Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today -100: March 21, 1912: Are the American people fit to govern themselves?


Emil Seidel, Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, is defeated in his bid for re-election, the D’s & R’s uniting behind a unity candidate.

Gov. Woodrow Wilson denies rumors that he failed to vote for William Jennings Bryan in 1908 or that he ever said that he prefers Chinese to Polish immigrants.

Speaking at Carnegie Hall, Theodore Roosevelt defends his position on recalls, initiative, direct primaries and the like, saying that the fundamental issue before the Republican Party is “Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves?” Good question. He disagrees with the view of some (i.e., Taft) that the Constitution is a “strait jacket to be used for the control of an unruly patient – the people”. He notes that the country is “suffering from the tyranny of minorities” which own all the coal and water power, profit from adulterated drugs and food, control the monopolies and trusts and sweatshops – and the Republican convention.

The Massachusetts State Senate rejects women’s suffrage 17-14 and the direct election of US senators 19-14.

Democrats in Congress offer a plan to give the Philippines independence in 1921 (July 4th, naturally) after eight years of “probationary independence” during which the Filipinos would elect a congress (some Filipinos; there’d be a property franchise and a literacy test), whose legislation could be vetoed by the US president. A Philippines president would be nominated by the US president and confirmed by the US Senate. Polygamy would be outlawed.

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