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Henry Huntly Haight

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Huntly Haight
Henry Haight.jpg
10th Governor of California
In office
December 5, 1867 – December 8, 1871
Lieutenant William Holden
Preceded by Frederick Low
Succeeded by Newton Booth
Personal details
Born May 20, 1825
Rochester, New York
Died September 2, 1878(1878-09-02) (aged 53)
San Francisco, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Anna E. Bissell
Profession Lawyer

Henry Huntly Haight (May 20, 1825 – September 2, 1878) was a lawyer and American politician. He was elected the tenth governor of California from December 5, 1867, to December 8, 1871.

Early life

Childhood and Education

Haight was of English and Scotch parentage. The son of Fletcher Mathews Haight and Elizabeth Stewart (MacLachlan), Henry H. Haight was born in Rochester, New York. He was the second of twelve children and the third generation of lawyers. He traced his ancestors to Cameron of Lochiel and to Jonathan Teal Haight of England.[1]

Growing up, Haight was fond of poetry. He attended the Rochester Collegiate Institute before entering Yale in 1840 at 15. Haight graduated with honors from Yale University in 1844.[2]

He married Anna Bissell (1834-1898) on January 24, 1855 in St. Louis. Bissel was born in Missouri, the daughter of Capt. Lewis Bissel and Mary (Woolbridge) of Connecticut.[3] The couple had at least one son, Dr. Louis Montrose Haight (1868-1942).

Political career

Satirizes California Republican gubernatorial nominee George C. Gorham and idea that Africans, Asians, and Indians should have voting rights. Used by Democratic Party to gain office.
Satirizes California Republican gubernatorial nominee George C. Gorham and idea that Africans, Asians, and Indians should have voting rights. Used by Democratic Party to gain office.

Early Politics

He later joined his father in St. Louis, Missouri where he studied and later practiced law. While in St. Louis, the younger Haight became politically active and edited a "Free Soil" publication. Upon discovery of gold in California 1849, he decided to head further west.[4]

In 1856, Haight supported John C. Fremont's campaign for President. By 1859, Haight became chair of the state Republican Party. He led Lincoln's campaign in California, although in 1861, he told a friend he regretted supporting Lincoln.[4]

In 1863, shorty after President Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, Haight announced he joined the Democratic Party. He campaigned against Lincoln in 1864, and was involved in a small controversy for allegedly disrespecting the President.[4]

Gubernatorial Election of 1867

Haight never held public office of any kind before he was elected Governor of California. In 1867, California Democrats nominated Haight for Governor. Earlier at their convention, the Democratic Party adopted an anti-Reconstruction platform, particularly against "indiscriminate suffrage." Upon his nomination, Haight expanded on the party's platform. [5]

At his July 9 speech at San Francisco's Union Hall, Haight denounced Reconstruction and its potential impact in California. He claimed Congress' policies put white Americans "under the heel of negroes" and warned indiscriminate suffrage would allow Chinese to vote in California. Haight deemed Chinese people unworthy of voting as they would be manipulated by their railroad employers. As "pagans," "serfs" and members of a "servile, effeminate and inferior race," their suffrage rights would "pollute and desecrate" the democratic "heritage" of white Americans. Haight called for increased immigration from Europe to prevent Asian migration. "But if we are powerless to prevent the swarming of millions of Asia from pouring in upon us, we can at least keep in our hands the government of the country."[6]

In September 1867, white Californians elected Haight in a landslide. Haight, with 9,000 votes more than George Gorham, carried the entire Democratic ticket into office.[4]

Governorship

Civil Rights

On December 5, 1867, newly elected Governor Haight took to a stage in Sacramento to give his inaugural address. Haight spent the majority of his speech condemning Congress' Reconstruction policy. He claimed Reconstruction was extreme and destroyed White Southerners' liberties. "Reconstruction," Haight proclaimed, "... takes from White people of 10 states their constitutional rights, and leaves them subject to military rule; and disenfranchises enough White men to give political control to a mass of Negroes just emancipated and just as ignorant of political duties as beasts of the field." [7]

Official state portrait
Official state portrait

As Governor, Haight then used the powers of his office to prevent citizenship and voting rights from being extended to non-White California residents. Shortly after taking office, Haight wrote privately to President Andrew Johnson to thank him for his stance against Congress's Reconstruction policy. The 14th Amendment had been waiting on Gov. Haight's desk when he took office. Haight never transmitted to the state legislature the Constitutional Amendment to extend citizenship to all.[4]

