Crimson Banners Fly: The Rise of the American Left

Part 4: Chapter XIV - Page 93 - 1908 Election Results II
1908 Congressional Elections

Senate
Democratic: 49 (+9)
Republican: 33 (-10)
Progressive: 14 (+7)


House
Democratic: 182 (+17)
Republican: 115 (-38)
Progressive: 92 (+22)
Socialist: 3 (+1)
Independent: 1 (0)

House of Representatives Leadership

Speaker William Sulzer (D-NY)
Minority Leader Thomas S. Butler (R-PA)
Minority Leader Wesley L. Jones (P-CA)
Minority Leader John C. Chase (S-NY)

Citizens of the United States cast their preference for Congress in tandem with the presidential race. With the admittance of Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico as official states, residents in these former territories were able to cast their votes for congressional representation for the first time. Six seats were added to the U.S. Senate, and all came to be represented by Democratic officeholders.

Several prominent incumbents retired at the end of the 60th Congress, including Senators Thomas Platt, John Spooner, Levi Ankeny (R-WA), and Alfred B. Kittredge (R-SD). Their targeting in Phillips' Treason all but assured defeat, so these incumbents thought it best to leap out of Washington before they faced a mandated eviction. For those who dared to stay, Republican politicians representing non-New England states encountered long odds equaling that of 1906. Senator "Boss" Boies Penrose (R-PA) was defeated by the Columbian Forest Service Chief Gifford Pinchot, and moderate Jonathan P. Dolliver (R-IA) fell to Progressive Governor Albert Cummins. Furthermore, Republican nominees in New York, Wisconsin, Washington, and South Dakota all failed to replicate the respectable successes of their predecessors. All in all, only four non-New Englander Republican senators won re-election in 1908.

Republican incumbents were, overall, facing disadvantageous odds. Progressives and Democrats proved formidable foes, and in state after state, they knocked out the opposing GOP. This trend, first taking shape in 1906, continued unperturbed. In the House of Representatives, the former Republican majority lost 23 seats, plummeting their total delegation to a dreadful 115 (Their worst showing in eighteen years). Meanwhile, Democrats ballooned to 182. Easily acquiring the necessary 12 Progressive votes to assume majority status, Congressman William Sulzer was selected as the new House Speaker, Henry De Lamar Clayton, Jr. (D-AL) was chosen as Majority Leader, and Edwin Y. Webb (D-NC) became the new Majority Whip.

In California, sitting Republican Senator George Perkins once more opted to run for re-election. Perkins, a shipping industrialist now-competing for his fourth consecutive term in office, remained a favorite of the state Republican Party. He was re-nominated with no notable challengers. As for the general election, Perkins faced unlikely odds. He did manage to captivate a hearty 56% of the electorate in 1902 (the first direct senatorial election in California), but voters' affiliation with the GOP waned considerably since then. It all came down to a three-way race between Perkins, Democratic Customs Court Judge Marion De Vries and former Governor George Pardee. The latter candidate, a pioneer Progressive and close associate of President Roosevelt, ran on an anti-trust campaign aimed at the railroad industry. With De Vries and Perkins representing business interests, Pardee won many cross-over votes from Democrats who voted Hearst on the top-line. In the final tally, Pardee took 46% of the vote to De Vries' 30% and Perkins' 24%.

Southern populists, legitimized during the Bryan presidency and bolstered by their part in overthrowing Speaker Cannon in 1905, truly grew into their own at the tail-end of Roosvelt's presidency. They skillfully latched onto Governor Hearst's campaign, proving crucial regional allies to the presidential nominee. Populist Democrats never quite reached mainstream political appeal in the 1890s, unable to circumvent the hegemony of powerful, planter-appeasing conservatives. Hearst had reopened the door Bryan left shut, however, and his connections assisted in the rise of a new class of reformist Southern Democrats that came about in the 61st Congress.

Fellow publisher Josephus Daniels headed this novel Southern strategy, coordinating various disparate campaigns into a unified effort against "stale politics and careerist politicians." Professing adherence to progressive change for rural, working-class whites and a fight for anti-plutocratic measures (in addition to unadulterated white supremacy stoked up to a fever pitch), Daniels' work and his messaging became a staple among Democratic insurgents. Static incumbents typically unconcerned with re-election efforts found profound difficulty in retaining support from the electorate, and if primary elections had existed in the South, historians generally accede that business-oriented senatorial mainstays like Joseph F. Johnston (D-AL) would have suffered defeats to insurgent candidates. Though that is not to say that the incumbents were completely impervious.

Senator Alexander S. Clay (D-GA), a dyed-in-the-wool social and economic conservative, had sat in Congress as the Class 3 representative of his state since 1897. His re-nomination in 1902 went unopposed and he went on to defeat a long-shot Republican candidate with about 92% of the vote. Favorable tidings would not come so easily to Clay in this cycle. Former Populist Representative Thomas E. Watson explored his electoral prospects in challenging Senator Clay for his seat. Watson gained national recognition after being awarded the 1896 Populist vice presidential nomination, and since moved sharply toward white supremacy. He championed Bryan's re-election, and in 1908 the election of Governor Hearst. Eventually, prodded by Daniels and DNC Chair Johnson, Watson agreed to run for Senate.

Fascinatingly enough, even though Watson's economic ideology was to the left of his opponent, he campaigned as a strict social conservative. The Populist denounced Clay as a tool of corporate interests, but also hurled accusations of pro-Catholic and pro-integration sentiment from the incumbent (likely fabricated). Clay attempted to defend himself as an avid ally to his white constituency, but the Georgia Democratic Party chose not to risk re-nominating a potential race equalist. As thus, Watson won the inter-party war and strode to the winner's circle on Election Day. He was unopposed in the general election.

Similar environments led to two additional conservative Democrats losing election prospects to insurgent populists. Mississippi Senator Hernando D. Money, an amenable conservative and two-term incumbent, announced an intent to retire from political life prior to the state nominating festivities. At once, former Governor James K. Vardaman declared his interest in running for Senate. Vardaman, who referred to President Roosevelt on the campaign trail as a "little, mean, coon-flavored miscegenationist," captivated the Mississippi Democrats and easily took the nomination and the election. Likewise, Representative Coleman Blease, running on a platform of economic populism and racial fear-mongering, took advantage of the refusal of incumbent Senator Frank Gary (D-SC) to run for a full term (He had won a special election to fill the vacancy of Asbury Latimer in February). In his own words, Blease, "knew how to play on race, religious, and class prejudices to obtain votes." He did just that and won that election handily.


