Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
After leaving his native Ohio, Stephens worked along the Mississippi River as a surveyor, among other odd jobs. Settling in Los Angeles, he was a traveling salesman before becoming manager of Carr & Stephens Grocers. That was the springboard from which he launched a career in politics. Stints on the Board of Education and president of the Chamber of Commerce led to a seat on the Water Commission, where he advised on the building of the city's aquaduct. He then served as interim mayor of Los Angeles in 1909, and was a 3-term Congressman.
Appointed Lieutenant Governor by Hiram Warren Johnson to replace the late John Morton Eshleman in July 1916, Stephens became California's 24th Governor on March 15, 1917 when Johnson resigned to take his seat in the United States Senate, and served the remainder of Johnson's term.
World War I started a few months after Stephens took office; his administration was the target of numerous threats. After the governor's mansion was bombed in December 1917 (the Industrial Workers of the World was blamed), Stephens led the campaign for the passage of a criminal syndicalism law. In 1918, he became the first acting governor to be elected in his own right. The only sitting Governor to be admitted to the State Bar, Stephens opened a law firm after his reelection bid failed.
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