Frank Merriam
Governor of California
Frank Merriam
Biography
View basic information about Frank Merriam.
Birthday
22 December 1865
Deceased
25 April 1955
home town
Hopkinton, Iowa
Death Place
City of Long Beach
Career Highlights
Some highlights of Frank Merriams career
Label
Frank merriam
Profession
Journalist
Politician
Religion
Presbyterianism
Political party
Republican Party
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Frank Merriam
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Frank Merriam
News
News abour Frank Merriam from around the web
Muskogee editor went on to become California governor - Muskogee Daily Phoenix
Google News - over 5 years
The Eddelman family, who owned the Evening Times, eventually sold it, and in 1904 it belonged to an Iowa publisher named Frank Merriam. Born near Dubuque, Iowa, Merriam had grown up in that state and attended school there
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ALTRE ZINGAROPOLI: il battesimo della paura come strategia elettorale - Il Manifesto (Abbonamento)
Google News - over 5 years
Frank Merriam era il candidato della destra, appoggiato da industriali dal partito repubblicano ei poteri forti dell'epoca; contro di lui si era candidato Upton Sinclair, giornalista militante, autore di libri di denuncia sociale come The Jungle sugli
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BOOK REVIEW: 'Against Nature' eBook Thriller Depicts a Dystopian America ... - HNN Huntingtonnews.net
Google News - over 5 years
The use of Creel, an active Democrat who ran against the novelist Upton Sinclair ("The Jungle") in the 1934 primary election for governor of California -- Sinclair won and was defeated by Republican incumbent Frank Merriam in the fall general election
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Google News article
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE; 100, 75, 50 Years Ago
NYTimes - over 7 years
1909 Shah Is Proclaimed TEHRAN The victory of the Nationalists is complete. Colonel Liakhoff, who has consented to begin negotiations with the insurgents, went this afternoon to the Mejliss Palace to announce that he had decided to cease all resistance. Peace was at once concluded between two parties, and it was decided that the brigade of Persian
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NYTimes article
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE; 100, 75, 50 Years Ago
NYTimes - over 7 years
1909 Rebels Take Colombian Towns COLON, PANAMA Taking advantage of the absence of President Reyes, who is in England, a revolution has been begun in Colombia. It is reported that Barranquilla, Savanilla and Santa Marta have been captured by the revolutionists. The uprising began at Barranquilla, where the authorities offered a feeble resistance.
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NYTimes article
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE; In Our Pages: 100, 75, 50 Years Ago
NYTimes - over 7 years
1909 Nineteen Dead on Holiday NEW YORK Beautiful cool weather, with moderate to brisk north-west breezes, gave additional zest to-day [July 5] to the Independence Day celebration. Although New York had a quiet Fourth of July, three deaths attended yesterday's celebration, but only a few were injured. The death-toll for the entire country reached
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NYTimes article
The Mighty 'Jungle'
NYTimes - over 10 years
RADICAL INNOCENT Upton Sinclair. By Anthony Arthur. Illustrated. 380 pp. Random House. $27.95. UPTON SINCLAIR AND THE OTHER AMERICAN CENTURY By Kevin Mattson. Illustrated. 294 pp. John Wiley & Sons. $25.95. A hundred years ago, an American writer hurled these words at the world: '' 'Bubbly Creek' is an arm of the Chicago River, and forms the
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NYTimes article
Sacramento Journal; Old Governors Never Die. They Just Hang in Capitol.
NYTimes - almost 11 years
The hallowed tradition of hanging a governor's portrait in the third-floor corridor of the Capitol here dates to the 1930's, when, finally, California's first governor, Peter Burnett, who left office in 1851, was given his due: his face mounted on the wall, his legacy preserved in a painting. Since then, 36 other governors have had their portraits
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Frank Merriam
1865
Born on December 22, 1865.
1888
After graduating from Lenox College at Hopkinton in 1888, Merriam served as the principal of the Hopkinton schools for two years and superintendent of schools at Postville for one year.
He was a school superintendent in Wisner, Nebraska He next became the editor of the Hopkinton Leader, a newspaper. In 1904, he moved to Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he owned and published the Muskogee Evening Times. He moved to Long Beach California in 1910 with his second wife, Nellie, to attend to family obligations. There he worked in the advertising department of the Long Beach Press.
1896
Merriam was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives as a Republican at the age of 31 in 1896.
1903
Two years later, Merriam was elected as Iowa State Auditor, a post he would hold until 1903.
1910
In 1910 at the age of 44, Merriam moved to California.
1916
Following seven years of living in the state, Merriam was elected to the California State Assembly in 1916, representing the Long Beach area, beginning his rise in California politics.
1922
In 1922, while still serving in the Assembly, Merriam presided over the successful election campaign of former Bull Moose member and Republican candidate for Governor Friend Richardson.
1923
Name recognition from Richardson's successful campaign among fellow Republicans helped Merriam be elected by the Republican majority in the Assembly as its Speaker in 1923.
1926
During the 1926 general elections, Speaker Merriam ran as a primary candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
However, state Republicans instead voted for Buron Fitts as the party's candidate for that office.
1928
Following his departure from the Assembly that year, Merriam took a two-year hiatus from state politics. He returned in the 1928 elections, being elected to the California State Senate.
