« AnteriorContinuar »
the California State. Association of Local Fire Insurance Agents, to offset the effective argument made by Senator Strobridge that the association was unqualifiedly in opposition to the bill.
On the other hand, the bill's opponents insisted that the issue had, by the Senate's partial vote, been settled. It may be noted in this connection that had the bill been passed, the insurance lobby, and the lobby's support on the floor of the Senate, would have exhausted every parliamentary move to get reconsideration and secure defeat. The old machine never abandoned a fight so long as chance remained.188 The new lobby adopts the same policy, a policy which it would deny to its opposition, as the machine used to deny it. But Kehoe could see no good reason for quitting the fight until his last parliamentary recourse had been exhausted.
Kehoe accordingly joined with Senator Gerdes of San Francisco in a coup which caught the insurance lobby off its guard, and for a time made it possible that the Insurance Rating Schedule bill would be passed.
The Sullivan anti-Insurance Trust bill (Senate Bill 122, introduced by Gerdes) was, at the time the Kehoe bill was defeated, pending before the Senate on a recommendation from the Senate Committee on Insurance that the Senate defeat it. When this measure came up in the Senate on third reading, Gerdes offered certain amendments, which were adopted and the amended bill sent to the printer.
When the insurance lobby examined those amend
188 The "machine's" fight against the Direct Primary bill in 1909 illustrates this very well. See “Story of the California Legislature of 1909," Chapter XI, page 112.
ments, the discovery was made that the Sullivan bill as amended was identical with the Kehoe Insurance Rating Schedule bill.
This move kept the insurance lobby anxious-faced and active for the remainder of the session. But with the crush of other legislative business, the proponents of the measure could not take advantage of the situation. The amended Sullivan bill did not come to vote.
THE ALIEN LAND BILLS.
At the 1912 general elections, the Democrats in California went before The People pledged to a policy of Asiatic exclusion, and to enactment of a State law to bar aliens not eligible to citizenship from owning land in the State. This pledge the Democrats gave prominent place in their platform.189 They made the subject one of the most emphasized issues before the State. Much of their most effective campaign literature 190 was based upon it.
189 The California State Democratic platform for 1912 contained the following anti-Asiatic plank:
"We demand immediate Federal legislation for the exclusion of Japanese, Korean and Hindu laborers, and impose on our candidates for the Senate and Assembly, the duty of working for that end by legislation, resolutions and all other honorable means open to them as State legislators. We favor the passage of a bill that will prevent any alien not eligible to citizenship from owning land in the State of California."
190 A card issued by the California Democratic State Central Committee, and distributed throughout the State in great quantities purported to show the difference in attitude of Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt on the Japanese issue. On one side the card was printed:
"WILSON AND THE JAPANESE "Woodrow Wilson is for exclusion of the Japanese from the United States. On May 3, 1912, he said:
“ 'In the matter of Chinese d Japanese coolie immigration I stand for the national policy of exclusion. The whole question is one of assimilation of diverse races. We cannot make a homogeneous population out of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race. Their lower standard of living as laborers will crowd out the white agriculturist and is, in other fields, a most serious industrial menace. The success of free democratic institutions demands of our people education, intelligence and patriotism and the State should protect them against unjust and impossible competition. Remunerative labor is the basis of contentment. Democracy rests on the equality of the citizen. Oriental
On the other hand, the Progressive Republicans, although they had been to the fore at previous sessions in efforts to secure the passage of alien land laws,191 made no mention in their 1912 platform of the antiAsiatic issue. Thus, while the Democratic members of both Houses were definitely bound by their platform to enact a law that would "prevent any alien not eligible to citizenship from owning land in the State of California," the Progressives were bound by no such platform obligation.
Many of the Progressives, however, were generally regarded as obligated by personal pledge or implied understanding that they were to lend their best efforts to
coolieism will give us another race problem to solve and surely we have had our lesson.' OVER." On the reverse side appeared:
"ROOSEVELT AND THE JAPANESE. “Roosevelt believes the Japanese should be made citizens of the United States. In his message to the Fifty-ninth Congress he said:
“ 'I recommend to the Congress an act be passed specifically providing for the naturalization of Japanese who come here intending to become American citizens.'
“Roosevelt believes the Japanese should be allowed to overrun the lands of California. He demanded of the State Legislature that it enact no laws denying Japanese the right to acquire title to land.
"Roosevelt demanded that grown Japanese men should be allowed to mingle in the public schools with white boys and girls of tender years. When the people of San Francisco and California protested he threatened them with all of the forces, military and civil, of the United States.'
"Roosevelt in his message to the Fifty-ninth Congress demanded that the American people accept the Japanese immigrants 'on a basis of full and frank equality.' OVER.
191 See "Story of the California Legislature of 1909," page 202, and “Story of the California Legislature of 1911," page 342. At the 1909 session, Assemblyman A. M. Drew of Fresno headed the fight for the passage of an Alien Land bill. His measure defeated through the opposition of the then dominant machine organization. At the 1911 session, with the Progressives in control, an Alien Land bill passed the Senate. It failed of passage in the Assembly, largely because of the opposition of the so-called Asiatic Exclusion League (See “Story of the California Legislature of 1911,” footnote 386, page 344), and of the Panama-Pacific Exposition Company. See footnote 383, page 342, of the 1911 story.
do what other Legislatures had failed to do; namely, pass a law that would bar alien-Asiatics from ownership of the soil.192
But a third politician force—in a way more potent than either the party organizations, is at work in California, with an influence more far-reaching than many realize—the Panama-Pacific International Exposition Company. The company has been "in politics" ever
192 Chester H. Rowell, in The California Outlook for April 26, 1913, stated that the menace of Japanese land ownership in California is not a present fact but a fear of the future.
“On the general situation,” said Mr. Rowell, “it may be asserted unconditionally that the menace of Japanese ownership in California is not a present fact, but is a fear of the future. We have just next door, in Hawaii, an object lesson of what general Japanese settlement in California would mean, and probably the people of California, with the single exception of the large land owners and the anti-union employers, are unanimous that such a condition must be prevented in California at no matter what cost. But the intense interest aroused in the whole proposal is based upon this imaginative picture of what some day might happen, rather than upon any present facts of what has happened.
"The Japanese have invaded California, indeed, and have practically monopolized one of its principal occupations. They constitute a_dominant element in the migratory farm labor of Cali. fornia. Practically all the berries, most of the vegetables, more than half of the grapes, and one-third of the citrus and deciduous fruits of California are produced by Japanese labor. If there be any invasion, this is where it is, but there seems to be almost no agitation against this real displacement of our own race from an important industry.
“Of the 55,000 Japanese in California, 20,000 have no other occupation than that of migratory farm laborers. At least 20,000 more work occasionally in these tasks. Japanese immigration has almost without objection revolutionized this industry, and if the Japanese were by any means to be excluded from it, which apparently no one proposes, it would require the unmaking of this revolution.
“In the case of land-holding the situation is exactly the reverse. Here, instead of dominating anything, the Japanese are practically a negligible quantity. In two or three very limited neighborhoods they have so far invaded the country that white men are moving out. This is a picture in miniature of what might happen if there were any wholesale and continued Japanese immigration into this country, and is sufficient justification for preventing at any cost such a result.”
Mr. Rowell is editor of the Fresno “Republican.” He has for years made a self-sacrificing fight for clean conditions-political, inoral and industrial-in California. It was largely under his leadership that the successful fight of 1910_against the Southern Pacific political machine was carried on. For fifteen years, Mr. Rowell has been a student of California conditions. None is better prepared to speak upon the Japanese problem than he.