L’Eixample, Ildefons Cerda’s Visionary Plan in Barcelona

If you look at the city of Barcelona today, a peculiar pattern stands out amongst other cities’ layouts. The medieval core of Barcelona is a tangle of winding narrow streets and alleys. Beyond it, however, the majority of Barcelona stretches out in a uniform grid layout. The unique feature of Barcelona’s grid is the shape of each block. The individual blocks are each a sort of octagon, the normal rectangular grid has been modified with a small slice cut off at each corner. The neighborhood that contains the majority of this layout is known as L’Eixample, or “The Extension”, and was designed by visionary urban planner Ildefons Cerda. Cerda drew up his plan for L’Eixample in the 1850s, and it worked so well that it formed the model for Barcelona’s growth for the next century.


Barcelona, like many European cities in the 19th century, was experiencing an unprecedented period of growth and urbanization. The city, constricted to the size it had since the Middle Ages, had become crowded, especially in the poorer sections of the city, and prone to disease outbreaks. An outbreak of yellow fever struck Barcelona in 1821, likely arriving from Cuba via the city’s port. The outbreak killed an estimated 20,000 people, almost one sixth of Barcelona’s population at the time. Diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid, and cholera became common in larger cities like London and Paris at the time as population growth vastly overwhelmed their resources and poorer neighborhoods became extremely dense. The need for planned expansion of cities and development of surrounding land was clear. In 1850, Barcelona authorized the dismantling of the city’s medieval walls and held a competition for a long term plan for the city’s growth. Cerda, like his Parisian contemporary Baron Haussmann, saw the need for wider streets to accommodate increased traffic and a desire to provide open and green spaces to improve the quality of living for the masses. However, while Haussmann accomplished this through expanding existing streets and demolishing many existing medieval neighborhoods, Ildefons Cerda had the opportunity to lay out the L’Eixample Plan from scratch and orient it however he wished.

Cerda’s plan at its heart is a grid system made up of octagonal blocks. The use of octagonal blocks instead of square ones had multiple reasons. Cut off corners at each intersection increased visibility and ventilation at intersections and to broaden the roads without having to make the entire road wider. They also were originally implemented to allow for a wider turning radius as Cerda had the foresight to allow for the adoption of personal motorized vehicles in the future. Today, many of the octagonal corners allow for short term or truck parking without the stopped vehicles potentially blocking or slowing traffic. While this part of Cerda’s plan was implemented, one of the other main aspects has been sadly discarded as the city developed.

The original plan for each block in L’Exiample only had buildings developed on either two or three sides of each block. Each block has an inner courtyard, and this was intended to make every block contain a public open space. Cerda’s plan was to make these plentiful smaller spaces open to everyone and replace the larger public parks that could be difficult to get to for poorer residents. Unfortunately, over the century of L’Eixample’s development, the public spaces became fewer and development on all four sides of each block enclosed the spaces into private gardens or patios. The enclosure of the interior courtyards not only cut off the spaces from public access, but also hampered the openness of the plan in terms of sunlight and ventilation of the blocks. The orientation of the grid in a southwest-northeast layout allowed a maximum amount of natural sunlight to enter the buildings and courtyards. The sloping roofs also provided the greatest amount of sunlight to reach street level. While this part of Cerda’s original plan was not followed during the stage of development, some blocks have recently begun to reorient their courtyards as open public spaces as Cerda intended.

Today, Cerda’s plan encompasses a large part of the city of Barcelona. L’Eixample’s grid layout developed the space between the old core of Barcelona or Ciutat Vella and former surrounding towns such as Gracia and Sant Andreu that have now been annexed into Barcelona. Unlike other long-term urban plans, implementation of Cerda’s plan is remarkable in that it was not discarded midway through development. Even in the face of the First and Second Spanish Republics, the Spanish Civil War, and Franco’s regime, Barcelona continued to grow largely along the lines laid out in Ildefons Cerda’s vision. Today, the two main diagonal avenues that Cerda envisioned have been constructed, although their full completion was only in the final stages of L’Eixample’s development. The east-west axis, Avinguda Diagonal, was laid out in the late 19th century and became one of the main thoroughfares in Barcelona after its growth out from the city center. More recently, the Avinguda Diagonal played a central role in Barcelona’s hosting of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Four of the Olympic venues were located on the avenue. The other axis, Avenida Meridiana, only began construction in 1954. Avenida Meridiana runs north-south from the center of Barcelona to the outlying district of Sant Andreu. While it never became the central axis that Cerda intended it to, it is still heavily trafficked and serves as one of the main highways flowing into and out of the city. Additionally, the intersection of the two axes at the Plaça de les Glories Catalanes has not become the main central plaza of Barcelona, but it is still one of the more important intersections in the city. The main sight of the “Glories” plaza is now the Torre Agbar, a skyscraper completed in 2004 that is the fourth tallest building in Barcelona.

