William Howard Taft


(3)  The Fall of the Old Guard, 1909-1910


1909

Pacific Coast.Technology.
==Jan.01 > An engineering school opens in San Jose, California, which soon begins operating what is arguably the world’s oldest radio station - ~the origins of radio broadcasting

West.Politics.
==Jan.01 > Barry Goldwater is born in Phoenix

Military.
==Jan.05 > The US Navy asks for funding for battleships with 14-inch guns

Pacific Coast.Ethnic.
==Jan.19 > Roosevelt publicly attacks anti-Japanese legislation in California - the state legislature overturns the bill on Feb.10

Technology.
==Jan.23 > The first instance of a radio call for help at sea saves the passengers and crew of the Republic, sunk off Massachusetts

Government.Poverty.
==late.Jan > The White House Conference on Dependent Children focuses public attention on needy children - ~social work is gaining increasing prestige

Latin American Relations.
==Jan.28 > The US returns the administration of Cuba to local authorities

Drugs and Alcohol.Law.
==Feb.09 > Spurred on by the impending international drug conference in Shanghai, Congress bans the importing of opium for smoking - the first federal antidrug law

Military.
==Mar.03 > Roosevelt advises Taft to “under no circumstances divide the battleship fleet... prior to the finishing of the Panama Canal.”

Government.
==Mar.04 > William Howard Taft is inaugurated as President during a violent snowstorm - on the same day, Congress raises the President’s salary to $75,000

Enviromental.Government.
==Mar.04 > Congress cuts off funds to the Conservation Commission

Pacific Coast.Labor.Far Left.
==Mar.04 > The IWW launches a civil disobedience campaign in Spokane after the city restricts freedom of speech - mass arrests of Wobblies to Mar.1910  (see Mar.03.1910)

Politics.
==Mar.09 > Republican conservatives convince Taft to end his opposition to Speaker Cannon in return for their pledge to support tariff reform
==Mar.15 > Congressional special session on tariff revision - after being abandoned by Taft, insurgents largely fail in an attempt to restrict Speaker Cannon’s powers

Politics.Finance.
The failure of tariff reform:
==Mar.17-Apr.09 > Tariff reform easily passes in the House
==Apr.12 > The arch-conservative Aldrich introduces an amended, very high tariff bill in the Senate (though false teeth and hog bristles are left free) - Taft is appalled
==May.04 > Reformist Republican Senators are in open revolt against Aldrich’s tariff bill, and call for support from Taft - the word ‘progressive’ is in use
==Jul.08 > The Senate passes Aldrich’s protectionist tariff bill after weeks of dramatic debate between conservatives and progressives
==Jul.31 > The House passes a conservative tariff bill   (see Aug.05)

Politics.
==Mar.23-Mar.14.1910 > Ex-President Roosevelt sails from New York on a hunting expedition to east Africa

Latin American Relations.
==early spring > Cooperation between Mexico and the US on Central American policy breaks down - ~Taft begins to move toward more active interventionism

Film.
==Apr.20 > Mary Pickford begins her film career at age 15, acting for D. W. Griffith

European Relations.
==Apr.24 > Admiral Mahan predicts in Collier’s that a German-American war is “almost sure to arise.”

Government.Law.Business.
==May.03 > The Supreme Court emasculates the commodities clause of the Hepburn Act of 1906 in United States v Delaware and Hudson Co.

Ethnic.
==May.30-Jun.01 > Large-scale New York conference on civil rights - the de facto establishment of the NAACP

Military.
==Jun.11 > George Patton graduates from West Point and enters the US Army

Politics.Finance.
==Jun.16 > Taft proposes an income tax amendment in attempt to forestall the progressives’ pending income tax bill, since it is generally assumed that such an amendment will never be ratified - on Jul.12, the Senate submits the 16th Amendment to the states for ratification

Aviation.
==Jun.26 > Glenn Curtiss makes the first commercial sale of an airplane, provoking patent infringement suits from the Wright brothers - ~American aviation development is stalled until the First World War


