Category Archives: Women making history

Dorothy Day on Freedom of the Press

The Daily Worker Case
Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, April 1956.

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During Holy Week, at noon one day, revenue agents suddenly raided the offices of The Daily Worker, Communist paper, evicting its editors, padlocking the doors, saying that this action was because of unpaid taxes. The editors claimed that there were no taxes due and that what the revenue agents wanted was a glimpse at their files, the names of those who were contributing to make up their deficits, and their subscription lists. They have appealed the case to the courts, and protested to the President that this action was an infringement on freedom of the press and so a violation of guaranteed constitutional liberties. It was a sudden gesture, totally unexpected by all those concerned and the result was an immediate protest on the part of radicals, liberals and a number of other Americans including plenty of other daily papers who were not afraid of the stigma of guilt by association and who believe that openness, free discussion of ideas can never harm our way of life, or our Christian ideals. During that great season of Holy Week, which this year began with the feast of the Annunciation (there is no time with God) which celebrates God becoming man, taking upon Himself our weak flesh, becoming like unto us in all things save only sin, all I could think of was that God loved each one of us so particularly that He bore our sins, died for our sins, conquered death, gave us hope. If we believe and hope in Him and I trust are trying to grow in love of Him, we must try to reflect a little of this Christ love and trust and mercy in dealing with our fellows, friend and enemy. At times like this we can’t get much further than seeing our own sins, our own guilt, especially since we as a country seem to be trying to outdo Russia in ways of killing off as many people as possible with guided missiles. One thing which will guarantee a continuance of the arms race is to play up a spirit of fear and such raids as that on The Daily Worker is as much calculated to inspire that fear of ever present menace and danger in our midst among the citizenry in general as it is to outlaw the Communist or make existence difficult for him. (We are not trying to judge the case only as a tax case, and don’t know anything about political parties and their payment of taxes. We are dealing with this matter from the standpoint of the newspaper alone.) dorothyday

The Holy Father in his Easter message says that not to “every appearance of faith is guaranteed the victory,” and that appearance of faith he defines as “the vague sense of Christianity,
flabby and empty, which remains on the outer threshold of conviction in the mind and of love in the heart. It is not set into the whole structure of life whether public or private. . . . true peace is not a state of repose like death, but rather the power and activity of life.” We are taught that it is a sin to keep silent when we should speak out in defense of the right, thus consenting to wrong . . . that God turns even malice and wrong doing to His own ends . . . that we must be ready to uphold truth at whatever cost to ourselves . . . that it is only the truth that can imbue men’s hearts with true freedom. So with all these things in mind we sent the following message to the editors of The Daily Worker: We at the Catholic Worker express our sympathy to The Daily Worker in the eviction they have suffered even though their beliefs are contrary to our own. Freedom of the press is a concept fundamental to Jeffersonians and libertarians and freedom in general is essentially a religious concept. The Smith Act itself shows that our country is so superficially religious that it is not willing to take the risk and consequences of a faith in freedom and man’s use of it. (In a lighter vein), if we only had the space and could be truly charitable and hospitable we would offer the use of our offices and even of our mailing list, since the bureaucrats have confiscated yours, and we are sure that we would risk nothing in such a gesture but achieve a healthful clarification of thought. Yours for a green and peaceful revolution.

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A Radical Journalist Such as We Need Now!

Mary Heaton Vorse O’Brien (1874–1966) was an American journalist, labor activist, social critic, and novelist. She was outspoken and active in peace and social justice causes, such as women’s suffrage, civil rights, pacifism (such as opposition to World War I), socialism, child labor, infant mortality, labor disputes, and affordable housing.

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Mary Heaton was born October 11, 1874, in New York City to Ellen Marvin Heaton and Hiram Heaton. She was raised in prosperity in Amherst, Massachusetts, in a 24-room house with half-siblings from her mother’s previous marriage. The money in the family came from her mother’s side. In 1852, Vorse’s mother married Captain Charles Bernard Marvin, a wealthy shipping magnate and liquor merchant, more than 20 years her senior, when she was a young woman of 18. Ellen Marvin was widowed at age 37 with five children. In 1873, she married Mary’s father, who, with his family, operated the Stockbridge Inn. The family traveled widely, spending over a year in Europe, where Mary attended kindergarten in Hanover and the first year of grade school in Dresden, learning the German language in the process. Later, the family had an apartment in Paris, where Mary learned French, followed later by a winter in Austria.

In her 1935 memoir, she dated her interest in the problems of politics and economics to the years of her youth, when her mother read to her aloud from a book by ethnographer George Kennan on the brutal Siberian penal system of Russia. An interest in classic Russian literature followed, complemented by directed reading with her father on topics of American history. She found her intellect stimulated by life in the college town of Amherst and discussions held in the family home between her father and several prominent friends from academia, including the president of Massachusetts Agricultural College, Henry Hill Goodell, and anthropology professor John Tyler.

She was allowed to leave the formal school system at a young age and subsequently spent several winters in Paris studying art. In 1896, Heaton began to study at the Art Students’ League, on West 57th Street in New York City. The League was established 20 years earlier by strong-minded young men in rebellion from the conservative nature of the instruction at the National Academy of Design. By the time that Mary entered, the school was booming, with over 1100 pupils studying in sex-segregated day and evening classes, studying sketch art, sculpture, and painting. While Mary found participation in the artistic avant-garde exhilarating, she unfortunately had rather mediocre talent. She wrote in her diary: “When I come into my room and see my work lying around, my sense of my own futility overwhelms me. After so much work, that is all I can do.”

She was young, intelligent, and athletic and was deeply influenced by the ideas of feminism that had begun to emerge as the 19th century came to a close. Many upper-class women such as Mary were in the forefront of the movement for women’s rights to economic independence, education, voting rights, and birth control.

Her first husband was Albert White “Bert” Vorse, a widely traveled journalist who had worked for a year in a Boston settlement house, run by Edward Everett Hale. They were married on October 26, 1898 after a brief courtship and had two children: a boy, Heaton, born in 1901 and a girl, Mary, born in 1907.

The couple began to take an increased interest in social problems of the day, spurred by the muckraking reformist politics of the day and a personal friendship with radical journalist Lincoln Steffens. The Vorses would frequently go sailing with Steffens and his wife on the Vorses’ boat, where they would be regaled with Steffens’s “epic stories” of “gigantic lootings and skullduggeries” by wealthy bankers and industrialists.

Bert was soon assigned to Paris as the correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger. It was in France that Mary, encouraged and instructed by her husband, began to try her own hand at professional writing. She began to create and sell romantic fiction to women’s magazines. Her stories often featured the motif of a rugged and energetic heroine who managed to win the affection of a coveted male over a more constrained and conventionally feminine rival. In 1904, the Vorses moved to Venice, where Mary was first introduced into the world of the working class and their labor struggles. Bert died on June 14, 1910, of a cerebral hemorrhage.

In 1912, she married the journalist Joe O’Brien, a socialist from Virginia whom she met at the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike.

sept 1912_Lawrence_Textile_Strike_2Poster of the Lawrence, Massachusetts, strike

The couple had one child, a boy born in 1914 Joe O’Brien died in 1915.

Vorse was active in the fight against militarism and American entry into World War I and was a founding member, along with Jane Addams, of the Woman’s Peace Party in January 1915. She was chosen as the delegate of the New York Woman Suffrage Party to an International Women’s Peace Congress held in The Hague at the end of April 1915, traveling aboard the MS Noordam through mine-strewn waters to attend.

She wrote for the New York Post, New York World, McCall’s, Harper’s Weekly, Atlantic Monthly, The Masses, New Masses, New Republic, and McClure’s Magazine as well as various news services.

She participated in and reported on the Lawrence Textile Strike, the miners’ strike in Minnesota in 1916, the steel strike of 1919, the textile workers strike of 1934, autoworkers in Michigan in 1937,  and coal strikes in Harlan County, Kentucky. She was wounded by police gunfire while reporting on a strike in Youngstown, Ohio. She researched and wrote about Indian affairs in the mid-1930s and reported on post-war Europe from 1945 to 1947 for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

Four years before her death in 1966, the 88-year-old Vorse entered the silver jubilee banquet of the United Auto Workers, accompanied by union leader Walter Reuther. There, she received the first UAW Social Justice Award, with former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and novelist Upton Sinclair looking on to share her honor. Vorse  was feted for her work as one of the most important labor journalists of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Vorse died of a heart attack on June 14, 1966, at her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on the extreme tip of Cape Cod, where she was buried.[28] She was 92 years old.

In addition to her memoir written in 1935, Vorse participated in an oral history project at Columbia University in 1957, an interview that was transcribed and microfilmed by the university.

Vorse also wrote several ghost stories, including “The Second Wife” (1912). The stories were later collected in the Ash-Tree Press volume “Sinister Romance : Collected Ghost Stories.” Her friend Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, said Vorse  continued writing in order to aid her children and their children.