Few urban planners have defined the cities they made designs for as much as Ildefons Cerda has for Barcelona. The grid layout and distinctive block shape encompassing so much of the city today are as much a recognizable element of Barcelona as the architecture of Antoni Gaudi. Cerda’s visionary urban planning was ahead of its time, and sadly one of the most visionary elements of hsi plan has been lost in the decades of development of L’Eixample. However, there are efforts to reclaim some of the courtyards in L’Eixample as public spaces and gardens, and a little bit of Cerda’s ultimate vision is returning to the area.

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Few Surprises in Women’s World Cup Group Stage

With the group stage over, the initial twenty-four teams in the World Cup has been whittled down to sixteen. There were no surprise early exits this time around, but there were a few upsets in individual matches during the group stage. The biggest upset of the group stage was 28th ranked Colombia’s 2-0 defeat of 3rd ranked France. Colombia, in their second Women’s World Cup appearance, made an early strike with a goal from 23 year old Lady Andrade in the 19th minute of the match. France pressed forward for much of the second half, but keeper Sandra Sepulveda put in a superb performance in goal and prevented the French from getting on the scoresheet. Catalina Usme cemented Colombia’s historic win in stoppage time with a second goal, putting Colombia briefly on top of their group that included France, England, and Mexico. .With the win over France and an earlier draw against Mexico, Colombia had assured a place in the round of 16 early even though they ended up coming in third in the group, due to the top 4 third place teams going through.

Another team who scraped through the group stage as one of the better third place teams was Sweden. Coming off of a third place finish in the 2011 World Cup where they won all three games in a group that included the United States, the Swedish ran into bad luck this time around when they were drawn into a group of death. Fifth ranked Sweden was one of three top ten ranked teams in their group; the others were 2nd ranked United States and 10th ranked Australia. Despite this, Sweden still should have had a good showing even in such a group. However, the Swedes proves lackluster in the group stage. Their first game against Nigeria set the tone for Sweden’s group stage performance with a rough 3-3 draw to the minnow of the group Nigeria. Sweden went up by two goals in the first half from an own goal by Nigeria’s Desire Oparanozie and a second goal from defender Nilla Fischer. However, Nigeria quickly rebounded in the second half. Goals from Ngozi Okobi in the 50th minute and Asisat Oshoala in the 53rd minute brought the match level again barely ten minutes into the second half. Sweden took the lead again in the 60th minute, but another goal from Nigeria in the 87th minute kept the match level and denied Sweden a win. Sweden fared no better against either the United States or Australia, drawing both teams and scraping through on goal differential as the 4th third place team.

For the teams that made their debuts at this Women’s World Cup, most have already bowed out. Sweden’s advance to the round of 16 came at the expense of Thailand, who played well but proved no match for a group that contained Germany and Norway. Thailand had a few good runs against both teams, but in the end allowed four goals in to each. However, Thailand did have one positive to take home from Canada in their victory over the Ivory Coast. While Ivory Coast scored early in the 4th minute, two goals from Orathai Srimanee put Thailand ahead at the end of the first half. Thainatta Chawong secured the win for Thailand with a third goal in the 75th minute, two minutes after she was brought on to replace Srimanee. Going into the round of 16, only three teams making their first World Cup appearance remain: Cameroon, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Cameroon is also Africa’s only representative left in the tournament after the elimination of Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.

Round of sixteen:
Germany vs. Sweden
France vs. South Korea
China vs. Cameroon
United States vs. Colombia
Brazil vs. Australia
Japan vs. Netherlands
Norway vs. England
Canada vs. Switzerland

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2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Kicks Off in Canada

Later this afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup will kick off. Hosts Canada will play China in what is bound to be an exciting start to the largest Women’s World Cup yet. Women’s football has been growing immensely in the past two decades around the world, and for this seventh edition of the Women’s World Cup the number of participating teams has been increased from 16 to 24. The four teams that hold a World Cup title – the United States, Germany, Norway, and Japan – will be eagerly looking to earn one more title. However, the first match already will have two of the most anticipated teams going ahead in the tournament. Canada will be striving for their first World Cup victory and a win on home soil. Canada, led by captain and national all time scorer Christine Sinclair, are a formidable team at the Women’s World Cup, but have never reached higher than a fourth place finish in 2003. Similarly, China are veterans of the World Cup. They hosted the first tournament in 1999 and again in 2007. However, the Chinese have only reached the finals once in 1999, where they lost on a penalty shootout to the United States. That final was watched by over 90,000 spectators at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and held the record for the most attended women’s sporting event in history. China are looking to reemerge as a strong team in women’s football after unexpectedly losing to eventual champions Japan in the qualifying playoff and failing to reach the tournament four years ago.

