Robert LaFollette


(4)  The High Tide of the Progressive Era, 1911-1912


1911

West.Politics.
==Jan.10 > Sam Rayburn is elected the youngest-ever Speaker of the Texas House

Northeast.Politics.
Woodrow Wilson begins his political career:
==Jan.17 > Woodrow Wilson takes office as Governor of New Jersey, enacting sweeping reforms to April
==Jan.25 > The New Jersey legislature elects Wilson’s candidate for the US Senate - Wilson routes the state party bosses

Military.
==Jan.18 > Congress finally appropriates funds for military aviation

Politics.
==Jan.21 > Bob LaFollette founds the National Progressive Republican League, advocating initiative, referendum, recall, direct primaries, and progressive legislation

Northeast.Politics.
==Jan.--- > Tammany boss Murphy installs the young reformers Al Smith and Robert Wagner as majority leaders of New York state assembly

Politics.
==Feb.06 > Ronald Reagan is born in Tampico, Illinois

East Asian Relations.Immigration.
==Feb.21 > A Japanese-American commercial treaty is signed in Washington, with restrictions on the emigration of Japanese laborers

Pacific Coast.Politics.
==Feb.--- > The openly corrupt Seattle Mayor Gill is recalled

Pacific Coast.Labor.Far Left.
==Mar.06 > The IWW wins a partial victory in its Fresno civil disobedience campaign for free speech

Latin American Relations.Military.
==Mar.06-07 > Taft orders 20,000 American troops to the Mexican border [night] - the United States is loosing confidence in Mexican President Díaz; rumors of intervention   (see Mar.12)

Enviromental.Politics.
==Mar.07 > Taft’s Interior Secretary Ballinger resigns under pressure from conservationists

Military.
==Mar.12-Aug. > A temporary ‘Maneuver Division’ is activated along the Mexican border - ~extensive field exercises (including the use of airplanes and radio) improve the US Army’s low efficiency

Government.Law.Business.
==Mar.13 > The Supreme Court upholds the government’s right to tax corporations

Latin American Relations.
==Mar.23 > Speaking at Berkeley, Theodore Roosevelt boasts “I took the Isthmus.”

Northeast.Law.Labor.
==Mar.24 > The New York Court of Appeals’ Ives decision strikes down a state workers’ compensation law – progressives are outraged

Northeast.Labor.
The Triangle Fire and its aftermath:
==Mar.25 > The Triangle Fire in New York City kills 146 garment workers within 18 minutes - ~upswing in labor organizing
==Apr.05 > 120,000 march in a funeral procession for the victims of the Triangle fire
==Apr.11 > The owners of the Triangle Factory are indicted for manslaughter - ~they are eventually exonerated by a grand jury despite evidence of blatant negligence   (see May)

Northeast.Politics.
==Mar.--- > The New York Tammany machine yields to insurgent legislators on the choice of the US Senator after a ten-week battle with freshman State Senator Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Politics.
==early.Apr > ~Congress is in special session to consider the reciprocity treaty with Canada - Missouri Democrat Champ Clark becomes Speaker for the new 62nd Congress - Underwood becomes House majority leader; he tightens Democratic Party discipline and dominates selection of committee chairmen - ~the rise of Congressional majority leaders

Government.
==Apr.13 > The House approves the direct election of US Senators

Immigration.
==Apr.17 > The all-time record day on Ellis Island - 11,745 immigrants are processed

Midwest.Government.Poverty.
==Apr.--- > Missouri becomes the first state to provide aid to mothers with dependent children

Politics.
==May.07 > Woodrow Wilson’s famous Denver speech - ~he is gaining wide support as a presidential candidate


John D. Rockefeller

Government.Law.Business.
==May.15 > The Supreme Court breaks up Standard Oil into five separate corporations after finding it guilty of  ‘unreasonable’ restraint of trade - the ‘Rule of Reason’ establishes that only direct restraints of trade are outlawed, making it nearly impossible to prosecute trusts - on learning of the verdict, Standard Oil chief Archbold comments: “Well, gentlemen, life’s just one damn thing after another.”

