Governor James Rolph and the Great Depression in California (Google eBook)

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McFarland, Jul 11, 2006 - History - 235 pages
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In 1911, when businessman James Rolph first ran for mayor of San Francisco, he promised, "I will be mayor of the whole city, and not the mayor for any particular section." This statement seemed to characterize Rolph's political career. After serving an unprecedented five terms as mayor, he went on to win California's 1930 gubernatorial election. Rolph, however, had severely underestimated the challenges he would be up against as a Depression-era governor. A genuine love of people and desire to help had gotten him as far as the governor's office but could do little to help him solve the new problems he found. Lack of a firm agenda coupled with an unrealistic (or perhaps idealistic) governing style left him at odds with the legislature and found his chief lieutenants forming into warring cliques. Ultimately, Rolph--in spite of good intentions and a love of civil service--was unable to translate his mayoral triumph, with all its charm and style, into a gubernatorial success. This biography relies heavily on primary sources such as contemporary newspaper articles and firsthand recollections. Beginning with Rolph's mayoral career, the book enumerates the qualities which led to his phenomenal success as San Francisco's top politician. The work then examines the criticisms levied against Rolph as governor and the ways in which these complaints were, and were not, justified. The unfortunate historical timing of Rolph's governorship is also discussed. In many ways, Rolph's attempt to translate from prosperous '20s mayor to Depression-era '30s governor was simply ill-fated from the very beginning. A detailed bibliography and index is also provided.
  

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Contents

Mission Jim
17
From the Earthquake to the Mayors Office
22
Moving Through Cheers
30
Friends and Family
38
A Civic Hereditary Monarchy
45
SecondTerm Challenges
47
Wealth and Generosity
53
Strange InterludeThe First Run for Governor
56
The Long Downhill Slide
119
The Depression Worsens
121
Capital Punishment and the Mooney Case
125
1932A Most Troublesome Year
135
A Government Divided
142
The Firestorm Over Taxes and Spending
146
1933In the Eye of the Storm
152
Californias Tax Revolution
159

Reversal of Fortune
59
Third TermGrowing Conservatism and Passivity
61
Hetch Hetchy and Municipal Ownership
67
Overdoing the Good Life
73
A Strong Finish
78
Moving On to Sacramento
87
The 1930 Campaign for Governor
89
Great Expectations
98
The Appointment Wars
106
Rolph and the Legislature
109
The Permanent Campaign
115
Embattled Fatigued and Broke
170
The Farm Labor Crisis
174
Preparing for the 1934 Campaign
179
The San Jose Kidnapping
182
The Central Valley Water Plan
187
1934Recovery and Ruin
192
A Final Accounting
198
Chapter Notes
209
Bibliography
219
Index
225
Copyright

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Page 23 - ... the halls like burrows, as if it were the home of some superior sort of insect laid open to the microscope. South of Market, in the district known as the Mission, there were cheap man-traps folded in like pasteboard, and from these, before the rip of the flames blotted out the sound, arose the thin, long scream of mortal agony. Down on Market Street Wednesday morning, when the smoke from the burning blocks behind began to pour through the windows we saw an Italian woman kneeling on the street...

About the author (2006)

James Worthen writes about the impact of personality on political behavior. A former program manager at the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, he currently lives in Pismo Beach, California.

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