Tag Archives: suffrage

The Election of 1860

Woman making American Flag

Election day took place on Tuesday, November 6, 1860. In one of the strangest and most critical elections in the history of the United States, Republican Abraham Lincoln won the presidency, beating Democrat Stephen A Douglas, Southern Democrat John Breckenridge, and Constitutional Unionist Edward Everett. There are 6,498,243 people registered to vote, accounting for 20.7% of the total population. Women could not vote, thus excluding almost half of the population. Male slaves and the majority of free black men were also excluded as were most all Native Americans. Many states also required a man to own property in order to register to vote. Of the men eligible to vote, about 81.2% actually did, the second highest percentage of voter turnout in American history. At this time a little over a third of the total population live in the New England states, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania combined.

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Lincoln received 1,865,908 votes, 39.8% of those cast. He carried 18 states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Stephen Douglas received 1,380,202 votes, 29.5% of the those cast but he won only the state of Missouri.

John Breckenridge received 848,019 votes, 18.1% of those cast. He carried 11 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Edward Everett received 590,901 votes, 12.6% of those cast and carried the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

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Regional differences, particularly over the expansion or limitation of slavery and the question of states rights, are extremely divisive. The divisions are evident in the results: Lincoln won all the Northern states; Breckenridge won the deep South and the slave-holding states of Maryland and Delaware; Lincoln won no Southern states; the other candidates won no Northen states.

In the Electoral College, based upon state results, Lincoln had 180 votes, Breckenridge 72 votes, Bell 39 votes and Douglas only 12.

Of the Congressional races, once South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1860 and other Southern states followed, newly elected Congressmen and Senators never took their seats in the new Congress and most Southern members left Washington. By April, 1861, the shooting had begun.

1856 Election

Woman making American Flag

Election day took place on Tuesday, November 4, 1856. The Democrat James Buchanan won the presidency, defeating Republican candidate James C Fremont and Whig-American candidate and former President Millard Fillmore. [The Whig-American Party was a combination of remaining Whigs with two small third parties.] There were 5,135,114 people eligible to vote, accounting for only 18.0% of the total population. Women could not vote, thus excluding almost half of the population. Male slaves and the majority of free black men were also excluded as were most all Native Americans. Many states also required a man to own property in order to register to vote. Of the men eligible to vote, about 78.9% actually did.

Fremont received 1,340,668 votes, 33.1% of those cast. He carried 11 states, including Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Fillmore received 872,703 votes, 21.5% of those cast. He carried the state of Maryland.

Buchanan received 1,835,140 votes, 45.4% of those cast. He carried the other 19 states.

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There were close contests in four states. In Iowa Fremont won 48.8% of the vote and carried the state because Fillmore received 10.5% of the vote which hurt Buchanan. However, Buchanan won California with 48.4% of the vote, Illinois with 44.0% of the vote, and New Jersey with 47.2% of the vote because Fillmore won 32.8% of the vote in California, 15.7% in Illinois and 24.3% in New Jersey, thus hurting Fremont in those states, proving that third parties can and do make a difference.

Real and divisive issues included the expansion of slavery, the bloodshed in Kansas, the validity of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and enforcement of the Fugitive Slave act of 1850. Democrats attacked the new Republican Party as “Black Republicans” saying they wanted to curtail or, worse yet, abolish slavery and involve free black people in American society, particularly by allowing inter-racial marriage which was a trumped-up charge. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass criticized the Republicans for failing to take a strong stand on behalf of black people. The Democratic governor of Virginia claimed that “If Fremont is elected, there will be a revolution.” Northern businessmen feared that the Republicans would have an adverse affect on the economy so they contributed large amounts of money to the Democrats.

“The Black Republicans must be, as they can be with justice, boldly assailed as disunionists, and this charge must be reiterated again and again.” ~ Democratic candidate James Buchanan

“Nothing is clearer in the history of our institutions than the design of the nation, in asserting its own independence and freedom, to avoid giving countenance to the Extension of Slavery. The influence of the small but compact and powerful class of men interested in Slavery, who command one section of the country and wield a vast political control as a consequence in the other, is now directed to turn back this impulse of the Revolution and reverse its principles.” ~ Republican candidate John C Fremont

“We Fremonters of this town have not one dollar where the Fillmoreans and Buchaneers have ten each.” ~ New York newspaper editor Horace Greeley

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Based upon the states carried by each candidate, in the Electoral College Buchanan received 174 electoral votes, Fremont received 114 electoral votes, and Fillmore received 8 electoral votes. In Congressional races, the Democrats won 50 additional seats in the Hose of Representatives while the Republicans gained 7 additional seats in the Senate. This would be the last presidential election the Democrats will win until 1884.

June ~ Election Year 1920

Woman making American Flag

The Republicans nominate a dark horse who likes women to whom he is not married. Henry Ford’s newspaper carries anti-Semitic articles. The Democratic National Convention opens at the end of the month. The propose Nineteenth Amendment is not yet ratified and the Republicans are not doing much do complete ratification.

June 1– Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– United States Supreme Court rules that state referenda are not part of the federal constitutional amendment process.

June 1– Tuesday– Mexico City, Mexico– Adolfo de la Huerta becomes president of Mexico.

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Adolfo de la Huerta

 

June 2– Wednesday– Dover, Delaware– The state legislature refuses to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

June 3– Thursday– New York City– The American Jewish Committee telegraphs automaker Henry Ford, age 58, protesting the anti-Semitic nature of the series entitled “The International Jew” which Ford has been running in the Dearborn [Michigan] Independent, a newspaper he owns.

June 5– Saturday– New York City– The Literary Digest poll puts Warren G. Harding eighth among Republican presidential candidates, below even Calvin Coolidge and William Howard Taft.

June 7– Monday– New York City– Harding visits his younger mistress, 23 year old Nan Britton.

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Chicago Coliseum

 

June 8– Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention opens at the Coliseum with 984 voting delegates present. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, age 70, delivers the keynote address.

June 11– Friday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention has adopted a platform which favors continuing intervention in Mexico, reduced taxation so as to not “needlessly repress enterprise and thrift,” protective tariffs, conservation of natural resources, exclusion of Asian immigrants, reducing the number and types of immigrants granted admission, denying free speech to aliens, the construction of highways, an end to lynching, quick ratification of the Woman Suffrage [Nineteenth] Amendment, enforcement of civil service laws, vocational and agricultural training, restriction of child labor and limitation on the hours of women working “in intensive industry,” no additional appropriations for disabled veterans, and which opposes the League of Nations, recognition of an Armenian state, and strikes by labor. It accuses the outgoing Wilson Administration of being unprepared for war and equally now unprepared for peace.

June 12– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– The Republican National Convention closes, having taken ten rounds of balloting to nominate Warren G Harding for President. The decision on Harding as the choice was literally made in the early hours of the morning in a smoke-filled hotel room by party leaders, including six senior U S Senators. Harding, a native of Ohio, is 54 years old, a journalist, businessman and a member of the U S Senate since 1915. In the primaries he won only 4.54% of the total votes cast. While privately a heavy drinker, he publicly supports prohibition, favors big business and high protective tariffs, opposes the League of Nations and voted against the nomination of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Married to Florence King De Wolfe, he has liaisons with two other women, one of whom– Nan Britton– bore his daughter in 1919.

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June 12– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– “Ours is not only a fortunate people but a very common-sensical people, with vision high, but their feet on the earth, with belief in themselves and faith in God. Whether enemies threaten from without or menaces arise from within, there is some indefinable voice saying, ‘Have confidence in the Republic! America will go on!’ Here is a temple of liberty no storms may shake, here are the altars of freedom no passions shall destroy. It was American in conception, American in its building, it shall be American in the fulfillment. Sectional once, we are all American now, and we mean to be all Americans to all the world. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my countrymen all: I would not be my natural self if I did not utter my consciousness of my limited ability to meet your full expectations, or to realize the aspirations within my own breast, but I will gladly give all that is in me, all of heart, soul and mind and abiding love of country, to service in our common cause. I can only pray to the Omnipotent God that I may be as worthy in service as I know myself to be faithful in thought and purpose. One can not give more. Mindful of the vast responsibilities, I must be frankly humble, but I have that confidence in the consideration and support of all true Americans which makes me wholly unafraid. With an unalterable faith and in a hopeful spirit, with a hymn of service in my heart, I pledge fidelity to our country and to God, and accept the nominations of the Republican Party for the Presidency of the United States.” ~ Letter from Warren G Harding, accepting the Republican nomination.

June 13– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– Seymour Stedman, a lawyer, age 49, opens the campaign of the Socialist Party. He is the Party’s nominee for Vice-President. Eugene V Debs, the candidate for President, is in federal prison for speaking out against American entry into the European war in 1917.

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Debs campaign button

 

June 20– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– Violence erupts between white and black people. Grover Cleveland Redding, a black man, is arrested on various charges, including murder.

June 21– Monday– Marion, Ohio– Alice Paul, feminist and suffrage activist, meets with Warren G Harding, the Republican nominee for President. [Paul, 1885-1977, a native of New Jersey, is a lawyer, feminist, activist and organizer, founder of the National Woman’s Party, and served time in jail for a 1917 protest in front of the White House.]

June 22– Tuesday– Marion, Ohio– The Harding campaign announces that its slogan is “Back to Normal.”

June 23– Wednesday– New York City– Charles F Murphy, age 62, political boss of Tammany Hall, is indicted along with five others on federal charges.

June 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– Governor Calvin Coolidge, age 48, Republican nominee for Vice-President, announces that he will not pressure Vermont and Connecticut to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

June 26– Saturday– Dearborn, Michigan– The Dearborn Independent, owned by Henry Ford, begins publication of another series of anti-Semitic articles.

June 27– Sunday– Chicago, Illinois– Republican National Committee Chairman Will Hays meets privately with Carrie Fulton Phillips, a mistress of Warren G Harding. In return for annual payments from the Republican Party, Mrs Phillips agrees not to make public her love letters to and from Republican candidate Harding. [On July 29, 2014, approximately 1,000 pages of these letters are made public by the Library of Congress.] About Harding’s fondness for women Senator Boies Penrose Penrose, Republican from Pennsylvania, has said to other Republican leaders, “No worries about that! We’ll just throw a halo around his handsome head and everything will be all right.”

