My column in the Daily Beast: “Not Much Passes the 100-Year Test. Will Trump?”

In my time running SundayMagazine.org, it’s become increasingly apparent to me and my readers just how few of the most prominent people, places, and things from 100 years ago are still well remembered tgoday.

What does this insight reveal about who and what from this era might still be well remembered 100 years from now?

My prediction: despite how big the biggest people, places, and things seem to us at the moment, almost nothing and nobody lasts 100 years in the public’s consciousness.

Will Trump? Will Obama? Will 9/11? Will today’s technology? What about the biggest movies or songs?

I tackle these questions in my new opinion column for the Daily Beast: “Not Much Passes the 100-Year Test. Will Trump?”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/not-much-passes-the-100-year-test-will-trump

 

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Written by Jesse

June 4th, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Blog Stuff

Our Twenty-one Generals of Forty Years and Under

In World War I, 21 men were promoted to General at age 40 or younger. The youngest was John N. Hodges, at 34.

Another was Douglas MacArthur at 38, who would go on to far greater acclaim in World War II as General of the Army and leader of U.S. forces in Japan.

How many generals are 40 or younger today? That appears surprisingly difficult to find out.

The lowest such level is a one-star general, also known as a brigadier general. There are currently more than 400 brigadier generals, and I was unable to find a definitive list of even their names, let alone their ages as well. Searching for things like ‘youngest brigadier general’ didn’t turn up any answers, either. The main results for such searches were primarily about Galusha Pennypacker, the youngest brigadier general ever, who reached that rank at age 20 during the Civil War.

If anybody has an answer, please reply in the comments.

Our Twenty-one Generals of Forty Years and Under: Youthful Brigadiers to Whom the Great War Brought Rapid Promotion in Different Branches of the Army (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 24, 1919

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Written by Jesse

August 22nd, 2019 at 11:19 am

Posted in Military / War

Skyrockets and Flares as Aids to Our Fighters

While telephone and radio had become widespread by WWI, different colored fireworks were also used to send coded messages.

While the telephone was extensively employed for communication purposes, absolute reliance was not placed on it, and the troops were profusely equipped with numerous methods of night signaling. The code was changed from day to day, and great attention was paid to drilling the men in the use of pyrotechnic signals. The chief advantage lay in the rapidity of sending and receiving. There was no carrying of messages: there was no ambiguity of language, and there was no “listening in” on the part of the enemy.

An example in battle: signaling to your troops an imminent gas attack using green fireworks.

For instance, on some special night, green might be the signal for gas. When the advanced positions detected gas, a green light was shot up from the Véry pistol, this signal was relayed from the trenches with V.B. cartridges, and eventually a rocket ascended high into the heavens, expelling at the height of its trajectory a little green light suspended from a paper parachute. More detailed information eventually found its way over the telephone communication. A similar signal the next night might call for the barrage.

Hey, if it works, it works. The newest tech isn’t always the best way to communicate.

Skyrockets and Flares as Aids to Our Fighters: Uncle Sam Had to Learn How to Make Fireworks When He Got Into the War, Because Telephones and Wireless Were Inadequate for Communication at the Front (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 17, 1919

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Written by Jesse

August 16th, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Military / War

Self-Determination for American Red Man

A 1919 bill approved by a House committee would have given Native Americans full citizenship rights. Alas, it took another five years to be enacted into law.

It is the position of those Indians who have attained citizenship after an arduous struggle for their rights that the shackles of paternalism have been on their race long enough. On the average, they say, the Indian is just as well equipped to look after himself as is the man of any other strain. Sometimes, they add, he is much better equipped than many of the aliens who have in recent years landed on these shores.

And needless to say, the 1919 headline referring to “the red man” is certainly anachronistic to modern ears.

The article also mentions that the Native American population at the time was 336,243, or about 0.3% of the U.S. population.

Since that time, the group’s percentage of the population has at minimum tripled. The 2010 Census had the “American Indian and Native Alaskan alone” population at 2.9 million, or 0.9% of the population. If including people who listed themselves as American Indian or Native Alaskan in combination with other races, the number rises to 5.2 million, or 1.7% of the population.

Rep. Charles D. Carter (D-OK3) introduced the 1919 bill, which passed the House Committee on Indian Affairs. But it would take another five years until the Indian Citizenship Act would become law, after being introduced by Rep. Homer P. Snyder (R-NY33) — hence the law’s colloquial name of the Snyder Act.