Labor.Law.
==May.15 > Gompers v. Buck’s Stove and Range Co: on a technicality, the Supreme Court overturns union leader Gompers’ contempt citation for organizing a boycott, but makes it clear that it opposes any activity injurious to ‘property rights’

Government.Military.
==May.22 > Henry Stimson is named Secretary of War

Northeast.Education.
==May.23 > The New York Public Library opens

Politics.
==May.27 > Hubert Humphrey is born in South Dakota

Government.Law.Business.Drugs and Alcohol.
==May.29 > The US Supreme Court orders the dissolution of the American Tobacco Company

Northeast.Government.Labor.
==May to 1915 > The New York state Triangle Commission, led by Al Smith and Robert Wagner, conducts the most thorough investigation of factory conditions to date - ~strong labor laws are enacted in New York

Midwest.Politics.
==May.--- > Boss Cox is compelled to retire - by Nov, the Republican machine has briefly lost control of Cincinnati to the progressives

Latin American Relations.
==Jun.06 > The Knox-Castrillo Convention: Nicaragua virtually becomes a US protectorate - the pact is not approved by the Senate, but is effectively operative

Drugs and Alcohol.
==Jun.09 > Violent anti-alcohol activist Carry Nation dies at age 64

Politics.
==Jun.17 > Progressive Republican Robert LaFollette announces his candidacy for president - ~Roosevelt’s failure to endorse him weakens LaFollette's campaign

Business.
==late.Jul > Standard Oil announces its dissolution plans - the offspring companies will eventually morph into Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Amoco, Conoco, Sohio and others

Military.
==Jul.--- > Dwight D. Eisenhower enters West Point

South.Politics.
==Aug.01 > Poor whites in Mississippi give overwhelming election victories to the racist-populist Vardaman for the US Senate and to the demagogic Bilbo for Lt. Governor - the conservative Mississippi patricians are routed

Latin American Relations.
==Aug.05 > Taft repudiates the ‘Lodge Corollary’ to the Monroe Doctrine, which would have given the US the right to veto any transfer of strategic sites in the Americas to outsiders

Government.
==Aug.08 > The number of US Representatives is fixed at 435

West.Politics.
==Aug.11 > Congress approves Arizona statehood on the condition that it put its law allowing recall of judges to the voters - on Aug.22, Taft vetoes Arizona statehood until it entirely disallows the recall of judges   (see Feb.14.1912)

Pacific Coast.Ethnic.
==late.Aug > Ishi, the last survivor of the Yahi tribe and “the last wild Indian in North America”, surrenders in northern California

Politics.Finance.
==Aug.--- > Taft repeatedly vetoes progressive revisions to the Payne-Aldrich Tariff

South.Labor.
==Aug.--- > Louisiana lumber mill owners begin lock-outs - intense labor struggles in western Louisiana to 1913

Far Left.Press.
==Aug.--- > The young radical Max Eastman receives a note saying: “You are elected editor of The Masses.  No pay.” - Eastman quickly transforms the obscure socialist magazine into a brilliant forum for the left

Military.
==Sep.05-Feb.1912 > Open power struggle between bureaucratic Adjutant General Fred C. Ainsworth and Chief of Staff Leonard Wood for control of the US Army  (see Feb.16.1912)

Aviation.
==Sep.17-Nov.05 > The first transcontinental flight in America is accomplished by Cal Rodgers in the Vin Fiz, after surviving numerous crashes, forced landings, and injuries

Pacific Coast.Women.
==Oct.10 > Women gain the vote in California

Law.
==Oct.14 > The death of John Marshall Harlan, former Confederate soldier and one of the first modern liberals on the Supreme Court

Politics.
==Oct.16 > The National Conference of Progressive Republicans in Chicago endorses Robert LaFollette for president

