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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Missouri

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MISSOURI (see 18.607).—During the decade 1910-20 Missouri continued her transition from the period of frontier influences, of rapid growth of population and development of natural resources to the stage of industrial development and growth of urban population. The transition was, however, hardly more than well begun, and the state was still primarily agricultural. The total pop. in 1020 was 3,404,055, as compared with 3,293,335 in 1910, an increase of 110,720, or 3.4 per cent. The percentage of urban pop. (in centres of 2,500 or more) increased from 42.5% in 1910 to 46.6% in 1920. Of this urban pop. 34.5% in 1920 was in the three cities of St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Joseph. The rural pop. showed an absolute decrease in both 1910 and 1920; in the latter year only 19 counties showed an increase. The pop. of the 10 chief cities was as follows:—

1920 1910 Increase
 per cent 




 St. Louis  772,897   687,029  12.5
 Kansas City 324,410  248,381  30.6
 St. Joseph 77,939  77,403   0.7
 Springfield 39,631  35,201  12.6
 Joplin 29,902  32,073  −6.8
 Sedalia 21,144  17,822  18.6
 Hannibal 19,306  18,341   5.2
 Jefferson City  14,490  11,850  21.6
 Moberly 12,808  10,923  17.3
 Independence 11,686  9,859  18.5

The Roman Catholic Church remained the largest in the state, having in 1916 445,352 members or 32.5% of the total of 1,370,551 for all denominations. There were 252,107 Baptists, 228,135 Methodists, 145,403 Disciples of Christ, 67,628 Presbyterians, 45,313 Lutherans, and 37,374 members of the German Evangelical Synod of N. America.

Agriculture.—In 1920, 34,774,679 ac., or 79% of the total area of the state, was in farm lands; of this 24,832,966 ac., or 71.4%, was improved. The average size of a farm was 132.2 acres. The percentage of farms operated by owners increased during 1910-20 from 69.4% to 70.4%. In 1920, 51% of the farms operated by owners were mortgaged. The increase in values of farm property in the decade, 74.9%, to $3,591,068,085, reflected primarily the general rise in price level. This rise in price level makes acreage the only intelligible basis for crop comparisons. In 1919 cereal, and hay and forage crops continued to lead. Tobacco remained a relatively unimportant crop, though widely grown, with 4,490 ac. in 1919. Cotton gained from 96,527 ac. in 1909 to 110,927 ac. in 1919. Fruit, primarily apples, continued an important crop. After 1909, the acreage in Indian corn decreased 21.7% to 5,567,079 ac. in 1919, while wheat increased 126.3% to 4,564,990 acres. The greater part of these changes occurred after 1914, resulting from the World War. The total value of all farm crops in 1919 was $559,947,856, of which the cereals contributed $394,195,226, hay and forage $95,897,050. Indian corn was valued at $219,513,084, wheat at $140,202,501, and oats at $32,394,961. Increasing progress is ensured by the extensive drainage operations in the local drainage districts of the S.E., and by the increased interests in improved farming methods and in coöperative organizations. The Agricultural College of the state university in cooperation with the Federal Government has been very active in agricultural extension work; in May 1921 65 counties had farm bureaus, 62 of which employed county farm advisers. On Jan. 1 1920 there were on the farms 906,220 horses, 389,945 mules, 1,714,894 beef cattle, 1,966,750 dairy cattle, 1,271,616 sheep and 3,888,677 swine. The total value of these animals was estimated at $361,841,529. There were 24,883,985 chickens, an increase of 25% over April 15 1910. In 1919 Missouri produced 7,705,993 lb. of wool; dairy products were valued at $34,752,845, and eggs at $42,193,285.

Mines and Quarries.—Lead and zinc continued to be by far the most important mineral products, with a total value of $51,747,580 in 1917, about two-thirds of it for lead, and $27,462,050 in 1918, four-fifths for lead. Under the stimulus of the World War the amount mined as well as the values showed a marked increase; in 1910 Missouri ore produced 161,659 short tons of lead; in 1916 347,869 tons; in 1917 218,253 short tons; and in 1918 287,983 tons. Zinc ore increased from 256,667 short tons in 1910 to 304,070 in 1916, more than one-fourth of the national total, but fell to 113,371 in 1918. Iron, copper, nickel and cobalt, though relatively less important, showed marked increases in 1916, 1917 and 1918, and Missouri retained first place in the production of barytes. The value of coal mined in 1918 was $17,126,498; building stone (chiefly limestone) was valued at $1,652,389. The total value of mining and quarry products was $67,674,146 in 1918; the value of clay products was $9,198,184 and of cement $7,132,470.