 

Charlotta Spears Bass: More History of American Journalism

 

800px-Portrait_of_Charlotta_Bass,_Providence_(_),_ca._1901-1910_(scl-mss064-0451_1)_retouchedCharlotta Amanda Spears Bass (February 14, 1874 – April 12, 1969) was an American educator, newspaper publisher-editor, and civil rights activist. Bass was probably the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States; she published the California Eagle from 1912 until 1951. In 1952, Bass became the first African-American woman nominated for Vice President, as a candidate of the Progressive Party.

Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass was born in Sumter, South Carolina, on February 14, 1874, to Hiram and Kate Spears. She was the sixth child of eleven. When she was twenty years old, she moved to live with her brother in Providence, Rhode Island, where she worked for the Providence Watchman. Spears worked for the Providence Watchman for about ten years.

She moved to California for her health and ended up working at the California Eagle. In 1912, a new editor Joseph Bass joined the Eagle. Bass had been one of the founders of the Topeka Plaindealer. He shared his concern with Spears about the injustice and racial discrimination in society. Charlotta Spears married Joseph Bass, and they ran the Eagle together. She had no children.

Charlotta Bass lived in the 52nd Place Historic District during the 1930s.
The Eagle developed a large black readership. By 1925, the Eagle employed a staff of twelve and published twenty pages a week. The Eagle’s circulation of 60,000 made it the largest African-American newspaper on the West Coast.[4]

When the editor John J. Neimore become ill, he turned the operations of the Eagle over to Spears. After Neimore’s death, the paper’s new owner put Spears in charge. She renamed the newspaper company to the California Eagle due to increasing social and political issues. Her purpose for the California Eagle was to write about the wrongs of society. The newspaper served as a source of both information and inspiration for the black community, which was often ignored or negatively portrayed by the predominant white press.[5] As publisher, Bass was committed to producing a quality periodical. In her weekly column “On the Sidewalk”, begun in 1927, she drew attention to unjust social and political conditions for all Los Angeles minority communities and campaigned vigorously for reform.

Bass published the California Eagle from 1912 until 1951. Bass and her husband combated such issues as the derogatory images in D. W. Griffith’s film, The Birth of a Nation; Los Angeles’ discriminatory hiring practices; the revival of the Ku Klux Klan; police brutality; and restrictive housing covenants. The Basses powerfully championed the black soldiers of the Twenty-Fourth Infantry who were unjustly sentenced in the 1917 Houston race riot. In 1925, the KKK sued the paper for libel. In court, The Eagle won. They also covered the case and supported the “Scottsboro boy,” nine young men who were framed and convicted of rape in Scottsboro, Alabama, in 1931. In 1934, Joseph Bass died. Charlotta Bass continued to run the California Eagle on her own. In the 1940s, Bass’s newspaper pioneered multiethnic politics, advocating Asian-American and Mexican-American civil rights.

Bass retired from the newspaper business in 1951. Her later years were devoted to politics. During the 1920s, Bass became co-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, founded by Marcus Garvey. Bass formed the Home Protective Association to defeat housing covenants in all-white neighborhoods. She helped found the Industrial Business Council, which fought discrimination in employment practices and encouraged black people to go into business. As editor and publisher of the California Eagle, the oldest black newspaper on the West Coast, Charlotta Bass fought against restrictive covenants in housing and segregated schools in Los Angeles. She campaigned to end job discrimination at the Los Angeles General Hospital, the Los Angeles Rapid Transit Company, the Southern Telephone Company, and the Boulder Canyon Project.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, she continued to encourage black businesses with the campaign known as “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work”.

As a leader of both the NAACP and the UNIA, Bass spanned the divide between integrationist and separatist black politics. She was the director of the Youth Movement of the NAACP. It had 200 members, including some actors and actresses, such as Lena Horne, Hattie McDaniel, and Louise Beavers.

In the 1940s, the Republican Party chose Bass as western regional director for Wendell Willkie’s presidential campaign. Three years later, she became the first African-American grand jury member for the Los Angeles County Court. Also in 1943, Bass led a group of black leaders to the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles, Fletcher Bowron’s office. They demanded an expansion of the Mayor’s Committee on American Unity, more public mass meetings to promote interracial unity, and an end to the discriminatory hiring practices of the privately owned Los Angeles Railway Company. The mayor listened, but agreed to do no more than to expand his committee. Then later in the 1940s, Bass left the Republican Party and joined the Progressive Party because she believed neither of the major parties was committed to civil rights.

Bass served in 1952 as the National Chairman of the Sojourners for Truth and Justice, an organization of black women set up to protest racial violence in the South. That year, she was nominated for vice president of the United States by the Progressive Party. She was the running mate of lawyer Vincent Hallinan. Bass became the first African-American woman to run for vice president of the United States. Her platform called for civil rights, women’s rights, an end to the Korean War, and peace with the Soviet Union. Bass’s slogan during the vice presidential campaign was, “Win or lose, we win by raising the issues.”

Bass worked on issues that also attracted Luisa Moreno, who was active in Afro-Chicano politics in Los Angeles during the 1930s-1950. No record shows that the two women ever met, but in 1943 both served on the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, a multiracial group that fought for the release of several Chicanos convicted of murder by an all-white jury making Bass and Moreno part of the same “constellation” of struggle.[15]

Bass wrote her last column for the California Eagle on April 26, 1951, and sold the paper soon after. Considering the sum of her career as she was completing her autobiography, Forty Years (1960), Bass wrote:

“It has been a good life that I have had, through a very hard one, but I know the future will be even better, And as I think back I know that is the only kind of life: In serving one’s fellow man one serves himself best”

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During her years of retirement, she maintained a library in her garage for the young people in her neighborhood. It was a continuation of her long fight to give all people opportunities and education. She died in Los Angeles on April 12, 1969 from a cerebral hemorrhage. She is buried alongside her husband in Evergreen Cemetery, East Los Angeles, California.

Speaking Truth to Power, Taking Risks

Ida B. Wells published an editorial on her investigation on lynching in her Memphis paper, The Free Speech. When her office was destroyed by a mob, she wrote a more detailed account in the New York Age a black newspaper in New York City. On October 26, 1892, Wells published this research in a pamphlet titled Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. Having examined many accounts of lynchings due to the alleged “rape of white women,” she concluded that Southerners cried rape as an excuse to hide their real reasons for lynchings: black economic progress, which threatened white Southerners with competition, and white ideas of enforcing black second-class status in the society. Black economic progress was a contemporary issue in the South, and in many states whites worked to suppress black progress. In this period at the turn of the century, Southern states, starting with Mississippi in 1890, passed laws and/or new constitutions to disenfranchise most black people and many poor white people through use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other devices. Wells-Barnett recommended that black people use arms to defend against lynching.

She followed-up with greater research and detail in The Red Record (1895), a 100-page pamphlet describing lynching in the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. It also covered black peoples’ struggles in the South since the Civil War. The Red Record explored the alarmingly high rates of lynching in the United States (which was at a peak from 1880 to 1930). Wells-Barnett said that during Reconstruction, most Americans outside the South did not realize the growing rate of violence against black people in the South. She believed that during slavery, white people had not committed as many attacks because of the economic labour value of slaves. Wells noted that, since slavery time, “ten thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood, [through lynching] without the formality of judicial trial and legal execution.”

Frederick Douglass had written an article noting three eras of “Southern barbarism,” and the excuses that whites claimed in each period.

Wells-Barnett explored these in detail in her The Red Record.

During slavery time, she noted that whites worked to “repress and stamp out alleged ‘race riots.'” or suspected slave rebellions, usually killing black people in far higher proportions than any white casualties. Once the Civil War ended, white people feared black people, who were in the majority in many areas. White people acted to control them and suppress them by violence.
During the Reconstruction Era white people lynched black people as part of mob efforts to suppress black political activity and re-establish white supremacy after the war. They feared “Negro Domination” through voting and taking office. Wells-Barnett urged black people in high-risk areas to move away to protect their families.
She noted that whites frequently claimed that black men had “to be killed to avenge their assaults upon women.” She noted that white people assumed that any relationship between a white woman and a black man was a result of rape. But, given power relationships, it was much more common for white men to take sexual advantage of poor black women. She stated: “Nobody in this section of the country believes the old threadbare lie that black men rape white women.” Wells connected lynching to sexual violence showing how the myth of the black man’s lust for white women led to murder of African American men.
Wells-Barnett gave 14 pages of statistics related to lynching cases committed from 1892 to 1895; she also included pages of graphic accounts detailing specific lynchings. She notes that her data was taken from articles by white correspondents, white press bureaus, and white newspapers. The Red Record was a huge pamphlet, and had far-reaching influence in the debate about lynching. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases and The Red Record’s accounts of these lynchings grabbed the attention of Northerners who knew little about lynching or accepted the common explanation that black men deserved this fate. Generally southern states and white juries refused to indict any perpetrators for lynching, although they were frequently known and sometimes shown in the photographs being made more frequently of such events.

A 19th Century Investigative Reporter

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830–1885) was a poet, novelist and essayist who became an advocate for Native American rights, fighting for improved treatment of Natives by the US government. She detailed the adverse effects of previous actions taken against Indian tribes in her history A Century of Dishonor (1881). Her novel Ramona dramatized the in Southern California and attracted considerable attention to her cause.

