Thursday, December 06, 2012

Today -100: December 6, 1912: To hell with the Constitution

At the governors’ conference, South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease brags that SC is the only state in which divorce is not legal (indeed, SC does not recognize divorces granted by other states, or allow the “illegitimate” children of subsequent marriages to inherit).

Blease says that if negroes could vote in South Carolina, 75-90% of them would definitely vote for him, even though he’s against educating them and for lynching them. But “we cannot apply the same rules to this inferior race that we do to the superior race.” He goes on to defend lynching black people in “defense of the virtue” of white women. Gov. Carey of Wyoming interrupts to ask Blease if he hadn’t taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of SC and if those didn’t also apply to negroes. Blease replies, naturally, “To hell with the Constitution!” Many women leave the hall on hearing that naughty word (hell, not Constitution). Other governors defend the rule of law, including the governor of North Carolina, who says there hasn’t been a lynching in his state in six whole years.

The conference also discussed whether Woodrow Wilson can run for a second term in 1916, since the Democratic Party platform on which he was elected says he can’t. Some say yes, some that the platform only called for a Constitutional amendment to that effect.

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