“He’s said that good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Mr. Schiller said of Mr. Sessions, referring to comments the Alabama senator made in April. “We found that to be insulting to the millions of Americans that do.”
New York Times: Marijuana Group Passes Out Free Joints for Trump’s Inauguration
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The Triumph of the Humanities By Stanley Fish, New York Times
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By STANLEY FISH
Our house in the western Catskills overlooks the Pepacton Reservoir, a 20-mile ribbon of water between Margaretville and Downsville. Maps on the Internet, depending on their scale and detail, will show you where the reservoir is in relation to nearby towns and roads. What they won’t show you, although every resident of the area knows about them, are the four towns — Arena, Shavertown, Union Grove and Pepacton — that were flooded in the middle ‘50s so that the reservoir could be constructed. (Today, after more than 50 years, resentment against New York City remains strong.)
The maps and pictures of the reservoir are determinedly linear; the eye follows the water in its journey down Route 30 toward the city. But for the the old-timers, and the new-timers who have been caught up in the romance of the lost towns, the eye stops and looks down to what are now the geological layers of civilizations, one on the surface and claiming a literal, no-nonsense empirical reality (“If you want get from Andes to Downsville, you can travel on either side of the reservoir”), and the other below the surface, where lie subterranean Brigadoons that emerge not every hundred years but whenever the reservoir gets so low that pieces of a drowned culture suddenly and unnervingly come into view. At those moments the eye simply cannot travel the straight line encouraged by visible coherences and road signs; the natural pull of forward progress is forestalled and one begins to ruminate on what lies beneath our every step as we raise our feet to take the next one.
There is now a (relatively) new discipline in which this breaking down of time into spatial units that are read vertically rather than horizontally is the obligatory gesture. It calls itself GeoHumanities and its project is nicely encapsulated in the title of one of the essays in a collection that officially announces the emergence of a field of study. The collection is called “GeoHumanities: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place”; the essay (by Edward L. Ayers, an historian and president of the University of Richmond) is entitled “Mapping Time.”
Ayers’s project is to map the changes that followed upon the emancipation of the slaves after the Civil War. He and his colleagues begin with a simple map and then they locate populations on the landscape and “put down one layer after another: of race, of wealth, of literacy, of water courses, of roads, of railways, of soil type, of voting patterns, of social structure.”
The layered picture that results can then be “read” and a story can be told, the story of complex relationships that are frozen by the analysis but which, of course, are really in motion. The next step is to acknowledge the motion by using cinematic techniques that present the passage of time as spatial units that succeed one another. “By converting time to motion,” says Ayers, “we can visualize the passage of time (as one watches the hands of a clock move).”
Ayers calls this technique of representation “deep contingency,” and he acknowledges its artificiality. The metaphor of a layered reality “is a fiction of course, since the layers continually interact and the ‘top’ layer of humans constantly changes the ‘bottom’ layer of landscape; but it is a useful fiction, since it reminds us of the structural depth of time and experience.” The project is a synthesis of geography (now renamed Geographic Information Science, or GIS) and history: “GIS is about patterns and structures; history is about motion; by integrating the two, we can see layers of events, layers of the consequences of unpredictability.”
That is, we can read events not merely historically, as the product of the events preceding them, but geologically, as the location of sedimented patterns of culture, economics, politics, agriculture. What is being attempted is a reorientation of perception, an alternative way of interpreting the world in which “space is not merely in the service of time, but has a poetics of its own, which reveals itself through a geographical or topological imagination rather than a historical one” (Paul Smethurst, “The Postmodern Chronotope”).
The interplay in these quotations between a literary and a geographical vocabulary tells us what GeoHumanities is all about; it is the elaboration, by methods derived from the humanities, of “the stratified record upon which we set our feet” (the title of another essay and a quote from Thomas Mann). It is the realization, in a style of analysis, of the “spatial turn,” a “critical shift that divested geography of its largely passive role as history’s ‘stage’ and brought to the fore intersections between the humanities and the earth sciences” (Peta Mitchell in “GeoHumanities”).