Senators Elected in 1908 (Class 3)
Joseph F. Johnston (D-AL): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
James P. Clarke (D-AR): Democratic Hold, 93%
**Henry F. Ashurst (D-AZ): Democratic Gain, 60%
**Marcus A. Smith (D-AZ): Democratic Gain, 61%
George C. Pardee (P-CA): Progressive Gain, 46%
John C. Bell (D-CO): Democratic Hold, 51%
Frank B. Brandegee (R-CT): Republican Hold, 75%
Duncan U. Fletcher (D-FL): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Thomas E. Watson (D-GA): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Henry Heitfeld (D-ID): Democratic Hold, 45%
William Lorimer (R-IL): Republican Hold, 48%
Charles W. Fairbanks (R-IN): Republican Hold, 46%
Albert B. Cummins (P-IA): Progressive Gain, 53%
Joseph L. Bristow (P-KS): Progressive Gain, 60%
James B. McCreary (D-KY): Democratic Hold, 54%
Samuel D. McEnery (D-LA): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
John W. Smith (D-MD): Democratic Gain, 52%
*James K. Vardaman (D-MS): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
William J. Stone (D-MO): Democratic Hold, 66%
Francis G. Newlands (D-NV): Democratic Hold, 54%
Jacob Gallinger (R-NH): Republican Hold, 56%
**Felix Martinez (D-NM): Democratic Gain, 53%
**Andrieus A. Jones (D-NM): Democratic Gain, 59%
William F. Sheehan (D-NY): Democratic Gain, 40%
Lee Overman (D-NC): Democratic Hold, 70%
John Burke (D-ND): Democratic Gain, 39%
Theodore E. Burton (R-OH): Republican Hold, 37%
**Robert L. Owen (D-OK): Democratic Gain, 67%
**Thomas Gore (D-OK): Democratic Gain, 61%
George E. Chamberlain (D-OR): Democratic Gain, 50%
Gifford Pinchot (P-PA): Progressive Gain, 39%
Coleman L. Blease (D-SC): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Philo Hall (P-SD): Progressive Gain, 56%
Reed Smoot (R-UT): Republican Hold, 63%
William P. Dilingham (R-VT): Republican Hold, 69%
*Carroll S. Page (R-VT): Republican Hold, 66%
William W. McCredie (P-WA): Progressive Gain, 48%
Isaac Stephenson (P-WI): Progressive Gain, 59%

*Special Election
** New State
 
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Part 5: Chapter XV - Page 94
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William R. Hearst, 29th President of the United States - Source: Wiki Commons

Part 5: Meet the Modern Cleon

Chapter XV: Savior or Satan: Yellow Reform in the Age of Hearst



Once all presidential election results were finalized, the anti-Hearst forces were incensed. Governor William R. Hearst was confirmed to have surpassed the necessary threshold in the Electoral College whilst losing the Popular Vote to President Theodore Roosevelt. Cynical observers of American political history insist that the separation of the Electoral Vote with the true will of the electorate is a rare phenomenon that only occurs due to flagrant political corruption. All previous beneficiaries of such elections, Presidents John Q. Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison, were stained with the ink of malfeasance (and each only served a single term in office).

Governor Hearst and his presidential campaign operatives brushed off the uproar. His late-game strategy targeted state populations most receptive to the message of a renewed Democracy and anti-Roosevelt sentiment, and that limited range meant reducing the amount of resources going into states like Pennsylvania and Illinois. New York, for example, had been a natural fountain of bounty for the Democratic challenger, and his defenders professed that the Empire State win was a result of Hearst's successful governorship and gradual disillusionment and division amongst the opposition. Still, Hearst only won that state by about 20,000 votes, and his connections to Tammany Hall raised eyebrows. Accusations of vote-buying and fraudulent reporting from Manhattan, Bronx, and Brooklyn-based polling places rose about shortly following the state's quick decision to grant Hearst all 39 Electoral Votes. It did not sit well with the Progressives, nor the Republicans, but an absence of proof meant they had to accept the election as valid.

President Roosevelt never stressed electoral fraud, nor did he indicate an interest in seriously contesting the results in New York or Massachusetts. For the departing Columbian leader, Hearst won in a legitimate manner and it would seem childish to contend with that fact. In a letter the president authored to Vice President Taft, he wrote "I am comforted in the knowledge that we have retained plural support these past four years. I believe I shall enjoy retirement." Although he fell a bit short of beating the Democrats to a frazzle, the National Progressives remained on the up-and-up in all segments of the country - winning more raw votes in the total congressional vote count than either the Democratic or Republican parties. Progressives certainly had a viable political future, yet it was hardly easy in 1909 to picture a cohesive pathway to the presidency without Roosevelt at the helm.

As the incumbent departed for an excursion to Africa and the Republican Party leadership licked their wounds, the Democrats were overjoyed in a manner unseen since Bryan's 1896 victory. Defeating the undefeatable president appeared a task too heavy for any worthwhile opponent, but Hearst had apparently done it. The New York Journal and other Hearst publications granted commiserations to the competition and respectfully expressed gratitude for a hard-fought election. What they did not do moving forward, however, was refrain from political attacks directed at now-exiting President Roosevelt. All throughout the Hearst presidency, whenever economic conditions seemed unsteady or trust reorganizers implanted their consolidations on American industry, the prime target of the Journal would remain Roosevelt and his presidential shortcomings.

Taking place in the shadow of an overnight winter storm, the March 4th swearing-in ceremony for William R. Hearst was relocated indoors. The blizzard had pummeled Washington with over ten inches of snow and made travel arrangements rather precarious for the Hearst supporters yearning to be present. Despite the weather, the standard festivities held out and huge amounts of attendees barreled into the city to hear from the new president. As Arthur Whiting’s “Our Country” March quieted down, the speeches commenced.

Perhaps some onlookers expected Bryan-like optimism and a hopeful tone not unlike preceding inaugural addresses, as surely, they believed, the aggression exhibited by Hearst was a facet limited to campaigning. Those who hypothesized the above were mistaken. Now-President Hearst took little time to thank supporters or speak to the historical nature of the inauguration, and instead dove headfirst into feverish, aggressive policy talk and further criticism of his political opponents. As reporters later wrote, "...it made Roosevelt's [Inaugural] seem mundane."


I have only to repeat what I have said in my speeches. I am enlisted in this fight against the control of the government by the trusts and corrupt corporations and I will fight it to the end. But I will serve, just exactly as the people desire, and as earnestly and loyally to do my best to promote the interests of my fellow citizens.
Hitherto both parties have been largely controlled by the large corporations that speculate in public officials in order to be able to appropriate public property and to secure special privileges. These corrupt corporations have worked in favor of the Republican Party, but have controlled the machinery of the Democratic Party in order prevent the latter party from becoming a menace to the special interests. This year, the democratic masses repudiated the paid agents of the trusts and attorneys of corrupt corporations and drove them from control of the political process.
Democracy was started for the positive purpose of giving the people an opportunity to vote for American principles, for the democracy of Jefferson and the republicanism of Lincoln and for a candidate free from corporate control. The mere overthrow of one boss is invariably followed under our present system by the substitution of another boss equally evil. To accomplish the permanent destruction of all bosses it is necessary to attack and eliminate the system yunder which bosses thrive.
The working man and the slum child know they can expect my best efforts in their interests. The decent, ordinary citizens know I will do everything in my power to protect the underprivileged and the underpaid. I hope the people will believe me wholly and absolutely sincere when I say my only object in being in this campaign is to serve them. As your elected official, I will seek to remove the government from the hands of the corporations who use it for their private profit, and restore it to the hands of the people, to be conducted for the public good.
William R. Hearst, Inaugural Address Excerpt, March 4th, 1909
 
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I've been trying to catch up to the TL over the last week or two, so I'm very happy to finally get up to date. I've loved reading this, it's made me angry, it's made me sad, and above all it has impressed me. This TL is gold.
Lodge, in a state of shock and disbelief, recalled the president whispering, "By God's graces, be sure the devil is hanged."