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Carrie Fulton Phillips, one of Harding’s mistresses

 

June 27 – Sunday– Washington, D.C.– William Gibbs McAdoo, age 56 and married to Woodrow Wilson’s daughter, declares that he will accept the Democratic nomination for President if it is offered to him.

June 28– Monday– San Francisco, California– The Democratic National Convention opens in the Civic Auditorium with 1,091 voting delegates in attendance. It is the first time that a convention of either major party is held west of the Rocky Mountains. Almost 30% of the delegates arrive unpledged.

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San Francisco Civic Auditorium

 

June 29– Tuesday– Albany, New York– Dudley Field Malone, age 38, graduate of Fordham Law School and a liberal activist, is nominated by New York State branch of the Farmer-Labor Party for governor of the state.

June 29– Tuesday– London, England–Edward M House, age 62, foreign affairs advisor to President Wilson, tells British reporters that Harding and the Republicans may lose the election due to overconfidence, that if the Nineteenth Amendment is soon ratified it will send fifteen to twenty million women into the pool of voters, the next administration will ratify the Versailles Treaty, and any Republican or Democratic public support for the independence of Ireland “certainly would be unpleasant to Great Britain.”

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Edward M House

 

June 30– Wednesday– San Francisco, California– Franklin Delano Roosevelt places Al Smith in nomination for the Democratic standard bearer in the up-coming presidential race.

June 30– Wednesday– Jaffa, Palestine– British soldiers shoot and kill two Arab demonstrators.

Strike! Lawrence, Massachusetts~January, 1912

The years opens with what will become one of the most famous strikes in American labor history– textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Political and social change take place in China, South Africa, Great Britain, Germany, eastern Europe, Ecuador, as well as the cities of Toronto, Canada, Lisbon, Portugal, and Brisbane, Australia.

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January 1–Monday– Nanjing, China– Following three months of fighting and turmoil, leaders of fifteen of the country’s twenty-four provinces elect Sun Yat-sen, 45 years old, as provisional president of the new Republic of China. This marks the beginning of the end of over 2,000 years of imperial rule and the end of the power of the Quing dynasty which has ruled since 1644. Although Sun’s supporters control most of southern China, Yuan Shih-kai retains power in the north as the chief of the Imperial army in Beijing.

January 1–Monday– Toronto, Canada–In municipal elections, Mayor George R Geary, age 38,facing no opponents, wins reelection by acclamation. Two incumbent members of the Board of Control are defeated. Noted Liberal Frank Spence loses his seat but is replaced by fellow Liberal Jesse McCarthy. J. J. Ward, considered a representative of labor also loses his seat. [George Geary dies April 30, 1954.]

January 1–Monday– New York City– The NAACP, founded three years ago, issues its second annual report. The report lists active chapters in Boston and Chicago as well as here and receipts of $10,317.43 for the eight months ending in December, 1911. [That equals approximately $265,000 in current dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 2– Tuesday– Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada– Birth of Barbara Pentland, composer, musician and educator. [Dies February 5, 2000.]

January 2–Tuesday– Tabriz, Persia– With 4,000 Russian troops occupying the city to protect Russian interests, the Russian authorities execute eight Persian leaders who had supported the Constitutional Revolution between 1905 and 1907. Other such leaders had fled the city.

January 3– Wednesday– Disraeli, Quebec, Canada– Birth of Louise Marguerite Renaude Lapointe, one of the first Canadian women to build a career in journalism and who will serve as a senator from 1971 to 1987. [Dies May 11,2002.]

January 5– Friday– Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire–At the International Party Conference, Vladimir Ilich Lenin, age 41, and the Bolshevik Party break away from the rest of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.

January 5– Friday– Nanjing, China– Dr. Sun Yat-sen issues the “Manifesto from the Republic of China to All Friendly Nations,” signaling a major change in Chinese foreign policy with a promise to end the isolationism of the Manchu Emperors and “to rejoin China with the international community.” On the same day, he meets with woman’s suffrage activist Lin Zongsu and pledges to allow women the right to vote in the new republic.

January 5–Friday– Melbourne, Victoria, Australia– Birth of Doris Jessie Carter, athlete who in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin will become the first Australian woman to make it into the Olympic finals. [Dies July 28, 1999.]

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January 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– New Mexico is admitted as the 47th state in the Union.

January 6–Saturday– Bordeaux, France–Birth of Jacques Ellul, philosopher, sociologist, law professor and Christian anarchist. [Dies May 19, 1994.]

January 7–Sunday– The Red Sea outside of Kunfida (now Al Qunfudhah in Saudi Arabia)– Seven Turkish gunboats are sunk by three Italian warships as the hostilities begun last September continue.

January 7– Sunday– Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England– Dr. Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, an English physician, teacher and feminist, dies two weeks away from her 72nd birthday. She was one of the first women to practice medicine in the United Kingdom, a leading campaigner for medical education for women and involved in founding two medical schools for women, one in London and the other in Edinburgh, where she also started a women’s hospital.

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January 8– Monday– Bloemfontein, South Africa–John Dube, Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Sol Plaatie along with a number of the chiefs of indigenous peoples, people’s representatives, and church representatives form the African National Congress [the ANC] to bring all Africans together to work for liberation and freedom. From its inception the ANC represents both traditional and modern elements, from tribal chiefs to church and community bodies and educated black professionals, though women will only be admitted as affiliate members and only after 1930.

January 8–Monday– Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, Canada– Birth of Lawrence Walsh, U.S. federal prosecutor who will gain notoriety during his investigation the Iran-Contra affair.[Dies March 19, 2014].

January 8–Monday– Washington, D. C.– The United States Monetary Commission presents its plan to Congress to establish what will become the Federal Reserve System.

January 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– The Democratic National Committee announces that this year’s presidential nominating convention will be held in Baltimore beginning on June 25.

Preparing for the 4th of July parade held by the textile mill committees.

Preparing for the 4th of July parade held by the textile mill committees.

January 11–Thursday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Women weavers, mostly immigrants, at Everett Cotton Mills realize that the company has reduced their pay by 32 cents and they stop their looms and leave the mill, shouting “short pay, short pay!” and thereby begin what will become know as “the Bread and Roses strike.” [The women earn a little less than $9.00 a week for nearly 60 hours of work. This equals about $231 in current dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 12– Friday– Berlin, Germany– The first round of the German parliamentary election is held today with 208 seats in the Reichstag at stake.

January 12– Friday– London, England– The General Post Office of the British government takes complete control of the national telephone system, leaving only the United States as the sole major industrialized nation in which the network is privately owned.

January 12–Friday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 10,00 workers in area textile plants walk out on strike as thousands more join the 1750 who walked out yesterday. At the Washington Mills, the workers turn off the power, cut belts on machines and break light bulbs as they walk out. Half of the strikers are women.

January 13–Saturday– New York City– Speaking at Bryant Hall, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, age 21, and has worked as an I.W.W. organizer for five years, encourages striking waiters to refuse tip-taking and instead to demand a living wage from the hotel and restaurant proprietors. The idea provokes considerable debate among the strikers, many of whom are immigrants, and the final vote is unanimous against accepting gratuities.

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

 

January 13– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– The Evening Tribune reports that “It is felt that the worst uprising in the city has reached its climax and that the trouble will now gradually simmer down to normal conditions.”

January 14–Sunday– Wahoo, Nebraska– Birth of Tillie Lerner Olsen, author and feminist. [Dies January 1, 2007.]

January 15–Monday– Ecuador–The battleship USS Maryland arrives to protect American interests during the violence of the civil war.

January 15–Monday– Paris, France– Birth of Michel Jean-Pierre Debre who will serve in the French Resistance during the Second World War and as the first Prime Minister of the Fifth French Republic from 1959 to 1962. [Dies August 2, 1996.]

January 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– The Senate votes 58-8 to discuss arbitration treaties publicly rather than in closed sessions. Peace advocates see this as a step forward.

January 15–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Authorities arrest 36 strikers for throwing snowballs at police officers and militiamen. Organizers of the IWW establish twenty-four hours a day picketing of the mills. The Evening Tribune reports that “Authorities have the situation well in hand.”

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cavalry troopers in Lawrence

 

January 15– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The governor orders five companies of state militia to Lowell “to suppress the rioting, to preserve order and to protect property.”

January 16–Tuesday– Ankara, Turkey– The Sultan Abdul Hamid II on his own initiative dissolves the Turkish Chamber of Deputies. Engaged in an expensive and bloody war with Italy since the end of September, 1911, attempting to repel the Italian invasion of Libya, an Ottoman province, the Sultan appears angry and frustrated with the Chamber.

January 17– Wednesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station about 3000 strikers and supporters cheer the arrival of “Smiling Joe” Ettor, 26 years old and well known labor organizer and IWW activist. [Ettor dies in California sometime in 1948.]

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January 18– Thursday– Brisbane, Queensland, Australia– Members of the Australian Tramway Employees Association are dismissed from their jobs when they wear union badges to work. Although the Brisbane tramways are owned by the General Electric Company of the United Kingdom, they are managed by Joseph Stillman Badger, an American, who is responsible for the firing of these workers. Later he will refuse to negotiate with the Queensland main union body, the Australian Labour Federation. The terminated workers and supporters march to Brisbane Trades Hall where a meeting is held. In the evening 10,000 people gather in Market Square to protest the company’s action.

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Brisbane tram

 

 

January 18– Thursday– Yaguachi, Ecuador– Over 1,000 people are killed in fighting between troops from the Quito national government and the Guayaquil rebel government.

January 18– Thursday– Roanne, France– Birth of David Rousset, writer and political activist who will survive the Buchenwald concentration camp during the Second World War.

January 18–Thursday– Tientsin, China– American troops occupy the city to protect American interests. The United States is concerned about political instability in China.

January 18– Thursday– London, England– The British Miners’ Federation releases the final tally on a strike vote with 445,801 in favor and 115,921 opposed. The strike, aimed at securing a minimum wage for coal miners, is scheduled begin on March 1.

January 20– Saturday– Berlin, Germany– The second round of Reichstag elections begins with 77 seats at stake.

January 20–Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Police detectives find a stash of dynamite in an empty room in back of Marad Dye Works and arrest seven people, two of them women.

January 22– Monday– Hamilton, Georgia–A white mob lynches three black men and one black woman.

January 22–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 22,000 workers are now on strike. Business in town is at a standstill.

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January 22– Monday– Nanjing, China– Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shih-kai complete negotiations on the unification of the Republic of China, with Dr. Sun agreeing to yield the presidency to Yuan upon the abdication of the emperor.

