Feeds:
Entradas
Comentarios

Archive for the ‘Historia de Estados Unidos’ Category

Comparto con mis lectores este interesante capítulo del libro de la historiadora Josefina L. Martínez, ¡No somos esclavas! Huelgas de mujeres trabajadoras, ayer y hoy . Esta obra analiza el papel que han jugado las mujeres en el desarrollo del movimiento obrero y, en especial, en huelgas a nivel global. En el caso específico del capítulo que comparto, Martínez enfoca una huelga en la Lawrence (Massachussets) llevada a cabo en marzo de 1912. Aquellos interesados en la historia obrera, de género y de la intersección entre ambas, podrían encontrar muy útil este capítulo.


images_cms-image-000024994

Manifestación en Lawrence (Massachusetts) durante la huelga de 1912.
LAWRENCE HISTORY CENTER PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION

La huelga de Pan y Rosas

Josefina L. Martínez

Ctxt.com     16/01/2021

Desde que comenzó la pandemia hemos visto en varios países la irrupción de luchas de mujeres trabajadoras cruzadas por la explotación y los agravios del racismo y las migraciones. El grito de las jornaleras contra los abusos en el campo, la protesta de las enfermeras y limpiadoras en los hospitales, las trabajadoras del hogar contra la esclavitud moderna o las vecinas autoorganizadas para frenar los desahucios. Estas experiencias muestran la potencialidad de apostar por la construcción de un feminismo de clase, alejado tanto del punitivismo moralista de las disputas en redes sociales como de los techos de cristal del feminismo meritocrático.

El libro ¡No somos esclavas! Huelgas de mujeres trabajadoras, ayer y hoy recupera algunas de estas luchas, sus dolores y también sus deseos de emancipación. Pero el hilo rojo y morado que entrevera género y clase no comienza hoy. Por eso la primera parte está dedicada a huelgas de mujeres en la historia: la huelga de Pan y Rosas en 1912 en EE.UU., la revuelta de las mujeres contra el aumento de los precios en Barcelona, Málaga y Alicante en 1918, las huelgas de las inquilinas en las primeras décadas del siglo XX o las luchas de las trabajadoras textiles contra el Corte Inglés en la Transición española. Varios capítulos están basados en artículos publicados en los últimos años en CTXT, ahora reeditados, junto con historias nuevas. Para la publicación del libro, ilustrado por Emma Gascó, se ha lanzado una campaña de crowdfunding en Verkami. Presentamos aquí, como adelanto editorial, el capítulo sobre la huelga de Pan y Rosas, una de las más importantes de la historia de la clase obrera en Estados Unidos. Protagonizada por decenas de miles de trabajadoras textiles, jóvenes, inmigrantes y precarias, se desarrolló en Lawrence entre el 11 de enero y el 14 de marzo de 1912.

La mañana del 11 de enero el frío cortaba la respiración en Lawrence, Massachusetts. Antes de las 6 de la mañana, miles de bocas tragaron pequeños trozos de pan en cocinas oscuras, las mujeres alimentaron a los niños y se calzaron los abrigos. Minutos después, los portales escupían figuras que se multiplicaban al doblar la esquina; polleras, sombreros y botines cruzaban puentes y aceleraban el paso, mientras el humo de las chimeneas y el chillido de los silbatos indicaba el camino de tan temprana procesión. El torrente se precipitaba por calles y avenidas, bifurcándose en los portones de cada fábrica: la Everett Mills, la Pacific Mills, la Washington Mills, unas 30 en total. Lawrence abría sus fauces, enormes mandíbulas mecánicas, trituradoras de ladrillo y metal, para engullir esa masa de carne y nervios, músculos y cerebros. En cada taller, los hilos se tensaban y los brazos se acoplaban a las máquinas, iniciando el traqueteo infernal que iba a martillear los tímpanos durante 10 horas.

Portada del libro. Ilustración: Emma Gascó

La ciudad había sido fundada en 1845 por la Asociación de empresarios de Boston en un lote de tierras despobladas de Nueva Inglaterra. Abbot Lawrence la había imaginado como un modelo ideal de laboriosidad y puritanismo donde las jóvenes solo se ocuparían unos años en la confección, hasta que llegara la edad de casarse y estuvieran listas para engendrar hijos devotos. Cuarenta años después, las ‘chicas de Lawrence’ seguían trabajando con la espalda doblada 14 horas al día en talleres mugrientos, pariendo hijos que entraban a trabajar antes de tener un solo pelo en la caraHacia 1910, Lawrence se transformó en uno de los centros de la industria textil norteamericana –sus fábricas procesaban el 25% del total del tejido de lana en Estados Unidos–, una urbe de casi 86.000 habitantes, en su mayoría trabajadores y trabajadoras no cualificadas que llegaban en oleadas desde el sur de Italia, Polonia, Lituania, Grecia, Francia, Bélgica, Alemania y Rusia para abastecer la creciente demanda de mano de obra. En su Informe sobre la huelga de los trabajadores textiles de Lawrence de 1912, el Gobierno Federal indicaba que al menos la mitad de la población mayor de 14 años se ocupaba en la industria textil de lana y algodón y más del 80% de la población era extranjera.

Ese día invernal, sin embargo, debajo de la rutina aparente, circulaba una potente corriente subterránea, una tensión que se transmitía en las miradas, en frases intercambiadas en diferentes lenguas, en rostros endurecidos. Las polacas fueron las primeras. 200 mujeres que, al recibir la paga semanal y comprobar que les habían bajado el salario, estallaron con furia y pararon la producción. Bajaron los brazos y con esa declaración de inmovilidad, dejando caer hilos y agujas, condenaron a las máquinas a su impotencia de cacharros sin alma. Con ese gesto, iniciaron una huelga que iba a ser imparable.  Short Pay, short pay! All out! ¡Menos salario, todas afuera! Durante 63 días, trabajadoras y trabajadores inmigrantes sostuvieron una huelga que desafió a las corporaciones textiles más importantes de Estados Unidos, enfrentó a los gobiernos, a la policía y la milicia armada, a los medios de comunicación conservadores y al clero reaccionario, hasta conseguir un triunfo.

La lucha tuvo varios hitos: la creación de un comité de huelga, con 56 miembros, donde estaban representadas más de veinte comunidades étnicas y nacionales; la organización de cocinas populares que garantizaron dos comidas diarias a miles de huelguistas y sus familias; una caja de resistencia que recibió aportes desde todo el país; los piquetes móviles de las mujeres para burlar a la policía. Y lo que quizás sea el evento más conocido: el “éxodo de los niños”, cuando las trabajadoras enviaron en tren a cientos de sus hijos hacia otras ciudades, para ser alimentados y cuidados por familias solidarias durante la huelga.

Al parecer, los días previos al 11 de enero ya había circulado el rumor de la huelga en varios idiomas. El disparador fue una reducción salarial de unos pocos centavos en las nóminas. Una ley reciente establecía la reducción de la jornada laboral para mujeres y menores de edad, que debía pasar de 56 a 54 horas semanales. Y como en la industria textil la mayoría eran mujeres, tenía un gran impacto en la ciudad. Los empresarios aceptaron recortar la jornada de trabajo, pero a cambio redujeron también los salarios, no pensaban perder ni un céntimo en esta operación.

20 centavos equivalían a varias barras de pan, pero fue mucho más que eso lo que desencadenó el conflicto. Según la Comisión del Trabajo de Massachusetts, el salario mínimo que necesitaba una familia obrera para sobrevivir era de 8,28 dólares por semana, mientras un tercio de los hogares cobraba por debajo de esa cifra, menos de siete dólares. Por un piso con tres piezas, se pagaba entre dos y tres dólares semanales; el salario no alcanzaba. Si eras abogado o cura, tenías una esperanza de vida de 64 años, pero si eras una trabajadora textil, con suerte podías superar los 40 años. Eran frecuentes las enfermedades respiratorias, provocadas por la inhalación de partículas de algodón y productos tóxicos. A esto se sumaba un récord nacional de accidentes laborales: brazos amputados, dedos arrancados, piernas machacadas. La pujante industria norteamericana se alimentaba de sangre fresca, y no era una metáfora.

Cuando se supo que las polacas habían bloqueado la producción, miles de trabajadoras se reunieron espontáneamente fuera de las plantas, gritando: “¡Todas afuera!”. En minutos, una lluvia de piedras y trozos de hielo volaron hacia las ventanas, una buena forma de llamar la atención de quienes todavía dudaban. Al día siguiente, las trabajadoras se dirigieron al salón de la asociación franco-belga, constituyeron el comité de huelga y pidieron ayuda a la IWW (Industrial Workers of the World). Este era un sindicato militante y combativo que, a diferencia de la conservadora central AFL, organizaba a los trabajadores no cualificados, los más precarios, los afroamericanos y las mujeres. La IWW enviaba a sus mejores organizadores, los wobblys, a todos los puntos del país para apoyar las huelgas y organizar las cajas de resistencia.

Enseguida, el comité de huelga lanzó un mensaje a las trabajadoras y trabajadores de Lawrence: “Ahora que la asociación de los capitalistas ha mostrado la unidad de todos nuestros adversarios, os llamamos como hermanos y hermanas a unir vuestras manos junto con nosotros en este gran movimiento. Nuestra causa es justa… Trabajadores y trabajadoras, dejad vuestros martillos, tirad vuestras herramientas, dejad que las máquinas se paren, que la energía deje de hacer girar las ruedas y los telares, dejad la maquinaria, apagad los fuegos, paralizad las plantas, paralizad la ciudad”.

Pájaros de fuego, chicas rebeldes

Las investigadoras Anne F. Mattina y Domenique Ciavattone señalan que los tres ingredientes claves para el triunfo de la huelga fueron el papel de la IWW, las redes de solidaridad creadas por las organizaciones nacionales de inmigrantes y el activismo militante de las mujeres obreras.