Doctors soon discovered that Beveridge had stopped breathing along route to Springfield Hospital. Once the man arrived and was prepped for emergency surgery, the medical staff hurriedly began operating on the president to save his life. Fearing the worst, they incessantly worked to resuscitate the executive, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Surgeons found a bullet lodged in his right lung and determined the shot undoubtedly fatal. Just like that, in the span of an otherwise ordinary afternoon, Albert Beveridge, at only 40 years old, became the third president to be felled by an assassin's bullet.
Blood spilled for blood spilled.
Beveridge seems like what would happen with a president with Woodrow Wilson's sensibilities but with a Roosevelt's bellicosity. Equal parts self-righteous, sordid and wholly immovable from their chosen course. It's very fitting that this sort of man would end up lionized and celebrated. It's like the Imperial Disease in the shape of a man.
The miners were not dealing with your average, everyday hubris. This was advanced hubris.
Welcome to the Class War, how tough are ya?

Around the autumn of 1906, President Roosevelt completing his reading of The Jungle, a novel authored by muckraker and anti-corruption advocate Upton Sinclair. The Jungle was a contemporaneous story of a Lithuanian immigrant as he strives to establish a promising life for himself and his family in the United States. The protagonist, Jurgis Rudkis, works in the meat industry, and it through his viewpoint that the reader is taught the unsanitary and gruesome conditions of the Chicago meatpacking plants. Rudkis endures rancid wage slavery, workplace accidents, and frequent mistreatment by the factory employers until he is driven to homelessness and addiction.
Sinclair believed that the readership, numbering in the millions by the end of 1906, would arrive to a similar anti-capitalist conclusion.
Spoilers for The Jungle: If you haven't actually read it yet.

If there were ever an example of why long-form reading is an awful way to communicate politics to wider society, it would be The Jungle.
The book isn't subtle at all about the sheer depravity and pain that people go through just to survive under Capitalism. Everyone in Jurgis' family starts off healthy and optimistic, little children in the family, old people, young people, every bit the massive old world family as you'd imagine it. And by the end of the book, if I'm remembering it correctly, they're whittled down to just 3.

Everyone else died sick, died in childbirth, drowned, succumbed to the elements, or disappeared. The only one's left are Jurgis, his prostituting sister (no judgement against her, it's just the debasement of having been reduced to doing that with no other options), and I think their aunt.

They go through hell, hell, hell and hell again.

And the takeaway at the time, and how it's taught about in school, is that the beef industry was kind of gross.

It's a really a testament to the ideological conditioning and the cultural values of a people that can ignore and excuse that much pain, assuming they read the whole thing at all.


I'm assuming there was a very minor "Draft Taft" movement that didn't have any legs.
. All throughout the Hearst presidency, whenever economic conditions seemed unsteady or trust reorganizers implanted their consolidations on American industry, the prime target of the Journal would remain Roosevelt and his presidential shortcomings.
Art imitates life. Or is there actually an older precedent for this kind of oppositional press tactic?
To accomplish the permanent destruction of all bosses it is necessary to attack and eliminate the system under which bosses thrive.

Someone is definitely going to be quoted down the line by people they don't agree with. @PyroTheFox Are you going to martyr this man?
Cause that kind of rhetoric can only add gas for a socialist movement in the future once there's some historical distance between Hearst as he is and Hearst as he's remembered.
 
I've been trying to catch up to the TL over the last week or two, so I'm very happy to finally get up to date. I've loved reading this, it's made me angry, it's made me sad, and above all it has impressed me. This TL is gold.

Thank you! It's encouraging to know my timeline can provoke those kinds of reactions :)

Blood spilled for blood spilled.
Beveridge seems like what would happen with a president with Woodrow Wilson's sensibilities but with a Roosevelt's bellicosity. Equal parts self-righteous, sordid and wholly immovable from their chosen course. It's very fitting that this sort of man would end up lionized and celebrated. It's like the Imperial Disease in the shape of a man.

Yes, very true. Beveridge was not doing splendidly well in the months prior to his assassination ITTL, and his unpopularity only turned around after his death. His pivot to the economic left (something that occured IOTL) would probably have gone ignored if he survived.

Welcome to the Class War, how tough are ya?

:p

Spoilers for The Jungle:
If you haven't actually read it yet.

If there were ever an example of why long-form reading is an awful way to communicate politics to wider society, it would be The Jungle.
The book isn't subtle at all about the sheer depravity and pain that people go through just to survive under Capitalism. Everyone in Jurgis' family starts off healthy and optimistic, little children in the family, old people, young people, every bit the massive old world family as you'd imagine it. And by the end of the book, if I'm remembering it correctly, they're whittled down to just 3.

Everyone else died sick, died in childbirth, drowned, succumbed to the elements, or disappeared. The only one's left are Jurgis, his prostituting sister (no judgement against her, it's just the debasement of having been reduced to doing that with no other options), and I think their aunt.

They go through hell, hell, hell and hell again.

And the takeaway at the time, and how it's taught about in school, is that the beef industry was kind of gross.

It's a really a testament to the ideological conditioning and the cultural values of a people that can ignore and excuse that much pain, assuming they read the whole thing at all.

Interesting how that happens, eh?

I'm assuming there was a very minor "Draft Taft" movement that didn't have any legs.

Yes, that's basically what I had in mind. Taft was/is fairly popular with Republicans in 1908 despite his role as TR's VP. To them, Taft was viewed as a respectable politician in an otherwise intolerable administration, and it made sense to renominate the relatively harmless Senate President.

Art imitates life. Or is there actually an older precedent for this kind of oppositional press tactic?

Ah, well there is always a degree of finger-pointing in the partisan press. I recall several examples at the height of the 1893 Panic, when Democrats profusely blamed Benjamin Harrison long after Grover Cleveland returned to office.

Someone is definitely going to be quoted down the line by people they don't agree with. @PyroTheFox Are you going to martyr this man?
Cause that kind of rhetoric can only add gas for a socialist movement in the future once there's some historical distance between Hearst as he is and Hearst as he's remembered.

