1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kansas

KANSAS (see 15.654). The pop. of Kansas in 1920 was 1,769,257, as against 1,690,969 in 1910, an increase of 78,288 or 4.6%. Relatively to the other states, Kansas lost its position, falling from 22nd to 24th place. Of the 105 counties, 48 showed an increase and 57 a decrease in pop. during the decade. The average number of inhabitants to the sq. m. was 21.6 in 1920. There were three cities of over 25,000 inhabitants, 14 from 10,000 to 25,000 and 10 from 5,000 to 10,000. The urban pop. (in cities of over 2,500) increased from 29.2% in 1910 to 34.9% in 1920.

The following are the cities with over 12,000 inhabitants, with pop. in 1920 and 1910 and percentage of increase:—

1920 1910  Per cent Increase 
 


 Kansas City   101,177   82,331  22.9 
 Wichita 72,217  52,450  37.6 
 Topeka 50,022  43.684  14.5 
 Hutchinson 23,298  16,364  42.4 
 Pittsburg 18,052  14,755  22.3 
 Leavenworth  16,912  19,363  -12.7 
 Parsons 16,028  12,463  28.6 
 Salina 15,085  9,688  55.7 
 Coffeyville 13,452  12,687  6.0 
 Atchison 12,630  16,429  -23.1 
 Lawrence 12,456  12,374  0.7 

Agriculture.—Kansas is preëminently an agricultural state. It is the largest producer of wheat and corn taken together in the Union, although the wheat crop is in some years exceeded by North Dakota and the corn crop in some years by Illinois. The wheat crop was 61,000,000 bus. in 1910; production was increased by 1914

to 180,000,000 bus.; in 1920 it was 140,000,000 bushels. The corn crop was 152,000,000 bus. in 1910 and despite increase in area planted in wheat, 132,000,000 bus. in 1920. The crops next in value were alfalfa and oats. High prices of agricultural produce during the World War brought great prosperity to the state, but the slump in the winter of 1920-1 reduced prices below the cost of production and created acute depression. Despite increase in the area under cultivation, the number of individual farms decreased from 177,841 in 1910 to 165,287 in 1920.

Mineral Products.—There are considerable deposits of bituminous coal along the eastern border of the state and production amounted in 1920 to 7,500,000 tons. Natural gas reached its peak in 1908 with a yield of 80 billion cub. ft., after which the yield gradually decreased to 27.8 billion cub. ft. in 1920. There has been little effective control of the distribution of gas, and distributing companies have fixed rates in total disregard of their original contracts. The most striking development of the decade in this field has been in the production of petroleum which stood at only 3,000,000 bar. in 1914, jumped to 36,500,000 in 1917, reached the peak at 45,500,000 in 1918 and stood at 34,000,000 in 1920. The supply of materials for cement seems inexhaustible and the value of this product is exceeded only by oil, coal and gas. Kansas ranks fourth in the Union in the production of salt, of which the production in 1920 was reported by the State Geological Survey at 873,576 barrels. The Joplin zinc and lead field overlaps the S.E. corner of the state, but while the field approaches exhaustion on the Missouri side, it is capable of indefinite development in Kansas. The output in 1920 was 20,249 tons of zinc arid 3,025 tons of lead.

Manufactures and Transportation.—Federal statistics distinguish 36 industrial groups in each of which the value of the annual output exceeds $300,000. The state issued an Industrial Directory in 1919 which presented a preliminary survey of all the establishments engaged in any kind of manufacture. The larger interests were based upon products of agriculture. The largest is the slaughtering and packing of meat, which produces almost one-tenth of the total output of the United States. The State Board of Agriculture valued the animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter in 1920 at about $105,000,000. Nearly the whole of this industry is localized in Kansas City. The next largest interest is the milling of flour, which is widely distributed over the state. During the year ending June 30 1920, 18,000,000 bar. of flour was milled. Slaughtering and milling together contribute considerably more than half the value of the manufactured products of the state. Railways and the industries subsidiary to them employ a large part of the labour of the state. The railway mileage was 9,006 in 1910 and 9,525 in 1915, but construction was suspended during Federal control and mileage declined in 1920 to 9,352. Electric interurban railways (mileage 512 in 1920) have developed less rapidly than in more thickly settled states.

