Josiah Royce published Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Problems in 1908. The essay “Provincialism” praised regional life as something that satisfies the human need for personal connection and community. Royce was particularly fascinated by California.
He argued that California’s topography and climate nurture a “Higher Provincial” version of American civilization. This means that it promotes an independence of mind, individualism, and open simplicity of manner.
Royce believed California was a land where a larger American identity could be shaped.
The Higher Provincialism
San Francisco grew as a western center of urbanism and artistic creativity throughout the 1860s.
Many notable writers published books in San Francisco, including Francis Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard, and John Muir.
Muir arrived in San Francisco in 1868, and established his legacy as a nature writer, documenting the Yosemite Valley, the mountains of California, and the glacial formations of Alaska.
Hubert Howe Bancroft founded a research library that went on to publish multivolume works documenting the history of the Pacific Coast.
In the 1850s the popular California literature was about humor, history, and memoirs; Later in the century there was more poetry, historical writing, promotional literature, and the first instances of long fictional works.
The Higher Provincialism
Northern California became a very successful wheat producer in the 1870s and 1880s. California led the nation in wheat production until it was surpassed by Minnesota in the early 1890s.
In Southern California, citrus, vineyards, and other specialty crops were grown. These were grown by educated, middle class, intensive farmers who made their living on forty acres.
The introduction of refrigerated rail cars meant that California could quickly send their goods to Eastern markets within a week by the 1890s.
At the turn of the twentieth century citrus groves were the major crop of southern California.
Horticulturists planted a wide variety of trees and plants in Southern California, which had before been barren.
Great Expectations: Creating the Infrastructure of a Mega-State
In order for California to become the mega-state it has come to be, it required massive amounts of water.
California required a highly sophisticated statewide water system in order for it to become inhabitable and productive. In 1878 the Drainage Act was passed. This was an important event in California history, because it created the public utilities that California required to become the biggest and the greatest economic state.
William Hammond Hall was responsible for all of the studies that laid out a comprehensive program for the development of California through water projects.
The Mulholland waterworks were a huge irrigation network, which provided Southern California with Northern California rainfall, giving it the ability to sustain mayor cities such as Los Angeles.
During the nineteenth century California organized its political and social economical structures and lay the foundations of its built environment. Into the twentieth century it built its public works infrastructure. To serve a growing population, dams, aqueducts, reservoirs, power plants, industrial sites, bridges, roadways, public buildings, and stadiums were created in the twentieth century.In 1917 the breaking of a canal which was being used to irrigate Southern California from the Colorado river, almost lead to the flooding of Southern California and was ultimately saved by Southern Pacific.
The 1920s California economy was booming, due to the construction of aqueducts and bridges, as well as the establishment of Navy and Marine bases in San Diego. During the Second World war California became an industrial center for the military, where airplanes, ships, and weapons were built.
The Central Valley Project organized four large reservoirs into a series of dams, reservoirs, canals, pumping stations, and power plants across California.
In the 1920s Los Angeles had more cars than the entire state of New York, so building state and country roadways was another major priority. The automobile culture prompted the building of Bay Area bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge. After WWII the freeway system way built.
O Brave New World!:
California made significant contributions to American engineering and technology.
The Pelton turbine was developed from mining technology, and its design later inspired the turbines used in hydroelectric dams, which provided California with an industrial infrastructure.
Aviation technology was adopted and perfected in California.
By the 1930s California led the nation in atomic research by successfully smashing the atom. California was also leading the nation in biotechnology.
California also developed vacuum tube technology, and made television and radio happen.
O Brave New World!:
In 1883 John and James Montgomery developed a 38-pound glider made out of wood and fabric. They recorded the first heavier-than-air flight in human history, which took place in California.
Californians had experimented with various forms of flight since the 1860s, and aviation went on to shape California over the next century.
The University of California opened in 1869. Its curriculum mainly focused on mining, geology, agriculture, and mechanical engineering. This was important because it helped guide California into an industrial economy.
Californian geologists spent up to four years in the wild, measuring heights and land formation. These geologists included Clarence King, William Henry Brewer, Lorenzo Yates.
California was also a leader in astronomy, building the world's most technologically advanced telescopes and observatories.
O Brave New World!:
William Shockley pioneered the use of semiconductors in computer technology. The technology was later used to developed the microprocessor chip. Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak designed and produced the Apple computer, making the microprocessor technology widely commercially available.
Silicon Valley became the center of technological innovation, and it brought the world into a revolutionary new age of digital communication. Californian scientists had key roles in developing the Internet.
California has a large role in biotechnological research and manufacturing.