Helen Maria Fiske was born October 18, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, the daughter of Nathan Welby Fiske and Deborah Vinal Fiske, a writer. Nathan Fiske was professor of Language and Philosophy at Amherst College. Helen had a sister Anne and two brothers, both of whom died soon after birth.
Deborah Fiske died of tuberculosis in 1844 when Helen was fourteen. Nathan Fiske died in 1847 in Jerusalem while on a trip to the Holy Land, but he had provided for her education and had arranged for an aunt to care for her.

Helen attended the highly regarded Ipswich Female Seminary and the Abbott Institute, a boarding school run by Reverend J.S.C. Abbott in New York City, receiving an excellent education for the times. At Abbott, Helen was a classmate of one of America’s most distinguished poets Emily Dickinson, also from Amherst. The two remained close and corresponded for the rest of their lives, but few of their letters have survived.

Family
In 1852 at age 22, Helen married Edward Bissell Hunt, a captain in the U.S. Corps of Engineers. For the next 11 years, she and her husband followed the typically mobile life of a career military family. They had two sons, one of whom, Murray Hunt, died as an infant in 1854 of a brain disease.

The Civil War years were not kind to Helen and her family. In 1863 her husband was killed in an accident while experimenting with a one-man submarine he had invented. Her only surviving son, Horsford “Rennie” Hunt, died of diphtheria in 1865 at age nine.

In the winter of 1873-1874 on her doctor’s advice Helen visited Colorado Springs, Colorado in search of a cure for a respiratory ailment when she met a wealthy local banker and railroad executive William Sharpless Jackson. She married Jackson on October 22, 1875 and made Colorado her home. They had no children.

Literary Career
After losing all her family members, Helen took up residence in Newport, Rhode Island, where she and her husband had previously been stationed. After meeting Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a soldier, social reformer and author, Jackson decided to seriously pursue a writing career. With Higginson’s support, her initial literary efforts were devoted to children’s stories, travel sketches, poetry and essays under the pseudonyms “H.H.”

Helen Hunt Jackson became perhaps the most prolific woman writer of her era in the country. Many of her pieces appeared in the New York Independent, Nation, Atlantic and other periodicals. Her early work also included a volume of poetry, Verses (1870). Ralph Waldo Emerson admired her poetry and used several of her poems in his public readings. He included five of them in his anthology Parnassus.

From 1875 to 1877, Jackson published three novels, including Hetty’s Strange History and Mercy Philbrick’s Choice, in which Emily Dickinson was part-model for the heroine. In time, Jackson would produce more than 30 books and hundreds of articles. She most likely would have become better known without the pseudonyms, but popular convention of the time dictated that female writers conceal their true identity.

On a trip back east in 1879 Jackson attended a lecture in Boston by the Ponca Chief Standing Bear, who described the forcible removal of the Ponca Indians from their Nebraska reservation and transfer to the Quapaw Reservation in Indian Territory, where they suffered from disease, climate and poor supplies. This piqued her interest.

Jackson promised to help raise funds for the Ponca People so they could return to their homeland. She wrote a friend, “I have done now, I believe, the last of the things I have said I would never do. I have become what I have said a thousand times was the most odious thing in the world – a woman with a cause.”

Social Reform
Although Jackson continued her other writing, the Native Americans became her primary concern. Upset about the mistreatment of American Indians by government agents, Jackson started investigating and publicizing government misconduct, circulating petitions, raising money for lawsuits and writing letters to the New York Times, attempting to arouse public opinion on behalf of the Indians’ deteriorating condition.

She engaged in heated exchanges with federal officials over the injustices committed against American Indians. Among her special targets was US Secretary of Interior Carl Schurz, whom she once called “the most adroit liar I ever knew.” She exposed the government’s violation of treaties with the Indian tribes and documented the corruption of US Indian agents, military officers and settlers who encroached on and stole Indian lands. The book caused a national sensation.

Jackson’s political activism won the support of several newspaper editors who published her reports about broken treaties, dishonest deals and unfulfilled promises. Among them were William Hayes Ward of the New York Independent, Richard Watson Guilder of the Century Magazine and publisher Whitelaw Reid of the New York Daily Tribune.

In 1881 she wrote what she considered her most important book, A Century of Dishonor. She sent a copy of the book to each member of Congress with a quote from Benjamin Franklin printed in red on the cover: “Look upon your hands: they are stained with the blood of your relations.” The book condemned state and federal Indian policy, detailed the history of broken treaties and called for significant reform in government policy toward Native Americans.

The New York Times later wrote that she:

soon made enemies at Washington by her often unmeasured attacks, and while on general lines she did some good, her case was weakened by her inability, in some cases, to substantiate the charges she had made; hence many who were at first sympathetic fell away.

Jackson went to southern California for rest. Having been interested in the area’s mission and the Mission Indians on an earlier visit, she began an in-depth study. Under its original land grants, the Mexican government provided for resident Indians to continue to occupy the mission lands. After taking control of the territory in 1848, US policies led to their removal from mission lands.

In 1882 President Chester A. Arthur appointed Jackson, along with translator Abbott Kinney, Special Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1882 – the first woman to hold that position. Her assignment was to visit the Mission Indians in Southern California, ascertain the location and condition of various bands, and determine what lands should be purchased for their use.

In 1883 Jackson and Kinney published their 56-page report, which recommended extensive government relief for the Mission Indians, including the purchase of new lands for reservations and the establishment of more Indian schools. Jackson’s call for “some atonement” for past neglect and injustice was not acted upon by government authorities.

Inspired by her friend Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jackson wrote:

I am going to write a novel, in which will be set forth some Indian experiences in a way to move people’s hearts. People will read a novel when they will not read serious books. If I could write a story that would do for the Indian one-hundredth part what Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for the Negro, I would be thankful the rest of my life.

Although Jackson started an outline in California, she began writing the novel in December 1883 in a New York hotel room, and completed it in about three months. Originally titled In The Name of the Law, she published it as Ramona (1884). The story features Ramona, an orphan girl who was half Indian and half Scots and her Indian husband Alessandro, and their struggles for land of their own.

Ramona dramatized the mistreatment of Indians in Southern California, although its popularity was based on its romantic and picturesque qualities rather than its political content. The characters were based on people known by Jackson and incidents which she had encountered. The book achieved rapid success among a wide audience and was popular for generations; it was estimated to have been reprinted 300 times.

A fall at her Colorado Springs home in June 1884 left Jackson with a severely fractured leg. However, she returned to California to visit friends and continue writing. While there, she was diagnosed with cancer, and never returned to Colorado.

Her last letter was written to President Grover Cleveland:

From my death bed I send you a message of heartfelt thanks for what you have already done for the Indians. I ask you to read my Century of Dishonor. I am dying happier for the belief I have that it is your hand that is destined to strike the first steady blow toward lifting this burden of infamy from our country and righting the wrongs of the Indian race.

Helen Hunt Jackson died of stomach cancer on August 12, 1885 in San Francisco, California. Her husband arranged for her burial on a one-acre plot on a high plateau overlooking Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her grave was later moved to Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs. Her estate was valued at $12,642.

One year after her death the North American Review called Ramona “unquestionably the best novel yet produced by an American woman” and named it, along with Uncle Tom’s Cabin, one of two most ethical novels of the 19th century. Sixty years after its publication, 600,000 copies had been sold. There have been over 300 reissues to date and the book has never been out of print.

Helen was described as “the most brilliant, impetuous and thoroughly individual woman in her time.” She rose above personal tragedy and became one of the most successful writers of her day. She included as her friends, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Through her dedication to Indian reform during the last five years of her life, she wrote herself into American history.

Free Press in the United States

Ida Tarbell helped transform journalism by introducing what is called today investigative journalism. Through her achievements, she not only helped to expand the role of the newspaper in modern society and stimulate the Progressive reform movement, but she also became a role model for women wishing to become professional journalists.

Born on the oil frontier of western Pennsylvania in 1857, Tarbell was among the first women to graduate from Allegheny College in 1880. After trying her hand at the more traditional women’s job of teaching, Tarbell began writing and editing a magazine for the Methodist Church. Then, after studying in France for a few years, she joined S. S. McClure’s new reform-minded magazine in 1894. Initially she wrote two popular biographical series–on Napoleon and Abraham Lincoln. In 1902, she embarked on her ground breaking study of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, or what was called the Standard Oil Trust. Her History of the Standard Oil Company, published in 1904, was a landmark work of expos√© journalism that became known as “muckraking.” Her exposure of Rockefeller’s unfair business methods outraged the public and led the government to prosecute the company for violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. As a result, after years of precedent-setting litigation, the Supreme Court upheld the break-up of Standard Oil.