January 23–Monday– The Hague, The Netherlands– For the first time ever, a number of countries sign a treaty to control drug trade. The International Opium Convention, signed by China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, Siam, the United States and the United Kingdom, provides that the signatories “shall use their best endeavors to control, or to cause to be controlled, all persons manufacturing, importing, selling, distributing, and exporting morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts, as well as the buildings in which these persons carry such an industry or trade.” Other countries are invited to agree to the terms later.

January 24– Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station thousands of strikers, their families and supporters cheer the arrival of “Big Bill” Haywood, age 42 and well known labor organizer and IWW activist. In a speech before Haywood’s arrival Joseph Ettor warns the strikers to beware of Pinkerton detectives who may act as agent provocateurs to discredit the workers.

January 25– Thursday– Guayaquil, Ecuador– General Pedro Montero, who had been proclaimed President of Ecuador on December 29, 1911, by rebelling Ecuadorian troops, is sentenced to 16 years in prison. When the sentence is announced, the crowd outside the courthouse nosily protests that the sentence is too light. A number of people rush in, shoot Montero to death, and carry his corpse outside, where others behead and then burn the body.

January 25–Thursday– Berlin, Germany– Voting in elections for the Reichstag concludes today with the Socialists having the largest number of seats, winning 100, and the Radical and National Liberal parties having won 44 and 47, respectively, and the (Catholic) Centre Party taking 91 seats. The results make possible a majority coalition of groups hostile to or ambivalent about the ruling elites of the German Empire; however, distrust and in-fighting among liberals and progressives will, for the most part, leave the government of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg free to do as it wishes.

January 26–Friday– Beijing, China– A group of 47 generals and commanders of the Imperial Army, all of whom had pledged their allegiance to the monarchy earlier in this month, sign a petition to the Emperor and the regent, asking that the dynasty give way to a republic under Yuan Shih-kai.

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factory in Lawrence

 

January 27– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Benoit Clothing Company, a local store, runs advertisements pledging 10% of each days sales to be given to relief of the strikers.

January 28– Sunday– Newark, New Jersey– Birth of Sidney Lens, author, labor organizer and socialist political activist. [Dies June 18,1986.]

January 28– Sunday– Quito, Ecuador– A mob storms the prison where former President Eloy Alfaro and his brothers Flavio and Medardo are being held as prisoners of war since their capture six days ago, and lynches them.

January 29–Monday– Chicago, Illinois– At a meeting of the “No Vote, No Tax League”–a women’s tax resistance group–an intense debate begins when Miss Belle Squire and Dr Cornelia De Bey urge the group to endorse Teddy Roosevelt for President of the United States. Dr De Bay declares that “When he sees that votes for women is a winning issue he will embrace it.” However, the proposal is defeated by a 2-to1 margin.

January 29– Monday– Pierce City, Missouri– Birth of Martha Wright Griffiths, lawyer and judge. She will become the first woman elected to the United States Congress from Michigan as a member of the Democratic Party and the first woman to serve on the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means. She will also be the person most responsible for including the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and will finish her distinguished career becoming the first woman elected as Lieutenant Governor of Michigan. [Dies April 22, 2003.]

January 29–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Police and strikers clash. Annie Lo Pizza, a striker, is shot and killed. The Evening Tribune opines that while strikers appear more confident than ever, “the chaos which prevailed at the early stages of the strike has returned and it seems as if drastic efforts would be necessary to once again restore order. It is possible that the city will be placed under martial law.” In response to the threats of the mayor and business owners, Joseph Ettor declares, “Fine! We will win the strike even if they erect scaffolds on the streets.”

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January 29–Monday– Lisbon, Portugal– A general strike cripples the city as newspapers, stores and theaters are closed and no streetcars run. The government blames strikers for several bombings.

January 30–Tuesday– New York City–Birth of Barbara Tuchman, historian. [Dies February 6, 1989.]

January 30–Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– In an interview with the Evening Post, former President Theodore Roosevelt goes on record as saying that he would accept nomination for the presidency, though he is not actively seek a return to the White House. The 53 year old Roosevelt has been hunting big game in Africa and lecturing in Europe since leaving office in March of 1909 but is beginning to drift apart from his old friend President Taft.

January 30–Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Soldiers bayonet and kill a 16 year old boy who is not a striker. Also, Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti, IWW labor organizers, are arrested and charged as “accessories” in the murder of Annie Lo Pizza.

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Giovannitti & Ettor

 

January 30–Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– Mrs Lillian M N Stevens, National President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and Mrs Mary Harris Armour, of the Georgia WCTU, testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and encourage the passage of a prohibition amendment to the federal constitution.

January 31– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– A bill introduced today in the House of Representatives authorizes $1,557,583 in payment for Civil War claims– $458,386 to churches and organizations for use of their buildings and property during the war; $1035,560 to individuals fror unpaid invoices for army stores and supplies; and $59,576 to various Union officers whose pay had been withheld for an assortment of reasons.

Give Us Bread and Give Us Roses Too

The year 1912 begins with one of the coldest winters in the whole of the 20th century. In the United States it is a presidential election year. A Republican, William Taft, age 55, occupies the White House. However, his renomination seems not to be a certainty. Liberals in the party want “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, senator from Wisconsin, age 56 and well-known progressive reformer, to head the ticket. Former President Theodore Roosevelt, age 54, decides he wants to be back in political life. In the Democratic Party, the Speaker of the House, Champ Clark of Missouri, age 62, seems to have a strong early lead. However, the governor of New Jersey and former president of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, age 55, is poised to challenge Clark. William Jennings Bryan, age 52,who has been the standard bearer three times before and lost each time, most recently in 1908, is an outside possibility but could be a deal maker at the upcoming Democratic convention.

People’s movements are steaming along in places around the globe. China ends centuries of monarchy and creates a republic. Violent civil war rocks Ecuador. V I Lenin and the Bolsheviks bolt the main Russian socialist movement. In South Africa, Africans establish the African National Congress (“ANC”). The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) is taking root and raising money even while the violence of lynching continues unabated. American women in the suffrage campaign debate the degree of political involvement which will help their cause. And workers in many places struggle for better wages and hours and safer conditions, from Australia to Portugal to England to Lawrence, Massachusetts where the newly formed International Workers of the World (“IWW”–organized in Chicago in 1905) enters the fray.

The powers do not hesitate to throw their weight around. The Russians intervene in Persia’s affairs. The Italians are fighting the Ottoman Turks as Italy tries to seize Libya (with the silent consent of the French). The United States sends its armed forces to China and to Ecuador to protect its business interests. On a more positive note, many major powers make a treaty commitment for the first time ever to police drug trafficking and legitimate medicinal drug trade.

A race by competing teams of explorers to reach the South Pole leads to great victory and painful defeat. A Wall Street crook fools a president. The widow of a famous writer is honored by the Czar of all the Russias. A famous American attorney himself needs a lawyer. People who will shape the 20th Century, both for good and ill, are born while notable 19th Century contributors die.

In the midst of record cold in the United States and Canada the year is of to quite a start.

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January 1–Monday– Nanjing, China– Following three months of fighting and turmoil, leaders of fifteen of the country’s twenty-four provinces elect Sun Yat-sen, 45 years old, as provisional president of the new Republic of China. This marks the beginning of the end of over 2,000 years of imperial rule and the end of the power of the Quing dynasty which has ruled since 1644. Although Sun’s supporters control most of southern China, Yuan Shih-kai retains power in the north as the chief of the Imperial army in Beijing.

Dr Sun Yat-sen

January 1–Monday– Ambala, Punjab Province, India–Birth of Kim Philby who will become notorious as a spy for the Soviet Union. His father is Harry St John Philby, an author, explorer and British civil servant.

 January 1– Monday– Toronto, Canada–In municipal elections, Mayor George R Geary, facing no opponents, wins reelection by acclamation. Two incumbent members of the Board of Control are defeated. Noted Liberal Frank Spence loses his seat but is replaced by fellow Liberal Jesse McCarthy. J. J. Ward, considered a representative of labor also loses his seat.

 January 1–Monday– New York City– The NAACP, founded three years ago, issues its second annual report. The report lists active chapters in Boston and Chicago as well as here and receipts of $10,317.43 for the eight months ending in December, 1911. [That equals approximately $244,000 in current purchasing power.]

 January 2–Tuesday– Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada– Birth of Barbara Pentland, composer, musician and educator.

 January 2–Tuesday– Tabriz, Persia– With 4,000 Russian troops occupying the city to protect Russian interests, the Russian authorities execute eight Persian leaders who had supported the Constitutional Revolution between 1905 and 1907. Other such leaders had fled the city.

 January 2–Tuesday– New York City– Alfred D’Orsay Tennyson Dickens, age 66, son and biographer of the famous author Charles Dickens, dies during a lecture tour of the United States.

 January 3– Wednesday– Antarctica– The British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, determined to be the first to reach the South Pole, sets out from his base camp, taking four men with him and leaving three men at the base, even though the five headed for the Pole have supplies sufficient for a team of four men.

 

Robert Scott and members of his team

January 3–Wednesday– Canada–The Canadian Pacific Railway expands operations by leasing the Dominion Atlantic Railway in Nova Scotia.

 January 3– Wednesday– Disraeli, Quebec, Canada– Birth of Louise Marguerite Renaude Lapointe, one of the first Canadian women to build a career in journalism and who will serve as a senator from 1971 to 1987.

 January 4– Thursday– Columbus, Ohio– Wind velocity is measured at 50 mph.

 January 5–Friday– Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire–At the International Party Conference, Vladimir Ilich Lenin and the Bolshevik Party break away from the rest of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.

 January 5– Friday–Nanjing, China– Dr. Sun Yat-sen issues the “Manifesto from the Republic of China to All Friendly Nations,” signaling a major change in Chinese foreign policy with a promise to end the isolationism of the Manchu Emperors and “to rejoin China with the international community.” On the same day, he meets with woman’s suffrage activist Lin Zongsu and pledges to allow women the right to vote in the new republic.

 January 5–Friday– Melbourne, Victoria, Australia– Birth of Doris Jessie Carter, athlete who in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin will become the first Australian woman to make it into the Olympic finals.

 January 5–Friday– New York City– After a year of peace, new gang violence erupts in the city’s Chinatown as the vice-president of the Hip Sing Tong is killed in a shootout at a gambling hall.