One Big Union: Ireland and the Wobbly World | Irish Centre for the  Histories of Labour & Class, NUI GalwayElizabeth Gurley Flinn fue una de las principales organizadoras de la huelga. La ‘Chica Rebelde’, como se la conocía popularmente, tenía 21 años cuando llegó a Lawrence, enviada por la IWW. Hija de socialistas irlandeses, militaba desde muy joven. Durante la huelga de Lawrence, organizó reuniones especiales para las mujeres, tomando en cuenta las dificultades que tenían para organizarse. Lo explicaba así: “Las mujeres querían hacer piquetes. Eran huelguistas, tanto como esposas y valientes luchadoras”. Otra organizadora destacada era Annie Walzenback, de 34 años. Había ingresado en las fábricas textiles cuando tenía 14. Hablaba inglés, alemán, polaco y yiddish. Era una agitadora y organizadora de los piquetes diarios, junto a sus dos hermanas. Se dice que una noche, 2.000 mujeres la acompañaron hasta su casa después de una manifestación, solo para asegurarse de que llegara bien y no fuera detenida por la policía, que la tenía fichada. Finalmente, la noche del 15 de febrero fue trasladada directamente desde su cama a la cárcel por las fuerzas policiales.

El papel de estos experimentados organizadores y organizadoras de la IWW fue fundamental para la lucha que sacudió a Lawrence, pero la fuerza de propulsión brotaba de la rebelión de las trabajadoras inmigrantes. Esas mujeres jugaron un papel crucial por su presencia en múltiples espacios: en las fábricas, en los piquetes callejeros y en los barrios. Allí mantenían redes, tejidas durante años, cuando intercambiaban con sus vecinas un poco de comida o se ayudaban para cuidar a los niños. Durante la huelga, aquellos contactos permitieron que la información diaria circulara de casa en casa, en tiempos en que no había redes sociales ni teléfonos móviles.

Tan solo un año antes, muchas trabajadoras habían comentado entre ellas, con los ojos llenos de rabia y dolor, los acontecimientos ocurridos en la fábrica Triangle Shirwaist de Nueva York, cuando un incendio causó la muerte de 146 trabajadoras. Cuando comenzó ese incendio, las operarias que estaban en el octavo piso pudieron escapar, pero en el noveno las mujeres se dieron cuenta demasiado tarde de lo que ocurría. 50 trabajadoras se lanzaron por las ventanas huyendo del humo abrasador y murieron por el impacto: pájaros de fuego. Otras fueron aplastadas en las escaleras de incendio o en el hueco del ascensor. Y el resto murieron asfixiadas y quemadas. Todo esto ocurrió en menos de media hora. Una verdadera tragedia causada por la codicia patronal, que conmovió a la clase trabajadora de este a oeste. Días después, 400.000 personas marcharon en una procesión de homenaje a las mujeres de Triangle. En su mayoría, se trataba de jóvenes trabajadoras e inmigrantes, muy parecidas a las que unos meses después se lanzarían a la huelga en Massachusetts. Parecía como si todo ese dolor acumulado hubiera explotado en Lawrence, desatando la huelga.

Flashback Photo: The 1912 Bread and Roses Strike - New England Historical  Society

Los mítines multitudinarios se traducían en simultáneo a 30 idiomas, superando las divisiones étnicas y nacionales al interior de la clase obrera. Desde siempre, las patronales habían utilizado esas diferencias para enemistar a unos trabajadores contra otros, debilitando su fuerza colectiva. Pero ahora eso ya no funcionaba. Las mujeres descubrieron la táctica de formar piquetes móviles para desbordar a las fuerzas policiales y a las milicias armadas. Todos los días marchaban en largas cadenas humanas, con los brazos entrelazados, cortejos de miles de personas, cantando y gritando. Se cuenta que un grupo de mujeres italianas desarmó a un policía; entre varias le quitaron la placa, la porra y hasta los pantalones, antes de arrojarlo al río helado. Uno de los empresarios dijo, horrorizado, acerca de aquellas mujeres: “Tienen demasiada astucia y demasiado carácter. Están por todos lados, y se está poniendo cada vez peor”. El intendente también dejó caer una frase que se hizo famosa: “Un policía puede controlar a diez hombres, mientras que hacen falta 10 policías para controlar a una sola mujer”.

Durante la primera semana de huelga hubo una tormenta de nieve y la temperatura llegó a 10 grados bajo cero. El 15 de enero, miles de huelguistas montaron un piquete para impedir la entrada de rompehuelgas en las instalaciones de la Washington and Wood Mills. Cuando llegaron hasta la Prospect Mill, lanzaron piedras y bolas de hielo. Se dirigían hacia la Atlantic y Pacific Mills cuando la policía los interceptó, lanzando agua helada a los manifestantes con mangueras de apagar incendios.

“Pueden usar su manguera, pero se está encendiendo en el corazón de los trabajadores una llama de revuelta proletaria que ninguna manguera de incendios en el mundo puede apagar”, declaró después Joseph Ettor. En los barrios, los panaderos polacos bajaron los precios para los huelguistas, mientras que los peluqueros se negaban a atender a los rompehuelgas. En las calles, miles de personas cruzaban miradas cómplices, se reconocían fácilmente porque llevaban insignias con el lema: “No seas rompehuelgas” o con las siglas de la IWW.

Amazon.com: Lawrence Strike 1912 Ncartoon 1912 By Art Young On The Lawrence  Massachusetts Textile Worker Strike Of That Year Poster Print by (24 x 36):  Posters & PrintsLa represión y la batalla por la opinión pública

La jornada del 29 de enero fue un punto de inflexión. Ese día la policía asesinó a la trabajadora Anna LoPizzo durante una concentración y varios dirigentes de la huelga fueron detenidos.

La ofensiva represiva iba creciendo semana a semana. El alcalde Michael Scanlon había desplegado a la policía local, pero al tomar nota de la determinación de las huelguistas, el 15 de enero convocó a la milicia armada y llegó a declarar la ley marcial. Varios escuadrones de la milicia (antecesora de la Guardia Nacional) se establecieron en Lawrence, reforzados por la policía de Boston y francotiradores de los Marines.

Así trascurrían las semanas, las fuerzas se tensaban y las huelguistas no daban el brazo a torcer, a pesar del hambre y el frío. Pero lo que terminó de definir el futuro de la huelga fue el “éxodo de los niños” y la feroz represión. Entonces se logró ganar la batalla por la opinión pública. A principios de febrero apareció un aviso en el periódico socialista de Nueva York, The Call:

RECIBID A LOS NIÑOS

Los niños de Lawrence tienen hambre. Su padres y madres están luchando, pero el hambre puede romper la huelga. Estas mujeres y hombres están dispuestos a sufrir, pero no pueden ver el dolor de sus hijos o soportar sus llantos pidiendo comida. Se solicita a aquellos trabajadores y simpatizantes de la huelga que puedan acoger al hijo de un huelguista hasta que la huelga termine, que envíen con urgencia su nombre y domicilio al Call. Hacedlo de inmediato.

En pocas horas hubo cientos de llamados y cartas ofreciendo un lugar para los niños de Lawrence. La táctica se había inspirado en tradiciones de lucha del movimiento obrero europeo, a propuesta de varios activistas. En pocos días, la enfermera Margaret Sanger junto con Elizabeth Gurley Flinn y otros miembros del comité organizaron todo. Un primer grupo de 119 niños viajó a Nueva York el 10 de febrero. Un millar de personas recibió a los pequeños con euforia en la Estación Central. Cuando un segundo grupo llegó a Nueva York, el 17 de febrero, se organizó una manifestación. En las fotos vemos los pequeños rostros orgullosos. Una pancarta decía: “Piden pan, reciben bayonetas”. La noticia seguía corriendo en toda la prensa nacional y otras ciudades también querían recibir a los niños de Lawrence. Su “éxodo” representaba todo lo humano de esta lucha contra la codicia de los empresarios. Y para tratar de frenar esa corriente de simpatía, el alcalde de Lawrence no tuvo mejor idea que prohibir los viajes de niños. Pero una nueva delegación de 200 pequeños ya estaba preparada para montar al tren, el 24 de febrero. Ese día, decenas de madres con sus hijos se dirigieron a la estación, donde se encontraron con un inmenso dispositivo policial.

Cuando el tren se acercaba a los andenes, las mujeres trataron de avanzar. Entonces llovieron los palos, golpes y empujones, la policía cargando contra mujeres y niños. –¡Tened cuidado con los niños, los estáis matando! –gritó Tema Camitta, del comité de solidaridad de Philadelphia. Minutos después, se produjeron más de 50 arrestos y una docena de niños fue trasladada en coches de la milicia. Una multitud de huelguistas se lanzó sobre ellos, muchos eran los padres desesperados buscando a sus hijos. Y la represión continuó.

Barre, the Socialist Labor Party Hall, and the Lawrence Strike of 1912 -  Old Labor Hall

El New York Times informó al día siguiente que para “desanimar cualquier intento de los huelguistas de rescatar a los niños, cuatro compañías de infantería y un escuadrón de caballería rodearon la estación de trenes”. Lo que no sabían aquellas mujeres, cuando resistieron como leonas para que la policía no les arrancara de los brazos a sus pequeños, era que, en ese preciso instante, habían ganado la huelga. Después de la represión se produjo tal escándalo a nivel nacional, que los empresarios se vieron obligados a ceder. Pocos días después, una asamblea multitudinaria aprobó por aclamación el acuerdo alcanzado.

Josefina L. Martinez

Read Full Post »

A la hora de explicar el arraigo y popularidad de Donald J. Trump entre millones de estadounidense imperan dos factores: el económico y el racial. El primero hace alusión a los efectos de más de trienta años de neoliberalismo “reaganiano”  sobre las clases media y baja blanca estadounidenses. Su empobrecimiento y abandono por parte de los principales partidos políticos -y en especial los Democratas- las hizo muy receptivas a la demagogia de Trump.  Las fabricas se fueron a China o a México, los estadounidense de baja nivel educativo vieron sus opciones ecnómicas reducirse, los ricos se hicieron más ricos y  los pobres cayeron víctimas de opiáceos y de la avariacia de ciertas compañías farmaceuticas.  El esperado goteo (trickle-down) de la riqueza no llegó.

En cuanto al tema racial, es necesario reconocer que, contrario a lo que muchos pensaron, la victoria de Obama en 2008 no marcó el fin de los conflcitos raciales en Estados Unidos. Por el contrario, la presencoa de un negro en la Casa Blanca exacerbó los ánimos raciales y preparó el camino para el éxito del discurso racista de Trump.  Sitiéndose amenazados y preocupados por perder sus privelegios ante el crecimiento y avance de las minorías raciales, millones de estadounidense vieron en Trump el líder necesario para hacer a Estados Unidos blanco de nuevo. Con Trump en la presidencia, supremacistas blancos y otros grupos extremistas se sintieron el libertad de expresar abiertamente lo que pensaba o sentían en privado.

