Saturday, January 03, 2015

Today -100: January 3, 1915: A scientific proposition


The Congressional commission on Indian affairs is finding that the Crows of Montana are starving on their reservation while their tribal account is being syphoned for irrigation projects that don’t benefit them, while government officials steal their land for themselves.  And 90% of them have tuberculosis.

Former President Taft (who was also governor-general of the Philippines) testifies before the Senate Committee on the Philippines that if the Philippines is given independence, it will turn into a post-apocalyptic hellscape like Mexico. He thinks the Filipinos might be ready in a generation or two – the time it would take to teach everyone in the Philippines English.  “We cannot present the Filipino people with a character. It must be acquired.”  “I am in favor of gradually extending self-government to these islands. But we have done it. Let us wait and see; let us try the experiment of waiting. The difficulty is that when you give them one thing at once they want another.  That is characteristic.”  The Democratic Party’s promises of independence, he says, only create unrest.

Thomas Edison thinks the war will last another two years.  He thinks the British are developing ships capable of withstanding torpedoes from submarines.  “The present war has taught the world that killing men in war is a scientific proposition.”

Three Americans, William Thaw, Bert Hall, and James Bache, join the French aviation corps.

The Senate passes the immigration bill, including the literacy requirement, but with an exemption for Belgian farmers, the only acknowledgment they seem to be making that the European war might change things, immigration-wise.  Immigration officials will make any immigrant over 16 read from a list of 30 to 40 ordinary words in the appropriate language (including Hebrew and Yiddish).  Vagrants and people with tuberculosis or other conditions which prevent them earning a living can be excluded.  Also, anyone who advocates the unlawful destruction of property (i.e., anarchists).


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