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Kansas History - Spring 2022

Kansas History, Spring 2022(Volume 45, Number 1)

“Art and Artifacts in the Crusade for Prohibition in Kansas, 1854-1920”
by Susan McCarthy

What people drank, how much they drank, where they drank, and the way they responded to drinking took center stage in Kansas, and other states, during the period leading up to national Prohibition in 1920. As changes occurred across society related to alcohol and consumption, how were these changes reflected in the art or artifacts of the time? Temperance and prohibition groups wielded social influence and political power during the movement but not without using works of art like paintings, as well as various artifacts such as identification pins and other symbols, to further their messages. In this article, author Susan McCarthy looks into the role art and artifacts played in the tug-of-war over alcohol that spanned many decades in Kansas.

“‘Let’s Milwaukeeize Wichita’: Socialism, Municipal Politics, and the Mayoral Election of 1911”
by Chase Billingham

In the early 1910s, at the peak of the popularity and power of the Socialist Party of America, Socialist candidates achieved political victories in municipal elections across the United States. Victories by the Socialists in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, prompted calls nationwide to replicate their success. The drive to “Milwaukeeize” other cities achieved its strongest national publicity during the 1911 mayoral campaign in Wichita, Kansas, during which local shoemaker Albert H. Blase shocked the city by placing first in the primary election. For months, the prospect of Socialist city government dominated political discourse in Wichita, yet the campaign, and the active Socialist Party in Wichita, have received little attention from historians. This article provides the first detailed account of that election and its aftermath, examining the candidates, the issues at stake, the influential role played by the city’s rival daily newspapers, and the outsize presence of the example of Milwaukee. In addition, the article traces the trajectory of Socialist influence in Wichita in the early twentieth century, illustrating how Blase’s electoral defeat, and the disaffection of local party leaders with the Socialist Party following American entry into World War I, mirrored the decline of Socialist cohesion and political influence across the country.

“You can get a hell of a lot done as a governor”: A Conversation with Former Governor Mark Parkinson
edited by Grant Armstrong, Bob Beatty, and Amber Dickinson

The seventh piece in our special series of articles based on interviews with former Kansas governors, this conversation with former lieutenant governor and governor Mark Parkinson explores topics such as the Kansas death penalty law, alternative energy and the proposed Holcomb coal-fired power plants, budget cuts and tax increases to deal with the great recession of 2009, and the possibilities for Democrats and Republicans to work together in Kansas. Parkinson, a native of Wichita, narrowly lost his first race for the state legislature in 1978 at age twenty, but after getting his law degree embarked on a state political career that included serving in the state house (1991-1993), state senate (1993-1997), and as chair of the Kansas Republican Party (1999-2003). Parkinson switched his party affiliation from to Democrat when Governor Kathleen Sebelius shocked the state by asking him to be her lieutenant governor in 2006. He served as lieutenant governor from 2007 until April 28, 2009, when he became Kansas governor after Sebelius joined President Barack Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Parkinson’s story in Kansas is one of changing with the political tides (switching from Republican to Democrat as the Republican party became more conservative), being thrust into unexpected positions (a surprise lieutenant governorship, and more surprising, governorship), and during his short, 628 days in office, finding ways to bring coalitions together to get substantial things done. In this article, Parkinson talks not only about his political roots and Kansas career, but also goes into detail about the political and emotional ramifications of leaving one party to join another.

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