Do We Want to Pay the Health Insurance Bill?

In 1917, the concept of health insurance was so new that it was referred to in quotes.

More than 20 state legislatures that year proposed bills to get government and taxpayers involved in health insurance, an innovative and bold idea at the time even though it’s considered commonplace now. (Even most anti-Obamacare Republicans generally want to maintain — or in some cases even increase — federal spending on such programs as Medicare, if not as much on Medicaid.) Here’s how the new ideas were described to the American public in 1917:

“Their arguments may be summarized as follows: That there is a wage loss due to sickness of six hundred millions of dollars annually; that the great majority of wage earners are living so close to the poverty line that they cannot bear this loss themselves nor can they provide against it through the present channels of protection — benefit societies, lodges, trade unions and the like; that the most important duty of society today is better to distribute this loss through compulsory sickness insurance; that the operation of compulsory sickness insurance will prevent disease and improve the health and general well-being of the nation, and that, therefore, society as a whole should help pay the insurance bill.

[All manual workers or anybody earning less than $100 per month would receive two-thirds of their wages in case of illness or accident, medical attention for the whole duration of the disability, and a $50 benefit in case of death.] The cost of all this shall be paid one-fifth by the State, two-fifths by the employers, and two-fifths by the wage earner, the latter’s contribution being deducted from his weekly pay by his employer.”

Today, disability insurance exists, but this article goes to show that health care was one of the most controversial and volatile political debates in 1917 just as it was today. Vox ran a terrific feature on why Vermont’s attempt to become the first state to institute single-payer universal health care ultimately failed to get off the ground.

Do We Want to Pay the Health Insurance Bill?: Frank F. Dresser Says Proposed Measure Would Give Country a Small Return in Bettered Health for a Tremendous Outlay (PDF)

From Sunday, March 11, 1917

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Written by Jesse

March 17th, 2017 at 7:40 am

Posted in Debate,Politics

Your Pet Cat May Have to Have a License Soon

This is notable for being by far the most “clickbait” style headline the New York Times Sunday Magazine ever featured on this blog. This is perhaps the only headline yet featured that would be written word-for-word the exact same way today.

A New York state bill was debated in 1917 that would license all pet cats and kill all others in the state. (The verb used in the article is the even more horrific “destroyed.”) The reason was not due to visceral hatred of the cute kittens, but for economic purposes:

“The high cost of living is largely due to the fact that not enough foodstuff is produced by the farmers; the shortage of crop is, in turn, partly due to the ravages of insects, and the only effective check on the insects is the birds. But the birds are destroyed by the cats. Every link in this chain between the cat and the cost of food is backed up and proved by scientific demonstration and statistics and the totals all along the line are enormous.

“For example, Frank M. Chapman of the American Museum of Natural History figures that there are at least 25,000,000 cats in the United States, and the country’s annual loss in crops from the depredations of insects alone is estimated at $1,200,000,000.

The license fee for a pet cat would have been 50 cents and 25 cents for each subsequent reissue.

Shockingly, the most common argument against the bill — and in favor of cats — was not from animal lovers or PETA (which would not be founded until 1980), but “The one argument most frequently heard in behalf of the cat is that it kills rats and mice.”

Did the bill pass? While I found that in the same year of 1917 New York state began requiring dogs to be licensed, I was unable to determine whether cats were too. If anybody knows the answer, please comment below.

Your Pet Cat May Have to Have a License Soon: Otherwise It Will Be Killed as a Public Nuisance If Bill Now Before Legislature Passes — An Effort to Protect Birds and Crops (PDF)

From Sunday, March 11, 1917

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March 16th, 2017 at 7:40 am

Efficiency Test of Domestic Standards for Every Housekeeper

There was a discrepancy of 60,000 more housekeeper jobs than people to fill the positions, as of 1917, because many women found the position undesirable.  Thetta Quay Franks, author of the book The Margin of Happiness: Practical Studies in Household Efficiency, came up with a series of questions for the head of the household to ask their housekeeper, to ensure the housekeeper was happy and comfortable in their employment. Among them were questions related to fair wages, vacation time, whether the female head of the household assisted with the work, whether a daily schedule of work as provided, and whether employees received different food than the family.

Today, the housekeeper isn’t nearly as common a position as it was back then. Then again, those holding the position can still exert a strong influence: just listen to the new popular podcast Missing Richard Simmons and listen to the influence of Teresa Reveles, Simmons’s housekeeper of 27 years who may or may not be abusing the fitness trainer and holding him hostage in his own home.