Gifford Pinchot

Enviromental.Politics.
The Taft administration’s conservation policies fall into chaos:
==summer > Conservative anti-conservation organizations begin appearing in the west, with ties to the new Interior Secretary Richard Ballinger, who begins reversing conservation policies
==early.Aug > Secretary Ballinger is publicly criticized by Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot, the government's leading conservationist and close friend of Theodore Roosevelt's
==late.Aug > ~Supported by Pinchot, Investigator Glavis accuses Ballinger of opening Alaskan public lands to the Guggenheim-Morgan interests
==Sep.13 > Taft angrily refutes Glavis’ and Pinchot’s charges against Secretary Ballinger - ~conservation disputes divide the administration
==Nov.13 > Collier’s publishes Glavis’ accusations against Ballinger - Taft is mired in public controversy over conservation throughout his presidency
==Dec.--- > Congressional progressives launch an investigation of the Interior Department
1910
==Jan.05 > Chief Forester Pinchot ensures his own dismissal by publicizing his attacks on Interior Secretary Ballinger
==Jan.07 > Gifford Pinchot is fired by Taft
==Jan.23 > Pinchot is elected president of the National Conservation Association
==Jan.26 > A Senate investigation into the conservation dispute opens - although Republicans eventually exonerate Secretary Ballinger, progressive attorney Louis Brandeis exposes a Taft administration cover-up
==Feb.--- > Taft is compelled to drop a civil government bill for Alaska, which would have put coal resources under Guggenhiem control    (see Mar.07.1911)

Military.Aviation.
==Aug.02 > The US Army Signal Corps buys the world’s first military airplane from the Wright brothers

Politics.Finance.
==Aug.05 > The reactionary Payne-Aldrich Tariff is signed by Taft, provoking public outrage - definite split between Taft and progressive Republicans - increased power of the Democrats
==Sep.17 > Speaking in Winona, Minnesota, Taft defends the Payne-Aldrich Tariff as “the best tariff law... the country ever had.” - ~the president is on a 13,000 mile speaking tour of the Midwest, lavishly praising conservative leaders and ignoring progressives - open criticism of Taft begins

Enviromental.Government.
==Sep.27 > Taft sets aside three million acres of oil-rich land as a preserve

Politics.
==Oct.--- > Taft begins privately criticizing his old friend Theodore Roosevelt

Government.
==beginning.Nov > Croly’s influential The Promise of American Life urges progressives to use the government’s power to achieve social and economic justice - ~the start of liberal support of strong government

East Asian Relations.
==Nov.06 > Secretary of State Knox makes a feeble proposal to ‘neutralize’ the Manchurian railroads under an international board until China can take control (see Jan.21.1910)

Northeast.Labor.Women.
Garment workers’ strike in New York City:
==Nov.22 > A mass meeting at Cooper Union declares a general garment workers’ strike: 70,000 women strike to Feb.1910 - ~a judge tells arrested female garment workers “You are on strike against God.”
1910
==Feb.15 > The garment workers’ strike officially ends - most of the affected shops have settled with the union; among the remaining holdouts is the Triangle Shirtwaist Company (see Mar.25.1911)

Latin American Relations.Military.
The United States helps bring down Nicaraguan dictator Zelaya:
==Dec.01 > The US breaks relations with Zelaya - Secretary Of State Knox calls him “a blot on the history of Nicaragua” - a US Marine force is organized for the invasion of Nicaragua
==Dec.16 > Zelaya resigns and flees - ~the Nicaraguan congress elects Madriz, with Mexican support and despite US opposition  (see May.19.1910)

Politics.
==Dec.--- > Conservative Speaker Cannon strips the progressive Congressional Republican insurgents of their choice committee assignments

Law.
==1909 > The Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice is established

Military.
==1909 > Overtaken by the German fleet, the US Navy drops to third place

Military.
==1909 > The Secretary of the Navy quietly organizes the US Navy into four sections: fleet operations, personnel, materials, and inspection

Military.
==1909 > Chester Nimitz enters the submarine service, eventually becoming the US Navy’s leading authority

Economy.
==1909 > The American economy is recovering from depression

Pacific Possessions.East Asian Relations.
==1909 > One of several American books predicting a Japanese military victory over America, Homer Lea’s The Valor of Ignorance prophesizes that Japan will launch a war with an attack on Hawaii


1910

South.Politics.
==Jan.01 > The vigorous reformer E. H. Crump becomes Mayor of Memphis

East Asian Relations.
==Jan.21 > Japan and Russia reject US proposals for the neutralization of Manchurian railroads - the American scheme has only drawn the other two powers closer together

Politics.
==Jan.--- > The Republican Campaign Committee announces it will try to unseat Republican progressives - Taft cuts patronage to progressives