Aha! Well we shall see how that turns out. Populist rhetoric was in no short supply in this period, so it may depend on how fondly Americans look back on the Hearst presidency down the line.
 
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Part 5: Chapter XV - Page 95
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William Hearst with Arthur Brisbane (Right) - September 19th, 1908 - Source: Wiki Commons

If his inaugural address had been any indication, newly admitted President Hearst prepared to conduct all-out war against the corporate Colossus and its soulless endorsees in government. This was his plainly constructed line in the sand. The new president was not elected on a platform of mediation and moderation, but repudiation. From all accounts, working out compromised solutions with Washington fossils did not once enter his mind. The plutocratic conspiracy, in Hearst’s conceptualized reality, had its tentacles in each major party and would block all intentions to truly curb its power.

Therefore, Hearst searched for loyal colleagues in Congress readied to fight that fight. Fortunately for the incoming leader, the Democrats possessed majority coalitions in both houses of Congress. Furthermore, a fair number of Progressives expressed a willingness to work alongside Hearst's leadership if it meant passing genuine reform (a reverse of the early-Roosevelt coalition). Promptly upon the swearing-in, Hearst and Clark called on state leaders to begin the process of fostering cordial alliances with every sect of the party. Bringing conservatives into the fold would prove troublesome, but the new administration believed that an abundance of peer pressure from fellow Democrats would, inevitably, lead to a lowering of barriers.

In order to forge these tenuous alliances, the most prominent segments of the Hearst Campaign reorganized themselves into a logistical operation. High-ranking officials within the campaign were not noteworthy politicians, but instead publishers, newspapermen, and press bureau officers. Hearst's chief campaign manager, amicable Journal editor Arthur Brisbane, orchestrated a continuation of their wine-and-dine electoral strategy that appealed to the campaign's political supporters. Close advisors and friends to the media magnate cultivated plausible allies all throughout the election. Now they hoped their proven tactic would assist in garnering congressional support. Speaker Sulzer whipped up Democratic fervor for President Hearst in the House, Secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus Robert Owen (D-OK) engineered a united front in the Senate, and Brisbane's men wooed any loose ends. "They offered lavish gifts," biographer Travis Cary wrote of the technique, "of solid-gold pins, restaurant vouchers, and other valuable trinkets to the guests. Money was in no short supply for the Hearst empire, and if flaunting his wealth led to personal gratification, he endured the heavy investment."

He similarly hoisted together a varied Cabinet selection made up of the varied Democratic tendencies which propelled Hearst to the White House. Reaching out to the Midwestern sect of Democrats, those heavily influenced by Bryan Democracy, meant granting noteworthy positions to representatives from such states. Reformist Governor Joseph W. Folk (D-MO) was designated the new Interior Secretary and Iowan Farmer's Tribune author Edwin Meredith became the new Secretary of Agriculture. Former Nebraskan Governor Silas A. Holcomb (D-NE), a reform-minded Bryan Democrat and one-time Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, was granted Attorney General.

Likewise, the Southern Democrats could not be ignored. Hearst needed to cement ties with and redress the old bastion of Democratic politics if he meant to enact oft professed change. Therefore, Southern Populist Milford Howard (D-AL) was provided Postmaster General and that of War Secretary fell to an additional Dixie politician. An operative in Jeff Davis' Southern Strategy component of the Hearst Campaign, John Nance Garner (D-TX), an incumbent representative and noted champion of the income tax amendment, was personally phoned by the incoming president regarding the offer. Hearst's fond relationship with the socially conservative, pro-segregation Garner did not sit well with many of his Northern supporters, but they acceded that the selection was tactically wise.

The brunt of the Cabinet and the Executive staff was, however, made up of Hearst's allies and Northern Democrats. New Jersey-born shipbuilder and naval architect Lewis Nixon was chosen by the new president to serve as Navy Secretary. Nixon, a frequent DNC delegate and Bryan supporter, served as a skillful regional advisor to William Hearst in the latter part of the campaign. So-called "Father of the Bronx" Louis F. Haffen was Hearst's choice for Treasury Secretary. Haffen had been the sitting Borough President of that district and consulted often with Governor Hearst in adequately managing that part of New York City.

President Hearst, for the role of Secretary of State, wished to nominate either New York County District Attorney Clarence J. Shearn, Governor Thomas L. Hisgen (D-MA), or Senator William J. Stone. The latter option previously served in that role under President Bryan, but he eventually declined to serve in the Hearst Administration (which he privately distrusted per his personal memoirs). After a lengthy discussion and insistence by the National Democratic Committee to avoid accusations of administrative nepotism, Hearst settled on former House Speaker John J. Lentz to fill that spot.


The Hearst Cabinet

President - William Randolph Hearst
Vice President - James B. 'Champ' Clark
Sec. of State - John J. Lentz
Sec. of Treasury - Louis F. Haffen
Sec. of War - John N. Garner
Attorney General - Silas A. Holcomb
Postmaster General - Milford W. Howard
Sec. of the Navy - Lewis Nixon
Sec. of Interior - Joseph W. Folk
Sec. of Agriculture - Edwin T. Meredith​
 
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Part 5: Chapter XV - Page 96
William-Sulzer-1911.png

Speaker of the House William 'Plain Bill' Sulzer, 1909 - Source: Wiki Commons

Hearst's platform and that of the Democratic Party in 1908 called for broad shifts in the economic climate of the United States. DNC delegates universally adopted a platform containing a slew of varying proposals to protect the interests of American citizens. It addressed the need to secure anti-monopoly legislation, opposed centralized government, and espoused favor for an income tax bill. Hearst counted on more radical alterations to existing statute, like instituting public ownership of the railroads, but he was not blind to the fact that Democrats would be hard-pressed to pass such ideas. As such, when the new session of Congress first met that March, he acquiesced to their request to pass judgement on one specific matter that united the whole of the party.

Speaker William Sulzer, following his ascension to House leader, was, for all intents and purposes, the eyes and ears of the Hearst Administration in the lower legislature. The middle-aged populist did not possess the same sense of political power once held by Czar Reed and Joseph Cannon (the powers of Speaker were considerably reduced during the 1905 House Revolt), but it would be inaccurate to assert that the House Speaker was not an incredibly influential force in Congress. More so than simply leading standard governmental proceedings, Sulzer and Majority Whip Edwin Webb worked incessantly to corral Democrats in line behind the Hearst agenda. Some did express an inclination to do so upon much cajoling, yet, overall, congressional Democrats did not leap at the opportunity to surrender their legislative authority to the upstart president. As Representative Choice B. Randell (D-TX) reportedly stated at the dawn of the 61st Congress, "If [Hearst] expects us to roll over in submission, he is in for a rude awakening. The legislature is independent, and always shall be.”

