%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
Nevada Government & Politics
Early 20th Century

Mining: Goldfield Strike

In Goldfield in 1907 there was labor conflict that resulted in a strike.  Members of the western Federation of Miners objected to certain working conditions.  The miners were also angry when the mine owners paid their salaries with scrip rather than actual money.  The mine owners wanted to break the power of the union.

The mine owners asked the governor of Nevada, John Sparks, to request federal troops to keep the peace.  Governor Sparks requested the troops from President Theodore Roosevelt, and federal troops came from San Francisco.  The situation was not as serious as Nevada's governor had indicated.

President Roosevelt ordered a commission to investigate the Goldfield situation.  Their report concluded that the mine owners and the governor had manipulated the federal government to intervene in a situation that should have been handled by state officials.

As a result of the report, the President demanded that a state police force be created by a special session of the legislature.  That was done in January 1908, and the state police replaced federal troops in Goldfield two months later.

Click the next four links to hear recordings of the communications that passed between Governor Sparks and President Roosevelt.

Reader: Doug Mishler (as Roosevelt); Doug Southerland (as Sparks)

Photo Credits:
1: Nevada State Museum
2: Nevada State Museum
3: Nevada Historical Society
4: Nevada Historical Society