Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who Let All These Democrats into Pennsylvania?

Renee M. Lamis. The Realignment of Pennsylvania State Politics Since 1960: Two-Party Competition in a Battleground State. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009.

The author argues that the cultural wars in the 1960s over social issues created a political realignment in Pennsylvania. The Republicans gained electoral success by taking conservative positions on these cultural issues. Meanwhile, several groups that were in the minority opinions, many of whom were African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and educated women, were capable of forming a collation that could make the Democrats winners in elections. Thus, the political realignment that helped Republicans on conservative social values has now led to helping Democrats on liberal social values.

The relative cultural conservatism found among Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania votes is creating electoral gains for Republicans. The Philadelphia suburbs are becoming relatively more liberal and tending to vote more for Democrats

Rob Speel notes that conservative politics that help Republicans in Southern states hurt them in other states. Pennsylvania voters more often split their votes between candidates of both parties and do so rationally. A national political realignment does not mean it occurs in the same way in each state.

Pennsylvania is part of the Northeast states where Democrats carried at least three of the past five Presidential elections. This is a geographic area from West Virginia to Maryland through Maine.

Pennsylvania has tiled towards Democrats in Presidential elections (i.e. in 1960, Pennsylvania was Kennedy 51.1%, Nixon 48.8%; in 1968 was Humphrey 47.6%, Nixon 44.0%, in 1976 was Carter 50.4%, Ford 47.7%, in 2000 was Gore 50.6%, Bush 46.6%, and in 2004 was Kerry 51.0%, Bush 48.5%).

The counties that have changed the most politically over past years are in southeast Pennsylvania. These are the suburban counties of Montgomery, Delaware, and Bush as well as Lehigh. These counties went strongly for Nixon but were carried by Kerry.

In contrast, several south central counties that were Republican in the 1960s became more Republican in 2004. These are Bedford, York. Franklin, Fulton, and Juniata.

Several counties in southwestern Pennsylvania that were Democratic in 1960 yet much less Democratic in 2004 are Washington, Fayette, and Greene.

Republicans fared better in Pennsylvania statewide office elections than they did in Presidential voting.

In 1960, Pennsylvania had one Democratic and one Republican U.S. Senator, 16 Republican and 14 Democrats members of the U.S. House, the State Senate was even politically, and the State House was 51.9% Democratic. This compares to 1928 when Democrats had no U.S. House members from Pennsylvania, 12.0% of State Senate seats, and 7.7% of State House seats.

Pennsylvania tended to elect Republicans who were more liberal than most other national Republicans, such as Hugh Scott, Bill Scranton, John Heinz, Richard Schweiker, Arlen Specter, and Tom Ridge. Rick Santorum was the only conservative Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania.

59% of white Pennsylvania Democrats were regular church goers in 1968. In 2004, 36% of white Pennsylvania Democrats were regular church attendees.

Among white voters, 48% of Pennsylvanians voted for Obama in 2008 compared to 11% in Mississippi and 10% in Alabama.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How Republicans Figured Out How to Run Philadelphia Politics

James Wolfinger. Philadelphia Divided: Race and Politics in the City of Brotherly Love. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

This book observed how the Republican Party in Philadelphia in the 1930s through the 1959s used racial issues to their electoral advantage. They used the increased competition for jobs and housing to appeal to white voters who were upset over the New Deal programs of Democrats that were improving the standing of African Americans. The basis of modern liberalism is rooted in these New Deal efforts, plus, those opposing using tax dollars being spent on others formed the basis of modern conservatism, according to the author.

Philadelphia Republican leaders presented their party as one representing the interests of working class whites who were being overwhelmed by taxes for new programs that were demanded by Black voters. While this was a recognized tactic by the national Republican Party in the 1960s, Philadelphia Republicans used this appeal to control city politics from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Housing issues were very racially sensitive. Blacks moving into Philadelphia neighborhoods that were mostly Irish American or Italian American could spark riots. Whites were found to fear Black neighbors would bring increased crime and sexual promiscuity into their communities. White also believed Black neighbors would lower property values. Meanwhile, Blacks demanded an end to discrimination against them as well as housing desegregation.

When Blacks sought to enter employment in all-white Philadelphia industries, white employees responded with strikes and physical threats against Black job seekers.
These divisions in Philadelphia prevented the creation of a liberal alliance between Blacks and whites that was created in other cities. Philadelphia had one of the largest Black populations of northern cities. Democrats sought to appeal to this large Black vote. Republicans used racial appeals in their Philadelphia campaigns. Philadelphia Republicans did not rely much on the national Republican tactic of charging that communism was a part of the New Deal. This charge worked in other parts of the country but was found to have made little impact in Philadelphia. It was the racial issues that dominated Philadelphia politics then.

In 1850, 70,000 of Philadelphia’s 400,000 population were Irish born,. By the mid-20th century, most of the Philadelphia Irish American were home owners.

In 1870, there were 500 Italians in Philadelphia, in 1910 there were 45,000, and in 1920 there were 65,000. Many found low wage jobs in railroads, mills, and the city’s street cleaning operations. Cardinal Dennis Dougherty created 15 Italian parishes in the late 1920s and placed Irish priests in each in order to “Americanize” the Italians. Many Italians resented this.

Early Jewish immigrants were from Germany and to a lesser degree from Eastern Europe. In 1882, there was an influx of Eastern European Jews. Philadelphia had 93,000 foreign born Jews plus 100,000 city born Jews in 1920. Many Jews became garment workers and peddlers. Militant garment workers unions formed alliances with Jewish, Italians, and African American female employees.

A coalition between Blacks and Jewish leaders supported the NAACP. The author notes there were Blacks who complained about not being hired by some Jewish merchants. There were also tensions between some Jewish landlords who bought properties in Black neighborhoods and their African American tenants. The Black oriented newspaper Philadelphia Tribune labeled Jews as “dollar crazy who were always prepared to invade Black communities.”

In 1918, Blacks moved into homes bordering small Black residential areas. This led to rioting and an attempted lynching. The Klan became more active in Philadelphia. The Klan’s anti-Catholic beliefs caused it to be ignored by mostly Catholic Irish and Italian Americans in Philadelphia.

Unemployment among Blacks was 24% in 1927 and 61% after the Depression hit. An organization dedicated to finding employment for Blacks, the Armstrong Association, could only find jobs for 3.9% of those who applied.

The percent of Philadelphia’s workforce who were in unions never exceeded 10% during the 1930s. Employers actively sought to fight unionization through court actions to using state police and their own private police.

Free market Republicans formed a political faction led by Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association leaders Joseph Grundy and G. Mason Owlett as well as Sun Oil Company’s Joseph Pew. The Republican Party machine operations were led by William Vare. The machine registered fake voters, paid voters at the polls to vote Republican, and beat up and imprisoned Democratic election day workers.

Pennsylvania was a historic Republican state. From 1893 to 1931, Republicans won 95 of 96 statewide elections.

The Philadelphia Republican Party cemented support with business interests. The business leaders let the Vares run city government in return for the nominating pro-business, pro-high tariff candidates.

Philadelphia remained Republican, during the 1932 national landslide victory of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt for President, by giving Republican Herbert Hoover a 70,000 vote edge among Philadelphia voters. This was a fraction of the normal Republican margin in the city. Roosevelt carried Pittsburgh as well as many other urban areas. Roosevelt carried Philadelphia in his 1936 landslide by 210,000 votes.
The Central Labor Union of the AFL fought home foreclosures and utility shutoffs. Businesses sought help from Republican Judges to lock out union workers, halt their organizing, and to ignore when violence was used against union members. In 1930, when three strikers were shot, riots resulted. Sit down strikes in 1937 were more successful in gaining union demands.

Blacks were under 1% of union membership from 1900 to 1935.

The New Deal jobs programs employed 30% of South Philadelphia Italian heads of households. 10% of Philadelphia Works Program Administration (WPA) jobs went to Blacks, who then were 7.6% of the city population.

Philadelphia Democrats realized they needed the votes of Blacks to win city elections. Blacks demanded fair treatment from Democratic leaders. Blacks were named to Delegate positions.

