California Governor Hiram Johnson, a
Mason, was the leader in bringing into
effect many reforms that are still in place
today. State Senator Albert E. Boynton, who
would eventually become California’s grand
master, was the leader in the state legislature who shepherded Governor Johnson’s
legislation into law. Along with their fellow progressive politicians (many of whom
were also Masons), Johnson and Boynton
put into place many important initiatives.
In California, the perceived influence of oversized business was
not focused on large industrial concerns, but rather with the
oversized impact of the railroads – particularly the railroads’
ability to control and manipulate the pricing of transporting
California farmers’ and ranchers’ products to the industrial East.
(This is one reason why progressives were also interested in the
Panama Canal – they wanted to provide an alternative to the
railroad system, to minimize its power.)
In this culture where money equaled influence, Freemasonry’s
values – including the right to improve oneself and equality of
opportunity – were attractive to the larger population and were
at the core of the progressive movement during the 1890s to
1920s. This Masonic influence can be found in many of the
socially-centered initiatives that were adopted during this time.
PROGRESSIVES PROMOTED FREE, QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR ALL CHILDREN.