The U.S. Congress sent the 15th Amendment to states for ratification in late 1869, the January 1870 debates renewed opposition to non-White suffrage. Transmitting the amendment to California's legislature, Haight warned, "If this amendment is adopted, the most degraded Digger Indian within our borders becomes at once an elector, and so far, a ruler. His vote would count for as much as that of the most intelligent White man in the State." The Democratic majority followed Haight's lead and rejected the 15th Amendment in January 1870.[4]

Legislation

Haight was the first governor to use the offices in the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Haight has received credit for signing legislation to create the University of California (UC) and ending subsidies to railroads. On March 23, 1868, he signed the "Organic Act", the legislation creating the University of California, although he had not been involved in its formation. Haight appointed primarily Democrats to the Board of Regents, and none of the university's predecessors.[8][9] A friend credited Haight with ending state subsidies for the railroads during his term as Governor.[10]

Reelection

In 1871, Haight lost his bid for reelection to Newton Booth. Haight returned to his Alameda estate and his law practice.[11]

Alameda

After he was governor, he returned his estate in Alameda, California. Haight later served on the City of Alameda's Board of Trustees, including time as its first president. He also served on the UC Board of Regents. He was also selected for a state Constitutional Convention, but died in 1878.

Haight died on Sept. 2, 1878, in San Francisco. He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.

Legacy

Haight is remembered with his portrait at the State Capitol and the Alameda Museum, as well as a public school and public street in Alameda named after him.

In 1892, Alameda named Haight Ave after H.H. Haight.[12]

Though it is commonly thought to be true, Haight Street in San Francisco may or may not have been named after Haight himself since it is thought by some that the street was indeed named after his uncle, the pioneer and exchange banker Henry Haight (1820 – 1869).[13]

Rename Haight Campaign

Henry Haight Elementary School in Alameda, California, is named after the former governor. On the 150th anniversary of Haight’s inauguration speech, Rasheed Shabazz, a local journalist and activist wrote the school’s PTA and asked them to create a petition to rename Haight. On December 12, 2017, Shabazz, [14] addressed the AUSD School Board and asked them to consider renaming Haight Elementary due to white supremacist statements of Haight, citing Haight's Inaugural Address as Governor. AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge "...called on the school board to direct AUSD staff to create a School Renaming Committee" at that meeting.[15] Parents of the school gathered signatures asking the school's principal to form a School Renaming Committee. AUSD proceeded to announce the formation of the Renaming Committee in February 2018.[16]

The Coalition to Rename Haight created a website including primary and secondary sources, and a syllabus, about the life and times of Henry H. Haight.[17]

References

  1. ^ Obituary Record, Graduates Deceased During Year Ending July 1, 1920, page 1446
  2. ^ Henry H. Haight Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
  3. ^ Obituary Record, Graduates Deceased During Year Ending July 1, 1920, page 1446; U.S. Census; Marriage records, |publisher= Ancestry.com |accessdate= 2018-03-10
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bottoms, Michael (2013). "The Apostacy of Henry Huntley Haight: Race, Reconstruction, and the Return of the Democracy in California, 1865-1870" (PDF). An Aristocracy of Color: Race and Reconstruction in California and the West, 1850-1890. pp. 55–59. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  5. ^ "Haight Community to Consider Renaming Their School" (PDF). Alameda Unified School District. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  6. ^ Speech of H. H. Haight, Esq., Democratic candidate for Governor, Delivered at the Great Democratic Mass Meeting at Union Hall, Tuesday evening, July 9, 1867, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
  7. ^ "Henry Haight, Inaugural Address of H. H. Haight, Governor of California of the State of California, at the Seventeenth Session of the Legislature, December 5, 1867". Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  8. ^ "Theodore Henry Hittel, Chapters III & IV, History of California, Volume 4".
  9. ^ William Warren Ferrier's "Origins and Development of the University of California".
  10. ^ Henry H. Haight Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
  11. ^ "Who was Haight?". Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  12. ^ "Biographical Materials about Henry H. Haight" (PDF). Alameda Library. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  13. ^ "San Francisco Streets Named for Pioneers". Museum of the City of San Francisco. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  14. ^ "Rasheed Shabazz". Emerging Arts Professionals. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  15. ^ "Elementary School Renaming in Works". The Alameda Sun. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  16. ^ "Haight Community to Consider Renaming Their School" (PDF). Alameda Unified School District. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  17. ^ "Rename Haight Syllabus". Rename Haight Coalition. Retrieved 2018-03-10.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Frederick Low
Governor of California
1867–1871
Succeeded by
Newton Booth
This page was last edited on 10 May 2018, at 16:55
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