|Name||Hiram W. Johnson|
San Francisco, California , United States
|| September 02, 1866
|| August 06, 1945
Sep 02, 2013 08:34am
Caucasian - Isolationist -
|Info||JOHNSON, Hiram W(arren) - Republican US Senator from California who was a leader in the Progressive movement early in his career and isolationist in the latter part of his career. |
Jonhnson was a son of Grove L. and Annie (De Montfredy) Johnson; his father had served a single term in the US House in the 1890s. HWJ was born in Sacramento CA on 9/2/1866
Attended the public schools and the University of California at Berkeley but dropped out of college to get married to Minnie L. McNeal in 1887. They had two sons.
Johnson began to read law in his father's office and passed the bar in 1888. Commenced practice in Sacramento; moved to San Francisco in 1902.
Johnson was active in reform politics and served as assistant district attorney of San Francisco. He prosecuted graft cases against city officials and against the public utilities. When the district attorney was assassinated in court during one of the graft trials, Johnson was appointed to take his place and successfully prosecuted the case.
Governor of California 1911-1917, when he resigned, having been elected Senator. In 1910, Johnson campaigned by himself in his red car, vowing to "kick the Southern Pacific [Railroad] out of state politics." Soon after his inauguration, the legislature passed the direct primary law, referendum and recall, women's suffrage, and provisions for nonpartisan local elections. Johnson led the legislature to pass legislation for workmen's compensation, protection of immigrants and unskilled workers, the eight-hour day, and regulation of utilities/railroads. During his first term as Governor, Johnson signed the Webb Anti-Alien Bill that prohibited land ownership by people of Japanese descent against the advice of President Taft, a move that helped increase the rift between the two.
One of the founders of the Progressive Party in 1912, HWJ was chosen to run for US Vice President on the Progressive ticket in 1912 with Theodore Roosevelt
In 1916, just prior to the Republican presidential primary, Charles E. Hughes was in Los Angeles. Johnson happened to be staying a few blocks away and was aware that Hughes was in town, but Hughes did not know that Johnson was there. Johnson was offended and refused to campaign for Hughes in the fall campaign. Since Hughes narrowly lost California (and thus the election), it is evident that Johnson cost Hughes the election. Johnson was easily elected to the Senate.
US Senator (R, Prg-CA) 1917-1945.
In his first term (1917-23), Johnson was a leader of Progressive Republicans in the Senate. He held off on taking his seat until 3/16/1917 to complete some projects as California Governor. HWJ was a leader of the "irreconcilables," the faction that was unalterably opposed to ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and US entry into the League of Nations.
Johnson was a contender for the Republican nomination for US President in 1920. He played a critical role in undermining the candidacy of Leonard Wood, who was on target to win the nomination and election. Johnson won several critical primaries but lost the nomination. Republican leaders wanted him to run for Vice President again, but he refused to run on a ticket with Harding.
In his second term (1923-29), Johnson was a leader of the anti-administration forces in the Senate. HWJ and James Reed of Missouri led the opposition to Coolidge's proposal for the US to recognize the World Court. Johnson ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1924 against Coolidge.
Johnson was not on friendly terms with Herbert Hoover. Johnson had intended to run again for US President in 1928 but deferred to Hoover. The two men agreed not to campaign against each other that year. Johnson continually opposed Hoover during his administration and endorsed Franklin Roosevelt for President in 1932.
Johnson was a leading supporter of FDR and the New Deal among Senate Republicans 1933-1941. HWJ led opposition to the Supreme Court reorganization scheme in 1937 although he continued to support the President on other issues.
Johnson broke with FDR in 1940, as he did not support breaking the third term tradition. He opposed Lend-Lease and peacetime conscription. Beginning in 1939, HWJ began to charge FDR of establishing a foreign policy that ensured the US would be forced into World War II. The movement to break neutrality legislation was the first step in the break between HWJ and FDR. He also led the failed effort to repeal the Johnson Law, which he had authored, that barred lending money to nations that had not defaulted on its World War I loans. Johnson voted for war against Japan.
During his last two years of life, as Johnson's health failed, he continued his leadership of the isolationist forces in the Senate. He remained opposed to "foreign entanglements." Just nine days prior to his death, an ill Johnson paired his vote against ratification of the charter of the United Nations. At the time of his death, only one Senator remained in office who was there when Johnson arrived - Kenneth McKellar.
Died 8/6/1945 of a thrombosis of a cerebral altery in the naval hospital at Bethesda MD; interment in Cyprus Lawn Cemetery, San Francisco, Calif.