Philadelphia Republican leaders resisted Roosevelt’s jobs programs. Mayor J. Hampton Moore turned down building a city airport and putting in sewer lines that would have used WPA jobs.

Philadelphia Republicans turned to racist campaigning. They distributed literature to white voters warning of rising Black power that had a photograph of Black Democratic State Rep. Marshall Shepard. The brochure asked “should you white people have Black representation? Register and vote Republican and do away with these things.”

A collapse of tenement housing in 1936 killed six and hospitalized 20 more. This led to Blacks demanding more action on better housing. Budget restraints had reduced the city to seven housing inspectors despite state law providing for 24 inspectors. Democratic leaders called for more slum clearance and more public housing. Labor leaders saw a housing program as creating more jobs.

Walter Thomas of the City Planning Commission urged Philadelphia create areas for Blacks that would preserve “the wholesome effect” on white property values. Blacks were kept out of housing projects meant for wite residents, such as Tasker Homes.
The segregation of housing resulte din keeping Blacks distances from where most jobs and good schools were.

Republican Mayor Robert Lamberto stopped requesting Federal housing in 1940. This was a blend of fiscal conservatism and racism. Housing advocates argued only 3,000 units had been built when 50,000 were needed.

Race relations between Italian Americans and Blacks became further strained in 1935 when Italy invaded Ethopia. Blacks viewed this as a symbol of intolerance. In 1939, Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. James Davis spoke at a Bund German Day meeting, which had pro-Hitler sentiment. This further divided racial politics in Philadelphia.

Bernard Samuel was a Republican who was elected Philadelphia Mayor in 1941 by fighting against more public housing for Blacks and for being against a Fair Employment Practices Committee.

Racial tension flared in 1942. Blacks felt Major Samuel and Republican leaders had acted slowly in preventing rioting against Blacks.

A 1941 to 1943 study found about 75% of white housing and 46% of Black housing met minimum housing standards of indoor plumbing and no major structural disrepairs.
In 1943, Shipyard Homes were build for Navy yard employees near Irish American and Italian American neighborhoods. A few Black were allowed into cheaper units. White groups protested allowing Blacks into these units. This actually led to more Black being placed into Shipyard Homes.

The 1940s saw increased employment, but Blacks lagged behind in employment gains. 30% of employable Black males in Philadelphia could not find jobs in the late 1940s. Half of those on relief then were Blacks, who composed 13% of the city population.

Blacks sought desegregated and better jobs with the Philadelphia Transportation Company in 1943. The NAACP, under the leadership of Carolyn Davenport Moore, became involved in filing grievances and holding marches.

The Transportation Workers Union, whose membership was white, fought against CIO unionizing attempts. They distributed leaflets that stated to “protect your loved ones. Get rid of the Negro by joining the white cause.”

Union interests fighting each other on racial lines demonstrated how Republican and corporate leaders divided what otherwise could have been a significant liberal coalition, according to the author. Mayor Samuel declined to attempt to defuse labor fights as Republicans realized the racial conflicts were hurting Democrats. President Roosevelt sent 5,000 soldiers in 1944 to end a strike that was hurting war production. Blacks were then allowed to be hired as transit drivers.
80% of racial violence happened in predominately Black neighborhoods in North Philadelphia. Damages to stores typically spared businesses that Blacks felt treated them well. Damage was more prevalent against businesses Black felt had treated them poorly, many of which were owned by people of Irish or Italian descent.
Private builders built only 164 homes in Philadelphia in 1944. Tens of thousands were seeking homes that were not built. The Black population was 250,000 in 1940 and 375,000 in 1050. Many new Blacks could only find inferior housing. 35% of Blacks and 8% of whites lived in dilapidated or bathless housing. 11% of Philadelphia housing was eligible for redevelopment, which was where 75% of Blacks lived.

William Levitt constructed 145,000 homes in suburbs outside Philadelphia for purchase by white middle class people from 1945 to 1955. Levittown, as it became, refused to allow Blacks to buy homes.

Whites were 99.7% of the population in the Fishtown and lower Kensington section of Philadelphia. Residents were known for preventing Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, and Portuguese from moving into the neighborhood. A Black family faced a week of rioting and thrown objects in 1966 and harassment continued until the family left after six months.

Republicans worked to prevent passage of any fair employment practices legislation. Democrats such as Richardson Dilworth supported such legislation. Dilworth was elected Mayor in 1951. Frank Rizzo in the 1960s and later Mayor in the 1970s would resume using racial statements and policies.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The OK State Had an OK Legislature

Samuel A. Kirkpatrick. The Legislative Process in Oklahoma: Policy Making, People, & Politics. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978.

The author notes most of the public knows little about the state legislative process. Meanwhile, legislators have dual roles in representing their public constituency while also making laws for the entire state. There is no set way for how legislators balance these sometimes competing responsibilities.
In Oklahoma (circa 1978), any legislation could be petitioned to be brought to a popular vote, except for bills with emergency clauses. Legislators could also opt to place a proposal for a popular vote.

Legislators have powers to confirm executive branch appointees, oversee the executive branch, and how the power of impeachment. These powers, or just the ability of exercising these actions, help keep the executive branch from drawing legislative questioning and responding.

The Oklahoma Constitution requires each bill be limited to one subject, be funded, be uniform, and that revenue bills must begin in the House (although they could be amended by the Senate, nor could they be passed on any of a session’s last five days, unless it concerns a revenue bill that the Governor pocket vetoed).
The Oklahoma House had 109 members upon statehood in 1907, then had 92 members in 1921, 123 in 1953, and 101 in 1971. The Senate began with 44 members and changed to 48 in 1965.

Legislators tend to be more upper class with fewer females and racial minorities than found in the general population. A majority of Oklahoma occupations are found in less than 10% of legislators.
Oklahoma legislators from the 1963-64 through 1975-76 session who were born in Oklahoma ranged from 67% in the House one session to 84% in the Senate another session.

When the courts required “one person, one vote”, the Democratic majority of Oklahoma legislators redistricted by forcing Republican incumbents to run against each other and avoiding having Democratic incumbents from running against each other.
The author observed that legislators approaches their legislative roles in different fashions. Some were strict rule followers, some innovators, some brokers who sought compromises, some were delegates representing their constituents, some trustees who voted their conscious, and some who followed political roles and operated to advance their political party. On issues, some legislators are facilitators, some resisters, and some neutral. A five state study concluded Oklahoma legislators tended to be more ritualistic and had fewer brokers than was observed in the other four states.

A study found in 1971, the turnover rate nationwide among State Senators was 24.6% and among State House members was 32.3%. The frequency of reelections (usually every two to four years) and low pay were factors in why some left. Longer sessions did not seem to influence members leaving, suggesting that legislators were more apt to stay on even if sessions were longer if they felt they were accomplishing things with the longer sessions, which indicates more legislators enjoyed legislative work.
The author found that about 40% of Oklahoma legislators were “lawmakers” who devoted much attention to their legislative duties, about 12% were “reluctants” who tended to not be active and followed what others did, about 23% were “advertisers” who work in high profile manners yet often soon leave for career moves that their high profile work helped lead them towards, and about 25% were “spectators” who enjoyed legislative activity but did not actively participate as much as others.

There were about 30 legislative councils with outside staff who assisted legislators between 1907 and 1917, yet they were mostly sparsely staffed with few resources. In 1938, the Oklahoma Legislative Council was created and became fully functional in 1947. This office provides legal, fiscal, and research assistance to legislators regarding legislation. In addition, legislators may obtain information from the Legislative Reference Division of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.

From 1959 through 1976 in Oklahoma, 34.4% of all House bills proposed and 37.7% of Senate bills proposed were enacted.
The Speaker and President Pro Tempore appointed legislators to committees and who chaired the committees. Technically, the President Pro Tempore recommends committee appointments to the Rules Committee, a committee that the President Pro Tempore appoints. Committee chairs traditionally go to members with longer service, recognizing they usually have more knowledge about issues, although there is no requirement that chairs be chosen on seniority. A committee chair decides which bills could be brought to a vote. Anyone, legislators or the public, could petition a committee to consider a bill. Such petitions had no legal force but often drew attention and pressured action on specific bills.

