Thank you. It's been nice talking with all of you folks
individually tonight. I am going to talk a little bit about the
Washington State Constitution, the influence of the Populist Movement on
the constitution, and then tie in, while we are at it, some of the
materials and resources that Penny has so nicely been developing, for me
and other people doing work in this field, over the past few years. So,
I'll start off just talking about the state constitution and it's
origins and then, as we move along, I'll talk a little bit about some of
the resources that we've developed here.
So, this is about Populism, a movement of the late 1800's. And
Washington was already fully imbued with the Populist ethic, when it
gained statehood in 1889. Even though the formal Populist Party, or
People's Party, actually wasn't created until three years after that.
basically, the public in Washington territory, and then early
Washington State, had a very strong distrust of the railroads, mining,
and other corporations. They had concerns about special interest control
of government. They were very concerned about the concentration of
power in elites.
And, this led to a state constitution which
imposed a large number of restrictions on the legislature, scattered
executive power among a number of officials, hamstrung corporations, and
provided very strong protections for individual liberties.
though things have changed, our economy is changed a great deal since
the late 1800's, when agriculture was the focus of Washington's economy.
We had developing mining and timber, of course, going on, agriculture.
the majority of people in the territory up until 1920, were still
living on farms and were in engaged in agriculture. That is changed. But
of course, we still have a state which bears a lot of resemblance, in
terms of our political culture, to those times.
In the late
1800's, most of the folks, European Americans and Europeans who moved
here, were coming here to farm. This is a picture from Waitesville, in
Walla Walla County. And there was a tremendous amount of settlement and
growth, particularly in the 1880's.
In 1852, if you go back, there
were only three thousand non-Indians living in Washington Territory.
And then, in 1870, there were about 24,000. In 1880, about 67,000. And
between 1880 and 1889 in a nine-year period, our population went from
67,000 to 240,000, in nine years. And that was for one reason. And that
reason is this, railroads.
There had been people, I'll go back a
little bit again, on farms. An interesting thing about Washington's
agriculture, is that in contrast to Oregon -- at least when Oregon was
founded and settled by European Americans in the 1840's and 1850's, and
when my great-great-grandfather and his brother on my mother's side,
settled in the Colletts Valley -- those people were self-sufficient
farmers. They did a little bit of market agriculture, but basically
Washington Territory was a lot different. From
the get go, people were involved in international market based
agriculture, at least after the very initial farming. But starting in
the 1870's and '80's, people were doing wheat farming and hop farming,
that was with our hops going to Bavaria during the late 19th century.
was probably, the second largest source of hops in the world. Our wheat
would go throughout the Pacific Basin and to South America. So, our
farmers were business people, as well as agriculturalists. That was
their business. Some people lived in the cities or towns, like Seattle.
This is from the 1860's.
But, as I said, there is the University
up on the hill, from Pioneer Square. But the majority of the people were
in agriculture. It was the railroads that really caused the population
and settlement to explode in the 1880's. So people moved into
Washington. I had another great-grandfather, who settled near Reardon,
and came up here from California as soon as the railroad was in. He knew
he could get his crops to market.
So, even though, these are the
gentlemen who wrote the state constitution - there are no women, that's
another story. That's a long story, but I won't cover that tonight. But
they were all men, and they almost all had beards. They weren't that
different from us today, actually.
And, even though twenty-two of
these gentlemen with beards and moustaches were lawyers, and nine were
businessmen, they nevertheless reflected a very strong, populist focus
of their mainly farming constituents. Of course, some of these lawyers
were also farming, or were also in business. Lawyers often had a lot of
things going on.
But what people in agriculture were worried about
was falling prices for farm produce, an insufficient money supply, huge
debt burden, and dependence on those railroads, those monopoly
railroads, for getting their goods to markets.
Banks were blamed
for the federal governments tight money supply policy, very tight
monetary policy, and adherence to the gold standards. And then railroads
were viewed as avoiding their share of taxes, while gouging farmers
through high transport charges.
