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tv   Mid-20th Century American Oil Interests  CSPAN  June 25, 2017 12:00am-1:16am EDT

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this is really more french. it looks more napoleonic. certainly not the kind of tent george washington would have used, but we love that it did show how 6 on americanuly history tv, the museum of the american revolution. >> on "lectures in history," university of notre dame professor darren dochuk teaches a class about mid-20th century american oil interests. he describes the east texas oil boom and the expansion of u.s. oil businesses abroad to places like saudi arabia and alberta, canada. he argues that religion played a
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significant role in the business practices of global companies and individual prospectors. this class is one hour and 15 minutes. prof. dochuk: good morning. welcome back from spring break and welcome back to our history of oil in american life. today we are going to look at a critical phase between the 1930's and 1950's. a moment in which some important turns take place in the life of american oil. two sectors we have been looking at, major oil and independent oil. this is a period in which the nation itself is kind of awakened to a new role in global politics.
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he quitee, in 1941, famously stated that the u.s. was entering a new era of global leadership. it was the american century dawning in the early 1940's and playing out during world war ii. we will look at how oil combined with religion helps create competing visions of american authority on the global stage. if you recall prior to spring break, we had been spending time in the interwar period, looking at oil and some of these scandals that emerged. the teapot dome scandal. we look at the competition of corporate and labor politics at the time, challenges that arise
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from surplus in terms of regulation of oil. what that means for government regulation. we see in the interwar period, u.s. oil is going through fits and starts and difficult circumstances. nevertheless, as we are proceeding today, we will see that despite the fits and starts, the u.s. sees its oil initiatives expanding rapidly. that will accelerate into the 1940's. i gave you an outline just so you are able to follow along. on the back, just some framing questions to consider. these are questions we can use to help guide discussion on wednesday, which we will use to follow-up the lecture today, first being how and why did
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matters, politics and people of faith become essential to the development of american oil in the mid-20th century? what were the competing visions of the nation's oil and the nation itself that came to define the petroleum sector at this crucial juncture? how did the politics of oil's warring sectors create the role of the u.s. in the world, and to what ends did this competition play out, both short-term -- and by the end of class hopefully you are able to anticipate long-term trends as well. we have come across some of these names before, so they should be familiar. quite a few others should be new to you. i did list a cast of characters just to help us follow along. as you see from the outline, i'm going to proceed in three parts. first, get a glimpse of american power brokers circa 1940 and
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1941. get a sense of how power brokers in both sectors are starting to envision themselves and their particular sectors in relation to emerging geopolitics on an international scale. in that regard we will start back in the 1930's, which again we glimpsed at briefly, but we will dig down a little deeper before we move back into the 1940's. the second section will focus on a few political pivots that play out between the independents, the wildcatters, as we will call them, and major oil in the 1940's. some of these will play out in washington, questions of regulation being front and center. but also the very likelihood of
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ofthe very likelihood independent oil as it sees itself threatened by the possible combination of federal government and major oil interests abroad. i want to spend the rest of the class, the third section, pausing to look at the ground level of two important initiatives. one undertaken by aramco and major oil in saudi arabia, and the second transpiring at the same time in alberta, canada, where independents are starting to look for their own domestic frontiers. okay, so let's start in that important moment of the early world war ii years. as we discussed in previous classes and throughout, we are interested in oil not simply as material, not simply as a fuel
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or lubricant or economic interest, but we are doing our best to look at this in interdisciplinary terms. it is oil as a culture itself. today again, framing and introducing religion into the narrative. we have found from the very beginning, oil has and persisted to have a mythological power in the american imagination. founded and discovered in the civil war period, it was seen from its beginnings as a mystical resource, something that could promise the nation healing after the civil war. it had important notions of progress wrapped up in it, and in terms of modernity itself. not the only material to generate these ideas and fantasies -- coal had a similar hold on the british citizens in
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the 19th century, and also on americans as well. oil was always seen as particularly sacred. in part because it was difficult to locate and to grasp and to take control of. it was always seen as uniquely supernatural in its abilities to generate hope and dreams of the future, both for individuals and the nation itself. a quote in a magazine in 1900 expresses this well. "everywhere american oil is to be met with in the orient, in t lighted temples in the mosques, the holy sepulcher in has penetrated china and japan, reached the wilds of australia and shed its radiance over many a dark
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african waste. american petroleum is the true cosmopolite,ite -- omnipresent in its mission of elightening the whole universe." that narrative intensified by 1940 as it becomes an impetus for american expansion, certainly in terms of its leadership around the globe. this returns us to henry luce. henry luce was a very powerful publisher in the 1940's, in charge of a number of important magazines. "life," "time" magazine. in 1941 in february, he used the pages of "life" magazine to beseech americans to create the first great american century again.
