Tom L. Johnson
|35th Mayor of Cleveland|
|Preceded by||John H. Farley|
|Succeeded by||Herman C. Baehr|
|Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives |
from Ohio's 21st district
March 4,1891 –March 3,1895
|Preceded by||Theodore E. Burton|
|Succeeded by||Theodore E. Burton|
Tom Loftin Johnson
|Died||April 10,1911 56) (aged|
|Resting place||Green-Wood Cemetery,Brooklyn,N.Y.|
|Profession||Industrialist and politician|
Tom Loftin Johnson (July 18,1854 –April 10,1911) was an American industrialist,Georgist politician,and important figure of the Progressive Era and a pioneer in urban political and social reform. He was a U.S. Representative from 1891 to 1895 and Mayor of Cleveland for four terms from 1901 to 1909. Johnson was one of the most well known,vocal,and dedicated admirers of Henry George's views on political economy and anti-monopoly reform.A panel of 69 scholars in 1993 ranked him second among the ten best mayors in American history.
Tom Johnson was born in Georgetown,Kentucky on July 18,1854.Johnson's father,a wealthy cotton planter with lands in Kentucky and Arkansas,served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War. The war ruined the family financially,and they were forced to move to several locations in the South in search of work. By age 11,Johnson was selling newspapers on the railroads in Staunton,Virginia,and providing a substantial part of the family's support. He worked all through his youth,and never had more than one complete year of formal education.
Johnson's break came through an old family connection with the industrial du Pont dynasty. In 1869,the brothers A.V. and Bidermann du Pont gave him a clerk's job on the street railway business they had acquired in Louisville. Johnson rose rapidly in the business,and discovered a taste for the mechanical side of it. He patented several inventions,including an improved type of streetcar rail,and the glass-sided farebox still used on many buses today.
By 1876,thanks partly to royalties from his farebox,Johnson was able to strike out on his own,purchasing a controlling share in the street railways of Indianapolis. In the 1880s and 90s he expanded his interests to lines in Cleveland,St. Louis,Brooklyn and Detroit,and also entered the steel business,building mills in Lorain,Ohio,and Johnstown,Pennsylvania,to provide rails for streetcar tracks. He moved to Cleveland in 1883 and soon afterwards bought a mansion on the "Millionaire's Row" of Euclid Avenue.
Two chance events helped spark Johnson's interest in politics and social questions,and convert him from a conventional business tycoon to a radical reformer. The first was reading,on the suggestion of a train conductor,Henry George's Social Problems,in which the political philosopher expounded his belief that poverty and misery were a result of society's newly created wealth becoming locked up in increasing land values,and advocating a Single Tax on land in place of wastefully taxing the productive activity of capital and labor.
Johnson then became consumed by the arguments George made in Progress and Poverty ;he read and reread it,finally requesting assistance from his business associates to find flaws in George's reasoning. Johnson took the book to his lawyer and said,"I must get out of the business,or prove that this book is wrong. Here,Russell,is a retainer of five hundred dollars [$13,000 in 2015]. I want you to read this book and give me your honest opinion on it,as you would on a legal question. Treat this retainer as you would a fee." Johnson then sought out George in New York at the first possible opportunity,and the two became close friends and political collaborators. Johnson abandoned his business of rail monopoly and spent much of his fortune promoting the ideas of Henry George.
The second event was being present to witness the terrible Johnstown Flood of 1889. Johnson and his business partner Arthur Moxham organized the immediate relief activities in the stricken,leaderless city. Interpreting the events through a Georgist lens,the experience left him with a deep resentment of what he called 'Privilege'. The disaster had been caused by the improper maintenance of a dam holding a private recreational lake,owned by Henry Clay Frick and other Pittsburgh industrialists,who escaped all responsibility for it. More than that,to Johnson,the flood exemplified the inadequacy of charity and weak "remedial measures" to solve society's problems.
When Johnson went into politics,"he went in on the explicit advice of Henry George."Johnson mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1888,and then won the seat in 1890,serving two terms. He promoted free trade and the Single Tax idea,and was a useful moderate on the divisive currency question.
The issue of privilege gradually made Johnson reconsider his own business career. "Traction" (streetcar) companies depended on route franchises granted by city councils;political connections and payoffs gave favored companies the upper hand. In an era when most everyone rode the cars,the stakes were high,and battles for franchises were often the hidden issue behind cities' factional strife.
Johnson knew the game intimately;in his speeches declaiming against the evils of the streetcar barons,he always pointed out that he could speak with authority,because he was one of them himself. In Cleveland,he came into conflict early with Mark Hanna,the powerful local businessman who by 1894 would be the leading power broker of the Republican Party,the man credited with putting fellow Ohioan William McKinley in the White House.
