Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today -100: December 14, 1910: Of judges, California chattel, South Carolina schools, and Finnish Jews

Taft nominates Willis Van Devanter and Joseph Lamar to the Supreme Court.

California’s Governor-Elect Hiram Johnson says that “For forty years, California has been a chattel of the Southern Pacific Railroad. ... The railroad has named the governors of California for forty years.” Johnson observes that he and the other reformists only won election in Calif. this year because of the new direct primary system, and he wants to add to that the initiative, referendum and direct election of US senators. He is, however, a little squirrely about women’s suffrage, saying there is some suffragist agitation in the state but that it ought to be left to the people to make their own decision, whatever that means.

South Carolina’s Governor-Elect, Coleman Livingston Blease (campaign song: “Roll up your sleeves, say what you please, the man for the job is Coley Blease”) advocates separate and unequal education, that is, that the amount spent on white schools and black schools respectively should be proportionate to the taxes paid by whites and blacks. He also doesn’t want blacks to be taught more than the most basic literacy. A NYT editorial deprecates this, saying that negroes should receive an education meeting their “probable needs,” which in the South means some sort of industrial training, either mechanical or agricultural. So their disagreement isn’t about whether blacks should get an inferior education, but what sort of inferior education.

The Russian Duma, working on a bill defining citizenship in Finland, refuses to give equal rights to Jews.

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