Efficiency Test of Domestic Standards for Every Housekeeper: Put Yourself in Place of Your Cook and Get Her Point of View, Says Mrs. Thetta Quay Franks (PDF)

From Sunday, March 11, 1917

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March 15th, 2017 at 7:40 am

Posted in Life

Mystery of Authorship of Chinese Lyrics Solved

Pai Ta-shun was a successful poet, a mysterious Chinese man praised by critics and read by the masses. Turns out he was so mysterious because the works actually came from the pen of white American medical physician Frederick Peterson, author of such poetic works as The American Textbook of Legal Medicine and Toxicology.

According to this 1917 article recounting the then-recent controversy, Peterson was a student of Chinese poetry and wrote his poems according to Chinese literary tradition, using the name Pai Ta-shun as a Chinese-sounding homophone of Peterson.

His poems could actually be quite beautiful regardless of the con regarding the author’s identity. Here is his verse from The Dragon:

Ever-changing the cumulus surges above the horizon,

Black with thunder or white with the glitter of snow-capped mountains,

Rosy with dawn or with sunset, an age-long shifting pageant.

Stuff of chaos for dreams to forge into magical visions,

Ranged below it the common earth and the tiger-forces,

Behind and above it unfurled the starry deeps of the heavens.

Out of the formless clouds we shaped the deathless Dragon,

Symbol of change and sign of the infinite symbol of spirit.

In 2015, poet Michael Derrick Hudson caused national controversy when the anthology Best American Poetry published his poem that he submitted under the name Yi-Fen Chou. The anthology was unaware of the author’s true identity at first, but upon acceptance the author revealed the truth to the anthology’s editor, who published it under the Asian pseudonym regardless. As Mark Twain once quipped, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

Mystery of Authorship of Chinese Lyrics Solved: Poems of Pai Ta-shun, Widely Discussed for Past Two Years, Were Written by Dr. Frederick Peterson, New York Physician (PDF)

From Sunday, March 4, 1917

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March 13th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Literature

River of Doubt Now on Brazil’s Official Maps

In 1914, Theodore Roosevelt — at that point a former U.S. president — trekked upon a previously unmapped tributary of the Amazon River in Brazil. To honor his heroism, Brazil officially named the Rio Duvida (or River of Doubt) the Rio Roosevelt. Did the new name last to the present day? Yes it has.

River of Doubt Now on Brazil’s Official Maps (PDF)

From Sunday, March 4, 1917

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March 12th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Adventure,Nature

Monroe Inaugurated 100 Years Ago Today

Even 100 years ago, people were writing “100 years ago” articles.

President James Monroe was inaugurated in 1817, with a presidency defined by the so-called Monroe Doctrine. 1917’s President Woodrow Wilson advocated much the same policy, referring to Monroe in a speech to the Senate:

“I am proposing, as it were, that the nations should with one accord adopt the doctrine of President Monroe as the doctrine of the world: That no nation should seek to extend its policy over any other nation or people, but that every people should be left free to determine its own policy, its own way of development, unhindered, unthreatened, unafraid, the little along with the great and powerful.

“I am proposing that all nations henceforth avoid entangling alliances which would draw them into competition of power, catch them in a net of intrigue and selfish rivalry, and disturb their own affairs with influences intruded from without.”

Wilson was arguably one of the last presidents to largely obey the Monroe Doctrine. Since then the U.S. has entangled itself in Vietnam, Iraq, and helped remove the democratically-elected leader of Iran, among numerous other foreign adventures and misadventures. We’ve seen similar foreign policy doctrines named after subsequent presidents too, such as the [George W.] Bush Doctrine stating that the U.S. had the right to launch preemptive strikes in the name of national security.

President Trump, who criticized the Iraq War once public opinion turned against it but was on record as supporting the mission at the outset, does not appear to be a big fan of the Monroe Doctrine either — but only time will tell for sure.

Monroe Inaugurated 100 Years Ago Today: President Wilson, Who Takes Oath of Office Today, Would Make Doctrine of His Predecessor of Century Ago Doctrine of World (PDF)

From Sunday, March 4, 1917

 

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March 11th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Politics

Library of Congress Sends Books to Any Town

Did you know that the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is a lending library? It remains so to this day, sending (almost) any item in their collection completely free of charge for two months at a time, so long as you live in the 50 states or Puerto Rico. Then all you have to do is return the item by FedEx or UPS. In this 1917 article on the subject, Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam explained the specifics.

