to think that another quake could ever destroy their city again. So they argued that it was not the quake itself - a natural disaster that human beings could not control - that destroyed the city, but rather, it was the subsequent fire - which human beings could control with a better planned and constructed, publically owned water system. But to build a new city on top of the ruins and construct a new water system, many San Franciscans knew required ridding San Francisco of its corrupt city government – one that had been in power since 1901.
- To see the "San Andreas Fault" video with photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and lyrics by Natalie Merchant, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a7OizEdAik&feature=related. To read the lyrics, go to http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nataliemerchant/sanandreasfault.html
- For video footage of the earthquake, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQPck2oOdEY (silent, about 1.5 minutes) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z01hhmGnIU&feature=related (silent, about 7 minutes), and finally http://www.archive.org/details/SanFranc1906 (silent, about 23 minutes)
The Graft Prosecution of October, 1906
Abraham Ruef, the only son of a moderately wealthy San Francisco family of French Jewish origin and a idealistic lawyer became involved in politics at the end of the century.
- When he attended his first Republican convention, he replaced his idealism with a dose of reality - recognizing that becoming a boss for a district in the northern part of the city would give him greater power and money.
- Thus, he created a machine in which he became the middleman between the politicians and big business. As such, he worked to get out the votes of the poor and immigrant families by distributing Turkeys at Christmas and helping with immigration papers.
- Few questioned the way the city was run until late summer of 1901 when Mayor Phelan ordered city police to support scab workers to break up a major union strike.
- Some citizens were furious that the mayor used the police as strike breakers and in essence, had used the power of government to destroy unions.
- A group calling itself the Union Labor Party of San Francisco was organized in September with the goal of having union members enter politics to elect a government of their own.
- Abe Ruef, perceiving that he could use the party for his own purposes, threw his support to the new party. He chose his close friend Eugene Schmitz, president of the musicians union, to run for mayor. A Catholic of German-Irish descent, Schmitz appealed to a high percentage of the electorate.
- Subsequently, Schmitz was elected mayor in 1901, 1903, and 1905. In the last election, every one of the 18 Union Labor nominees was elected to the city's governing board - the board of supervisors. Ruef, then, controlled the entire government.
- These 18 men were members of labor unions but knew nothing about running government. They knew Ruef received large payments from public corporations. Following are two examples of the coruption that came with such payments:
- United Railroads of San Francisco which was the largest street railway company in the city, wanted a special ordinance that would allow it to convert all remaining cable car lines to overhead electric trolleys. To get the ordinance passed, the company paid a $200,000 attorney's fee to Boss Ruef who then divided $85,000 among the supervisors who passed the ordinance. Ruef pocketed the remaining $115,000.
- Pacific Gas and Electric Company wanted to be certain that reductions would not occur to the gas rate. To assure this, they paid Boss Ruef $20,000. Ruef then paid $13,250 to the supervisors who blocked any such rate reduction.
Such arrangements were typical of other cities - but in San Francisco what was not typical was that these examples and many others of corruption became know in full to the public.
- And this brings us back to the earthquake.
- With people demanding a new government that could respond to a natural disaster, charges of graft became the second vehicle to bring in a new, progressive city government.
The graft trial began when a reform-minded millionaire, Rudolph Spreckels, pledged his financial support to a prosecution fund.
- A great prosecutorial team came together and secured indictments against both Ruef and Mayor Schmitz that they had extorted money from the owners of several "French restaurants" - establishments that had a conventional restaurant on the first floor, private supper bedrooms on the second floor, and houses of prostitution on the upper floors.
- The evidence was limited, but the detective hired for the case was able to trap one of the supervisors into taking a bribe. The supervisor was then promised immunity if he disclosed every bribery in which he and the Board of Supervisors had participated.
- All the other supervisors were also granted immunity, as was Ruef if he testified against the corporate executives who had given him the bribes in the form of "attorney fees."
- The prosecution, however, was still not able to make their cases in court. Of all the defendants, Ruef alone was forced to serve a term at San Quentin.
- The graft prosecution contributed to a growing statewide demand for political reform.
What subsequently happened began at the Republican state convention in September 1906.
- It became obvious that the Republican Party in California was controlled by the railroad interests.
- Thus, a group of reform minded Republicans left the Convention with the idea of overcoming this control and reforming the Republican Party itself.
- In May 1907, a group of "Lincoln Republicans" was created and drew up an "emancipation proclamation" that would wrestle the party away from corporate interests and domination. Thus, it announced as its first objective "the emancipation of the Republican Party in California from domination by the Political Bureau of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and allied interests."
- By 1908, the progressive reformers, now sponsored by the League of Lincoln-Roosevelt Republican Clubs, had elected enough members of the legislature to begin working for their other goals.
- Soon thereafter they became known as the "Lincoln-Roosevelt Republic Club" and they threw themselves into the election of Hiram Johnson as governor. In 1909, in the first direct primary in the state’s history, he received the Republican nomination and in 1910 he was elected. Thus began the era of progressive reform in California.Goals and Accomplishments of Califoria's Progressive Reformers
Factors contributing to the Decline of the Progressives in California, 1916-1920
Conclusions - Labor, Reform, Industry, and Politics