This all had an influence on these
fellows who, even though a majority of them were Republicans, and lots
of them were lawyers and business people, the majority of them clearly
reflected the concerns of their constituents who were in farming.
even before the railroads were here, people in Eastern Washington were
shipping wheat down the Columbia, down the Yakima, the lower Yakima, and
the Snake, on steamboats. And these steamboats were controlled by a
monopoly, and in 1878 the Oregon State Grange declared that the Columbia
River had "fallen under the control of a grinding and oppressive
A few years later in 1895 the Washington State Grange
-- never a radical organization really, it was a very centrist
agriculture organization -- adopted a resolution urging that the Federal
government should seize the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads
and "own and control such roads and run them in the interests of the
Here you've got a combination of a train track and a
grain terminal. And both the shipping and the railroads ultimately were
controlled by the same two trusts. No, two not one. So, there was a
little bit of competition occasionally, but people were very unhappy
Between the Civil War and the time that Washington was
created, there were a number of political parties in the United States
that reflected these concerns. These were really national concerns. The
Greenback Party in the 1870's, the Union Labor Party and the Farmers
Alliance in the 1880's, and then finally the People's Party in 1892.
of the main concerns that they had is that after the Civil War, as you
know, when you finish a war... You typically, you've got high taxation
during a war. There's pent-up demand, a lot of resources and money is
going into the war effort. This is precisely what happened in both the
North and the South during the Civil War.
People on Wall Street
and economists understood that there was a huge risk of inflation after
the Civil War with a huge demand for goods, an insufficient number of
goods until the economy was retooled back into a civilian economy. So,
folks on Wall Street got together with the Lincoln administration, and
they made a strategic decision, which was to hold the money supply
constant after the war and to keep the money supply from rising.
between 1865 and 1900, the population of the United States doubled
because of immigration. The money supply stayed absolutely constant.
This caused huge problems for people in agriculture. If you were in a
money center like New York, or Philadelphia, or San Francisco, you could
But if you were in Reardon, or you were in rural
Iowa, or you were in the deep South, you could not get your hands on
currency. This led to sharecropping in the South, more than anything
else. There was no money.
Here in Washington, what farmers would
do if they needed grain, they'd go to the grain company which was owned
by the same company that owned the railroads and the shipping company,
and you would mortgage your crop to come backed by a mortgage on your
land. You would then get your grain as a non-cash transaction. Then,
when you grow your crop, you sell it at the going rate back to the same
company. If you came out ahead, you got some cash.
If the price of
wheat had dropped, you would be in debt more than you were last time.
It was very hard. Of course, the prices were fixed on the railroads and
on the shipping lines for shipping grain on the Columbia so that people
just did not have access to money, and they were very, very unhappy.
This is a bank in Grandview, here's the inside of the bank. I love the moose up there.
platform of these various political parties, including in Washington
the People's Party in the 1890's reflected these concerns. They wanted
number one, a liberal monetary policy, mortgage relief, higher taxes on
businesses, ban on union busting private detectives, because the labor
movement was involved in this, too. Railroad rate controls, public
employment offices, work place safety laws, free education and a ban on
Now, this is in the 1890's. But virtually all of these were integrated directly into the Washington State Constitution.
are a few Populist cartoons. This one says, "What God freely gives to
man, monopoly appropriates." This one is throne of plutocracy, sham
Democracy, sham Republicanism, land grants to aliens, other shocking
things, public plunder.
This is my favorite. This is from the 1894
or '96 election. Republican Party, builders of corporate wealth, on the
left. On the right, Democratic Party, builders of saloons and jails,
and in the middle People's Party, builders of churches and schools.
was formed in 1889, we'll get back to the Constitution in a minute. But
seven years later the state government was in the hands of the Populist
Party in a Fusion ticket with the Democratic Party and the Silver
Republicans, which you could think of as liberal Republicans, as they
were for free silver and a larger money supply.
This picture is
from Ellensburg. It is from 1896, where there were three conventions,
the Populist, the Silver Republicans and the Democrats. They all met
across the street from each other. They went back and forth with
couriers and put together a Fusion ticket. The Populists get the
governor and one of the Congressmen, others to be decided.
People's Party ticket, that will be the title on the ballot the
Democrats swallowed up. Now, this happened really across the country,
Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, especially across the
northern tier, you had these Fusion parties. And at the time the people
thought the Democratic party was swallowing up the Populist Party. As it
turns out, it was the other way around, but that is also another story.
is William Jennings Bryant, who of course was the presidential
candidate nationally for the Populists and the Democrats in 1896. He
lost, but John Rogers was elected the governor of Washington, and he was
a pharmacist from Puyallup, known as the Puyallup Philosopher. He was a
pretty good governor, he was in for two terms.
glorious victory, reform forces sweep the state of Washington. And if
you look at the map, by the way, of where various parties won, it looked
just like today except that it was red in the West and blue in the
east. Go figure.
