Cultural History of Texas
Cultural History of Texas HIST 460
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HIST 460 Chapter 11 39 of the United States Economv in the 192039s Low prices for agricultural products w wages for workers Unequally distributed wealth Protective tariffs European nations defaulted on debts and withdrew investments in the United States Unregulated stock speculation Bank failures NOFJ19gt N9 By 1932 one in four American workers were unemployed family income had dropped by fifty percent one hundred thousand businesses had failed and the gross national product was cut In half Herbert Hoover advocated a quotcooperative statequot to solve the problems of the Great Depression Business owners pledged to maintain wages and production levels Workers pledged not to strike Local governments and charities would provide temporary relief The national government would offer loans to businesses and create an air of optimism PWNT Hoover opposed a dole and governmentsponsored workrelief Franklin D Roosevelt39s New Deal programs used the resources of the federal government to attack the immediate problems of poverty and despair The New Deal did not end the depression or work fundamentalism changes in the capitalist economy It did apply the resources of the federal government to attacking the immediate problems of poverty and despair Early in his administration Roosevelt39s program and personality attracted the support of most Texans Because few Texans were invested in the stockmarket the immediate impact of the crash did not affect most Texans Initially Texans looked to private charities for relieve but by 1931 private organizations announced they were inadequate to the task Local government assumed more responsibility for the poor Provided public works and quothiretheunemployedquot campaign Provided free garden space Provided soup kitchens Used public buildings to house transients West Texas cities sponsored rabbit hunts Some cities encouraged quotbacktothefarmquot movements Some cities denied assistance to minorities Some cities stationed police at train stations to prevent transients from staying in the community All cities instituted austerity programs often resulting in the discharge of women employees 10 School districts cut teachers39 salaries and reduced educational appropriation 11 Most cities eliminated some services 12 Most cities froze employees39 salaries 909 N0F39gtWN9 In Texas many believed that 1 government aid sapped the willingness to work and that 2 white men should come first Women and minorities were the last hired and first fired Mexican Americans outnumbered all others in percentage of unemployment Twentyfive percent of the unemployed had no resources Dan Moody 192731 did little to address the problems of the depression Ross Sterling 1931 33 president of Humble Oil and Refining later Exxon until 1925 defeated Miriam Ferguson in the election of 1930 During his administration two controversies East Texas oil and cotton prices weakened his political support HIST 460 2 Chapter 11 East Texas oil boom In 1930 Columbus Marion quotDadquot Joiner drilled an oil well near Kilgore that tapped into one of the greatest oil discoveries in history Believing that the area held no oil reserves the quotmajorsquot had not leased mineral rights from local land owners Therefore quotindependentsquot controlled 80 percent the Great East Texas field Economic effects of the East Texas oil boom 1 Helped the poorest part of the state 2 Kilgore a boom town 3 Drove down the price of oil from over one dollar per barrel in 1930 to eight cents per barrel in 1931 Whv did 39 39 39 continue to high amounts of oil 1 Many lacked the capital necessary to limit production until prices rose 2 They could not stop production if others did not or the oil would be pumped from under their lease The Texas Railroad Commission TRC had the authority to quotproratequot oil to maintain prices conserve oil and to protect the environment In 1931 the TRC issued proration order for East Texas because overproduction threatened to ruin the market for oil Because majors refused to refine East Texas crude independents built their own quotteakettle refineriesquot which produced lowgrade gasoline sold at independent stations Because these refineries handled oil pumped above proration levels their product was termed quotHot Oilquot The TRC had no power to enforce its proration guidelines and producers could not agree to limit production voluntarily Governor Sterling formerly president of Humble Oil sent troops into East Texas to enforce the proration order General Jacob F Walters an attorney for the Texas Company later Texaco commanded the National Guard troops Understandably most East Texans considered Sterling39s actions to be in support of the majors efforts to destroy the independents The National Guard and Texas Rangers confronted resistance sometime violent as it attempted to stop the production of Hot Oil Federal and state laws restricted the production of Hot Oil By 1940 the majors owned 80 percent of East Texas field Factors which brought the conflict to a conclusion Texas Rangers The National Recovery Administrations established codes for the oil industry Majors produced inexpensive gas Law regulated refineries The Connally Act made it illegal to transport Hot Oil across state lines F gt N mpact of the East Texas Field 1 By 1935 the combination of federal and state laws enforced the TRC39s power to prorate oil to maintain prices By 1939 the majors owned 80 percent of the East Texas Field The stronger independents survive Independents established offices in Dallas The boom helped Texans survive the Great Depression FJ FFA N Sterling39s effort to regulate cotton production also cost him political support As the prices for farm products declined voluntary limits on production failed State plans under governors Moody and Sterling to limit production of cotton were ineffective In the election of 1932 Miriam quotMaquot Ferguson 193335 defeated Sterling She confronted 1 state debt 2 a failed welfare system 3 compulsory New Deal legislation that complicated state actions 4 a legislature that resisted cooperation with the Fergusons Charges of corruption focused on pardons tampering with Texas Rangers and the use of relief monies and patronage to build a Ferguson machine John Nance Garner former Speaker of the House of Representatives was Franklin Delano Roosevelt39s vice president from 1933 to 1941 Roosevelt appointed Houston banker Jesse H Jones as chairman 0 Reconstruction Finance Corporation RFC Among Texans the most consistent supporters of Roosevelt and the New Deal were Wright Patman Texarkana congressman Sam Rayburn Speaker of the House of Representatives and Lyndon Johnson Maury Maverick a liberal New Dealer became mayor of San Antonio and administrator of wartime mobilization agencies during the Second World War HIST 460 3 Chapter 11 The New Deal took action to stabilize banks and established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to insure deposits The Wagner Act insured fair bargaining between employers and employees It enabled labor unions to begin organizing in the Gulf Coast refining and defense industries Various New Deal programs provided I The Public Works Administration PWA built large projects such as dams buildings and roads 2 The Civil Works Administration CWA was created to put men to work quickly in the winter of 193334 In Texas most CWA workers repaired streets and bridges 3 The Works Progress Administration nyA carried out construction projects and quotmake workquot jobs as researchers for history projects and artists painting murals in court houses 4 The National Youth Administration NYA employed students in workstudyjobs Lyndon Johnson directed the NYA in Texas for two years Because he used need as the only criterion for enrollment 40 percent of participants were black in 1937 Roosevelt believed that raising farm income would not only help farmers but also would give them purchasing power to buy up surplus industrial production He attempted to reduce production by government control Agricultural Ad39ustment Act AAA 1933 Subsidies to farmers who would take land out of production Taxed processors to pay for the cost of the program Authorized marketing agreements to stabilize prices Abandonment of the gold standard to inflate the currency 5FA NT The AAA restricted production in cotton wheat corn rice tobacco dairy products and hogs Cattle were soon added When some cotton farmers resisted the restrictions the Bankhead Cotton Control Act 1934 compelled farmers to accept quotas when twothirds of the county39s voters authorized them The AAA greatly reduced the amount of cotton produced When the Supreme Court ruled the AAA unconstitutional new laws reestablished the quotas Livestock producers and grain farmers also received subsidies from the national government The Rural Electrification Administration REA established electric cooperatives that brought Texas farmers into the era of modern amen39ties Overall New Deal programs pumped nearly 717 million into the Texas economy The Great Depression hit minorities hardest A quot 39 number of African Americans and Mexican Americans suffered from malnutrition The agricultural programs drove tenant farmers off the land Minorities often confronted discrimination in government programs Nevertheless like other need Americans minorities benefited from New Deal programs Most African Americans switched their political allegiance from the Republican to the Democratic Party Mexican Americans confronted special problems New Deal programs often required proof of citizenship The 193039s were years of massive deportation and repatriation Those Who attempted to organize unions confronted vigilante violence and strikebreakers The Tejano middle class born in the United States perceived themselves as different from the Immigrant Generation that arrived earlier in the century The younger quotMexican American Generationquot founded League of United Latin American Citizens LULAC in 1929 LULAC39s goal was to fight discrimination against Texas Mexicans 1 Eliminate racial prejudice 3 Improve educational facilities 2 Win legal equality 4 Gain a political voice LULAC opposed strikes demonstrations picketing and boycotts It sponsored polltax drives investigated charges of police brutality attempted to desegregate public places and lobbied against the secondclass status of Mexican American schools In 1930 it funded the first challenge to the segregation of Mexican American school children In Del Rio Independent School District v Salvatierra the Texas court ruled that segregation based only on Mexican American ethnicity was unconstitutional The Del Rio school district HIST 460 4 Chapter 11 later successfully argued that the Mexican American children39s language deficiencies justified segregated schools In the election of 1934 James V Allred was elected governor He strongly supported the New Deal and cooperated closely with federal programs to fight the Great Depression This support for the New Deal helped Allred39s reelection in 1936 In his second administration Allred established a new teacher retirement system expanded welfare and social security obligations increased funding for public schools increased appropriations for the prison system and financed an expensive Texas centennial celebration Unfortunately he could not get the legislature to pass the tax laws necessary to support his program and left the state 3 million in debt Historians have frequently described Allred as the last liberal governor of Texas Conservative opposition to New Deal Businesspersons and bankers disliked government regulations Many considered welfare measures a violation of the American tradition of selfsufficiency Many feared the increased power of the federal government Businessmen and many other Texans resented the Wagner Act39s protection for unions Many resented the inclusion of African Americans in New Deal programs Traditionally Texans resented the influence of northern urban liberals over the federal government and the national economy 00159 N7 In 1936 a meeting of Democratic conservatives in Detroit founded the Jeffersonian Democrats Texans included John Kirby the lumberman and Joseph W Bailey Jr the son of longtime senator Their strategy was to support local Democrats in order to maintain strength within the party and campaign against the goals of the national party Roosevelt v 39 Democrat and 1 Decisions by the conservative Supreme Court that ruled some New Deal legislation unconstitutional angered Roosevelt When he attempted to quotpackquot the court with liberals in 1937 Representative Hatton Sumners bottled up the legislation in the House and Vice President John Nance Garner killed it in the Senate Senator Tom Connally led a filibuster that defeated an antilynching bill in the Senate Garner and other conservatives demanded a balanced budget Opposition from conservative Democrats angered Roosevelt who attempted to quotpurgequot his opponents from the party gt9 N After 1938 with Garner as its leader a southern Democratic and Republican coalition emerged that prevented an expansion of New Deal programs and cut some of those in existence In the election of 1938 W Lee quotPappyquot O39Daniel 193941 was elected governor O39Daniel was a flour merchant from Fort Worth who became prominent as a radio personality His platform was abolition of the poll tax opposition to capital punishment state assistance for the elderly a promise of no sales tax and endorsement of the Ten Commandments In his first administration he advocated transaction sales tax to subsidize support for the elderly The legislature refused to approve the tax In the 1941 session O39Daniel and the legislature approved the Morris Omnibus Tax Bill Which increased taxes on oil and gas gasoline tobacco and some businesses It did not address the longterm problem of state revenue O39Daniel39s one deeply held political conviction was hostility to labor unions He called on the legislature to pass antilabor laws and warned of quotlabor racketeersquot In 1941 O39Daniel defeated Lyndon Johnson in a special election for the United States Senate Johnson accused O39Daniel of stealing votes in East Texas Johnson believed that the returns also indicated Texans39 growing disenchantment with the New Deal He decided to distance himself from the New Deal in future elections In 1942 O39Daniel won a full term in the senate O39Daniel39s carefully crafted quotcountry bumpkinquot image appealed to the Ferguson voters in Texas39s past However his antiNew Deal antilabor anticommunist platform would provide a model for future Texas conservatives