Friday, June 17, 2016

Today -100: June 17, 1916: A jumble of words

The Democratic Party platform includes this atrocity of a sentence, straight from the pen of Woodrow Wilson himself: “The Democratic party, therefore, recognizes the assertion and triumphant demonstration of the indivisibility and coherent strength of the nation as the supreme issue of this day in which the whole world faces the crisis of manifold change.”

The only contention over the platform (indeed, the only plank actually debated on the floor of the convention) was about the women’s suffrage plank. The debate was heckled and cheered by women in the galleries, and suffragists wrote down the names and votes of delegates, leading the NYT, perhaps inevitably, to make snide Madame Defarge references. The convention votes to “recommend the extension of the franchise to the women of the country by the States on the same terms as to men” after a speech by Sen. Thomas Walsh of Montana pragmatically reminding them that women vote in 12 states now and could really fuck up their shit in November, or words to that effect. Carrie Chapman Catt is not happy about the failure to support a federal constitutional amendment, saying the D’s “thought to hoodwink the women by a jumble of words”.

The man in charge of the Mexican Army in the north, Gen. Jacinto Trevino, warns Gen. Pershing that any movement of US troops further into Mexico will be considered an act of war. All males in Juarez have been ordered to report for military duty in preparation for that war. Mexico is already pissed off at the harsh language reportedly in the unsent US response to Carranza’s demand that its troops be withdrawn and is now also miffed at the Democratic platform, which justifies the occupation and its continuation while congratulating Wilson on his “resistance” to calls to just conquer Mexico, “notwithstanding the provocation to that course has been great, and should be resorted to, if at all, only as a last resort.” If at all!

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