CHAPTER 4
Oil and Politics Mix

Landon was dismissed from politics just in time to watch an accelerating slump in oil prices; indeed, the price of petroleum had been declining since 1926, when a barrel of crude oil commanded as much as $2.31. A series of discoveries of oil fields and the onset of the depression had forced prices as low as a dollar a barrel by the summer of 1930. In October, less than a month after Landon lost the state chairmanship, the greatest production area in the industry's history, east Texas, was discovered; and prices dipped again, more disastrously than ever. The inability or unwillingness of the east Texas producers to control their output led to increased production--as everything else in the national economy was going down. In panic, operators in other areas removed self-imposed limits on their production, thereby unpropping the price structure of the petroleum market. In late 1930, Mid-Continent crude oil prices were down to 18 cents a barrel and east Texas prices were down to 10 cents a barrel--evidence that one state--California, Oklahoma, or Texas--could supply the nation's demand for oil. The oil industry seemed to be drowning in its surplus.1

Landon was in no immediate danger of going bankrupt, but he was

____________________
1
Record Group 48, Secretary's Records--Solicitor, National Archives, Hale B. Soyster, "Review of the Petroleum Industry in the United States with Particular Reference to Supply and Demand and Substitutes for Motor Fuel" (mimeograph, 1934); Federal Oil Conservation Board, Report V of the Federal Oil Conservation Board tothe President of the United States

-67-

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Landon of Kansas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Chapter 1 Beginnings 3
  • Chapter 2 Getting Down to Business 20
  • Chapter 3 State Chairman 47
  • Chapter 4 Oil and Politics Mix 67
  • Chapter 5 from Oil Rebel to Governor 91
  • Chapter 6 the Governor in Action 118
  • Chapter 7 Affairs of State 150
  • Chapter 8 a Second Term 181
  • Chapter 9 a Long Shot 208
  • Chapter 10 a Candidate for Sure 234
  • Chapter 11 the Early Campaign 262
  • Chapter 12 Full-Time Candidate 291
  • Chapter 13 Sunflowers Do Not Bloom in November 313
  • Chapter 14 from Under the Wreckage 340
  • Chapter 15 Titular Head 353
  • Chapter 16 a Practical Liberal? 381
  • Chapter 17 Days of World Crisis 407
  • Chapter 18 Politics in Time of Peril--1940 423
  • Chapter 19 Road to War 454
  • Chapter 20 Political Opponent in Time of War 480
  • Chapter 21 the Postwar World 513
  • Chapter 22 Ten Years Down on the Farm 542
  • Chapter 23 Elder Statesman 560
  • Bibliographical Note 583
  • Achnowledgments 586
  • Index 589
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