¿Cuál de estas explicaciones es la correcta? No creo en explicaciones simples, por lo que veo necesario recurrir a ambas para entender cómo llegamos a la toma del Capitolio el 6 de enero de 2021. Ese día, miles de estadounidenses, en su inmensa mayoría  blancos, llegaron a Washington D.C. covocados por el Presidente para cuestionar la certificación congresional de la victoria de Joe Biden. En lo que los medios identificaron erróneamente como algo inédito en la historia de Estados Unidos, los seguidores de Trump marcharon sobre el Congreso y con una facilidad pasmosa lo tomaron por la fuerza. Luego vino un despliegue de lo peor de la sociedad estadounidense.

Quienes participaron en el ataque al Congreso se hicieron parte de una tradición estadounidense, la de cuestionar los resultados electorales cuando no favorecen a un sector social o racial.

En este escrito, el periodista británico Toby Luckhurst reseña los eventos que ocurrieron en Wilmington, Carolina del Norte, cuando en 1898 una turba de hombres blancos derrocaron a una coalición racialmente mixta, que democráticamente habían ganado el control de la ciudad.


Wilmington 1898: When white supremacists overthrew a US government

Toby Luckhurst

BBC News

A mob stands outside the burnt offices of the Wilmington Daily Record

The mob burned down the offices of the Wilmington Daily Record a caption

Following state elections in 1898, white supremacists moved into the US port of Wilmington, North Carolina, then the largest city in the state. They destroyed black-owned businesses, murdered black residents, and forced the elected local government – a coalition of white and black politicians – to resign en masse.

 

Historians have described it as the only coup in US history. Its ringleaders took power the same day as the insurrection and swiftly brought in laws to strip voting and civil rights from the state’s black population. They faced no consequences.

 

Wilmington’s story has been thrust into the spotlight after a violent mob assaulted the US Capitol on 6 January, seeking to stop the certification of November’s presidential election result. More than 120 years after its insurrection, the city is still grappling with its violent past.

Short presentational grey line

After the end of the US Civil War in 1865 – which pitted the northern Unionist states against the southern Confederacy – slavery was abolished throughout the newly-reunified country. Politicians in Washington DC passed a number of constitutional amendments granting freedom and rights to former slaves, and sent the army to enforce their policies.

 

But many southerners resented these changes. In the decades that followed the civil war there were growing efforts to reverse many of the efforts aimed at integrating the freed black population into society.

 

Wilmington in 1898 was a large and prosperous port, with a growing and successful black middle class. Undoubtedly, African Americans still faced daily prejudice and discrimination – banks for instance would refuse to lend to black people or would impose punishing interest rates. But in the 30 years after the civil war, African Americans in former Confederate states like North Carolina were slowly setting up businesses, buying homes, and exercising their freedom. Wilmington was even home to what was thought to be the only black daily newspaper in the country at that time, the Wilmington Daily Record.

 

300+ Unfair politics ideas | african american history, black history,  history facts“African Americans were becoming quite successful,” Yale University history professor Glenda Gilmore told the BBC. “They were going to universities, had rising literacy rates, and had rising property ownership.”

 

This growing success was true across the state of North Carolina, not just socially but politically. In the 1890s a black and white political coalition known as the Fusionists – which sought free education, debt relief, and equal rights for African Americans – won every state-wide office in 1896, including the governorship. By 1898 a mix of black and white Fusionist politicians had been elected to lead the local city government in Wilmington.

 

But this sparked a huge backlash, including from the Democratic Party. In the 1890s the Democrats and Republicans were very different to what they are today. Republicans – the party of President Abraham Lincoln – favoured racial integration after the US Civil War, and strong government from Washington DC to unify the states.

 

But Democrats were against many of the changes to the US. They openly demanded racial segregation and stronger rights for individual states. “Think of the Democratic party of 1898 as the party of white supremacy,” LeRae Umfleet, state archivist and author of A Day of Blood, a book about the Wilmington insurrection, told the BBC.

 

Democratic politicians feared that the Fusionists – which included black Republicans as well as poor white farmers – would dominate the elections of 1898. Party leaders decided to launch an election campaign based explicitly on white supremacy, and to use everything in their power to defeat the Fusionists. “It was a concerted, co-ordinated effort to use the newspapers, speechmakers and intimidation tactics to make sure the white supremacy platform won election in November 1898,” Ms Umfleet said.

White militias – including a group known as the Red Shirts, so named for their un

iforms – rode around on horseback attacking black people and intimidating would-be voters. When black people in Wilmington tried to buy guns to protect their property, they were refused by white shopkeepers, who then kept a list of those who sought weapons and ammo.

Red Shirts pose at the polls in North Carolina

Enter a captioThe Red Shirts militia intimidated and attacked blacn

Newspapers meanwhile spread claims that African Americans wanted political power so they could sleep with white women, and made up lies about a rape epidemic. When Alexander Manly, owner and editor of the Wilmington Daily Record, published an editorial questioning the rape allegations and suggesting that white women slept with black men of their own free will, it enraged the Democratic party and made him the target of a hate campaign.

 

The day before the state-wide election in 1898, Democratic politician Alfred Moore Waddell gave a speech demanding that white men “do your duty” and look for black people voting.

 

And if you find one, he said, “tell him to leave the polls and if he refuses kill, shoot him down in his tracks. We shall win tomorrow if we have to do it with guns.”

 

The Democratic party swept to victory in the state elections. Many voters were forced away from polling stations at gunpoint or refused to even try to vote, for fear of violence.

But the Fusionist politicians remained in power in Wilmington, with the municipal election not due until the next year. Two days after the state election Waddell and hundreds of white men, armed with rifles and a Gatling gun, rode into the town and set the Wilmington Daily Record building alight. They then spread through the town killing black people and destroying their businesses. The mob swelled with more white people as the day went on.

 

Wilmington Coup 1898 | Downtown Wilmington, NC

 

As black residents fled into the woods outside the town, Waddell and his band marched to the city hall and forced the resignation of the local government at gunpoint. Waddell was declared mayor that same afternoon.

 

“It [was] a full-blown rebellion, a full-blown insurrection against the state government and the local government,” Prof Gilmore said.

Within two years, white supremacists in North Carolina imposed new segregation laws and effectively stripped black people of the vote through a combination of literacy tests and poll taxes. The number of registered African American voters reportedly dropped from 125,000 in 1896 to about 6,000 in 1902.

“Black people in Wilmington didn’t think that something like this would ever happen,” Prof Gilmore said. “There was a Republican governor in the state, their congressman was a black man. They thought that things were actually getting better. But part of the lesson about it was as things got better, white people fought harder.”

Deborah Dicks Maxwell is president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP] in Wilmington. Born and raised in the town, she didn’t learn about the attack until she was in her thirties.

“It was something that those who are here [in Wilmington] knew but it was not widely talked about,” she told the BBC. “It’s not in the school curriculum like it should be – no one wants to admit this happened.”

 

It was not until the 1990s that the city began to discuss its past. In 1998 local authorities commemorated the 100th anniversary of the attack, and two years later set up a commission to establish the facts. Since then the city has erected plaques at key points to commemorate the events, and has created the 1898 Monument and Memorial Park – something Ms Dicks Maxwell described as “small but significant”.

Given what the city has gone through, it’s no surprise that its residents and historians who have covered its past drew parallels between the 1898 insurrection and the attack on the US Capitol this month. Ms Dicks Maxwell and her NAACP branch had for months after the US election been highlighting what they saw as the similarities between what happened in Wilmington and how politicians today in the US were trying to undermine the election results.

“Earlier that day we had a press conference denouncing our local congressman for supporting Trump, [saying] that there would be a possible coup and that we did not want another coup to ever occur in this country,” she said. Just hours later the mob marched on the US Capitol.

 

Christopher Everett is a documentary maker who made a film about the 1898 insurrection, Wilmington on Fire. When Mr Everett saw the attack on the Capitol he thought of Wilmington.

 

“No one was held accountable for the 1898 insurrection. Therefore it opened up the floodgates, especially in the south, for them to… strip African Americans’ civil rights,” he told the BBC. “That’s the first thing that came to my mind after the DC insurrection – you’re opening the door for something else to happen, or even worse.”

 

The 1898 attack was not covered up. University buildings, schools and public buildings throughout the state were all named after the instigators of the insurrection. Men would later claim to have taken part in the attack to boost their stature in the Democratic Party. As the decades passed, history books started to claim the attack was in fact a race riot started by the black population and put down by white citizens.

“Even after the massacre, a lot of these folks who participated in and orchestrated the insurrection became immortalised – statues, buildings named after them, throughout the country, especially in North Carolina,” Mr Everett said.

 

CWilmington insurrection of 1898 - Wikiwandharles Aycock – one of the organisers of the white supremacy electoral campaign – became governor of North Carolina in 1901. His statue now stands in the US Capitol, which rioters entered on 6 January.

 

Mr Everett is now filming a sequel to his documentary to examine how Wilmington is grappling with its past. He said many local leaders are working to “bring the city of Wilmington back to the spirit of 1897, when you had this Fusion movement of white folks and black folks working together and making Wilmington an example of what the new south could have been after the civil war.”

 

“Wilmington was a model for the white supremacy movement with the insurrection,” he said. “But now Wilmington could also be a model to show how we can work together and overcome the stain of white supremacy as well.”

 

Read Full Post »

Como bien ha analizado la historiadora Joanne Freeman en su excelente libro Field of Blood: Congressional Violence in Antebellum America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), previo a la guerra civil el Capitolio era un lugar peligroso. Separados cada vez más por el tema de la esclavitud, los legisladores recurrieron a métodos más violentos para tratar de imponer su posición. En otras palabras, la guerra de secesión se comenzó a pelear en los hemiciclos del Congreso años antes de que la primera bomba confederada cayera sobre Fort Sumter el fatídico día 12 de abril de 1861.

En este nota que comparto con mis lectores, la escritora Livia Gershon comenta uno de los episodios más famosos de violencia ocurridos en el Capitolio. El 22 de mayo de 1856, el Representante Preston S. Brooks, un esclavista de Carolina del Sur, atacó con una bastón al senador por el estado de Massachussets y abolicionistas, Charles Sumner. El severo ataque fue en respuesta a un discurso de Sumner criticando a la esclavitud y a los senadores que la defendían.

En el contexto del asalto contra del Capitolio el pasado 6 de enero, creo conveniente continuar subrayando que la violencia es un elemento intrínseco en la historia política estadounidense.


