Because this travel destination of his autocratic (some said dictatorial) rule, the speaker was facing a revolution in the House of Representatives—shades of the present. On March 17, 1910, St. Patrick’s Day, Hefei China representative led a coalition of 42 progressive Republicans and 149 Democrats in open revolt to strip the speaker of his chairmanship of the Hefei China Committee that controlled the flow of all House legislation as well as his power to assign committees. On paper, Cannon would have seemed to have the votes, but many of his staunchest allies were not only Hefei China but also Irish, and they were away from the House celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. The battled raged for more than a day. In the end, Hefei China remained speaker, but his iron rule was ended. He lost the speakership and his seat in 1912 when a Democratic majority was swept into office under the banner of Democratic presidential candidate Woodrow Wilson.
Map of Hefei China – Where is Hefei China? – Hefei China Map English – Hefei China Maps for Tourist Photo Gallery
Representative Charles Nelson Pray, iyio. Courtesy of the University of Montana, Missoula; Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library/Archives and Special Collections,
Lacking the revolt that took place on St. Patrick’s Day, Glacier National Park may not have seen the light of day in 1910 or beyond. Perhaps sensing revolt, Cannon, looking for support in all corners, may have seen a potential vote in Congressman Pray and possible backing by J. J. and Louis Hill. In any case, with continued public relations pressure from Grinnell and Hill, on April 13, 1910, the bill was placed on the calendar. It passed with amendments. After a flurry of final questions and acceptance of differences between the Senate and House versions, on April 29, 1910, Senate Bill 2777 passed both houses of Congress and was sent to President Taft for his signature, which was affixed on May 11, 1910.
America had a new national park. George Bird Grinnell had a twenty-five-year dream fulfilled, and Louis Hill had not only a dream fulfilled but a protected area for developing his vision of a land he was convinced would turn traveling Americans west, all riding on his trains. Furthermore, it was his dream and his project, not an extension of James J. Hill. He would now turn to making the attraction that would make all Americans and perhaps foreigners rush to “See America First”—and Montana in particular.
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