Manufactures.—From 1909 to 1914 the total value of manufactured goods increased 11.1% to $637,952,128, while the added value increased 13.4% to $249,237,269. The total of capital invested was $522,548,083. Twelve industries in 1914 had a product valued at more than $10,000,000 each and as a group produced 60.5% of the total value and employed 55.1% of the total wage-earners. Slaughtering and meat-packing continued to furnish the largest single item—$92,060,499 or 14.4% of the total; the boot and shoe industry was second with $52,522,006 (8.2%); flour and grist mills third with $38,686,309 (6.1%); and tobacco fourth with a product valued at $33,380,843 (5.2%). Other industries were malt liquors ($31,801,404); lumber and timber ($18,396,838); men's clothing ($17,300,109), and cars and general shop construction and repairs by steam railways ($12,847,319). The two cities of over 100,000, St. Louis and Kansas City, gave employment to about two-thirds of the wage-earners and produced two-thirds of the total values, St. Louis contributing over half the total in both items.

Government.[1]—Fifty-five constitutional amendments were submitted to popular vote between 1910 and 1920. From 1910 to 1918 out of 42 only one, permitting the pensioning of the blind, was adopted. The bitter opposition to State prohibition (defeated in 1910, 1916 and 1918) and to the single tax (rejected in 1912 and 1918) contributed to the popular distrust of all amendments. In 1920, however, 9 out of the 13 proposed were adopted. Nearly half of all the amendments proposed to relax the limitations on taxing or borrowing power. Seven (all rejected) were to provide more revenue for education, eight (two adopted in 1920) for good roads, and six [two adopted in 1920) relaxed the debt limits for the local units. Other rejected amendments of general interest were those proposing woman suffrage by State action (1914); a State tax commission (1912); rural credit schemes (1916, 1918); increased pay for legislators (1910, 1914, 1920); pensions for police and school teachers in cities (1910). The uniform failure, until 1920, of the proposed amendments stimulated a demand for a new constitution. Although endorsed by both parties since 1916, the proposal was not submitted by the Assembly, largely because of partizan opposition to the basis of representation in the convention. A constitutional amendment, proposed by the initiative, was adopted by popular vote in 1920, including a compromise on apportionment, and providing that the question of holding a constitutional convention should be submitted to the voters at least every 20 years and for such a submission at a special election in 1921. Missouri ratified the Sixteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution (income tax) in 1909, the Seventeenth (direct election of U.S. Senators) in 1911, the Eighteenth (prohibition) and Nineteenth (woman suffrage) in 1919. An Amendment to the constitution of the state adopted in 1920 gave cities of over 100,000 the right to draw up their own charters. Fifteen of the proposed constitutional amendments were submitted through the initiative, including prohibition (twice), the single tax (twice) and woman suffrage. Only one of the 15 was adopted, that providing for a new method of summoning a Constitutional Convention (1920). Six Acts of the Legislature have been submitted to a popular vote through the referendum; four were rejected in 1914, including the minimum train crew Act. The “bone dry” prohibition Act was upheld in 1920, but workmen's compensation was defeated.

The more important new administrative boards and bureaus were the Food and Drug Commissioner, 1909 (abolished 1921); the Public Service Commission, 1913; the State Highway Department, 1917; and the Tax Commission, 1917 (abolished 1921). The Public Service Commission 1913 with real powers of regulation marked a departure from the earlier Missouri practice of leaving the regulation of public utilities to local city boards. Consolidation of departments and commissions, urged by Gov. Hadley, began in 1917, when the penitentiary and other reformatory institutions were placed under a single prison board, and by 1921 had made substantial progress. Seven general departments were created: the Department of Finance, including the old Departments of Banking, Building and Loan Associations and Soldiers' Settlement; Commissioner of Public Welfare, including various departments in charge of inspections; the Board of Eleemosynary Institutions; Department of Labour; Department of Agriculture; and the Department of Budget, to take over the supervisory and budget-recommending powers of the Tax Commission and serve also as a purchasing department.

Missouri remained conservative in labour legislation; a minimum train crew law was defeated in 1914, and a workmen's compensation law in 1920, both by the referendum. A new compensation law, elective on the part of the employer, was passed in 1921. A fairly comprehensive but very moderate Act was passed in 1913 to provide for the health and safety of employees, including limitation of hours for women. The compulsory school attendance law of 1919 incidentally limited child labour. The greater part of a children's code, recommended by two commissions, was put in the statute book.

Revenue.—The revenue, inelastic through constitutional limitations, proved increasingly inadequate after 1910, until the unpaid current obligations in 1917 totalled $1,800,000, in spite of many vetoes of appropriations. Attempts to secure relief for special purposes such as schools and good roads by constitutional amendments had all failed. The Assembly in 1917 passed new indirect taxes, a state income tax, a corporation franchise tax, a direct inheritance tax (superseding the collateral inheritance tax), a secured debts tax, “soft” drinks stamps and wholesale liquor dealers' licence, which yielded altogether nearly $2,400,000 in 1917-9. It also established the Tax Commission which in 1918 and 1919 urged a 100% assessment for the direct property tax to secure uniformity of taxation and increase of revenue. The state Board of Equalization raised the total assessed valuation about 20% in 1919 and proposed a further substantial increase in 1921. The assessed valuation of real and personal property increased from $1,658,587,414 in 1916 to $2,471,746,046 in 1920. The total revenue of the state was $7,151,125 in 1910 and $17,666,137 in 1918. The per capita cost of state government was still low, $4.51 in 1919; the direct property tax levy was only $0.54 on the $1,000 of actual cash value in 1916, and $0.88 in 1919. The outstanding state debt Jan. 1 1921 consisted of $4,398,839 certificates of indebtedness in the school and seminary funds, and $1,500,000 capital refunding bonds, a total of $5,898,839. The net indebtedness of the counties in 1913 was $6,580,450 and of incorporated places $46,999,383.