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what many people don't realize is that he delivered this speech a month earlier at the american petroleum institute. there, as you see quoted before you, it celebrated the work that oilmen had been doing up to the point to demonstrate the frontier initiative american -- of american capitalism and to continue that on an even greater stage in the years forward. "having within you a dynamic spirit of freedom and a genius for corporation and organization, it follows inevitably that you do not stop at the frontier of mountains or sea or jungle, nor at the man-made frontiers of knowledge or tradition or hope. i salute you." luce wrapped up in this
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narrative of both american exceptionalism, and the role that oil will play in that. oil is considered a pillar of american exceptionalism going forward. this will be the key to the rise of the american century. it is important to see how he views religion as well, as a twin column of this foundation. for luce, petroleum is a limitless power that has the capacity to transform the world into something godlier and something good. america's special blessing, oil .nd its peculiar burden historians connect oil to luce
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's charge ain framing an american century. we can fold religion into this story as well. luce's aspirations mirrored those of an entire cohort of corporate, church, and state visionaries that believe that a petroleum fueled christian democracy, that big religion, ecumenical, internationalist in persuasion, wedded to big oil and partnered with the state could guarantee the nations postwar influence. why were they so committed to this vision? their outreach on behalf of of what i will call a civil religion of crude was designed to steer the u.s. out of several crises that emerged in the 20th century. we have become aware of some of these. first of all, because of the chaos of the boom in east texas,
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u.s. production was woefully inefficient. pools were draining too quickly and pricing was incredibly volatile. these powerbrokers that envisioned oil on the world stage are wary of what is going on in east texas. they are looking for secondly, ineared terms of texas t, it kept refineries busy. it was still not going to be enough to create this carbon age in america. a freeway society where everyone wants an automobile to drive to their suburban homes. more fuel is needed. these powerbrokers will start looking abroad in earnest. [laughter] this is been happening[laughter] up to this -- this is been happening up to
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this point, but in the mid 1940's, it becomes more urgent. as oil strategist look ahead, they feel that the depletion of reserves was approaching peak oil. it becomes well articulated in the 1950's when a geologist frames the theory of peak oil, saying that american oil reserves were going to collapse by 1970, forcing the country into a difficult situation. this kind of apocalyptic fear of america losing its oil sources is going to drive exploration abroad. driven by fear but also optimism. large corporations began chasing whiter prospects. wider prospects. the so-called seven sisters pictured on the top right, which included five major u.s. oil companies, texaco, gulf, standard oil of california, chevron, exxon, and standard new york, mobile.
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they all turned their attention, increasingly so -- this is a process of global exploration that started in the late 19th century but takes on a new urgency, whether it is asia, south america, and especially the middle east and saudi arabia. there were many in his -- many in business and government, s of powerbrokers, those that were in publishing, those that were in washington, those that were ceos and leading executives of these companies. those that were lobbyists of major oil, some of the most influential share luce's vision for expanding american influence abroad. you have encountered harold ickes before. can someone tell me who he was?
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student: he was the secretary of the interior under fdr. prof. dochuk: what was he like? what were his politics? student: he was concerned over the teapot dome scandal and wanted to have police over the oil industry. prof. dochuk: so interest in regulating. he was appointed secretary of the interior, but also the oil czar of the roosevelt administration. hot oil and asia. -- hot oil being an issue. someone who wants to work to bring the federal government to bear not just on leading oil, but in large part partner with oil companies. a curmudgeon, not so much a
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charismatic figure as henry luce might be, but buys into this vision of big oil and an expanded federal state partnering on an international stage. others of course are going to partner as well and help frame the initiative of the civil religion of crude. we can look to the rockefeller family, especially john d rockefeller junior. have talked a lot about rockefeller senior, have not spent much time on junior yet. it is junior that obviously takes over the family business after world war i. but he recognizes quite early on that his is not a gift for management. how do you follow in your father's footsteps in this case? this is when standard is being
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broken up as well into many parts. we see people taking ownership of standard new jersey. rockefeller junior channels his energies, as well as funds into philanthropy. this will become his most important outlet. he will support traditional missionaries. he is a very devout baptist like his father. he will fund churches and missionaries in asia, including the luce family in which henry luce grew up on a mission field in china. there is a very natural connection here. rockefeller junior is also going to look at funding the federal council of churches, will serve on the council of foreign relations. all of which is to say he has this internationalist vision. it is still very much religious in his case, but he is also wanting to expand philanthropy into a more secular scientific ground.