One of the benefits of expanding the final tournament from 16 to 24 teams is the sheer number of teams who are making their debut this year. A total of eight countries will make their first appearance on women’s football’s biggest stage. These countries are Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, and Thailand. However, also because of the increased number of teams, few of the first time participants have a chance at making it out of the group stage. Three debutants; Switzerland, Ecuador, and Cameroon, have all been drawn in the same group with defending champions Japan. Thailand and the Ivory Coast are the less favored in their group against powerhouses Germany and Norway. However, there is still a lot to be proud of for these countries in showing how fast and how far women’s football has spread around the world. The Thai women’s team became national heroes with their qualification after defeating Vietnam 2-1 in a playoff match. The 2015 Women’s World Cup will mark the first appearance of Thailand in any World Cup, men’s or women’s.

On the whole, this World Cup is sure to be a show of how much larger the competitive playing field is for women’s football now. With more countries such as Thailand having success on the international stage in women’s football, it is encouraging more women to pursue the sport. Even in the Netherlands, the recent success of the women’s football team placing third in the Women’s Euro 2009 tournament has encouraged more young girls to take up football competitively and professionally. The number of top contender teams has also expanded recently. Japan’s underdog victory in the 2011 Women’s World Cup demonstrated how competitive the game has become, and teams such as Brazil, France, and Sweden will now surely want to follow up Japan’s entrance into the list of champions with a championship of their own.

Group A: Canada, China, New Zealand, Netherlands
Group B: Germany, Ivory Coast, Norway, Thailand
Group C: Japan, Switzerland, Cameroon, Ecuador
Group D: United States, Australia, Sweden, Nigeria
Group E: Brazil, South Korea, Spain, Costa Rica
Group F: France, England, Colombia, Mexico

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The Dawn of Women’s Association Football: Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC

Amid all the arrests of FIFA executives and allegations of corruption coming forth in the past week, the actual tournaments coming up can get lost in the shuffle. The FIFA Women’s World Cup begins next week on June 6 in Canada, and this tournament promises to be a great benchmark for women’s football. For the first time in the women’s game, there will be 24 nations competing in the final tournament, expanded from 16 nations in 2011. The 2015 tournament also promises to have the highest number of title contenders yet. The United States and Germany are most likely still favorites, but current titleholders Japan as well as France, Sweden, and Brazil have recently elevated themselves to top tier teams.

With women’s football experiencing such advancement leading up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup, it is a good time to take a look back at the beginning of women’s football and one of the pioneering teams in the sport. Dick, Kerr Ladies FC, one of the first women’s football clubs, was founded in 1914 by the women working at the Dick, Kerr & Co. factory in Preston, England. With many working age men sent off to fight in World War I, women temporarily entered the factory workforce at many companies in the 1910s. The factories organized competitive sports on breaks to boost morale at home, and in 1917 the women of the Preston factory organized into a football club with office worker Alfred Frankland as the team’s coach.

Dick, Kerr Ladies FC quickly garnered a large following playing charity matches to raise money for British soldiers. On Christmas day 1917, at the ground for Preston North End, Dick, Kerr Ladies played their first competitive match against Arundel Coulthard Factory, a team of workers at another factory in Preston. The match attracted 10,000 spectators, and Dick, Kerr Ladies won the match 4-0. After the war, the team continued to play matches to raise money for World War I veterans, and continued to attract audiences in the tens of thousands.

In the spring of 1920, the Dick, Kerr’s Ladies achieved another first for women’s football and played the first ever series of women’s international matches. A team of selected players from Paris assembled by women’s sport pioneer Alice Milliat traveled to the United Kingdom and played four matches around the country against the Dick, Kerr’s Ladies. The first match was played in Preston and attracted a crowd of over 25,000 spectators. In front of such a large crowd, the Dick, Kerr’s performed well and defeated the French team 2-0. The next two matches at Stockport and Manchester resulted in another win for Dick, Kerr’s and one draw. The final match was required to be outside Lancashire, and was played in London at famed Stamford Bridge stadium, home of Chelsea FC. The Dick,, Kerr’s played a strong game, but the French team triumphed for the first time, earning a 2-1 win. Dick Kerr’s reciprocated the French visit in the autumn of that year and played a four game tour against the French team in France. In matches played in Paris, Roubaix, Le Havre, and Rouen, Dick, Kerr’s went unbeaten by the French team and played in front of a total of 62,000 spectators.