As the most famous woman journalist of her time, Tarbell founded the American Magazine in 1906. She authored biographies of several important businessmen and wrote a series of articles about an extremely controversial issue of her day, the tariff imposed on goods imported from foreign countries. Of this series President Wilson commented, “She has written more good sense, good plain common sense, about the tariff than any man I know of.” During World War I, she joined the efforts to improve the plight of working women. In 1922, The New York Times named her one of the “Twelve Greatest American Women.” It was journalism like hers that inspired Americans of the early twentieth century to seek reform in our government, in our economic structures, and in our urban areas. Along with other muckrakers like Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, and Upton Sinclair, Tarbell ushered in reform journalism. Ever since, newspapers have played a leading role as the watchdogs and consciences of our political, economic, and social lives.

Although Tarbell was not, herself, an advocate of women’s issues or women’s rights, as the most prominent woman active in the muckraking movement and one of the most respected business historians of her generation, Tarbell succeeded in a “male” world ‚Äì the world of journalism, business analysis, and world affairs, thus helping to open the door to other women seeking careers in journalism and, later, in broadcasting.

The Kind of Woman We Need Today

The story of the Rebel Girl
Benjamin Silverman chronicles the radical legacy of IWW leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

August 7, 2012
“FOR PEACE and socialism is in the hearts, in the minds, on the lips of millions around the world…The ‘sun of tomorrow’ shines upon us. The future is ours.”

So said one of the giants of American radicalism, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, in a May Day speech in 1941. Flynn dedicated her life to the struggles of the working class through its highest and lowest points. She breathed class struggle and spoke of revolution for nearly 60 years, and her legacy is worthy of the highest admiration.

Born to poor Irish immigrants in 1890 in New Hampshire, she could claim proudly, “There had been an uprising in each generation in Ireland [against British rule], and forefathers of mine were reputed to be in every one of them.”

Her father, Thomas Flynn, educated her and her siblings in the meaning of her Irish heritage and the politics of liberation. “When one understood British imperialism, it was an open window to all imperialism,” wrote Flynn. “As children, we came to hate unjust wars, which took the land and rights away from other peoples.”

Now living in the South Bronx, her father drifted to socialist politics and brought young Elizabeth with him. Recounting what her father taught her, Elizabeth said, “Scientific socialism made clear that it was not a poor man’s fault if he is out of work…and you were not a ‘failure’ because you did not climb to riches on the backs of your fellow man.”

Thomas Flynn–who ran for the New York State Assembly on the Socialist ticket in 1918–later became overbearing and eventually jealous of his daughter’s popularity in the labor movement. But looking back, Elizabeth still felt that “[o]ur father’s methods were not entirely correct, but his purpose was clear, not to allow his children to be ‘educated’ against the interests of the working class.”

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FLYNN WOULD begin to develop politically on her own, devouring socialist novels like Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward and William Morris’ News From Nowhere, along with the works of Peter Kropotkin and August Bebel. It was the latter’s book Woman Under Socialism that she used as a basis for her first public speech and lecture on “What Socialism Will Do For Women,” which she gave at age 15.

A lifelong advocate for birth control access and a fighter for women’s rights, she said looking back on those times, writing in her autobiography Rebel Girl:

Fathers and husbands collected women’s wages, sometimes right at the company door. Women did not have a legal right to their own earnings…Equal opportunity, equal pay and the right to be organized were the crying needs of women wage-earner then and unfortunately still now.

This teenage agitator become a hit among working men and women, and a target for sexist ire from the snobbish New York Times, which commented after her first of many arrests in 1906, “Miss Flynn, who will graduate school in two years and whose shoe tops…show below her skirts [i.e., she dressed immodestly], tells us what to think, which is just what she thinks.”

A Broadway producer wanted to offer her a career as an actress due to her clear oratory talents, which she refused, saying, “I don’t want to be an actress! I want to speak my own words.”

Flynn began to speak across the country on behalf of the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, often referred to as the “Wobblies”). She joined the IWW’s Mixed Local No. 179 in 1906, a year after the IWW’s founding.

During her long train trips to labor struggles and speaking engagements, she said she “fell in love with [this] country, its rivers, prairies, forests, mountains…I felt then, as I do now, it’s a rich and fertile land, capable of satisfying all the needs of its people. It could be a paradise on earth if it belonged to the people, not to a small owning class.”

Now, as a “professional revolutionist” with the IWW, she became a close collaborator with socialist Eugene Debs and IWW leaders Vincent St. John, Mother Jones and Joe Hill, the rebel songwriter. Flynn became a close friend of legendary Irish socialist James Connolly, who would be executed by the British in 1916 for his part in leading the Dublin Easter Rising against imperial rule, and helped him organize the Irish Socialist Federation.

One of her most important political relationships was with IWW leader and organizer William “Big Bill” Haywood. Flynn recalled some years later how Bill said in a speech, “‘I’m a two-gun man from the West, you know.’ And while the audience waited breathlessly, he pulled his union card from one pocket and his Socialist card from the other.”

Though the two would have a major political falling out some years later over the direction of the IWW, Flynn and Haywood worked closely together in a number of the IWW’s most historic struggles.

They worked together organizing agricultural workers in the West and lumber workers in the Pacific Northwest, and at countless freedom of speech fights all over the country. They were part of the 1913 silk strike in Paterson, N.J.; massive textile strikes in Lowell and New Bedford, Mass., and the great “Bread and Roses” strike of 1912 in Lawrence, Mass.

Flynn was arrested for one trumped-up charge or another at just about all of these occasions. Her son Fred boasted many years later that he had been arrested twice, once in Missoula and a second time in Spokane–before he was even born.

During the Lawrence “Bread and Roses” strike, Flynn and Haywood worked hard to educate the mostly immigrant textile workers of, as Flynn put it:

their power, as workers, as the producers of all wealth, as the creators of profit. We talked of “solidarity,” a beautiful word in all languages. We said firmly, “You work together for the boss. You can stand together to fight for yourselves!” We ridiculed the police and militia. “Can they weave cloth with soldiers’ bayonets or policemen’s club?”

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THIS WAS the Wobblies’ great strength–the ability to relate and speak to people on their own terms, to point out to workers what they already knew in their guts, that the whole system is stacked against them and the only chance they’ve got is to band together, into “One Big Union.”

These were the high points of the early IWW, but they didn’t last. While the key to the IWW’s success was organizing among the unskilled workers who the American Federation of Labor refused to organize, some of their own policies diminished their ability to hold the group together.

For instance, the IWW refused to sign contracts over wages, benefits and working conditions because this, IWW leaders believed, represented a compromise with the bosses. Without contracts, the IWW failed to consolidate many of the gains it made during the brave workers’ struggles it led. In many cases, when IWW organizers left town, the local organizations fell apart.

The IWW also argued that the key to transforming society was organizing the majority of workers into “One Big Union,” which would be the framework for a new socialist society. The final blow to capitalism would come through a mass general strike that would paralyze the economy and force the bosses to give industry over to the working class. As a result, the IWW didn’t participate in politics–leaving this important arena of struggle to the Socialist Party, which was dominated by a conservative wing.

Reflecting many years later, Flynn said that “possibly a permanent industrial union movement could have been built a quarter century earlier than the CIO. But our incurable ‘infantile leftism’ blinded us.” By the beginning of the First World War, the IWW had been weakened by splits, factionalism and an unwillingness to tackle explicitly political issues.

And this was just before its greatest challenge. With the entry of the U.S. into the First World War, a wave of government-backed mob violence spread across the country. Pacifists, certain Christian sects, German immigrants, socialists and especially Wobblies were attacked, brutalized, tarred and feathered, and sometimes lynched.

During the Red Scare, socialists and communists, anarchists, Wobblies, unionists and other radicals were attacked, their halls ransacked and their members arrested. Many were rounded up in the Palmer Raids, named after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, and deported under the auspices of the Espionage and Sedition Acts.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn took it upon herself at this time to struggle for the freedom all of these “class war prisoners.” She said, “We planned to work for the release of all [labor] and political prisoners…the imprisoned comrades, of whatever persuasions, were a bond of unity.”

She became a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a principal activist within the International Labor Defense (ILD), which formed in 1925.

“One of our first undertakings was to publicize the facts of each case,” explained Flynn. “We organized outside correspondents to write to the prisoners. Through these channels, we soon became very familiar with the conditions inside the gray, forbidding walls of federal penitentiaries.”

Flynn helped win the release of those who participated in the Green Corn Rebellion, a revolt of poor Oklahoma farmers against the draft, fought for the freedom of many imprisoned Wobblies and antiwar activists, and was heavily involved in the campaign to save Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti from execution.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

HER POLITICAL activities in the 1920s were cut short by illness, and she spent the better part of a decade ill and inactive. When she finally re-entered her lifelong work as a revolutionist, it was to join the Communist Party (CP)–an organization she had already moved close to through her work with the ILD.

Flynn joined the Communist Party in 1936, was elected to the national committee two years later and became national chairperson in 1961. By this point, the U.S. Communist Party, like all those around the world, had become a creature of the new ruling bureaucracy in Russia, led by Joseph Stalin, and so it followed the dictates from Russia, even when this meant opposing struggle.

