Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Today -100: February 19, 1920: Of incapacity, the attitude of women voters, and women’s suffrage


In 1920, the US Constitution remains unclear about the process for declaring a president incapable of performing his duties, which should have been rectified after James Garfield took 79 days to die after being shot (the 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, allows an incapacitated president to be removed by the veep +a majority of the Cabinet). Two measures are introduced in the House, one for a Constitutional amendment authorizing the Supreme Court to check up on the president’s health, the other doing the same without writing it into the Constitution. Neither measure actually mentions Mr. Wilson by name.

Mary Kilbreth, president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, writes to Carrie Chapman Catt, president of “the alleged League of Women Voters” as Kilbreth puts it (the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association became the League of Women Voters last week), suggesting that since the wives of both James Wadsworth and the likely challenger for his Senate seat, former Secretary of State Robert Lansing, were prominent anti-suffragists, Catt should run for the seat “to leave no doubt of the attitude of women voters toward a woman candidate”.

The Mississippi State Senate rejects the women’s suffrage Amendment. The House has already done so.


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