History

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources: TR, Race Suicide, and Blaming Women 10/16/18

Theodore Roosevelt, Nobel Peace Prize photo, 1906.

In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt was in the second year of his first elected term as president (he assumed the presidency in 1901 after the assassination of President McKinley); it is seven years after the Battle of San Juan Hill, two years after construction of the Panama Canal commenced, four years after the publication of Edward Ross’ paper, The Causes of Race Superiority, and one year before he receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering the peace between Russia and Japan, ending the Russo-Japanese War. It’s not clear of the impact of Ross’ paper on the American public, but it is clear that Roosevelt was aware of the concepts it promoted (we also know that Ross sent a copy of his book, The Changing Chinese: The Conflict of Oriental and Western Cultures in China in 1911, and TR responded with a cordial and almost chatty letter. Letter from Roosevelt to Ross). In 1905, Roosevelt addressed the National Congress of Mothers (a precursor to the PTA) and included his own spin on the concept of race suicide. The entire address)(

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources: Edward Ross and Race Suicide 10/9/18

American sociologist and eugenicist Edward Alsworth Ross (1866-1951)


I had strongly considered backing off from difficult topics for awhile, in deference to the difficult past few weeks. But then I saw this tweet by one of my favorite Twitter-follows:


Some may not like the bluntness of @Ange_Amene, but I’ve always found her willingness to be true to herself, even if it enrages fellow Democrats and/or white feminists, to be refreshing and much-needed. And I also happen to think she’s right about “doesn’t know shit”; privilege more often than not has protected white folk from knowing and understanding history as it was, rather than as it was taught (often in support of white supremacy). So while it would be easier to stick with something lighter, today I’m focusing on a little-known phrase, “race suicide”, and how one prominent sociologist framed it and popularized the concept.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Chipping Away at the Patriarchy 10/2/18

Moritz von Schwind: Sabina of Steinbach, painted 1844. The existence of Sabina von Steinbach may be a myth, but women chipping away at the patriarchy is not.

Last week was a painful and potent reminder that the forces of patriarchy are still strong and that there will always be men and women who embrace the image and role of the subservient woman; to paraphrase the title of Gail Collins’ book, women as “dolls, drudges, helpmates, and [only occasionally] heroines.” But for every moment of rage and despair last week, there was a moment of hope: Dr. Blasey Ford’s personal bravery; Sen. Klobuchar’s quiet but firm questioning; Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher sharing their pain and outrage with Sen. Flake. Our hope comes not just from the sisters of today; it comes from knowing that our sisters from the past helped us to get this far. There’s still a long way to go. We won’t create the sculpture of equality overnight, but we have the chisel; we have the hammer, and we will not quit chipping away.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources: Mansplaining 1870s Style 9/18/18

Written on border: ‘Jan. 10, 1878’. Just regular old 1870s style.

Every once in awhile, my curiosity leads me down obscure rabbit holes; this was one of those weeks. In the course of reading Gail Collins’ book, America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines, she talks about the rise of the “New Woman” in the late 1800s; independent, educated, and involved in issues outside of the home. Collins mentions that the “first generation of female college students enrolled around 1870” (p. 297) and that their presence led to the publication of Dr. Edward Clarke’s Sex in Education, or, a Fair Chance for Girls. A quick search led me to the discovery that the entire treatise has been made available by Project Gutenberg (Sex in Education, 1873). I started skimming it and quickly settled in to read all 196 or so pages, with a mixture of bemusement, disbelief, and horror. In light of the enraging misogyny we are once again seeing, hearing, and being subjected to over the Kavanaugh attempted rape allegation, I thought it would be interesting to explore the 1870s version of mansplaining and blaming women. If we are supposed to learn from history, some folks are learning the wrong lessons.

Tuesday in Mooseville – A Belated Labor Day Story 9/4/18

The Battle of the Overpass, 1937

Throughout the course of Labor Day, we see reminders of what unions have accomplished for all of us; tweets like this are typical:


Sadly, this anodyne and misleading tweet from the GOP is also typical:


What gets lost amidst the parades and barbecues, speeches and parties, politicians and public is the often costly path that was necessary to make the gains we now so-often take for granted. Today, I’m going to share one story: the story of the Battle of the Overpass.

Tuesday in Mooseville – The “I” Word 8/28/18


Today’s post was prompted by two tweets. First, this one:

Needless to say, I downloaded the handbook (only 67 pages) on my Nook immediately. The second motivation for this post was this tweet:

It may be unpopular to say it, but Rep. Swalwell is 100% correct. Of course, it’s The Hill, so it’s necessary to go beyond the clickbait headline to read this:

“We don’t want to be as reckless with the facts as he is,” he said. “I think having thorough investigations, putting forth an impenetrable case, doing it in a bipartisan way is the proper way to do this, but we’re not there yet.” Swalwell: We don’t have enough evidence to impeach Trump

So what do we need to know about the process of impeachment that we think we know, but may not really know?

VNV Tuesday – History’s Wrenching Pain 7/31/18


Last week I mentioned that I was reading a book on the history of lynching, which resulted in more than a few folks expressing trepidation about my next post. Fear not! The post is here, and I should point out that technically, the book, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century by Sherrilyn Ifill is not a history as much as it is a call for restorative justice. In her 2007 book, she focuses on two lynchings and several averted lynchings which occurred on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the 1930s, as well as numerous references to lynchings elsewhere in the country. Today’s post, using her book as a template, will focus on white silence and complicity then, the ongoing impact of that silence, and what reconciliation can look like.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed To Repeat It (Lochner v. New York 1905, Part Three) 7/24/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been discussing Lochner v. New York, the opinion, and the dissents. This week it’s time to take on the some analysis; both the once-prevalent view that, “Aside from Dred Scott itself, Lochner v. New York is now considered the most discredited decision in Supreme Court history” (A History of the Supreme Court by Bernard Schwartz, Oxford University Press, 1993. p. 190) and more recent efforts to “rehabilitate” Lochner.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed to Repeat It (Lochner v. New York, 1905; Part Two) 7/17/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

Last week, the background leading to the Lochner v. New York lawsuit was discussed, as well as the decision of the majority which reversed the holdings of the county court, the New York Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals. (Part One) Initially, the vote was 5-4 in favor of upholding the New York law, and Justice John Harlan wrote the draft opinion, while Justice Rufus Peckham wrote the draft dissent. Somewhere along the way, however, one justice changed their vote (most sources suggest it was Chief Justice Melville Fuller), and the opinion of Justice Harlan, with Justices Edward White and William Day concurring, became the dissent. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a separate dissent.