Politics.Business.
==Jan-Jun. > Taft’s railroad regulation bill meets strong opposition in Congress

Politics.Business.
==Jan.--- > Speaking in the Waldorf-Astoria, Princeton University President Woodrow Wilson tells a group of bankers “the country doesn’t trust you”, upsetting J. P. Morgan - without Wilson’s knowledge, his backer George Harvey cuts a deal securing the support of New Jersey political boss ‘Sugar Jim’ Smith

South.Politics.
==Feb.16 > The ferocious South Carolina racist demagogue Senator ‘Pitchfork’ Ben Tillman has a stroke on the steps of the US Capitol, and never fully recovers

Politics.Press.
==Feb.--- > The Chicago Tribune announces that most Midwestern news editors favor Roosevelt over Taft for president - ~the start of open Republican support for Roosevelt’s presidential aspirations

Pacific Coast.Labor.Far Left.
==Mar.03 > Spokane is compelled to end restrictions on free speech after a year-long IWW civil disobedience campaign

Northeast.Politics.
==early.Mar > Woodrow Wilson hints at a run for the Governorship of New Jersey


Joe Cannon

Politics.
The sudden fall of the old guard in the House of Representatives:
==Mar.17 > Representative Norris unexpectedly makes a motion to curtail Speaker Cannon’s dictatorial control of the Rules Committee
==Mar.19 > Rebellious Congressmen break the power of reactionary Speaker of the House Joe Cannon, excluding him from the Rules Committee and reducing his power to appoint committee members

Immigration.
==Mar.26 > America bans the admission of criminals, paupers, anarchists, and the diseased

Business.Film.
==Mar.--- > Carl Laemmle initiates the star system by promoting actress Florence Lawrence - the origins of film publicity

South.Politics.
==mid.Apr > The Mississippi Senate censures populist Vardaman supporter Theodore Bilbo for allegedly taking bribes - Mississippi is roiled by fierce factionalism between patrician conservatives and redneck populists

Politics.
==Apr.16 > Woodrow Wilson’s angry Pittsburg speech to Princeton alumni gains him national attention

Military.
==Apr.22 > The ambitious Leonard Wood is appointed Army Chief of Staff - ~he popularizes ‘preparedness’ to encourage army reform and expansion

Ethnic.
==Apr.--- > The National Urban League (NUL) is established to aid black emigrants to northern cities

Drugs and Alcohol.Law.
==Apr.--- > Congressman David Foster introduces a tough bill restricting opium, cocaine, and cannabis in the first attempt to control narcotics via tax regulations, as proposed by the anti-drug zealot Dr. Hamilton Wright - ~the bill is temporarily stalled by opposition from druggists

Midwest.Politics.
==spring-summer > Taft and the conservatives fail in an attempt to systematically defeat Republican insurgents in Midwestern primaries - Taft has completely alienated the Republican progressives

Ethnic.
==May.01 > In a second civil rights conference, the NAACP is officially established as a permanent body

West. Enviromental.
==May.11 > Glacier National Park is established

European Relations.
==mid.May > ~Theodore Roosevelt meets Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany: they get along surprisingly well

Latin American Relations.Military.
==May.19-Sep.04 > US Marines intervene at Bluefields on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, preventing Nicaraguan federal troops from controlling the area

Diplomacy.
==May.--- > Taft publicizes his ‘dollar diplomacy’; an ineffective commercial foreign policy

Far Left.Immigration.
==May.--- > The Socialist Party endorses the exclusion of all Oriental immigrants

Government.Business.
==Jun.18 > The Mann-Elkins Act expands the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission over rail and communications companies

Politics.
==Jun.18 > Theodore Roosevelt returns from abroad, and quickly becomes active in public life - friction develops between him and his former friend Taft

Press.Culture.
==Jun.24 > John Reed and T. S. Eliot graduate from Harvard - Walter Lippmann left a month earlier to begin his career as a journalist

Government.Police.
==Jun.25 > The Mann Act: Congress outlaws interstate transportation of women for immoral purposes (or the White Slave Traffic Act) - the first major expansion in the jurisdiction of the embryonic FBI

Politics.Business.
==Jun.25 > Congressmen are required to report campaign contributions

Government.Business.
==Jun.25 > Congress establishes a Postal Savings Bank system

Northeast.Politics.
==Jun.26 > Woodrow Wilson and Boss Smith of New Jersey have a wary meeting - Wilson is offered the gubernatorial nomination and a later shot at the presidency