However, many states kept dragging their feet for decades afterwards. New Mexico became the last state to allow Native Americans to vote in 1962.

In fact, a number of racist federal laws dealing with Native Americans are still technically on the books today. These include laws which allow for forced labor of Native Americans and for the president to unilaterally declare any federal government treaty with a tribe as null and void.

Just this week, I wrote an article for GovTrack Insider about the RESPECT Act, which would repeal all or part of 11 such laws. It’s bipartisan legislation with the full title Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act.

Self-Determination for American Red Man: Native Race Proposed for Full Citizenship in a Bill Now Before Congress (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 10, 1919

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Written by Jesse

August 7th, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Debate,Politics

Betting on Horse Races, Then and Now

In 1919, horse race betting was banned in every state. How times have changes. Horse betting is now legal in 41 states.

If you’re wondering, what are the places where it still remains illegal? Interestingly, it doesn’t appear to fall along partisan lines, with a curious mix of red states, blue states, and swing states still outlawing the practice: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington D.C.

(In 1919, Kentucky and Maryland were the only two states which allowed an adjacent form of horse race betting called pari-mutuel, in which people bet against each other rather than against the race track.)

 

Betting on Horse Races, Then and Now: Following the Sport in New York Is Difficult, and the Odds Are Shorter Than in Old Days, but the System Is Little Changed — Advantages of Pari-Mutuel Method (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 3, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 31st, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Sports

The World Metropolis: New York or London?

In 1919, London’s long-held title as “the world metropolis” was threatened by the sharp rise of New York City. Which would win out?

There are a few ways to measure this.

By population, it looked like greater New York would soon overtaken Greater London around 1932:

Indeed, today the NYC metropolitan area is much larger than London’s, at 23.8 million versus 14.1 million. However, the NYC area only ranks #10 in the world and London only ranks #29. The Delhi, India area tops the list with 46.0 million people.

Another way is by the size of the area’s economy, or gross domestic product (GDP). New York City’s again ranks higher than London’s, at at estimated $1.71 trillion versus $595 billion. NYC “only” ranks #2 and London ranks #10 by this metric. Tokyo, Japan tops the list with $1.89 trillion.

Another way, even though it is far less quantitative or objective, is just by what “feels right.” For example, even though U.S. News and World Report technically ranked Princeton as the country’s best university this year according to the specific metrics they used in their tabulation, almost anybody in real life would tell you that the country’s best university is either Harvard or Yale.

Similarly, if any international readers will excuse this author’s American bias, New York City just “feels like” the world’s metropolis.

 

The World Metropolis: New York or London?: Twin Wonder Cities Will Tie in Population in 1932, British Journalist Believes, and Wall Street Will Become the Partner, Not the Rival, of Lombard Street (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 3, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 30th, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Debate,Development

If We Should Enter Mexico, How Big an Army?

After June 1919’s Battle of Ciudad Juárez, the second-biggest battle of the 1910s Mexican Border War conflict, was America’s military too depleted following WWI’s recent end?

Foremost is the question whether Congress, in cutting off 175,000 men from the number asked for by the War Department, has reduced the force for the remainder of the fiscal year to a desirable point. This situation, however, as indicated by inquiry at Washington, is not bothering military men; they think that even with the army pared down, as it will be after Oct. 1, there will be an ample force to cope with whatever condition may arise in regard to Mexico.

Turns out the Battle of Ciudad Juárez was the last battle of the Mexican Border War. (A series of military conflicts along the U.S.-Mexico border from 1910 to 1919, it was not technically an official war.)

 

If We Should Enter Mexico, How Big an Army?: Estimates at Washington Range from 50,000 to 200,000, Dependent on the Political Situation Across the Border — Prolonged Guerrilla Warfare Possible (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 27, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 25th, 2019 at 11:01 am

Posted in Military / War

The Corner Where Traffic Cop and Fairies Meet

In 1919, Benjamin de Casseres described New York Public Library children’s section as a world apart from the hustle and bustle just outside its walls at 42nd St. and 5th Ave.:

Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue… is, as we all know, right in the very heart of practical, jazzing, money-scrambling little old New York. Only, and still more wonderful to relate, one suddenly disappears through a wall of solid marble into this little kingdom of what Peter Pan called the Never-Never Land, and those who can accomplish this miracle are not only your little believing Alices and Peters but any work-a-day person regardless of age, opinion or previous condition of incertitude about such miracles.