 January 6– Saturday– New Mexico is admitted as the 47th state in the Union.

 January 6–Saturday– Deerfield, Michigan– Birth of Amos Kairouz a/k/a Danny Thomas, American comedian, television actor, and founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His parents are immigrants from Lebanon.

 January 6– Saturday– Frankfurt, Germany– At a meeting of the Geological Association of Germany, Alfred Wegener first presents the theory of continental drift, reading his paper, “Die Herausbildung der Grossformen der Erdinde (Kontinente und Ozeane) auf geophysikalischer Grundlage” (“The geophysical basis of the evolution of large-scale features of the earth’s crust”).

 January 6–Saturday– Bordeaux, France–Birth of Jacques Ellul, philosopher, sociologist, law professor and Christian anarchist.

 January 6–Saturday– Sydney, Australia–The first aircraft crash in the country occurs between Mount Druitt and Rooty Hill.

 January 7– Sunday– The Red Sea outside of Kunfida (now Al Qunfudhah in Saudi Arabia)– Seven Turkish gunboats are sunk by three Italian warships as hostilities begun last September continue.

 January 7– Sunday– Tehran, Persia– The American businessman W Morgan Shuster resigns as Treasurer-General of Persia, bringing to an end to Russia’s military intervention in Persia. In return for his resignation, the Russians guarantee safe passage through occupied territory for Shuster and his family.

 January 7–Sunday– Westfied, New Jersey– Birth of Charles Addams, cartoonist.

 January 7– Sunday– Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England– Dr. Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, an English physician, teacher and feminist, dies two weeks away from her 72nd birthday. She was one of the first women to practice medicine in the United Kingdom, a leading campaigner for medical education for women and involved in founding two medical schools for women, one in London and the other in Edinburgh, where she also started a women’s hospital.

Dr Sophia Jex-Blake

 

January 8– Monday– Bloemfontein, South Africa–John Dube, Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Sol Plaatiealong with a number of the chiefs of indigenous peoples, people’s representatives, and church representatives form the African National Congress [the ANC] to bring all Africans together to work for liberation and freedom. From its inception the ANC represents both traditional and modern elements, from tribal chiefs to church and community bodies and educated black professionals, though women will only be admitted as affiliate members and only after 1930.

 January 8– Monday– Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, Canada– Birth of Lawrence Walsh, U.S. federal prosecutor who will gain notoriety during his investigation the Iran-Contra affair.

 January 8– Monday– Santurce, Puerto Rico– Birth of Jose Ferrer, film star and director.

 January 8– Monday– Washington, D. C.– The United States Monetary Commission presents its plan to Congress to establish what will become the Federal Reserve System.

 January 9– Tuesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– The National Weather Service reports a maximum wind velocity of 56 mph.

 January 9– Tuesday– New York City–The seven story Equitable Building, New York City’s first skyscraper, completed in 1870, is destroyed by a fast moving early morning fire. The offices of three of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including Equitable Life, and those of many law firms, are destroyed. Fireproof vaults protect several billion dollars of securities, stocks and bonds from destruction. Had the fire occurred later in the day, the city would have seen loss of life as it did in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in March of last year. Urban fire departments remain ill-prepared to fight fires in tall buildings.

 January 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– The Democratic National Committee announces that this year’s presidential nominating convention will be held in Baltimore beginning on June 25.

 January10– Wednesday– River Medway, England–Lieutenant Commander Charles Samson successfully takes off in an airplane from a platform constructed over the deck of battleship HMS Africa moored here. It is the United Kingdom’s first such takeoff by an airplane from a ship.

 January 11–Thursday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Women weavers, mostly immigrants, at Everett Cotton Mills realize that the company has reduced their pay by 32 cents and they stop their looms and leave the mill, shouting “short pay, short pay!” and thereby begin what will become know as “the Bread and Roses strike.” [The women earn a little less than $9.00 a week for nearly 60 hours of work. This equals about $209 in current purchasing value.]

 January 11–Thursday– The Black Sea– The Russian passenger steamer Russ, on its way to Odessa, sinks with 172 people on board. Among the dead is the Czar’s new Consul General, Carl Anseff, and his family.

January 12– Friday– Germany– The first round of the German parliamentary election is held today with 208 seats in the Reichstag at stake.

 January 12– Friday– London, England– The General Post Office of the British government takes complete control of the national telephone system, leaving only the United States as the sole major industrialized nation in which the network is privately owned.

 January 12–Friday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 10,00 workers in area textile plants walk out on strike as thousands more join the 1750 who walked out yesterday. At the Washington Mills, the workers turn off the power, cut belts on machines and break light bulbs as they walk out. Half of the strikers are women.

 January 12–Friday– Washta, Iowa– In the midst of one of coldest winters on record in the United States, the lowest temperature ever measured in the state is reached at -47°F, while in Pipestone, Minnesota, a low record is set -40°F. In Duluth, Minnesota, the temperature has averaged -19°F since New Year’s Day.

 January 13–Saturday– New York City– Speaking at Bryant Hall, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the I.W.W. organizer, encourages striking waiters to refuse tip-taking and instead to demand a living wage from the hotel and restaurant proprietors. The idea provokes considerable debate among the strikers, many of whom are immigrants, and the final vote is unanimous against accepting gratuities.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

 

January 13– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– The Evening Tribune reports that “It is felt that the worst uprising in the city has reached its climax and that the trouble will now gradually simmer down to normal conditions.”

 January 13–Saturday– Oakland, Maryland– As a cold wave sweeps the Atlantic states, Maryland measures its lowest temperature ever, -40°F.

 January 13–Saturday– Bangkok, Siam– A group of seven army officers, dissatisfied with the reign of the new King Rama VI, in the second year of his reign, and with his absolutist regime, lavish life style and his favoritism toward his royal guards, decide to overthrow the King and begin to plot a palace coup.

 January 14–Sunday– Shanghai, China– Tao Chengzhang, a Chinese revolutionary who criticized Sun Yat-sen, is murdered in his bed in the Sainte-Marie Hospital.

 January 14–Sunday– Wahoo, Nebraska– Birth of Tillie Lerner Olsen, author and feminist.

 January 14– Sunday– Waterford, Virginia– Outside of town, Mrs Charlton Chamberlin, a farm wife, records in her diary that this morning the low temperature stood at -25°F, in the barn her horses are covered with frost and in her cellar even a layer of heavy blankets has not kept her apples from freezing.

 January 15– Monday– Ecuador–The battleship USS Maryland arrives to protect American interests during the violence of the civil war..

 January 15– Monday– Paris, France– Birth of Michael Jean-Pierre Debre who will serve in the French Resistance during the Second World War and as the first Prime Minister of the Fifth French Republic from 1959 to 1962.

 January 15– Monday– Toronto, Canada– The harbor is frozen solid with no ship traffic able to move.

 January 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– The Senate votes 58-8 to discuss arbitration treaties publicly rather than in closed sessions. Peace advocates see this as a step forward.

 January 15– Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Authorities arrest 36 strikers for throwing snowballs at police officers and militiamen. Organizers of the IWW establish twenty-four hours a day picketing of the mills. The Evening Tribune reports that “Authorities have the situation well in hand.”

State militia confront unarmed strikers--Lawrence, Massachusetts

 

January 15– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The governor orders five additional companies of state militia to Lawrence “to suppress the rioting, to preserve order and to protect property.”

 January 16–Tuesday– Ankara, Turkey– The Sultan Abdul Hamid II on his own initiative dissolves the Turkish Chamber of Deputies. Engaged in an expensive and bloody war with Italy since the end of September, 1911, attempting to repel the Italian invasion of Libya, an Ottoman province, the Sultan appears angry and frustrated with the Chamber.

 January 16–Tuesday– Beijing, China– An attempt is made on the life of Yuan Shih-kai. Three bombs are thrown at him as he returns from an audience at the Imperial Palace. Yuan is unhurt, but twenty people around him are injured.

 January 16–Tuesday– Antarctica– As the British Antarctic Expedition approaches the South Pole, Captain Robert Scott writes in his journal that the party discovered “the remains of a camp; sledge tracks and ski tracks going and coming and the clear trace of dogs’ paws- many dogs. This told us the whole story. The Norwegians have forestalled us and are first at the Pole.”

 January 17–Wednesday– Antarctica–British polar explorer Robert F Scott and a team of four become the second expeditionary group to reach the South Pole as they find with certainty that the Norwegian Ronald Amundsen and his team reached the goal before them. Scott writes in his journal, “The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected. We have had a horrible day . . . . Great God! this is an awful place and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority. Well, it is something to have got here. . . . Now for the run home and a desperate struggle. I wonder if we can do it.”

 January 17– Wednesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station about 3000 strikers and supporters cheer the arrival of “Smiling Joe” Ettor, 26 years old and well known labor organizer and IWW activist.

Smiling Joe Ettor in the center

 

January 18–Thursday– Brisbane, Queensland, Australia– Members of the Australian Tramway Employees Association are dismissed from their jobs when they wear union badges to work. Although the Brisbane tramways are owned by the General Electric Company of the United Kingdom, they are managed by Joseph Stillman Badger, an American, who is responsible for the firing of these workers. Later he will refuse to negotiate with the Queensland main union body, the Australian Labour Federation. The terminated workers and supporters march to Brisbane Trades Hall where a meeting is held. In the evening 10,000 people gather in Market Square to protest the company’s action.

 January 18– Thursday– Yaguachi, Ecuador– Over 1,000 people are killed in fighting between troops from the Quito national government and the Guayaquil rebel government.

 January 18– Thursday– Roanne, France– Birth of David Rousset, writer and political activist who will survive the Buchenwald concentration camp during the Second World War.

 January 18–Thursday– Tientsin, China– American troops occupy the city to protect American interests. The United States is concerned about political instability in China.

 January 18– Thursday– London, England– The British Miners’ Federation releases the final tally on a strike vote with 445,801 in favor and 115,921 opposed. The strike, aimed at securing a minimum wage for coal miners, is scheduled begin on March 1.

January 18– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Acting with the assurances of several U S Army doctors that the prisoner is terminally ill with Bright’s disease and will soon die if he remains in prison, President Taft pardons Charles W Morse. Morse is a 55 year old Wall Street speculator who has served only one year of a 15 year sentence for violations of federal banking laws. [Upon his release from the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, Morse immediately departs for a health spa in Europe. Later it will be discovered that Morse faked his symptoms by drinking soapy water combined with some chemicals. He will return to the United States, re-engage in questionable business activity and only die in 1933.]