Politics.
==Oct.20 > At Carnegie Hall, Theodore Roosevelt calls for the popular right to recall court decisions, provoking an angry reaction

Government.Business.
==Oct.26 > The Attorney-General announces a suit against US Steel for its Roosevelt-approved 1907 acquisition of Tennessee Coal & Iron, as part of an anti-trust drive by Taft - ~Taft is loosing business support and is alienating Roosevelt

Military.
==Nov.01 > Large-scale naval pageants are held at New York City and San Diego


Andrew Carnegie

Miscellaneous.
==Nov.10 > Andrew Carnegie completes his philanthropic activity by endowing the Carnegie Corporation with $125 million - the first of the great charitable foundations

Politics.
==Nov.24 > New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson meets Colonel Edward M. House of Texas, who becomes Wilson’s chief political adviser

Pacific Coast.Labor.Press.
==Dec.01 > The union activist McNamara brothers plead guilty to the Los Angeles Times bombing

Politics.
==Dec.04 > The first regular session of the 62nd Congress opens - ~the Democratic caucus takes the power to appoint committees from the Speaker and awards it to the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, who is to be elected by the House - the Speaker’s power is largely eclipsed and Congress is weakened, but Presidential power is strengthened

Business.
==Dec.04 > John D. Rockefeller formally resigns as president of Standard Oil

European Relations.
==Dec.21 > The US Congress terminates the 1832 Russian-American commerce treaty over Russia’s refusal to honor passports held by US Jews

Politics.
==Dec.23 > Theodore Roosevelt has decided to run for President, though he hasn’t declared

Government.
==1911 > 29 states have instituted the election of US Senators by popular vote

Government.Education.
==1911 > In New York City, the Bureau of Municipal Research establishes the first American school to train students for government careers

Far Left.
==1911 > ~Opposition to radicalism begins to rise

East Asian Relations.Military.
==1911 > Plan Orange is completed, which remains the basic American naval plan for a Japanese war until World War II: the US Pacific Fleet is to adopt a defensive posture in the western Pacific until the Atlantic Fleet arrives; the combined fleets will then win a decisive naval victory, probably off the Philippines

Military.
==1911 > The US Navy orders the world’s first oil-fueled battleships (Oklahoma and Nevada, which will both be sunk at Pearl Harbor thirty years later)

Business.Labor.
==1911 > Efficiency expert F. W. Taylor publishes the highly influential The Principles of Scientific Management, promoting assembly lines and regimented mass production

Business.
==1911 > Under the influence of J. P. Morgan, AT&T organizes regional phone companies in a structure that endures until 1984

Popular Culture.
==1911 > Irving Berlin composes Alexander’s Ragtime Band, his first great success

Far Right.Religion.
==1911 > Rising anti-Catholic activity in America: former populist Tom Watson forms the ‘Guardians of Liberty’ in Georgia, which becomes anti-catholic within a year - The Menace begins publication in Missouri, claiming that the Knights of Columbus are pledged to exterminate all heretics


1912

West.Government.
==Jan.06 > New Mexico is admitted as the 47th state

Latin American Relations.Military.
==Jan.09 > The US Marines intervene in Honduras


The Lawrence Strike

Northeast.Labor.Far Left.
==Jan.12 > The Lawrence ‘Bread and Roses Strike’: a spontaneous strike erupts among textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts - it is quickly dominated by the radical IWW
==Jan.29 > Martial law is declared in Lawrence
==Feb.19 > 200 police brutally attack 100 female pickets in the Lawrence strike
==Feb.24 > Lawrence police attack a group of strikers’ wives and children, provoking widespread public revulsion
==Mar.14 > The Lawrence strike ends successfully - the IWW briefly appears to be penetrating the northeast

Politics.Press.
==Jan.29 > The Hearst papers open a national drive promoting Democratic Congressman Champ Clark for president

