Monday, December 07, 2009

Today -100: December 8, 1909: Of the State of the Union and pickle secrets

Taft has sent Congress his first State of the Union Address (which nobody seems to call by that name). Throughout it, notes the NYT, “runs a strong note of consideration for the commercial welfare of the country.” Unlike the addresses of Teddy Roosevelt, “There is not a bludgeon or a big stick in it”. Taft talks about the maximum tariff feature of the Payne-Aldrich law. Anyone care about that? Then we’ll move on. He recommends an executive council for Alaska and statehood for New Mexico and Arizona, postal savings banks, requiring Congressional candidates to file a statement of their contributions and expenditures, pensions for civil servants, and that army promotions be based on merit. He wants reform of federal court procedures to make them cheaper to use and faster, adding, “I do not doubt for one moment that much fo the lawless violence and cruelty exhibited in lynchings is directly due to the uncertainties and injustice growing out of the delays in trials, judgments, and the executions thereof by our courts.” He says, obviously referring to Nicaragua, that neither the Monroe Doctrine “nor any other doctrine of American policy should be permitted to operate for the perpetuation of irresponsible government, the escape of just obligations, or the insidious allegation of dominant ambitions on the part of the United States.”

Germany’s Prince Frederick von Sayn Wittgenstein is forced to renounce his title because he married a woman of the middling classes.

Headline of the Day -100 Years: “D. W. Bowles Arrested: Son of Samuel Bowles Accused of Trying to Steal Pickle Secrets.”

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