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health for instance, improving technology, looking to develop undeveloped countries as he sees them, and modernize them. this is the way in which the religious vision combined with politics and philanthropy will kind of frame their vision of oil going forward. you see some of this illustrated in some of the standard oil magazines. "lamp" being the magazine for exxon standard new jersey, meant to keep its stockholders and employees informed as to what the company is doing. but always, one of several images if you flip through these magazines, emphasizing the humanitarian work being done as well. oil not simply as an economic interest -- certainly it is, driving this corporation -- but there is a sense of it being
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promoted by the company in line with rockefeller's vision of using this wealth and material to extend modern democracy on a global stage. this vision is aided in 1940 when the rockefeller brothers fund is established. with the third generation juniorg, that is john d the 5 sons standing with their , father -- and through this agency we will see rockefeller philanthropy extend it each into all of these different types of programs. much more so than their father into large-scale development projects that will be more secular in their outlook, but never entirely drained of this
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religious impulse, this spirit of international service. nelson rockefeller on the top right, certainly the most influential politically of the rockefeller sons. he will be working in south america, making plans of development with the american government's own efforts to promote growth in some of the poorer areas of south america. this is also playing out in a cold war context. nelson rockefeller and the rockefellers in general worried about communism making its way into regions of south america. their charge is to create potentials for christian american democracy in those regions before communists can get in. there is also fear of anti-colonial sympathies, of nationalist fervor taking over this internationalist vision.
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there is a political worry that is driving the rockefellers forward. nevertheless, i want to emphasize the way they are acting out of a sincerity of purpose passed down to them from their father, and ultimately from their grandfather. vision is articulated well by william eddy, who has quite a typical profile in terms of the powerbrokers we will encounter in the next few minutes. pictured above, he someone who grew up as the son of missionaries. this is a common theme. missionaries are playing an important role in establishing a second generation of civil servants, who will not
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necessarily wear religion on their sleeve, but see the power of christianity filtered through broader projects of modernization to transform the world. he grew up in beirut. his parents helped found an american university in beirut, which would be an important institution for missions, but also training engineers and so forth in the business of oil. trained at princeton university, for a time he was president of hobart college, and in the 1940's, just as luce is articulating this vision of an american century, is giving these talks. he says things like, "you and i who believe in christendom are not doomed to weakness. we serve the only totalitarian king. we who follow christ needed to cover ourselves in tolerance, charity, and wherever we walk we shall find ourselves standing on
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holy ground." again, a very clear indication of his faith in a broadly inclusive, internationalist christian democracy. eddy will also be important, and we will continue to discuss on wednesday. he is going to be influential in generating interest in saudi arabia. as we will look at on wednesday, saudi arabia becomes a field of interest in the 1930's. in 1932, standard oil of california, which becomes chevron, strikes oil in bahrain, and at that moment, it feels like there is much more to gain on the arabian peninsula as a whole. in 1933, it wins a concession
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from saudi arabia allowing it to explore. tough going for the first 4 years or so until 1938, when its first major well comes in, indicating there is an expansive pool of oil in saudi arabia. as we enter the 1940's, he will become important as someone that can broker the relationship between saudi arabia and the roosevelt administration. you see evidence of that in 1945 aboard the uss quincy in the suez canal. he helps translate and in many cts as a diplomat between the saudi king and franklin d. roosevelt. again, talking about a pressing issue of israel, the potential of an israeli state in the middle east is disconcerting to the king. but also nurturing a