Politics.
==Feb.02 > Progressive leader Bob LaFollette suffers a public breakdown while speaking in Philadelphia - his attempt for the presidency collapses

Pacific Coast.Labor.Far Left.
The IWW’s free speech campaign in San Diego:
==Feb.08 > San Diego restricts free speech, provoking an IWW-led civil disobedience campaign to Oct - the response by the municipal government and local vigilantes is extremely brutal
==May.15 > Anarchist Emma Goldman arrives in San Diego to support the IWW; her companion Ben Reitman is abducted with the connivance of the mayor and tortured by vigilantes
==Oct.--- > The IWW campaign for free speech in San Diego has collapsed in the face of mass arrests and anti-union mob action

Military.
==Feb.08-Mar.28 > The first serious US Army field test for motorized trucks - ~the Army begins moving toward adopting motorized transport

Politics.
==Feb.10 > By Theodore Roosevelt’s arrangement, seven progressive governors petition him to run for president

Politics.
==Feb.12 > Taft calls progressives “emotionalists and neurotics” in a speech at the Republican Club of New York

West.Government.
==Feb.14 > Arizona is admitted as the 48th state - it promptly restores the law allowing the recall of judges that President Taft had compelled it to revoke before granting it statehood

Military.
==Feb.16 > Powerful Adjutant General Ainsworth is forced to resign - on the eve of WWI, the US Army comes under the military command of the Chief of Staff rather than the less effective administrative control of the Adjutant General

Politics.
==Feb.21 > Roosevelt advocates the recall of judges and of court decisions
==Feb.24 > Roosevelt announces his candidacy, saying “My hat is in the ring” - he launches a vigorous campaign in which he endorses initiative and referendum, judicial recall, and direct primaries, frightening conservative Republicans

West.Crime.
==Mar.14 > Former Hole-in-the-Wall Gang member Ben Kilpatrick is killed near Dryden, Texas, in the last of the old-style western train robberies

Latin American Relations.
==Mar.14 > Congress authorizes a discretionary arms embargo on Mexico - Taft halts arms sales to the anti-Madero rebel leader Orozco

Government.Business.
==Mar.19 > A federal excise bill taxes business’ net income

Pacific Possessions.Military.
==Mar.30 > America creates a separate overseas military establishment in the Philippines - the system is later extended to Hawaii and the Canal Zone

Government.Poverty.
==Apr.09 > Taft establishes the Children’s Bureau, the first federal agency to deal with children’s issues

Politics.
==Apr.09 > Champ Clark defeats Woodrow Wilson two to one in the Illinois primary - ~Clark evidently has the Democratic nomination secured - by late May, Woodrow Wilson’s presidential campaign seems to be faltering

East Asian Relations.
==Apr.17 > The US Congress congratulates China for adopting a republican form of government - ~rising American support for China

Politics.Finance.
==Apr.20 > The House resolves that Presidential campaign finance records should be made public

Politics.
==Apr.--- > Theodore Roosevelt is launching bitter personal attacks on his old friend Taft

Northeast.Women.
==May.04 > The first truly successful American suffragette march, in New York City - ~the American feminist movement is reviving

Politics.Far Left.
==May.12-18 > The Socialist Party convention at Indianapolis again nominates Debs for President - an anti-sabotage amendment effectively expels the radical IWW from the party - serious factional disputes divide the socialists

Government.
==May.15 > The 17th Amendment for the direct election of Senators is submitted to the states by Congress

Popular Culture.
==May.29 > Fifteen young women are fired by Curtis Publishing for dancing the Turkey Trot during their lunch break

Latin American Relations.Military.
==May.31 > US Marines intervene in eastern Cuba, in response to a revolt by blacks

Government.Finance.
==May.--- > The Pujo Committee in the House, with the anti-Morgan Untermyer as counsel, begins investigation of financial trusts