A dramatic portrayal of the 1856 attack and severe beating of Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner by Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina.

A dramatic portrayal of the 1856 attack and severe beating of Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner by Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina
via LOC

Political Divisions Led to Violence in the U.S. Senate in 1856

The horrific caning of Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate in 1856 marked one of the most divisive moments in U.S. political history.

As we prepare for a new term of government in the wake of the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, we might wonder just how contentious federal politics can get. But let’s not forget that time when South Carolina congressman Preston Smith Brooks assaulted Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner with a cane in the Senate chamber, beating him so badly that his skull was exposed and he lost consciousness, was covered in blood, and nearly died. As historian Manisha Sinha writes, this 1856 attack highlighted and magnified the divisions that would cause the country to come apart less than five years later.

Charles Sumner | American Battlefield TrustWhen Sumner joined the Senate in 1851, Sinha writes, his anti-slavery beliefs quickly made him enemies. Opponents blocked him from committee appointments, denied him the floor, and heckled him when he spoke.

Brooks’s attack came after Sumner gave his May 1856 speech “The Crime Against Kansas,” in which he condemned the actions of pro-slavery forces. Brooks claimed that he was provoked by Sumner’s insulting words about another senator, who was a distant relation of his. But, Sinha points out, under the prevailing southern code of honor, the appropriate response to a personal insult from a social equal would be a challenge to duel. Instead, Brooks resorted to a form of violence reserved for social inferiors—notably including the enslaved. Many southerners praised Brooks specifically for using a demeaning form of physical force. As a public letter to Brooks from five Charleston residents put it, “You have put the Senator from Massachusetts where he should be. You have applied a blow to his back… His submission to your blows has now qualified him for the closest companionship with a degraded class.”

Charles Sumner

Senator Charles Sumner was beaten nearly to death by Representative Preston Brooks on the Senate floor in 1856
via Flickr/Boston Public Library

Sinha writes that abolitionists drew the same comparison, to different ends. The New York Tribune asked if Congress was “a slave plantation where Northern members act under the lash, the bowie-knife, and the pistol.” Robert Morris, a Black Boston lawyer, wrote to Sumner that “no persons felt more keenly and sympathized with you more deeply and sincerely than your colored constituents in Boston.”

The attack on Sumner also highlighted divisions in the nation when it came to ideas of masculinity. Some in the South reviled Sumner’s “unmanly submission.” This was in line with pro-slavery rhetoric that tied abolitionism to feminism and accused white male abolitionists of effeminate “sickly sentimentality.” Northerners, on the other hand, were more likely to embrace a bourgeois idea of masculinity rooted in self-control and to view Brooks’s attack on an unarmed man as cowardly.

For many in the North, Sinha writes, the incident called to mind the question of whether slavery was compatible with a republican form of government. The New England Anti-Slavery Convention warned that slaveholders were trying to “crush out” freedom of speech on the floor of Congress, as they had done on their plantations.

As we think about division in our own time, it’s worth considering the historical context of political anger and division in the past.

Read Full Post »

La Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s Maynard Sundman Lecture Series invita a su próximo webinair titulado “Under Three Flags, the Postal History of the Spanish-Cuban/American War” por Yamil Kouri Jr. Ganador del 2020 Luff Award for Exceptional Contributions to Philately, el Sr. Kouri dialogará sobre su más reciente libro analizando el impacto de la guerra hispano-cubano-estadounidense sobre el servicio postal de los países involucrados en tal conflicto.

La conferencia será el día 9 de diciembre a las 4:00PM EST. Los interesados pueden registrarse aquí.

Screen Shot 2020-11-17 at 12.40.51 PM.png

Read Full Post »

Las elecciones presidenciales de 1876 fueron unas históricas caracterizadas por el fraude, la intimidación y la violencia. Los Republicanos nominaron como su candidato al gobernador de Ohio Rutherford B. Hayes, un político insípido, pero integro. Los Demócratas nominaron al gobernador de Nueva York Samuel J. Tilden. Ambos favorecían el gobierno propio para el Sur (es decir, no interferir ni intervenir en los asuntos políticos del Sur) y, además, la reconstrucción no era una de sus prioridades.

Esta elección ha sido una de las más cerradas en la historia de los Estados Unidos. Hayes obtuvo el 48% de los votos populares y 185 votos electorales, mientras que Tilden le superó en votos populares con el 50% de éstos, pero sólo alcanzó 184 votos electorales. Ninguno de los dos candidatos obtuvo el número de votos electorales necesarios para ser electo presidente, lo que provocó una seria crisis política. Para resolver esta crisis el Congreso nombró un comité compuesto por cinco senadores, cinco representantes y cinco jueces del Tribunal Supremo, ocho Republicanos y siete Demócratas. El comité votó en estricta línea partidista a favor de reconocer la elección de Hayes, lo que generó las protestas  de los Demócratas. Éstos controlaban la Cámara de Representantes y amenazaron con bloquear la juramentación de Hayes. Para superar esta crisis se llevaron a cabo negociaciones secretas que culminaron con un acuerdo en febrero de 1877: los Demócratas aceptaron la elección del Hayes a cambio de que éste nombrara a un sureño en su gabinete, no interfiriera en la política del Sur y se comprometiera a retirar las tropas federales que quedaban en el sur.

Poco tiempo después de su juramentación como Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Hayes ordenó la salida de las tropas federales de Florida y Carolina del Sur. La salida de los soldados conllevó la eventual derrota de los gobernadores Republicanos de ambos estados. Al adoptar una política de no interferencia en los asuntos del Sur, los Republicanos abandonaron a los afroamericanos. Aunque formaban parte de la constitución, las Enmiendas 14 y 15 quedaron sin efecto en el Sur porque fueron sistemáticamente ignoradas por los gobiernos sureños. Con ello murió la era de la Reconstrucción y se inició una era vergonzosa caracterizada por la supremacía de los blancos, la violencia racial, la violación sistemática de los derechos de los ciudadanos afroamericanos y la segregación de los negros.


Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite administering the oath of office to Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877.

Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite administering the oath of office to Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877.

The Presidential Election of 1876

In the summer of 1876 the United States celebrated a centenary of independence. Although it was a jubilee year, the American Republic was also deeply troubled. The desperate battles of the Civil War had ended more than a decade before; yet Abraham Lincoln’s call for ‘malice toward none’ remained an unfulfilled appeal, as Federal troops continued to occupy some of the former Confederate States. President Ulysses S. Grant’s second term of office was drawing to a close under a barrage of criticism directed at corruption in his government. The coming Presidential election would take place in November.

It promised to be an exciting fight, but no one foresaw that the struggle between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden would result in an unparalleled scandal and bring America perilously close to another civil conflict. Indeed, the roots of the dispute were firmly woven into the Civil War and its tragic aftermath.

On April 9th, 1865 General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia and the guns at Appomattox stopped firing. The Civil War drew to a close. In four years of grim fighting the troops of both sides had developed a respect for each other, a bond of harsh experiences mutually endured. Now Yankees shared their rations with Confederates and traded wartime stories.

The day after the surrender, Abraham Lincoln returned to Washington after a visit to Richmond. A wildly cheering crowd called for a speech, but the President demurred. Instead, he asked the military band to strike up ‘Dixie’. For a brief moment there seemed to be hope of genuine reconciliation. It was unquestionably Lincoln’s fervent hope. Then, only days later, John Wilkes Booth fired a fatal bullet into the President’s head at Ford’s Theatre in Washington.

Election Cartoon, 1876 Photograph by Granger

With Lincoln’s death, the ‘Radicals’ in the Republican Party gained the upper hand. For men like Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, the South fully deserved the revenge they had planned. The bitter years of ‘Reconstruction’ followed. Government tax-collectors enjoyed a bonanza below the Mason-Dixon Line. General Lee’s magnificent home at Arlington was seized for taxes. Properties worth thousands of dollars were sold for a few hundred and Federal Treasury agents laid claim to supposedly abandoned land. Even General William Tecumseh Sherman, whose army made the famous march from Atlanta to the sea, burning and destroying everything in its path, spoke in compassionate terms to a veterans’ gathering shortly after the war:

It was in this atmosphere that white Southerners fought to regain control of South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Florida and other states of the former Confederacy; the newly emancipated slaves fought for a place in a society previously denied them; and political scavengers fought to hang on to the spoils of war. Gradually, however, the South returned to the control of its native white population. In doing so, it became more solidly attached to the Democratic Party than ever before.

Due to the presence of Federal troops and officials in positions of power, Ulysses S. Grant was able to carry eight southern states for the Republican Party in the Presidential election of 1868. Grant won a second term in 1872, but this time only six southern states were in the Republican camp. The grip of Radical Republican power was fading. Perhaps more significant, the immediate post-war zeal in the North for African-American welfare had diminished.

 

Republican election poster

Republican election poster, 1876.

 

As the election of 1876 approached, Grant’s Republican administration reeled under a heavy attack by the press when a great whisky scandal broke. Western distillers had been flagrantly evading Federal taxes, and Grant’s own private secretary, General Babcock, was implicated. The President’s enemies gleefully pointed to corruption in the White House. Instead of dissociating himself from Babcock, Grant leaped to his defence.

Indeed, Grant displayed an almost incredible loyalty to dubious colleagues during his Presidency. His support of Babcock largely contributed to an acquittal. But this was just part of the rapidly mounting troubles faced by the Republican Party.

In March 1876, just eight months before the election, Secretary of War William Belknap was charged with malfeasance in office by the House of Representatives. Rather than remove Belknap from his post, Grant merely accepted the cabinet member’s resignation. One month later it was James G. Blaine’s turn to embarrass the Administration. As Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Blaine was in a most influential position. When the press charged that he had taken favours from the Union Pacific Railroad, the tag of ‘Grantism’ received new life as a synonym for political avarice.

The scandals could not have come at a more inopportune time, for the Republicans desperately needed a politically untarnished standard-bearer in the coming election and Blaine was a strong candidate. Despite the publicity, Blaine’s name was prominent when the Republicans met at Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 14th to nominate a contender for the Presidency. Recognising that public attention had to be focused on something other than the Administration’s record, Blaine attacked the South and stirred up fears of a new war. In doing so, he alienated those members of his party who sought a genuine rapprochement with the old Confederacy. On the seventh ballot, he lost the nomination to a ‘dark horse’ candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio. Hayes was a compromise between the extreme wings of the Party. Above all, his personal record and political integrity could not be seriously challenged.