On December 26, 1920, Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC reached their greatest moment in the club’s history. Dick, Kerr’s played a match against St. Helen’s Ladies, a women’s team from the Sutton Bond munitions factory in Merseyside. The match was held in Goodison Park, Everton’s stadium. Dick, Kerr’s Ladies won the match 4-0. However, the match went into the annals of women’s football history not for the score, but for its attendance. The attendance of the match was determined at over 53,000 – at a time when Everton FC had an average attendance of 37,000 – and remains to this day the highest attendance of a women’s club football match.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the Dick, Kerr Ladies and the growing popularity of other women’s football teams in England led to a heavy and quick backlash from the Football Association, England’s governing football body. In December of 1921, the FA banned women’s football matches from being played in FA team stadiums. A women’s professional league tried to be formed, but many of the teams were left without grounds to play on as they had been using the men’s teams’ stadiums. Dick Kerr’s Ladies was one of the few who had their own grounds, as Dick, Kerr & Co., now English Electric, had bought Ashton Park to use for sporting facilities. However, other women’s clubs were not so fortunate and the league disbanded soon after. Dick, Kerr’s Ladies played abroad in the United States and Canada in the 1920s. In 1926, manager Alfred Frankland had a falling out with his former company, and changed the club’s name to Preston Ladies FC. Preston Ladies FC continued to play until the club disbanded in 1965. In 1971, the FA finally rescinded the ban on women’s use of FA grounds, only after interest in women’s football began increasing again after England hosted the World Cup in 1966.

Dick Kerr’s Ladies FC, Wikipedia

Women’s Football in St Helen’s, Merseyside
History of Women’s Football, The FA
English Football: When Women Ruled the Pitch, The Guardian

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The Bull Moose’s Legacy: A Lasting Progressive Party, Part 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

The 1936 presidential election was an important milestone for the Progressive Party. George Norris, the party’s first successful presidential candidate, had become a national symbol for the Progressives, with him stances promoting economic welfare and assistance for the poor, electoral reform, maintaining Prohibition, and an isolationist foreign policy. With Norris a firm believer in term limits, the President affirmed early on in the nomination campaign that he would not be running for a third term as President in 1936. With Norris out of the running and many of the old guard who had steered the party during its rise too old to be viable candidates, the race for the nomination to succeed George Norris was wide open.

The Progressive primaries were a varied contest that mostly benefited favorite son candidates and provided no clear front-runner going into the convention. Two western states held primaries; Oregon and California and both were taken by favorite son candidates. Senator Charles McNary, who had cosponsored the original McNary-Haugen Farm Relief Bill, won Oregon’s primary. The California primary was contested between two hopefuls; Hiram Johnson, who held a firm grip on his Senate seat and much of the state party, and an aspiring young attorney named Earl Warren. Warren had risen quickly through the judicial ranks, serving as District Attorney for Alameda County from 1925 to 1931 when he became Attorney General of California. Johnson’s control of the California Progressive Party was enough that he won the primary, but Warren came a close second. Warren also demonstrated a significant cross-party appeal when he took over ten percent in both the Democratic and Republican primaries in the state.

The other primaries saw the emergence of several strong contenders going into the election. McNary also won the primaries in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, gaining tacit support from Pennsylvania governor Gifford Pinchot and Wisconsin’s powerful La Follette family. Kansas governor Alf Landon had gained President Norris’s support and won the two Great Plains primaries in Nebraska and South Dakota. Newspaper publisher Frank Knox, a Progressive since the party’s formation, won the New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New Jersey primaries. Ohio Senator Robert Bulkley won his home state as well as West Virginia. Lastly, Chicago politician Harold Ickes, another longtime Progressive, unexpectedly burst onto the national scene when he defeated Frank Knox in the Illinois primary.