The quiet solitutde was the opposites of the pandemonium mere feet or yards away:

The contrast between the rip-roaring movement outside, with the jumble of autos, trolley cars, traffic cops, show windows, and moving care-laden and fashionable throns and this room is astonishing, and, if one is sentimental and imaginative, almost eerie. Here, in one step from the street, was a transposed world of silent adventure, flower decorated alcoves, fantastically colored panels and plates, and a great many kiddies of all ages, ranging from the tiny tot to boys and girls of 12 and 13 years, bent over books of strange and bloody deeds and fairy stories.

Which made re-entering the real world a tremendous letdown:

I went back into the dazzling light of Fifth Avenue, but the flash from the wheels and the sparkle on the cop’s badge and the long array of buildings stretching either way on the avenue seemed to me unreal and of no importance, and that room in the library that I had just left behind was the real thing, and the Fairy Godmother and the little heads concentrated on another world seemed to contain the thing we are all seeking.

That library at 42nd Street and 5th Avenute is still thriving: the Mid-Manhattan Library, featuring its Children’s Center with 40,000 volumes.

 

The Corner Where Traffic Cop and Fairies Meet: Just a Few Steps from Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street: Wonderland, With All Its Miracles (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 27, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 24th, 2019 at 11:01 am

Posted in Books,Life

All of Them Looking for a Man’s Job

After returning from WWI, many men who had previously been on the less stereotypically masculine end of the spectrum wanted more of a “man’s job” in employment.

Most of the men who come back from the war want to do something of more consequence than the work they did before. Having had a hand in the biggest job ever cut out for humankind, they are inclined to look down on the usual workaday task. It isn’t necessarily that they want to make more money. They just want to do something that seems to them of more importance to the world.

An example was told of a man who was formerly a professional dancer, but upon returning from the war desired something else:

This toe dancer… said he wanted his brains and his hands to helpout his toes earn a living. The $30,000 contract made no difference. [Or about $454 thousand in 2019’s dollars.]

“I’ve lived too long in the open,” he said, “to go back into the theatre. I’ve been out under the sun and stars. No more of the white lights for me. I don’t want to be paid $2,000 a month for twirling my body on my toes. If I’m going to do any twirling from now on, I’ll do it with my hands and the muscles of my back. I want a man’s job, in God’s world.”

He got his man’s job.

These are anecdotal, making hard data hard — if not impossible — to come by. But has this become far less common of a turnaround in the modern post-draft military, where (perhaps) the less stereotypically “masculine” men are less likely to enlist in the armed forces in the first places?

All of Them Looking for a Man’s Job: That’s What the Soldiers Seek, but Their Notions Vary – -A Toe Dancer Scorned $30,000 a Year and Turned Farmer, and a Shoe Salesman Went in for Exporting (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 20, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 19th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Sobriety Just Grew, Without Awaiting Dry Laws

Yes, there was once a time when Atlantic City was the poster child for good behavior.

In 1919, Prohibition went into effect. But Atlantic City had already embraced the anti-alcohol ethos long before.

“There was a time,” said Sam again as the boom swung toward Spain, “when seven out of ten men got on my boat here with flasks in their pockets, and on Sundays the crowds I took out were half loaded before they got on and jagged to the scuppers when I landed them. Within late years, long before they put over prohibition on us, not one passengers in twenty — yes, not one in fifty — that I carry has anything on his hip, and on Sunday I do not carry one intoxicated man or woman in a hundred. Is there any rum on board now?” he asked, negotiating a roller that looked like Davy Jones’s own private make.

Chrous: “No!”

“The American people vindicated again!” said Sam, twirling the wheel a la roulette.

To be fair, Atlantic City wasn’t really “Atlantic City” yet — the first legal casino wouldn’t open there until 1978.

The first legal casino in Las Vegas, if you’re wondering, opened in 1931.

Sobriety Just Grew, Without Awaiting Dry Laws: Look at the All-American Seaside Resort, for Example: Atlantic City Became a Mirror of Decency Before It Knew Prohibition Sobriety Just Grew (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 20, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 18th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Life,Recreation

If You Don’t Believe the War Is Over — Look at These Summer Magazine Covers

Magazine covers during summer 1919, after WWI had ended, were different than during summers 1917 and 1918 during the war:

For two Summers the June, July, and August covers displayed about the same thing that they showed in the other three seasons — beautiful girls dressed as nurses, or canteen workers, or motor corps drivers, or Salvation Army maids.