 January 19– Friday– New York City– The National Weather Service reports a maximum wind velocity of 52 mph.

 January 19– Friday– Saint Petersburg, Russia– Birth of Leonid Kantorovich, mathematician who will win the Nobel Prize in economics in 1975.

 January 19– Friday– Antarctica– Exhausted, saddened and with greatly limited supplies, Robert Scott and his four fellow explorers set off on the 900 mile journey northward to return to their base.

 January 20– Saturday– Germany– The second round of Reichstag elections begins with 77 seats at stake.

 January 20–Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Police detectives find a stash of dynamite in an empty room in back of Marad Dye Works and arrest seven people, two of them women.

 January 21– Sunday– Neisse, Germany (now Nysa, Poland)– Birth of Konrad Emil Bloch, biochemist who will win the 1964 Nobel Prize in medicine.

 January 21–Sunday– New York City– The New York Herald begins presenting in weekly serial form Joseph Conrad’s novel, Chance, which will run for nine weeks and brings Conrad some significant income.

 January 22– Monday– Hamilton, Georgia–A white mob lynches three black men and one black woman.

 January 22– Monday– Key West, Florida– The first passenger train on the newly completed Florida Overseas Railroad arrives from Palm Beach with the railroad’s owner, Henry Morrison Flagler, age 82, among the riders. He tells a cheering crowd of 10,000 people that “Now I can die happy. My dream is fulfilled.” The project to connect the islands of the Florida Keys has taken six years to lay a 169 miles of track, creating landfills and building bridges as it moved along. Flagler, who has spent most of his life and over $50,000,000 developing Florida, financed the project himself. [He will die in May of 1913 and the railroad will go out of business in 1935.]

 January 22– Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 22,000 workers are now on strike. Business in town is at a standstill.

 January 22– Monday– Nanjing, China– Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shih-kai complete negotiations on the unification of the Republic of China, with Dr. Sun agreeing to yield the presidency to Yuan upon the abdication of the emperor.

 January 23–Tuesday– The Hague, The Netherlands– For the first time ever, a number of countries sign a treaty to control drug trade. The International Opium Convention, signed by China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, Siam, the United States and the United Kingdom, provides that the signatories “shall use their best endeavors to control, or to cause to be controlled, all persons manufacturing, importing, selling, distributing, and exporting morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts, as well as the buildings in which these persons carry such an industry or trade.” Other countries are invited to agree to the terms later.

 January 24– Wednesday– North Head, Washington– Maximum wind velocity reaches 72 mph.

 January 24– Wednesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station thousands of strikers, their families and supporters cheer the arrival of “Big Bill” Haywood, age 42 and well known labor organizer and IWW activist. In a speech before Haywood’s arrival Joseph Ettor warns the strikers to beware of Pinkerton detectives who may act as agent provocateurs to discredit the workers.

 January 25– Thursday– Guayaquil, Ecuador– General Pedro Montero, who had been proclaimed President of Ecuador on December 29, 1911, by rebelling Ecuadorian troops, is sentenced to 16 years in prison. When the sentence is announced, the crowd outside the courthouse nosily protests that the sentence is too light. A number of people rush in, shoot Montero to death, and carry his corpse outside, where others behead and then burn the body.

 January 25–Thursday– Germany– Voting in elections for the Reichstag concludes today with the Socialists having the largest number of seats, winning 100, and the Radical and National Liberal parties having won 44 and 47, respectively, and the (Catholic) Centre Party taking 91 seats. The results make possible a majority coalition of groups hostile to or ambivalent about the ruling elites of the German Empire; however, distrust and in-fighting among liberals and progressives will, for the most part, leave the government of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg free to do as it wishes.

 January 25–Thursday– Bay of Whales, Antarctica– The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team of four men arrive back at their base, along with eleven surviving dogs. They started with 52 sled dogs.

 January 26–Friday– Beijing, China– A group of 47 generals and commanders of the Imperial Army, all of whom had pledged their allegiance to the monarchy earlier in this month, sign a petition to the Emperor and the regent, asking that the dynasty give way to a republic under Yuan Shih-kai.

 January 27– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Benoit Clothing Company, a local store, runs advertisements pledging 10% of each days sales to be given to relief of the strikers.

 January 28–Sunday– Newark, New Jersey– Birth of Sidney Lens, author, labor organizer and political activist.

 January 28–Sunday– Nanjing, China– The Lin-shih ts’an-i-yuan, also known as the Nanking Assembly and the first legislature for the Republic of China, convenes with representatives from all of the provinces.

 January 28– Sunday– Quito, Ecuador– A mob storms the prison where former President Eloy Alfaro and his brothers Flavio and Medardo are being held as prisoners of war since their capture six days ago, and lynches them.

 January 28–Sunday– Cody, Wyoming–Birth of Jackson Pollock, American abstract expressionist painter.

 January 29– Monday– Los Angeles, California– Attorney Clarence Darrow is indicted by a grand jury on charges of attempted bribery of a juror in the case of the McNamara brothers, James and John, who were on trial eight weeks ago for the bombing of the Los Angeles Times in October of 1910.

Clarence Darrow

 

January 29– Monday– Chicago, Illinois– At a meeting of the “No Vote, No Tax League”–a women’s tax resistance group–an intense debate begins when Miss Belle Squire and Dr Cornelia De Bey urge the group to endorse Teddy Roosevelt for President of the United States. Dr De Bay declares that “When he sees that votes for women is a winning issue he will embrace it.” However, the proposal is defeated by a 2-to1 margin.

Dr Cornelia De Bey

 

January 29– Monday– Pierce City, Missouri– Birth of Martha Wright Griffiths, lawyer and judge. She will become the first woman elected to the United States Congress from Michigan as a member of the Democratic Party and the first woman to serve on the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means. She will also be the person most responsible for including the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and will finish her distinguished career becoming the first woman elected as Lieutenant Governor of Michigan.

Representative Martha Griffiths

 

January 29– Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Police and strikers clash. Annie Lo Pizza, a striker, is shot and killed. The Evening Tribune opines that while strikers appear more confident than ever, “the chaos which prevailed at the early stages of the strike has returned and it seems as if drastic efforts would be necessary to once again restore order. It is possible that the city will be placed under martial law.” In response to the threats of the mayor and business owners, Joseph Ettor declares, “Fine! We will win the strike even if they erect scaffolds on the streets.”

 January 29– Monday– Lisbon, Portugal– A general strike cripples the city as newspapers, stores and theaters are closed and no streetcars run. The government blames strikers for several bombings.

 January 30– Tuesday– New York City–Birth of Barbara Tuchman, historian.

 January 30–Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois–In an interview with the Evening Post, former President Theodore Roosevelt goes on record as saying that he would accept nomination for the presidency, though he is not actively seek a return to the White House. The 53 year old Roosevelt has been hunting big game in Africa and lecturing in Europe since leaving office in March of 1909 but is beginning to drift apart from his old friend President Taft.

 

White House portrait of Roosevelt, 1903

January 30–Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Soldiers bayonet and kill a 16 year old boy who is not a striker. Also, Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti, IWW labor organizers, are arrested and charged as “accessories” in the murder of Annie Lo Pizza.

 January 30–Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– Mrs Lillian M N Stevens, National President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and Mrs Mary Harris Armour, of the Georgia WCTU, testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and encourage the passage of a prohibition amendment to the federal constitution.

 January 30– Tuesday– Brisbane, Queensland, Australia– The members of all the trade unions in the city go out on a general strike not just for the right to wear a badge but for the more basic right to join a union.

 January 30– Tuesday– Antarctica– Roald Amundsen and the crew of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition leave Antarctica on board the ship Fram, bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina..

 January 30–Tuesday– London, England– Florence St. John, born Margaret Florence Greig, singer and actress, dies at age 56. Her career included burlesque, music halls, comedy, operettas and opera.

 January 30–Tuesday– St Petersburg, Russia– Czar Nicholas II grants a pension of 10,000 roubles per year to Sophia Tolstoy, the widow of Count Leo Tolstoy who died fourteen months ago. [This equaled about $5000 American at the time and about $116,000 in contemporary (2011) buying power.]

 

It’s Legal!

It was on this day in 1920 that the Secretary of State certified that the 19th Amendment to the United States Constituttion had been ratified! All American women could vote under federal law! Here’s a collage of some of the women to thank:

Seneca Falls, New York~1848

Washington~March 3, 1913

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Washington~1913

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Pickets outside the White House

 

New York City~1912

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Buffalo, New York~1914

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Proper attire when marching for suffrage~Chicago~1916

 

Mary Wollstonecraft--vindicating the rights of women

 
 

Ida B Wells Barnett

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Belva Ann Bennett McNall Lockwood

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Belle Case LaFollette

 

Mary Church Terrell

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ernestine Rose

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 

Matilda Joslyn Gage

Lucy Stone

Clara Shortridge Foltz

 

State-by-state delegates by the hundreds

 
 

Officers of the League of Women Voters~1920's

 

  
and so many, many thousands of women, known & unknown
Thank you all!!!!
 
 

91 or 72 Equal (Rights) 19

 

 

It was twenty years ago today,

Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

They’ve been going in and out of style,

But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.

So may I introduce to you

The act you’ve known for all these years

Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band.

–The Beatles

 Actually, it was 91 years ago today that enough states ratified the proposed Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution of the United States that it came into effect. Its language is simple:

 XIX–Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.

“Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

 The process was established in Article V of the constitution as drafted in 1787. “The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this constitution, or on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.”

 With forty-eight states in the Union in 1920, Article V required ratification by thirty-six states to add the amendment to the constitution. That 36th state ratifying it was Tennessee, on August 18, 1920. And it had been 72 years since Elizabeth Cady Stanton had taught the band of suffragists to first sing at Seneca Falls. Suffrage was not the main focus of the convention. Indeed, Lucretia Mott and others present at Seneca Falls worried that adding the suffrage issue would hurt the cause of women. It was the eloquent speech of Frederick Douglass which moved the convention to accept Stanton’s full “Declaration of Sentiments” which included the demand for the right to vote.