“Intersections” is perhaps too weak a word, because it suggests two disciplines that retain their distinctiveness but collaborate occasionally on a specific project. The stronger assertion, made by many in the volume, is that the division between empirical/descriptive disciplines and interpretive disciplines is itself a fiction and one that stands in the way of the production of knowledge.
An apparently empirical project like geography is, and always has been, interpretive through and through. “The map has always been a political agent”(Lize Mogel), has always had a “generative power” (Emily Eliza Scott), and that power can only be released and studied by those who approach their work in the manner of literary critics. Geography “demands a reader who is at once an archeologist, geologist and geographer, a reader who … is at all times attentive to the stratification of history, memory, language, and landscape and who can read obliquely through their layers” (Peta Mitchell).
If interpretive methods and perspectives are necessary to the practice of geography, they are no less necessary to other projects supposedly separate from the project of the humanities. And that is why, in addition to GeoHumanities, we now have Biohumanities (“the humanities not only comment on the significance or implications of biological knowledge, but add to our understanding of biology itself” — Karola Stotz and Paul E. Griffiths), Disability Studies (of which the X-Men films might be both a representation and an instance), Metahistory (the study of the irreducibly narrative basis of historical “fact”), Law and Literature (the laying bare of the rhetorical and literary strategies giving form to every assertion in the law), Cultural Anthropology (an inquiry into the very possibility of anthropological observation that begins by acknowledging the inescapability of perspective and the ubiquity of interpretation), Cultural Sociology (“the commitment to hermeneutically reconstructing social texts in a rich and persuasive way” — Jeffrey C. Alexander and Philip Smith), and other hybrids already emergent and soon to emerge.
What this all suggests is that while we have been anguishing over the fate of the humanities, the humanities have been busily moving into, and even colonizing, the fields that were supposedly displacing them. In the ‘70s and the ‘80s the humanities exported theory to the social sciences and (with less influence) to the sciences; many disciplines saw a pitched battle between the new watchwords — perspective, contingency, dispersion, multi-vocality, intertextuality — and the traditional techniques of dispassionate observation, the collection of evidence, the drawing of warranted conclusions and the establishing of solid fact. Now the dust has settled and the invaded disciplines have incorporated much of what they resisted. Propositions that once seemed outlandish — all knowledge is mediated, even our certainties are socially constructed — are now routinely asserted in precincts where they were once feared as the harbingers of chaos and corrosive relativism.
One could say then that the humanities are the victors in the theory wars; nearly everyone now dances to their tune. But this conceptual triumph has not brought with it a proportionate share of resources or institutional support. Perhaps administrators still think of the humanities as the province of precious insights that offer little to those who are charged with the task of making sense of the world. Volumes like “GeoHumanities” tell a different story, and it is one that cannot be rehearsed too often.
District of Columbia Suffrage Bill – The President’s Veto — The New York Times, January 8, 1867
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The argument with which President Johnson supports his veto of the District of Columbia Suffrage Bill will not convert Congress or the country to his views. His denial of the right of Congress to legislate for the District is so flatly opposed to the terms of the Constitution, and the ground upon which aid for District projects has always been invoked, that it amounts to little. The provision of the Constitution empowering Congress to “exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever” over the District, and the fact that its citizens have never claimed the rights which the President now asserts in their behalf, are conclusive against him. The plea that the citizens of the District possess, “as an organized community, the same popular rights as the inhabitants of a State or Territory,” is sustained neither by theory nor usage. Congress has, indeed, conceded certain municipal privileges; but its power to legislate in all matters pertaining to the District has not been disputed by people or President until now.
Certain it is that this message will not induce the surrender by Congress of the authority under which it regulates the suffrage in the Federal District. The right by which it legislates for the District on the other questions embraces the right to legislate on this question, with exclusive reference to the wishes and requirements of the States represented in the Capitol. And nothing is more clear than the fact that the States whose verdict has recently been pronounced are in favor of solving in the District, experimentally, one of the many problems which grow out of the altered relations of the colored people. The pending Constitutional Amendment indirectly encourages the enfranchisement of the freedmen in every State, North and South. It diminishes everywhere the basis of representation to the extent of the number of those who are excluded from the franchise because of race or color; so affirming, indirectly, the principle of impartial suffrage, while recognizing the absolute right of each State to determine the standard of suffrage for itself. What more proper than that the application of the principle should begin in the District whose public concerns are specially subject to the control of Congress?
The president dwells upon the opposition of the majority of the white residents in the District to any scheme of negro enfranchisement. This opposition, however, has never assumed the form of a denial of the Congressional right to legislate in the premises. They are too conscious of the substantial benefits accrue continually from the guardianship of Congress, to impugn its authority in the matter of the franchise. As for the rest, Congress is the judge of what is proper and expedient. And nothing could be more obviously proper than that the Congress which has decreed the civil status of the negro should also affirm his political equality as a citizen, so far as it is subject to the national legislation. In affirming this, Congress simply obeys the will of the majority of the American people, whose utterances the President continues to disregard.
There may be room for doubt as to the expediency of acting on the principle of universal enfranchisement. We should have preferred the application of some test of fitness, whether intelligence or property or taxation, to be enforced alike against black and white. So that the right to vote be shared impartially, irrespective of color, the great point would seem to be gained. Congress has thought differently, however; and as between universal suffrage and the entire exclusion of the freedmen because of color, the Republican Party cannot hesitate in its choice.
The President quotes from MADISON, JEFFERSON, STORY AND KENT in support of his course. But the citations from the writings of these eminent men really have no direct bearing upon the point at issue. They vindicate the value of the veto power and the right of the Executive to exert it; but as neither is disputed the appositeness of the passages reproduced is not very apparent.
The right to veto is as valid as the right of Congress to pass the bill over the veto, and no more so. The debatable part of the question relates to the arguments by which the position of each is upheld. And we apprehend that in this case the popular judgment will be on the side of Congress, and against the President.
A Shower of Proclamations: Arlington Heights – The New York Times, May 9, 1861
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This tirade against the State of Virginia was written one month after the American Civil War began. At the end of the article there is the assertion that for the previous 20 years Virginians had been plotting to overthrow the Union and the Retrocession of Alexandria was one step in the process. By obtaining Arlington Heights, present-day Rosslyn, Virginia, the State of Virginia was able to obtain a militarily important piece of land where cannons could fire upon Washington. As I noted before, later in 1861 Abraham Lincoln mentioned this liability in his first State of Union delivered to Congress.
The New York Times, May 9, 1861
Gov. LETCHER has issued a proclamation full of lofty sentences and abounding in big words, calling upon Virginians to “rally in defence of the State,” to “uphold the flag of the Commonwealth,” and “maintain the rights of the South.” All this means a call upon the traitors and disloyal men, of whom he is the chief, in the once patriotic and true old State of Virginia, to arm against the Republic of which her own WASHINGTON was the founder, and against a Constitution which her JEFFERSON, her MADISON and MONROE — names so dear to the American people — aided so largely in framing,
Of all the treason against the Constitution and Union, that of Virginia is the rankest, the most inexcusable and the meanest. The noble and true patriots of her past history are dishonored, and the graves of her wise and true men polluted by it. Of all the States, there is not one so linked to the Union by hallowed memories, by ties which all mankind in all ages have regarded as sacred, as Virginia. Her history bears the names dearest to the American heart — of patriots who labored most, fought most, sacrificed most and suffered most for that Union which her degenerate sons would shiver to-day. Of all the States, she has least cause of complaint. She has enjoyed more of the patronage, more of the offices, and exercised a greater influence in shaping the policy of the Government, than any other State. She has asked nothing that has not been granted — demanded nothing that has not been conceded. And yet hers is the heart that is foulest with treason, the hand that threatens to be reddest with the blood of loyal and true men!
The Governor of South Carolina has issued his proclamation, and though representing the smallest save one of all the seceding States, his tone is the loudest, his boast the largest, and his words the biggest of them all. We can respect Georgia for her real strength, while we execrate her treason. She was among the strong States of the Union, and is strongest among those that have seceded, and might, therefore, speak with something of power; but for little South Carolina, the verriest bantam of the secession brood, to flap its puny wings and crow so defiantly, is one of the jokes of the age. Virginia could put South Carolina in its breeches pocket, and yet South Carolina speaks so patronizingly, so condescendingly, so full of motherly regard for the Old Dominion, that were it not for the census and the map, one would suppose that Virginia was some helpless and oppressed little community, too weak to think even of defending itself. And, then, to see how meekly and humbly Virginia receives her proffers of aid — to see the once proud and haughty Virginia — the mother of Presidents and nursery of heroes — the once chivalrous, self-reliant, noble Virginia, submissively and gratefully receiving nursery pap from a spoon in the hands of South Carolina, is a tableau worth a day’s journey to see.
JEFFERSON DAVIS, too, has issued his proclamation, tendering his aid, and forwarding his starving troops to Virginia. Virginia food is to feed them — Virginia money is to pay them — Virginia soil is to be desecrated, and her social life demoralized by them. The war is transferred to her valleys, and her cities are to be made a camp. And yet Virginia submits. She forgets her former chivalry — her boasted strength. Three months ago she assumed to be the arbiter of the destinies of the nation; to-day she is the protege and follower of South Carolina, and the tool of JEFFERSON DAVIS. She yields a craven deference to the one, and bears submissively the burdens of the other.
And last, though not least. Brig. Gen. COCKE has issued his proclamation. He is in command of the Potomac Border of Virginia. Whether he is a Virginian he does not inform us, and history is silent on the subject. It may be that he is, or it may be that he holds the border as one of the myrmidons of JEFFERSON DAVIS. He, too, like his illustrious compeers, the trio of Governors, uses the language of grandiloquence. Hear him:
“The Capital has never been threatened by us. It is not now threatened. It is beyond and outside the limits of the free and sovereign State of Virginia. The North has not openly, and according to the usage of civilized nations, declared war on us. We make no war on them — but should the soil of Virginia, or the grave of WASHINGTON, be polluted by the tread of a single man in arms from north of the Potomac, it will cause open war.”
According to Brig. Gen. COCKE, we shall have open “war,” then, for, just as sure as that the sun shall rise and set, thousands of men in arms from the north of the Potomac will be in Virginia within a week.
It can hardly have escaped notice, that the Virginia authorities lay very great stress on the inviolability of Virginia soil. Gov. LETCHER and Gen. COCKE both state that Virginia wages no war against the Federal Government, but the moment any United States soldier steps in arms upon the soil of the State, that act will be regarded as a declaration and the actual commencement of war.
This undoubtedly has more than a general meaning. It is intended to prevent the Government from taking possession of Arlington Heights, which command Washington, and which must be held if the Capital is to he saved. These heights are in Alexandria, which used to form part of the District of Columbia, but was ceded back to the State of Virginia by Congress in 1846. Now, these heights are part of the soil of that State, and the occupation of them by the Government will be regarded and resented, as an act of invasion.
It is scarcely necessary to say that it ought to be done, and beyond all question will be done the moment it is necessary, in spite of this menace. The fact that the menace is made proves that Virginia only seeks a pretext for assuming an openly hostile attitude to the Government, — and if she does not get one here, she will find one somewhere else. Loyalty or forbearance that rests on so flimsy a foundation as this, should not have a feather’s weight on the action of the Government. Whenever Gen. SCOTT deems it necessary, as a military precaution, to take possession of those heights, it will undoubtedly be done. The Government has a right to occupy and hold, for military reasons, any part of any State under its jurisdiction.
It is altogether probable that some such contingency as the present was in view, when the leading Virginia politicians urged the secession of that portion of the District of Columbia. They have been plotting the violent overthrow of the Government for twenty years, — and written records remain to show that the leaders of this treasonable plot made provision for every possible contingency. The whole State of Virginia was carefully studied with a view to military operations against the United States Government, more than twenty-five years ago. Nothing is more probable than that reasons of this sort were among the motives for seeking renewed possession by the State of that portion of the District which commands the Capital. The retrocession was granted out of pure good nature, and with that utter blindness to future contingencies which has characterized the action of Northern public men for many years. Not a thought was given to the military importance of the position, because nobody then believed it possible that the State of Virginia would ever be at war with the Federal Government, — while the members of Congress from that State were at that very moment plotting its overthrow, and using the good nature of the North as the means for accomplishing that object.
It was held by many at the time that the retrocession was unconstitutional, and therefore void. Whether this be so or not, we presume the Government will have very little hesitation about making it practically a nullity, whenever the safety of the Capital may render its military possession necessary.
Washington, D.C., Approves Medical Use of Marijuana By Ashley Southall – The New York Times, May 5, 2010
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Today my names appears for the first time in the New York Times:
Nikolas Schiller, the secretary of the D.C. Patients’ Cooperative, a nonprofit group that advocates legal medical marijuana, said the amendments would have clarified ambiguities in the bill. He pointed to an example of a Wal-Mart worker in Michigan, where medical marijuana is legal, who was fired in March after he tested positive for the drug, which he used to cope with sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor.
“We asked the Council to introduce the protection for that and they refused to,” Mr. Schiller said. “And it was very infuriating to sit and watch the best practices from other states, other jurisdictions be ignored.”
Although Ashley recorded a much longer interview with me after the District Council’s final vote, I am happy (read: not infuriated) with how this article is written. I wish she could have highlighted some of the more important issues I spoke to her about. Regardless, I am still disappointed the Councilmembers voted to create one of the most restrictive medical cannabis programs in the country. The reality is that Congress already approved a more liberal version earlier this year and these amendments are far away from the original intent of District residents. The next Congress can take the program away, so why not legislate to create the very best program in the country modeled off of what works? I am sad to say that without home cultivation and limiting growers to 95 plants, the program is going to have some problems, but I hope, in time, we can fix them.
Anyways, yesterday’s vote was an important start, but there is a long way to go…
RETROCESSION OF ALEXANDRIA – The New York Times, August 17, 1873
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Does the New York Times issue corrections after 137 years? Because this article has two errors. First, William Winter Payne, of Fauquier, was then a member of Congress from Alabama, not South Carolina. I decided to look in the Congressional Globe myself and find their error. Second, the article uses both Judge Underhill and Judge Underwood, when it should have been only using Judge John Curtiss Underwood (sadly, he died less than 4 months after this article was published.)
I decided to repost this article here because it provides the setting for the Supreme Court case of Phillips vs. Payne. I was not expecting to find an article that essentially provides a road map for how the unconstitutionality of Alexandria’s retrocession was to be legally challenged.
The New York Times, August 17, 1873
At a recent meeting of the Common Council of Alexandria, Va., a proposition to establish a new hospital being under consideration, Judge Underhill spoke of the renewed effort by citizens of Washington to procure retrocession of Alexandria to the District of Columbia. He then related an interview he had with Gov. Cooke and Chief Justice Cartter, from which he had learned that they had determined on the move. Judge Cartter had pronounced the act of retrocession of 1846 unconstitutional and void, and they would make a test case by getting some citizen of Alexandria to refuse to pay his taxes, and file a bill for an injunction against their collection by the State of Virginia. They preferred that mode to proceeding criminal case by habeas corpus. The Board of Public Works thought it necessary to have both sides of the river, as the Board of Health had concluded the swamps on the Virginia side were the cause of much of the malarious sickness in Washington. The effort will probably be made in the Fall. Judge Underwood also remarked that the change, if made, would very seriously affect him, and necessitate his resignation of the judgeship or removal, and he said he had looked at the Globe of the date of the act of retrocession, and found that Col. Winter Payne, of Fauquier, then a member of Congress from
South Carolina Alabama, had opposed it as unconstitutional, and many Democratic statesmen, but no Whigs.
CRIME WAVE SWEEPS BONE-DRY CAPITAL – The New York Times, April 20, 1919
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The result of Prohibition in the District of Columbia after one year inadvertently predicted what would happen to the rest of the country once the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution came into effect: crime. The sad reality is that while this article only highlighted the criminal effects of prohibition of alcohol after one year, today society deals with very similar crimes related to the prohibition of other substances. It begs the question, should prohibition exist? If making something illegal only causes or creates more crime, why continue to make such substances illegal? What other intoxicants or medicines have been Constitutionally banned? Only alcohol.
“The Grand Jury found 107 new indictments which, added to 80 other true bills previously reported, made 187 criminal indictments for one week,” said the statement. “United States District Attorney Laskey, whose duty it is to prosecute the criminal cases in the Washington courts, is quoted as having said that no Grand Jury since he has been in office has ever returned so many indictments against violators of the criminal law.
“Sixteen of the 187 indictments were for the taking of human life, the degrees ranging from murder outright to homicide. Some of the murders are said to have been committed in the most cold-blooded, savage ways. One of the accused is charged with having thrown a lighted lamp at a woman, setting fire to her clothing and causing her to be burned to death. Several persons were beaten to death with lead pipes. A great number of automobile collisions occurred, causing death and serious injury as a result of criminal negligence. Such acts of depravity and savage violence are too often pictured by the anti-prohibitionists as the sole results of inebriety, and they promised Utopian realization of law and order if Congress would only vote the District of Columbia bone-dry. But, after something more than a year of the bone-dry delusion, the nation’s capital city is showing up the worst criminal record in its history.
“Crimes involving violence are invariably laid to intemperance by the prohibitionists. If the assaults and murders committed in sight of the Capitol are to be thus accounted for, it must be concluded that intemperance is on the increase in Washington since the District of Columbia was voted dry and prohibition at the very citadel of the Republic has proved a miserable farce. But the great bulk of indictments returned by the Grand Jury tells of an increase in other crimes than those of murder, manslaughter, homicide, and assault. There were twenty-nine cases of robbery, embezzlement, forgery, cheating, and swindling returned.”
SENATES VOTES, 55-32 FOR DRY WASHINGTON – The New York Times, January 10, 1917
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As I mentioned before, I thought it was interesting that the Senate would even consider a referendum on Prohibition in the District of Columbia. As it turns out, the Senate tyrannically voted the District of Columbia ‘dry’ without the referendum. Another interesting note that was definitely not taught to me in my American history class was that at the time of the passage of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution (aka Prohibition) most jurisdictions in America had already voted on whether they wanted to be ‘wet’ or ‘dry’, with most jurisdictions throughout the United States choosing be ‘dry’. At the end of the article the author mentions a Prohibition Map of the United States, but I have yet to find it on-line. If I do find it, I’ll be sure to post it here.
Tie Vote on District of Columbia Bill Indicates National Prohibition’s Standing.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 – The Sheppard bill for prohibition in the District of Columbia after Nov. 1 was passed by the Senate today and sent to the House after a long fight. The vote was 55 to 32. The decision followed the rejection of the Underwood amendment, proposing to submit the question to a popular referendum, by a tie vote of 43 to 43. As the Vice President was not present to cast the deciding ballot the amendment was lost under a rule of the Senate.
The vote on the referendum is being considered tonight as a fair indication of the line-up in the Senate on the proposed referendum is being considered tonight as a fair indication of the line-up in the Senate on the proposed referendum regarding a constitutional amendment for national prohibition which has been reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, and which would require a two-thirds vote to pass.
Neither the vote on the referendum amendment nor that on the passage of the bill was on party lines. There were 26 Democrats and 17 Republicans voting for the referendum and 23 Democrats and 20 Republicans voting against it. Most of the Republicans of the Progressive group voted against it. For the bill itself there were 28 Democratic and 27 Republican votes, with 22 Democrats and 10 Republicans against it. All the Progressives voted for passage.
The says that after Nov. 1 “no person or persons, or any house, company, association, club or corporation, his, its or their agents, officers, clerks, or servants, directly or indirectly, shall, in the District of Columbia, manufacture for sale, or gift, import for sale, offer for sale, keep for sale, traffic in, barter, export, ship out of the District of Columbia or exchange for goods or merchandise, or solicit or receive orders for the purchase of any alcoholic liquors for beverage purposes or for any other than scientific, medicinal, pharmaceutical, mechanical, sacramental or other non-beverage purposes.”
Another section says the measure cannot be construed to prevent the manufacture, importation, exportation or sale of denatured methyl alcohol or of ethyl alcohol for scientific, medical, and like purposes, but their manufacture and sale are limited to licensed druggists or manufacturers. The so-called locker system is specifically forbidden.
All common carriers bringing intoxicants into the District are required to keep a record of the shipper and consignee, who must make affidavit that the intoxicants are for personal use.
Heavy penalties are provided for violations, including a provision aimed at physicians who prescribe liquor for patients without a cause. Efforts to forbid absolutely manufacture in the District and from it were beaten without a a record vote. An amendment by Senator Phelan which would permit sale of “wine, ale, beer, and porter” also was defeated.
The vote was preceded by little debate on the terms of the bill, but many explanations were given by Senators of their reasons for voting for and against the Underwood referendum amendment.
There were fewer absentees than at any other vote this session. During the several hours after the bill automatically came up and before the vote was taken every seat in every gallery except that reserved for the Diplomatic Corps was filled, and scores were standing or sitting in the aisles. About half the spectators were women. The crowd made only one real demonstration, that of hearty approval when the final vote was announced.
[ Note transcribed: a listing of the Senators who voted For and Against the Referendum ]
“It looks like very dry times ahead, and in the very near future. The upholding of the Webb-Kenyon bill by the Supreme Court will precipitate a regular epidemic of State laws restricting interstate shipment of liquor, and in ten years I believe this country will be absolutely dry.”
This was the comment of William H. Anderson, Superintendent of the New York wing of the Anti-Saloon League, yesterday, on the action of the United States Supreme Court Monday, when it held the law prohibiting shipment of liquor from wet to dry States to be valid. The decision brought joy to the camps of all the different organizations that have been fighting liquor in various ways, some of them advocating total prohibition, some local option, and others temperance.
“This is rapid progress,” Mr. Anderson said. “The public scarcely realizes to what extent the United States has gone dry in recent years. All of the wet territory in this country today could be put into the State of Texas. Of the 2,543 counties in all of the States of the Union, there are only 355 wet counties left, and some of these are partly dry.
“It now appears exceedingly probable that Congress will submit the national prohibition amendment to the voters of the country before 1920.”
Mr. Anderson said that the Webb-Kenyon bill itself would not prevent liquor from being shipped to most of the present dry States, as only three of four of these had passed laws absolutely prohibiting shipments of liquor. But, Mr. Anderson said, the action of the Supreme Court could not have come at a more opportune time, as most of the State Legislatures were now in session.
The National Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League will hold a meeting tomorrow in Washington.
A map obtained yesterday from the Anti-Saloon League here shows graphically the onward march of prohibition throughout the United States. As done in black and white- the white representing the “dry” States, and the black the “wet” – New Jersey stands out as the only State in the Union where liquor is sold throughout all its confines. Next, as a States where license predominates, comes Nevada, where liquor is sold almost universally with the exception of two “dry” spots, one on the Northern border and one near the California line.
Entirely dry are Maine, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, George, Alabama, Michigan, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. New York State is almost half “dry”; Pennsylvania more than half. The “dry” territory spreads over almost half Wisconsin. Minnesota is roughly a third “dry,” and the anti-liquor forces have conquered much of California.
States in which local option has driven nearly out, but which remain “wet” as States, are Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, and Delaware.
Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are dotted with “wet” spots, but the “dry” territory predominates.