Johnson's streetcar fights with Hanna and his allies make a colorful part of Cleveland political folklore. In a time when companies with a monopoly of transport on a route were able to charge five cents for a ride,he made the 'three-cent fare' a cornerstone of his populist philosophy,and later he would come out in favor of complete public ownership.Through the 1890s Johnson gradually divested himself of most of his transit and steel holdings,to devote himself entirely to the politics of reform. In 1901,pressed on by influential citizens and a public petition,he decided to run for mayor of Cleveland.
His campaign electrified the city. Johnson liked to rent large circus tents and set them up on neighborhood lots,attracting big crowds for whom he would deliver a powerful speech,banter cheerfully with hecklers,and finish with a stereopticon show with a political moral. On April 1,1901,he was elected with 54% of the vote.
Johnson's entry into office would prove just as dramatic as his campaign. One of the campaign issues had been a valuable piece of city-owned downtown lakefront property,which outgoing mayor John H. Farley and the council had agreed to hand over to the railroads without compensation. Johnson obtained a court injunction to stop the giveaway,but it was set to expire three days after the election. Taking advantage of a legal technicality to get the new mayor sworn in early,Johnson's men staged a surprise takeover of City Hall and saved the land for the city(today this land,with later landfill additions,holds Cleveland Browns Stadium,the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center).
Johnson's four terms in office transformed Cleveland. Securing a bipartisan reform majority in the city council allowed him to effect major changes in every department of city government. Some of his policies were true innovations,while others mirrored those of the two other notable Progressive Midwestern mayors of the era,Hazen S. Pingree of Detroit and Samuel 'Golden Rule' Jones of Toledo.
In the judgement of one urban historian,"Johnson was a superb municipal technician. He grasped not only the ethics but the mathematics of government."The new administration paved hundreds of miles of streets and expanded the city's park system,building a large number of playgrounds,ball fields and other facilities. To popular acclaim,the mayor tore up all the 'Keep off the Grass' signs in the city parks,a symbol of his belief in changing parklands' role from passive to active recreation.
Rubbish collection,then in private hands,had been a big campaign issue. Johnson eliminated the haulers' franchises and replace them with a municipal department;he hired back all the men who had lost their jobs,and demonstrated how a public service could provide better performance at lower cost.In keeping with the administration's focus on public health,a street cleaning force was started,and the city's Water Department was depoliticized and vastly improved. Public bathhouses were built in the poorest neighborhoods;some of these buildings survive today. Johnson also began work on the monumental West Side Market,one of Cleveland's best-known landmarks.
To improve housing conditions,the administration established the country's first comprehensive modern building code in 1904;the code became a model for many U.S. cities.As Director of Charities and Correction,Johnson appointed his own pastor,Harris R. Cooley. Under Cooley,the city purchased a huge tract of farmland in Warrensville Township,where a new City Workhouse was established on humanitarian principles,along with cottages for the indigent elderly and a sanatorium.
Johnson was fortunate in finding talented men to staff his administration. Police Chief Fred Kohler,a stubborn,incorruptible martinet,gained national renown for cleaning up and professionalizing the force,and clamping down on vice. While laws were strictly enforced,Kohler made sure his men went easy on young first offenders and honest citizens in trouble.City Solicitor Newton D. Baker led the successful fight for 'Home Rule',working to give Cleveland a charter that would allow it greater independence from state oversight;Baker's efforts would pay off in 1912,when he wrote the amendment to the state constitution that brought full Home Rule to all Ohio's cities. Both Baker and Kohler would become mayors in their own right,continuing Johnson's policies,and Baker later served as Secretary of War under Woodrow Wilson.
The physical symbol of Johnson's revolution in government is Cleveland's civic center,a spacious park surrounded by public buildings,called simply 'The Mall'. The origins of the 'Group Plan' went back to a competition held by the Cleveland Architectural Club in 1895,but it was Johnson who pushed the appropriations through,and brought in a team headed by Daniel Burnham,the nation's leading planner,to design it. In an idealistic age,civic centers like this were consciously meant to be an architectural expression of democratic ideals. Burnham,who had created the Court of Honor at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and designed the restoration of the National Mall in Washington,D.C.,brought the City Beautiful movement of the era to Cleveland;work on the Mall and its ensemble of public buildings continued well into the 1930s.
Throughout the decade,the transit wars continued unabated.By 1903,the Hanna interests,the lines formerly run by Johnson,and others were consolidated into the Cleveland Electric Railway Company,a private near-monopoly opposed only by the Johnson-supported Municipal Traction Company,offering a three-cent fare. Seven years of conflict exhausted both firms and forced them into receivership. In 1910 voters approved a compromise plan called the 'Tayler Grant' under which Cleveland Electric Railway would lease the lines from the city and be assured of a 6% return. Though the new arrangement worked well for decades,it was seen as a defeat for Johnson.