 In the thirteen years between the Seneca Falls Convention and the outbreak of the Civil War, agitation for woman suffrage advanced slowly, then came to a standstill as the nation dealt with secession. The woman suffrage movement took hold after the war, during the period of Reconstruction (1865 to 1877). In this period, women’s rights leaders advocated for the inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction amendments (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments). However, the issue fractured the antebellum alliance between women and men in the abolitionist movement. When the Fifteenth Amendment enfranchised only African-American men, some women opposed the adoption of it. Males such as William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, while continuing to support civil rights, including suffrage, for women, took the position that “a half of a loaf is better than none.” Some women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton took the position that upper-class, educated white women were better qualified to vote than black men and illiterate European immigrant men. And women who favored suffrage divided–sometimes bitterly–among themselves on whether to demand an amendment to the U S constitution or to fight state-by-state to gain voting rights or to concentrate on other issues such as working conditions and changes in divorce laws and put suffrage on the back burner or to concentrate solely on suffrage as they figured once women could vote they could gain the full exercise of other civil rights.

 

Lucy Stone

Two rival organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), formed in 1869. Some prominent leaders in the movement, including Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe, argued strongly against Stanton’s “all or nothing” position. The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded in May 1869 by Susan B Anthony and Stanton, who served as its president for 21 years. The NWSA opposed passage of the Fifteenth Amendment without changes to include female suffrage and, under Stanton’s influence in particular, championed a number of other issues deemed too radical by more conservative members of the suffrage movement. The better-funded and larger group was the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), founded in November and led by Stone, Blackwell, and Howe. They openly and firmly supported the Fifteenth Amendment as written. Following passage of that Amendment the AWSA preferred to focus primarily on woman suffrage rather than advocate for broader rights The NWSA attempted several unsuccessful court challenges during the 1870’s. Their legal claims, known as “the New Departure,” were that the Fourteenth Amendment (granting universal citizenship) and Fifteenth Amendment (granting the vote irrespective of race) taken together gave a de facto guarantee of women’s right to vote. Three Supreme Court decisions between 1873 and 1875 rejected this argument.

 

Susan B Anthony

In January 1878, Senator Aaron Augustus Sargent, a Republican from California, introduced a proposed constitutional amendment in the very language that later become the 19th Amendment. Sargent’s wife, Ellen Clark Sargent, a leading voting rights advocate and a friend of Susan B. Anthony, introduced Anthony to her husband. [Interestingly, Sargent also gave key support to Belva Lockwood’s efforts to become the first woman to argue a case in the Supreme Court, opening a big door for other women in the legal profession.] Sargent’s suffrage proposal sat in committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887, after he had retired from the Senate. For the next twenty plus years, the full Congress took no action on the suffrage question, despite petitions, letters and the occasional hearing.

Senator Sargent

 

In February 1890, Susan B Anthony, using all her diplomatic skills, arranged the merger of the NWSA with Lucy Stone’s AWSA, creating the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The merger came about in part because Anthony admired Anna Howard Shaw, who worked with the AWSA and was a powerful and effective speaker. The controversial merger and Anthony’s pursuit of alliances with moderate suffragists created some lasting tensions between her and more radical suffragists. Shaw was a licensed physician and the first woman to be ordained in the Methodist Protestant church in the United States. Lucy Anthony, a niece of Susan B. Anthony, became Shaw’s dear companion. Dr Shaw served as president of NAWSA from 1904 to 1915.

 

Dr Shaw

Elizabeth Cady Stanton died on October 26, 1902. Anthony died on March 13, 1906. Before her final illness, Anthony said to a woman who asked if suffrage would ever come, “it will come, but I shall not see it. . . . It is inevitable. We can no more deny forever the right of self-government to one-half our people than we could keep the Negro forever in bondage. It will not be wrought by the same disrupting forces that freed the slave, but come it will, and I believe within a generation.” She added her favorite phrase: “Failure is impossible.”

Grave of Susan B Anthony

Indeed, the West held some promise. Wyoming recognized that women had the right to vote in 1869, followed by Colorado in 1893 and Idaho in 1896. Increased activism on the suffrage question during 1910 and 1911 brought success in the states of Washington and California. Then Oregon followed suit in 1912, as well as Kansas and Arizona. In 1914 Montana and Nevada saw the light. That year the U S Senate again considered the proposed federal constitutional amendment and again rejected it. On January 12, 1915, a suffrage proposal came before the House of Representatives, but went down to defeat by a vote of 204 to 174.

In the general election in 1916, Montana voters elected the first woman, Jeanette Rankin, to the House of Representatives. During 1917, Arkansas and New York saw the light and recognized the right of women to vote while against the wishes of Carrie Chapman Catt, who succeeded Anna Howard Shaw as president of NAWSA, Representative Rankin voted her peace principles and against U S entry into the Great War.

 

Carrie Chapman Catt

Another proposal for a suffrage amendment came before the House of Representatives on January 10, 1918. The previous evening, President Woodrow Wilson made a strong appeal to the House to pass the measure. (Interesting, because just the year before, in January 1917, he had women arrested who demonstrated in front of the White House for suffrage and he condoned their force-feeding when they went on a hunger strike in the workhouse.) The suffrage measure passed by the required two-thirds of the House, with only one vote to spare. When the measure moved into the Senate, Wilson again made an appeal, but on September 30, 1918, the proposal fell two votes short of passage.

 

Suffragists picketing the White House

In President Wilson’s State of the Union message, delivered on December 2, 1918, he declared, “And what shall we say of the women, of their instant intelligence, quickening every task that they touched; their capacity for organization and cooperation, which gave their action discipline and enhanced the effectiveness of everything they attempted; their aptitude at tasks to which they had never before set their hands; their utter self-sacrifice alike in what they did and in what they gave? . . . . The least tribute we can pay them is to make them the equals of men in political rights as they have proved themselves their equals in every fieldof practical work they have entered, whether for themselves or for their country. These great days of completed achievement would be sadly marred were we to omit that act of justice. . . .we carry them at our hearts and thank God that we can say that we are the kinsmen of such.”

 On February 10, 1919, the proposed amendment again went down to defeat. However, many politicians of both parties wanted the proposal made part of the Constitution before the 1920 general elections, so President Wilson called a special session of Congress. On May 21, 1919, the proposed amendment passed the House with 42 votes more than necessary. On June 4, 1919, it came before the Senate and, after some heated debate, passed with 56 yes and 25 no votes.

 

HQ aganist suffrage--count the number of men

Opponents of woman suffrage, both women and men, who had battled against suffrage for decades, put their campaign into high gear. Frequently they invoked the family as they described the ways that women voting would violate gender roles. Gender norms of the era identified women with the family and men with the domains of market and politics. The prospect of women voting threatened female nature and the family as well. [Am I hearing an echo of a certain current debate?] Anti-suffragists emphasized that women were specially suited and exclusively destined for the work of family maintenance; in their view, women lacked the capacity for managing public affairs, and such effort would distract them from their obligations as wives and mothers. “To the husband, by natural allotment … , fall the duties which protect and provide for the household, and to the wife the more quiet and secluded but no less exalted duties of mother to their children and mistress of the domicile,” declared the House Judiciary Committee in 1883.

 

Suffragist being arrested

The anti-suffragists often used two arguments about the household as the mainstay of their case. First, the argument of virtual representation. Women did not need the vote because they were already represented in the body politic by the men who were the proper heads of household. Second, changing the distribution of the franchise would threaten the unity of the family. Granting women the right to vote would introduce domestic discord into marital relations and distract women from their primary duties as wives and mothers.

 So the battle moved to the states. Thirty-six needed to ratify the amendment to add it to the constitution. On June 10, 1919 Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan ratified it. Six days later, Kansas, Ohio and New York. June 24th–Pennsylvania. The next day, Massachusetts. Texas ratified on June 28th. Iowa on July 2nd, followed by Missouri the next day. So far, so good, yes? Eleven of the required thirty-six. No nay-sayers. Yet. Then, Georgia rejected it on July 24, 1919. Arkansas voted in favor on July 28, followed in quick succession by Montana and Nebraska on August 2, 1919. In September, Minnesota (the 8th) and New Hampshire (the 10th) ratified and Alabama (on the 22nd) rejected the proposed amendment. Utah joined in on October 2nd while California (November 1, 1919), Maine (November 5, 1919), North Dakota (December 1, 1919), South Dakota (December 4, 1919) and Colorado (December 15, 1919) ratified. By year’s end the box score was 22 yes and 2 no. Suffrage advocates had 61% of the states they needed.

Leaflets for the cause

 The first month of 1920 saw Kentucky (January 6), Rhode Island (January 6), Oregon (January 13), Indiana (January 16) and Wyoming (January 27) ratify it and South Carolina reject it (January 28).

Suffrage parade in Michigan

Then in February, Nevada (February 7), New Jersey (February 9), Idaho (February 11), Arizona (February 12), New Mexico (February 21) and Oklahoma (February 28) ratified while Virginia (February 12) and Maryland (February 24) joined the nay-sayers. March 10th West Virginia ratified followed by Washington on March 22nd while Mississippi rejected on March 29, 1920. No more states took action until Delaware rejected on June 2 and Louisiana rejected on July 1, 1920. So August 1st saw 35 states in favor, 7 opposed and only 6 not yet on record. Then in Tennessee a 24 year-old legislator named Harry Burn at the insistence of his mother changed his vote from no to yes and ratification was completed on August 18, 1920.

 

It's actually happening!

Of course, there was a challenge or two. A federal court case from the right. Ms Alice Paul, radical feminist, on the left. But that’s another story . . . .

 

Alice Paul

Right is of no sex

I have always felt a strong partiality to the month of July. My mother, my maternal grandmother and one of maternal great-grandfathers were born in July [July 3rd, July 5th, July 4th respectively] so I’m rooted in the month. It’s summer and hot which I prefer to winter’s bone-piercing cold. When I was a youth July meant the height of summer vacation and freedom from school. July also contains much great history to talk about & to reverently remember.

Flyer about the convention

On this day, July 19th, in Seneca Falls, New York, a group of women, with a few men, assembled at the first national women’s rights convention. Those present included Lucretia Mott and her husband James; Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Frederick Douglass; women with such beautiful and intriguing names as Experience Gibbs, Antoinette E. Segur, Hannah J. Latham, Delia Mathews, Catharine C. Paine, Malvina Seymour, Phebe Mosher, Catharine Shaw, Sophrone Taylor and Hannah Plant; and men named Azaliah Schooley, Elias J. Doty and Saron Phillips. (Oh, I love 18th and 19th century names!) About 300 people total, only 40 of them men, attended one or both days of the convention.