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relationship that will allow this partnership in major oil to continue. eddy going forward will continue to act as a special envoy for the u.s. state department. this is the vision of luce, eddy, the rockefellers, and major oil. there is a parallel one emerging. there in the 1930's, just as saudi arabia is capturing the , backation of major oil in the four poorest counties of east texas, another boom occurs. this one will transform oil in some very important ways. this happens on the farm of
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daisy bradford, a revered christian woman. oil is struck in october of 1930's by columbus merriam, a self-styled prophet similar to the oil hunters we saw in our readings earlier about the late 19th century. those who use charismatic means of hunting for oil. they are called poor boys. they are not able to drill too deep. the best they can hope for is oil in shallow soil. they find that in east texas. the major oil companies have brushed aside the potential of that. in 1930, he proves there is oil there. it turns out to be a tremendous field. an oil lake 10 miles wide containing an estimated 5.5 billion barrels. largest discovered in the world at that point. saudi arabia will turn that equation on its head. 1/3 of all total oil produced in
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the u.s. and that time. this is a mammoth field. the prophet, someone using that this -- someone it using methods that are not necessarily seen as scientific, it proves that even the poorest wildcatters can make it. this oil boom on a scale not witnessed before is the migration of wildcatters, small producers and drillers, and a host of workers, from roughnecks to the service industry, to barmaids and prostitutes -- they all descend upon east texas. in places like longview, texas, pictured below, we see a forest of derricks, which is typical in any boom.
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we also see an explosion population. longview, texas for instance, one of the most important towns in this region. it triples in size very easily. it also transforms labor. this is the depression. the east texas field will be in operation through the entire heart of the 1930's. really an anomaly compared to what is going on everywhere else. workers are pouring into this region. they see this as their last hope. living standards will change as a result. there are plenty of statistics we could offer. 7% -- 67% of area residents are farmers. within a decade, 30% only are farmers. land values are climbing. people are leasing out their land for drilling or finding ways to enter the oil industry. this is transforming east texas. it is also transforming
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independent oil. the life of the small producer takes on new proportions in the 1930's. drawing religion into this, we see the ways in which oil and religion together create this new wildcat spirit of christianity, which we have touched upon elsewhere. we talked a bit about pentecostalism, and the differences between that and other denominations. this kind of pentecostal ethic, emphasis on spectacular and the supernatural -- how do you explain this oil boom? this is magical. when it is made sense of through theology, we see locals embracing the mysteries of all of this. their faith in the spectacular and supernatural, in a god that
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operates in mysterious ways, takes root in east texas. so does an emphasis on wealth. sort of a prosperity gospel. makes sense when you have new, abundant wealth all around you. and when you have danger all around you. both issues. healthhe importance of and healing. this too becomes part of the prosperity gospel. an emphasis on temporality and expectation. eschatology, we're not going to dig back into that. boomce it to say, the oil gives a sense that what god gives us now we need to enjoy now, drill while the drilling is good because it will run out. it creates a crisis worldview, very familiar to the small producer.
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and through all the danger, the burdens and expectations of this time, an emphasis on family values. this notion that oil, properly managed, and the wealth that comes with this, can benefit the community and families. this is a theology that emerges in east texas and it will become important to the wildcat faith. we also see the cult of the wildcatters. some of the most important independent producers we will discuss in coming weeks got there origin here in east texas. also, spectacular church growth. that visual showing all the ways in which churches participate in the oil boom and benefit from it. these are the poorest churches, turned to the richest in their denominations, virtually overnight.