Johnson took up the cause of municipal ownership not only in streetcars,but electric power,to bring down rates by offering competition to the monopoly private utility. He founded the Municipal Light and Power Company,and though political opposition kept him from expanding it,the next Progressive mayor,Newton D. Baker,built a new plant that opened in 1914 as the biggest public utility in the U.S. "Muny Light" (now Cleveland Public Power) brought important savings on the city's own electric bills,and those of residents fortunate enough to have access to the service,while it forced the private competitor to keep its own rates low.
In a booming city that for decades had been predominantly Republican,fiscally frugal and business-oriented,Johnson's policies made him an extremely divisive figure. As his associate Frederic C. Howe put it,it was a "Ten Years' War",and people were either strongly for the mayor or strongly against him.In winning his four terms,Johnson depended heavily on the vote from ethnic neighborhoods on the West Side,where his three-cent fare streetcars operated. In the middle and upper-class sections of the East Side,opponents railed against policies they called expensive and "socialistic",pointing out that after only five years Johnson had nearly doubled the city's debt.
The tenacious opposition of the Republicans and the business interests kept most of Johnson's big plans tied up in legal battles. By 1909,Clevelanders were becoming increasingly weary of reform and endless political fights,and Johnson was defeated for re-election by a relatively obscure Republican,Herman C. Baehr. Having ruined his health and dissipated his considerable fortune in the cause of reform,Johnson lived just long enough to dictate his autobiography,My Story.He died in Cleveland in 1911,and was buried next to Henry George in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery.
The revolution in government Johnson effected in Cleveland made him a national figure. The noted muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens called him "the best Mayor of the best-governed city in the United States."
Johnson's vision of a more honest,efficient and humane city government inspired Cleveland politics for decades to come. The years that followed his death were perhaps the most creative period in the city's history,in which it perfected excellent library and school systems,while completing the Group Plan's public buildings on the Mall and the ensemble of educational and cultural institutions at University Circle. The city was frequently cited as a model in many fields of government efficiency and social reform.
Though Cleveland's elites would never come around to sharing Johnson's political ideas,his example did much to build a sense of civic duty and cooperative spirit among them. Typical of these was Frederick C. Goff,president of the city's largest bank,who once said "I am more concerned that the Cleveland Trust Company shall fulfill its obligations to the community than make money for the stockholders".Goff was instrumental in founding the Cleveland Foundation,America's first community foundation.
A 1993 survey of historians,political scientists and urban experts conducted by Melvin G. Holli of the University of Illinois at Chicago saw Johnson ranked as the second-best American big-city mayor to serve between the years 1820 and 1993. Only Fiorello La Guardia of New York City placed higher.
Johnson's brother Albert was also prominent in the streetcar business. In 1889,he became the financial backer and organizer of the Players' League,a baseball major league begun by the players themselves,in order to get a fair share of profits.
A cousin,Henry V. Johnson,was Mayor of Denver,and Henry's son,the like-named Tom Loftin Johnson,was a noted artist.
Henry George was an American political economist and journalist. His writing was immensely popular in 19th-century America and sparked several reform movements of the Progressive Era. He inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism,the belief that people should own the value they produce themselves,but that the economic value of land should belong equally to all members of society. George famously argued that a single tax on land values would create a more productive and just society.
George Victor Voinovich was an American politician who served as a United States senator from Ohio from 1999 to 2011. He previously served as the 65th governor of Ohio from 1991 to 1998 and as the 54th mayor of Cleveland from 1980 to 1989,the last Republican to serve in that office.
Georgism,also called in modern times Geoism,and known historically as the single tax movement,is an economic ideology holding that,although people should own the value they produce themselves,the economic rent derived from land—including from all natural resources,the commons,and urban locations—should belong equally to all members of society. Developed from the writings of American economist and social reformer Henry George,the Georgist paradigm seeks solutions to social and ecological problems,based on principles of land rights and public finance which attempt to integrate economic efficiency with social justice.
Newton Diehl Baker Jr. was an American lawyer,Georgist,politician,and government official. He served as the 37th mayor of Cleveland,Ohio from 1912 to 1915. As U.S. Secretary of War from 1916 to 1921,Baker presided over the United States Army during World War I.
The Progressive Era (1896–1917) was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States focused on defeating corruption,monopoly,waste,and inefficiency. The main themes ended during American involvement in World War I (1917–1918) while the waste and efficiency elements continued into the 1920s. Progressives sought to address the problems caused by rapid industrialization,urbanization,immigration,and political corruption;and by the enormous concentration of industrial ownership in monopolies. They were alarmed by the spread of slums,poverty,and the exploitation of labor. Multiple overlapping progressive movements fought perceived social,political and economic ills by advancing democracy,scientific methods,professionalism and efficiency;regulating businesses,protecting the natural environment,and improving working conditions in factories and living conditions of the urban poor. Spreading the message of reform through mass-circulation newspapers and magazines by "probing the dark corners of American life" were investigative journalists known as "muckrakers". The main advocates of progressivism were often middle-class social reformers.
