Thursday, February 16, 2017

Today -100: February 16, 1917: Of wolves, pflugs, election conspiracies, prohibition, and the ideals of representative government


Somewhere in Poland, a fight between German and Russian soldiers is interrupted by a pack of wolves. Both sides stop to shoot wolves, and then go their separate ways. It’s a weird war.

As former US ambassador to Germany James Gerhard, making his way back to the US, is crossing the French border, he has French authorities arrest an embassy employee traveling with his party, one Oscar Pflug, of whom Gerhard has become suspicious. With no evidence of wrong-doing, Pflug will be released in three weeks.

Germany releases the crew of the Yarrowdale.

The Indianapolis police chief, five captains and sergeants, and the city sealer (whatever that might be) are charged with election conspiracy.

The House Judiciary Committee favorably reports out a constitutional amendment for prohibition, while the Senate moves to ban the importation of liquor into dry states (the “bone dry” measure) and exclude liquor ads and periodicals containing such ads from the mails in states which ban such advertising.

Germany is proposing to the US that in event of war neither side will intern the other’s citizens resident in their country in concentration camps or seize their property or disregard their patents, and that those citizens have freedom to return home. Ships should also be able to leave the other country’s ports but can’t be forced out without a guarantee of safe conduct from all enemy powers.

Germany has reversed itself and will allow Herbert Hoover’s Relief Commission to continue its work in Belgium and northern France.

The Prussian Diet discusses possible reform of Prussia’s insanely retrograde system of representation (there are three tiers, determined by the total amount of tax paid by the tier, so the small number of rich people in tier 1 elects the same number of MPs as the vast majority of the population in tier 3) (for god’s sake no one tell Trump about this).

The Ohio Legislature passes women’s suffrage, though only for presidential elections. Mrs. Arthur Dodge, president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, referring to the previous failures of women’s suffrage referenda in the state in 1912 and 1914, accuses the Legislature of being “false to the ideals of representative government.”  Mrs. Dodge is a little unclear on the concept of representative government (she also doesn’t point out that Ohio legally, though not in practice, restricts its electorate to “white males”). She calls on the governor to be “man enough” to veto it. The governor’s name is Cox. Just saying. There is already an effort to collect signatures (in saloons, mostly) for a referendum to reverse this.


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