The 1936 Progressive National Convention was held at the Chicago Stadium, which had been the site of the Democratic National Convention four years previously. The primaries had established Frank Knox, Alf Landon, and Charles McNary as the major contenders for the presidential nomination, but with a majority of delegates still decided by state conventions, the nomination was still deadlocked. The first ballot had Knox in front at 304 delegates, McNary at 296, and Landon at 285. Bulkley, Ickes, and Johnson all had between 30 and 40 delegates, with the remainder of the 1025 total delegates scattered among various candidates. The next four ballots showed little movement among the top three contenders, as no candidate reached even half of the 684 votes required to reach a two thirds majority and secure the presidential nomination. The first major breakthrough came on the sixth ballot, when Harold Ickes released his delegates and threw his support behind Knox. Knox surged to 351 delegates, with Landon second at 305 and McNary third at 298. Bulkley’s support from the Midwestern states had been faltering, and he threw his weight behind McNary. Johnson remained stubbornly possessive of his delegates and even started to pick up some of the other scattered delegates. The ninth ballot was back at a deadlock, with McNary now leading at 337, Knox falling to second with 332, and Landon back under 300 delegates with 291.

At the prolonged convention, the lingering differences within the Progressive Party came out in the open. Frank Knox represented the more urban and interventionist wing of the party, with much of his support coming from the Northeast, and after Harold Ickes threw his support to Konx, Chicago. Charles McNary, for all the nationwide popular appeal he demonstrated in his primary victories, was largely limited to support from rural states who supported his farm actions and applauded his support for the TVA and other such programs. Alf Landon, while he had President Norris’s support, mainly was popular in the Great Plains but struggled to gain support elsewhere. It appeared that no candidate could surge to gain nationwide support, and nobody emerged as President Norris’s true successor in the party.

With the convention still deadlocked between the three leading candidates, the delegates adjourned until the next day. That night, the McNary, Knox, and Landon camps met with each other to try and work out a deal. Amid the drawn out convention, Landon tired of the run for the nomination and seemed likely to bow out. Both McNary and Knox courted the Landon camp, but Landon was not interested in the Vice Presidency. Ultimately, however, Landon rejected all offers except instructing Kansas’s delegates to support McNary as a mutual advocate for farmers. The other delegates Landon released to whomever they chose, which caused both the McNary and Knox camps to scramble as the morning’s first ballot loomed. A majority of Landon’s delegates centered on the Great Plains states shifted toward McNary. On the tenth ballot McNary had a significant edge, but still no candidate was close to the magic 684 delegate mark. Charles McNary had 516 delegates to Frank Knox’s 437. Hiram Johnson still held his now 62 delegates, refusing to concede or grant support to either McNary or Knox. The remaining 10 delegates were scattered among Montana’s Jeannette Rankin, North Dakota’s William Langer, and a lone vote for Alabama judge Hugo Black. Between the tenth and eleventh ballot, the final push for McNary occurred when Harold Ickes announced that he was switching his support from Knox to McNary. Ickes’s sudden switch was the subject of controversy following the convention. Ickes’s reason was that the Chicago and Midwestern urban delegates did not want to have a heavy Northeastern influence when the region was solidly Republican, but McNary’s selection of Harold Ickes as his running mate cast doubt on the sincerity of Ickes’s movement. Nonetheless, the eleventh ballot saw McNary clinch the nomination with 715 votes of the 1025 delegates, pushing the Senate Majority Leader over the two thirds threshold.

The McNary/Ickes ticket entered the general campaign supporting a broad continuation of President Norris’s policies and of the many programs established in the wake of the Great Depression. The Republicans, on the other hand, nominated Alvin T. Fuller of Massachusetts and Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan on a ticket that appealed to businesses. Fuller campaigned on a rollback of the business and banking regulations established by Norris in the wake of the stock market crash, maintaining that to bring the United States back to full levels of prosperity. The 1936 GOP campaign slogan played on their candidate’s name: “Fuller Wallets, Fuller Stomachs, a Fuller Nation”. The Democrats, after a difficult primary battle between New York’s Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ohio’s James Cox, and Texas’s John Nance Garner, put the conservative Southern wing of the party at the top of the ticket with Garner winning the nomination. In a gesture to the northern, urban wing of the party, Garner threw his support behind five term Maryland governor Albert Ritchie for Vice President. During Ritchie’s record service as Maryland’s governor since 1920, he had made great improvements to Baltimore and the Washington, D.C. area and heavily invested in modernizing the state. Ritchie was also seen as a counter to Roosevelt’s political maneuvering. Roosevelt had been nearly constantly active in Democratic national politics and tried to get on a presidential ticket every election since 1920, and this had seemed like Roosevelt’s year, but it was not meant to be.

