1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arkansas
ARKANSAS (see 2.551). In 1920 the pop. was 1,752,204 as against 1,574,449 in 1910, an increase of 177,755, or 11.3%. Of the total pop. in 1920, 1,265,782, or 72.2%, were native whites, 472,220, or 27%, negroes, and only 13,975, or 0.8%, foreign-born whites. There were 121,837 illiterates, of whom 79,245 were negroes, 41,411 native whites, and 1,145 foreign-born whites. The pop. was decidedly rural, only 290,497, or less than one-sixth, being classed as urban. The average number of inhabitants per square mile in 1920 was 33.4 as against 30 in 1910. Little Rock was the largest city, with a pop. of 65,142 (45,941 in 1910), of whom 17,477 were negroes. The pop. of the other leading cities was as follows: Fort Smith 28,870 (23,975 in 1910), Pine Bluff 19,280 (15,102 in 1910), and Hot Springs 11,695 (14,434 in 1910).
Agriculture.—Agriculture was still the leading industry in 1920 and, in spite of the ravages of the boll-weevil, cotton was the leading crop. In 1916 2,635,000 acres produced 1,134,000 bales, valued at $111,135,000, and 504,000 tons of seed. The crop of 1919 was considerably less, 869,550 bales, but was valued at $159,960,400; that of 1920, 1,177,095 bales. Arkansas cotton is of a high quality, the price paid for it being exceeded in America only by that of Florida, California, Arizona and Mississippi. In recent years there has been considerable agitation in favour of diversified farming, and this has caused an increase in the production of cereal crops and hay. The corn crop of 1919 (34,226,935 bus.) was valued at $61,608,482. The development of the rice industry has been very rapid. Introduced in 1904, the production was 2,400,000 bus. in 1910, 6,797,126 in 1919, and 7,780,000 in 1920. The state ranked high in the production of apples, both in quality and quantity. In the production of peaches it ranked next after California, Texas and, Georgia and was said to contain the largest of all orchards. The crop was 3,340,823 bus. in 1919. The strawberry crop was valued at over a million dollars a year. The state ranked fourth in the acreage devoted to vineyards. In 1921 plants were erected for the making of grape-juice. In the last few years considerable attention has been given to the introduction of pure-bred live stock. The total value of the farm products in 1919 was estimated at $341,565,356 as compared with $175,057,000 in 1916.
Manufactures.—In 1909 there were 2,925 manufacturing establishments employing 44,982 workers and turning out products valued at $74,916,000; the value in 1919 was estimated at $100,000,000. Lumber was the leading industry, cotton-seed oil the second. Sixty different kinds of trees are cut for the market, hardwood and pine being the most common. The annual cut was about 5,000,000,000 board ft., of which 2,111,200,000 was lumber. The supply of standing
timber was estimated in 1920 at 78,700,000,000 feet. The chief centres of manufacturing were Little Rock, Fort Smith, Pine Bluff, North Little Rock, Helena and Hot Springs. A considerable impetus was given to manufactures, especially in glass, in Fort Smith by the discovery of gas.
Banks and Finance.—In 1920 there were 404 state and private bank and trust companies and 76 national banks with capital and reserves amounting to $29,549,357 and resources amounting to $273,915,676. The state banks had 389,383 depositors. There were no separate savings banks, but the savings deposits in the banks amounted to $12,450,710. The increase in the ratio of the banking resources of the state to those of the nation during the years 1909-19 was exceeded only by Oklahoma and Nevada. There were few bank failures for several years and depositors lost little, though there was no guarantee law. The state budget amounted to $6,546,470. The recognized debt amounted to about $2,000,000 provided for by special tax. Revenue was derived mainly from the general property tax, but a considerable sum was secured from licenses and poll taxes. In 1920 the assessed valuation, real and personal, was $612,426,000, which is only a small part of the real value. The appropriations for 1921-3 total $14,241,395, which was well within the estimated revenue. The largest item, apart from the state aid to public schools, was $2,400,000 for pensions to Confederate veterans.