“And we find that people all over the country are eager to take advantage of this service. We are constantly sending out books to borrowers sometimes as far distant as San Francisco and Cuba. During the year ended June 30, 1914, we sent out 2,030 volumes. During the year ended June 30, 1915, we sent out 2,258 volumes, and during the year ended June 30, 1916, we sent out as interlibrary loans 3,460 volumes to 393 different libraries in forty-eight States and in Canada.

“We lend music on the same condition as books. We do not, however, allow musical scores so lent to be used for public performances.”

Strangely, the number of items that the Library of Congress loans today is curiously difficult to find. Their website features a number of statistics in their annual report, but that’s not one of them. But with both the U.S. population and the library’s collection far larger than they were a century ago, the number of loans is surely much greater than the 3,460 volumes it comprised in 1916.

Library of Congress Sends Books to Any Town: If You Want a Rare Work of Reference Your Home Library Will Get It for You from the Great Washington Institution (PDF)

From Sunday, February 25, 1917

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March 10th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Literature,Politics

Not Convicts, Graduates of Sing Sing University

 

New York’s notorious prison Sing Sing added a vocational training school in 1917.

“It is my hope, entirely outside of the work of this commission,” said Mr. Hubbell [Charles Bulkley Hubbell, Chairman of the Commission on New Prisons of the State of New York], “that the time is not far distant when prison extension work will be just as formally recognized as university extension work.”

Even a century later, it doesn’t seem that development has quiet happened. Those who have been arrested or incarcerated still face disproportionately more difficult job prospects upon release. (Of course, many tough-on-crime advocates would argue that’s exactly as it should be.)

Sing Sing prison still exists in New York today as a maximum security facility, though several inmates have successfully escaped, most recently in 2015 when two murder convicts broke out. Approximately 1,730 men are imprisoned there.

Not Convicts, Graduates of Sing Sing University: Plans for the New State Prison Are Based on Giving the Inmates a Useful Education That Will Fit Them for Honest Work (PDF)

From Sunday, February 25, 1917

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March 9th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Education,True Crime

Have Women’s Votes Helped Make States Dry?

In February 1917, 27 states at least partially or fully banned alcohol, while 12 states allowed women to vote. Both movements were sweeping the country. So this article asked: since it was believed that women were the primary anti-alcohol demographic, how much were those two developments correlated?

The findings:

“With one exception, the seven dry States and one dry Territory in which women vote declared for women suffrage before they declared for prohibition.

Alaska adopted woman suffrage three years before it became dry; Arizona, two years before; Colorado, twenty-one years before; Idaho, nineteen years before; Montana, two years before; Oregon, two years before; Washington, four years before.

It has taken an average of thirteen years and two and two-thirds months under woman suffrage for six States and one Territory to become dry by constitutional or statutory prohibition, for one State to become partly dry by local option, and for another State to be promised dry by legislative action. On the other hand, there is Kansas, which was dry thirty-one years before women had the franchise in that State.

Overall, the correlation might have existed, but was weak at best. However, it seem to closely tie together on a federal level, as the Constitution banned alcohol nationally in January 1919 and legalized women’s suffrage nationally only a year and a half later in August 1920.

Have Women’s Votes Helped Make States Dry?: Interesting Deductions Obtained from an Analytical Study of States That Have Adopted Prohibition in Some Form or Other (PDF)

From Sunday, February 25, 1917

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March 8th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Development,Politics

Is This Manuscript in Shakespeare’s Writing?

Several handwritten pages of a play had been housed in the British Museum. In 1917, Edward Maunde Thompson determined based on handwriting analysis and stylistic similarities that the pages were likely written by William Shakespeare, as a contribution to the play “Sir Thomas More” which was primarily written by Anthony Munday.

So were the pages indeed written by Shakespeare? Most subsequent analyses in the past century agree that it was. The Oxford Shakespeare compilation now includes the pages, and the Royal Shakespeare Company also recognized it as a Shakespeare work in 2005. This would make it the only surviving original manuscript in Shakespeare’s hand, as every other surviving example of Shakespeare’s work in a reprint or a folio. It’s also our only surviving example of Shakespeare in the process of writing, with words and phrases crossed out or inserted throughout.