Lucretia Mott-1841

They gathered in part because back in 1840, at the World Ant-Slavery Conference in London, England, the convention refused to seat Lucretia Mott and seven other American women who had been properly selected as delegates by their abolitionist societies. In addition, the presiding males required the women to sit in a segregated area. The men who voted to exclude women argued that women’s exclusion represented the “ordinance of almighty God.” (You know, that Pauline thing about not letting women speak in the assembly?) Several of the American men attending the convention, including William Lloyd Garrison, Nathaniel P. Rogers, William Adams, and Charles Lenox Remond, a black activist, opted to sit with the women in the segregated area. Garrison, one of the anticipated speakers, declined to give his major address. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her husband, Henry B. Stanton, one of the infamous “Lane Seminary Rebels,” attended the convention while on their honeymoon. (How’s that for a honeymoon?) Stanton and Mott became friends and even while in London began planning a convention on the rights of women. [On the Lane Rebels, see William Lloyd Garrison’s issue of The Liberator, dated January 10, 1835; The Lane Rebels: Evangelicalism and Anti-slavery in Antebellum America by Lawrence T Lesick., Metuchen, NJ, 1980.]

I believe it’s no historical accident that these women convene in Seneca Falls in the same year that democratic revolutions sweep through Europe. While those student & worker revolutions in Europe would be suppressed by autocratic powers in France, Prussia, Russia, Italy and Austria and it would take 72 years for American women to gain to right to vote by constitutional amendment, yet the world changed and was forever significantly different after 1848. “Let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream,” declared the prophet Amos. As my favorite prof in law school pointed out, a mighty stream is built drop-by-drop-by-drop. Those 1848 mavericks added a lot of drops to the stream of justice.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton with two of her children-1848

In the Resolutions which she attached to her magnificent paraphrase of the Declaration of Independence, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote:

“Resolved, that the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement of behavior that is required of woman in the social state also be required of man, and the same transgressions should be visited with equal severity on both man and woman.

Resolved, that the objection of indelicacy and impropriety, which is so often brought against woman when she addresses a public audience, comes with a very ill grace from those who encourage, by their attendance, her appearance on the stage, in the concert, or in feats of the circus.

Resolved, that woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.

Resolved, that it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.

Resolved, that the equality of human rights results necessarily from the fact of the identity of the race in capabilities and responsibilities.

Resolved, that the speedy success of our cause depends upon the zealous and untiring efforts of both men and women for the overthrow of the monopoly of the pulpit, and for the securing to woman an equal participation with men in the various trades, professions, and commerce.”

Her demands for equal suffrage and equal opportunity in all professions and businesses, scared some, including Lucretia Mott. When it looked as though the Declaration of Sentiments and the attendant Resolutions might be tabled or actually voted down, it was the self-educated former slave, Frederick Douglass, who came forward and spoke, exhorting the gathering to take a strong stand. “In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world.” The suffrage resolution passed by a large majority. About 100 of the persons present affixed their names to the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions.

Frederick Douglass--1848

A few days afterward, the first editorial in American journalism in support of the rights of women appeared in Douglass’ North Star. With a flourish, he wrote, “In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man. We go farther, and express our conviction that all political rights which it is expedient for man to exercise, it is equally so for women. All that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being, is equally true of woman; and if that government is only just which governs by the free consent of the governed, there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise of the elective franchise, or a hand in making andadministering the laws of the land. Our doctrine is that‘Right is of no sex.’” The ex-slave understood what the issues were all about. Henry B Stanton did not. Like most men of the day, he did not favor women gaining the right to vote. Because he planned on running for public office, he left Seneca Falls before the convention began in order to avoid being connected with such strange ideas.

The later history filled with some unfortunate things. Elizabeth Cady Stanton distanced herself from African Americans, making clear that by “women” she meant educated, middle-class and upper class white women. She considered such women to be better than black men, black women, European immigrant women and men who spoke little or no English. When in the 1880’s a women’s rights convention met in a southern state for the first time, it was Susan B Anthony who took upon herself the unpleasant task of asking her old friend Frederick Douglass not to give a speech. Yet Douglass never abandoned his allies. The day he died he was preparing a speech to give that evening at a women’s rights conference in Washington. Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony all died before the adoption of a woman suffrage amendment. Only one of the Seneca Falls women, Charlotte Woodward, still lived in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment passed.

Many scholars assert that Seneca Falls marks the beginning of “first wave feminism” in the United states, a wave which lasts until 1920. They feel that then there is a gap until “second wave feminism” of the 1960s & 1970s appears. However I strongly disagree. I believe that there is no time in American history when you cannot find women, and sometimes with male allies, actively seeking what today would be called a feminist agenda–equality of rights, fairness of opportunity, justice before the law. Consider Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Anne Bradstreet, Deborah Sampson, Mary Dyer, Margaret Fuller, Ernestine Rose, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Grimke sisters, Mary Kies, Mary Goddard and many like them. I believe that the Seneca Falls Convention marks the start of organized action by women on their own behalf. In addition, most of the Seneca Falls women were active in the anti-slavery struggle. There, in the abolition struggle. they had acquired skills, learned tactics and utilized strategies which they moved to using on their own behalf. Abolition provided a consciousness-raising as well: for black women, they knew they were in the struggle for themselves and their families; for white women, it didn’t take too long to see that their status was much like that of slaves. From that point on–July 19, 1848–American history could never be the same. We remain indebted to those women.

 

“My conviction led me to adhere to the sufficiency of the light within us, resting on truth for authority, not on authority for truth.”–Lucretia Coffin Mott

 

The Crime of Voting

The second floor courtroom at the courthouse in Canandaigua, New York, filled to capacity on June 17, 1873. Judge Ward Hunt was presiding over a criminal case. The defendant? Susan Brownell Anthony, age 53. Her crime? Voting in the presidential election in November, 1872. A prim Quaker school teacher on trial as a federal felon! How had things come to such a pass? But as one of her colleagues, Matilda Joslyn Gage, declared, “Susan B. Anthony is not on trial; the United States is on trial.”

Susan B. Anthony was born and raised in a devout Quaker family. Early in life she joined her parents in active support of the causes of temperance and the abolition of slavery. In 1839, she took a teaching job to help her family out of a difficult financial situation. She worked as a teacher until 1851. During that time she met a number of abolitionist leaders, including William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. Although she and Douglass later had significant disagreements, they remained friendly until Douglass’ death on February 20, 1895. In fact, the day he died, Douglass attended a suffrage meeting in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and given a standing ovation.

A number of men paid court to the attractive Ms Anthony. She choose to turn them all away and remained single her entire life. Late in life she commented, “I never felt I could give up my life of freedom to become a man’s housekeeper. When I was young, if a girl married poor she became a housekeeper and a drudge. If she married wealthy, she became a pet and a doll.”

It was in May of 1851, while attending a lecture by William Lloyd Garrison, that Susan Anthony first met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The two women became close friends and life-long colleagues in the struggle for women’s rights. In September, 1852, Susan Anthony attended her first woman’s rights convention and from that point onward began to focus on suffrage as the key to achieving a full range of civil rights for women. As other women of her generation, she applied the skills she had honed in the abolition struggle to the cause of women.

During the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War, the Radical Republicans [no, that is not a typographical error nor a contradiction in terms–there really were senators and representatives who relished the name “radical”] passed through Congress, and the required number of states ratified, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These came to be called the Reconstruction Amendments.

In the relevant part, the Fourteenth Amendment says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” For suffrage advocates like Ms Anthony, the key word was “person.” The constitutional language did not say “men.”

The Fifteenth Amendment declares, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Taken in tandem with the Fourteenth then, we have this constitutional equation: person = citizen = right to vote = no denial.

Armed with this constitutional language, on November 1st, 1872, Susan B Anthony walked into the requisite place to register to vote in Rochester, New York. The election inspectors initially refused her request, but she persisted, quoting the Fourteenth Amendment’s citizenship provision and the article from the New York state Constitution pertaining to voting, which contained no sex qualification. When they continued to hesitate, she gave them the school teacher stare and loudly declared,”If you refuse us our rights as citizens, I will bring charges against you in criminal court and I will sue each of you personally for large, exemplary damages! I know I can win.” They accepted her voter registration. On election day, Tuesday, November 5th, Susan B Anthony voted a straight Republican ticket, with former general Ulysses S Grant for president at the top of the ticket.

To her dear friend, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ms Anthony wrote, “Well I have been & gone & done it!!–positively voted the Republican ticket–strait this a.m. at 7 O clock . . . .” But the battle had just begun.

A Rochester business man, a Democratic poll watcher named Sylvester Lewis, filed a complaint charging Ms Anthony with casting an illegal vote. Lewis challenged both Ms Anthony’s registration and her subsequent vote. The U S Elections Commissioner William C. Storrs acted upon Lewis’ complaint by issuing a warrant for Ms Anthony’s arrest on November 14th. The warrant charged one Susan B Anthony with voting in a federal election “without having a lawful right to vote and in violation of section 19 of an act of Congress” enacted in 1870, called the Enforcement Act. The Act carried a maximum penalty of $500 or three years imprisonment.

On November 18th, a young U S deputy marshal appeared at the Anthony family home where he was greeted by one of Susan’s sisters. Susan Anthony had been expecting her visitor. She had previously received word from Commissioner Storrs “to call at his office.” In response, “I sent word to him that I had no social acquaintance with him and didn’t wish to call on him.” At the deputy’s request, Ms Anthony came to the parlor. At first the young, slightly embarrassed law officer avoided stating directly the nature of his call, until pressed he finally said that Mr Storrs wanted to see her. When Ms Anthony asked what for, the fellow answered, “To arrest you.”

When Ms Anthony inquired if this was the way men were arrested, the deputy said no. Susan Anthony demanded to be arrested properly, even extending her arms to be handcuffed, which the young man refused to do. He did, however, pay her fare on the horse-drawn trolley on which he accompanied her downtown. To other passengers, Ms Anthony gave public notice that she was under arrest. Once downtown Ms Anthony was escorted to the office of Commissioner Storrs, which she described as “the same dingy little room where, in the olden days, fugitive slaves were examined and returned to their masters.”

On January 24th, 1873, Susan B Anthony was indicted by a federal grand jury for illegal voting. She entered a plea of not guilty. Henry R. Selden, a lawyer and retired New York state court judge, active in Republican politics, represented Ms Anthony. He never charged her for his services.