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what comes with this also is the reinforcement of the democratic nature of wildcat oil, independent oil. ida tarbell spoke about this in relation to her father. the first generation were all wildcatters and salt oil -- saw oil as the purest capitalist form. a man could find oil and achieve riches on his terms. east texas, we see this democratic promise reified for these small producers in the region. caution here is important. the range and the extent of the democratic comparative in the oil will always be flawed. wildcatting will very much remain a white man's game. if you are not white or male, typically you will find yourself
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work at best, digging pipeline trenches and so forth. in no way does this east texas boom eradicate jim crow racism. in no way does it equalize the entire labor force of oil. nevertheless, there are enough examples of people, even the most marginalized racially, class, striking oil and finding ways to uplift their own status and communities. the dream is mythological, but not entirely irrational. there is a logic of social uplift that comes along with this. jake simmons, pictured below, is one of the most famous cases. he is an african-american wildcatter, the first we see in east texas. very quickly, he buys leases
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from area black churches and individuals and the neighbors living in this area. in exchange, he promises them the returns. he also offers them an opportunity to move back to oklahoma, where he is based. he sees oklahoma as slightly more inclusive than east texas. several african-american families will move back with him to oklahoma in the 1930's. this is someone who learned at the tuskegee institute. he was a protege of booker t. washington. hopefully that name rings a bell from your survey history classes. booker t. washington believed african-americans, were they to do well in the marketplace, could uplift their entire class. a faith in entrepreneurialism to improve their own racial standing. this is what jake simmons sees. and he will become an incredibly
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rich oilman in his own right in the post-world war ii period. he will help open up nigeria to american oil exploration. evidence again of this democratic promise living itself out. there is also a spirit of rebellion. there is a certain theology that grows up in this period, on this soil. there is also a new political initiative taking root at this time. continuing on the politics of the independent oil producer. this is going to accelerate in the 1930's. as major oil is coming abroad, east texas producers are going to marshal their own politics of dissent against people like the roosevelt administration. most important of this new, emerging spirit of rebellion is
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j howard pew. as you see him pictured on the top left, he was once known to joke he not only talks like an affidavit, he looks like one. a very serious fellow. very intense. very devout presbyterian, conservative presbyterian. he is committed to an assortment of conservative religious, economic and political causes. he takes it very seriously and he comes to this honestly. his own father was one of the small oilmen who was driven almost to bankruptcy by john d rockefeller senior in the late 19th century. pew has a chip on her shoulder, for good reason. he sees it through theological terms, as well. free enterprise needs rule. christianity is the driving force behind this.
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in the case of oil, it needs to be wildcatters who defined the spirit of american oil itself. sunoco, an oil company, is the pew family company. they will take on this spirit of rebellion and are going to come to capture the imagination of east texans in the 1930's. how are they going to do this? pew, sunoco, will not fire any employees during the depression. why? in part, because he was very smart. he did not invest in the stock market. when it crashed, the company had a whole lot of cash. that was very unusual at the time. he is able to nurture the loyalties of east texas workers, through public relations, through something called welfare capitalism, as historians define it. that is by giving, providing benefits to your workers, you
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will maintain their loyalty. and really, discourage them from organizing in a labor unions. sunoco will be very efficient in this through supporting local churches and oil associations, really combining the spirit of christianity, capitalism, and patriotism. making it the centerpiece of the east texas wildcat culture. take a minute to look at what we see evidence here in sunoco's own company creed. something the pews articulated in this moment. anything strike you as notable or odd?
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this is a company creed, something you would expect in a document of this sort today? student: it says under god, so they are putting religion into their company, which today, they probably would not do. prof. dochuk: right. first line, under god. this is the pew family making it clear they stand for nation that believes in god. their corporation is going to carry that spirit about it in its own work. anything else? any other notables? oil itself, right? the resources of the land. they take on not just a material
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significance, but a spiritual one, as well. this thing called oil the company is invested in, the company sees as something unique to america's future, the very sustenance of the american soul. evidence of how j. howard pew, along with others, will secure this mission for his company. also, if you look at the bottom, celebrating free enterprise. a very firm commitment to free enterprise is the essence of this. these are the two cultures that emerge. thatould say to worldviews in the 1940's are going to clash. on one hand, you have major oil, crude, which sees the virtue of the large, integrated,
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multinational company working with governments to open up new foreign fields and in the process, promote faith in modernity and nurturing economic element and democratic values on a global scale. on the other hand, independent, wildcat religion of crude, which sees the virtue of the small, independent producer integrated, if at all, only on a limited scale, working with local people and local associations, support of states to explore domestic fields, raising up and securing the privileges of the rugged, individualist, and rugged individualism amid this globalization of the 1940's. a little snapshot in terms of the second section of our outline. the petrol wars. we have seen in previous sessions, growing tensions between these two. this goes all the way back to
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ida tarbell. in the 1940's, there are a couple, a handful of important political pivots that really force these worldviews into conflict with important political consequences. the first one we raised, we mentioned right before spring break, and grow -- anglo american petroleum debate. you remember our debate was very heated, very passions. an attempt by u.s. and british, with harold dickey forging an agreement for managing international petroleum supply, for an international petroleum commission. j. howard pew, you will recall at the bottom, we did not discuss him today, but we did get to him last time. ignatius o'shaughnessy. why is he famous?
