Thursday, March 22, 2012

Today -100: March 22, 1912: Of suffrage and patronage

The Chinese parliament gives women the vote on the same terms as men (literacy tests, age 20, property owners). A woman, Yik Yug-Ying, is immediately elected to parliament from Canton.

The Senate Committee on Contingent Expenses will provide funds for an investigation (if one is ordered) into whether the Taft administration has been sending post office inspectors around the country to pressure postmasters to work for Taft’s re-election, which it has (and firing a lot of Roosevelt loyalists). In those days of a smaller federal government presence beyond Washington, the post office was a major source of political patronage. This was most important in this election in the South, where the Republican Party had a tiny presence, allowing postmasters to dominate the process of selecting delegates to the national convention. With so few states having popular primaries, the party nomination process was a dirty, dirty business. Unlike now, of course.

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