Roll call legislative votes are strongly influenced by political party affiliation: Democrats tend to vote as do other Democrats and Republicans tend to vote as do other Republicans. When there were votes with no party principles involved, legislators appeared to be apt to vote according to what would be most beneficial to their constituencies.

It is noted that legislators were not necessarily impressed with other legislators who spoke excessively during floor debates. Legislators had more favorable opinions of members who spoke less. One leader stated “the talkers don’t accomplish much around here. Nobody likes them.”

Lobbyists have been seen as major influences on legislation in Congress and in state legislatures nationwide.

A study by the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures analzed the abilities of legislatures to handle information about bills, operate functionally in acting upon their legislative duties doing so in an accountable fashion, with independence from the Executive Branch, and in being representative of constituents. They concluded California had the most effective legislature, Oklahoma the 14th , Pennsylvania the 21st, and Alabama the 50th most effective.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Statements About States

Alexander Heard (ed.) State Legislatures in American Politics. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Numerous scandals involving state legislators from the 1940s through the 1960s reduced the public’s belief that legislators represented their public interests. Reform movements sought to make state legislators more efficient representatives and more honest. This was part of a global effort that produced public support for improving all democracies.

In 1962, South Carolina was the state with the lowest per capita in state general expenditures at $201.70. California, Nevada, Wyoming, and Alaska had double that in per capita state spending.

States varied in how much they paid for local governments. In 1962, New York and Wisconsin provided just under half of their state funds for local government operations. This compares to New Hampshire and South Dakota, which provided under 10% of their state funds to local governments.

In the early 1960s. states allowed public utility rates of returns on investments from 6%to 10%.

Several states were known for having flamboyant populist leaders. Others had progressive reform minded leaders. Both political parties had liberal and conservative factions.

Governors had no power to veto legislation in North Carolina, weak veto powers in North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Rhode Island.
State legislatures were found not to be as influential as other state government institutions, yet their involvement was considered as essential.
The Federal government increased matching Federal funds with state funds for education, roads, health, public welfare, and unemployment insurance. In doing so, the Federal government increased its role in how these programs operated. This diminished state government authority, which in turn decreased the role of state legislatures in these programs.

Many state legislators, as confirmed in a Frank J. Sorauf study of Pennsylvania legislators, viewed their role as “delegates” representing their constituents. Urban and low income areas tended to elect Democrats as state legislators. Rural and upper income suburban districts tended to elect Republicans as state legislators. Legislators elected by smaller margins tended to be more attentive to their constituents’ views and intents.

Legislators oversee the administration of state government. They seek to have agencies respond to their policy goals.

The use of oversight actions varied greatly among states. Some actions seemed to be more concerned over politics than achieving policy goals. In cases of extreme oversight, it is noted that legislatures had the power of impeachment in every state except Oregon.

State legislators often faced periods of strong public disapproval. Public outrage at their legislators during the 1850s led to several Constitutional changes that restricted legislative authorities. When legislatures are unpopular, they tend to have their powers weakened.

State legislatures in decades prior to and through the 1960s were criticized for often giving over-represented powers to certain groups, such as for over-representing rural populations.

Conflicts of interest have long been a problem for legislators. Throughout legislative history, there has always been legislators whose professions or ownerships have been affected their legislative actions.

It should be noted that criticism of legislatures are easy to asset. Legislative actions can often be described as “a power grab” if they agree with the Governor and as obstructionist is they disagree with the Governor.

Governors asset authority over creating budgets, veto powers, and their ability to call special sessions.

In 1960, before “one person, one vote”, Vermont House districts ranged from a low of 38 people in one district to 35,000 living in the most populous district. In the California State Senate, the populations by districts ranged from 14,000 to 6 million. In 14 states, under 20% of the voters elected a majority of legislators.

In the 1960s, five states, all Southern, were one party Democratic legislative states with few Republican members, six states, all Southern, had strong Democratic majority legislatures with sizable Republican minorities. Five states had Democratic majorities and these states had Republican majorities where the other party elected Governors. 27 states were considered competitive for control of either party.

Nebraska is the only state with a unicamarel legislature. This eliminates, as seen in other states, chambers accusing the other for inaction on legislation. More diverse states may be less prone to reduce their legislative diversity by switching to unicamarelism.

In Pennsylvania, most legislative committee matters were handled by the majority party committee chair and the chair’s staff.

Voters have a faint idea of political party interests, knows as an “inarticulate ideology” and voters often support candidates of parties according to these interests. Legislators sometimes face dilemmas between supporting the desires of their constituents when they may challenge party unity.

About a third of legislators turned over their seats to others in the early 1960s. A study of ten states in 1925-1935 found 40% turnovers in the lower chambers and 20% turnover in the upper chambers. A 1952 study found legislatures were composed of 42% by first termers.

A 1949 study found legislators were composed of 23% business people, 22% attorneys, 4% physicians, and 4% teachers.

It was often that 50% to 60% of legislative general elections were uncontested in the 1950s.

The 1958 Connecticut legislative elections resulted in many upset elections. Many winners had problems making legislative meetings as they had not expected to win and had not planned how to attend them. The Democrats had a two vote margin but had problems maintaining their majority during sessions.

The median number of bills proposed in state legislatures in 1963 was approximately 2,000. The 1963 Connecticut legislature had 4,000 bills introduced and passed 1,400 of them.

California and North Carolina provided legislators with Capitol offices and about $1,250 per month for constituent offices. Most other states did not provide offices for legislators.

Some legislators received public relations fees, legal counsel fees, business shares, etc. for their legislative votes, which were called “legal payoffs”.
Large size legislatures are unable to engage in deliberative discussions among most members. They can only function if only all say little. Otherwise there can’t e time to accomplish much.

Most House Speakers control debate by the authority of the office, but also by controlling when microphones are turned on or off.
In 1964, ten states had regular legislative session in both odd and even numbers years, three of which had length limits on how long they could meet during the year. Nine other states had regular session in the odds years and budget sessions in the even years.

The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library was created in 1901 to help legislators research issues. This served as a model for other states, eventually leading to reference bureaus in most states that draft bills to be proposed by legislators.
David Truman has shown that legislators require both technical and political information and skill in serving as legislators.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Literally, the Inside Dope

Harry J. Anslinger and Will Oursler. The Murderers: The Story of the Narcotic Gangs. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Cudahy. 1961.

The co-author Harry Anslinger in 1930 was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics. He fought against the international narcotics trade which he labels the Grand Council of the Mafia as led by Louis Bachalter. He warns of a syndicate with a code of silence that kills those of involved, a conspiracy that includes criminals, business investors, and “the Washington politician who stays on the fringes of the crime syndicate but consorts with penthouse prostitutes who provide boudoir marijuana and cocaine.” People did speak with investigators, but did so under the threat of death, according to Anslinger.

Anslinger was born in Altoona, Pa. in 1892 and recalls two of Altoona’s pharmacists dying from drug addiction and a nearby town where one tenth of all residents were addicts.

The book states investigators found narcotics were readily available, and even Senator Cole Blease demonstrated he could find people selling narcotics a block away from the U.S. Capitol. The book warned that organized crime gave drugs to recent high school drugs to cloud their judgment in order to get them to become prostitutes.
The book notes that marijuana increased in popularity after it was banned. (Technically, it was not banned but required registration and tax payment to sell marijuana.) The book claims smoking marijuana may cause one “to go berserk and try to stab somebody or harm oneself.”

The book notes the conclusion of the La Guardia Report that found marijuana harmless and potentially even useful in combating alcoholism. It ridicules the La Guardia study because marijuana was tested on prisoners. Anslinger believes that marijuana showing no social disorder among prisoners taking marijuana has no meaning as prisoners have no ability to show antisocial behavior in prison. Critics of Anslinger’s conclusion would argue that prisoners are more inclined towards antisocial behavior and that a drug showing no antisocial behavior on people who tend towards antisocial behavior would be a positive result. The book even later notes that marijuana is not physically addictive, something the La Guardia Report also observed.

The book details many of his agency’s investigations, convictions, and sometimes silencing by murder by mobsters, of illegal drug dealers. It is an interesting history of the fight against organized crime.