The 53-year-old Hayes had a good, if not spectacular, background. Born in Delaware, Ohio, he had been raised by a widowed mother who, fortunately, enjoyed financial security. He received a degree from the Harvard Law School in 1845 and subsequently accepted a number of fugitive slave cases. During the Civil War, Hayes rose to the rank of brevet major-general of volunteers, participated in many actions and was severely wounded. While the war still raged he was elected to Congress. He was later elected Governor of Ohio on three separate occasions and put through a number of reforms.

In accepting the nomination, Hayes vowed to end the spoils system and called for an end to ‘the distinction between North and South in our common country’. This conciliatory statement was in sharp contrast to Resolution Number 16 of the Party Platform which went so far as to question the loyalty of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. This allegation reflected the presence of Congressmen who had fought for the Confederacy.

The Democrats had no problem in devising their campaign strategy. The entire nation was aware of the Administration’s shortcomings. Corruption was the issue and the Democratic Party promised reform. On June 27th they held their convention in St Louis, Missouri. In an auditorium jammed with 5,000 people, Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York scored a landslide victory on the second ballot.

 

Samuel J. Tilden is announced as the Democratic presidential nominee

Samuel J. Tilden is announced as the Democratic presidential nominee.

 

Tilden was a unique figure, and certainly one of the most interesting to cross the American political scene. This frail, cold, articulate bachelor commanded a crusading zeal from his supporters. As a boy, Tilden was withdrawn and showed little inclination to mix with young people. Politics, however, fascinated him and his father fostered that interest. At the age of 15 he used his own money to buy Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. By 1841 he was a qualified lawyer with a continuing and consuming interest in politics. His brilliant grasp of political matters brought him to the attention of Democratic leaders who sought his counsel. For some time Tilden studiously avoided candidacy for high public office, but his own abilities soon brought him national recognition.

A particularly significant event was Tilden’s exposure and prosecution of New York’s notorious racketeer, ‘Boss’ William M. Tweed. His popularity soared and he was elected Governor of New York. Then he broke up the Canal Ring, a group of crooks and unscrupulous politicians. Tilden’s name became associated with integrity in politics. This was just what the Democratic Party wanted as a contrast to the Republican Administration.

The battle lines were clearly defined. Left to themselves, it is possible that Hayes and Tilden might have kept the election campaign free from distortion of facts and bitter personal invective, but it was not to be. Tilden was subjected to a number of damaging of charges. There seemed to be no limit to the accusations: that he was a liar, swindler, perjurer, counterfeiter and even an absurd claim that he had been in league with the infamous Tweed. In line with their basic campaign strategy, the Republicans alleged that Tilden had supported the Confederacy, the right of secession and the continuation of slavery. This all stemmed from his opposition to Lincoln in 1860, but that was because he was a Democrat and feared a Republican victory would bring disaster to the United States. This feeling had no bearing on his fundamental loyalty to the Union, and once the war began he had urged the quick suppression of the Confederacy.

As election day approached, excitement grew with each rally and parade. It was, after all, the centenary of American independence. Even politically apathetic citizens came out for Hayes or Tilden with great enthusiasm. But on polling day, November 7th, calm prevailed as people made their way to voting centres. It was a stillness soon to be shattered. Hayes’ hopes began to sink as swing states such as Connecticut, Indiana and New Jersey went to Tilden. When New York finally fell into Tilden’s camp, Hayes admitted defeat to those around him and went to bed.

Tilden was not only leading in the popular vote: he had 184 of the far more important electoral votes to Hayes’ 166. The 19 votes of South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana were had not yet been declared, but they were in the heartland of the Democratic South. At the Republican National Headquarters, exhausted and dispirited party workers began to go home. On the morning of November 8th, the press of both parties was crowded with news of Tilden’s victory. Even the militantly Republican New York Tribune conceded the election.

The New York Times, however, would do no more than admit a Democratic lead. Two days after the election, John C. Reid, the newspaper’s influential editor, sat in the editorial room with two assistants. It was after 3am when a message arrived from the State Democratic Committee: ‘Please give your estimate of the electoral votes secured by Tilden. Answer at once.’ Reid was astounded. If they urgently needed such information, then the Democrats were not certain of victory. In a matter of minutes he conceived a scheme to wrest the election away from Tilden and put Rutherford B. Hayes into the White House. Tilden had 18 more electoral votes than Hayes, but if the 19 from South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida were secured by the Republicans, Hayes would win by one vote, 185 to 184.

Tilden (left) and Hayes

Samuel J. Tilden (left) and Rutherford B. Hayes (right).

Reid, accompanied by a Republican official, hurried into the night and awakened Zachariah Chandler, National Republican Chairman. Chandler agreed to Reid’s proposal: telegrams must be sent immediately to Republican officials in the three states, with the following message: ‘Hayes is elected if we have carried South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. Can you hold your state? Answer immediately.’ The meaning was clear: those states were to be held at any cost. At the same time, Republican headquarters proclaimed Hayes’ election.

The key to the plot’s success lay in the state canvassing boards. They had the power to certify the votes and cast out those that, in the board’s opinion, were questionable. The need for absolute honesty by the boards in exercising their power was self evident, but the personnel of some made comedy of that requirement. Of course, all of the boards were Republican and backed by Federal troops.

Initially, Hayes dissociated himself from the plan, saying: ‘I think we are defeated … I am of the opinion that the Democrats have carried the country and elected Tilden.’ A few weeks later, however, he changed his mind: ‘I have no doubt that we are justly and legally entitled to the Presidency.’

From the beginning there was an outside chance that Hayes could have carried South Carolina and Louisiana on the strength of votes from African-Americans and ‘carpetbaggers’ (a pejorative term for Northerners who moved South during the Reconstruction). Florida’s heavily Democratic white majority, however, made that state a dim prospect for Republican hopes. But they had to have Florida or Tilden would win by 188 to 181. During the actual election campaign, all three states witnessed a wide variety of attempts by both sides to cow voters and fraud was rampant. In one shameful tactic, the Democrats tried to distribute ballots with the Republican emblem prominently displayed over the names of Democratic candidates. It was worth the chance in the hope of picking up votes from illiterate voters. On the Republican side, one inspired person devised ‘little jokers’. These were tiny Republican tickets inside a regular ballot. A partisan clerk could slip them into the ballot box with little chance of being detected.

In Louisiana, Tilden held a comfortable majority over Hayes. And in New Orleans, the Democratic elector with the smallest plurality had more than 6,000 votes over his Republican opponent. The canvassing board solved the problem in that state by simply throwing out 13,000 Tilden votes against only 2,000 for Hayes. Then the electors for Hayes were certified.

The prelude to the election in South Carolina was a bloody affair. The Governor was Daniel H. Chamberlain of Massachusetts, a strict dogmatist on the race question and thoroughly loathed by white South Carolinians. In addition to the Presidential election, there was a gubernatorial race. The Democrats were running a war hero, former Confederate General Wade Hampton. ‘Rifle clubs’ were organised over the entire state by Hampton’s supporters and there were numerous clashes with African-American groups. As far back as July 8th, there had been a sharp fight in Aiken County at which African-Americans suffered a severe defeat. Chamberlain appealed to President Grant for help. Grant described the rifle clubs as ‘insurgents’ and sent all readily available troops to South Carolina. The resultant fury at this action was compounded when the Republican canvassing board ensured the certification of Hayes’ electors.

The Election of 1876 & The End of Reconstruction

Florida was the most critical problem. As the polling booths closed, each side claimed victory. Once again, the canvassing board held the decision in its hands. The three-man board was dominated by two Republicans, Florida’s Secretary of State and its Comptroller. The third man was the Democratic Attorney General. The board had the right to exclude ‘irregular, false or fraudulent’ votes. In a complete travesty of integrity, the board voted for Hayes by virtue of its Republican majority. Thus, Florida’s key electoral votes went to Hayes. The Republican Governor certified them with the official blessing of the state. The outraged Democrats held a meeting and had the Attorney General certify the Tilden electors. With this action, a new and dangerous complication entered the scene. Democrats, claiming dishonesty by the canvassing boards, were certifying their own electors by whatever legal or quasi-legal means they could. To further complicate matters, Florida Democrats elected G. F. Drew as Governor and he appointed a new board of canvassers who promptly judged Tilden’s electors to be victorious. In South Carolina, where Wade Hampton had been elected Governor, there were unqualified demands to disenfranchise the Hayes electors.

As a precaution, General Grant ordered Federal troops into all three state capitals, directing General Sherman ‘to see that the proper and legal boards of canvassers are unmolested in the performance of their duties’. That meant Hayes would win. At this point, Samuel Tilden’s followers almost begged him to denounce the plot publicly, but he would no nothing to prejudice the legal process. This is somewhat difficult to understand in view of his previous anti-fraud successes.

The Senate and House of Representatives convened for the second session of the 44th Congress on December 4th, 1876. It was just two days before the date set for Presidential electors chosen in each state to meet and declare their choice for President and Vice-President of the United States. It was the responsibility of each state Governor and Secretary of State to affix the official state seal to the voting certificates and send them to the President of the Senate in Washington D.C. who would then count them before a joint session of Congress.

Since the Senate was controlled by Republicans, the Democratic House demanded the right to decide which votes were valid. The Senate, understandably, refused. Here was an incredible situation; each day bringing the United States closer to March 4th, the date when Grant’s term expired. Who would succeed him and how would it be done? Rumblings of a new civil war rolled ominously across America. There were drills and parades and wartime units began to reform. Even cool heads discussed the possibility of the National Guard, under the command of Democratic Governors in most states, marching on Washington to install Tilden by force, if necessary. In that case, the Regular Army under Grant would oppose the Guard as Hayes had been ‘legally’ elected.

Amazon.com: Presidential Campaign 1876 Ncontemporary American Newspaper  Cartoon Attacking William Eaton Chandler Who Directed Republican Tactics In  The Rutherford B Hayes And Samuel J Tilden Election In Which Twe: Posters &  PrintsIt was an unthinkable prospect. Fortunately, there were men of influence on both sides who saw that a peaceful solution was absolutely mandatory. On December 14th, the House appointed a committee to approach the Senate in the hope that a tribunal could be created; one ‘whose authority none can question and whose decision all will accept as final’. After much debate, an Electoral Commission was approved. Congress proceeded to set up a group of 15 men; five from the Senate, five from the House and five from the Supreme Court. Presumably, the Court Justices would be non-partisan. Both Hayes and Tilden declared the Commission unconstitutional, but they reluctantly agreed to accept its verdict.