The general campaign between Charles McNary, John Nance Garner, and Alvin T. Fuller was heavily focused on a valuation of the economic reforms of the Norris administration and what role they played in the nation’s recovery from the Great Depression. Progressives including McNary wanted a full continuation of these policies, and some such as William Langer in North Dakota even wanted to expand on Norris’s policies. Even Fuller, a wealthy businessman and opponent of the regulations and welfare programs begun by the Norris administration, acknowledged that Norris’s reforms may have played a role in the recovery of the country, but only through supporting the ability of companies to continue doing business. The Republicans claimed that these welfare programs were weighing heavily on the nation’s budget and that they should be temporary in a time of recovery. Now that the nation had bounced back from the Depression, Fuller argued, the welfare programs and public works projects were no longer needed. Programs such as the TVA should be privatized and the surplus generated from that should be used to help balance the budget and reduce the United States’ debt. Garner’s campaign centered around moderation and what Democrats claimed was a balance between the two extremes of the Progressive and Republican platforms. Some of the existing programs should be kept, including federal works projects such as the TVA that were generating a profit for the government. However, Garner’s platform stated that many of the federal programs should be devolved and turned over to the states to better manage them and reduce the burden on the federal government.

Throughout the campaign, it became clear that many Americans supported the reforms passed by President Norris. The Republican calls that the Progressives were no better than Socialists may have boosted the Republican vote in some of the Mountain states, but it was largely ineffective in the more urban east of the country. For many Americans, the Democratic position of centrism and balance appealed to the American people the most. The Progressive Party had surged in a time of crisis, but the divisions shown at the convention hindered the McNary campaign. The people demonstrated they wanted a moderation of current policy now that the recovery was in full swing. Garner’s campaign was helped by one proposed change, however; the end of Prohibition. President Norris had maintained and defended the policy as a moral imperative, but by 1936 it was clear that the prohibition of alcohol was simply unable to be adequately enforced and was a major source of funds for organized crime syndicates in the big cities. Garner and Ritchie, both “wets”, stressed their opposition to Prohibition and promised to support ending it if they were elected.

All these factors combined to create a large national swing toward the Democrats in the 1936 election and returned the Democratic Party to the White House after a nearly sixteen year absence. John Nance Garner won just over 43% of the popular vote, but gained a slim majority in the electoral college with 273 electoral votes. While McNary came second in the popular vote with 36% well ahead of Fuller’s 20%, the Republicans eked ahead of the Progressives in the electoral college. Because of the electoral reform laws passed in the western states, the Progressives lost out on 18 electoral college votes they would have earned had California, Washington, and Nebraska been winner take all states. Thanks to Fuller’s solid support in the Northeast, the Republicans gained 147 electoral votes while the Progressives received 117. The Socialist ticket of Norman Thomas and Louis Budenz only received 1.2% of the popular vote nationwide, but their 6.11% of the vote in California gained the Socialists their first ever vote in the electoral college.

1936 election:
Senate Majority Leader Charles McNary (OR)/Harold Ickes (IL), Progressive Party: 114 electoral votes
Senator John Nance Garner (TX)/Governor Albert Ritchie (MD), Democratic Party: 273 electoral votes
Former Governor Alvin T. Fuller (MA)/Senator Arthur Vandenberg (MI), Republican Party: 147 electoral votes
Norman Thomas (NY)/Louis Budenz (IN), Socialist Party, 1 electoral vote

1932 Presidential Election

*Washington, California, and Nebraska split their electoral votes proportionally.

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The Bull Moose’s Legacy: A Lasting Progressive Party, Part 6

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

In foreign policy matters, President George Norris generally followed the older isolationist wing of the Progressive Party. The first action of the Norris administration was a reorganization of military appropriations, focused on ending the numerous sporadic American occupations in the Caribbean. During World War I, the United States had sent marines to occupy the island of Hispaniola. Haiti had fallen deeply into debt to American banks in the beginning of the 20th century, and the country had fallen into chaos as the presidency changed six times between 1911 and 1915. Additionally, President Wilson was concerned about possible German ambitions with the small German community in Haiti, and in 1915 sent marines to occupy and stabilize Haiti. A year later, Wilson also ordered marines to occupy the neighboring Dominican Republic after it erupted in civil war as well. The occupation of these two countries lasted beyond the end of World War I and well into the 1920s as the United States enforced customs and generally conducted economic oversight over the two countries as part of support for the American-backed governments. The American occupied and supported governments liberalized the countries’ constitutions and made improvements such as upgrading infrastructure, but to most of the population of Haiti and the Dominican Republic the period represented a loss of sovereignty and resentment against the United States grew. While the Hoover administration had briefly considered withdrawal from the Dominican Republic, an uprising in the eastern province of El Seybo led to a continuation of the occupation.