Back When Politics Could Get You Institutionalized

Michael Barton. An Illustrated History of Greater Harrisburg: Life By the Moving Road. Sun Valley, Ca.: American Historical Press, 2009.
John Harris traded with Native Americans. In 1722, according to legend, he refused to trade rum to Native Americans he deduced were already drunk. This refusal angered them, so they tied John Harris to a tree and announced their intention to burn him. Hercules, a slave of John Harris, ran to friendly Paxton Native Americans for help. The Paxtons arrived before the fire was applied to Harris and Harris was saved. Harris then freed Hercules. It is unknown how much of this actually happened, yet several versions of this event were passed down.

The Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital opened in 1851. Causes for admission included “novel reading” and “politics”. Opium was a commonly prescribed medication.

In 1904, Harrisburg had 450 streets lights and 180 schools, 19 newspapers (daily and weekly), and 100 passenger trains stopping daily.

In 1928, Harrisburg had 33 schools, 13 theaters, 22 hotels, 3 major newspapers, and 142 passenger trains stopping daily.

Harrisburg had a “City Beautiful” movement that attempted to attract more single family homes rather than row homes that later became known as the “City Practical” movement.

Peshtank Was Also Known as Louisburg

Joseph H. Kleinfelter. Harrisburg: An Illustrated History of Postcards. Argle, Pa.: Schiffen Publishing Ltd, 2009.

Harrisburg is in Dauphin County. The county was named for the oldest son of France’s king, the Dauphine, to honor French assistance during the Revolutionary War. Harrisburg changed its name to Louisburg in honor of King Lewis of France. John Harris refused to sell any more land in town unless the name was changed back to Harrisburg, which happened in 1791.

A railroad from Harrisburg to Middletown, then known as Portsmith, began in 1836. The first passenger train began in Harrisburg in 1839.

Harrisburg was part of the Underground Railroad used by slaves escaping slave states in the 19th century.

After the Capitol burned in 1897, the legislature met in Grace Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1786, a flood delivered thousands of washed away pumpkins in what became known as the Great Pumpkin Flood.

From Peshtank Through Frogtown to Harrisburg

Ken Frew. Building Harrisburg: The Architects & Builders, 1719-1941. Harrisburg, Pa.: Historical Society of Dauphin County and Historic Harrisburg Association, 2009.
Harrisburg architecture failed to develop a consistent image. Frequent demolishing kept changing the city image. Harrisburg, related to other cities, is and has been a smaller building market and has not attracted many big name architects to spend much time in Harrisburg. Harrisburg initially was European-settled by people of German descent, who traditionally spent little attention on architectural styles.
John Harris, given a traders license in 1705, settled Conoy (now Bainbridge, Pa.) and Harrisburg. Chester County then included Harrisburg. Dauphin County was later carved out of Chester County. It is not known for certainty when he settled Harrisburg.. He was assessed taxes for property in 1718, which could have been for Harrisburg but the details are lost. The first recorded document remaining of Harrisburg existing was written in 1719. Harrisburg exists in a town in a town Native Americans called Peshtank or “where the water stands.” The early records of John Harris living in Harrisburg are that he lived in Harrisburg as of 1722. A Presbyterian church was built in Harrisburg in 1719.
John Harris, Jr.’s house finished construction in 1766. A town plan was begun in 1785. Harris’s son in law, William Maclay, a civil engineer, established 207 lots where homes could be built which observed flood levels. A courthouse, jail, cemetery, and public square were placed.
George Washington stopped at Crabby’s Inn on Second and Market. He was headed to suppress the Whisky Rebellion,
William Maclay was one of Pennsylvania’s first U.S. Senators. He then served in the Pennsylvania state legislature. Most of the 244 buildings built in Harrisburg between 1719 and 1813 were stables, causing Harrisburg to be labeled a “one horse town”. Homes built in the 1820s mostly had second stories.
Frogs were prevalent in Harrisburg in the early 19th century, leading it to be called “Frogtown”.
In 1810, the legislature decided Harrisburg would be the State Capitol. Technically, the capital was built in the town of Maclaysburg, which was annexed into Harrisburg in 1838.
Several Harrisburg homes were bilt in the Federal/ Early Republican/ Adams Study architecture of Robert Adam, as well as Colonial / Post-Colonial, and some German architectural influence.
The Capitol was dedicated in 1822. It was destroyed by fire and the remains town down in 1874. A cast iron fence survived and is now at the Arsenal at 18th and Herr.
The Panic of 1837 created a building slowdown. Construction rebounded in the 1850s. Harrisburg became an incorporated city in 1855. Previously it had been a burgess government form. The Friends of the City Movement led a campaign for incorporation in hopes a stronger city government would drive out the prostitutes and vagrants roaming its streets. William Kepner, a Democrat, was the first city Mayor elected in 1860.
During the Civil War. Harrisburg was a rail hub where north-south and east-west destination trains met. It was an important location for the production of supplies and clothes for Union troops. Harrisburg was also the site of the Union’s largest traning camp and military hospital at Camp Curtin. Harrisburg was also a site to where many refugees fleeing Confederate troops fled.
The 8th ward had 20 to 30 homes where African Americans lived on land owned by William Verbeke. Verbeke had then moved to property he owned in the West District, where he charged below market rate prices.
Greek Revival, Gothic Italianate, French Second Empire, and Queen Anne architectural styles emerged in Harrisburg in the 19th century
The first sewers, made of wood, were constructed in 1841. They were made of manufactured brick in 1870 and terra cotta and concrete in 1900.
Joseph Huston, mostly known for giving the speech nominating John Wanamaker for the Republican nomination for Governor, was chosen as the architect for the new Capitol. A new Capitol was dedicated in 1906. A reporter George Wambaugh reported overpayments in the $13 million building. Huston was charged for being a part of the overcharging conspiracy. Huston claimed he signed documents unaware of the overcharging and all he had done was the building design. Huston was convicted.
Architects were required to be registered and pass examination beginning in 1919. Pennsylvania was the fourth state to pass an architect registration law behind California in 1901, New Jersey in 1902, and Colorado in 1909.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Pennsylvania Before Republicans Arrived

Paul A. W. Wallace. Indians in Pennsylvania. 2nd Ed. Harrisburg, Pa.: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2005.

The Lenni Lenape, which means Real/Original People, were the dominant Indian tribe in Pennsylvania. There were also known as the Delawares. They were found along the Delaware River and were kinship relations with the Monsee Minisink who resided around the Delaware Water Gap.

Pennsylvania Indians grew corn 3,000 years ago. They made arrowheads from flint and grew tobacco. Tobacco was used for enjoyment and in ceremonies.

Tribes that existed in what is now the United States were much smaller than those that existed in what is now Mexico and Central America. The larger sized populations achieved greater development of tools and built homes, roads, and irrigation systems. They made cereals and had written communication.

Pennsylvania Indians were what is called the Woodland Epoch stage of archeo-social development.

Pennsylvania Indians were considered peaceful amongst themselves, but could be brutal in war with other tribes.

The Susquehannoncks, also known as the Minquas or Andaste, resided along the Susquehanna River.

The Monogehela resided in southwestern Pennsylvania yet were no longer there when white people arrived.

John Smith met with about sixty Susquehannocks in 1608. They wore bear and wolf skins. The Susquehannocks were more advanced in political and military aspects than the Delawares.

The Erichronon resided near Lake Erie. They were conquered by the Iroguois in 1655-6.

The Delawares did not domesticate animals. They got food form hunting, fishing, and growing cereal. Steam sweat lodges were used to cure diseases. Men chopped down trees, built houses, created dams to trap fish, made canoes and weapons, hunted and defended the community in war time. Women raised children and were held in high regard in deciding home affairs. When payments were made to an enemy prevent revenge raiding, women were worth twice more than men.

The Susquehannanocks easily drove the Delawares to the eastern side of the Delaware River in 1633.

Indian warfare generally consisted of a surprise attack, destroy what could be destroyed, take prisoners, and withdraw. Weapons were clubs and spears. Prisoners were often beaten with hatchets and clubs. The tribal women usually determined the life or death fate of prisoners.