Originally the trial was set for May. Ms Anthony used the four months prior to the start of the trial to give a speech in every postal district in the county. She entitled her presentation “Is it a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?’ and gave her presentation to audiences of dozens and of hundreds.

In her excellent address, presented with oratorical skill, Ms Anthony argued that “It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed this Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings or liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people-women as well as men. And it is downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government-the ballot.”

The former school teacher knew her history, her constitution and the power of language and logic. She swayed listeners. “But it is urged, the use of the masculine pronouns he, his and him, in all the constitutions and laws, is proof that only men were meant to be included in their provisions. If you insist on this version of the letter of the law, we shall insist that you be consistent, and accept the other horn of the dilemma, which would compel you to exempt women from taxation for the support of the government, and from penalties for the violation of laws. . . . So the poor widow, who keeps a boarding house, manufacturers shirts, or sells apples and peanuts on the street corners of our cities, is compelled to pay taxes from her scanty pittance. I would that the women of this republic, at once, resolve, never again to submit of taxation, until their right to vote be recognized.”

The speech took an hour or more to deliver. It covers twenty typed pages in modern typescript. Ms Anthony’s lecture tour plainly worried her prosecutor, U. S. Attorney Richard Crowley. Before the May trial could start, Crowley convinced Judge Ward Hunt who would hear Anthony’s case, that she had prejudiced potential jurors, male jurors, since only men served on juries in New York at that time. Judge Hunt agreed to move the trial out of Monroe County to Canandaigua in Ontario County. Hunt set a new opening date for the trial of June 17th. Ms Anthony responded to the judge and prosecutor by immediately launching a lecture tour in Ontario County where she spoke for twenty-one days in a row, concluding her tour in Canandaigua, the county seat, on the night before the opening of her trial.

Judge Hunt had just taken his seat on the U S Supreme Court in January, 1873. He heard this case while riding circuit, which was common for justices of the Supreme Court for decades. (It is worth noting that Hunt had minimal impact on the high court during his ten years there. He sided with the majority in all but 22 cases and wrote only four rather mediocre dissenting opinions).

The trial transcript is appalling to read. The government’s case consisted of only two witness, both election officials. Judge Hunt ruled that as an unmarried female, the defendant was under a legal disability and not competent to testify on her own behalf. Selden made a three hour argument on Ms Anthony’s behalf. Judge Hunt ordered the jury of twelve men to return a directed verdict of guilty. When Selden asked for the jury to be polled, that is for each one to personally say if that was his verdict, Hunt denied Selden’s request. Hunt’s biggest mistake came at the very end.

From the transcript of the proceedings:

Judge Hunt: (Ordering the defendant to stand up) Has the prisoner anything to say why sentence shall not be pronounced?”

Miss Anthony: Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.

Judge Hunt: The Court cannot listen to a rehearsal of arguments the prisoner’s counsel has already consumed three hours in presenting.

Miss Anthony: May it please your honor, I am not arguing the question, but simply stating the reasons why sentence cannot, in justice, be pronounced against me. Your denial of my citizen’s right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offender against law, therefore, the denial of my sacred rights to life, liberty, property and-

Judge Hunt: The Court cannot allow the prisoner to go on.

Miss Anthony: But your honor will not deny me this one and only poor privilege of protest against this high-handed outrage upon my citizen’s rights. May it please the Court to remember that since the day of my arrest last November, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury-

Judge Hunt: The prisoner must sit down-the Court cannot allow it.

Miss Anthony: All of my prosecutors, from the 8th ward corner grocery politician, who entered the compliant, to the United States Marshal, Commissioner, District Attorney, District Judge, your honor on the bench, not one is my peer, but each and all are my political sovereigns; and had your honor submitted my case to the jury, as was clearly your duty, even then I should have had just cause of protest, for not one of those men was my peer; but, native or foreign born, white or black, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, awake or asleep, sober or drunk, each and every man of them was my political superior; hence, in no sense, my peer. Even, under such circumstances, a commoner of England, tried before a jury of Lords, would have far less cause to complain than should I, a woman, tried before a jury of men. Even my counsel, the Hon. Henry R. Selden, who has argued my cause so ably, so earnestly, so unanswerably before your honor, is my political sovereign. Precisely as no disfranchised person is entitled to sit upon a jury, and no woman is entitled to the franchise, so, none but a regularly admitted lawyer is allowed to practice in the courts, and no woman can gain admission to the bar-hence, jury, judge, counsel, must all be of the superior class.

Judge Hunt: The Court must insist-the prisoner has been tried according to the established forms of law.

Miss Anthony: Yes, your honor, but by forms of law all made by men, interpreted by men, administered by men, in favor of men, and against women; and hence, your honor’s ordered verdict of guilty; against a United States citizen for the exercise of that citizen’s right to vote, simply because that citizen was a woman and not a man. But, yesterday, the same man made forms of law, declared it a crime punishable with $1,000 fine and six months imprisonment, for you, or me, or any of us, to give a cup of cold water, a crust of bread, or a night’s shelter to a panting fugitive as he was tracking his way to Canada. And every man or woman in whose veins coursed a drop of human sympathy violated that wicked law, reckless of consequences, and was justified in so doing. As then, the slaves who got their freedom must take it over, or under, or through the unjust forms of law, precisely so, now, must women, to get their right to a voice in this government, take it; and I have taken mine, and mean to take it at every possible opportunity.

Judge Hunt: The Court orders the prisoner to sit down. It will not allow another word.

Miss Anthony: When I was brought before your honor for trial, I hoped for a broad and liberal interpretation of the Constitution and its recent amendments, that should declare all United States citizens under its protecting egis-that should declare equality of rights the national guarantee to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. But failing to get this justice-failing, even, to get a trial by a jury not of my peers-I ask not leniency at your hands-but rather the full rigors of the law:

Judge Hunt: The Court must insist-

(Here the prisoner sat down.)

Judge Hunt: The prisoner will stand up. (Here Miss Anthony arose again.) The sentence of the Court is that you pay a fine of one hundred dollars and the costs of the prosecution.

In response to the imposition of sentence, Ms Anthony declared that she had no resources to pay the fine. She would pay her just debts but “not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that ‘Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.’”

Susan B Anthony lived until March of 1906 and never did pay any of the fine or costs imposed upon her by Judge Hunt. Nor did the United States government make any attempt to collect the money. Reading the transcript I quoted above leaves no doubt in my mind. Final score: the Quaker school teacher-10, the Supreme Court justice-0. Up to her death, Ms Anthony kept asserting, “Failure is impossible.” Fourteen years after her death a constitutional amendment, the Nineteenth, known as the Susan B Anthony Amendment, finally guaranteed women the right to vote.

This page of our history is both instructive and motivating. Speaking in 1995 at a comme- ration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, noted, “In order to appreciate the tremendous progress made by American women in the last century, we should consider the point from which we started. The history of the suffrage movement is a colorful and entertaining one, and a tale from which we can draw many lessons.” Commenting upon this trial, Justice O’Connor declared that “Susan B. Anthony was the clear victor. Her treatment at the hands of the judicial system won for her the sympathy even of those who had been opposed to her original act. Letters of support and funds for her defense poured in. The following year, one newspaper even called her ‘America’s best-known woman.’” Near the conclusion of her remarks, the Justice noted, “the redoubtable women of the suffrage movement would tell us not to rest until full equality is achieved, and quite rightly so.”

Nadine Strossen, president of the ACLU from 1991 to 2008 and law professor at New York Law School, said in a 1997 speech that “During Women’s History Month, I think it is especially important to have this dual perspective: both looking backward, to see how far we have come; and looking forward, to see how far we still have to go. The backward perspective, thus, is not at all so that we can rest on our laurels, proud of our achievements to date. Rather, it is for the opposite purpose. By showing us how much progress it is possible to make through organizing and advocacy, this backward glance will encourage us to carry on those efforts energetically and optimistically.” She went on to say there are still those who “seek to relegate women to traditional roles, subordinate to men not only at work and in the political sphere, but also at home.”

According to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2008, worldwide, about 1 in 4 women can expect to be raped during their lifetime. Internationally, twice as many women as men are illiterate. Only in 1998 did an international court declare that rape is a form of torture in prison, and a war crime when conducted systematically by the military. In the United States, gender-based persecution is usually not recognized as grounds for asylum, which means that women who are likely to be killed by their fathers, brothers or husbands or sure to be genitally mutilated if they return to their own countries are usually deported nonetheless, regardless of the potential danger.

An article in Forbes, February 28, 2011, found that based upon an extensive and detailed database of 250 temporary employees who, over a period of several years, jointly were involved in 1462 projects across 462 different companies, “even in temporary jobs, women get paid substantially less than men, for the same type of work. Women earned an average of $25.08 per hour while men, for the exact same job with the same qualifications, would earn an average of $29.66. And we can’t blame that on firm specific skills.”

According to statics from the U.S. Department of Labor compiled in April, 2009, in “non-traditional occupations” women continue to be a minority. Computer programmers, only 22.4% women; computer software engineers-20.9% are women; computer hardware engineers-19.4% are women; detectives and criminal investigators-19.2% are women [television shows not withstanding]; chefs and head cooks–17.0%; industrial engineers–14.9%; ordained clergy–14.8%; police officers–14.7%; chemical engineers–13.1%; computer repairers–10.5%; building inspectors–9.5%; industrial truck and tractor operators–8.9%; electrical engineers–7.7%; mechanical engineers–6.7%; fire fighters–4.8%; aircraft pilots–2.6%; automotive technicians and mechanics–1.6%; electricians–1.0%.

Recent data released by the Department of Labor reports that in 2009, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings that were about 80% of the earnings of their male counterparts. In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women earned approximately 62% as much as men. After a gradual rise in the 1980s and 1990s, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio peaked at 81% in 2005 and 2006. Among younger workers, the earnings differences between women and men were not as great. In 2009, women earned 89% as much as men among workers 25 to 34 years old and 93% as much among 16- to 24-year-olds. In the age groupings of those 35 years and older, women had earnings roughly 75% as much as their male counterparts.

As for the power of voting and participation in government, look at the current membership of Congress. Presently, seventeen women serve in the Senate. That’s exactly 17% while last year’s census data shows that women constitute a little more than 50% of the total population. In the House of Representatives 72 women are serving. That’s 16.6% of the membership.

I deeply believe that we still need Susan B Anthony’s revolutionary enthusiasm.