President Norris started a commission to organize the transition to a national government and the withdrawal of American troops from Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 1931. The commission, led by Senator William Borah of Idaho, laid out a withdrawal of troops from both countries within two years. In the Dominican Republic, Horacio Vásquez was appointed provisional president and in 1932 the first elections were held in the country. Vásquez’s Alliance Party was defeated by Rafael Estrella Ureña and his National Liberal Party. In Haiti, the election process took longer and was less smooth. A national assembly in Haiti elected Sténio Vincent president of the country in 1930, but the last American marines were withdrawn from the country by 1934. During this transitionary period, Vincent was allowed to fill government positions with Haitians, concluding in 1935 with a transfer of full fiscal control to Haiti. President Vincent established popular elections in 1935 and was reelected to a six year term in 1936.

While the Norris administration were generally isolationist in their foreign policy, President Norris personally shifted his stance during the final year of his presidency. There were many reasons for this. The ultranationalist coup in Japan in February of 1936 that established Hajime Sugiyama as Prime Minister led to alarming worry over Japanese expansionism in East Asia and the Pacific. After the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in June of 1936 and the brutal occupations of Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing, pictures of bombed out Shanghai and word of atrocities in Nanjing reached the foreign press and the President. President Norris called on all parties of Congress to support punitive action against Japan. While no action was taken during Norris’s presidency, his support in the following years led to an embargo of oil exports to Japan in 1938 which was expanded to include iron and steel exports a year later and an increase in United States military placements in Hawaii and the Philippines in case of Japanese retaliation.

Along with increased Japanese expansionism in the 1930s, the situation in Europe was beginning to escalate as Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy started their nationalist ambitions. Hitler’s only aggressive action was to reoccupy the Rhineland, which the Treaty of Versailles had declared a demilitarized zone following World war I. Norris, who had objected to stipulations of the Versailles Treaty including to United States presence in the Rhineland, did not raise an objection to the remilitarization. However, he and the United States did raise a protest to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The United States never recognized the Italian annexation of Ethiopia in May of 1936, however a diplomatic protest was all that arose out of the Norris administration’s opposition to the invasion.

Despite all these events, the most significant accomplishment of foreign policy during George Norris’s time in office was the administration’s overdue diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union. While the United States and Soviet Union had arranged economic agreements during the 1920s, the Republican Lowden and Hoover administrations continued the policy of not officially recognizing the USSR. As soon as Norris entered the presidency in 1929, he began undertaking steps to change it. Gathering up a Commission for American-Soviet Relations that included public relations pioneer Ivy Lee, diplomat William C. Bullitt, and Progressive Party activist and future ambassador Dudley F. Malone, Norris initiated correspondence with the Soviet government. Soviet Foreign Minister Georgy Chicherin sent Maxim Litvinov, fresh off of signing a pact with the USSR’s European neighbors renouncing future war between them, to Washington to begin direct negotiations with the Norris administration through the CASR. After a month of discussion, Litvinov and the CASR agreed on terms surrounding Soviet payment of outstanding debt to the United States, civil rights of Americans living in the USSR and that the USSR would cease funding the Communist Party in the US. In 1930, the United States officially recognized the Soviet Union and vice versa, and embassies were established between the two countries. William Bullitt was appointed the first US ambassador to the Soviet Union, but was replaced by Dudley Malone in 1934. Maxim Litvinov would succeed Chicherin as Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union shortly after his return to Moscow from the negotiations.

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Conservatives Win Shock Majority in UK Elections

With the polls contentious and showing a close result between the Conservatives and Labour and a near certainty of a long government formation ahead, the night of May 7 was expected to be an exciting night. However, the predictions for the elections results were almost immediately upended after the polls closed. All polls prior to the election had been projecting both major parties to get approximately 280 seats, with the Liberal Democrats halving their numbers of seats from 52 to about 25. The BBC exit poll, however, gave an extremely different picture. The exit poll showed the Conservatives winning 316 seats increasing their representation in Westminster by 10 seats from 2010. Labour was projected to fall from 256 seats in 2010 to 239 seats. The Liberal Democrats, already looking at a disastrous election, were devastated by the exit poll, which had them retaining only 10 seats!