It was clear to everyone what would happen without the Commission. Republican Senator Thomas Ferry of Michigan, presiding officer of the Senate, would open the certificates before a joint session and declare Hayes the winner by 185 to 184 electoral votes. The House would then immediately adjourn to its own chambers where Speaker Samuel Randall would declare no electoral majority and throw the election into a vote by each state delegation in the House. That would assure Tilden’s victory, and on March 4th, 1877 both Hayes and Tilden would be in Washington to be inaugurated as President of the United States. Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York described this route as a ‘Hell-gate paved and honeycombed with dynamite’. It was no understatement.

The Commission held its first session just four weeks before the inauguration. Democratic members of the Commission pressed for a searching examination of the honesty of the canvassing boards. The Republican members claimed that the legal state authorities had filed legitimate certificates and Congress had no power to interfere.

The Commission finally voted along party lines with the decision going to Hayes, 8 to 7. On Friday, March 2nd at 4am, the Senate awarded the last certificate to Hayes. It was just two days before the inauguration. The fury of the South was matched by its Democratic allies in the North. All eyes turned to Samuel J. Tilden. If he claimed that the will of the American people had been frustrated by partisan duplicity and fraud, then America faced civil war. Instead, Tilden said: ‘It is what I expected.’

Electoral map of 1876: Republican wins in red, Democrat in blue, non-states in grey.

Electoral map of 1876: Republican wins in red, Democrat in blue, non-states in grey.

 

Open conflict might still have been a possibility except for a meeting that has since been the subject of much speculation. One week before the inauguration, Southern Democrats and Republicans met at the Wormley Hotel in Washington in an effort to find some compromise before it was too late. There is ample evidence to suggest that a quid pro quo was reached; the South to agree to Hayes’ election if the North would agree to abandon all efforts to maintain carpetbag regimes in the South. That meant withdrawal of Federal troops. In return, the South presumably agreed not to take reprisals against African-Americans or carpetbag officials.

For that matter, the South and its Democratic friends in the North already held a powerful sword over the head of the United States Army. They attached a clause to the Army Appropriations Bill that outlawed the use of Federal troops to sustain state governments in the South without Congressional approval. When the Senate refused the clause, the House simply adjourned and left the Army without funds to pay soldiers. Morale collapsed and the end of Reconstruction was at hand.

After the decision, Tilden commented: ‘I can retire to private life with the consciousness that I shall receive from posterity the credit for having been elected to the highest position in the gift of the people, without any of the cares.’ That summer he sailed for Europe for a year’s vacation. Rutherford B. Hayes took the oath of office in private, kissing the open Bible at Psalm 118:13 ‘… the Lord helped me’.

There was no inaugural parade or ball. There was little to celebrate.

Read Full Post »

La supresión o anulación del derecho al voto ha sido un tema recurrente en la actual campaña electoral estadounidense. Comparto este artículo en el que el historiador Mark Krasovic nos recuerda que esta es una práctica muy presente en la historia estadounidense. Para ello analizará las tácticas usadas por el Partido Republicano para suprimir el derecho al voto en el estado de New Jersey en la década de 1980. El Dr. Krasovic es profesor de historia de Estados Unidos en la Universidad de Rutgers.


How Voter Suppression Imperils the Midterms - Progressive.org

Trump’s encouragement of GOP poll watchers echoes an old tactic of voter intimidation

The Conversation   September 30, 2020

During the first presidential debate, Donald Trump was asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he would “urge” his followers to remain calm during a prolonged vote-counting period after the election, if the winner were unclear.

“I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that is what has to happen, I am urging them to do it,” Trump said. “I hope it’s going to be a fair election, and if it’s a fair election, I am 100 percent on board, but if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that.”

This wasn’t the first time Trump has said he wants to recruit poll watchers to monitor the vote. And to some, the image of thousands of Trump supporters crowding into polling places to monitor voters looks like voter intimidation, a practice long used in the U.S. by political parties to suppress one side’s vote and affect an election’s outcome.

In the history of voter suppression in the U.S. – including attempts to stop Black and Latino people from voting – Republican tactics in the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial race are worth highlighting. That incident sparked a court order – a “consent decree” – forbidding the GOP from using a variety of voter intimidation methods, including armed poll watchers.

The 2020 presidential election will be the first in nearly 40 years conducted without the protections afforded by that decree.

The National Ballot Security Task Force

In November 1981, voters in several cities saw posters at polling places printed in bright red letters. “WARNING,” they read. “This area is being patrolled by the National Ballot Security Task Force.”

And voters soon encountered the patrols themselves. About 200 were deployed statewide, many of them uniformed and carrying guns.

In Trenton, patrol members asked a Black voter for her registration card and turned her away when she didn’t produce it. Latino voters were similarly prevented from voting in Vineland, while in Newark some voters were physically chased from the polls by patrolmen, one of whom warned a poll worker not to stay at her post after dark. Similar scenes played out in at least two other cities, Camden and Atlantic City.

Weeks later, after a recount, Republican Thomas Kean won the election by fewer than 1,800 votes.

Democrats, however, soon won a significant victory. With local civil rights activists, they discovered that the “ballot security” operation was a joint project of the state and national Republican committees. They filed suit in December 1981, charging Republicans with “efforts to intimidate, threaten and coerce duly qualified black and Hispanic voters.”

In November 1982, the case was settled when the Republican committees signed a federal consent decree – a court order applicable to activities anywhere in the U.S. – agreeing not to use race in selecting targets for ballot security activities and to refrain from deploying armed poll watchers.

That order expired in 2018 after Democrats failed to convince a judge to renew it.

As a professor who teaches and writes about New Jersey history, I’m alarmed by the expiration because I know that Republicans in 1981 relied not only on armed poll watchers but also on a history of white vigilantism and intimidation in the Garden State. These issues resonate today in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement and continued GOP attempts to suppress the 2020 vote in numerous states.

 U.S. Rep. John Lewis with House Democrats before passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act to eliminate potential state and local voter suppression laws, Dec. 29, 2019. The Senate has not taken up the bill. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite  

The Republican ‘ballot security’ plan

Considered an early referendum on Ronald Reagan’s presidency, New Jersey’s 1981 gubernatorial race held special meaning for Republicans nationwide. Kean – with campaign manager Roger Stone at the helm – promised corporate tax cuts and relied heavily on Reagan’s endorsement.

To secure victory, state and national Republican party officials devised a project they claimed would prevent Democratic cheating at the polls.

In the summer of 1981, the Republican National Committee sent an operative named John A. Kelly to New Jersey to run the ballot security effort. Kelly had first been hired by the Republican National Committee in 1980 to work in the Reagan campaign, and he served as one of the RNC’s liaisons to the Reagan White House.

Later, after he was revealed as the organizer of the National Ballot Security Task Force – and after The New York Times discovered that he had lied about graduating from Notre Dame and had been arrested for impersonating a police officer – Republicans distanced themselves from him.

In August 1981, under the guise of the National Ballot Security Task Force, Kelly sent about 200,000 letters marked “return to sender” to voters in heavily Black and Latino districts. Those whose letters were returned had their names added to a list of voters to be challenged at the polls on Election Day, a tactic known as voter caging.

In the Newark area, Kelly produced a list of 20,000 voters whom he deemed potentially fraudulent. He then hired local operatives to organize patrols, ostensibly to keep such fraud at bay. To run the Newark operation, he hired Anthony Imperiale.

Newark’s white vigilante

Imperiale, in turn, hired off-duty police officers and employees of his private business, the Imperiale Security Police, to patrol voting sites in the city.

The gun-toting, barrel-chested former Marine had first adopted the security role during Newark’s 1967 uprising – five days of protests and a deadly occupation of the city by police and the National Guard following the police beating of a Black cab driver. During the uprising, Imperiale organized patrols of his predominantly white neighborhood to keep “the riots” out.

Soon, Imperiale became a hero of white backlash politics. His opposition to police reform earned him widespread support from law enforcement. And his fight against Black housing development in Newark’s North Ward delighted many of his neighbors. By the end of the 1970s, Hollywood was making a movie based on his activities.

Actress Frances Fisher arrives to speak at a downtown rally in Los Angeles, California on May 19, 2016, to bring attention to voter suppression. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

After serving as an independent in both houses of the state legislature, Imperiale became a Republican in 1979. Two years later, he campaigned with Kean. Once in office, the new governor named Imperiale director of a new one-man state Office of Community Safety – an appointment often interpreted as reward for Imperiale’s leadership of the ballot efforts in Newark, but stymied when Democrats refused to fund the position.

Outcome and legacy

Despite Kean’s slim margin of victory, Democrats at the time were careful not to claim that Republican voter suppression efforts had decided the election. (In 2016, the former Democratic candidate claimed they did indeed make the difference.)

Rather, the state and national Democratic committees brought suit against the Republican National Committee to ensure it couldn’t again use such methods anywhere. For nearly 40 years – through amendments and challenges – the resulting consent decree helped curtail voter suppression tactics.

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

Since the decree’s expiration in 2018, Republicans have ramped up their recruitment of poll watchers for the 2020 presidential election. Last November, Trump campaign lawyer Justin Clark – calling the decree’s absence “a huge, huge, huge, huge deal” for the party – promised a larger, better-funded and “more aggressive” program of Election Day operations.

The Trump campaign is claiming, as Republicans did in 1981, that Democrats “will be up to their old dirty tricks” and has vowed to “cover every polling place in the country” with workers to ensure an honest election and reelect the president.

This November, Republican tactics in 1981 are worth remembering. They demonstrate that the safeguarding of polling places from supposedly fraudulent voters and of public places from Black bodies share not only a logic. They also share a history.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on August 10, 2020.

Read Full Post »

El voto por correo se ha convertido en un tema controversial en las elecciones presidenciales estadounidense. Donald J. Trump ha cuestionado, sin evidencia, la transparencia del voto por correo, alegando que facilitaría un fraude masivo que le podría costar la reelección. No voy analizar la validez de las alegaciones del Presidente, pues ese no es el objetivo de este blog. Lo que pretendo hacer es colocar el tema en su contexto  compartiendo un breve artículo de Jessica Pearce Rotondi titulado “Vote-by-Mail Programs Date Back to the Civil War“.  Publicado en la revista History, este ensayo confirma la antigüedad y utilidad que el voto por correo ha tenido en la historia de Estados Unidos.