However, the girls have taken off their uniforms. The war is over. There is a rush back to beach costumes on the front covers.

Of course, the one similarity both during and after the war is that the magazine covers still featured posing “girls.” But at least they were wearing something — the first issue of Playboy wouldn’t be published until December 1953.

If You Don’t Believe the War Is Over — Look at These Summer Magazine Covers (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 20, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 17th, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Posted in Art,Journalism

Collective Bargaining for Actors’ Wages

Theater actors in July 1919 wanted higher pay for extra performances. When managers refused, the first strike in American theater history occurred.

The old contract had specified eleven national holidays in the year on which the actor was required to play a matinee without additional salary… The actors demanded that they be paid upon a basis of eight performances a week, and that all performances over that number, for whatever cause given, should be paid for proportionately.

The managers, in reply, said that it was a financial impossibility; that it was at variance with all the established customs of the theatre and would mean simply that the players must accept smaller salaries; that actors often had been paid for full week when only six or seven performances had been given in place of the scheduled eight — and refused.

The next month, this resulted in the first strike in American theater history. According to the Actors’ Equity Association, “The strike lasted 30 days, spread to eight cities, closed 37 plays, prevented the opening of 16 others and cost millions of dollars.”

In the end, the actors won.

Collective Bargaining for Actors’ Wages: Equity Association Demands, Not an Eight-Hour Day, but Pay for Overtime, and Managers Refuse to Recognize the Union — Possible Effect on Playgoers (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 13, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 12th, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Business,Theater

Can the United States Get 500,000 Volunteers?

In the months after WWI ended, could the military still recruit the same number of volunteers they had during wartime?

Secretary of War Newton D. Baker argued yes: “He has stated not only that such an army [of 500,000 men] could be raised by voluntary enlistment in peace time, but that to raise it would be no more difficult than to enlist an army of 100,000 men.”

Oregon Senator George Chamberlain, at the time a member of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department, argued no: “So eminent an authority as Senator Chamberlain of Oregon, on the other hand, holds that since the war is over voluntary enlistments in large numbers are a thing of the past?”

Who ended up being proved correct? It’s surprisingly difficult to get exact figures when searching for terms like ‘number of military volunteers by year,’ but it appears Chamberlain’s pessimism was right.

There were about 300,000 volunteer enlistments during WWI. By 1939, also a time of peace — and with a U.S. population millions larger than in 1919 — there were only 334,473 total military members.

The military isn’t meeting its own volunteer levels in the present day, either. The Army set a goal of 80,000 new recruits last year, but they only got about 70,000.

Can the United States Get 500,000 Volunteers?: An Affirmative Answer Is Indicated by the Way Recruits Have Responded to the New Idea of Service to the Man as Well as to the Country (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 6, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 3rd, 2019 at 4:35 pm

The Laying On of Hands for Fingerprints

In 1919, “The fingerprints of every sailor and soldier serving the United States are on record… In Argentina it is true of every civilian. In time it may be true of all the world.”

Indeed. By 2009, the FBI had 63 million fingerprints on file. Their database started in 1924, just five years after this article predicted the possibility of such a system’s eventual creation.

Whether that was a necessary move for public safety or an unconstitutional violation of civil liberties can be debated. What’s not up for debate is the casual misoginy of the 1919 article’s sub-headline identifying Gertrude Meredith Sullender as a “woman expert.”

 

The Laying On of Hands for Fingerprints: Woman Expert Thinks System Will Not Be Confined to Criminals, but Will Become Universal — Chinese Used It for Identification Sixteen Centuries Ago (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 29, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 30th, 2019 at 11:53 am

Recalcitrant Rhode Island

Only three states didn’t ratify the 18th Amendment establishing Prohibition, before it went into effect: Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. As Prohibition was about to take effect, Rhode Island considered disobeying it.

