Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Today -100: March 1, 1916: Absolutely American in the highest and best sense, in the home sense, in the pride sense

Headline of the Day -100:

Not satisfied with getting his congressional allies to stifle the proposed resolution requesting US citizens not to travel on armed belligerent merchant ships, Woodrow Wilson demands that Congress hold votes on the resolutions, and reject them, so everyone knows that only he speaks for the United States. He says reports of divisions in Congress are being “made industrious use of in foreign capitals”, which “cannot fail to do the greatest harm and expose the country to the most serious risks.” So he wants a vote of confidence slash blank check. To make his imperiousness towards Congress even more obnoxious, he makes this demand in a letter to the acting chairman of the Rules Committee, bypassing the Foreign Relations Committee, and demands immediate action.

The NYT lauds Wilson’s action as “a bold and opportune challenge to the un-American element in Congress... beguiled, as we trust, by its own stupidity, but inspired by the voice of the alien within our gates.” Which is dickish even by the standards of the NYT editorial page.

Germany says it’s too late to modify its orders to u-boats on sinking armed merchant ships, since its subs are at sea now with the new orders. A German official says that subs will not wait to be fired on before sinking those ships, and adds that since there are no longer pirates on the high seas, there’s no justification for arming merchantmen. He also cites alleged captured British orders allowing the ships to fire on submarines that haven’t attacked them, proving that merchant ships are not armed merely for self-defense as the British have been claiming.

St. Louis voters approve, by 3 to 1, two segregation referenda banning blacks or whites moving into blocks 75% of whose residents are the other race. It’s the first ever segregation ordinance in the US passed by a referendum. White people can still have black servants and white buildings black janitors, you’ll be relieved to hear. However people who buy property in the “wrong” block will be banned from living in it. The referenda are called “an ordinance to prevent ill feeling, conflict, and collisions between the white and colored races in the City of St. Louis”. The real estate interests behind segregation claimed that if it was defeated, a “veritable army of Southern negroes” would invade the city, but deny that segregation is anti-negro and claimed that blacks too would vote for segregation, which is “absolutely American in the highest and best sense, in the home sense, in the pride sense, both for white and colored.” The ordinance will quickly be overturned in court after the NAACP files suit, but other means (racial covenants) will be found. These will also be ruled unconstitutional but St. Louis somehow still remains highly segregated.

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