Monday, March 21, 2016

Today -100: March 21, 1916: Of standing armies, unjustified hopes, and French licks

The House of Representatives, working on a bill that would increase the army to 140,000 and federalize the state national guards, rejects amendments to expand it to 220,000.

Gen. Moritz von Bissing, the German overlord for occupied Belgium, complains to Cardinal Mercier that his Lenten pastoral raised “unjustified hopes” that Germany might lose the war, creating “among a credulous population noxious excitement”. He warns the cardinal, not for the first time, to refrain from political activity.

Indiana Gov. Samuel Ralston appoints the alliterative Thomas Taggart, former mayor of Indianapolis, to the vacant US Senate seat left by the death of Benjamin Shively. Taggart was indicted for election fraud last year, but the case was dropped. He also had legal troubles over alleged gambling at his hotel – and this is really the only reason I’m covering this – the French Lick Springs Hotel, which just sounds dirty. (Update: hah, it’s still in existence, and there’s definitely gambling going on there now).

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