The Delaware required that marriage occur outside their community. Each community sent members to a village council. Representatives from this council, known as Captains and sometimes as Kings, would meet with British representatives who referred to those representatives. The British realized these representatives had no authority to make a final agreement to a treaty. Tribal councils, presided by a sachem, were the meetings where decisions were made.

Delaware children were given names at around age six or seven. The name would describe the child’s career path.

A boy was initiated into manhood by being left alone several days in the forest. A spiritual vision was to come to the boy.

Parents arranged Delaware marriages for men around age 17 or 18 and girls around age 13 or 14. The children were not obliged to accept their parent’s choices. Divorce occurred upon expressing a wish to divorce.

Delaware believed spirits were the main reality and that all things have souls. The spirit remains for 11 days, they believed, after death and then on the 12th days goes to the Creator’s home, which is a bright light where all are the same age. The number 12 was sacred, as turtles have 12 marginal back scales. They believe there were 12 levels of Heaven.

The Delaware villages were autonomous to each other. The Iroquois, or Kanosionnis as they referred to themselves, declared a confederation with a strong centralized unity. Women were part of Iroquois councils although only men had positions with titles.

Stickellenamy, an Iroquois representative met with Conrad Weiser and proclaimed “I have had a dream. I dreamed that you gave me a new rifle.” Weiser knew and obeyed the tradition of fulfilling dreams and gave a rifle but added “I, too, had a dream. I dreamt that you gave me that island in the river.” Shickellamy did so but concluded “I will never dream with you again.”

It is believed that 500 to 600 trade ventures were made between New England Indians and white people before 1620. The brisk trade depleted some resources and no beaver were left between the Genesee and Hudson Rivers in 1640. The Iroquois had to find new areas to hunt. The Iroquois raided French traders. The Huron and Susquehannocks made an alliance in 1647. Mohawks failed to block a Huron trading fleet in 1648. The Mohawks and Senecas burned a Huron town in Ontario in 1649. The Iroquois set fire to a Huron village outside St. Louis. The Huron buried their own villages and fled. Some Hurons, known as Wyandot, settled around Detroit and Sandusky and established trade with the French. They established settlements in New Castle, Pa. as well as in Cashocton, Ohio. They would later cede land in between Beaver, Sandusky, and Muskingum Rivers to the Delaware. The Iroquois defeated the Petons in 1649, the Neutrals in 1650, and the Eries in 1654-6. The Susquehannocks drove the Mohawks from Lower Castle. The Mohawks defeated the Susquehannocks in battle in 1660 and a peace was achieved between them in 1673.

The Iroquois and French allied in 1701. The Iroquois declared a neutrality between French and British conflicts and trade with both Conrad Weiser and William Johnson who represented British interests in negotiating agreements with the Iroquois.

The Iroquois accepted and sheltered refugees.

The Conoys, also known as Ganawese, settled in land inside Pennsylvania that the Susquehannocks had left behind, according to a treaty with William Penn.

The Nanticokes who were skilled in using poison and fostered their witchcraft image, settled at the mouth of the Juniata River and, in 1744, asked for safe passage of more to join them. In 1748, they moved into the Nanticoke Flats in Wyoming, Pennsylvania valley in 1753. In 1753, they moved to become part of the Six Nations Confederacy.

The Tuscarora Iroquois discovered whites were stealing their children and selling them into slavery. A white, John Lawson, was captured by Tuscaroras and killed in 1711. War between the British and Tuscaroras lasted until a Tuscarora fort in North Carolina was destroyed in 1713. Tuscarora refugees were allowed to enter the Five Nations, who then became the Six Nations, to include the Tuscaroras.

The Tutelos were driven by other tribes into Pennsylvania around Shamokin. They became part of the Six Nations in 1753.

The Shawnees moved to along the Susquehanna River in 1697. Shawnee fleeing from Carolina arrived in 1707. There were three Shawnee villages that totaled 210 men along the Allegheny and Kiskiminetas Rivers in 1731. The Shawnee attempted to be peaceful towards the Iroquois, English, and French. Yet, after an Iroquois representative was killed when meeting the Shawnee. The Shawnee fled southward. Chartier led some Shawnee on an attack on some English. Kakowetchiky of the Shawnee sent regrets and blamed the British for starting the fight. In 1745, Chartier’s Shawnees allied with the French and attacked some English traders. The Shawnees were driven out by the British.

Six Nation representatives, unfamiliar with European land laws, agreed to sell land to the British without fully understanding to what they were agreeing. It is argued the Indians were not entirely unaware as they had sold land to Minuit in 1638 and to William Penn in 1683 where they realized the sale of land meant their presence on the land had ended. William Penn established land along Brandywine Creek in 1685 for those who sold him land. British settlers later began settling in the Brandywine land. There were also disputes as to whether payments been made.

The Iroquois land was entrusted to New York. William Penn in 1696 obtained a release to New York’s claim to Susquehannock land along the Susquehanna River that the Iroquois had taken.

A 1737 purchase of land from the Delawares led to British claims to more land than the Delawares expected. Land marked for Indians was pushed further and further westward in 1763 and then in 1768. The Iroquois ceded more land to Pennsylvania in 1784 and 1785. Pennsylvania then purchased Seneca rights to land in the Erie Triangle when it purchased the land from the Federal government in 1792. Cornplanter, the Seneca chief, was given three tracts of land.

The Delawares fled their last Pennsylvania homes after attacks by U.S. militia in 1778.

The Munsees left Pennsylvania in 1791 to merge with the Senecas in New York.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Our Old Kentucky Legislative Home

Malcolm E. Jewell and Penny M. Miller. The Kentucky Legislature: Two Decades of Change. Lexington, Ky.: The University Press of Kentucky, 1988.

The Kentucky legislature was, in the 1960s and prior, a largely ineffective institution that exerted relatively little political power in Kentucky state politics. During a two decade period afterwards, the Kentucky Governor’s office decreased its control over the legislature. The legislature achieved a stronger balance of power with the Executive branch. The Kentucky legislature became more professional, legislators tended to serve more terms, and a greater institutional knowledge emerged within the legislature. Kentucky legislators overall became more attentive to the voters, especially as they increased constituent services.

Kentucky’s changes to its legislature were part of a national trend. During those two decades, the number of legislatures that met only every other year fell from 31 to 7. Legislators became more proactive on state issues and expected greater influence in policy formation.

Having more influence helped encourage legislators to remain on the job. In the 1960s, there were turnover rates in the state House at 41% and in the State Senate at 37%. The turnover rate in the 1950s was about half. This compared to turnover rates in the 1980s of 28% in the state House and 24% in the state Senate.

The Kentucky Constitution places a 60 day legislative session every two years. Yet beginning in 1968, the legislature began meeting in committees in between sessions to better study issues.

The Kentucky Governor chose legislative leaders until 1979 when Governor John Brown, Jr. stopped this tradition.

From 1947-65. 44% of House members and 52.0% of Senate members retired, 11/0% of House members and 14.6% of Senate members lost primaries, 4.0% of House members and 1.2% of Senate members lost general elections, meaning 73.2% of House members and 67.1% of Senate members who sought reelection were reelected. From 1979-86, 11.8% of House members and 19.7% of Senate members retired, 6.2% of House members and 6.6% of Senate members were defeated in primaries, and 3.0% of House members and 4.0% of Senate members lost in the general elections, meaning that 89.5% of House members and 86.9% of Senate members who sought reelection were reelected.

In constant dollars, winning Kentucky House members in contested races spent a median of $2,482 in 1975 and $7,141 in 1984. Winners of contested Senate races spent a median of $4,125 in 1975 and $15,398 in 1983.

The author found most incumbents who were defeated in general elections where in districts where both political parties were electorally competitive. Incumbents who lost in primaries tended to lose after redistricting and were placed in new districts with many new voters. The leading changes challengers used to defeated incumbents was to claim they were not effective, were not getting services to the district, were inaccessible, were lazy or did not represent the majority views of constituents.

Several legislators told the authors that the best way to win reelection is to work hard at their legislative duties. Doing a good job may discourage serious challengers from running.

In contested legislative races, there was less of an advantage in being the candidate who spent more on the campaign than this was an advantage in other states. This is likely because Kentucky campaigns tended to cost less and the spending advantage was a smaller proportion than the advantage found in other states.