OK. So a few years earlier, just in 1889, when
the convention met and we had these fellows writing the constitution,
they started work on the fourth of July of 1889. They worked for six
weeks drafting a constitution, and they started with a version of the
constitution which was written by W. Lair Hill, who was a lawyer and
judge who practiced in California and in Oregon.
He was asked by
"The Oregonian" to draft a model constitution for the coming state. And
here it is, a constitution adapted to the coming state, suggestions by
the honorable W. Lair Hill, with main features considered in the light
of modern experience, outline and comment together.
Well, this was
dropped on the desk. It was actually printed by "The Oregonian,"
dropped on the desk of everybody at the convention, each delegate. I
would say that 60 percent of the ultimate state constitution was this
document written by W. Lair Hill.
Now, let me mention just
something about our law library, and I'll say a little bit now, a little
bit later. We have this typewritten W. Lair Hill commentary, or draft
constitution and commentary. It's actually very, very important if
you're doing research on the Washington constitution and you're trying
to explain what various provisions mean, whether you're briefing it, or
you're a judge working on an opinion.
Because you can go to a
number of the sections of Hill's constitution --and if it's one of the
sections that wound up in the ultimate, final version of the
constitution and is still with us today -- you can go to his annotations
in his commentary, and you can learn what the theory was behind that
He was a very good writer. Of course, back then people
read books, and they were able to write English. And so, you'll find
this very readable. And Hill is regularly cited by our courts for a
number of provisions. You can find it here in hard copy downstairs, and
as I'll explain in a little bit, you can also find it online.
let me say something about a few of the provisions in the constitution
that came out of this Populist influenced convention. A lot of the
provisions can actually trace their lineage to the Jacksonian period or,
of course, earlier. I have one talk that traces our right to bear arms
back to the 12th century, but again that's a different talk.
were a number of provisions that were basically aimed at preventing
special interests from getting any special treatment in state
government. So, we have Article 1, Section eight language that says, "No
law granting irrevocably any privilege, franchise or immunity shall be
passed by the legislature."
And its cousin, Article 1, Section 12,
"No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or
corporation other than municipal privileges or immunities which upon the
same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations."
12 actually has 22 separate sections designed to oversee private
business corporations and regulate business. Requiring that corporations
be formed under general laws, not special acts permitting the
legislature to alter statutes governing corporations at any time.
Prohibiting stock fraud, enabling condemnation of corporate property,
combating monopolies. All these things are in the state constitution.
think they're often ignored because of preemption of the U. S.
government under the Commerce Clause, but they're all there. This one
simply says that railroad companies can't charge different rates to the
same classes of people or freight, and that's in the constitution. There
are shareholder provisions and some special ones on railroads.
don't have to read this, but this is one of my favorites. It tells you
that if two railroad tracks of the same gauge cross each other, there
has to be an inner tie, there has to be a switch. That is in the
constitution. You say, "In the constitution? Why would that be in a
Well, things important to people in 1789 are
different from what are important to people in 1889, are different than
what's important to people in 1989. So, in the 1970s and '80s we were
concerned about, say, the Equal Rights Amendment.
In 1889, people
wanted competition. And they wanted the Union Pacific and the Central
Pacific, if they crossed or came near each other, they wanted to be able
to switch box cars from one line to the other in order to create more
competition. So, that is in the constitution.
against consolidating of competing railroad lines, that is a dead
letter. They're all consolidated. They're all BSF today, pretty much.
favorite one of mine is that telephone and telegraph companies have to
share their poles. One of my students did a really interesting paper,
suggesting that this should apply to cell towers. Competing cell
companies would have to share, she argued.
This one still has a
huge influence on how government works. Local governments are prohibited
from giving or lending their money or credit to private corporations
except for the support of the poor and infirmed. That actually has a
huge influence today, it still does.
Now, here's something else we
have in the library. This is just a newspaper article. When you're
doing research on the Washington Constitution, you need to go back and
look at newspaper articles, contemporary when the provision was written,
whether it's 1889 or when the addition of the memorandum came in in
1911, or when the ERA was adopted in 1972, I think.
And this one
relates to the Populism and the anti-railroad attitudes. This is either
the PI or the Times. "The first knockdown, the Northern Pacific Railroad
Company received a knockdown yesterday with the defeat of its scheme to
squeeze $200,000 out of the pockets of Walla Walla County tax payers."