Congressional Democrats desired an alternate starting point: one that waved off Hearst's proposals. Under tremendous pressure by a population seeking fairer trade parameters and lower prices in the wake of the 1906 Panic, a majority in Congress looked to tackle tariff legislation first and foremost. During the previous session, Senator La Follette led a contingent of Senate Progressives to draft a bill calling for a bipartisan tariff commission (an idea once applauded by the late President Beveridge). It never managed to reach the floor of the Senate for debate, but the initiative showed that the appetite for tariff reform was present. With tariff rates at an all-time high moving into 1909, Democrats eagerly awaited an opportunity to reverse the trend with the assistance of a select few Progressives.

By April of 1909, the Democrats had drafted and introduced tariff legislation in the House of Representatives. Congressman Winfield S. Hammond (D-MN) authored the greater part of the bill and extensively spoke to its merits as it became the first piece of legislation put forward in the new Democratic Congress. It sharply reduced tariff rates on all products, including consumer items like wool, to figures unseen in a generation. "The focus in the debate," wrote Thomas O'Conner, "had not been protecting American industry and manufacturers as had been the norm in Republican-led tariff discussions. Democrats changed the narrative to focus in on serving consumers themselves, with allies like La Follette famously questioning the motives of the Republican opposition. How is it that a higher tariff protected Americans, the senator asked, when factory workers cannot afford the very products they produce?"

A key section in the Hammond bill was the institution of an inheritance tax. With the authorization of the 17th Amendment in early 1909, Congress was now granted the ability to sign off on legislation expanding the tax code to affect incomes and inheritances. Progressives and most Democrats argued that the lowering of the tariff necessitated an equivalent method to accumulate national capital. If duties were not levied on foreign goods entering the United States, it made sense to expand taxation on wealthy estates. House Republicans, as one may imagine, were appalled by this proposal. They refuted the argument with standard defenses of the high tariff, exclaiming that the existence of the current rates were not to blame for the economic contraction in 1906 nor any recent price hikes. Minority Leader Thomas Butler led the opposition. In this, he urged Congress amend the bill to rid the inheritance clause and replace it with a "fair and even-handed" corporate income tax.

As debate pressed on through April and into May, President Hearst began speaking a bit more off-the-cuff regarding his feelings on congressional (in)action. Having continued the press-friendly policies of President Roosevelt, Hearst routinely invited his publisher associates and reputable reporters, deemed suitable by the president’s personal press managers, into the White House. Hearst, speaking candidly, commonly relayed his thoughts to the press corps. "The delay is reprehensible and irresponsible,” he stated. ”I'd replace half of [Congress] with livestock and we'd have this finished much sooner."

The Republican filibuster began to break down in mid-May as Progressives stood their ground as part of the Democratic coalition (often accredited to a brief, one-on-one meeting between Speaker Sulzer and the affable Progressive Minority Leader Wesley Jones). Much of the Progressive delegation did not stake out a position on the tariff issue, and those who once favored a high tariff emphasized the importance of preserving an inheritance tax to achieve a small slice of economic equality. With only several adjusting amendments, the bill passed through the House on May 18th (271 to 122) and moved onto the Senate. Considering Democrats held a 49-seat majority in the upper house, the leading party would not encounter the same resistance they once did in the lower house. A handful of reports speculated that conservative Senator Bailey planned to launch a crusade against the inheritance tax, but this never came to pass as the Senate passed the bill, 61 to 35.

With that, the Hammond Tariff Act became law, and rates were reduced for the first time in fifteen years. The establishment of the inheritance tax was also quite historic, bringing forward a form of taxation that concentrated specifically on the very wealthy. Hearst and Sulzer were overjoyed, and Democratic-friendly publications ran stories speculating on the prosperous future of the new administration. This victory and the promise of cordial relations with Congress seemed to indicate that the Democratic Party had finally managed to escape its reputation as a turbulent, factional, and untrustworthy political organization. To the misfortune of the president, however, the road ahead would only get bumpier.
 
dead-cat bounce
I'll be integrating this into my mental list of jargon.
Populist Milford Howard (D-AL) was provided Postmaster General
The most powerful position in the Executive Branch, some say.
John Nance Garner (D-TX), an incumbent representative and noted champion of the income tax amendment
Cactus Jack? Interesting to see him around this early in a story.
To the misfortune of the president, however, the road ahead would only get bumpier.
2 bucks for an affair, 3 for a lawsuit, 4 for a war. These are my bets.

Edit: Mexico is due for some turmoil right?
 
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Hi. I've been following the TL on the fly but I just begun reading it properly and am catching up with the updates. Great work with the detail and the narrative.

There was no talking him out of something when he had his sights set. I think "stubborn" would be putting it lightly. I remember he spent days at a time in the Oval Office speaking with different men. And by different, I mean it was almost never the same person twice. They were always much older than my father was, probably men thirty, forty years his senior, yet he still equipped his authoritative, paternal voice and never once shrunk down.Ruth Bryan Roosevelt (as cited in David Bergman, The First Families: Bryan, Roosevelt & Fitzgerald, 1969)
If I'm not mistaken the Oval Office was an addition under Roosevelt and Taft IOTL, much later than the Bryan presidency, right? Is the mention the cited witness having confused the terms because it's more used at the later time she says that, or is it the Oval Office is built earlier than IOTL during TTL Bryan presidency and I haven't yet read the update it happens in ?
 
I'll be integrating this into my mental list of jargon.

The most powerful position in the Executive Branch, some say.

Cactus Jack? Interesting to see him around this early in a story.

2 bucks for an affair, 3 for a lawsuit, 4 for a war. These are my bets.

Edit: Mexico is due for some turmoil right?

Mexico will be an interesting one to write, that'll be sure.
 
Hi. I've been following the TL on the fly but I just begun reading it properly and am catching up with the updates. Great work with the detail and the narrative.


If I'm not mistaken the Oval Office was an addition under Roosevelt and Taft IOTL, much later than the Bryan presidency, right? Is the mention the cited witness having confused the terms because it's more used at the later time she says that, or is it the Oval Office is built earlier than IOTL during TTL Bryan presidency and I haven't yet read the update it happens in ?

That misnomer is actually my mistake, though if it helps with continuity we can say Ms. Bryan used the term erroneously. :winkytongue:
 
Part 5: Chapter XV - Page 97
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Rogers Cartoon Depicting Hearst Struggling with the Democratic Party, June 2nd, 1909 - Source: HarpWeek

The Hearst Administration considered the passage of the Hammond Tariff a tremendous success and, as previously inferred, it was lauded by the president as a sign of things to come. With the tariff question supposedly settled, the impatient leader instructed his allies in Congress seek progress in the fields he cared most for. Judging by Hearst’s campaign and inaugural speech, matters of labor disputes and anti-trust measures were deemed significant, but he seemed far more intent on reforming the political system itself. As thus, on May 6th, shortly following its passage of the tariff, the House leadership brought forth an ambitious legislative package to the floor collectively dubbed the “Civic Liability” bills.