From the release of the exit poll, all coverage came with some sort of qualifier on the validity of the result. Even the representatives for MORI, the company conducting the exit poll, advised caution in interpreting it. The poll was so wildly different from what everyone had been projecting for the month before the election that nobody was sure how accurate it was. Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, whose party the exit poll said would win all but one seat in Scotland, tweeted skepticism advising its supporters to “treat the exit poll with HUGE caution.” Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, stated that if the exit poll was right, he would publicly eat a hat. As the night wore on and results kept coming in, it became more evident that the exit poll was indeed correct. The final total actually showed the BBC exit poll in fact underestimated the performance of the Conservatives. The Conservatives were projected to still be short of a majority, but they ended up winning 331 seats, a slim five seat majority. Labour and the Liberal Democrats overperformed, and only won 232 and 8 seats respectively. By the next morning, Labour’s Ed Miliband, the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg, and UKIP’s Nigel Farage had all resigned as party leaders.

The Liberal Democrats suffered the most in the election. The centrist party had long been the standard protest party in British elections and slowly built up to a high of 23% of the vote in the last election. However, 2015 saw them plummet from 52 seats to just 8. Going into the next parliament, that result puts them on par with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party. Additionally, they suffered many historic defeats. Treasury Secretary Vince Cable and Business Secretary Danny Alexander both lost their seats. Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy lost his seat in Ross, Skye, and Lochaber. Even in seats where they kept their seat, the Liberal Democrats performed badly. In Orkney and Shetland, they only beat the SNP by 817 votes. This was a monumental shift from 2010 when Orkney and Shetland had been the safest Liberal Democratic seat. In fact, the constituency had voted for the Lib Dems and its predecessor Liberal Party in every election since 1950. While other prominent party figures such as Clegg and Tim Farron kept their seats, it is clear that the Lib Dems will be reduced to near irrelevancy in the years and possibly decades to come in Westminster politics.

Arguably one of the biggest winners of the election were the Scottish National Party. They only held 6 seats before the election, and the aftermath of Scotland voting to remain in the United Kingdom last year led many commentators to believe the party’s rise was at an end. However, there was a feeling in Scotland of support for Nicola Sturgeon’s party leadership after the independence referendum and a feeling that the referendum itself benefitted Scotland just by giving the people a voice. Going into 2015, the SNP only continued their surge, and the election showed it as they came within a hair of a majority of the popular vote in Scotland. The vote by constituency saw one of the largest political shifts in Scotland’s history. The SNP won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats. Each of the three major UK-wide parties only retained one seat each; Orkney and Shetland for the Lib Dems, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale, and Tweeddale for the Conservatives, and Edinburgh South for Labour. The rise of the SNP came at a cost, however. While the party possesses its largest ever contingent in Westminster, a Conservative majority means that Scotland can effectively be ignored in the next government. However, this could increase support for the SNP during the next five years and increase support for a second independence referendum.

For the smaller parties, the Greens and UKIP ended up with 1 seat each. The Green Party kept their Brighton Pavilion seat, but despite a significant increase in support failed to capitalize on the divisions of the election. UKIP, on the other hand, got over 3.8 million votes, of 12.6% of the popular vote but only won 1 seat in Westminster. Douglas Carswell kept his Clacton seat after defecting from the Conservatives to UKIP, but fellow defector Mark Reckless and UKIP leader Nigel Farage both lost their elections in Rochester and Strood and Thanet South. UKIP’s rise in support can be credited to the party having largely replaced the Lib Dems as the primary protest party in the country. Outside of the standard discussion of British party politics, the Northern Irish parties saw a couple upsets. The Ulster Unionist Party, who made an electoral alliance with the Conservatives, unexpectedly returned to Westminster with victories in South Antrim and Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Now that the Tories have won a majority, where does Britain go from here? For now, at least, it looks like the Conservative policies of austerity and push to renegotiate the United Kingdom’s role in the European Union will continue. Labour will have to recover from losing their traditional constituency base in Scotland, but could still find fertile ground in the north of England and in cities if the Conservatives make further benefit cuts now that they don’t have the Lib Dems as a moderating balance. For the Liberal Democrats, though, they will likely have to go through a major rebranding and rebuilding if they want to become relevant again. The rebranding efforts already appear to be starting. Tim Farron, who is likely to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats, has already made signs that he wants to change the name of the party back to the Liberals, which would signify a break with the past three decades after they merged with the Social Democratic Party in 1988. Meanwhile, it definitely looks like the UK political system is still very much in flux, and Scotland, the EU, and electoral reform will very much remain prominent issues for Cameron’s government.

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