Kentucky legislators, as also seen in many other legislatures nationwide, tend to be business executives, professionals especially lawyers, and farmers. About one fifth are lawyers.

Women composed 3.3% of Kentucky legislators in 1951, 4.5% in 1971, and 13.3% in 1983.

Many legislators express difficulty with merging legislative life with their personal life, including their careers and families.

Most Kentucky legislators had (as of 1988 printing) no staff, no district office, no free mailing privileges, and a relatively (compared to other states) small expense account. The Kentucky legislature created a research office that researches issues and help with media contacts. It had six full time employees in 1986.

Kentucky legislators believe most of the letters and phone calls they receive are from organized campaigns on issues. They further believed most of the people contacting them are not fully aware of the issues and only have little personally vested in the matters in which they contact them. An exception to this were contacts regarding large increases.

A 1982 survey of legislators determined that constituent services were considered important to legislators in California, Texas, Ohio, and Massachusetts, were of moderate concern in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, and of relatively less concerns in Colorado and North Carolina. The survey found that these services were important in state where patronage was long established. This tends to mean the public was used to approaching politicians for services.

Kentucky legislative rules and procedures before 1968 had the Governor choose legislatives leaders who would send bills according to the Governor’s wishes to committees whose members were loyal to the legislative leaders and the Governor. In the last 15 legislative days, all committees ceased to exist except for the Rules Committee. Thus, the Rules Committee could move forward a bill that had been held in committee.

In 1967, Democratic Lt. Gov. Harry Lee Waterfield, correctly sensing divisions in the Democratic Party may lead to there being a Republican Governor, successfully led passage of new legislative procedures. The new process created similar committees in both Houses, abolished having only the Rules Committee operate in the last 15 legislative days, and allowed committee to operate between sessions. During the 1970s committees were required to create agendas and have regular meetings. This also increased legislative costs which were appropriated $3,028,176 in 1968-70 and $35,102,750 in 1986-88.

There is no legislative seniority system in committees. This results in members moving more often to different committees. A House rule was adopted that assured a legislator could keep on of three committee assignments in the next session, which created some retention of committee members and of institutional knowledge.

The Kentucky legislature increased its involvement in the budget and oversight processes. This was found to have reduced the influence of interest groups.

Legislative leaders who operate secretly without involving other legislators have drawn criticism and even been replaced by legislators. Leaders have different styles. Speaker Bobby Richardson attempted passage of his priorities and he sought to influence legislators to vote according to his desires. Speaker Don Blanford preferred to find and create a consensus on how legislators could agree to act.

Kentucky has a strong Governor. This was by tradition rather than by law. The Governor, as in most other states, can veto all bills including appropriations bills. A veto can be overridden by majority vote in both Houses which gives the legislature more influence than in other states that require more than majority votes. The power of the Kentucky Governor existed in political party leadership, patronage, and budgetary influence. Since these require political strengths, it required a strong political person of the same political party as the legislature to strongly influence the legislature. Governors John Brown Jr. and Martha Lane Collins chose not to exert as strong influence as did previous Governors.

With the increase of legislative power, a greater portion of political action committee contributions have gone to legislative races rather than to the Governor’s race.

The increase in legislative activity and influence helped cause an increase in the number and range of interest groups that attempt to influence legislation.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

When Democrats Ruined Republican Fun in Pittsburgh

Bruce M. Stave. The New Deal and the Last Hurrah: Pittsburgh Machine Politics, Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1970.

The author interviewed 103 Pittsburgh political party committee people or their relatives who served during the New Deal. This period was the “last hurrah” for Pittsburgh Republicans and the “first hurrah” for Pittsburgh Democrats as they too political control from the Republicans during this era.

Richard Croker, New York’s Tammany boss, stated the divisions of political power called for one boss able to handle problems that business leader could approach.

Pittsburgh machine politics allowed middle class groups to gain participation in politics. Otherwise, political may have continued to be dominated by people from higher classes, according to Samuel P. Hays.

Irish in Pittsburgh, facing many employers who refused to hire Irish, discovered that politics was an avenue open to them. Pittsburgh machine politics had a huge Irish membership.

Robert K. Merton, a sociologist, observed that machine politics humanized government bureaucracy for many people. Machine politics lasted as long as the public appreciated these services over the moral failings in the operations of the political machines.

Machine politics meant employment for many. Committee people were supposed to know the voters in their election divisions and to try to help those who needed help. In return, residents voted according to the committee people’s recommendations.

A study by Phillip Cutright published in 1964 comparing party committee people in partisan places versus party committee people in nonpartisan places, found, in the partisan community, 32% had patronage jobs, 41% had been approached by others inquiring about patronage jobs, and 37% campaigned door to door before primary elections. In the nonpartisan community, 3% held patronage jobs, 1% received inquires about patronage jobs, and 13% campaigned door to door before primary elections.

The New Deal made Democrats more popular with voters. Many urban areas switched to solid Democratic majority voting.

Tommy Steele led the Pittsburgh Republican machine beginning in 1863. Steele’s nephew, Christopher Magee took over after Steele. Magee along with William Flinn dominated Pittsburgh politics until 1905.

George Guthrie was elected Pittsburgh Mayor as a fusion candidate that included support from Democrats. Republicans held the Mayor’s office for 20 years afterwards.

Allegheny County Commissioner Charles McGovern was a reform Republican. In 1927, the Republican machine dumped McGovern but he was reelected as an Independent to the seat reserved for a minority party member.

Allegations that city contracts were not being given to the lowest bidder were made against the Director of Supplies. He was convicted. A reform movement gained ground.

Pittsburgh Democratic leaders sometimes worked with Magee, sometimes to defeat Republican candidates Magee disliked. Democrats, in return, received about one fifth of the patronage jobs.

The Democratic organization changed during the New Deal when it saw it could win elections. Gains in voting Democratic were particularly noticeable among African American voters. Republican leader had withheld patronage jobs from Black while Democratic leader David Lawrence made it happen.

In 1940, 51.1% of Pittsburgh residents were of foreign stock, a decrease from 62.2% in 1910 and 56.7% in 1920.

In 1932, voter fraud charges were made against Republican leader State Sen. James Coyne and other Republicans. Over 13,000 suspected fraudulent voters were alleged. Even a statute was found to be a registered voter.

Republicans were against planning and spending money on jobs programs at a time the New Deal was delivering jobs and the public wanted jobs. It was alleged that employees on Federal relief were required to contribute 3% (if earning under $1,200 year) or 5% (if earning over $1,200 a year) to the Democratic Party.

Democrats overtook Republicans in number of registered voters in Pittsburgh in 1936.

In 1930, public jobs were held by 58% of Philadelphia Democratic committee people. In 1928, 59.2% of Chicago Democratic committee people held public jobs which increased to about three fourths holding public jobs in 1936. These were signs nationwide that New Deal jobs were going to politically connected Democrats.

The author studied 103 Pittsburgh New Deal committee people, about one fourth of the total, and found one third were on work relief during the New Deal with 99 serving with the Works Progress Administration.

The author found 7.2% of Pittsburgh Democratic committee people held committee jobs in 1927, 19,2% in 1932, and just under half in 1940.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Back When Republicans and Business Leaders Ran Pennsylvania: The Good Old Gilded Days

James A. Kehl. Boss Rule in the Gilded Age: Matt Quay of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, Pa.:University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981.

Matthew Quay, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1887 to 1904, believed more in protecting the strength of the Pennsylvania Republican Party than he did on policy ideals. He used patronage and business deals to keep the Republican Party strong. He alleged abused funds, may have used bribery, and often was more involved in party affairs than his Senate duties.

While Quay appeared to care little for policy matters, he did have empathy for people in need, and he helped Civil War widows, Native Americans, African American boys, wives of prisoners, and members of churches that has burned and were destroyed, His critics note he assisted these people in combination with great publicity.

Quay’s organizational skills helped make Pennsylvania the most pro-Republican state during his time. He took care to prevent uprisings and has a business license revoked from an ally who was preparing to challenge his will. Quay decided how the spoils were divided among operative. These spoils once included one million dollars of stock awarded for services that were never recording in print.