This is all assuming, of course, that Shakespeare actually wrote most of the plays generally credited to him. In his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, author Michael H. Hart presents the quite convincing evidence that most (if not all) of the plays were in fact written by Edward de Vere.

Is This Manuscript in Shakespeare’s Writing?: Expert Believes Pages of a Play, “Sir Thomas more,” Were Written by the Bard’s Own Hand (PDF)

From Sunday, February 25, 1917

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March 7th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Literature

Portraits in Independence Hall Under Suspicion

Philadelphia’s Independence Hall used to feature 342 portraits of America’s founders and most important early contributors. Then in 1917, the Philadelphia City Council created a new body with jurisdiction over all the paintings there, giving more control to politicians rather than artists or historians. At the time of this article’s writing, the new body had already spurned more than 30 paintings for display, calling the works “spurious or otherwise unfit.”

“Somebody said it would be a fine thing to have all the signers [of the Declaration of Independence]. Great idea! And the portraits of signers poured in and were welcomed, regardless of credentials, and so on through various other groups of American worthies. Sometimes a silhouette, supposed to be that of somebody’s distinguished great-grandfather, would be the basis of a manufactured portrait labeled with that great-grandfather’s name and sent down to the hall. It would be taken in and given a place on the wall.”

My research couldn’t determine the number of paintings hanging in Independence Hall today, but it’s reasonable to assume that the number is now lower than 342.

Portraits in Independence Hall Under Suspicion: About Thirty Already Have Been Thrown out as Spurious by the Philadelphia Art Jury Which Is Investigating Them (PDF)

From Sunday, February 25, 1917

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March 6th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Art,Politics

The Real Reasons California Went For Wilson

Less than 4,000 votes. That was the margin by which California voted for incumbent Democratic President Woodrow Wilson on Election Day 1916. If California’s 13 electoral votes had swung the other way, Republican challenger and Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes would have won. And considering that U.S. involvement in World War I would begin in April 1917, who knows just how consequential California’s decision was to the fate of civilization.

The article details the reasons why California voted the way it did. Pro-Wilson reasons included his policy of American neutrality in the war unfurling on the other side of the globe. Anti-Hughes reasons included a major gaffe in which Hughes refused to meet with California’s popular Republican governor Hiram Johnson while campaigning in the state.

Ah, the days when California was a state where presidential candidates campaign for votes and not just for campaign dollars.

Also the days when California made up a mere 13 out of the then-531 Electoral College votes, or just 2.4 percent. Today it makes up 55 out of 538 Electoral College votes, or 10.2 percent of the total. Although even that is actually a lower percentage than the 12.1 percent it makes up of the U.S. population.

The Real Reasons California Went for Wilson: Western Authority Says His Mexican Policy and the Support Women Gave Him Placed the State in the Democratic Column (PDF)

From Sunday, February 18, 1917

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February 18th, 2017 at 9:07 am

Posted in Politics

Lincoln Greater, Says Ida M. Tarbell, Each Passing Year

President Abraham Lincoln’s renown has only great since his already-legendary stature described here in 1917. The Lincoln Memorial would not open for another five years until 1922, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning biopic starring Daniel Day-Lewis wouldn’t open for another 95 years until 2012.

The best sentence in the article describes a silver lining of the dark cloud that was the Civil War:

“Possibly the best thing we can say of the scheme [the Civil War] is that it gave us Lincoln. It is very unlikely that any other form of government that the world has yet tried could by peaceful means have developed his particular genius; that is, it would not have been fully available, except possibly through a great war, under any other form of government. His talent would not have had the peculiar kind of training which he had and which made him so fit for the tasks thrust upon him.”

Lincoln Greater, Says Ida M. Tarbell, Each Passing Year: He Is Today the Source to Which Statesmen of All Lands Look for Understanding of Democracy (PDF)

From Sunday, February 11, 1917

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February 13th, 2017 at 7:34 am

Posted in Politics

Spirit of the Nobler American Now Awake

Less than two months before the United States would formally enter World War I, the drumbeat of imminent entry was uniting the country. James M. Beck, author of “The Evidence in the Case,” was previously a critic of President Woodrow Wilson’s policies, but he come around after Wilson ceased diplomatic relations with Germany in early 1917, shortly before ultimately declaring war that April. In February, Beck wrote:

“The value of this action to the United States is immeasurable. It saves it from a possible abyss of disaster. Had America failed to act and show a willingness to make sacrifices for the basic principles of civilization, the hand of every nation might hereafter have been against her. President Wilson’s action has saved for the United States the respect of the world (including Germany, which overestimated America’s willingness to fight for its rights), the leadership of the neutral nations, and the good-will of our sister democracies in Europe, with whose final triumph the interests of America are so vitally concerned.”

