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1918 California gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1918 California gubernatorial election

← 1914 November 5, 1918 1922 →
William Dennison Stephens (1859–1944) portrait circa 1917 (cropped).jpg
Theodore A. Bell LCCN2014693255 (cropped 2).jpg
Nominee William Stephens Theodore Arlington Bell
Party Republican Independent
Popular vote 387,547 251,189
Percentage 56.2% 36.4%

Governor before election

William Stephens

Elected Governor

William Stephens

The 1918 California gubernatorial election was held on November 5, 1918.

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Hello viewer. What’s happening? I am Mr. Beat, and in this video I’m going to tell you all about why two states within the United States hate each other. Michigan and Ohio This is one part of a second batch of episodes of a series in which Cypher from the Cynical Historian and myself look at state rivalries. It's called "State Rivalries" because we're not that original with titles of shows. Anyway, Cypher has a video looking at West Virginia versus Virginia, so be sure to check out his video after watching this one. But first, it's Michigan versus Ohio. Today, when Americans think of a Michigan and Ohio rivalry, they think of college football. “The Game,” is a major no no...not the rapper The Game Just "The Game." Yeah is a major match-up each year between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes. It’s one of the most well known sports rivalries around, mostly due to the fact that geographically the schools are close, and the two football teams are usually both very good and competing for their conference championship. The two teams have played every year since 1918, and the rivalry actually goes all the way back to 1897. At that first game in 1897, In the stands at the game were at least some fans who were alive when their two states freaking went to war with each other, and I’m sure this helped fuel the rivalry. Yep, you heard that right. Michigan and Ohio went to war with each other. But before we get there, let’s go back away. The story begins with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which the United States passed to create the Northwest Territory, the first organized territory in the country. It stretched from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, between British North America and the Great Lakes in the north and the Ohio River in the south. In order to create future states, the U.S. gave Ohio Country a northern boundary that went from the southern tip of Lake Michigan straight east to Lake Erie. North of this line would be the future state of Michigan. South of this line, the future state of Ohio. However, the cartographers who drew up the map of the border didn’t do a good job. The maps do you say...inaccurate, to say the least. Like this map, which showed the border giving Ohio the entire eastern coast of Lake Erie and even possibly Detroit. During the Ohio constitutional convention of 1802, a fur trapper showed up and said the northern boundary was actually much further south. In fact, south of a crucial waterway out of Lake Erie called the Maumee River. Stewie: Mommy Mommy Mommy Well this freaked the Ohioans out. Hoping to push their luck, they went ahead and made the northern border just north of the Maumee River, and hoped the federal government wouldn’t notice when it admitted Ohio as a state in 1803. Well guess what. People noticed. In 1805, when folks tried to establish the territory of Michigan, surveyors, realized the southern tip of Lake Michigan was further south of the Maumee River. So, there was a classic border dispute. And for many years, the federal government did not step in. Finally, in 1817, it sent a dude named Edward Tiffin to check it out. His team concluded that the border that went just north of the Maumee, as recognized by the Ohio constitution, was indeed the accurate one. The problem, though, was that Tiffin might have been a little bit biased. You see, he used to be the governor of Ohio. So of course Michiganders were gonna protest. Michigan Territorial Governor Lewis Cass went to President James Monroe to ask for another survey at the border. The second team, led by John Fulton, came out to more accurately put the border directly east of the southern tip of Lake Michigan, which was well south of the mouth of the Maumee River. After both surveys, a strip of land about eight miles wide in the east and five miles wide in the west was in limbo, with claims from both Ohio and Michigan Territory. Folks later called it the Toledo strip, after the prominent town of Toledo was established where the Maumee River meets Lake Erie in 1833. So yeah, you’ve heard of Toledo, Michigan, right? Right? Anyway, Cypher, I have to go to the bathroom, so do you think you could just distract them or entertain them for awhile, while I do that? Maybe tell them why the Toledo Strip was so important to have? Cypher: Sure, Mr. Beat You can take a break. Mr. Beat: Thank you Cypher: Well, hey, Cypher here. Toledo doesn't seem that important anymore, right? I mean, how many people have even heard of it? No offense to Toledoans, but it doesn't really seem worth fighting over. Well for one, having more territory is always nice, I guess. I mean, talk to California and