Hearst wrote to Congress and described in-depth his view that legislation promoting purer republicanism necessitated urgent action. His take on a Square Deal-style program held several monumental proposals that sought to totally change the trajectory of American democracy, political campaigning, and transparency. "In the fight against corporate corruption," he wrote, "it is pivotal we wrest the conduct of public affairs from the hands of selfish interests, political tricksters, and corrupt bosses. The government must serve the people and the people alone, and our duty is to guarantee this promise. I ask of Congress to pass legislation centered at expelling the black cloud of malfeasance from atop Washington."

Out of every item listed in Hearst's Civic Liability plan, perhaps the most contentious and consequential was a stipulation mandating federal oversight of all electoral donations. The idea essentially mirrored Hearst’s push as governor to prohibit corporate contributions to campaign expenses. This included a Cabinet-level board within the Department of Justice to monitor donations, guidelines for how all federal candidates must report their campaign earnings, and strict limitations for how much an individual or corporation could donate to a single candidate or organization. Its text detailed a method of enforcement, cited disclosure requirements, and did not exempt state primary elections. In short, it was meant to tackle corporate influence in the democratic process and provide for greater transparency.

The second component to Civic Liability included noteworthy proposals relating to electoral procedure on the federal and state level. One piece of the puzzle had been a resolution calling for all major parties to conduct public primaries for their political candidates for office: demanding it as a prerequisite for all elected officials to be viewed as legitimate. Hearst's sweeping legislative package also contained an outline to secure the rights of Americans to invoke a recall vote for all officeholders and, furthermore, demand referendum votes on statewide issues. None of these ideas had a modicum of support in Congress, and the latter two fell into a legal grey area concerning their Constitutionality. From the reveal of the recall plan, for instance, legal publications began questioning whether the Supreme Court would be forced to involve itself in settling the rights of voters to impose qualifications on federal officials.

Speaker Sulzer read aloud Hearst's letter to the legislature. Shouting over a mixed reception, he proceeded to direct the rather uninterested House delegation to support these initiatives they otherwise opposed. The House leader echoed the president's position and urged the speedy adoption of the proposals. Needless to say, Congress was wholly unhappy with the direction President Hearst was plowing ahead with.


House Republicans were bewildered by it all. They fully anticipated labor issues to come at the forefront, and the GOP had already worked out a defense of the status quo in that regard. Few expected the president to come forward with a plan to alter huge portions of the entire electoral system and allow citizens to recall anyone at will. Prim and proper [Thomas] Butler fastened in for the ride and headed the resistance effort as he had done during the tariff debates. What frankly surprised the minority leader, who, by all accounts, counted himself out as an ineffective commander of legislative debate, was the sudden breakdown of the Sulzer Coalition and the expansion of anti-administration sentiment.
Jay R. Morgan, The American Elephant: A Study of the Republican Party, 1980

Reaction was swift and unforgiving, and proved far more volatile than anything seen in Congress in contemporaneous memory. What began as criticism of the program as a "jumbled mess of Unconstitutional hogwash," colorfully described as such by Representative Randell, quickly devolved into broader critiques of the Hearst Administration and the president's misunderstanding of the political system. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Oscar W. Underwood (D-AL) remarked during congressional debate, "The President of the United States does not write the law, nor can he override the Constitution. The federal government is not one of his newspapers to be ordered around." Progressive Charles H. Burke (P-SD), a member of that delegation who broke with the Democratic-Progressive coalition, flatly stated his reasoning for opposition. "He has no mandate."

Debate escalated into more of an uproar that Sulzer painstakingly put down time and time again. Detractors from the Democratic and Progressive aisles joined a unified GOP resistance and significantly damaged the chances of passing even one segment of the Civic Liability program. During discussions pertaining to the Keliher Bill, the (aforementioned) campaign funding reform measure named for co-author Representative John A. Keliher (D-MA), machine-beloved and corporate-friendly politicians held nothing back in verbally beating the supporters into submission. The idea that the federal government would monitor and discredit certain types of campaign funds especially did not sit well with conservative Southern Democrats. "The South will riot if Washington tries to tell us how to run our campaigns!" one congressman was heard shouting on the floor.

Hearst fought back, decrying hostile Democrats as "dimwitted" and "mindless servants of the trusts." He, as well as the Hearst press, keenly directed attention to Representative Underwood, deeming the conservative Alabaman, "A Plutocratic Pied Piper, attracting the very worst of Democracy." The Journal printed a series of articles throughout 1909 and 1910 critiquing the motives of those opposed to the Keliher Bill, digging into their histories and unearthing connections to state machines and corporate interests. If none were found, the editor simply fabricated an element to the story to press the point. This occurred so frequently, and singled-out so many adversaries of Hearst's program, that it drove former President Roosevelt to comment on the affair. As he penned in a correspondence with Taft,
"If Hearst succeeds in this devilish yellow reform, and does so with intimidation and ruthlessness, I fear for the future of our country and our democracy."
 
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Part 5: Chapter XV - Page 98
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Internal View of the House of Representatives during the Keliher Bill Vote, August 5th, 1909 - Source: Wiki Commons

By July of 1909, the House of Representatives had debated and passed nearly two dozen amendments to the Keliher Bill. The legislature gutted key components to the legislation, removing controversial portions relating to the regulation of expenses raised for primary bouts and the opening of loopholes in the type of funding that was required to be reported to federal officials. Speaker Sulzer and the bulk of the Progressive and Democratic delegations fought against altering the bill, yet in successive slim votes, these amendments passed to whittle the measure down to its bare bones. Now expertly edited to lessen the effectiveness of enforcing campaign contribution fairness, it appeared to the president and his base that Congress had torn apart the first meaningful attempt at sweeping campaign reform in a generation.

Sulzer articulated to the president his absolute certainty that the vote remained promising, citing numerous, encouraging meetings with fellow congressmen leery, albeit open, of the concept of governmental transparency. He assuaged Hearst's fears over the amendment procedure and upheld the notion that it was the natural course of Congress to make the bill more appetizing to political moderates. Resisting an all-or-nothing approach was fundamental to dismantling cries of tyranny from the anti-Hearst Republicans, and compromising was necessary if the administration hoped to defeat growing Democratic opposition in the Senate to Hearst's agenda. In a worrying development, Senator Bailey forcefully rallied against the Keliher Bill since the introduction of the Civic Liability program. In order to have any chance at reforming the system, Sulzer implored, the president needed to concede the rigidity of his program.