One wonders whether a similar near-unanimity of public support is possible for any policy position in the modern era.

Spirit of the Nobler American Now Awake: Former Critic of the President Says There Are Practically No Dissenters From President Wilson’s Clarion Call to Duty (PDF)

From Sunday, February 11, 1917

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February 12th, 2017 at 7:34 am

Posted in Politics,War

New York Police Department Is on a War Footing

Lest one thinks that war only affects law enforcement on a national level, the local NYPD was heavily prepared for imminent involvement in the World War I:

“…[for] invasion of bombardment or the cutting of supplies by siege, detailed answers to every phrase of that question are on file at Police Headquarters… Plans for emptying the town or any given section of the town are perfected. In addition to all the normal traffic lines, elevated, surface and subway, which the Police Commissioner has the right to commander if the lives of the people are at stake, he he on record lists of many thousands of motor trucks and other vehicles which would be at the instant disposal of the police…

By means of this same Police Department with its emergency plans the entire food and fuel supply of the city could be municipalized overnight and its distribution regulated by the authorities in the way to do the most good for the largest number.”

One would assume that the NYPD in 2017 has an even more complex plan for such an unlikely scenario, especially following a massive terrorist attack on New York City soil in 2001.

There was also a warning to avoid paranoia or overly broad measures in 1917, in stark contrast to the “Muslim registry” advocated during the campaign trail by our current president:

“This suggests another thing the ideal policeman has to be. He must be part diplomat. Nothing would be more absurd or fraught with danger of serious consequences in a time like this than for the police to act on the assumption that all Germans are suspects. There are 300,000, or more, of them in this city. The occasional plots of the last two years and a half in this country and city would indicate that perhaps a very few of these Germans have to be watched — probably not one in a thousand.”

New York Police Department Is on a War Footing: Nothing Has Been Left to Chance During the Last Two Years to Prepare 11,000 Policemen for Any Emergency to Come (PDF)

From Sunday, February 11, 1917

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February 11th, 2017 at 7:34 am

Posted in War

Democracy Doomed, Asserts Dr. Oscar Levy of Germany, Noted Nietzschean

The fear that democracy was doomed turned out to be short-lived. According to Our World In Data, back in 1917, 14 percent of the world’s population lived in democracy. By 2015, that had increased substantially to 56 percent. Meanwhile, 0 percent lived in a colony, compared to 36 percent back in 1917.

However, we currently appear to be in a period of de-democratization. The percent of the world’s population living in democracy has yet to regain its early/mid 2000s peak of 57 percent, and has fallen since that time. According to the Electoral Integrity Project, as of 2016, even North Carolina can no longer be classified as a democracy.

Democracy Doomed, Asserts Dr. Oscar Levy of Germany, Noted Nietzschean: Scholar Who Translated Into English Entire Works of the Philosopher Says “Future Belongs to Nietzsche” (PDF)

From Sunday, February 4, 1917

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February 5th, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Debate,Politics

Lowering the Cost of Living for the Navy

Here’s an element of navy/military spending that seems obvious once it’s brought up, yet might never have entered your brain before:

“Suppose, for instance, that you had about 65,000 men, the great majority of them young, healthy, and hungry, to clothe and feed. Suppose that when you bought flour you bought it by the millions of pounds; that you meat purchases totaled nearly 18,000,000 pounds a year; that you had to buy almost 25,000,000 pounds of cabbages, onions, potatoes, carrots, cauliflowers, and other fresh vegetables annually; that your sugar and coffee and canned good purchases were proportionately large; that when you bought eggs the order specified a few hundred thousand; that you bought every twelve months more than 1,700,000 pounds of butter, not to mention scores of other foods which America’s bluejackets and marines must have and do get, what would you do about it?

That was in 1917. If anything, today those numbers for the Navy are almost certainly larger. I couldn’t find numbers related to the cost of food for today’s military, but the number of active duty Navy members currently stands at 323 thousand.

A few months ago I covered a talk from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, yet somehow this subject of food never came up.