Flynn followed the CP line through its many appalling twists and turns, including the Stalin-Hitler Pact, and then support for the Second World War, revelations by Khrushchev of the extent of Stalin’s murderous crimes, and the Russian suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

But this period in her life shouldn’t overshadow Flynn’s record of militancy and courage in the cause of the labor movement, for which she faced police violence and was thrown in jail countless times for her beliefs and even served two years behind bars in the late 1950s as a victim of McCarthyism.

In a world of “great men” she was a proud, working-class, Irish woman who stood with her shoulders square and spoke with an impassioned voice that was eloquent, yet relatable; inspiring, but not condescending; and militant to the core.

When Elizabeth Gurley Flynn went to see the great IWW songwriter Joe Hill in Salt Lake City while he was awaiting execution for a crime he didn’t commit, Joe dedicated a song to Flynn called “The Rebel Girl”:

Yes, her hands may be harden’d from labor
And her dress may not be very fine;
But a heart in her bosom is beating
That is true to her class and her kind.
And the grafters in terror are trembling
When her spite and defiance she’ll hurl.
For the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

And this is exactly how Elizabeth Gurley Flynn deserves to be remembered.

July ~ Election Year 1860

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The democratic Party splinters while the new Republican Party makes gains in the North Slavery remains a divisive issue. Tensions mount in Europe as Italian unification moves ahead.

July 2–Monday– New York City– Democrats gather in a mass gathering at Tammany Hall to overwhelmingly endorse Senator Stephen A Douglas as the single Democratic presidential candidate. A considerable number of speakers emphasize the importance of rejecting Breckinridge and the South in favor of Union. The crowd moves to Senator Douglas’ hotel on Fifth Avenue to shout their support. In response Douglas comes out on the hotel balcony and gives brief remarks.

July 2– Monday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The state Democratic Executive Committee meets at the Merchants’ Hotel in an attempt to work out a compromise over the split in the Democratic ticket. A motion to name Stephen Douglas as the sole nominee loses heavily.

July 3– Tuesday– Hartford, Connecticut–Birth of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, sociologist, feminist, author, lecturer, social reformer and one of the founders of the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915. [Dies August 17, 1935.]

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Charlotte Perkins  Gilman

 

July 4–Wednesday– Columbus, Ohio– The Democratic State Convention meets in Columbus and when a slim majority vote to endorse the Douglas-Johnson ticket, a significant number of Breckinridge supporters immediately withdraw. They gather in another location and issue a call for another state-wide nominating convention to be held in August.

July 4– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “Long before this you have learned who was nominated at Chicago. We know not what a day may bring forth; but, to-day, it looks as if the Chicago ticket will be elected. I think the chances were more than equal that we could have beaten the Democracy united. Divided, as it is, it’s chance appears indeed very slim. But great is Democracy in resources; and it may yet give it’s fortunes a turn. It is under great temptation to do something; but what can it do which was not thought of, and found impracticable, at Charleston and Baltimore?. The signs now are that Douglas and Breckenridge will each have a ticket in every state. They are driven to this to keep up their bombastic claims of nationality, and to avoid the charge of sectionalism which they have so much lavished upon us. It is an amusing fact, after all Douglas has said about nationality, and sectionalism, that I had more votes from the Southern section at Chicago, than he had at Baltimore! In fact, there was more of the Southern section represented at Chicago, than in the Douglas rump concern at Baltimore!” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Anson G. Henry.

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July 5– Thursday– Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts– Birth of Robert Bacon, statesman and diplomat. [Dies May 29, 1919.]

July 5–Thursday– Baltimore, Maryland–Roman Catholic Archbishop Francis Kenrick of Baltimore writes a letter to Pope Pius IX expressing the support of Maryland Catholics for the Pontiff in the trying times he faces from Garibaldi and the rise of Italian unification.

July 6– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “It is a high and noble principle of jurisprudence, that immoral contracts and unrighteous law are null and void. Anything in the Constitution of the United States, which contradicts the spirit of its Preamble, is, in the sight of God and of good men, of no account at all. No matter whether our fathers swerved from the right or not, we are under no moral nor legal obligation to mind the pro-slavery parts of the Constitution. The question of their strength of character, or their weakness, is comparatively an unprofitable one. The main thing is for us to be Abolitionists, constitutionally or unconstitutionally. Mr. Sumner, with his large and clear sight of what the Constitution ought to be, can see no pro-slavery provisions in it—no fugitive slave clause—no three-fifths representation for slavery—and no sufferance of the slave trade for twenty years. Charles Francis Adams does see the three-fifth rule, and trembles at its application! But both are Abolitionists. Both think more of liberty then of the Union. Both are fear-lees and eloquent Anti-Slavery men. By position, they may be partakers with barbarians and adulterers, but not by character. They are uncompromising men. They are Garrisonian in spirit and truth, because they prize justice more highly than compromises.” ~ Piece by WGB in today’s Liberator.

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July 6–Friday– New York City–Recognizing the problems of his party, Fernando Wood, the Democratic mayor proposes in a public letter that the splintered Democrats vote strategically in the upcoming presidential election in order to defeat Lincoln and the Republicans. In states where Douglas is most popular, Democrats should vote for Douglas, and where Breckinridge is favored, Democrats should vote for Breckinridge. The result, he argues, will send the election from the Electoral College into the House of Representatives as in 1824 and a Democratic candidate will be selected.

July 9–Monday– Washington, D. C.– A massive Democratic crowd this evening gathers outside city hall in support of the Breckinridge and Lane ticket. They listen to a number of senators, including Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, urge their support. Then they move to the White House where President Buchanan appears and speaks. While acknowledging the split in the Democratic Party, he gives the reasons why he prefers Breckinridge over Douglas.

July 9–Monday– Damascus, Syria–The violent conflict between Druze and Christians which has flared all over Lebanon since late May now spreads here. With the suspected collusion of Turkish authorities, Druze and Muslim militants between today and Wednesday the 11th, kill somewhere between 7,000 to 11,000 Christian men, women, and children, including the American and Dutch consuls and a number of other Europeans. Many Christians are saved through the intervention of the Muslim leader Abd al-Qadir, an Algerian exile, and his soldiers, who bring them to safety in Abd al-Qadir’s own residence and in the Citadel of Damascus. The Christian inhabitants of the extremely poor Midan district outside the city walls are protected by their Muslim neighbors.

July 10—Tuesday– Alexandria, Louisiana–Serving as the first superintendent of Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy, Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman writes to his wife Ellen in Ohio about the upcoming election. He opines that whoever is elected in November “the same old game will be played, and he will go out of office like Pierce and Buchanan with their former honors sunk and lost.”

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July 11–Wednesday– New York City– At a mass meeting of Republican young men at the Cooper Institute Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gives a fiery speech attacking slavery. Vehemently he declares that if the institution could be driven back into the slave states and kept out of the western territories then the slave system will die “as a poisoned rat dies of rage in its hole.” He calls for a Republican victory in the November election to make this happen.

July 11–Wednesday– Plymouth, England– The Prince of Wales aboard the H.M.S. Hero, accompanied by H.M.S. Ariadne, sets sail on his North American tour as he receives the salute of the Royal Navy’s Channel Fleet.

July 11–Wednesday– London, England–In response to protests from non-conformist church members and clergy across the country about the government’s plans to require those being counted to identify their religious affiliation in the upcoming 1861 census, the Liberal Government in Parliament removes that requirement from the Census Bill.

July 13–Friday– New York–Mr James Putnam, a prominent American Party [the name used by “the Know-Nothing” anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant party in the last six years] politician in the state, issues a letter state wide, endorsing Lincoln for president. Putnam asserts that Republicans are not abolitionists and Lincoln is “no fanatic” on matters of racial equality.

July 14– Saturday– New York City– “The Great Quadrangular Presidential Imbroglio is in full operation. The four chief tickets, resolving themselves into the National Democratic Nomination of Douglas, the Administration Buchananite Mormon Ticket represented by Breckenridge, the Republican Rail-Splitting one of Abe Lincoln, and at of the steady old fossil Bell. It seems to be pretty generally conceded that Douglas will carry New York and Pennsylvania, and Lincoln Ohio, thus sending election to the House and possibly to the Senate. We will not, however, forestall popular curiosity, but leave the public in doubt till November. The press is in a delicious state of doubt, dismay and don’t-know-what-to-do-ism.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

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July 16–Monday– Off the coast of west Africa–A U S warship captures the slaver Triton.

July 16–Monday– New York City–Two thousand people gather in Union Park for an evening pro-Lincoln rally. Horace Greeley speaks at length, seeking the support of Whig Party and American Party voters for the Republican ticket.

July 16– Monday– Hartford, Connecticut– Senator Douglas arrives to an enthusiastic reception from a large crowd. In his speech, he asserts that he is the voice of reason in the campaign, standing in the center between two extremes, and that the “regular” Democratic Party is the only party that can save the country.

July 17–Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– Senator Douglas arrives to the welcome of a large crowd who parade him through the streets to his hotel where he gives a speech in the evening.