As the day drew nearer when the House prepared to call for a final vote on Keliher, President Hearst learned from his senatorial allies that the steadily rising Bailey opposition now attracted 14 Democrats in total. Speculating ahead to a vote in the upper chamber, Senator Owen concluded that if every Progressive and all remaining Democrats voted approvingly on the bill, the majority would constitute a frighteningly perilous 49 votes (the slimmest possible margin for passage). In other words, if the rumors held, Bailey's reactionary movement would need to stall completely for Hearst to come out on top. That did not sit well with those House Democrats wary of alienating their corporate donors and ties to state machines, and it absolutely jeopardized the entire operation.

Representative Webb assured Hearst that they had enough support to pass the measure, and proceeding to a final vote was the correct position. According to congressional biographer Jason Sullivan, "Webb put his position and career on the line, guaranteeing an outcome that could soften senatorial opposition and present the president with a serious accomplishment to add to his legacy. The Hammond Tariff, having been only partially birthed by the administration, was more so viewed as a Democratic victory - not a Hearst victory. Lowering the tariff was a subject with which nearly every Democrat concurred. Securing a campaign promise was far more important to the leader who made his political fortune through positive press coverage."

At zero hour, following Sulzer's final consultation with Webb, the final tally commenced. Democratic spirits were high as members of the 61st House cast their votes. However, the mood abruptly darkened as the entire Alabama delegation voted against the Keliher bill. 9 Democratic Nay votes quickly became 13, then 17. Several Midwestern Democrats submitted abstentions, including Illinois Representatives James T. McDermott (D-IL), Henry T. Rainey (D-IL), and Martin Foster (D-IL). As it turned out, Webb's information was not entirely accurate. This miscalculation by the leadership, perhaps a simple tallying error or an unanticipated change-of-heart by a select few Democrats, cost the administration dearly. The Keliher Bill was defeated, 185-205-7, humiliating Edwin Webb, William Sulzer, and, more so than anyone, President Hearst.

As the president well knew, the failed vote relegated not only the rather milquetoast reform bill to the scrap heap, but too the ambitious Civic Liability program. Any hope of reconciliation was finished. Regardless of months of debate and endless amendments, the bill failed miserably. Hearst, never one to abandon a grudge, tackled the issue head-on. He released a blistering criticism of Congress upon the end of its first session on August 5th, centering his rage on disloyal Democrats and disruptive Republicans alike. Any anger that had been repressed by Sulzer and Webb exploded to the front-page of the Hearst papers. It was as if he shifted back into a campaign mode, enlightening his base with a thundering sermon.


According to American principle and practice, the public is the ruler of the State. I fear that may no longer be the case. The political machines have taken complete control over the government of the United States. Progress is impossible under these conditions. [...] Congress has rejected the people's demand to repudiate the trusts and the corrupt corporations. We asked of Congress to rebuke corrupting influence, to adhere to the doctrine of the Republic, and that deliberative body has dishonorably turned away. Therefore, as promised, I will see to it that the Justice Department arranges for the indictment, prosecution, and conviction of the bosses who stand in our way. They will be imprisoned, and our nation will be restored.
William R. Hearst, "A Response to Congress", New York Journal, August 15th, 1909

As Hearst raised the stakes in the fight for his vision of a purer democracy and his congressional allies attempted to restart negotiations pertaining to campaign finance reform, some Democrats considered breaking from Sulzer's leadership and demanding a new speaker election be held. Others, including Progressive moderates, hoped to sew up the wounds and build toward a compromise in order to forestall a midterm backlash. In the midst of the post-session turmoil and directly subsequent to the president's printed rebuttal, a captivating report was released by The New York Times that sent the Hearst Administration into a frenzy.
 
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Part 5: Chapter XVI - Page 99
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Headquarters of Tammany Hall on East 14th Street, c. 1908 - Source: Wiki Commons

Chapter XVI: Crimes Against the People: The Manhattan Scandal

On September 2nd, 1909, an editorial was printed in that morning's issue of The New York Times containing a rather revealing exposé of the William R. Hearst Campaign. The story was published by an anonymous author, a man purportedly close to the central organizing machine of the presidential candidate. Lettered beside the editorial was an emboldened statement warning the reader that the allegations contained in the text could not be substantiated. Exploring several facets of the Hearst Campaign, the piece covered one individual's personal experience from Hearst's gubernatorial campaign, to the Democratic National Convention, and through the general election. What had caught the public's eye and generated the most controversy had been a curious section devoted to the campaign's complex New York State operation.

According to the author, the legendary and rather infamous Society in St. Tammany functioned as a mantelpiece of fraudulent activity for the benefit of the Democratic Party and then-Governor Hearst. Tammany Hall had long-since played a role in commanding Democratic Party politics in New York and symbolizing the textbook example of a "political machine." At about the turn of the century, however, it had gone through a marked transformation of public perception. Tammany was previously known as a mighty, exploitative force under the leadership of "Grand Sachems" William M. Tweet in the 1860s and Richard Croker in the 1880s and 90s, but the political machine had undergone a significant facelift. Its Bryan-inspired leaders hoped to renovate the institution's poor reputation by implementing progressive reforms and uplifting the five boroughs. Charles Francis Murphy maintained leadership of Tammany Hall in this period, and he nourished a cozy relationship with Hearst upon the latter's ascension to the Governor's Mansion in 1906.

Murphy looked to scrub clean the pressure group of any remnants of Croker's minions and revitalize Democracy in the Empire State. He seemed to accomplish just that by the early 1900s, with most local publications acknowledging Tammany's newfound respectability. Boss Murphy, albeit initially suspicious of his intentions and vocally preferring a more level-headed nominee in the 1906 gubernatorial race, did come around to support Hearst against Hughes. The new governor introduced to the Democratic boss his comrades-in-arms, including Joseph Willicombe, Clarence J. Shearn, and Lewis S. Chanler, Hearst's personal secretary, attorney, and lieutenant governor respectively. Shearn, in particular, worked closely with Murphy in finessing borough governments to acquiesce to Governor Hearst's reformist policies, and, as later noted in the Times piece, the Grand Sachem began walking back his pledge to purify the halls of East 14th Street.

The anonymous writer alleged that in the weeks leading up to the election, as Hearst campaigned vigorously in California, Charles Murphy and state party Chairman Norman Mack consciously selected "men they trusted and confided in" to monitor polling places and volunteer to count votes on Election Day. These individuals, named in the article as "Tammany Rats," signed up as either independents or members of an opposing political party in order to present a guise of customary non-partisanship. The author asserted that Brooklyn Boss Patrick McCarren and Bronx President Louis Haffen played central roles in their boroughs' operation to fulfill this task, apparently made evident with Democratic returns far outpacing historical trends. Shearn was allegedly involved, as were Chanler, Willicombe, and perhaps Hearst himself. "The conspiracy to commit city-wide voter fraud," read the article, "spread far and wide, with all of its tentacles originating from Tammany Hall and the Hearst Campaign." If true, these voting irregularities may have flipped the state of New York (won by Hearst by a mere 20,000 votes).