Film.Business.
==Jun.02 > Carl Laemmle merges IMP and other studios to form Universal, which will become the first major Hollywood studio

Northeast.Labor.
==Jun.04 > The first minimum wage law for women and children is passed, in Massachusetts (it goes into effect Jul.01.1913)

Politics.
The Republican Party splits:
==Jun.06 > The Republican National Committee meets in Chicago, and begins denying convention seats to Roosevelt’s delegates
==Jun.18-22 > The Republican Chicago Convention - bitter infighting between conservatives and Roosevelt’s progressives
==Jun.20 > Roosevelt openly encourages his supporters to bolt the Republican Party
==Jun.22 > The Republican Convention nominates Taft on the first ballot - reform delegates pledge their support to Roosevelt and form the Progressive Party: the Republicans split - the decay of Republican liberalism   (see Aug.05)

Labor.Government.
==Jun.19 > Congress approves an eight-hour day for federal workers

Politics.
The hard-fought Democratic Convention:
==Jun.25-Jul.02 > The Democratic Convention meets in Baltimore - Bryan attacks party reactionaries and Wall Street influence - the nomination becomes a grueling political struggle, with Champ Clark (backed by Hearst and Tammany) leading Woodrow Wilson (backed by Bryan and the progressives) in the early ballots
==Jul.02 > The Democrats nominate Woodrow Wilson for President on the 46th ballot - progressives control the Democratic Party

Film.
==Jul.12 > The French import Queen Elizabeth is released; it becomes the first popular feature-length film in the US - ~the American middle-class is starting to view films

Politics.Business.
==Jul.13 > Congress invalidates the election of Senator Lorimer of Illinois for receiving pay-offs from business

Politics.
==Jul.22 > President Taft writes his wife: “I think I might as well give up so far as being a candidate is concerned.  There are so many people in the country who don’t like me.” - he virtually ceases campaigning

Pacific Possessions.Military.
==summer > The Army’s Macomb Board report on the defense of Hawaii predicts a sudden Japanese attack on the islands in the event of war

Latin American Relations.
==Aug.02 > The US Senate adopts the Lodge Corollary to the Monroe doctrine, condemning the transfer of any strategic site in the western hemisphere to foreign private companies - directed against supposed Japanese interest in Latin America

Latin American Relations.Military.
US intervention in Nicaragua:
==Aug.04 > Small American units intervene in Nicaragua, in response to a Liberal Party revolt
==Aug.14 > Smedley Butler lands US Marines at Corinto: America begins heavily reinforcing its legation guard in Managua, provoking Central American protests - the start of major US armed interventions in Latin America - US forces sporadically clash with Nicaraguan Liberal rebels to early Oct
==Sep.13 > The US government publicly denounces the Nicaraguan rebels and claims a “moral mandate” to restore order
==late.Nov > Most US forces have withdrawn from Nicaragua - a small Marine force remains until 1925, propping up minority Conservative governments

Politics.
==Aug.05-07 > The Progressive (‘Bull Moose’) Party nominates Roosevelt in Chicago and launches a hopeless campaign

Government.Technology.
==Aug.13 > The Radio (Communications) Act begins the licensing of operators to avoid congestion of the airwaves - the first regulation of broadcasting

Government.Military.
==mid.Aug > Congress passes a bill consolidating the Army Quartermaster Department: the start of the use of service troops - Congress also attempts to create an Army Reserve, though by 1914 the entire Reserve numbers only sixteen men

Film.Business.Government.
==Aug.16 > The federal government sues the Patents Company/General Film trust for restraint of trade - collapse of the attempt to monopolize the film industry

Pacific Coast.Business.Aviation.
==Aug.16 > The Glenn L. Martin Company is incorporated in Santa Ana - ~the origins of the California aeronautics industry
==1912 > The Loughead brothers form an aircraft company in California - the beginning of Lockheed

Alaska.Politics.
==Aug.24 > Congress grants territorial status to Alaska and authorizes a legislature

Politics.Ethnic.
==Aug.24 > Theodore Roosevelt comments: "...For many years the attitude of the Democratic party toward the colored man has been one of brutality, and the attitude of the Republican party toward him one of hypocrisy."

