Re: Farmers' Institutes

Walter M. Clark

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

California and the other western states also had strong "progressive"
and anti-railroad viewpoints. Remember "The Octopus?" What was
interesting from "The Sunset Limited" was how newspapers would print
vitriolic pieces against the SP while at the same time lauding the
SP/UC farm demonstration train programs, even in the same issue.
So? The SP wasn't a monolith and wasn't so perceived, though
there has been a strain of historian (the "robber baron" cult) which
has tried to so insist.
It's worth reminding readers of this list that "The Octopus" was
bogus as history and by no means revealed the popular perception of the
railroad--as was clear in contemporary book reviews. OF course those
who like to excoriate railroads tend to think "The Octopus" was a kind
of Gallup poll of public opinion. As if.
It's of course true that California elected a strong Progressive
governor (Hiram Johnson) and enacted a number of Progressive political
reforms, but the railroads generally and the SP in particular had
became a "straw man" in politics by that time--fun to sling mud at, but
no longer a real player politically.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history
I had a boss one time who would say "We're not making it up, only
reporting it." I was only passing on what I read in "Sunset Limited."

Time stopped in November 1941
Walter M. Clark
Pullman, Washington, USA

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