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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Frank Hague's first governor had an unofficial cabinet that included Alexander Simpson, his successor as Hudson's senator, John Milton, James R. Nugent, and Frank Hague. These advisers, seeing how popular the anti-prohibition campaign had been, urged Edwards into one attack after another upon the Anti-Saloon League, the Volstead Act, and the Eighteenth Amendment. Early in 1920 a boomlet developed for Edwards for President because of his outspoken opposition to prohibition, and petitions were filed for him in a number of presidential preference primaries, but nothing came of it.

During Edwards' term the legislature passed and he signed bills repealing the last of the `Seven Sisters' corporation laws. These statutes had been passed during Wilson's administration to curb the out-of-state corporations that took advantage of the lax laws and low taxes of the state to make New Jersey their legal headquarters. With the passage of the seven acts that limited their activities, most of them moved to Delaware, and it was in the hope of enticing them to return that the legislature repealed the obnoxious laws; but, once offended, few returned. (For accounts of the history of the New Jersey corporation laws, see Lincoln Steffens, Autobiography (1931), pp. 495-501, and Kerney, op. cit., pp. Q60-968.)


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