This tale validated the assorted claims of voter fraud initially asserted by Republicans at the time of the final electoral count. Back when the results were first announced, a slew of Republicans and Progressives came forward with accusations of vote-buying in New York City. Roosevelt, at the time, refused to contest these results, likely considering the controversy a side effect of the Popular Vote loss. Now, as new evidence came to light, those who cried foul back in November of 1908 were seemingly justified. At a time when the Republican Party was at its lowest point in a generation, the Times story validated their claims and significantly bolstered their image.

For the most part, Democrats on the national stage ignored the article. It was written by an anonymous source, with no tangible evidence to back up any of the accusations. Even Hearst's most vicious opponents in Congress had little interest in playing ball with a baseless editorial featurette. "It's unsubstantiated," stated Representative Underwood. "If further information is uncovered, my office will request a detailed analysis." President Hearst, meanwhile, laughed off the story as irrelevant filth and lambasted its author as cowardly for refusing to come forward with his or her identity. He stopped short of criticizing the newspaper itself, recognizing the danger and frank foolishness of targeting a fellow newspaper chain, but he did hint his disfavor with the story for its unsubstantiated nature.


The splash of that first article did not appear to ripple. In the hay-day of yellow journalism it was not uncommon for sensationalized or fabricated stories to pop into the public consciousness. Politicians were naturally the easiest targets. Only the most adventurous Republicans declared the anonymous editorial worthy of increased investigation, and even they were mostly disregarded by the congressional press corp. [...] When the second and third letters were published, initially thought to be from the same author, it gave more credence to the allegations. The affair did not bode well for Hearst, and it bode worse for a post-Croker Tammany organization looking to restore its image.
Robert Espejo, Breaking News: The Role of Journalism in Washington, 2003
 
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Part 5: Chapter XVI - Page 100
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Louis F. Haffen, 45th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, c. 1908 - Source: Wiki Commons

House Republicans claimed outrage at the release of the third consecutive Times article, demanding Congress open an investigation into the matter without delay. Acting in unison, members of the GOP named the successive articles as legitimate and called upon Speaker Sulzer to adhere to their plea. Representative Frank D. Currier (R-NH), the typically meek and soft-spoken House Republican Conference Chairman, broke decorum to demand the very same. He verbally assaulted the Democratic leader for hindering a bipartisan vote to adequately examine the Manhattan Scandal, and for this was loudly heckled by his pro-Hearst colleagues "How are we meant to legislate, Currier was later recorded pondering, "when we have this shadow darkening the halls of Congress?"

Senator Fairbanks, effectively the chief Senate Republican ringleader in the 61st Congress, concurred with the House minority delegation and likewise called upon the Democratic Party to thoroughly inspect the affair. Republicans generally rallied behind this motif from late 1909 onward as flashes of evidence began building up. They cited the initial editorials in the early days of the kerfuffle, but soon adopted the words of former New York Mayor Seth Low who expressed his own feeling that Tammany had resorted to its old tricks. "Tammany Hall and the New York State Democratic Party are one in the same," Low argued. ”They are and always have been a criminal enterprise. I believe an investigation will reveal this to be the case, which is why they oppose it.” Progressives similarly sought to learn the truth of the controversy. As it became evident that nothing further could be done legislatively to promote their goals, an overwhelming majority of Columbians in both the House and Senate stood beside the Republicans in their demands for federal insight.

Sulzer refused to budge. Flatly refusing to proceed with such an investigation, he uncompromisingly blocked any motion related to the scandal. The bulk of House Democrats reluctantly agreed with their leader, again finding it unsuitable to investigate an unverifiable state matter. The consistent rallying cry from fierce pro-Hearst defenders in the House was to restate the president's own words: Insofar as the original author refuses to come forward, their material is not credible. Some Democrats, Underwood among them, broke from the pack and requested written testimony from Governor Chanler, exiting Mayor Ed Shepard, and leaders of the five boroughs. Unwilling to associate themselves with a political faction teetering on the brink of obscurity, these conservatives implored all parties be cooperative in order to prove their innocence.

Simultaneously, as anti-Hearst forces converged in Congress during its second session, a new element was introduced. John J. Baker, a former staffer to the municipal administration of Mayor Shepard, personally attested to his knowledge of fraudulent activities in a statement he signed and submitted to Harper's Weekly. He reinforced much of the original letter's allegations and confirmed the use of DNC intimidation tactics to favor Hearst's nomination. In addition to this, Baker seconded the notion that Willicombe, Shearn, and Chanler each had their "unkempt paws tied up at the mayor's office." The staffer, although he did not expand upon the original author's assertions regarding fraudulent voting practices in the presidential election, singled-out Louis Haffen as the party most likely to pursue such a method. "[Haffen] coerced state delegates into voting Hearst at the convention. For this he was gifted power over our nation's finances. [...] Who is to say he did repeat that nefarious task at Bronx precincts?"

With the congressional midterm in sight, President Hearst tried to alter the prevailing narrative. Publicly, Hearst continued to brush off the incessant negativity laid at his campaign's feet. Privately, he issued to his media empire an order to print headlines critical of prominent Republicans and anti-Hearst Democrats. If he could succeed in demoralizing the opposition, Hearst conspired, then perhaps the ongoing scandal would wither away from the public psyche. However, to his detriment, the Californian's strategy ultimately failed in putting a cork in the controversy, and Congress proceeded unabated. By the summer of 1910, the Senate voted unanimously in favor of a resolution creating an investigatory committee: The first official act that legislative body passed in its second session.

The Hearst Administration, backed into a corner, reacted intuitively. Attorney General Silas Holcomb followed a directive from the president to launch an internal investigation into the ordeal. Explaining to the White House press, in no uncertain terms, that the resources of his department would respond appropriately, Holcomb remarked, "We will take the proper steps to study the case in question and determine whether any illegal, unethical, or improper activities were engaged in by any persons, acting either individually or in combination with others, in the presidential election and preceding events. Once the facts are made clear, the Justice Department shall recommend specific action be taken." Needless to say, this pronouncement recognized the gravity of the situation and highlighted the president's retreat on the topic.

With polling appearing bleak and sensing the tide turning against the administration, President Hearst took one final precaution to potentially brighten the outlook. On September 6th, 1910, Treasury Secretary Haffen resigned. Since the reveal of his part as a central figure in the electoral scene leading up to the election, Haffen was unable to effectively manage the Treasury Department nor serve to benefit the Democratic agenda. The Bronxite disappointingly accepted Hearst's order to resign with few words said between the two. Is it important to note, as offered by historian R. Edward Taylor,
"Haffen was removed from the Cabinet because he became a liability for Bill Hearst. It had nothing to do with Haffen's possible criminal activity nor his role in the Manhattan Scandal, but artlessly because the Treasury head was politically unpopular. Hearst very clearly believed that eliminating the most blatant fixture of corruption in his administration would shift the course of public favorability and avert political disaster. Of course, it did no such thing."
 
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