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anyone, who is o'shaughnessy? student: one of the biggest benefactors to notre dame. prof. dochuk: good. you are wearing your gold today. we owe a lot to him. in the fight over the anglo american agreement will join j. howard pew in fostering big government and big oil. he is outspoken, using his own religious language to defend the politics of the independent oilman. he says, i do not need a nurse for my company, and does not want the government to play that role. as a result, the proposal dies. you could chalk one up to the wildcatters. 1948 is an interesting moment, not necessarily tied to oil, not necessarily a product of oil politics, but the founding of
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israel will become another wedge between independent oilmen, many coming from highly evangelical churches that believe israel is important to prophecy. they will champion israel, in general terms. this will work against major oil initiatives to open up saudi arabia and work with arab states in that region. this, too, if unintentionally, will become a wedge and ultimately, another victory for wildcat oil. a third, really important trigger, an important political pivot takeslitical place, something we had just started to wrestle with, that is the tidelands controversy, which unfolds in stages between 1946 and 1952.
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it is president truman who will claim offshore resources for the federal government. we will go back and forth in the courts between federal and state interest. who controls the resources offshore, right? whether it is in california, texas, louisiana. this becomes a key battleground between the federal government and the states. 1948, the election, we see the state's right party formed, the dixiecrats. many historians will look to this as the first breaking of the southern democratic party and its hold on the south. this is often interpreted as an effort by southern white democrats to protect white racial privilege in the south.
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this is when truman is trying to desegregate the military and promote legislation against jim crow. it was also an issue of oil -- who gets to hold the oil? the state right party were in favor of the state retaining control of their oil. all of this leading to 1952, and really an important election in which eisenhower will, with the republican party, support those in texas and california who see offshore oil or minerals in general as belonging to the state. texas, as you will recall from our debate, was adamant they needed to hold on to control of their oil because it was funding what kind of institutions? right, schools.
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it is an issue of fuel and family values. if you take away of our oil, we cannot support our schools. this was dear to texans, and eisenhower knows that and will stand for states rights. and as a result, will marshall texans into the republican camp. one of the first important moves of the republican party in the south. he will win the election in 1952. briefly, this is not just a political battle playing out, but a cultural one. one we can return to in the next class. who is watching "giant," the movie? one of the most important movies about oil in the 1950's. as we will see, very negative in its view of oil. james dean plays the main character. basically, he is swept up in oil
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fever and loses his morals on the way, until he basically collapses. this is a morality tale about how big oil steals the soul of americans. at the very same time, those in churches are supporting wildcat oil in their own terms by creating alternate images. one of the most popular movies circulated through churches in the early 1950's is one called "oil town usa," produced by a movie company that is aligned with this individual. anyone know who that is? a famous evangelist, preacher. billy graham, does that name ring a bell? billy graham, as you see here, friend of eisenhower. he will help bring the influence
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of the church behind the eisenhower campaign in 1952. billy graham is a friend of texas oil, especially wildcatters. especially people like sid richardson. his movie company is going to create this movie called "oiltown usa." darkside, but it shows how one oilman is able to, by accepting christianity, redeem oil, redeem its money, and use its money to support christian causes. again, a reversal of what we are going to encounter in "giant." the point being, it is not just a political effort, but an industry formed around the ethics of wildcat christianity, that is going to have a real important influence in the years to come. all right.