A few months after this June 1919 article, the state attempted to do just that. In December 1919, the state’s Attorney General Herbert Rice filed a lawsuit seeking to declare the 18th Amendment unconstitutional. Historian David Kyvig summarizes Rice’s argument before the U.S. Supreme Court:

Attorney General Rice began by arguing that the amendment invaded the sovereignty of Rhode Island and her people, an invasion not contemplated by the amending clause of the Constitution. Rhode Island had not ratified the Eighteenth Amendment. The amending power, Rice contended, was provided to allow for the correction of errors in the fundamental instrument of government. The first ten amendments were adopted to insure against the encroachment by the federal government upon state functions and powers. If the amending power were to be construed as to allow any type of amendment, the boundary between federal and state authority could be shifted at will, and the people of a state would be at the mercy of others in matters of political institutions and personal rights.

His argument fell on deaf ears, with the Supreme Court upholding Prohibition unanimously.

Recalcitrant Rhode Island (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 29, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 30th, 2019 at 10:23 am

Posted in Politics

Why They Entered Annapolis

The new boys at the U.S. Naval Academy were surveyed in 1919 about why they had joined, and their answers varied considerably. Five favorites:

  • “I came here mainly to beat out a friend at West Point.”
  • “Life here must be one continual round of hops, entertainments, fights, escapades, and every other wildly romantic thing not to be found in Iowa.”
  • “I saw many naval officers at Charleston. They attended all the balls there and made great hits with the ladies.”
  • “Father’s last words were, ‘Don’t let James lead any other life than that of a naval officer.'”
  • “I had tried several other things without success, and so I thought I would try this.”

Why They Entered Annapolis: One “Thirsted for Power,” Another Wanted to Dance and “Make a Hit With the Ladies,” But Eagerness for Education and Patriotism Were Not Lacking Why They Entered Annapolis (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 22, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 20th, 2019 at 11:06 am

Biggest Wheel of Fortune

Biggest Wheel of Fortune: Will Allot $60,000,000 in Bonuses for Paris City Bond Issue (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 22, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 19th, 2019 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Women as ‘Permanent Peacemakers’

Paris issued 3.125 million bonds to help pay off its WWI debt, and they were dispensed by random through a giant wheel — a wheel of fortune. No word on whether Pat Sajak announced the results.

The Civil Governor of Paris at the time explained to a local engineer:

“Now, we want you to make for us, as quickly as possible, a vessel or receptacle in which all these 3,125,000 numbers, sealed up in small brass cases, can be placed. We want the machine so fixed that at every drawing the vessel shall revolve so as to mix up the numbers thoroughly inside, and then discharge from the urn or vessel by electric means as many of the numbers as are required at each redemption drawing.

“Furthermore, we want this machine so constructed that when once the numbers have been introduced into the urn it will be impossible for anybody to fool with them. A child must not even be able to put his hand into the vessel or touch the numbers within.”

This “wheel of fortune” wasn’t as exciting as your humble author’s own appearance on the show a few weeks ago:

Women as ‘Permanent Peacemakers’: An Account by One of Them of the International Gathering in Switzerland Which Denounced the Allies’ Treaty Terms (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 22, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 19th, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Politics

Why Suffrage Fight Took 50 Years

If the constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote was first introduced in 1878, why didn’t it pass Congress until 1919? Four major reasons: women’s minds had to be changed, so did men’s, politics, and money.

1.) Women’s minds had to be changed.

In the beginning of the movement the entire world, including women, believed confidently that women were mentally, physically, morally, spiritually inferior to men, with minds incapable of education, capacities too rudimentary to permit of their even looking after their own property, bodies too feeble to perform the simplest tasks for which men earned wages.

2.) Men’s minds had to be changed.

The illerate, undeveloped man held the view of the cave man that the woman belonged to him to do with as he pleased. She existed for him to dominate. In the refined, educated man this primitive instinct developed into a chivalrous, high-minded spirit of protection.

To ask for a vote was equivalent to declaring the government of men a failure, because it connoted that a dependent class was so dissatisfied with it as to demand a share in remaking it.

3.) Politics.

It is necessary that the members of a Legislature or Congress voting to submit an amendment which aims to enfranchise a class are obliged to pass the amendment on to the electors before the class to be enfranchised has received its vote. Legislators are deprived thus of the support of grateful voters, newly enfranchised, while forced to meet the condemnation of that part of the existing electorate which does not approve an extension of the suffrage.

4.) Money.

Individuals, corporations, or groups with unscrupulous intention have found it to be a certain protection to their selfish interests, when threatened by legislation, to be on good terms with the parties in power and with leading men of Legislatures and Congresses. To this end they have made large contributions to political campaigns.