Texas about that. But the area wasn’t called the Toledo Strip for nothing. Toledo was a small trading town in 1835, right on the north side of the mouth of Maumee River, which feeds into Lake Erie. At the time, watercraft were the fastest way to get around. And everyone was planning on building a canal that would connect that river to the Ohio River, and thereby make a water passage all the way from New Orleans to New York. They'd go up the Mississippi, through the Ohio across the canal up on the Maumee River, into Lake Erie and then down the Erie Canal, all the way to the Hudson Before trains took over, water transport was key to economic power. That canal was eventually completed in 1845, so controlling that vital river meant controlling a significant amount of trade. That’s a lot of power, and no one wanted to give it up. They had ample reason to fight over the territory. But Mr. Beat can tell you about that. So that’s it. Mr. Beat? Are you there? Yeah. Yeah, sorry about that. There was a line. I'm so sorry. Anyway, the Toledo Strip was fairly peaceful until about December 11, 1833. That's when all of sudden Michigan decides it wants to become a state. Ohio Congressmen were like “nope, we’re not letting you become a state, Michigan, unless you agree to the boundary we want.” Ohio governor Robert Lucas didn’t even want to negotiate with Michigan on the border AT ALL. In fact, he made the Toledo Strip a new Ohio county and Ohioans even named it after him. In response, Stevens T. Mason, the 22-year old Michigan Territorial Governor was like, “excuse me?!?” and sent a militia to the Toledo Strip, ordering them to arrest anyone in the area acting on behalf of the state of Ohio. This was the beginning of what became known as the Toledo War. Governor Lucas responded by sending Ohio’s militia to the Toledo Strip. Meanwhile, Governor Mason and his militia had taken over the town of Toledo. Governor Lucas did not advance on the town, however, so there was a stalemate. The only “battle” of the Toledo War was the so-called Battle of Phillips Corners, which was a small skirmish on April 26, 1835, in which Michiganders fired at Ohioans. No one was injured. In fact, the only reported injury for the “war” was one dude getting stabbed in the leg. The Toledo War was mostly spying, fear-mongering, and hype. The fear-mongering, by the way, led to Ohioans calling Michiganders “Wolverines,” since wolverines were pesky little monsters. Michiganders ended up embracing the nickname, however, and today it’s the official mascot of the aforementioned University of Michigan. Anyway, the Toledo War did catch the attention of President Andrew Jackson. He quickly sent representatives out there to try to solve the crisis. These representatives tried to get Ohio and Michigan to both govern the Toledo Strip until the United States Congress could figure out a compromise. The Ohio legislature was cool with this, but Governor Mason refused the proposal, so Ohio moved its militia even closer to the Michigan militia. Ultimately, President Jackson removed Mason as the Michigan Territorial Governor for not cooperating with his representatives and replaced him with a dude named John Horner. Don’t worry, Mason would be back later as the YOUNGEST GOVERNOR IN AMERICAN HISTORY at 23 years old. Anyway, Horner played along, and on June 15, 1836 President Jackson ratified a compromise between him and Governor Lucas. Ohio would get Toledo and Michigan would get most of the Upper Peninsula and get to finally become a state. The Toledo War, which again wasn’t much of a war, was over. Ok, yeah so Toledo, OHIO. That sounds much more familiar. So what about the rivalry between the two states ever since? It’s pretty much just been sports. Today, if you ask the average Michigander or Ohioan about the state rivalry, the first thing that comes to mind is the hatred of either the Michigan Wolverines or the Ohio Buckeyes. There’s also the professional sport rivalries to a lesser extent, depending on how good each team is. So sports. The over a century-long rivalries of sports teams. Most will not bring up the time that the two states WENT TO WAR WITH EACH OTHER. But ask the locals who won the Toledo War and you might get different answers. Sure, Ohio got Toledo and the waterway, but that waterway became much less important after the invention of the railroad, and Michigan got some mad natural resources in the Upper Peninsula. So who do YOU think got the better deal? Ohio or Michigan? Let me know in the comments below. And as always, if you are actually from one of these two states, I want to hear from you. Don’t forget to check out why West Virginia and Virginia hate each other over on Cypher’s channel The Cynical Historian. And finally, if there are other state rivalries that you think we should cover for this series let us know. Thank you so much for watching.

General Election Results

1918 gubernatorial election, California
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican William D. Stephens (incumbent) 387,547 56.28
Independent Theodore Arlington Bell 251,189 36.48
Socialist Henry H. Roser 29,003 4.21
Republican James Rolph (write-in) 20,605 2.99
Total votes 688,344 100.0%
Republican hold Swing


This page was last edited on 15 October 2019, at 22:27
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