Progressivism, Suffrage, and Public Defense

From Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz -- Online Notes For The Book

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The following Note discusses sources relating to the relationship between Progressivism and the suffrage movement. It also discusses the relationship between suffragism and public defense.


General Works on Progressivism

The relationship explained in the text among Progressivism, Populism, and Bellamy Nationalism is the standard account. See, e.g., GEORGE BROWN TINDALL, AMERICA: A NARRATIVE HISTORY 903 (1984) (quoting Kansas editor William Allen White: “progressivism [is] just populism that [has] ‘shaved its whiskers, washed its shirt, put on a derby, and moved up into the middle class.’”).

The development of Progressivism from previous reform efforts is also documented in general histories of the state in this period. Kevin Starr is particularly astute and engaging on the subject. INVENTING THE DREAM, CALIFORNIA THROUGH THE PROGRESSIVE ERA 235-36 (1985) [hereafter STARR, INVENTING]; ROBERT FOGELSON, THE FRAGMENTED METROPOLIS: LOS ANGELES, 1850-1930 (1993); ANDREW ROLLE, CALIFORNIA: A HISTORY (1998). Some historians find a “sharp[er] break” between the Nineteenth Century reform movements and the Progressives. See Robert H. Wiebe, The Progressive Years 1900-1917, in THE REINTERPRETATION OF AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE 425 (William Holman Cartwright & Richard L. Watson, Jr. eds., 1973).

California Progressives

On the California Progressives in particular, GEORGE E. MOWRY, THE CALIFORNIA PROGRESSIVES (1951) provides the classic account of the California movement. But, in response, see WILLIAM DEVERELL, CALIFORNIA PROGRESSIVISM REVISITED (William Deverell & Tom Sitton eds., 1994) (important essays taking issue with Mowry on various accounts). See especially William Deverell, The Neglected Twin: California Democrats and the Progressive Bandwagon at 72, 94, urging readers to “look beyond insurgent Republican success… to understand the complex animal of California progressivism”. Other important revisionist studies include JACKSON K. PUTNAM, MODERN CALIFORNIA POLITICS (1984); RICHARD B. RICE, WILLIAM A. BULLOUGH, & RICHARD J. ORSI, THE ELUSIVE EDEN: A NEW HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA (1988); Jackson K. Putnam, The Persistence of Progressivism in the 1920s: The Case of California, 35 PAC. HIST. REV. 4, 395-411 (1966); Curtis E. Grassman, Prologue to California Reform: The Democratic Impulse, 1886-1898, 42 PAC. HIST. REV. 4, 518-36 (1973); Thomas Goebel, A Case of Democratic Contagion: Direct Democracy in the American West, 1890-1920, 66 PAC. HIST. REV. 2, 213-30 (1997); Michael Rogin, Progressivism and the California Electorate, 55 J. AM. HIST. 2, 297-314 (1968).

For accounts of the Progressives with a focus on Hiram Johnson’s career, see Irving McKee, The Background and Early Career of Hiram Walker Johnson, 1866-1910, 19 PAC. HIST. REV. 17 (1950); SPENCER C. OLIN, JR., CALIFORNIA’S PRODIGAL SONS: HIRAM JOHNSON AND THE PROGRESSIVES, 1911-1917 (1968); Hiram Johnson, The California Progressives, and the Hughes Campaign of 1916, 31 PAC. HIST. REV. 4, 403-12 (1962); RICHARD COKE LOWER, A BLOC OF ONE: THE POLITICAL CAREER OF HIRAM W. JOHNSON (1993).

Progressivism and Suffrage

Contemporaries observed a lack of enthusiasm among the Progressives for woman suffrage. See Editorial, CAL. OUTLOOK, Nov. 4, 1911 (noting that many in the progressive movement “voted and even spoke against” woman suffrage). FRANKLIN HICHBORN, STORY OF THE SESSION OF THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE OF 1911, at 329-31 (1911), describes various strategies among Progressive legislators to avoid the issue, e.g. one Senator offered a bill to submit the question to women in a special election. J.B. Sanford, Reasons Why Senate Constitutional Amendment No 8 Should Not be Adopted, CAL. OUTLOOK, Sept. 16, 1911, at 15.

Despite the tepid response of some Progressive male leaders to suffrage, “organized womanhood,” as clubwomen called themselves, took it up along with other reforms and were central to the success of many Progressive initiatives. Judith Raferty, Los Angeles Clubwomen and Progressive Reform, in CALIFORNIA PROGRESSIVISM REVISITED 144-174 (William Deverell & Tom Sitton eds., 1994); Women Progressives and the Politics of Americanization in California, 1915-1920, 64 PAC. HIST. REV. 1, 71-94 (1995). For the connection of women’s clubs with the larger history of reform, see KAREN BLAIR, IN THE CLUBWOMAN AS FEMINIST: TRUE WOMANHOOD REDEFINED, 1868-1914 (1980); ANNE FIROR SCOTT, NATURAL ALLIES: WOMEN’S ASSOCIATIONS IN AMERICAN HISTORY (1991); LORI D GINZBERG, WOMEN AND THE WORK OF BENEVOLENCE: MORALITY, POLITICS, AND CLASS IN THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY UNITED STATES (1990) (on the antebellum culture of women’s reform); ROBYN MUNCY, CREATING A FEMALE DOMINION IN AMERICAN REFORM 1890-1935 (1991) (on women’s reform associations between the Progressive Era and the New Deal).

Suffrage and Public Defense

Public defense was one of the reforms, along with juvenile justice and women’s prisons, that club women took up in Los Angeles during the Progressive period. For the relationship of these reforms to the Progressives see ESTELLE B. FREEDMAN, MATERNAL JUSTICE: MIRIAM VAN WATERS AND THE FEMALE REFORM TRADITION (1996). The relationship of public defense to suffrage is succinctly stated in THE BLUE BOOK: WOMAN SUFFRAGE, HISTORY, ARGUMENTS AND RESULTS 53-54, 57 (Frances M. Björkman & Annie G. Porritt eds., 1917) (“women’s first care after their enfranchisement was to put through a most extraordinary legislative program” in California, that included a provision of a public defender for indigent defendants). For more on these connections, see Babcock, Inventing the Public Defender, at nn.195- 241; On-Line Notes: Bellamy Nationalism and Comparison of Progressive Defender with Foltzian Model; Foltz's Arguments for Public Defense (Woman Suffrage and Public Defense).

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