Saturday, June 27, 2015

Today -100: June 27, 1915: I am not saying that woman suffrage will make women crazy

Russia forces out Minister of War Vladimir Sukhomlinov, a 66-year-old, old-fashioned cavalry guy perhaps not best suited to running a 20th-century war. In 1916 he’ll be arrested for treason, because some of his associates were accused of spying for Germany. The post-Revolution Menshevik government will put him on trial for leaving Russia unprepared for the war and send him to Siberia before exiling him.

The German socialist newspaper Vorwärts is suspended yet again, for publishing a Social Democratic Party appeal for peace with no conquest or annexation.

Georgia Gov. John Slaton leaves office, to the sounds of a mob, unhappy with his commutation of Leo Frank’s death sentence, baying “Lynch him!”, as was the custom, held back only by a force of police and soldiers (the mob, not the governor). Slaton is planning to leave the state until it’s safe to come back, which may be a while. 20 men are caught near Slaton’s house carrying guns and dynamite. Mobs are searching outgoing railroad trains for him. Slaton says he acted according to his conscience and unlike another former governor, one Pontius Pilate, he didn’t turn a Jew over to a mob. There are reports of secret meetings forming branches of something called the Knights of Mary Phagan and taking blood oaths to avenge her death on Slaton and Frank.

The NYT publishes a letter to Alice Chittenden of the NY State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage from Dr. Charles Dana, professor of nervous diseases at Cornell Medical College, announcing his opposition to the “distant and selfish cry” for women’s suffrage, which he calls “a holy cult of self and sex”. He asserts that the nervous systems of men and women are entirely different physiologically and that women are way more prone to insanity, which would increase 25% if they lived as men do. “I am not saying that woman suffrage will make women crazy. I do say that woman suffrage would throw into the electorate a mass of voters of delicate nervous stability.” He adds that the average suffrage zealot has the mental age of 11. And he should know because he’s a doctor. And a professor. At Cornell.

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