Quay seldom gave speeches. He operated mostly in private discussions, usually with alcohol beverages present. He seldom drank and kept his sobriety during discussions. Quay had a residence in St. Lucie, Florida and was often criticized as the “third Senator from Florida.” Quay had a railroad constructed to St. Lucie to enable his many Pennsylvania political guests arrive.

Matt Quay was the son of a prominent minister and marred a woman whose family was well respected in Beaver County. Political leaders recommended Quay be made County Prothonatory, although they did not know him, but they did so out of respect for his wife’s father. Quay managed the Beaver County campaign for the successful election of Andrew Curtin as Governor.

When the Civil War broke out, Quay knew from the Mexican War history that voters chose war experience over incumbency and remaining behind to further a political career. Quay became a Second Lieutenant and was set to be sent to the front on May 22, 1861 only to have preceding orders arrive making him a Lieutenant Colonel in the Commissary. Quay was noted for his efficiency in working in the Commissary and was made the private secretary to Governor Curtin. Quay’s duties included responding to many letters and signing them as Curtin without Curtin ever seeing any of the correspondences. Quay did go to the front but there was no battle. He got typhoid fever and resigned from the Army. He was relieved of duty but chose to stay with his unit as they were ordered to battle. Confusion arose in battle and Quay got the Pennsylvania unit to keep attacking. Quay’s leadership was not at the time. During the 1999 elections, Quay was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Curtin’s Pennsylvania Republican rival was Simon Cameron, the Lincoln’s Secretary of War. They feuded over Pennsylvania troop assignments. Soldiers strongly supported Curtin, who won reelection in 1863. Pennsylvania soldier support was so strong for Republicans that Lincoln allowed 10,000 Pennsylvania soldiers to return home to vote in the 1864 election. About another 10,000 ballots came from soldiers in the field. This helped Lincoln carry by Pennsylvania by 5,712.

Quay was elected to the state legislature in 1863. He continued opposing Cameron but avoided tearing the Republican Party apart. Quay became Ways and Means Committee Chairman which increased his political power. Quay made deals with Cameron as Curtin’s power diminished. Some allege Quay received financial support to switch to Cameron, yet the author believes this is false. Curtin became Minister to Russia and was displaced from Pennsylvania politics.

Pennsylvania voters were less idealistic than seen in other states. Counting the 20,000 Civil War soldiers who were strongly Republican, the civilian population was majority Democratic in 1863. The Republican leadership was more opportunistic for power than for policy. Pennsylvania voters in general favored a more conservative brand of Republicanism. Quay realized eastern Pennsylvanians wanted to protect their business interests. Pennsylvania’s ethnic groups of Scotch-Irish, Quakers, and Germans tended toward seeking compromises in their politics. Pennsylvania overall were less idealistically driven.

In the 1860s and 1870s, the Pennsylvania Railroad employed 150,000 and was also a political power. Cameron owned a competing railroad and was an opponent of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The Republican Party itself achieved a payroll of employees earning $24 million which was comparable to payrolls of smaller railroads. Patronage workers were expected to contribute 2% of their salaries. The Republican Party sought to defend business interests through high tariffs, easy incorporation laws, right of way law favoring businesses, etc. Businesses, though, could not exert extreme influence. The Republican Party also had the power to restrain excesses.

For 15 Congresses of two year sessions, Pennsylvanians elected a majority of Democratic Congressmen only once, for the 1875-77 session. Usually Pennsylvania sent a higher proportion of Republicans to Congress than did most other states. Democrats only won Governorships in 1882 and 1890 and those elections were assisted by Republican factional splits and that Robert Pattison won both elections. Pattison only won by 222 votes the second time.

Quay was a strong advocate in favor of the 15th Amendment for voting rights for African Americans, who also strongly tended then to vote Republican. He faulted other Republicans for their inconsistent support for the amendment. Quay also favored the direct of election of Senators, writing against the problem of funds from railroad interests and business security agent contracts given in return for helping pay, sometimes through bribery, for getting legislators to vote for someone for Senator.

State Treasurer William Irwin, also from Beaver County, emerged as a possible challenger to Quay. Irwin refused to deposit state funds into pro-Cameron banks as Quay requested. Quay persuaded the legislature to replace Irwin with Robert Mackey. Mackey helped Quay align with Cameron. Irwin joined the anti-Cameron Republicans such as Pennsylvania Railroad and Democrats to attempt to defeat Mackey. Mackey with Quay’s help fought and won reelection.

Quay worked on the 1863 successful campaigns to reelect Ulysses Grant as President and John Hartran as Governor. Quay was named Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Ulysses Grant opposed the Republicans nominating James Blaine for President. Grant appointed J. Donald Cameron, Simon’s son, as Secretary of War. The Camerons and Quay became part of efforts to fight Blaine. Governor Hartranft was nominated as a favorite son candidate for President to keep pro-Blaine delegates to instead vote for Hartranft. The national Republican delegates unified anti-Blaine candidates behind Govenor Rutherford Hayes, who won the nomination and was elected President. Hayes barely carried Pennsylvania by about 10,000 votes. Quay impressed on Republican leaders in 3,300 election districts the importance of getting just a few more voters per district. Writing a letter to each leader also allowed him to develop an association with party regulars.

President Hayes refused to put J. Donald Cameron in his Cabinet. Simon Cameron was enraged and resigned his Senate seat after receiving pledges that his son would take his seat. This happened, thus sending a message to Hayes that he could want the Camerons to deal with.

The Camerons were leaders in politics in Harrisburg, Mackey in Pittsburgh, and Quay in Beaver. Noting an absence of leadership in eastern Pennsylvania, the Camerons persuaded Quay to run eastern Pennsylvania. Quay was made Recorder of Philadelphia. Philadelphia Republican Party regulars resisted. Quay resigned after a year and returned to Harrisburg to become Secretary of the Commonwealth, Quay then became Chairman of Republican State Committee.

Quay and Mackey reached an agreement with a third party, the Greenbacks, that Republicans would be sympathetic to their economic positions in erturn for the Greenbacks not merging to help Democrats. Republican Henry Hoyt in 1878 was elected by 22,253 votes with 81,788 votes going to the Greenback candidate. Cameron proclaimed that this strategy that Quay and Mackey used with the Greenbacks had worked. Mackey died in 1879, creating a power gay mostly filled by Quay. J. Donald Cameron was uncomfortable speaking in public and did not asset his influence as forcefully as did his father. More people began looking to Quay for state political leadership.

Cameron wanted to return Grant for a third term. Quay preferred looking forward rather than to the past and unenthusiastically went along. Grant was not nominated but Quay was noted for being a leader of the Grant movement, which was known as the Immortal 306, representing the 306 national convention delegates voting for Grant on the last ballot.

President Garfield was assassinated. A public outrage over patronage resulted as the media focused on the patronage practices that led a patronage seeker to shoot a President. Democrats won Governorships in Pennsylvania and five other states. Quay endorsed an Independent candidate for State Treasurer against a Cameron-supported Republican, which raised Quay’s identification with Independents, a group that was emerging in importance. Quay saw that Independents disliked Democrats and sought to switch them to the Republican side.

Quay won the Republican nomination for Congress but was defeated in the general election.

Quay saw the shift of patronage power from the Federal government, where Civil Service reform was occurring, to the states. Quay also helped business interest and social services interests through the legislative and appropriations processes. Quay helped businesses get franchises, charters amended, legislative funds appropriated, favorable bills passed through the legislature as he could broker with key legislators. Quay helped hospitals, schools, prisons, charities, railroads, steel mills, oil interests, and corporate interests. Quay and his financial resources could guide legislation through the Republican majority machine backed legislature. Legislators who were enemies to Quay were defeated. Legislators who opposed Quay but had no ability to hurt him were ignored so resources could be directed towards defeating those who could hurt Quay.

Quay could control legislators and had money from contributors to back his power. Quay set up a hotel office to receive visitors who would generally request help and ten become part of the Quay machine.