Lowering the Cost of Living for the Navy: How One of the Newly Appointed Rear Admirals, as Paymaster General, Tackled a Vexatious Problem and Solved It (PDF)

From Sunday, January 28, 1917

 

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January 29th, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Business,War

One-Man Submarine Invention of an American

 

Small submarines definitely still exist today, though to my knowledge the operator sits inside. I’m not aware of a current design which requires lying on one’s stomach and pedaling.

Although the pictured invention might look a bit silly to a modern day viewer, the idea behind the invention still has merit to it:

“The only way by which to make the action of the torpedo actually certain was to put an experienced operator inside it; for, while its automatic machinery operates with almost human intelligence, there is no certainty that it will on long ranges do exactly what is required of it.”

One-Man Submarine Invention of an American: Tiny Torpedo Boat, Said to be Used by German Raider, Was Anticipated by the Ingenious Craft of Thomas J. Moriarty (PDF)

From Sunday, January 28, 1917

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January 29th, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Analysis of Woman Vote in 1916 Upsets Theories

Analysis of Woman Vote in 1916 Upsets Theories

Can you believe there was a presidential election that countered prevailing political theories? Good thing that doesn’t happen anymore.

In 1916, there were 12 states where women could vote for president.  J.S. Eichelberger analyzed the vote in those states and determined that relative to their share of the voting-eligible population, eligible women voted at a rate 20 to 30 percent lower than eligible men, for a male-female ratio in the states with suffrage of 1.73 to 1. Numbers are just numbers, but it was the stunningly misogynistic writing that truly bears note a century later:

“The woman’s vote is a duplicate vote; a miniature, an echo, of man’s vote, possessing no independent political power, and unable to rewards its friends or punish its foes.

While it cannot be used as a level to effect to ’emancipation of woman,’ it may be used as a tool for the enslavement of men by other men…

In a count at the polls the women’s vote cannot do anything independent of the men’s vote; its political effect appears only when dominated by a group of men who can get a larger proportion of their women to vote than any other group of men can.”

Today, the reverse is true. Women voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980. In 2012, those numbers were 63.7 percent of women compared to 59.8 percent of men. (2016 data is still preliminary at this point.) And the vote of women was not merely “an echo” of men’s vote: with women preferring Hillary Clinton by 12 points and men preferring Donald Trump by an equal 12 points, the 24-point gap between women’s and men’s voting preference was the largest since polls began measuring in 1972:

 

Analysis of Woman Vote in 1916 Upsets Theories: Figures of Last Election Prove That It Possesses No Independent Political Power and Was Merely an Echo of Man’s Vote (PDF)

From Sunday, January 21, 1917

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January 21st, 2017 at 7:32 am

Posted in Politics

Princeton’s Anti-Club Fight Stirs the University

Princeton's Anti-Club Fight Stirs the University

Princeton is known for their “eating clubs,” private institutions not officially affiliated with the university, which are something of a hybrid between a dining hall and a social organization, where most juniors and seniors eat the majority of their meals. There are 11 eating clubs, for which six involve a selection process and four which use a lottery system. This tradition goes back a long time, going back to 1879. In 1917, some wanted to abolish the system, by refusing entry even if they were accepted. Explained one faculty member:

“Election to one of the clubs has come to have altogether too great an importance in the estimation of the students. Club election was not a reason that brought the boy to college, but once he is matriculated election to a club becomes the overshadowing feature of his freshman and sophomore years. It constitutes a great disturbing factor in his college life.”

Did it work? No. Today, 11 Princeton eating clubs exist, all of which existed as of 1917 as well. However, several that were in existence during 1917 have since gone defunct: Elm, Campus, Key and Seal, Dial Lodge, Arch, and Gateway.

Why did the clubs persist? Likely because of the counterargument that even those who wanted to do away with the clubs back in 1917 acknowledged:

“But while we deplore it and earnestly wish to do away with it, it none the less brings us face to face with the other side of the question — the natural and ineradicable tendency of people of demonstrated congeniality to associate more or less exclusively. It was this instinct that brought about the organization of the clubs, and that is the reason for their continued existence.”

Princeton’s Anti-Club Fight Stirs the University: Refusal of a Group of Sophomores to Accept Election in Any of the Clubs Brings Up a Perplexing Problem for Solution (PDF)

From Sunday, January 21, 1917

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January 19th, 2017 at 7:32 am

Posted in Education,Recreation