John Hessin Clarke was an American lawyer and judge who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1922.
Bruce Edward Johnson is an American lawyer and Republican politician who was appointed the State of Ohio's 63rd lieutenant governor on January 5,2005,to complete an unexpired term. Johnson concurrently served as Director of the Ohio Department of Development.
Hazen Stuart Pingree was a four-term Republican mayor of Detroit (1889–1897) and the 24th governor of Michigan (1897–1901). A Yankee who migrated from New England,he was a successful Republican businessman turned politician.
The written history of Cleveland began with the city's founding by General Moses Cleaveland of the Connecticut Land Company on July 22,1796. Its central location on the southern shore of Lake Erie and the mouth of the Cuyahoga River allowed it to become a major center for Great Lakes trade in northern Ohio in the early 19th century. An important Northern city during the American Civil War,Cleveland grew into a major industrial metropolis and a gateway for European and Middle Eastern immigrants,as well as African American migrants,seeking jobs and opportunity.
John Harrington Farley,also known as "Honest John" Farley,was an American politician of the Democratic Party who served as the 27th and 34th mayor of Cleveland,Ohio,from 1883 to 1884 and from 1899 to 1900.
Progress and Poverty:An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth:The Remedy is an 1879 book by social theorist and economist Henry George. It is a treatise on the questions of why poverty accompanies economic and technological progress and why economies exhibit a tendency toward cyclical boom and bust. George uses history and deductive logic to argue for a radical solution focusing on the capture of economic rent from natural resource and land titles.
The mayoralty of Dennis Kucinich lasted from November 14,1977 to November 6,1979,while he served as the 53rd Mayor of Cleveland,Ohio. The Kucinich administration is often regarded as one of the most tumultuous in Cleveland's history. The mayor relied heavily on confrontation politics,a style that "alienated business and civic leaders,the news media,and,ultimately,even those neighborhood groups that had been his chief supporters." His supporters,however,assert that Kucinich "championed the public good over private-sector rights and pointed to inequities that result when business-centered economic growth is prioritized over neighborhoods. He stood steadfastly for public ownership of utilities in Cleveland."
Frederic Clemson Howe was a progressive reformer,author,lawyer,member of the Ohio Senate,a Georgist,and Commissioner of Immigration of the Port of New York. He was also founder and president of the League of Small and Subject Nationalities.
A fare is the fee paid by a passenger for use of a public transport system:rail,bus,taxi,etc. In the case of air transport,the term airfare is often used. Fare structure is the system set up to determine how much is to be paid by various passengers using a transit vehicle at any given time. A linked trip is a trip from the origin to the destination on the transit system. Even if a passenger must make several transfers during a journey,the trip is counted as one linked trip on the system.
This article is a timeline of the history of the city of Cleveland,Ohio,USA.
Major Tom Loftin Johnson was an American painter and an art teacher at West Point. He created public murals –the largest of which was 70 feet (21 m) long. His American Pietà painting,which won $1,000 in the 1941 Carnegie International contest,was intended to highlight the race problem in the United States. A Pietàis meant to show the Virgin Mary holding the crucified Jesus. In Johnson's American Pietà, the black mother holds her lynched son whilst others hide his tortured body.
Albert Loftin Johnson was an American business executive in the streetcar industry. A baseball enthusiast,he was a key figure in the short-lived Players' League of 1890,while owning the Cleveland franchise in that league. He also briefly owned the Cincinnati Reds of the National League.
Charles Willard “Billy”Stage (1868–1946) was an American attorney,politician,professional baseball umpire and amateur track athlete. A native of Painesville,Ohio,Stage attended Western Reserve University,where he tied an amateur world record in the 100-yard dash. After briefly becoming a National League baseball umpire in 1894,he finished law school and became a private practice attorney. Stage served in the Ohio House of Representatives in 1902–03 before returning to law practice.
The Cleveland Traction Wars was a political conflict in Cleveland,Ohio,which surrounded the question of whether or not municipal ownership would be applied to the city's streetcar system. It was a key issue during the mayoralty of Tom L. Johnson from 1901 to 1909. This was one of many issues on which Mayor Johnson,a Democrat and a proponent of municipal ownership,and Senator Mark Hanna,a Republican,came into conflict.
The following is a bibliography of Cleveland,Ohio. It includes selected publications specifically about the city,Cuyahoga County,and the Greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area.
"one of the foremost Single Taxers in the United States.