And it goes on to tell you about this provision I was just talking
about, no lending of credit. So that was basically an anti-Northern
What people forget is that the Union Pacific
supported it. They didn't want the subsidy to Northern Pacific, because
then it would cause more competition for Union Pacific. Nevertheless, it
was an anti-railroad provision, 49 to 25 at the state constitutional
Now, if you are doing research, if you're a law
student, if you're a lawyer, if you're a judge and you're doing research
on the Washington Constitution and you want to get to these newspaper
articles, how do you do this?
Well, one way is you go to Susan Low
Library. So if you live in Spokane, you drive over and you go to, it's
Allen now, you go to where you can see all of this on microfiche. Or you
can have your library call the librarians here. For the last few years,
you have been able to get copies of this book.
It gets better
with this book which Penny had found the money to publish, which is
basically all of the newspaper articles except for "The Oregonian" that
were reporting on the state constitutional convention in 1889,
These were actually the newspaper articles that were
used in the 1960s by Beverly Rosenow, who was a librarian here, and
Quentin Shipley Smith. Where they reconstructed the Journal of the
Washington State Constitutional Convention. They reconstructed it from
newspaper reports. Now, if you go to Oregon, I have a copy of the
Journal of the Oregon Constitutional Convention. They took notes, they
published it, it's easy to find.
With the Washington
Constitutional Convention, Congress promised to pay to have the
shorthand notes transcribed of the verbatim debates in the constitution,
to have them transcribed and published. But Congress reneged. The
clerks didn't get paid, and they were ticked. So, they burned their
So in your attic if you've got a chest and you've got a
bunch of old scraps of paper that look like notes from the
constitutional convention, call me. Now, we think they were burned. And
so, a couple of librarians here went through all of these newspaper
reports. And in 1962, they basically reconstructed from the excellent
verbatim reports in the newspapers, because the reporters all took
So if you look up three newspaper articles of the
same day covering the same debate, you can reconstruct the verbatim the
debate at the constitutional convention. So that's what this library did
in 1962, and then the book was out of print. So Penny was kind enough
to run down the money to have it reprinted again in 1999. But this time,
together with a reproduction of all the newspaper articles, it gets
better yet. But you can wait.
OK. Just a couple more interesting
things in the state constitution that comes from this era. A lot of the
trades that people were in besides, obviously, agriculture like logging,
mining. These are Chinese workers building the Northern Pacific
Railroad. Mining, carbonate coal mine, Chinese workers in the mine. By
the way, the whole other story, of course, is the importance of Chinese
workers to the economy of Washington State. These were dangerous, that's
a cannery. These are dangerous work to be in.
So, one of the
provisions says that the legislature shall pass necessary laws for the
protection of persons working in mines, factories, and other dangerous
employment. And that is in the state constitution. It took the
legislature about 20 years to actually pass the legislation because of
opposition from the business community, but it finally passed.
other interesting thing, it has to do with our right to bear arms,
which is different. Let me see, let me scroll through here and then I'll
go back and show you the slides. But it tells us, this is from the
state constitution. "The right of the individual citizens to bear arms
in defense of himself, or the state shall not be impaired. But nothing
in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or
corporations to organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men."
are two main reasons for this. One is the anti-Chinese riots in the
1880's. In Seattle, in Port Townsend, in Tacoma, where groups of
vigilantes, who are concerned about Chinese workers, who worked for
lower pay and produce better work. They're taking away jobs, so they are
going to run about the Chinese and send them back where they came from,
which was San Francisco.
And so they did this, and they rounded
up the workers, the governor telegraphs, sorry. The mayor telegraphs the
governor and said: "We need to protect these people. Can you please
call out the national guard?" The militia and the governor wired back
and said, "It will take three or four days, so that's not soon enough.
Why aren't you use the ROTC?"
And so they mustered in the cadets,
then a group of 17 and 18 year old kids, from the University of
Washington, which of course was downtown at that time. They march these
kids down to Pioneer Square, and there they are along with some city
police, surrounding the Chinese workers in the middle, battling a mob.
students lost their cool, opened fire and kind of reverse of Kent
State, they killed four of the vigilantes. There they are carrying off
the wounded. This is from "Harper's Weekly." It was a big deal
nationally, reported nationally.
But there was a strong concern
about vigilantes. There was also concerns about Pinkerton goons that
were hired by mill owners, factory owners to break strikes. And those
are Pinkerton's. So that led to this interesting provision which gives
you a right to own guns, basically. But corporations don't have,
individuals and corporations don't have a right to have a private
armies. Interesting provision.
I'll just quickly scroll through
these and wrap up. A lot of our provisions are Populist, but they're
actually older. They go back to earlier 1830's movement, but legislation
has to cover just one topic. No special legislation. Municipalities
aren't chartered by the Onesies, they're incorporated according to
general standing laws.
The other thing is, that the executive is
blown to smithereens. Constitution has eight independently elected
offices. We also have the insurance commissioner for nine. Our judges
are elected. The concept on electing judges for better or worse, was
then that the judges would be, couldn't be controlled by special
interest. Because they're elected by the people, and therefore they're
responsible directly to the people. And they wouldn't be pawns of big
interest groups. Things do change.
Then the last thing of course,
that is near and dear to our hearts is education. There's a country
schoolhouse. What happened here, it's kind of like ontogeny
recapitulating phylogeny. Where what happens in the specific area, as
people moved across the West, was the same thing that had happened
earlier, or is it the other way around? Which come first, phylogeny or
But anyway, it's the same. Basically they start out with
small one room schoolhouses. You hire a teacher, and the parents do it
then they form a non-profit corporation. Then things get organized, and
then by the 1870's we had a superintendent of schools, and the territory
with the statewide school system. That's a school in Waitsburg.
of these of course traces back the Horace Mann and the common school
movement of the 1820's and 30's, where the concept is that you take kids
out of factories, this was New England and you have truancy laws. You
put them in school with the theory they are going to be much better
citizens. If you want to have a republic, you are to have a citizenry
that can read. Some people still can't. And it's necessary for a
republic, as well as for factory workers who can operate complex
And so in our state, we actually have it started out
with our Enabling Act, prior to the drafting of the constitution. And
then moved into what is the strongest public education provision in the
country, bar none. It's the paramount duty of the state to make ample
provision for the education of all children residing within its' borders
without distinction or preference on account of race, color, cast or
sex. That's 1889 language. Very interesting, very progressive. So, we
have a public school system of course.
Now, let me wrap up and say
a few more things about resources here that relate to research that you
do when you're working with all these materials. I just talked about
the journal of the state constitutional convention, with a compilation
and the newspaper articles that are available.
This is actually
just a page from that book. It goes through one section of the Rosenow
book, which this library help published in the 60's. Goes through, on a
day to day basis what happened in the constitutional convention. And
then does an analytical analysis, section by section. And it's just
incredibly valuable. Let me see, that's another railroad thing.
let me just wrap up and show you something else. These are our friends,
the books. You know that, which we were talking earlier, and we've got
in the library, doctoral dissertations on territorial periods, on the
constitutional conventions, the journal. Oh, you have my book, that's
And then the whole constitution, the Walla
Walla constitution of 1878, this is actually a reproduction of the hand
written 1878 constitution, didn't go. It wasn't accepted by congress
then. We didn't become a state in 1889, in 1878 because the population
was too small and too democratic.
The Democratic party for
Republican control of congress to admit, but things had shifted 1899.
The state had become predominantly Republican, so the [indecipherable -
00:56:29] . So anyways, we effected the Walla Walla constitution here.
Oh yeah, this is the Hill constitution.
So, we have a lot of
wonderful resource materials. Now here's what we're doing now. Let's
see. Where's my little link? There's now a link which you can go to...
Oh I see, I got to go back.
And this is a cooperative project of
the law review and the library. And it's pretty much setup. I don't
think, is it entirely online yet? I'm not sure. It's not online yet.
Just takes a little money and time. Yeah, it's not easy to get to yet.
But it will be soon.
Because what you can do is, for instance,
that Hill constitution that I mentioned. You'll be able to click, and
there it is, right there. And so, if you are in Washtucna, or you're a
lawyer in Walla Walla, or for that matter, you're in Indonesia, and you
want to take a look at the Hill constitution that was put in everybody's
desk, you are going to be able to go online and bring it up.
also be able to get all of the newspaper articles that are in the
Rosenow book, and there it is right there. And this is the entire book.
And if you're a speed reader, you can read the whole thing right here.
And there it is.
So it's just a fabulous resource
and I have talked to people in the State Supreme court about this.
Several of them are very, very eager to have this online, because it
makes their lives a lot easier too, when they're doing research. So
there's really a symbiosis between what's happening in this area of
concentration for me with state constitution and the history, and the
access to these wonderful materials that the Gallagher Law Library
So it's been a pleasure talking with you this evening and have a nice evening. Thank you.