After two years in that body, Merriam won the nomination for lieutenant governor and, along with the Republican candidate for governor, San Francisco Mayor James Rolph, was elected to office. On June 2, 1934, Governor Rolph was pronounced dead of heart failure at Riverside Farm in Santa Clara County. Upon the news of the Governor's death, Lieutenant Governor Merriam was sworn in as governor. Nearly immediately into his governorship, Merriam faced labor agitation, particularly by members of the International Longshoremen's Association on the docks of San Francisco. Beginning in May 1934, longshoremen along the West Coast walked off the job to strike, protesting against the ILA national leadership's negotiated settlements with transportation and cargo companies. Longshoremen demanded six-hour days, closed shops, and the right to unionize freely. Activity in the ports of San Francisco and Oakland ground to a halt. Teamsters soon joined the longshoremen in their walk-out. Popular support for the strikers also grew from various segments of the urban working-class, left unemployed by the Great Depression. By the strike's second month, violence had begun to break out along the Embarcadero as San Francisco Police clashed with the strikers during attempts to escort hired labor to the docks. Municipal officials accused the ILA's ranks filled with Communists and other left-wing radicals.
1934
Running against Merriam in the 1934 elections was former Socialist Party member Upton Sinclair, who had surprisingly won the nomination of the Democratic Party for Governor.
A third-party candidate, Raymond L. Haight of the Commonwealth-Progressive Party, also challenged Merriam. During the campaign, Sinclair promoted the EPIC project, a socialist work program to ensure universal employment for all Californians, complete with the state control of factories, the opening of farm cooperatives and the creation of a cabinet-level California Authority for Production agency to oversee state employment. The Commonwealth Party's Haight relied on centrists from the Democrats who believed that Sinclair had driven the party too far to the left. Merriam's campaign rallied state conservatives into the so-called "Stop Sinclair" movement. Among supporters were MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer, media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, and Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler. During the campaign, Mayer turned multiple studio lots in Los Angeles into propaganda machines, churning out fake newsreels to be played before feature-length films in the state. One notable newsreel included Soviets arriving in California to vote for Sinclair. Also during the campaign, Merriam frequented football games and public events, and on one occasion, attended a hospital talking to deaf mutes through an interpreter. Many such events were quickly publicized by the conservative newspaper press.
The end result of the 1934 general elections saw Merriam defeating Sinclair with 48 percent of the vote, opposed to Sinclair's 37 percent.
Haight garnered 13 percent. After the election, Merriam announced that the result was "a rebuke to socialism and communism." The 1934 general election is generally remembered as one of the most hotly contested elections in California history. It has also been cited by political historians as one of the first modern elections, due to the various uses of popular media and rhetoric to both popularize and demonize candidates.
Upon beginning his first elected term, Merriam immediately faced an ever-shrinking state budget and growing deficit. In an effort that later angered many powerful conservative backers who had originally supported his 1934 candidacy, as well as challenging his own deep-seated conservativism, Merriam proposed to the Legislature a tax increase of nearly $107 million.
The tax reform laws included instituting a state personal income tax modeled after the Federal Income Tax of 1934, which had been created by the Democratic-controlled Congress, and raising sales taxes to three percent. The Legislature agreed, and passed the tax reform law in 1935. William Randolph Hearst, whose newspapers provided one of the bulwarks of the governor's 1934 campaign, complained bitterly over the reformed tax laws. The Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiners editorial shortly after the reform bills' passage read: "extortionate and confiscatory taxation will mean devastation of business, paralysis of industry." Fanning the growing rift between Merriam and conservative Republicans, right-wing author and playwright Charles Gilman Norris penned letters that became widely circulated thanks to Hearst's newspaper empire, complaining of Merriam's reforms. "The minute the proposed State Income Tax becomes law, my wife, Kathleen Norris, and myself will put both our homes—-the one in Palo Alto and our ranch near Saratoga—-up for sale and move out of the State. There is no alternative for us. We pay 52% of our income now to the Federal Government at Washington and under the proposed State Income Tax Law, we shall have to pay an additional 18%, so that out of every dollar we earn from our writings, 70¢ will go out in taxes!"
1935
Hearst supporters challenged Merriam's and the Legislature's 1935 reform laws during a special referendum in 1936 with Proposition 2.
The proposition would automatically repeal the tax reforms, and would in the future require the support of two-thirds of the Legislature and approval of voters by statewide referendum before any new income tax could be imposed. The measure, however, was defeated. While the State Senate was controlled by Republicans, the crucial lower house Assembly, where finance bills originated, was split between conservative and socialist-leaning Democrats. Merriam proceeded with appeasing the closely divided Legislature by praising the federal Townsend Plan, while complaining to conservatives and other capitalist supporters that he was surrounded by fanatics.
1937
Less than three years later, Governor Merriam was called upon to intervene in another labor dispute, the Stockton Cannery Strike of 1937 in which one person died and 50 injured.
Merriam refused to call up the National Guard this time, but did play a significant role in mediating between the two sides after the violence to get the canneries open and save the $6 million spinach crop. In the aftermath of the Longshore Strike, Merriam was highly praised by the conservative San Francisco press for his perceived victory over the longshore strikers. During the strike, state Republicans nominated the Governor as its party nominee for the general elections that November. Merriam, however, had threatened not to deploy the California National Guard to San Francisco if the party would not nominate him.
1938
By the 1938 general elections, Merriam had lost much support from the right due to the 1935 tax reform laws and support for Social Security, while he garnered little support or sympathy from the left due to his troubled relationship with labor unions and the squelching of the Longshore Strike.
For the elections, the Democratic Party nominated State Senator Culbert Olson, a former EPIC and Upton Sinclair supporter as well as an unabashed supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Republicans, meanwhile, renominated Merriam for a second term of office. Merriam lost to Senator Olson in an electoral landslide, ending the Republican dynasty over the governorship that had lasted for over forty years beginning with the election of Governor Henry Gage in 1898.
1941
After his defeat, Merriam retired from public life. In 1941 he joined the California Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
1945
Following the death of former Governor and U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson in 1945, a brief write-in campaign for Merriam appeared, though it only garnered 500 votes.
1955
He died in Long Beach, California on April 25, 1955 at the age of 89.
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