July 18– Wednesday– Springfield, Illinois– “It appears to me that you and I ought to be acquainted, and accordingly I write this as a sort of introduction of myself to you. You first entered the Senate during the single term I was a member of the House of Representatives, but I have no recollection that we were introduced. I shall be pleased to receive a line from you. The prospect of Republican success now appears very flattering, so far as I can perceive. Do you see anything to the contrary?” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Hannibal Hamlin, the nominee for Vice-President. [Hamlin, age 51, a native of Maine, is a lawyer and politician who has served ten years in the Senate and a man with strong anti-slavery feelings.]

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Hannibal Hamlin

 

July 20– Friday– Springfield, Illinois– “I see by the papers, and also learn from Mr. Nicolay, who saw you at Terre-Haute, that you are filling a list of speaking appointments in Indiana. I sincerely thank you for this; and I shall be still further obliged if you will, at the close of the tour, drop me a line, giving your impression of our prospects in that state. Still more will you oblige us if you will allow us to make a list of appointments in our State, commencing, say, at Marshall, in Clark county, and thence South and West, along our Wabash and Ohio river border. In passing, let me say, that at Rockport you will be in the county within which I was brought up from my eighth year– having left Kentucky at that point of my life.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Cassius Marcellus Clay. [Clay, 1810–1903, Kentucky-born, was a politician, journalist and abolitionist. A quixotic man, he will serve as Lincoln’s ambassador to Russia. On his life and work, see: Lion of White Hall: the Life of Cassius M Clay (1962) by David L Smiley; Cassius Marcellus Clay: Firebrand of Freedom (1976) by H Edward Richardson; The Last Gladiator: Cassius M Clay (1979) by Roberta Baughman Carlee.]

July 20–Friday– Sicily– The forces of Giuseppe Garibaldi defeat royal Neapolitan forces near Messina; nearly all of the island is now under Garibaldi’s control.

Garibaldi departing on the Expedition of the Thousand in 1860

Garibaldi & his soldiers

 

July 21– Saturday– Springfield, Illinois– “That I never was in a Know-Nothing lodge in Quincy [Illinois], I should expect, could be easily proved, by respectable men, who were always in the lodges and never saw me there. An affidavit of one or two such would put the matter at rest. And now, a word of caution. Our adversaries think they can gain a point, if they could force me to openly deny this charge, by which some degree of offence would be given to the Americans. For this reason, it must not publicly appear that I am paying any attention to the charge.” ~ In a letter to Abraham Jonas, Lincoln responds cautiously to charges that he was previously involved with the American or Know Nothing Party.

July 22– Sunday– Ballynunnery, Ireland– Birth of Johanna Butler, a/k/a Mother Marie Joseph Butler, educator, founder of schools in Europe and the United States, and head of an order of Roman Catholic nuns from 1926 to 1940. [Dies April 23, 1940.]

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Mother Marie Joseph Butler

 

July 23– Monday– Springfield, Illinois–”From present appearances we might succeed in the general result, without Indiana; but with it, failure is scarcely possible. Therefore put in your best efforts. I see by the despatches that Mr. Clay had a rousing meeting at Vincennes [Indiana].” ~ Letter from Lincoln to Caleb B Smith

July 23–Monday– Off the coast of Cuba–In international waters a U S warship captures the slaver William Kirby.

July 23– Monday– St. John’s, Newfoundland–Early this evening the H.M.S. Hero, a 91 gun warship in the Royal Navy, arrives from Plymouth, England and drops anchor. On board is the Prince of Wales beginning his tour of Canada and the United States.

July 25–Wednesday– Paris, France–With tensions in Europe increasing between France and Britain and France and Prussia, Emperor Napoleon III instructs his ambassador in London to relay to Her Majesty’s Government his wishes for peace in Europe and his assurances that France’s interests in the situation in Italy concerning the Papal States and the violence in Syria are solely attempts to preserve peace.

July 29–Sunday– Missouri– Carl Schurz, German “Forty-eighter” immigrant, is campaigning across the state on behalf of Lincoln. He is reaching out to fellow German-born voters by giving his speeches in their native language. He writes to his wife, “I have been in all respects highly successful. The Germans are coming to our side by hundreds and thousands.” [Schurz, 1829– 1906, was born in Germany and fled to the United States in 1852, having been a fugitive in France and in England after the failure of the 1848 revolutions. In the course of his life he is an orator, political activist, abolitionist, politician, U S minister to Spain, Union officer, senator from Missouri, civil rights advocate, Secretary of the Interior under President Rutherford B Hayes, journalist, author, anti-imperialist and advocate of civil service reform. On his life and work, see Carl Schurz and the Civil War (1933) by Barbara Donner; The Forty-eighters: Political Refugees of the German Revolution of 1848 (1950) edited by Adolf Eduard Zucker; Carl Schurz, a Biography (1998) by Hans L Trefousse.]

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July 30–Monday– Halifax, Nova Scotia– On the first leg of his North American tour, the Prince of Wales arrives. He is welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd.

July ~ Election Year 1856

Woman making American Flag

In some places, people fear civil war. Kansas remains in turmoil and is a divisive political issue. Slavery is even more divisive. Lincoln takes an active role in Republican politics. Women are increasingly active and speaking out on issues.

July 1– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “A short time ago, it was my privilege to spend a few days at Richmond [Indiana], and become personal acquainted with many whom I had known through the medium of the paper and private correspondence! And truly it makes the heart glad to mingle face to face with those with whom we have held pleasant correspondence for years, and realize in them friends true and devoted. It is especially cause of rejoicing to see so many women laboring earnestly for the right, the heart can feel its thankfulness, though the pen may not be able to express it. These faithful ones shall have their reward when the jubilee of freedom shall sound through the land—when the slave shall stand forth in his manhood —when woman can raise her unshackled arm, and use her unfettered mind—when the children of the redeemed inebriate shall ‘rise up and call him blessed’—then will they feel that they have not labored in vain; nor need they wait till then, for every day’s discharge of duty brings its reward. Perhaps it may be as interesting to other readers as it was to me, to learn that the Lily has a good circulation, and the subscribers pay punctually. This speaks well for its editor, and for the paper, as it is emphatically a woman’s paper, and paid for principally by laboring women.” ~ Letter from Mary F. Thomas to the editor of The Lily, a feminist newspaper founded by Amelia Bloomer in 1849. [Mary Thomas, 1816-1888, a pioneering woman in the practice of medicine, spent much energy in the causes of abolition, temperance, woman suffrage, and “everything that aimed to better the human race” as one of her medical colleagues noted.]

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her office sign

 

July 2– Wednesday– New York City– “Kansas battle beginning in the House [of Representatives in Washington]. Indications that [Stephen A] Douglas and others are scared by the storm their selfish folly has raised. . . . I hope . . . that the mischief may be so far repaired as to make a sectional contest unnecessary. . . . but can civil war between North and South be postponed twenty years longer? I fear we, or our children, have got to pass through a ruinous revolutionary period of conflict between two social systems before the policy of the U S A is finally settled. The struggle will be fearful when it comes, as it must sooner or later, for an amicable disunion and partition of territory is an impossibility.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 3– Thursday– Simsbury, Connecticut– Birth of Sarah Pratt McLean Greene, author. [Dies December 28, 1935.]

July 3– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– In Congress the House of Representatives passes a bill to admit Kansas as a free state; however, the Senate defeats the measure.

July 4– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”I am strong enough to send from my present retreat a brief expression of cordiality in the nominations made by the People’s Convention at Philadelphia, and also of the gladness with which I shall support them by voice and vote, with mind and heart. I have long honored Colonel Fremont, for his genius in geographical enterprise; for his eminent intelligence; for his manly fortitude; for his perfect integrity, and for his easy command of men, swaying to his own beneficent purposes even the savages of the forest, while Nature herself, in her winter fastnesses before his march. It is well at this moment, when a great Crime is instigated and sustained by the national Government, that such a man, with a courage which will not be questioned, and with a sensitiveness to right which will not sleep, should be summoned to grapple with the wrong-doers. And permit me to say that I find no force in the objection, that he has never been a politician.” ~ Letter from Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner appearing in today’s Liberator in which Sumner endorses the Republican ticket of Fremont and Dayton.

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Senator Charles Sumner

 

July 4– Friday– Princeton, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy, among others, speak at a rally in support of Fremont and the Republican ticket.

July 5– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “In the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, Fifth month 21st, 1856, the following Testimony against Slavery was unanimously adopted, viz.: ‘Once more, in obedience to the Apostolic injunction, Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them, we lift up our united voice against that gigantic system of robbery and wrong, American Slavery, by which nearly four millions of human beings, immortal children of God like ourselves, are reduced to a level with four-footed beasts, compelled to toil without wages, often scourged and lacerated by savage-hearted masters or overseers, separated from their dearest kindred and sold as chattels, and, what is far worse than any act of physical cruelty, deprived of the means of intellectual and moral culture, and doomed to gross ignorance and degradation, in a land calling itself Christian and boasting of its civilization, refinement and humanity! The bodily tortures endured by the slaves are indeed enough to awaken profound sympathy and excite an intense indignation; but, oh! how much more appalling is the violence done to those higher faculties, through which they are allied to God and made heirs to an immortal life!’” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard

July 7– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Pierce submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty with the Austrian Empire for the extradition of criminals.

