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Sarah Leslie, the People's President (1936-1953).
Sarah Leslie's father was Adam Leslie, of Scots-Irish ancestry, originally a steel worker of the Carnegie Steel Company in Pennsylvania. After the failed Homestead Strike (1892) he immigrated to the then-US state of California in search of better opportunities.
In California, Adam Leslie found employment as a Pullman porter for the Southern Pacific transportation Company. While at a stop in San Francisco, Adam Leslie inadvertently met his future wife Irena Khrisoven. Khrisoven was the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. Her parents were reluctant to allow her to marry a local American Pullman.
Khrisoven became a school teacher at a time when public schools were expanding across the country - teaching both English literature and Russian language to all levels of school students.
Sarah's upbringing mostly occurred with her maternal extended family but only her father and her aunt from her paternal family. Her parents attempted to shield her from politics, Adam rarely spoke of life before moving west. From an early age Sarah was reared to be sharp and idealistic, she briefly became a religious Jew in her early teens. However, at the same time, she pushed the boundaries of what was considered gender-appropriate at the time and attempted to play baseball against her mother's wishes. Sarah was also an avid reader and became enamored with feminist literature such as The Great Awakening. In her teenage years, Sarah was physically abused by her mother, who became more reactionary as she aged.
Sarah had two siblings, an older brother, Ivan (1895) and a younger sister, Lucile (1900). However, between the two of them, she often attracted more attention than her siblings due to her defiant behavior. It has been alleged that she was her father's favorite.
In 1920, it the age of 23, Ivan Leslie was conscripted by the U.S Army to fight in France where by injury of shrapnel his left leg was amputated, Adam contracted the Spanish Flu. Returning home in May of 1919, Ivan was barely alive and died soon after.
Sarah became infuriated and vengeful. It was also at this time that she learned of her father's participation in the Homestead Strike. Sarah became further angered by her sister's marriage to a California entrepreneur who owned many grape orchards. Lucile Leslie's husband Bradly Adams held traditional views of American Conservatism. In a personal argument, Sarah in a fit of rage threw hot oil upon his face. Afterward, Sarah was not welcome in her sister's home, leaving her with little immediate family.
Leslie attended San Francisco State Normal School (now called Leslie's Peoples Republican Institute) to become a teacher. During her college years, she transformed becoming more familiar with Marxist and Unitarian ideology, the teachings of writers Edward Bellamy, Upton Sinclair, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, W.E.B. Du Bois, Rosa Luxembourg, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky appealed to her at the time. Leslie was almost expelled in 1917 for leading a women's demonstration for suffrage. Leslie attempted to cast illegal votes for imprisoned labor leader Eugene V. Debs on many occasions in 1920. Leslie was appreciated by her professors for her dedication but was also noted to be combative and at one point 'unladylike'.
Leslie's time at the State Normal School allowed her to meet young contemporaries from other colleges with shared radical views. Friends from the University of California of Hastings. During her 20's she allegedly eloped with multiple law students while at the same time having sexual relations with her fellow female students. However, most government-sponsored historians from America do not discuss the romantic relationships of Leslie's college years.
Leslie graduated above average but not at the top of her class in 1921. By this time she had developed a reputation for being a troublemaker. Nevertheless, she succeeded in attaining employment at a primary school. Leslie wished to continue her education, However, women school teachers at the time face barriers pursuing graduate school as the local school board desired that teachers stay in their current place in life.
The 'Wild' Years
Despite later attempts by the USRA to present Sarah Leslie as a committed ideologue her entire life, various personal testimonies by associates reveal that she was heavily involved in the organized crime that arose from Prohibition. Leslie often played the role of a clueless flapper girl as a cover. In 1924, she was fired when her school discovered her appearances at night clubs. The local government, however, did not discover her role as a smuggler and dealer of illegal alcohol.
What remains up for debate, are the motives behind Leslie's role in the mafias of San Francisco. Apologists always insist that her 'crimes' raised funds for communist organizations that were facing attack nationwide by a young J. Edgar Hoover. Opponents, particularly from overseas American Blues, counter that Leslie did this for personal gain, and out of the promiscuity she had with Mafia bosses in California. Leslie has long been accused by opposition historians for also expanding prostitution rings in San Fransico, something else the American government denies.
Sarah knew how to play as many different characters, and was valued by criminal bosses because she could misrepresent herself as anyone to anyone. In the criminal world, Leslie became known as Madam Shapeshifter. Leslie, often acted as a shadow representative of the mafias she was working for and even a damsel in distress. In a few short years, she became the most powerful criminal woman in San Fransico. Friction grew, , over her connections to radicals such as the Industrial Workers of the World, as the mafias feared that the rising leftists' movements would strike out at them. Prior to the 1925 revolution, Leslie avoided an assassination attempt.