Monday, February 25, 2013

Today -100: February 25, 1913: They dare not let us die, because they are too cowardly

The US ambassador to Mexico, Henry Lane Wilson, issues a statement: “In the absence of other reliable information I am disposed to accept the Government’s version of the manner in which the ex-President and ex-Vice President lost their lives. Certainly the violent deaths of these persons were without Government approval... Mexican public opinion has accepted this view of the affair, and it is not at all excited. The present Government appears to be revealing marked evidence of activity, firmness, and prudence”. The State Dept will say that Amb. Wilson made this statement entirely on his own. Others... all right, me... will say that of course he exonerated the people with whom he conspired of cold-blooded murder.

Texas Gov. Oscar Colquitt is sending four companies of the Texas National Guard to the Mexican border. The federal government is afraid he intends to send them into Mexico, supposedly to protect American citizens in Matamoras, so the War Dept orders federal troops on the border to prevent them crossing. More federal troops are also being sent to the border in readiness for whatever, bringing the total up to 10,000.

The new Mexican regime is busily executing troops that don’t fall into line behind it.

British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested for supposedly ordering the attempt to burn down Lloyd George’s country house.

The NYT editorializes that this is an opportunity to suppress suffragist militancy once and for all, if only the authorities don’t release Mrs. Pankhurst when she hunger strikes (or, as they put it, if “the jail officers are not permitted to lose their wits when she pretends to prefer self-imposed starvation to obeying the law”). What the NYT is calling for is a game of hunger-strike chicken, based on a low estimate of the suffragettes’ dedication (or female willpower generally). The Women’s Social and Political Union also sees this as a game of chicken. Annie Kenney, the Pankhursts’ lieutenant, is quoted in the London Times: “We say, ‘Let us die.’ We are prepared to die. They dare not let us die, because they are too cowardly.” If women are allowed to die in prison, Kenney says, even non-militant suffragists will turn militant.

The US Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the White Slave Act under the Interstate Commerce Clause. In other words, prostitutes are not human beings, who have the right to move between states, whether induced to do so or not, but products; the Act regulating their movement is thus akin to legislative control over inter-state trade in impure food or lottery tickets or pornography.

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