Constitution.—Kansas in 1921 was still governed by her original constitution, adopted in 1859. Twenty-one amendments were made prior to 1910 and six have been added since that time. Unlimited suffrage was extended to women in 1912 (they had enjoyed municipal suffrage since 1887), and under pressure of the World War the suffrage was limited in 1918 to citizens of the United States. Provision was made for recall of public officers in 1914, but the Supreme Court (State v. Deck, 106 Kans. 518) decided that the clauses are not self-executing, in that they make no provision for special elections, and the Legislature has not seen fit to give them effect. As the result of a campaign for a stable income for the state educational institutions, the Legislature was authorized in 1918 to levy a permanent tax for their support but in 1921 had failed to act. In the face of a constitutional requirement that all property be taxed at a uniform rate, it had not been possible to make any progress in the direction of tax reform. In 1915 the Legislature attempted to reach intangible property by an Act exempting from taxation all mortgages on which a certain registration fee had been paid, but the Supreme Court (Wheeler v. Weightman, 96 Kans. 50) held that the Act involved a classification of property and was therefore unconstitutional. An amendment had been submitted in 1914 and was resubmitted in 1920, permitting the classification of property for purposes of taxation but on both occasions was rejected. Two amendments were adopted in 1920. One, resulting from the efforts of Gov. Allen to reduce farm tenantry, authorized the creation of a fund to assist in the purchase of farm homes. The other so far removed the prohibition of state action in works of internal improvement as to allow the state to assist counties in building roads. No action was taken by the succeeding session of the Legislature under either head. It is a conspicuous fact that the amendments adopted by the people during the decade 1910-20, depending for execution upon legislative action, were not given effect.

Legislation.—The Legislature met in biennial sessions from 1911 to 1921 and in special session in 1920. Except for the “blue sky” law and the Act establishing a Court of Industrial Relations, legislation has followed the drift in other states. The “blue sky” law, for the regulation of investment companies, was passed in 1911 and amended in detail in 1913 and 1915. It prohibits the sale in the state of stocks not approved by a board, consisting of the Secretary of State, and Attorney-General and the State Bank Commissioner, and thus prevents the floating of worthless securities. It has been extensively copied in other states. Another step in advance was the

Act of 1913 which provides for the nomination and election of judges by separate ballots without party designation. During the decade 1910-20 the management of all of the state's institutions was highly centralized. The first step was taken in 1913 by placing all the educational institutions under a single Board of Educational Administration, consisting of three members, and in 1917 all the institutions, educational, charitable and correctional, were placed under control of a State Board of Administration, consisting of three members and the governor as chairman ex officio. The Act was based on the manager idea, according to which the head of each institution is chosen by the Board and held responsible for the administration of his own institution. It is open to question whether the duties of such a board are not too diverse. There is also danger that the change may lead to political interference with the internal management of the educational institutions, but no such tendency had developed by 1921. The expectation that the Legislature would accept the estimates of the Board as to the financial needs of the various institutions had not been realized. An attempt made by Gov. Capper in 1917 and renewed by Gov. Allen in 1921 to consolidate on a similar plan the various bureaus that compose the State Board of Agriculture did not succeed. In 1911 the State Board of Railroad Commissioners was superseded by a Public Utilities Commission, modelled on the commissions already established in New York and Wisconsin, to which was given supervision of all public utilities in the state. In 1919 a general strike in the coalfield suspended production and threatened a coal famine in the midst of an exceptionally severe winter. Gov. Allen took over the coalmines and began their operation by means of volunteers recruited chiefly from among the students in the educational institutions, and called the Legislature in special session to provide against the recurrence of such conditions. The result was the passage in 1920 of an Act which created a Court of Industrial Relations, consisting of three members. The Act declared the manufacture of food and clothing, the mining of fuel and transportation to be essential industries and “affected with a public interest” to such a degree as to justify public control. The right of collective bargaining was recognized but strikes were prohibited and the Court was given authority, either on its own initiative or on complaint, to investigate and to issue orders regulating limitation of production, hours and conditions of labour and rate of wages. Appeal from the orders of the Court may be taken to the civil courts. Originally the Public Utilities Commission was merged in the Industrial Court but at the regular session of the Legislature in 1921 the former was reëstablished as a separate body and the Labour Bureau and the Industrial Commission were merged in the latter. The purpose of the Court of Industrial Relations is to protect the interests of the public as between the employer on the one hand and labour on the other and to avert industrial war. The Court was not entirely satisfactory either to the employer or to labour, but it constituted the most interesting experiment that had been made in this field during the decade and the outlook was encouraging. The Act establishing the court was sustained by the State Supreme Court.