Charitable and Penal Institutions.—An industrial home for negro girls was authorized in 1909 and opened at Tipton in 1916. The Training School for Boys at Boonville was in 1915 transformed into the Reformatory for Boys. In 1917 the administration of the penitentiary was reorganized, contract convict labour abolished and conditions improved.

Education.—Missouri appropriates one-third of the general revenue to the support of the public schools, amounting to $1,618,341 in 1910 and to $3,423,849 in 1920. To this must be added $187,040, the interest on the state's common school fund of $3,159,000. The estimated total expenditure for public schools from state and local sources rose in the decade 1910-20 from $13,905,188 to $28,048,051. The permanent county and municipal funds of the counties, derived from the proceeds of the sales of stray animals and from escheats and fines, and from permanent township funds, derived from the sale of lands granted by the Federal Government, increased from $9,825,991 to $11,561,583. The average daily attendance of the public schools rose from 490,374 to 531,221. Although the public schools continued to lack sufficient revenue, there was much constructive legislation, especially as to the rural schools. The state funds were apportioned on the basis of the number of teachers and attendance instead of enrolment (1911) and additional aid was given to rural schools (1909, 1911, 1915) and to high schools (1913) in the poorer districts. The size of the local school district for purposes of administration and taxation was increased through authorizing the appointment of county superintendents (1909), encouraging the consolidation of schools (1913, 1917) and especially by the county unit Act of 1921, which, in all counties that do not include a first-class high school, made the county the unit for administration and taxation. The re-requirements for teachers' certificates were raised in 1911 and 1921 and provision made for the training of teachers in the high school (1913). An effective compulsory attendance law was passed in 1919. Under the Federal Smith-Hughes Act, Missouri received in 1920 $103,808 from the Federal Government for vocational education and for the training of teachers. The enrolment in the state university at Columbia and Rolla increased from 3,083 (165 at the School of Mines at Rolla) in 1911 to 5,800 (466 at Rolla) in 1920. For the biennial period 1911-2 the university received from interest on the state Seminary Fund, state appropriations, income on endowment, and from the Federal Government a total of $1,555,712; for the biennium 1919-20, the corresponding total was $2,483,808. The Extension Division was organized in 1913; the School of Commerce in 1914, expanded in 1916 to the School of Commerce and Business Administration. There was notable development in extension work in agriculture and home economics under the recent Federal aid laws. In 1911 the university was placed on the approved list of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.}}

History.—Governor Hadley was a leading supporter of Roosevelt for the Republican nomination in 1912, though supporting Taft in the election. Wilson that year received 330,746 votes, Taft 207,821, Roosevelt 124,371. In 1916 Wilson defeated Hughes by 28,693, but the Democratic candidate for governor defeated the Republican by only 2,263. In 1918, however, Folk, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator, ran 35,283 behind Spencer, Republican, while the Republican candidate for state Superintendent of Education won over the Democratic by 1,109. The disorganization in the local Democratic party was increased by the opposition of Senator Reed to the League of Nations and, with the general national reaction, resulted in 1920 in the election of a Republican state administration and a Republican majority in both Houses of the Assembly (for the first time since 1870) and in a presidential majority for Harding over Cox of 152,363.

In the World War Missouri furnished (to Oct. 31 1918) 140,257 men; of these 92,843 were inducted under the Selective Service Act. Her losses were 1,270 killed in action; 1,531 dead from wounds, disease and accident; a total of 2,801. Missouri's subscription and quota for the First Liberty Loan were respectively $51,863,388 and $65,562,800; for the Second $80,810,400 and $122,226,600; for the Third $79,599,700 and $110,828,300; for the Fourth $163,884,700 and $172,832,700; and for the Fifth, or Victory Loan $119,118,050 and $121,627,550. Missouri was one of the first states to establish (April 24 1917) a State Council of Defense which, through a very efficient system of county councils, greatly increased the production of food-stuffs, increasing the wheat acreage over 20% in 1917, and by an even greater percentage in 1918, and investigated the few cases there were of disloyalty or disaffection.

Recent governors have been Herbert S. Hadley (Rep.), 1909-13; Eliot W. Major (Dem.), 1913-7; Frederic D. Gardner (Dem.), 1917-21; Arthur M. Hyde (Rep.), 1921-. (J. Vi.)


  1. The legislation of 1921 is subject to rejection through the referendum.