100 Years Ago October 1919 – Condition Unchanged
Selected from the pages of The Middletown Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase
Wilson Not Good. Washington, Oct. 02, 1919: The condition of President Wilson is “not at all good this morning,” Rear Admiral Grayson, the president’s physician, declared today. [President Wilson’s 27 day train western tour was cut short when he became ill. On September 26th the train headed straight to Washington from Wichita.] Specialists were called in to help in the treatment of the president, while Dr. Grayson asserted that there was absolutely no cause for alarm. Dr. Grayson has been up with the president at all hours of the night. Consequently he is himself worn out.
Consents to Complete Rest. Washington, Oct. 03, 1919: Rear Admiral Grayson let it been known that the president now has begun to “accept the inevitable” and to resign himself to the complete rest that is necessary for his recovery. Dr. Grayson reiterated that the president was in no immediate danger, but “was skating on thin ice.”
New Alien Laws. Washington, Oct. 03, 1919: Passports for all immigrants is the chief provision of a bill soon to come from the house immigration committee. The measures will require all aliens coming to this country to be provided with passports, duly made out by the authorities of the country of which the alien is a citizen, and vised by the American representative in that country. It is expected that the bill will either prohibit all immigration for a period of years or will carry other restrictive features …so as to make admission most difficult. The present sentiment in the committee is to include a provision for rigid exclusion of all Asiatic immigration. Witnesses have alleged…that hordes of Japanese are coming in under passports issued by Japanese officials or are being smuggled in.
Lenine Thrown Into Jail. London, Oct. 08, 1919: Serious revolution has broken out at Moscow and Nicholai Lenine, the Bolshevik premier and dictator, has been cast into prison, according to an Exchange Telegraph dispatch. Accordingly, Lenine had ordered the arrest of Leon Trotzky, the Red minister of war, but instead of obeying the order the soldiers arrested Lenine himself.
Newspapers Still Barred. Washington, Oct. 08, 1919: [President Wilson’s physician] pointed out that if his patient should gain strength too rapidly there would be a possibility … [that he] would suffer a relapse. Although Dr. Grayson had discouraged the practice of having Mrs. Wilson read to the president, he is now permitting it to a greater extent. Newspapers are banned, however, and the patient is kept in practical ignorance of the progress of world events.
Country Before Party. Washington, Oct.09, 1919: Senator David L. Walsh, a democrat, of Massachusetts, announced a growing conviction that I could not, without violence to my conscience , support some of the features of the league [of nations] covenant. “As I have understood its traditional policies, domestic and foreign, the democratic party has consistently stood for redress of the weak and oppressed. To vote for this covenant without protection reservations is, in my opinion, to legalize international wrongs, to endanger the sovereignty of America, to deny the down trodden and submerged races of the world the right to enjoy some day the blessing of liberty. I love the democratic party and have served it for 25 years. But I am an American first… and have taken a solemn oath to preserve the constitution of my country. If [a] choice must be made between a league of nations and the constitution of the United States I am first and last for the constitution.”
The World Series. Chicago, Oct. 10, 1919: The Cincinnati Reds are world champions at baseball winning the deciding game against the Chicago White Sox by a fierce battle. The series of 1919 was a hair raiser, a spine tickler, a thriller and beyond. There is not the shadow of doubt that the better team won. [Note: In August of 1920, fans would read that eight Sox players had thrown the series. The fix became known as the Black Sox Scandal.]
Blockade of Germany At Once. Paris, Oct. 10, 1919: The blockade of Germany resulting from the refusal of General von der Goltz to withdraw from the Baltic provinces will be put into effect. The reparations commission directed to put pressure upon Germany by preventing raw materials from entering the country until the dispute involving the Baltic district is settled. Denies Wilson Has A Cerebral Lesion. Washington, Oct. 13, 1919: The president’s condition remained practically the same as it has for the past several days, according to the official bulletin issued from the White House. When asked to comment on the letter of Senator Moses in which Senator Moses of New Hampshire said the president was suffering from a cerebral lesion, Rear Admiral Grayson declared: “If such a thing had occurred, the press would have been informed.” Senator Moses’s letter to a constituent stated that the president never would be a “material force” in affairs, although he “might live.” Dr. Grayson responded that the president’s mind was “clear as a bell” and he suffered from nothing more than “nervous exhaustion.”
Mother Jones Is Out and Red. Gary, Indiana, Oct. 24, 1919: Despite the fact that “Mother” Jones, a prominent figure in labor organizations circles, urged 2,000 striking steel workers “to clean out” every non-union man you can lay your hands on.” “Mother” Jones, addressing a mass meeting of strikers declared herself to be an “out and out bolshevik.” “We are going to take over the steel mills and run them,” she told the men. Declaring the destiny of the working man in the hands of women, she said: “We’ll hang the bloodhounds to the telegraph poles and go out and picket. God almighty never made a man [that] could stop a woman from talking. You can arrest me, but I’ll be free. If being a bolshevik is what I understand it to be, then I’m bolshevik from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head.”
100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.