Quay’s operation directed which local banks were the ones where state Treasury funds were directed, often with the bank paying no interest. In 1880, securities with no value were deposited. This venture created a financial scandal as the debt that was created was a quarter million dollars more than there were assets. Quay claimed he didn’t know about the scheme but accepted responsibility and personally lost $100,000. An anti-machine candidate, Samuel Butler, was elected State Treasurer in 1880. Quay sought to bolster his falling political support and discovered many Independents favored him. Quay ran for and was elected State Treasurer. Quay was known for saying “I don’t mind losing a Governorship or a legislative now and then, but I always need the State Treasury-ship.”

Quay had banks that receive state funds at no interest to invest half as they wanted and to invest the other half as Quay and political bosses directed. Opponents charged Quay deposited around $5 million annually into banks which yielded $150,000 a year for Quay machine spending.

Philadelphia voters felt they were neglected by the Quay legislative efforts. Philadelphia voters favored more reform minded, anti-Quay candidates. The Philadelphia Republican machine, led by “King James” McManes, controlled Philadelphia patronage and was anti-Quay. McManes has opposed Simon Cameron. Cameron joined forces with anti-McManes reformers who were upset that the city debt increased from $20 million to $50 million with a loss of services during the 20 years McManus’s machine controlled Philadelphia politics. McManes fought back. Quay placed David Martin as Philadelphia boss in a city divided over its Republican leadership. Martin was aligned with Quay until 1895 when he refused to fight Boies Penrose’s campaign for Mayor. Quay replaced Martin with Israel Durham. Durham had 10,000 patronage jobs to distribute in return for his loyalty to Quay. Durham once stated “what do I care who is President, so long as I carry my ward?”

Having settled Philadelphia, Quay turned to put down a challenge to his authority in Pittsburgh from Christopher Magee and William Flynn. Magee was an agent for Pennsylvania Railroad in gaining rights and privileges as well as representing other businesses. Magee and Flynn together had a fortune of $15 million compared to Quay’s value of about $800,000. Lincoln Steffens wrote “Magee spent his wealth for more power, and Flynn spent his power for more wealth.” Magee reported was so concerned about Quay he developed a nervous condition that led to his death at age 53.

Quay established a strong statewide organization. He punished legislators who didn’t act as requested by removing funds to the legislator’s district.

Quay allied with Boies Penrose’s leadership in Philadelphia.

Quay opposed the nomination of Benjamin Harrison for President. Harrison won the nomination. Quay though turned his focus on New York City. Quay had Republican leaders spend $100,000 to create a directory of residents so that illegal Democratic voters could be arrested an announced two weeks before the election.

Anti-Quay John Wanamaker was a major contributor to the Harrison campaign. Quay felt compelled to allow Wanamaker to gain influence, yet Quay lost some power in return. Harrison realized the danger of supporting Wanamaker and offered to Quay he would work with Wanamaker only if Quay insisted. Quay did, but later regretted it.

Quay noted patronage can hurt a political machine, proclaiming “for every single appointment, a dozen or more who have become disappointed become disgruntled and indifferent.”

Quay and the Pennsylvania members of Congress helped elect Thomas Reed House Speaker over William McKinley. Quay’s influenced increased.

The press researched Quay and claimed Quay in 1867 accepted funds from opposing candidates, $20,000 from one and $13,000 from another, to help them. It was also alleged Quay made weekly payments of $1,000 to an Internal Revenue Supervisor to not close an illegal distillery and that Quay received $60,000 from the distillery owners.

Quay in 1890 guided Pennsylvania legislation that paid $4 million to reimburse the Pennsylvania Railroad for property damage from a workers strike. Half the funds were given to the lobbyists with Quay receiving the most money. Additional indemnifications from Civil War damagers were added to broaden the legislation to get more legislators to support the bill. Four legislators later pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to vote for this bill.

The press claimed Quay and a group of other Republicans were attempting to move African American Republicans to Indiana, West Virginia, and Connecticut in sufficient numbers to guarantee these states would vote Republican. Some blamed the Democratic electoral victories in 1890 on the backlash to the negative press generated by Republican National Chairman Quay.

150 Philadelphia business leader and professionals led by Rudolph Blankenburg issued public criticism of Quay and Cameron. Quay resigned from the Republican National Committee in 1891.

Independents, who were planning to attack Quay, endorsed Louis Watras to lead the Pennsylvania delegates to the 1892 Republican National Convention. Quay did not oppose them. Watros, though, was later pressured to resign and a machine loyalist, Frank Reed, became convention chairman. An effort to stop Harrison’s nomination in 1892 drew several Senators and leaders to a meeting in Pennsylvania. J. Donald Cameron declared “I’m afraid that if we nominate Harrison we couldn’t’ elect him” to which Quay replied “My only fear is if he’s nominated, he will be elected.” Harrison was re-nominated but was defeated.

Quay was elected to the Senate. In his first two year session, he missed 108 roll call votes while making 36. His attendance improved slightly to 37% in his second Congressional session. He was challenged for reelection to the Senator by John Dalzell. Quay met Dalzell in several Republican country primaries which Quay won easily. The Republican legislative caucus voted 146 for Quay to 14 for Dalzell. The full legislature elected Quay by 165 to 80 for a Democrat.

Quay ran as a favorite son candidate for President in 1896. Some African American groups, noting Quay had appointed the first Black to serve on the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee, endorsed Quay. Yet this support was not very influential outside Pennsylvania. McKinley was easily nominated and elected.

Quay made a deal with previous rival, John Wanamaker in supporting Wanamaker for the U.S. Senate. For reasons never disclosed, Quay and Wanamaker feuded over candidates in other races and their agreement fell apart. Quay informed his preferred choice, Boies Penrose, that election the U.S. Senate would require $200,000. Penrose met with business leaders and raised that amount in two days. In the Republican legislative caucus, Penrose received 133 votes to 76 for Wanamaker. Many of the pro-Wanamaker Republican legislators remained anti-Quay during the legislative session.

Quay’s candidate for Governor in 1898, Charles W. Stone, was nominated over opposition from Wanamaker. Quay kept the Democrats and Independents divided which allowed Stone to receive a plurality against Democrat George Jenks and Prohibition and Honest Government nominee Silas Swallow.

In 1898, Quay was indicted for abuse of public funds in a bank failure case that los state funds. Quay insisted he was only a bank customer who also lost money. The prosecution could not find evidence to prove Quay had inappropriately directed the funds by using his political influence. Quay was found innocent. Quay resigned from the Senate during the scandal and after the trial Governor Stone reappointed Quay to his own vacant seat. Several state legislators protested the appointment. The U.S. Senate voted not to re-seat Quay.

In1900, Quay considered the choice of Vice President to be the least important aspect of the Republican National Convention voting. Quay helped his friend Thomas Platt, New York Republican leader, to remove Platt’s enemy, Governor Theodore Roosevelt, from New York politics. Knowing McKinley’s nomination was secure, Quay floated the idea of Roosevelt for President to draw attention to Roosevelt for Vice President.

Quay also voted to reduce the power of Southern states at the Republican conventions. He proposed changing the allocation of Delegates according to the states’ Republican Presidential votes. Quay offered to delay the vote for a day which allowed Mark Hanna, a source of patronage for many Southern delegates, to support Roosevelt for Vice President in exchange for withdrawing Quay’s resolution.

McKinley was elected. Quay was elected to the U.S. Senate by 130 to 124. Quay bought nine votes just before the vote.

Roosevelt became President when McKinley was assassinated. Roosevelt acknowledge Quay’s support and saw that patronage to Pennsylvania ran through Quay. Roosevelt failed to follow through on a recommended appointment and apologized to Quay for his error. Quay and the Republican State Convention endorsed Roosevelt for President in 1904.

Quay, as Republican State Chairman, sent a letter requesting political contributions from Civil Service employees. Roosevelt was understanding that this could have been a mistake yet stated it was illegal and asked Quay to retract the letter. Instead, a second letter seeking funds was sent with Quay’s name on the letterhead and the letter was signed by the Secretary of the Republican State Committee. Quay refused to retract the letters. Attorney General Philander Knox investigated the matter but determined that was not enough evidence that Quay was involved in the writing of the letters.

Quay defended Native Americans in the Senate. He called them the “forgotten face” and called to increase their welfare.

Quay died in 1904.