Government.Business.
==Jun.--- > Taft reverses himself and orders an antitrust investigation of US Steel after urgings from Congress

Pacific Coast.Politics.
==Jun.--- > Hiram Johnson leads progressives in breaking the Southern Pacific Railroad’s hold on the California Republican Party - ~the progressive insurgency is spreading throughout the United States

Sports.Ethnic.
==Jul.04 > Black fighter Jack Johnson beats ‘great white hope’ Jim Jeffries in Reno and retains the heavyweight boxing title - widespread race riots

Northeast.Politics.
==Jul.12 > Princeton President Woodrow Wilson enters politics, announcing his bid for the Governorship of New Jersey

Pacific Coast.Labor.
==Jul.16 > The Los Angeles City Council bans picketing in a crackdown on a metalworkers’ strike - severe labor unrest in Los Angeles to 1911  (see Oct.01)

Politics.
==summer > Taft is openly campaigning against Congressional Republican progressives, who begin to consider forming a third party in 1912 if Taft captures the Republican nomination

South.Politics.
==Jul.--- > Sixteen-year-old Huey P. Long begins a career as a traveling salesman in northern Louisiana


Hiram Johnson

Pacific Coast.Politics.Press.
==Aug.08 > Progressive California gubernatorial candidate Hiram Johnson calls the ultra-conservative Los Angeles Times President Otis “vile, infamous, degraded and putrescence [sic]” with “senile dementia, gangrened heart and rotting brain.” - Johnson does not receive the Times’ endorsement

Northeast.Politics.
==Aug.09 > Capable New York City Mayor Gaynor is wounded in an assassination attempt and grows unstable

Politics.
==Aug.31 > Theodore Roosevelt is re-entering politics - he advocates the ‘New Nationalism’ in a speech in Ossawatomie, Kansas, advocating tariff revision, increased Federal control of working conditions, subordination of the Federal courts to the President and Congress - ~his efforts to heal the split in the Republican Party fail

Northeast.Labor.
==Aug.--- > US Steel defeats the longest strike in the history of the steel industry - ~Bethlehem Steel announces that it will no longer deal with unions - ~the steelworkers' unions are effectively destroyed for years to come

South.Religion.
==Aug.--- > The former Georgia populist Tom Watson begins a concerted campaign against Catholicism to 1917, declining into paranoid demagoguery

West.Ethnic.
==Aug.--- > A grandfather clause amended to the Oklahoma constitution disenfranchises black voters

Sports.
==late summer > Attendance at the World Series is double that of 1908 - ~American mass enthusiasm for sports is rapidly rising

Northeast.Politics.
==Sep.15 > Woodrow Wilson is nominated for Governor of New Jersey with the support of the Democratic Party bosses - he reconciles progressives with a dynamic acceptance speech and launches a spirited campaign

Pacific Coast.Labor.Far Left.
==early fall > The radical IWW launches its second free speech civil disobedience campaign in Fresno - mass arrests to Mar.1911  (see Mar.06.1911)

Pacific Coast.Labor.Press.
==Oct.01 > Union supporters bomb the conservative Los Angeles Times, killing 21 - the reaction to the bombing consolidates the conservative grip on Los Angeles; the power of local unions is broken for decades   (see Dec.01.1911)

Law.
==Oct.10 > Progressive Republican Charles Evans Hughes is sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice

Northeast.Politics.
==fall > John Fitzgerald, the grandfather of future president John F. Kennedy, is elected Mayor of Boston

Northeast.Politics.
==fall > Fiorella La Guardia begins practicing law among the impoverished immigrants of the Lower East Side of New York City

Politics.
==Nov.08 > US midterm elections: Democratic landslide resulting in the first Democratic House since 1894; Democrats and progressive Republicans dominate the Senate - a Democratic Party revival is underway; Bryan’s influence is beginning to decline - the first Socialist is elected to Congress (Berger from Wisconsin) - arch-conservative Senator Nelson Aldrich retires - Woodrow Wilson is elected Governor of New Jersey - Henry Stimson is defeated in the race for Governor of New York, despite Theodore Roosevelt’s support - progressives Hiram Johnson and West are elected Governors of California and Oregon - the young Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected to the New York State Senate - Oregon adopts a presidential primary - Washington state grants women the vote - Socialists gain control of Milwaukee and clean up the municipal government