Where their special interests, as in the case of the liquor business, have become a powerful issue their contributions have gone to both parties. All such interests have unfailingly opposed woman suffrage and have prevented in consequence the normal movement within the political parties toward the recognition of woman suffrage as a great and growing issue.

What naturally follows is the opposite question: how did it eventually pass Congress in 1919?

The first two factors — misogyny among both men and women — was ameliorated because of the states which passed suffrage first proving the naysayers wrong, beginning with Wyoming in 1890.

The greatest educator in the removal of prejudice proved to be woman suffrage in operation. Although the whole world scorned the little pioneer border settlement of Wyoming in its brave endeavor to do justice to women, it nevertheless carried a greater influence than it is now possible to measure. Year after year the women voted. The testimony continued that they voted wisely and well; that they were independent; that they were high-minded and recognized the necessity of continued improvement in political methods.

The third factor — political logistics, like how only men who were often hostile to the cause could decide whether to give women the right to vote — changed by the aforementioned trends in public opinion.

In the long run, popular sentiment controls in this country. Votes may be bought and evil influences may round up such voters to defeat a question now and then, but in the long run sentiment will not tolerate that sort of thing. Our business, therefore, has been to arouse popular sentiment, to tell the real truth to the people, wherever there were ears to hear or eyes to read.

The fourth factor — moneyed interests being opposed — fell in large part once Prohibition had passed a few months earlier, in January 1919.

 The most hostile and effective opponent of woman suffrage has been the liquor interests of the country… The liquor dealers reasoned that, since women were not the manufacturers of liquor or the consumers of liquor, but were the greatest sufferers from its evils, a larger proportionate number could be depended upon to vote for prohibition than men.

Once Prohibition passed anyway, on the basis of men’s votes, the moneyed interests no longer had nearly the zeal towards preventing women from voting.

Why Suffrage Fight Took 50 Years: Leader Tells of Hindenburg Line of Germans Broken in West, Gives Political Sidelights, and Finds Causes for Victory’s Delay Why Suffrage Fight Took 50 Years (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 15, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 14th, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Development,Politics

Investigating the War

A century ago, House committees were heavily investigating the executive branch, while the president’s own party (in the House minority) accused the committees of partisan warfare. Sound familiar?

None of the investigations, the Republican leader said, would be inquisitorial, but they would be undertaken and conducted only so far as the interests of the country demanded. Democratic leaders scoff at such assertions. Visibly they are disturbed at the prospect… because the Republicans, being in charge, can guide the investigations and explode whatever is collected at the right psychological times from a political standpoint.

“What they are going to do,” said one Democrat, “is to keep these investigations boiling along, or some of them, clear into the Presidential campaign, and release their stuff at the time when the voters are beginning to think of the coming Presidential election. And they are not only going to tear everything wide open; they are going to pull up the flooring besides.”

Investigating the War: Chairman Graham of House of Representatives’ Special Committee Outlines Scope of Inquiry Into Expenditures (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 15, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 13th, 2019 at 10:54 am

What the Army Did to Them

Many WWI soldiers returned home as changed men. Women, while grateful for the military victory, were often dismayed at what had become of the men they sent away, calling it “the lowering of the quality of young American manhood.”

What emerged from the talk of which these samples have been reported was that at least half the women present were aware — or thought they were aware — of the lowering of the quality of young American manhood — or perhaps of a dulling of its fineness — growing out of military service, whether at home or abroad.

If this was the price paid for becoming heroes — and none of the women failed in proper pride that way, none was a pacifist, none was tainted with any sort of pro-Germanism, all had their own man or men in the service and were glad of it — if this was the price their country and their womenfolk had paid for seeing a patriotic duty bravely done — then it was a heavy price to pay.

This specific example of one man was provided, as emblematic of the larger problem.

A youth well born and bred, and one whose home-made manners, she said, had been a model of what such manners should be. She had met him again after he came back from overseas, and he had said things to her that she had never in her life before had said to her in polite society. Army life had done that to him, she insisted with some vehemence.

Considering that Donald Trump avoided the Vietnam War because of his supposed bone spurs, imagine how vile his demeanor and language would be if he’d gone.

What the Army Did to Them: The Present State of Young Men in America Is Discussed With Mixed Emotions by Some of Their Women Folk Army (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 8, 1919

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Written by Jesse

June 7th, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Life,Military / War