In some other directions legislative progress has been less satisfactory. An Act of 1903, prohibiting discharge of workmen on account of union membership, was lost through judicial interpretation. The Act was sustained in 1912 by the Supreme Court of the state (Kans. v. Coppage, 87 Kans. 752) but in 1915 was held by the U.S. Supreme Court to be a taking of property without due process of law, in that it curtailed the employer's right to make contracts on the most favourable terms (Coppage v. Kans. 236 U.S. 1). In 1915 the Legislature created a Civil Service Commission, consisting of three state officers, one of them to be a member of the faculty of the state university, and all serving without compensation. The Commission functioned as well as the inadequacy of the law would admit, but in 1921 employees in the State Banking Department were removed from its control and the Commission was left without appropriation for contingent expenses. The state thus reverted to the spoils system. The laws respecting child labour, budget and workmen's compensation were not regarded as satisfactory. A commission was created in 1919 to draft a law upon workmen's compensation, but in 1921 no action had been taken upon its report. An act of 1919 prohibited the use of a red flag or of any flag emblematic of “bolshevism, anarchy or radical socialism.” A bill, passed in 1921, requiring voters in primary elections to register their party affiliations in advance, was prevented from becoming law only by the veto of the governor. Acts passed in 1907 and amended in 1909 provided for the adoption of commission form of government in cities of the first (over 15,000 inhabitants) and second (between 2,000 and 15,000) classes. Fifty-two cities, including all those of the first class, had availed themselves in 1921 of this opportunity and the question was pending in several others. The cities that have acted more recently have favoured a combination of the commission and city-manager plan. Of the 525 cities in the state, 158 are members of the Kansas League of Municipalities which maintains a monthly bulletin, entitled Kansas Municipalities, edited by the secretary and published at the state university. Taken as a whole, the legislation of the decade hardly sustained the reputation enjoyed by Kansas as being particularly radical in its measures. More progress in this direction would doubtless have been made but for the World War and its reaction.

History.—Kansas has been overwhelmingly Republican in politics and there has been practically no Democratic press in the state. W. R. Stubbs was elected governor in 1909 and reëlected in 1911, as representative of the reform wing of the Republican party. Under the leadership of William Allen White, Victor Murdock and Henry J. Allen, the reform wing of the party joined the Progressive movement and the primaries in Aug. 1912 declared for Roosevelt for presidential nominee. The division in the Republican ranks resulted in giving the electoral vote of the state that year to Wilson and in the election of a Democratic governor, George H. Hodges. In 1914 the Republicans regained control of the state Government by the election as governor of Arthur Capper, owner of the Topeka Capital and of a group of farm papers, and he was reëlected in 1916, although the electoral vote of the state again went to Wilson. Henry J. Allen, Republican, owner of the Wichita Beacon, was elected governor in 1918 and reëlected in 1920. In the latter year the electoral vote for President went to Harding by enormous majorities. The World War was enthusiastically supported by all parties. One of the larger training camps, named from Gen. F. Funston (who died early in 1917), was located on land adjoining the Fort Riley military reservation. The state supplied 63,428 men to the rank and file of the army. The amounts subscribed to the war loans were: First Liberty Loan, $11,108,750; Second, $27,895,200; Third, $47,381,200; Fourth, $73,914,550; Victory Loan, $51,208,250.

State Documents.—Session laws and Senate and House journals are issued after each legislative session. The last edition of the Compiled Statutes was issued in 1915. A complete revision was in preparation in 1921. Reports of executive departments are brought together in a collective volume entitled Combined Department Reports. Other important publications are the Biennial Reports of the State Board of Agriculture and the State Board of Health and the Collections of the State Historical Society. The State Library issued in 1920 a reprint of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1859, with much supplementary historical matter, edited by H. G. Larimer.

(F. H. H.*)