Latin American Relations.
==Nov.20 > Madero revolts against the Díaz regime: revolution in Mexico to 1920

European Relations.Military.
==Nov.--- > The US Fleet visits Britain for three weeks - the influential American Admiral William Sims publicly states that if Britain is attacked, “its people may count upon every man, every dollar, every ship and every drop of blood of their kinsmen across the ocean.” - ~Taft later publicly rebukes Sims for the unauthorized comments

Government.Finance.
==Nov.--- > Morgan and other leading bankers secretly meet at Jekyll Island, Georgia, to formulate plans for a privately controlled US central bank

Far Right.Far Left.
==Nov.--- > A lecture by anti-porn crusader and arch-prude Anthony Comstock is cleverly heckled by Emma Goldman and her fellow anarchists - Comstock is stumped when asked if children should visit art museums

Government.Immigration.
==Dec.05 > After four years of work, the Immigration Commission submits a 41-volume report recommending restrictions, especially on unskilled laborers

Northeast.Politics.
==Dec.09 > Woodrow Wilson publicly comes out against the New Jersey Democratic Party machine, vigorously opposing his former ally ‘Sugar Jim’ Smith’s bid for the US Senate

Pacific Coast.Labor.
==Dec.25 > The strike-plagued Llewellyn Ironworks in Los Angeles is damaged by a bomb

Politics.
==late.Dec > The start of a movement to gain the Republican nomination for the progressive Robert LaFollette

West.Politics.
==1910 > The reformer Shafroth is elected Governor of Colorado

Midwest.Politics.
==1910 > The durable political boss Tom Pendergast begins his political career by securing election to the Kansas City council, taking over his dying brother’s seat and political faction

South.Politics.
==1910-1914 > The disreputable, ultra-racist, anti-reform demagogue Coleman Blease becomes Governor of South Carolina

Military.
==1910-1914 > Hunter Liggett heads the US Army War College, where he transforms and modernizes officers’ education

Military.
==1910 > The US Marines organize a force to seize and defend advanced naval bases

Economy.
==1910 > America is in recession to 1911

Business.Transportation.
==1910 > America is making as many cars as all the rest of the world combined

Pacific Coast.Business.
==1910 > California produces 73 million barrels of oil, more than any foreign nation and 22% of the world’s total production

Northeast.Labor.
==1910 > New York passes an employer liability act - other states soon follow

Labor.
==1910 > 8.3 million Americans are employed in manufacturing - 40% more than in 1900 - the average American worker earns under $15 for a 54-60 hour week

Midwest.Women.
==1910 > The Attorney General of Kansas decrees that women may wear trousers

Northeast.Urban.
==1910 > New York City’s population has increased 66% in ten years, to almost five million.

South.Ethnic.
==1910 > ~The great migration of blacks from the south begins: by 1930 over a million will have moved to northern cities

Education.
==1910 > Less than half the adult American population has had a grade-school education - only 4% have college degrees

Culture.
==1910 > ~Bohemianism begins to appear in some large American cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and St. Louis

Popular Culture.
==1910 > The word ‘blues’ is in fairly common use, as the musical form begins to crystallize

Crime.
==1910 > A survey of 72 American cities finds that 33 have distinct red-light districts - ~the rise of vice commissions and red-light abatement campaigns; many red light districts are closed down by 1917 - ~the decline of brothels; increased street-walking

Drugs and Alcohol.Law.
==1910 > New York City passes the first law against drunk driving

Drugs and Alcohol.
==1910 > ~Cigarettes rapidly replace chewing tobacco and cigars as the most popular way for Americans to consume tobacco

Drugs and Alcohol.
==1910 > ~The first reports of marijuana use in America: it appears in border towns in Texas and New Mexico and among blacks in New Orleans

Enviromental.
==1910 > Steinmetz warns of the dangers of air pollution from burning coal and of water pollution from sewage discharges into rivers

Photograph of William Howard Taft from
1912: Competing Visions for America

Portrait of Gifford Pinchot from
Grey Towers National Historic Landmark

Portrait of Joe Cannon from
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
 
 

 United States, 1904-1914: Introduction   ///   (1)  The Height of the Roosevelt Era, 1904-1906

(2)  Economic Turmoil, 1907-1908   ///   (4)  The High Tide of the Progressive Era, 1911-1912

(5)  The Beginning of Wilson's Presidency, 1913-1914   /// Biographies & Glossary
 

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