Saturday, July 23, 2011

Today -100: July 23, 1911: Of booze, statue mania, a humiliation intolerable for a great nation to endure, and reciprocity

A referendum in Texas on state-wide prohibition is running very close. The southern part of the state voted wet, the north dry. Night riders, fearing negroes would vote against prohibition, warned them against voting. And yes, “warned” includes whipping and shooting.

The city of Paris strikes a blow against “statue mania,” banning the erection of new statues for a period of ten years.

Germany has put forward various demands it wants in exchange for removing its gunboat from Moroccan waters, including a large swathe of the French Congo to be tacked onto its colony of Kameroon. British chancellor of the exchequer David Lloyd George makes a speech (the Mansion House speech, if you’re following along in a Stuff That Lead Up to World War I book) about the importance of Britain not losing its influence in the world, an influence which has been “invaluable for the cause of human liberty” and has “more than once in the past redeemed Continental nations, who are sometimes too apt to forget that service...” Stoopid redeemed Continental nations “...but if a situation were to be enforced upon us in which peace could only be preserved by the surrender of the great and beneficent position that Great Britain has won by centuries of heroism and achievement – by allowing Great Britain to be treated where her interests were vitally affected as if she were of no account in the cabinet of nations – then I say emphatically that peace at that price would be a humiliation intolerable for a great country like ours to endure.” Yup, that was pretty emphatic, all right. This is the British government publicly warning Germany that it will stand by France, a situation that may arise again in the future.

Congress passes the Canadian tariff reciprocity treaty, 53-27. Woo hoo. Now it’s up to Canada, where it’s more vital, in that the treaty would tie Canada’s economy closer to the US’s while loosening its economic dependence on the rest of the Empire.

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