Government.
==Aug.24 > Federal employees are given the right to petition the government

Government.Business.
==Aug.28 > Woodrow Wilson meets the progressive lawyer Louis Brandeis, and begins formulating his policies on regulating the trusts

Government.Business.
==Aug.--- > Congress’ Stanley Committee releases a highly critical report on US Steel

Enviromental.Politics.
==Sep.02 > Taft sets aside first oil reserve, in California

Technology.
==Sep.22 > 22-year-old Edwin H. Armstrong invents regeneration (feedback), radically improving radio reception (patented Oct.29.1913)

Popular Culture.
==Sep.27 > W. C. Handy releases Memphis Blues, the first composition published as a blues song

Politics.
==Oct.14 > Roosevelt is wounded in the chest in an assassination attempt in Milwaukee - he nevertheless delivers his scheduled campaign speech

Ethnic.
==Oct.--- > Woodrow Wilson writes: “The whole question is one of assimilating different races.  We cannot have a homogenous population and include people who cannot mix with the Caucasian race.”

Politics.
==Nov.05 > Woodrow Wilson is elected President in a landslide, with Roosevelt coming in second and Taft third - the Democrats win a thin majority in the Senate and a strong one in the House - progressive reformer James Cox is elected Governor of Ohio - several states give women the vote - Colorado adopts judicial recall

Far Left.
==Nov.11 > Radicals meet in Chicago to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the execution of the Haymarket anarchists

Northeast.Culture.
==late fall > The wealthy Mabel Dodge begins holding regular ‘Evenings’ in Greenwich Village, providing a focus for cultural and political revolutionaries of all types

Government.Business.
==Dec.02 > The Supreme Court orders the dissolution of the Union Pacific-Central Pacific railroad merger

Business.Rural.
==Dec.12 > Texas Socialist Hardy sees the appearance of early agribusiness as “ one of the most perfect instruments of exploitation” imaginable - he correctly predicts that it will eventually squeeze out small farmers and tenants

Government.Finance.
==Dec.18 > The intransigent J. P. Morgan testifies before the House Pujo Committee on financial trusts

Film.
==Dec.23 > The first ‘Keystone Kop’ film is released

Latin American Relations.
==Dec.27 > Cuba cedes Guantánamo Naval Base to America, indefinitely

Pacific Coast.Urban.Transportation.
==Dec.28 > San Francisco begins running the nation’s first municipally owned transit system

Diplomacy.
==1912 > Former Secretary of State Elihu Root is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize


Socialist leader Eugene Debs

Politics.Far Left.
==1912 > ~The high point of the American Socialist Party

Northeast.Government.Labor.
==1912-1913 > The New York state legislature passes the Wagner-Smith Acts restricting female and child labor and attempting to establish a minimum wage

West.Latin American Relations.
==1912 > The Mexican ambassador formally protests the flagrant mistreatment of Mexicans in the southwest US

Government.
==1912 > The US Public Health Service is reformed and expanded by Congress

Economy.
==1912 > The Consumer Price Index is established to measure cost-of-living adjustments

Transportation.
==1912 > There are 902,000 registered cars in the US, up from 8,000 in 1900 - ~automobiles have become a well-established part of American life - ~the price of gasoline is skyrocketing

Northeast.Drugs and Alcohol.
==1912 > ~Heroin is replacing morphine as the recreational drug of choice in New York City

Photo of Andrew Carnegie credited to
Pennsylvania Department, Carnegie Library of Pittsburg

Photo of the Lawrence Strike from
1912: Competing Visions for America

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

(2)  Economic Turmoil, 1907-1908   ///   (3)  The Fall of the Old Guard, 1909-1910

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

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