SENATE TIE ON PROHIBITION – The New York Times, December 20, 1916
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This article discusses the Senate’s actions toward implementing Prohibition in the District of Columbia. I found it rather interesting that the Senators were willing to hold a referendum on Prohibition and let District residents vote for the first time since the 1870s. More importantly, the referendum was to include women, who did not earn the right to vote until the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19- The first test of prohibition sentiment in the Senate came today when a vote on Senator Underwood’s amendment to Senator Sheppard’s bill providing for a referendum on the establishment of prohibition in the District of Columbia, resulted in a tie, 38 to 38. Immediately before the Senate had gone on record overwhelmingly for at least a limited degree of women suffrage, but voting 54 to 15 to accept an amendment giving the women of the District the right to vote under the terms of the referendum.
According to the Senate rules the tie vote defeated the referendum proposal, but as the Senate was at the time acting in Committee of the Whole, Senator Underwood announced his intention of bringing the amendment up again tomorrow when the bill will be reported by the committee to the Senate. A vote on the bill itself is also expected tomorrow.
The provision for a referendum was generally supported by the opponents of the prohibition movement, and today’s vote was commonly regarded as an accurate gauge of the strength of the prohibition forces. Both advocates and opponents of national prohibition have watched the course of the District prohibition bill in the Senate with increasing interest since the House Committee on Judiciary voted to report favorably the national prohibition amendment.
The two parties were very evenly divided today in the vote on the referendum. Twenty-three Democrats and fifteen Republicans voted in favor of the referendum and twenty Democrats and eighteen Republicans opposed it.
Before the vote was taken an amendment offered by Senator Williams of Mississippi was accepted, permitting women to vote, and inserting property and educational qualifications in the requirements for suffrage on the referendum vote. Senator Jones’s amendment making it possible for residents of the District who are citizens of other States to vote was also accepted.
The vote came unexpectedly after a long afternoon’s debate. As soon as the fate of the referendum was known Senator Underwood attempted to fix a definite time tomorrow at which his amendment could be voted on again by the whole Senate. The move was defeated, and the advocates of the prohibition measure attempted to force an immediate vote on the bill itself. They were forestalled by Senator Stone of Missouri, who made a motion that the Senate go into executive session to consider some appointments recently made by the President. The motion was carried, and the final decision on the Sheppard bill was postponed until tomorrow.
TO MAKE A STATE OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – The New York Times, December 14, 1902
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 13- A little byplay for the advocates of statehood and their opponents is promised before the contest in the Senate is entirely over. Senator Gallinger, who has espoused the side of Senator Quay and the admission of the three Territories that are demanding to become States, has, as Chairman of the District Committee, introduced a resolution to amend the Constitution and make a State out of the District of Columbia.
The idea has taken with many of the people of Washington, and meetings are being held to discuss the prospect seriously. Last night a mass meeting was held at Brightwood, one of the largest suburbs of the city, and the Gallinger resolution was unanimously indorsed, but with a suggestion that there be a limitation on the suffrage.
The meeting was attended by many of the prominent and wealthy citizens of the District. Pressure is being brought to bear on Senator Gallinger to offer an amendment to the Statehood bill looking to the admission of the District as a State.
So far as population goes, Washington and the District have a good claim to admission. Delaware, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming all rank below the District in population. In point of intelligence and prosperity, so long as the Government stays here, there will be little doubt on that score.
The presence of a large negro vote and dubious jurisdiction involved in being the neutral ceded ground on which the Federal city is placed have been the chief difficulties in the way of giving the district any political status. The courts have uniformly held that the district in its political character is unlike any other principality on earth, and more nearly resembles the Bishopric of Durham than anything else.
Delegate Rodey of New Mexico led a large delegation of his constituents to the White House to-day to urge on the President the claims of the three Territories to admission into the Union.
The New Mexicans came away not entirely satisfied with the President’s manner in receiving their arguments. He was cordial and treated his callers with all possible consideration, but he did not promise he would help them to pass the Statehood bill. This was what they wanted and anything less than this seemed inhospitable.
Senator Beveridge also had a talk with the President about the bill, and when he came away from the White House said he could not make any comment on what the President had said to him, but he was more than ever confident of the defeat of the Tri-State bill. Beveridge says that Senator Quay has claimed too many votes and cannot muster a majority.