Colorado Governor Edwin Johnson: Politics and Race
Jennifer Anne Meredith
University of Utah
Published in Historia: the Alpha Rho Papers, Vol II.
Scholars have portrayed Colorado Governor Edwin Johnson as both a racist and a pragmatist in his dealing with minority groups. The paper argues that Johnson followed his constituency’s changing opinions on the proper treatment of Mexican immigrants. By looking at his two terms as Colorado Governor in the thirties and then the fifties, it demonstrates that during the Great Depression he heeded the call of his supporters to provide jobs for American citizens by deporting migrant workers. In the fifties, when economic tensions had decreased, Johnson championed better working conditions for those same migrant workers. By analyzing both Johnson and the populaces shifting attitudes, it demonstrates the ease in which poor migrant workers fortunes can change leaving them extremely vulnerable to market fluctuations.