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any questions? let's pause now. as we have made our way into the 1950's, i want to give you a snapshot of two important initiatives that take root in the 1950's. we can talk about religion and culture. we can talk about some key political pivots. all, important. the bottom line is economics. in the 1950's, we see both independent and major oil looking for ways to buttress their own corporate survival at this time. i would like to give you a snapshot of two important initiatives. both of which, but especially the first one, aramco, we will discuss at length on wednesday. these are economic initiatives that demonstrate the
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entanglements of religion with oil and the politics and global initiatives that will arise from that combination. the first of these is aramco, this takes us back to william eddy and the arab agenda of the 1950's. as we saw, with accelerated interest, american oil exploration will take place in the early 1930's, 1940's. formalized in 1945. in the years that followed, chevron and texaco will send workers to saudi arabia to work for a company that is now called, as of 1944, aramco. the arabian american oil company, the name itself suggesting a joint partnership in an epic venture. this is evidence that luce and
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rockefeller's mission, humanitarianism and development will take place on a global scale. aramco becomes the experiment of that vision. on wednesday, we will look at a segment of a book which in many ways romanticizes aramco. i'm going to lean to the glowing side today to give you a sense of the cultural exchanges that take lace. suffice to say, there are some darker facets of the story. the oppression of labor, racial dynamics that take root in aramco that raise serious questions about this initiative. this is an internationalist venture, but in many ways it is an imperialist one. we will talk about that wednesday. for our purposes here, what is impressive, from top to bottom,
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executive down to the level of the worker, the ways in which the rockefeller vision of crude filters down. william eddy has a lot to do with it. after helping navigate this terrain in 1945, the meeting of saudi arabia and president roosevelt, will join the state department. he will help form the cia. he will be one of the important visionaries of the cia. in fact, some of his reporting on the middle east will have traction within the cia. for instance, in one of his early assessments of the middle east, he will warn that religious fundamentalism will grow with continued u.s. support of israel. the question of israel will be front and center. in the 1950's, he will serve as a consultant for aramco. he will bring this arabist
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vision, a commitment to the cause of arabs in the middle east. not just a commitment, but a deep your earning -- deep yearning to bring middle east into conversation and union with the west. through, for instance, an appreciation of language, of religious tradition, of islam itself. this is the partnership he wants to form. he will do so through the very operations of aramco itself, encouraging aramco to be the vanguard of this vision. it is one that, if you look at the diaries and sources that tell the sources of aramco workers, quite impressive how integrated this enterprise was. for instance, a geologist who did not necessarily work for aramco, worked for standard oil in other parts of the world, you read his diaries and you encounter a man who is approaching his work as one of
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discovery for oil itself. but also, one of discovering the world. he wants the world to talk back to him. he does see the world in very theological terms, as well. a geologist pictured in the front corner here. forced to go out in the saudi arabia. the way in which you break the ice, get oil, is first coming to terms and to exchange ideas about the world itself. and about god, itself. in many ways, the geologist becomes the frontline of discovery on many terrains. thomasrs, executives, barger, who will become ceo of aramco, a very devout catholic, finds ways to encourage these types of interactions in aramco's offices and camps
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between catholics, protestants, and muslims. all of this has to take place on a very informal, unofficial way. because of rules by saudi arabia that prohibit religious expression of the sort. nevertheless, he finds ways for these exchanges to take place. he will also help many catholic aramco workers being invested with different philanthropies geared toward the middle east. george rentz is in charge of communications. he is an arabist, a scholar, a child of a missionary. he is committed to making aramco champion the vision passed down to them from william eddy. even workers like grant butler, a jack of all trades, who will work his way to saudi arabia and
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find himself working in the fields. then, literally on the drill sites, encounter workers of other faiths. he will interact with indian-arab employees, which will lead him to read the koran over dinners with egyptians and italians. the gospel will be read. when muslim drillers protest they are not getting enough time to pray, he decides to join them by protesting, praying, and reading scriptures. when they pray, he reads scriptures. this would perhaps be a surprise to a lot of historians. it is reason again to be skeptical somewhat of some of the activities of aramco at this time. nevertheless, on the ground level, there is a remarkable opportunity for a new, cosmopolitanism to develop. evidences of this -- it is amazing, this tying of civil
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religion of crude, development, modernization. the celebration of family values, children themselves become quite significant, if symbolically year, as a way of -- children of aramco workers working with children of arab aramco workers as a point of exchange. bedouin leaders counseling boy scouts on how to read the terrain. how to make sense of the landscape. meanwhile, arab workers gather on camps surrounding mosques. american workers gathering in suburban-like subdivisions. all of this, part and parcel of this vision. politics of this will matter, too. saudi arabia and the united states will become an important
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partner by the late 1950's. dwight eisenhower, a friend to wildcatters in 1952. by the end the 1950's, he continues to nurture this relationship with major oil.
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