War 

 

Jessica Pearce Rotondi

 

History   September 24, 2020

 

Voting by mail can trace its roots to soldiers voting far from home during the Civil War and World War II. By the late 1800s, some states were extending absentee ballots

to civilian voters under certain conditions, but it wasn’t until 2000 that Oregon became the first state to move to an all-mail voting system. Here is everything you need to know about the history of absentee voting and vote by mail.

What Does the Constitution Say About Voting?

There is no step-by-step guide to voting in the United States Constitution. Article 1, Section 4 says that it’s up to each state to determine “The Times, Places and Manner

of holding Elections.” This openness has enabled the voting process in the United States to evolve as the country’s needs have changed.

The Founding Fathers voted by raising their voices—literally. Until the early 19th century, all eligible voters cast their “Viva Voce” (voice vote) in public. While the number of people eligible to vote in that era was low and primarily composed of land- owning white males, turnout hovered around 85 percent, largely due to enticing voting parties held at polling stations.

The first paper ballots appeared in the early 19th century and were originally blank pieces of paper. By the mid-1800s, they had gone to the other extreme: political

parties printed tickets with the names of every candidate pre-filled along party lines. It wasn’t until 1888 that New York and Massachusetts became the first states to adopt pre-printed ballots with the names of all candidates (a style called the “Australian ballot” after where it was created). By then, another revolution in voting had taken place: Absentee voting.

The first widespread instance of absentee voting in the United States was during theCivil War. The logistics of a wartime election were daunting: “We cannot have free government without elections,” President Abraham Lincoln told a crowd outside theWhite House in 1864, “and if the rebellion could force us to forgo, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.

Captura de pantalla 2020-10-03 a la(s) 17.59.53.png

 Union Army soldiers lined up to vote in the 1864 election during the American Civil War.
Interim Archives/Getty Images 

 

“Lincoln was concerned about the outcome of the midterm elections,” says Bob Stein, Director of the Center for Civic Leadership at Rice University. “Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, pointed out that there were a lot of Union soldiers who couldn’t vote, so the president encouraged states to permit them to cast their ballots from the field.” (There was some precedent for Lincoln’s wish; Pennsylvania became the first state to offer absentee voting for soldiers during the War of 1812.)

In the 1864 presidential election between Lincoln and George McClellan, 19 Union states changed their laws to allow soldiers to vote absentee. Some states permitted soldiers to name a proxy to vote for them back home while others created polling sites in the camps themselves. Approximately 150,000 out of one million soldiers voted in the election, and Lincoln carried a whopping 78 percent of the military vote.

By the late 1800s, several states offered civilians the option of absentee voting, though they had to offer an accepted excuse, most commonly distance or illness. The passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870 and 19th Amendment in 1920 expanded the number of eligible voters in the United States, but it would take another war to propel absentee voting back into the national spotlight.

Absentee Voting in World War II

Absentee voting re-entered the national conversation during World War II, when “both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman encouraged military voting,” says Stein. The Soldier Voting Act of 1942 permitted all members of the military overseas to send their ballots from abroad. Over 3.2 million absentee ballots were cast during the war. The act was amended in 1944 and expired at war’s end.

Captura de pantalla 2020-10-03 a la(s) 18.01.36

GI’s on the fighting fronts in Italy, Capt. William H. Atkinson of Omaha, Nebraska, swears in Cpl. Tito Fargellese of Boston, Massachusetts , before Fargellese cast his ballot for the 1944 election.
Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Legislation passed throughout the next few decades made voting easier for servicemen and women and their families: The Federal Voting Assistance Act of 1955; the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) in 1986; and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment, or MOVE Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2009.

 

States Expand Vote by Mail

“Before the civil rights movement., it was largely members of the military, expats and people who were truly disabled or couldn’t get to their jurisdiction who were permitted to vote absentee,” says Stein. While most historians cite California as the first state to offer no-excuse absentee voting, Michael Hanmer, research director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement at the University of Maryland, says it was actually Washington state that made the switch in 1974.

Other Western states soon followed: “Western states are newer, have the biggest rural areas, the most land and are doing the most pioneering work,” says Lonna Atkeson, Director of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy at the University of New Mexico. “Their progressive values played a role in their political culture.”

Oregon became the first state to switch to vote by mail exclusively in 2000. Washington followed in 2011.

EAVS Deep Dive: Early, Absentee and Mail Voting | U.S. Election Assistance  Commission

Did You Know? It took The Vietnam War for the voting age to be lowered to 18 with the ratification of the 26th amendment.

2020 Election: Which States Offer Voting by Mail?

The 2020 presidential election takes place in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, when concerns about virus transmission in crowds caused lawmakers to rethink rules around appearing in person to vote. For the first time in history, at least 75 percent of Americans are able to vote absentee.

In the 2020 election:

· Thirty-four U.S. states offer no-excuse absentee voting or permit registered voters to cite COVID-19 as their reason to vote absentee.

· Nine states and Washington, D.C. mail all ballots directly to voters: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, New Jersey, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

· Seven states—Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas—require voters to give a reason other than COVID-19 to vote absentee.

How to Vote by Mail

Ballots that go through the mail can be divided into two categories: Absentee ballots, typically requested by people who are unable to vote in person for physical reasons, and mail-in ballots, which are automatically provided to all eligible voters in states with all-mail voting systems.

The rules around voting by mail vary from state to state.

“When are ballots due? Postmarked? Federalism is a beautiful thing, but it’s complex because each state does something different,” says Atkeson. “In the end, access and security make for a well-run election and makes people feel that their vote is counted.”

How does vote-by-mail work and does it increase election fraud?

Read Full Post »

Acaba de ser publicado el número 19 de la revista digital Huellas de Estados Unidos. En esta ocasión incluye una sección con la opinión de varios expertos latinoamericanos sobre el posible resultado de las elecciones presidenciales en Estados Unidos. Este  número incluye además, una interesante selección de artículos entre los que llaman poderosamente mi atención dos trabajos sobre las relaciones internacionales de Argentina y Estados Unidos. También destacan un ensayo de Sven Beckert sobre el algodón y la guerra civil, y el trabajo de Diego Alexander Olivera examinando el pensamiento político de los hermanos Kagan. Felicitamos y agradecemos a los editores de Huellas de Estados Unidos.


 

Huellas de Estados Unidos / #19 / Octubre 2020

Edicion 19

Haz click para descargar en formato pdf

………………………………………….

………………………………………….

……………………………………………

………………………………………….

……………………………………………

……………………………………………

………………………………………….

………..

Read Full Post »

Para comenmorar el centenario de la ratificación de la Enmienda 19 reconociendo el derecho al voto a las ciudadanas estadounidenses, comparto esta antología de artículos sobre del sufragismo en Estados Unidos, publicados en el Journal of American History.  El acceso a ellos será gratuito hasta el 20 de noviembre de este año.


Today in History, June 4, 1919: Congress approved 19th amendment ...

Women, Voting, and the Nineteenth Amendment: a JAH Suffrage Reader

On August 18, 1920, the General Assembly of Tennessee—the requisite thirty-sixth state—ratified the Nineteenth Amendment. After decades of public activism, and more than a year of legislative debate, the amendment, which prohibited the denial or abridgement of the right of citizens to vote “on account of sex,” at last became part of the U.S. Constitution. Woman suffrage became a right—though not for all women a reality—throughout the nation.

To mark the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, and to encourage critical assessment of the broader histories of suffrage and suffrage restriction in the United States, the Journal of American History has assembled “Women, Voting, and the Nineteenth Amendment: A JAH Suffrage Reader.” This reader offers a sampling of numerous articles and reviews published in the JAH over the past half century. By no means exhaustive, it is intended to provide readers with a brief introduction to the history and historiography of woman suffrage, and women’s political activism more generally, in the United States. As part of our ongoing series Sex, Suffrage, Solidarities: Centennial Reappraisals, we hope that this reader will benefit students, educators, and researchers who wish to learn more about these topics. We invite all readers to revisit as well the JAH Women’s History Index, published in our March 2020 issue.

The following articles and reviews will be freely available through November 30, 2020:

Detail, Votes for Women: Song (1914). Library of Congress, Music Division.

 

The New Woman: Changing Views of Women in the 1920s (September 1974)

Estelle B Freedman

Journal of American History, Volume 61, Issue 2, September 1974, Pages 372–393, https://doi.org/10.2307/1903954

Leadership and Tactics in the American Woman Suffrage Movement: A New Perspective from Massachusetts (September 1975)

Sharon Hartman Strom

Journal of American History, Volume 62, Issue 2, September 1975, Pages 296–315, https://doi.org/10.2307/1903256

Feminist Politics in the 1920s: The National Woman’s Party (June 1984)

Nancy F Cott

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 71, Issue 1, June 1984, Pages 43–68, https://doi.org/10.2307/1899833

Working Women, Class Relations, and Suffrage Militance: Harriot Stanton Blatch and the New York Woman Suffrage Movement, 1894–1909 (June 1987)

Ellen Carol DuBois

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 74, Issue 1, June 1987, Pages 34–58, https://doi.org/10.2307/1908504

Outgrowing the Compact of the Fathers: Equal Rights, Woman Suffrage, and the United States Constitution, 1820–1878 (December 1987)

Ellen Carol DuBois

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 74, Issue 3, December 1987, Pages 836–862, https://doi.org/10.2307/1902156

What’s in a Name? The Limits of “Social Feminism”; or, Expanding the Vocabulary of Women’s History (December 1989)

Nancy F Cott

Journal of American History, Volume 76, Issue 3, December 1989, Pages 809–829, https://doi.org/10.2307/2936422

Political Style and Women’s Power, 1830–1930 (December 1990)

Michael McGerr

Journal of American History, Volume 77, Issue 3, December 1990, Pages 864–885, https://doi.org/10.2307/2078989

Review of New Women of the New South: The Leaders of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States by Marjorie Spruill Wheeler (September 1994)

Laura F Edwards

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 81, Issue 2, September 1994, Page 731, https://doi.org/10.2307/2081305

Review of Women against Women: American Anti-Suffragism, 1880-1920 by Jane Jerome Camhi and The Home, Heaven, and Mother Party: Female Anti-Suffragists in the United States, 1868-1920 by Thomas J. Jablonksy (June 1996)

Anne M Boylan

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 83, Issue 1, June 1996, Pages 247–249, https://doi.org/10.2307/2945572

“The Liberty of Self-Degradation”: Polygamy, Woman Suffrage, and Consent in Nineteenth-Century America (December 1996)