July 8– Tuesday– New York City– “Political matters unchanged. We’re in a pretty uneasy and uncomfortable state, in which violent convulsion is possible at any moment; for example, there may well be some collision at Washington that would bring forward delegations from both North and South to support and uphold their respective representatives. The West is said to be decided that Kansas shall not be a slave state, if the physical power of the West can prevent it; so there may be civil war in these days.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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George Templeton Strong

 

July 10– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “I have just received your letter of yesterday; and I shall take the plan you suggest into serious consideration. I expect to go to Chicago about the 15th, and I will then confer with other friends upon the subject. A union of our strength, to be effected in some way, is indispensable to our carrying the State against Buchanan. The inherent obstacle to any plan of union, lies in the fact that of those Germans which we now have with us, large numbers will fall away, so soon as it is seen that their votes, cast with us, may possibly be used to elevate Mr. Fillmore. If this inherent difficulty were out of the way, one small improvement on your plan occurs to me. It is this. Let Fremont and Fillmore men unite on one entire ticket, with the understanding that that ticket, if elected, shall cast the vote of the State, for whichever of the two shall be known to have received the larger number of electoral votes, in the other states. This plan has two advantages. It carries the electoral vote of the State where it will do most good; and it also saves the waste vote, which, according to your plan would be lost, and would be equal to two in the general result. But there may be disadvantages also, which I have not thought of.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to James Berden.

July 11– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “In accordance with the invitation of the Managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather, rain falling heavily during the time of assembling, a large number of persons came together at Framingham, to the morning of the anniversary of National Independence, to spend the day accordance with those sentiments of the people ought to feel, in view of the utter subjection of their National Government . . . and of the entire Union, to the ignominious service of the Slave Power which now rules the land.” ~ The Liberator.

July 12– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “The Anti-Slavery cause has at length, after a quarter of a century of labors, taken possession, in one form or another, of almost every mind in our American community. To men of great sympathies, it has shown the sufferings of the slave; to men of a profound sense of right, it has shown his wrongs; to men whose hope is in another life, it has shown him deprived of Bibles, and Sabbaths, and sanctuary privileges; to men whose hope is in this life, it has shown him deprived of education and the means of self-improvement and success. To patriots, it has shown their country’s shame and danger. To politicians, it has shown one of the most selfish and accursed interest devouring every true one. To Christians, it has shown their Redeemer crucified afresh in the persons of these the least of his brethren. To philanthropists, it has shown human nature degraded and ruined in the person of both master and slave, by the outrages of the one against the liberty of the other.” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard.

July 15– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “When woman sees fit to take her true position, as the mother of the race, the equal of man, there must, of necessity, be an entire revolution in Church, State, and Family. This reform aims not merely to make a few new laws, to grant a few privileges, or to redress a few grievances, but it is indeed a new creation. Behold! the degraded slave of man, the victim of lust, fear, and priestcraft, stands forth in the full dignity of womanhood, self-reliant, conscious of her own dignity and strength, and rejoicing that in her redemption a nobler race of beings shall bless and beautify the earth.” ~ The Lily

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July 16– Wednesday– New York City– “It is clear that the ‘Black Republican’ party commends itself much to educated and intelligent people at the North.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 17– Thursday– Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania– Two trains collide, killing more than 60 people– many of them teenagers– and injuring about 100 others. It is the deadliest railroad accident in the world up to this time and remains one of the worst in the history of the United States. The conductor of one of the trains, feeling that the accident is his fault, commits suicide.

July 17– Thursday– Dixon, Illinois– A reporter describes Abraham Lincoln who speaks at a Republican rally. “He is about six feet high, crooked-legged, stoop shouldered, spare built, and anything but handsome in the face. It is plain that nature took but little trouble in fashioning his outer man . . . As a close observer and cogent reasoner, he has few equals and perhaps no superior in the world. His language is pure and respectful, he attacks no man’s character or motives, but fights with arguments. . . . He spoke full two hours and still the audience cried, ‘go on.’”

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Attorney Lincoln

 

July 19– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– A reporter describes Abraham Lincoln’s speech at a Republican rally here this evening. “He spoke in Dearborn Park, and was listened to by a very large audience. The speech was one that did him eminent credit, and which cannot fail to produce a telling effect upon the political sentiment of Chicago. The exposure of the fallaciousness of the position taken by Mr. Fillmore in his Albany speech was timely and effective; and his refutation of the charge of sectionalism, so flippantly made by the slavery-extensionists against the Republican party, was full and able. Every point he touched upon was elucidated by the clearness of his logic, and with his keen blade of satire he laid bare the revolting features of policy of the pseudo-Democracy.”

July 21– Monday– Waterloo, New York– Birth of Louise Blanchard Bethune, who will in October, 1881, become the first American woman to work as a professional architect. [Dies December 18, 1913.]

July 22– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Pierce submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty of commerce and friendship with Chile.

July 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The affairs of Kansas are still in a desperate state. The citizens get no protection from the United States Government. General P.H. Smith, who has recently been sent there, when asked by a deputation of citizens, who waited on him, for protection for their lives and property, replied that he had no authority to grant such protection. They must expect it only from the civil law; i.e. the law of the border ruffians, who rob and murder them.” ~ The Liberator.

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violence in Kansas

 

July 26– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “We doubt whether the North has yet spirit enough revived from the paralytic lethargy into which she had been cast by slavery for so many years to throw off even the shadow of the body of that sin which touches her. It takes a long time for a constitution so depraved and debauched as her’s to recover stamina enough even for so partial a recovery as that. And we are not sure that it would be of any hope to the Slave that the Republican party should prevail. We think that, as long as the Union is to be maintained as the Chief Good, and the sacrifices we have seen offered up to it for the past few years are still to smoke on its altars, it is of no particular consequence whether the High Priest be named Fremont or Buchanan. Our hope lies in the Anti-Slavery Spirit which must give this movement whatever success it can have or hope for, and which we do not believe will die of defeat! We think it is in much greater danger of dying of success. So, while we refuse to join the Republican party, and while we have but small hope from it, directly, if it succeed, we see in the emotions from which it springs and in the passions which must needs be aroused in its progress, signs of returning health and symptoms of a possible recovery. It is not the End. We fear it is very far from it. But it is the Beginning of the End, and as such it is regarded with the instinct of tyrants by the common enemy of us all.” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard.

July 28– Monday– Springfield, Illinois– “I very cheerfully give you my opinion as to the prospects of the Presidential election in this state & Indiana; premising that I am a Fremont man, so that you can make due allowance for my partiality. I have no doubt, then, that the opposition to Buchanan, are the majority in both these states; but, that opposition being divided between Fremont & Fillmore, places both states in some danger. I think the danger is not great in Indiana; but some greater here. The Fillmore men have no power in either state, beyond dividing strength, and thereby bettering the chances of Buchanan. They know this; and I still hope the bulk of them will think better than to throw away their votes for such an object.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Artemas Hale.

July 30– Wednesday– Norwich, Connecticut– Birth of Julia Henrietta Gulliver, philosopher, author, educator and president of Rockford [Illinois] College from 1902 to 1919. [Dies July 25, 1940.]

July ~ Election Year 1852

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Frederick Douglass, former slave, calls into question the American vision in a dramatic Fourth of July speech. President Fillmore is busy, including having to deal with a leak to the press. Abolitionists do not mourn the late Henry Clay. Dissatisfaction with the two major parties seems to create opportunity for third party movements. Temperance is an issue which will grow in significance over the next seventy years. Great Britain undergoes a significant political change.

July 1– Thursday– New York City– “Mrs. Margaret Freeland of Syracuse was recently arrested upon a warrant issued on complaint of Emanuel Rosendale, a rum-seller, charging her with forcing an entrance to his house, and with stones and clubs smashing his doors and windows, breaking his tumblers and bottles, and turning over his whiskey barrels and spilling their contents. Great excitement was produced by this novel case. It seems that the husband of Mrs. Freeland is a drunkard, that he is in the habit of abusing his wife, turning her out of doors, &c., and this was carried so far that the Police have frequently found it necessary to interfere to put a stop to his ill treatment of his family. Rosendale the complainant, furnished Freeland with the liquor which turned him into a demon. Mrs. Freeland had frequently told him of her sufferings and besought him to refrain from giving her husband the poison. But alas! she appealed to a heart of stone. He disregarded her entreaties and spurned her from his door. Driven to desperation she armed herself, broke into the house, drove out the base-hearted landlord and proceeded upon the work of destruction. She was brought before the Court and demanded a trial. The citizens employed C. B. Sedgwick, Esq., as her counsel, and prepared to justify her assault upon legal grounds. Rosendale, being at once arrested on complaint of T. L. Carson for selling liquor unlawfully, and feeling the force of the storm that was gathering over his head, appeared before the Justice, withdrew his complaint against Mrs. Freeland, paid the costs, and gave bail on the complaint of Mr. Carson, to appear at the General Sessions, and answer to an indictment should there be one found. Mrs. Freeland is said to be ‘the pious mother of a fine family of children, and a highly respectable member of the Episcopal Church.’” ~ The Lily

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temperance activists

 

July 1– Thursday– Washington, D.C. – “Great was my surprise to observe this morning in one of the public journals a statement of what purports to be a proposition, jointly signed by Her Britannic Majesty’s minister here and the Secretary of State, for the adjustment of certain claims to territory between Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Mosquito Indians. I have caused immediate inquiry to be made into the origin of this highly improper publication, and shall omit no proper or legal means for bringing it to light. Whether it shall turn out to have been caused by unfaithfulness or breach of duty in any officer of this Government, high or low, or by a violation of diplomatic confidence, the appropriate remedy will be immediately applied, as being due not only to this Government, but to other governments. And I hold this communication to be especially proper to be made immediately by me to the Senate, after what has transpired on this subject, that the Senate may be perfectly assured that no information asked by it has been withheld and at the same time permitted to be published to the world. This publication can not be considered otherwise than as a breach of official duty by some officer of the Government or a gross violation of the confidence necessary always to be reposed in the representatives of other nations. An occurrence of this kind can not but weaken the faith so desirable to be preserved between different governments and to injure the negotiations now pending, and it merits the severest reprobation.” ~ Message to the Senate from President Fillmore.

July 2– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “An announcement of [Henry] Clay’s death. He was a brilliant orator, and exceedingly attractive and magnetic in social life, but utterly devoid of principle, and one who has done more than any other man to extend and perpetuate slavery, and render popular the accursed doctrine of ‘compromise.’ Death has its uses; and never is this more clearly seen than in the removal of such a man from a world which he has only cursed by his bad example. In his removal, the colored population of the country, both bond and free, have lost their most insidious and influential persecutor.” ~ The Liberator. [Clay died on June 29, 1852.]

July 2– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “By an act of Congress approved on the 10th day of February, 1852, an appropriation of $6,000 was made for the relief of American citizens then lately imprisoned and pardoned by the Queen of Spain, intended to provide for the return of such of the Cuban prisoners as were citizens of the United States who had been transported to Spain and there pardoned by the Spanish Government. It will be observed that no provision was made for such foreigners or aliens as were engaged in the Cuban expedition, and who had shared the fate of American citizens, for whose relief the said act was intended to provide. I now transmit a report from the First Comptroller, with accompanying papers, from which it will be perceived that fifteen foreigners were connected with that expedition, who were also pardoned by the Queen of Spain, and have been transported to the United States under a contract made with our consul, at an expense of $1,013.34, for the payment of which no provision has been made by law. The consul having evidently acted with good intentions, the claim is submitted for the consideration of Congress.” ~ Message to Congress from President Fillmore. [The $1,013.14 would equal $32,000 today, using the Consumer Price Index.]

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President Fillmore

 

July 5– Monday– Rochester, New York– “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.” ~ Speech by Frederick Douglass on the meaning of the Fourth of July.

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Douglass at the podium

 

July 8– Thursday– Montreal, Quebec, Canada– A fire breaks out which will consume 11,000 houses.

July 15– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “The National Era will keep its readers advised of the movements of Parties, their Principles, Purposes, and Prospects; and their Position, especially as relates to the Question of Slavery. Persons subscribing for six months from the 1st of July, will receive the paper till the 1st of January, thus securing a full view of the entire Campaign, its results, and its bearings upon the preliminary movements in the next session of Congress. Twelve copies of the paper will be sent for the six months for $9 – the person making up the club entitling himself to an extra copy; or, For the five months from July 1st to December 1st, covering the campaign and its results, twelve copies will be sent for $7.50 – the person making up the club being entitled to an extra copy. The record of Mr. Pierce, which we publish this week, will be republished in the early part of next month, for the benefit of those subscribers who may commence on the first of July. It shall be our aim to furnish impartially the important facts in relation to all the contending Parties. Will not our friends who regard the Era as qualified to spread correct political information and disseminate sound political sentiments, do what they can, by the formation of clubs and otherwise, to secure it still larger access to the public mind? We must rely upon their well-directed efforts. An uncompromising opponent of the Pro-Slavery policy of the old political organizations, it still expects to obtain a fair hearing from the liberal men who continue to support them, though under protest.” ~ The National Era.

July 16– Friday–Rochester, New York– “Slave Hunters. We understand that some specimens of these loathsome excrescences of the human race, made their appearance in Detroit last week. But there they met a boundary they dare not pass in search of slave property. IF any of them aspire after the honors that graced the Austrian woman-whipper in London, we feelingly invite them on Her Majesty’s free soil.” ~ Frederick Douglass’ Paper.

July 23– Friday– Rochester, New York– “Sir, we are in the midst of a revolution. The two great parties are striving to convert this free Government into a slaveholding, a slave-breeding Republic. Those powers which were delegated to secure liberty are now exerted to overthrow freedom and the Constitution. It becomes every lover of freedom, every Christian, every man, to stand forth in defense of popular rights in defense of the rights of the free States, of the institutions under which we live, in defense of our national character.” ~ Speech by Joshua Giddings in the House of Representatives on June 23rd, reprinted in today’s issue of Frederick Douglass’ Paper.

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Joshua Giddings

 

July 26– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Fillmore submits to the Senate information on the determination of the boundary between Mexico and the United States.

July 29– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– “We trust that the Pittsburgh Convention will restrict its platform on the subject of Slavery to the topics of which we have spoken, and thus attract to its standard the noble and ardent spirits who seek to limit and sectionalize Slavery, and bring the National Government to use its influence actively on the side of Liberty. Notwithstanding the passage of the Compromise measures, the friends of Slavery are actively plotting to diffuse it over new and virgin soil. The issue presented is similar to that of 1848, and should be resisted by a similar platform of principles to prevent the National Government from aiding, by its action or connivance, the establishment of more Slave States of Slave Territories. Accepting this issue, the Pittsburgh Convention should adopt a similar platform to that of 1848, and seek by practicable means to divorce the Government from all connection with, or responsibility for, Slavery. Especially should this be pursued now, when the old parties have resolved to ‘resist’ agitation, and ‘acquiesce’ in the Compromise measures adopted by the last Congress. In regard to other questions, we trust the Convention will take a decisive stand for cheap postage for the people; retrenchment of the expenses and patronage of the Federal Government; the election, so far as practicable, of all civil officers; free grants of land to actual settlers on our public lands; the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law; constitutional appropriations for River and Harbor Improvements; and declare the right of every nation to choose its own Government, and especially the duty of free nations to protest against and prevent the intervention of despots to suppress republican or constitutional Government. Such a platform will attract a large number of votes, and spread dismay into the ranks of the two old parties, which have blinked these questions, and taken no manly ground in regard to them.” ~ The National Era.

July 30– Friday– Rochester, New York– “I have time now to say but a word. It is evident that the Vermont friends of freedom mean to support John P. Hale for the Presidency. That is their intention now, subject to the decision of the National Convention, August 11th, at Pittsburgh. In your paper of July 16th, your corresponding Editor, John Thomas, regards Hale as unsound on the slavery question; because, ‘acknowledging its LEGAL claims, he would but REGULATE its manifestations.’Is it even so? Is that Mr. Hale’s position? The friends of freedom in this section think that it is not so. I have not the documents on hand to meet them. Probably Mr. Thomas can lay his hands on the proof. Will he do so, and let us see what is, as speedily as possible? I am welcomed here. I preached three times in this town last Sabbath, July 18th, and last evening. Monday farmers from the hay fields filled the Town House to hear about the position of the Liberty Party, as understood in the State of New York.” ~ Letter to the editor from Mr J R Johnson in today’s issue of Frederick Douglass’ Paper.

July 30– Friday– Princeton, Wisconsin– Birth of Emma Millinda Gillett, educator, feminist, and lawyer who along with Ellen Spencer Mussey will found the Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. in 1896 and serve as its dean from 1913 to 1923. [Dies January 23, 1927.]

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Emma Gillett

 

July 31– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– “I communicate to the Senate herewith, for its constitutional action thereon, nineteen treaties negotiated by commissioners on the part of the United States with various tribes of Indians in the Territory of Oregon, accompanied by a letter to me from the Secretary of the Interior and certain documents having reference thereto.” ~ Message to the Senate from President Fillmore.

July 31– Saturday– London, England– In a general election for all 654 seats in Parliament’s House of Commons, the Conservatives win 330 seats and the Whigs win 324 seats. [This particular general election constitutes a watershed in formation of the modern political parties of Great Britain. Following 1852, the Tory/Conservative party becomes mostly the party of the rural aristocracy, while the Whig/Liberal party becomes the party of the rising urban bourgeois in Britain. The results of the election are extremely close in terms of both the popular vote and number of seats won by the main two parties. See, Party and Politics, 1830-1852 (1989) by Robert Stewart.]