Early years and political rise
Frank Merriam spent the first decades of his life in Iowa and the Midwest of the United States. In 1896 he was elected as an MP in the House of Representatives from Iowa. From 1898 to 1903 he was auditor at the service of the State of Iowa.
In 1910, the now 44 -year-old emigrated to California and in 1916 elected to the House of Representatives from California, where he worked until 1926. In 1922, he was campaign manager of Friend Richardson in his candidacy for the governorship. In 1923 he was Speaker of the Parliament. In 1926 he was among the Republicans as a candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor in conversation, but was not placed. After two years of political time out, he was elected in 1928 in the Senate of California and was there almost three years politically active. For the gubernatorial elections of 1930 he was nominated by the Republican Party candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor. After the successful election, he was introduced in January 1931 on the side of the new governor James Rolph in his office. By the death Rolphs on June 2, 1934 Merriam was in accordance with the constitution of new governor of California.
Governor of California
Governor Merriam took over his new position amidst the global economic crisis in the early 1930s. His biggest problem was first erupted in May 1934 a strike by dock workers in San Francisco. The workers demanded among other things, a six -hour day and the right to be allowed to unionize freely. The strike put temporarily paralyze the whole port. A quick end seemed impossible and now, other workers and many unemployed people joined the demonstrations. Soon, the situation began to escalate and escalate into violence. On 5 July 1934, tensions reached their peak. There were violent riots in which two people were killed. The governor decided now to use the National Guard and even asked the U.S. Army for help. Heavily armed troops marched to the port area of San Francisco. Striking workers now called for a general strike which paralyzed the city for four days. But due to the military presence, there were no further outbreaks of violence more. Radical leaders were arrested, and after four days relented the strike leadership; the pressure of the authorities had become too great. They wanted to wait for a settlement of the federal government. Thus, the strikers went back to work. The conservative press praised the governor for his military intervention in the strike.
The Republican Party nominated him for re-election in the fall of 1934. Supposedly Merriam have made the nomination as a condition for the use of the National Guard. His Democratic challenger in the choice was the former Socialist Upton Sinclair. During the election campaign, the conservative forces rallied behind Merriam. The MGM studios and the media mogul William Randolph Hearst supported Merriam. Sinclair was called a communist threat. Finally, Merriam won the election by eleven percentage points ahead of Sinclair. He described the result as a defeat of the socialists and communists.
In his first term in office, the governor of a growing national debt faced. Merriam saw the solution of the problem in tax increases, which met with many of his conservative voters incomprehension. In particular, the Hearst press now turned massively against the new tax laws of the state. Then he made himself strong at the same time also for social insurance, he lost the Conservatives much of its previous support. Although he was in 1938 again set up, he lost the next elections against Culbert Olson, Governor of California, becoming the first Democrat since 1899. After his defeat Merriam retired from politics.