Sarah Barringer Gordon

Journal of American History, Volume 83, Issue 3, December 1996, Pages 815–847, https://doi.org/10.2307/2945641

Review of African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (June 1999)

Jane Rhodes

Journal of American History, Volume 86, Issue 1, June 1999, Page 273, https://doi.org/10.2307/2567500

Review of Woman Suffrage and Women’s Rights by Ellen Carol DuBois (June 2001)

Louise M Newman

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 88, Issue 1, June 2001, Pages 215–216, https://doi.org/10.2307/2674975

Review of Suffragists in an Imperial Age: U.S. Expansion and the Woman Question, 1870-1929 by Allison L. Sneider (December 2008)

Tracey Jean Boisseau

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 95, Issue 3, December 2008, Page 866, https://doi.org/10.2307/27694455

The Incorporation of American Feminism: Suffragists and the Postbellum Lyceum (March 2010)

Lisa Tetrault

Journal of American History, Volume 96, Issue 4, March 2010, Pages 1027–1056, https://doi.org/10.1093/jahist/96.4.1027

Suffragettes and Soviets: American Feminists and the Specter of Revolutionary Russia (March 2014)

Julia L Mickenberg

Journal of American History, Volume 100, Issue 4, March 2014, Pages 1021–1051, https://doi.org/10.1093/jahist/jau004

Review of The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 by Lisa Tetrault (September 2015)

Nicole Eaton

Journal of American History, Volume 102, Issue 2, September 2015, Pages 559–560, https://doi.org/10.1093/jahist/jav368

Review of Counting Women’s Ballots: Female Voters from Suffrage through the New Deal by J. Kevin Corder and Christina Wolbrecht (March 2018)

Eileen McDonagh

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 104, Issue 4, March 2018, Page 1043, https://doi.org/10.1093/jahist/jax493

Interchange: Women’s Suffrage, the Nineteenth Amendment, and the Right to Vote (December 2019)

Ellen Carol DuBois, Liette Gidlow, et al.

in Journals

Journal of American History, Volume 106, Issue 3, December 2019, Pages 662–694, https://doi.org/10.1093/jahist/jaz506

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE AT JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY

Read Full Post »

semanario Claridad Archives - LVDSEl semanario Claridad es una publicación que este año cumple sesenta años defendiendo y promoviendo la independencia de Puerto Rico, la colonia más atigua del planeta. Durante este periodo ha enfrentado persecución política, ataques terroristas y los vaivanes socio-económicos y políticos de la sociedad puertorriqueña. La  entrega de quienes durante todos estos años han luchado por la supervivencia de este vocero de la nacionalidad puertorriqueña es encomiable.

En estos sensenta años Claridad ha sido mucho más que el vocero de una lucha política. Este semanario ha sido también un medio cultural, en donde academicos de diversas disciplinas  han  disfrutado de un espacio para compartir sus ideas. Comparto con mis lectores una corta nota titulada “1898, del otro lado“, escrita por la Dra. Dolores Aponte Ramos,  sobre el uso de la música “como recurso publicitario” durante la guerra hispano-cubano-estadounidense en 1898.


1898, del otro lado

Lola Aponte, de oficio hilandera.

Claridad

24 de julio de 2020

Nos propone Sun Tzu:  cuando se conduce a los hombres a la batalla con astucia, el impulso es como rocas redondas que se precipitan montaña abajo: ésta es la fuerza que produce la victoria.” ¿Cómo lograr el discurso que lograr mover las rocas?  ¿Quienes eran los soldados que en el 1897 fueron movidos a la guerra hispanoamericana? ¿Cómo hacerles partícipes de una ideología dominante en la cual se percibieran como salvadores en la lucha del bien versus el mal?  ¿Qué nociones del otro, del enemigo y de sí mismos los alentaba?

Esta guerra recurre a la prensa y a la música para crear el espíritu entre los soldados y ciudadanía de la necesidad de la guerra   Aquí propongo algunos textos visuales y musicales para darnos un sabor de la Guerra Hispanoamericana, conocida en los libros de historia militar de USA como “la guerra breve,”  Primero la representación de España como enemigo irracional y degradado.  Estas caricaturas ampliamente difundidas, crean “al otro” en cuanto  animalizado y brutal, asesino de los soldados el Maine, violador de la libertad.

Article Images | Origins: Current Events in Historical PerspectiveComo sabemos hacía ya décadas que latifundistas norteamericanos habían comprado enormes fincas en el Caribe hispano.  El interés por Cuba y Puerto Rico se había expresado incluso en la colaboración con los Partido Revolucionarios de ambas islas si bien fundados en New York.  Se había  materializado en el apoyo en armas a los mamvíses, ejército de guerrilla cubano organizado contra el estado español y asilo a figuras cimeras en la búsqueda de la independencia.  La imagen, sin embargo, no está dirigida hacia la intelligentsia militar, que conoce los intereses comerciales y expansionistas de esta guerra.  Esta imagen amarillista y metafórica está enfocada al lector promedio del periódico.  La auspicia el cuerpo militar, liderado por Teddy Roosevelt, para crear opinión pública.  Buscan y logran apoyo masivo a la primera guerra claramente imperialista de Estado Unidos.  Los cuerpos sangrientos, la ferocidad de contrincante, de proporciones corporales gigantescas son elocuentes en sí mismas.  Un importante grupo de jóvenes voluntariará para hacerse soldados a favor de tan justa causa. Formarán varios regimientos, voluntarios que servirán de linea de frontal de infantería.    En la imagen, Tio Sam protector de la Cuba feminina, presuntamente a punto de ser violada, mira con miedo a españoles de tez oscura que detiene su ataque mas no su gesto violento   Así la guerra se torna en una de protección de valores domésticos, un desarrollo contra la infamia antes que una búsqueda expansionista .  Los habitantes de las islas no parecen tener historia, y se nos muestran incapaces de  buscar redención propia, no parecen conocer la posibilidad siquiera de reclamar derechos, tampoco se les adjudica valores propios   Damiselas asustadizas, subyugadas ellas mismas ante su salvador  Sin duda la fantasía de dominación perfecta.  Es este la misma ideología que expresa su música.

Song sheet cover featuring Eugene Stratton in All Coons Look Alike ...

La música, como recurso publicitario,  mayormente producida alrededor de la casa de publicación Tin Pan Alley.  Entre los grandes éxitos del 1898 produjeron Yankee Doddle Dewey,  y Ma Fillipino Babe.  Esta compañía es responsable de otros top ten en el billboard de la época, tales como ˆ  All the Coons Look Alike to Me—(Todos los putos negros me parecen idénticos, traduzco temblándome el corazón)   Mientras Mark Twain se oponía a la intrusión militar como contraria al espíritu de la república, su país que había salido de su primera gran recesión estaba listo para adelantar la propuesta de intervención militar en el Caribe y cantaba a coro estas melodías.  Aquí tres fragmentos de canciones a las que siguen traducciones :  

A CALL FROM CUBA – J. R. Martin

 Rouse! Sons of Columbia, hear the cry of despair, Wrung from skeleton forms in the dreary night air;

Human forma herded there by a mandate from Spain, Without help, food or shelter, from sun, cold or rain; Age and infancy blend, no strong arm to defend, They wait in dull anguish the sorrowful end;

They’re our neighbors in Cuba; oh, hear their sad cry: “Save us, sons of Columbia, or haste, ere we die.”

Have we forfeited life because longing to be

Like your glorious union, in full liberty?

Our hearts are like lead ‘neath this load of despair,

You are brave, you are generous, hear this our prayer; By your own love of liberty, grant us the same,

Shield our homes and loved ones from the fury of Spain; Then the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

We have suffered for years every outrage which Spain Could invent to insult us and fill lie with pain;

The music they love is the shriek of desviar

And the moan of lost innocence in the night air;

Oh God! hear our cry, from Thy throne up on high, Send deliverance from Spain, or permit us to die;

May the star spangled banner o’er Cuba soon wave, Blessed emblem of peace for the home of the brave.

AS WE GO MARCHING THROUGH CUBA – Wilbur Eastlake

Hark, ye freemen, to the drums that call yon to the fray. Liberty now needs her sons, the fight is on to-day; Truth and Justice will prevail and Tyranny decay

As we go marching through Cuba.

Ignorance of human rights, contempt for human kind

And neglect of Freedom’s growth hath made Earth’s rulers blind. Fling Old Glory to the breeze, ‘twill closer brave hearts bind

As we go marching through Cuba.

“REMEMBER THE MAINE” – Lilith V. Pinchbeck Hark! don’t you hear the trumpets?

The beating of the drum

And measured tread of marching feet Proclaim that war has come.

The battle cry rolls onward

As they thin the ranks from Spain— ‘T is no more “Remember the Alamo But “Remember, boys, the Maine!”


A CALL FROM CUBA – J. R. MartinDe pie, Hijos de Columbia, escuchen el grito de dolor, 

de retorcidos esqueletos en el triste aire de la noche

Manada de formas humanas reducidas por mandato de España:

sin ayuda, comida; ni cobijo del sol, el frío o la lluvia,

 infancia y vejez sufren, sin brazo que les defienda,

 esperan en angustia el triste final. 

Son nuestros vecinos, Cubanos; 

Escucha sus tristes gritos: “Sálvennos, hijos de Columbia,

aprisa,  o moriremos 

¿Débemos sacrificar nuestra vida por querer tener,

 una nación como la suya, gloriosa, llena de libertad? 

nuestros corazones son como plomo bajo esta carga de dolor

son ustedes bravos, generosos, escuchan nuestra 

!Qué su amor por la libertad nos ampare a nosotros por igual 

protejan nuestras casas y a nuestros amados de la furia de España!

Entonces, la bandera de estrellas y rayas, triunfante ondeará  

sobre la tierra del libre y el hogar del valiente. (fragmento, traducción nuestra)

AS WE GO MARCHING THROUGH CUBA – Wilbur Eastlake

Atención!!, hombre libres al tambor.  les llama al servicio de libertad que necesita de sus hijos

en la lucha de hoy, Verdad y Justicia vencerán; t tiranía caerá

Según marchamos por Cuba

huirán los gobernantes con su ignorancia por los derechos humanos, 

 su desprecio por la vida y el olvido de desarrollar la Libertad humana.

Su gloria se desvanecerá en el aire

cuando nuestros bravos corazones 

Marchen por Cuba

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »