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Favorable or Unfavorable #458: Hiram Johnson


Favorable or Unfavorable #458: Hiram Johnson  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #458: Hiram Johnson

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Hiram Johnson (CA-R) was one of the leading Progressive Era progressives. His reputation is marred by his endorsement of West Coast legal prejudices against Asian immigrants, sadly. He is best known as having been Teddy Roosevelt's 1912 VP nominee.

Had he accepted Harding's VP offer, we might have have a Pres. Hiram Johnson in 1923 -- a progressive 1920s instead of a high tide of conservatism under Coolidge. 

Initially a GOP supporter of FDR and his New Deal, he became increasingly worried of how powerful FDR was making the presidency (executive office of the presidency, new Tariff act that allows president to set the tariff, court packing attempt etc). He became so worried about FDR's combined power and popularity that Johnson started to oppose some of the New Deal programs in FDR's second term (2nd New Deal). By the end of his career, he had lost his progressivism but retained his isolationism.

Nevertheless, he was a central progressive leader in the 1910s, 1920s, and early 1930s. Arguably only La Follette tops him in primacy of that era.

His actions:

Johnson, Hiram 1910 elected Gov of CA w/ help of progressive GOP Roosevelt-Lincoln League
Johnson, Hiram 1912 Announces that Progressives will form 3rd party at GOP Convention
Johnson, Hiram 1912 Prog VP nom on Roosevelt ticket
Johnson, Hiram 1913 Supports CA state bill denying Asian immigrants the right to own land in CA
Johnson, Hiram 1917? Reforms CA as Gov with many reforms, including instituting recall elections
Johnson, Hiram 1917 Newly elected US Sen opposes entry into World War
Johnson, Hiram 1918 opposes Sedition Act
Johnson, Hiram 1919 an "irreconcilable" on League
Johnson, Hiram 1920 Rep Pres Cand; favored to be VP by Harding but declines the offer
Johnson, Hiram 1923 a leading reformer
Johnson, Hiram 1924 role working with anti-Japanese lobby to help gain support to pass Immigration Act of 1924
Johnson, Hiram 1924 Rep pres cand as a progressive alternative to Coolidge
Johnson, Hiram 1928 Declines to run for pres as he doesn't want to challenge frontrunner Hoover
Johnson, Hiram 1928 sponsors Boulder Dam
Johnson, Hiram 1929 isolationist on Kellogg-Briand Pact
Johnson, Hiram 1930 Influential Senate Commerce Committee Chair. Serves during early Great Depr
Johnson, Hiram 1932 GOPer who supports FDR over Hoover
Johnson, Hiram 1933 helps kill FDR's pro-League embargo plan
Johnson, Hiram 1934 Johnson Debt Default Act
Johnson, Hiram 1935 helps block U.S. membership in World Ct
Johnson, Hiram 1936 while supportive of New Deal, argues that FDR is becoming a potential dictator
Johnson, Hiram 1937 A leading opponent of FDR during the pres's court-packing scheme; begins to also oppose New Deal
Johnson, Hiram 1939 outspoken isolationist
Johnson, Hiram 1945 only Sen For Rels Comm vote against UN charter, but he sits out on the vote
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There's enough I dislike about him to make this a really hard choice. However, I think the bulk of his reforms and proposals that he supported barely push him over the edge. His prejudices against Asian Americans is awful. I'm okay with his criticism of FDR, even though I like FDR, because he was central in getting bipartisam support for FDR in 1932 and support for the early New Deal. His isolationism is a little too extreme for me. 

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Reasons I hate Hiram Johnson, in no particular order:

  1. Was in office for ages
  2. Very isolationist
  3. I’m Asian-American from California, his prejudice of choice
  4. He was really petty in general
  5. Unsettlingly cuboidal head
Edited by Euri
  • Based 1
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