Sunday, January 17, 2010

Those Were the Days

Over My Shoulder a Backward Glance

Thank Goodness 2009 has ended. Let’s take a look back. The year is 1909.
One hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes!

The average life expectancy was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles Of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower

The average wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour.

The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year ..

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.

Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!

Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND government as 'substandard'.

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, And used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason..

Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!

1910 Politics: The close electoral split between Democrats and Republicans in the years following the Civil War was altered in the elections of 1896. In that year the Republican William McKinley won the presidency with a decisive victory over agrarian Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Thereafter, the Republican Party held a majority of congressional seats for twenty-six of the thirty-four years from 1896 to 1930 and, with only two exceptions, won every presidential election from 1896 until 1932. Except for the 1910s the Republicans dominated American politics for the first third of the twentieth century. From 1910 to 1918 the Democratic Party held a majority of seats in Congress, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson won both presidential elections held during the decade.

On the national level, the United States faced such issues as immigration, the living conditions of the poor, political corruption, conservation of natural resources, women suffrage, child labor and labor working conditions. William Howard Taft was president, having succeeded Teddy Roosevelt who was president from 1901 to 1909. Taft, a Republican, lost his popularity due to his defense of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909. Tariffs were a leading political issue and the Republican platform in 1908 sought to lower tariff rates. Big business favored tariffs because it protected their products. Southerners and farmers in the Midwest wanted to lower tariffs so that their products would be more affordable. Taft worked closely with Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island, the boss of the U.S. Senate, to create a bill that instead of lowering tariffs increased them. In so doing, he alienated his party as well as the former president, Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt was committed to regulating big business, also known as the Trusts, lowering tariffs and conserving the environment. His platform was named, the “New Nationalism.” Taft, as a conservative Republican, turned his back on reform and in the process, helped precipitate a split in the Republican Party. As a result, Teddy Roosevelt created the Bull Moose Party. With this split, it ushered in Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson, a southerner who had been a professor and president of Princeton University, was running for governor of New Jersey in 1910. He advocated reform of Princeton along the lines of the English university house system which became unpopular. Therefore, he ran a successful race for governor where he pushed through important reforms such as a primary elections law, anti-corruption measures and employers’ liability. In running for president, he consulted with Louis Brandeis of the U.S. Supreme Court and came up with the platform of the “New Freedom.” This platform advocated freedom from monopolies as opposed to Roosevelt’s attempt to regulate monopolies. Later as president, Wilson accomplished much: three constitutional amendments that dealt with direct popular election of senators, prohibition and suffrage for women; the Clayton Antitrust Act, establishment of the Federal Reserve banking system, and the Federal Child Labor Law.

Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 was on safari in East Africa, enjoying his freedom from the strain of politics in the wake of his presidency. Of note during his administration was the creation of the Panama Canal, his negotiations for a cessation of hostilities of the Russo-Japanese war in 1905, his Nobel Prize for Peace, the regulation of big business, and the conservation of national resources. Teddy selected Taft, the secretary of war, as his successor for president. However, Taft never enjoyed his job as president. He would much rather have stayed with jurisprudence. As a result, he lost his reelection bid and ultimately would become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930.

Eugene Debs, a socialist, had the most radical political outlook. The national secretary and treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, he was a leader in the Pullman strike in 1894. He later organized the Social Democratic Party of America and became the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party from 1900 to 1920. He was imprisoned for three years, convicted and sentenced for violation of the Espionage Act of 1918.

Aren’t you glad all the political hatred is behind us?

A little blogging music Maestro: Anything patriotic!

Dr. Forgot

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