Education.—The school population was in 1920 676,009, of whom 483,172 attended school. For support of the schools the state and districts expended $7,600,000 annually. The state university is supported by a special tax which in 1912 was one mill per $1 of assessed valuation. An amendment to the constitution, submitted by initiative, removing the limit on taxes for school purposes, was to be voted on in 1922.
Transportation.—In 1910 the state had 4,876 m. of steam railway; in 1920, 55,220 m. There were in 1920 eight electric street and inter-urban lines with 152 m. of track. In the same year 59,058 motor-cars, trucks and tractors were licensed. By the close of 1920 the road-building programme comprised 9,000 m. at an estimated cost of $108,000,000, about half of which was under construction or contract. Dissatisfaction, partly over the cost and partly over the fact that only real estate was assessed to pay for these roads, led to the abandonment of many of those projected. Some of the roads were to be asphalt or concrete, but the prevailing type was gravel. As the counties were forbidden to issue bonds the work was carried on by improvement districts with state and Federal aid. The total amount of state aid available 1917-21 was $1,400,000; Federal, $4,615,210. To secure this aid the work done by the districts had to meet the approval of the state highway department.
Minerals and Mining.—The bauxite industry continued to develop, growing from 115,837 long tons in 1900 to 532,000 in 1918. All the other states together produced only 32,000 tons. Platinum was discovered near Batesville in 1920. The output of coal rose from 13,195 tons in 1880 to 1,701,748 tons in 1910 and to 1,994,738 tons in 1913; after this there was a slight falling off. The production of natural gas was small (125,000 ft. from six wells) until 1915, when the first strong well was opened in Crawford county. The output of the wells near Fort Smith was in 1920 about 200,000,000 ft., only one-fifth of which was used. In 1921 a strong well was developed near El Dorado; also, oil was discovered in the same region early in 1921, and by Aug. the production has risen to over a million barrels a month. The state ranks first in the production of whet-stones, which are made from the famous “Arkansas” and “Ouachita” oilstones. The clay in Saline county is used for making pottery of a very artistic type.
History.—The state continued under control of the Democratic party without interruption from 1874 to 1921. Several attempts have been made to amend the conservative constitution, most of which have ended in failure, owing to the requirement of a majority of the total vote to adopt any amendment. An initiative and referendum amendment was adopted in 1910, but a part of it was declared unworkable by the Supreme Court. In 1916 a new initiative and referendum, submitted by petition, was voted down; in 1920 it received a large majority of the vote cast, but not a majority of the total vote. It was again submitted by petition and will be voted on in 1922. In 1912 an amendment submitted under the initiative limited the pay of legislators to a session of 60 days, with half pay for an extra session of 15 days. The previous session had been long and expensive. The Legislature of 1917 called a constitutional convention. When the convention met, the United States had just entered the World War and a strong effort was made to adjourn without doing anything. As a compromise the convention adjourned to July 1918. It then met and submitted a revised edition of the old constitution. This was rejected by the people. Important legislation during the period 1910-20 included abolition of the convict lease system (convicts may now be worked on the roads); provision for a state farm for convicts; reform schools; state-wide prohibition (1915); inheritance tax; minimum wage; restricting child-labour; compulsory education; and abolition of the “fellow servants” rule. In 1917 women were by statute given the right to vote in, primary elections; in 1920, before the adoption of the national woman suffrage amendment, an amendment to the state constitution giving full rights of suffrage and the right to hold office was submitted to the voters, but failed to receive a majority of the total vote. A legislative Act of 1921 gave women the right to hold office. In 1921 Gov. McRae induced the Legislature to make a beginning of reform in the state administration by abolishing a number of offices and commissions. The governors of the state since 1909 have been: George W. Donaghey, 1909-13; Joseph T. Robinson, Jan. 8-March 1913; W. K. Oldham (acting), March 8-23; J. M. Futrell (acting), March 23-Aug. 6; G. W. Hayes, Aug. 6 1913-7; C. H. Brough, 1917-21; J. T. McRae, 1921-.
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