3.13.2017 Doc of the Day

1. Susan B. Anthony, 1902.
2. Clarence Darrow, 1905.
3. Ivo Andric, 1961.
4. James Bamford, 2001.
 dollar women susan b anthony

Numero UnoPREFACE After the movement for woman suffrage, which commenced about the middle of the nineteenth century, had continued for twenty-five years, the feeling became strongly impressed upon its active promoters, Miss Susan B. Anthony and Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, that the records connected with it should be secured to posterity.  With Miss Anthony, indeed, the idea had been ever present, and from the beginning she had carefully preserved as far as possible the letters, speeches and newspaper clippings, accounts of conventions and legislative and congressional reports.  By 1876 they were convinced through various circumstances that the time had come for writing the history.  So little did they foresee the magnitude which this labor would assume that they made a mutual agreement to accept no engagements for four months, expecting to finish it within that time, as they contemplated nothing more than a small volume, probably a pamphlet of a few hundred pages.  Miss Anthony packed in trunks and boxes the accumulations of the years and shipped them to Mrs. Stanton’s home in Tenafly, N. J., where the two women went cheerfully to work.

Mrs. Stanton was the matchless writer, Miss Anthony the collector of material, the searcher of statistics, the business manager, the keen critic, the detector of omissions, chronological flaws and discrepancies in statement such as are unavoidable even with the most careful historian.  On many occasions they called to their aid for historical facts Mrs. Matilda Joslyn Gage, one of the most logical, scientific and fearless writers of her day.  To Mrs. Gage Vol. I of the History of Woman Suffrage is wholly indebted for the first two chapters—’Preceding Causes’ and ‘Woman in Newspapers,’ and for the last chapter—’Woman, Church and State,’ which she later amplified in a book; and Vol. II for the first chapter—’Woman’s Patriotism in the Civil War.’

When the allotted time had expired the work had far exceeded its original limits and yet seemed hardly begun.  Its authors were amazed at the amount of history which already had been made and still more deeply impressed with the desirability of preserving the story of the early struggle, but both were in the regular employ of lecture bureaus and henceforth could give only vacations to the task.  They were entirely without the assistance of stenographers and typewriters, who at the present day relieve brain workers of so large a part of the physical strain.  A labor which was to consume four months eventually extended through ten years and was not completed until the closing days of 1885.  The pamphlet of a few hundred pages had expanded into three great volumes of 1,000 pages each, and enough material remained unused to fill another.

It was almost wholly due to Miss Anthony’s clear foresight and painstaking habits that the materials were gathered and preserved during all the years, and it was entirely owing to her unequaled determination and persistence that the History was written. The demand for Mrs. Stanton on the platform and the cares of a large family made this vast amount of writing a most heroic effort, and one which doubtless she would have been tempted to evade had it not been for the relentless mentor at her side, helping to bear her burdens and overcome the obstacles, and continually pointing out the necessity that the history of this movement for the emancipation of women should be recorded, in justice to those who carried it forward and as an inspiration to the workers of the future. And so together, for a long decade, these two great souls toiled in the solitude of home just as together they fought in the open field, not for personal gain or glory, but for the sake of a cause to which they had consecrated their lives. Had it not been for their patient and unselfish labor the story of the hard conditions under which the pioneers struggled to lift woman out of her subjection, the bitterness of the prejudice, the cruelty of the persecution, never would have been told. In all the years that have passed no one else has attempted[Pg vii] to tell it, and should any one desire to do so it is doubtful if, even at this early date, enough of the records could be found for the most superficial account. In not a library can the student who wishes to trace this movement to its beginning obtain the necessary data except in these three volumes, which will become still more valuable as the years go by and it nears success.

Miss Anthony began this work in 1876 without a dollar in hand for its publication. She never had the money in advance for any of her undertakings, but she went forward and accomplished them, and when the people saw that they were good they usually repaid the amount she had advanced from her own small store. In this case she resolved to use the whole of it and all she could earn in the future rather than not publish the History. Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, of New York, a generous patron of good works, gave her the first $1,000 in 1880, but this did not cover the expenses that had been actually incurred thus far in its preparation. She was in nowise discouraged, however, but kept steadily on during every moment which could be spared by Mrs. Stanton and herself, absolutely confident that in some way the necessary funds would be obtained. Her strong faith was justified, for the first week of 1882 came a notice from Wendell Phillips that Mrs. Eliza Jackson Eddy, of Boston, had left her a large legacy to be used according to her own judgment “for the advancement of woman’s cause.” Litigation by an indirect heir deprived her of this money for over three years, but in April, 1885, she received $24,125.

The first volume of the History had been issued in May, 1881, and the second in April, 1882. In June, 1885, Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony set resolutely to work and labored without ceasing until the next November, when the third volume was sent to the publishers. With the bequest Miss Anthony paid the debts that had been incurred, replaced her own fund, of which every dollar had been used, and brought out this last volume. All were published at a time when paper and other materials were at a high price. The fine steel engravings alone cost $5,000. On account of the engagements of the editors it was necessary to employ proofreaders and indexers, and because of the many years over which the work had stretched an immense number of changes[Pg viii] had to be made in composition, so that a large part of the legacy was consumed.

The money which Miss Anthony now had enabled her to carry out her long-cherished project to put this History free of charge in the public libraries. It was thus placed in twelve hundred in the United States and Europe. Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Gage, who had contributed their services without price, naturally felt that it should be sold instead of given away, and in order to have a perfectly free hand she purchased their rights. In addition to the libraries, she has given it to hundreds of schools and to countless individuals, writers, speakers, etc., whom she thought it would enable to do better work for the franchise. For seventeen years she has paid storage on the volumes and the stereotype plates. During this time there has been some demand for the books from those who were able and willing to pay, but much the largest part of the labor and money expended were a direct donation to the cause of woman suffrage.

From the time the last volume was finished it was Miss Anthony’s intention, if she should live twenty years longer, to issue a fourth containing the history which would be made during that period, and for this purpose she still preserved the records. As the century drew near a close, bringing with it the end of her four-score years, the desire grew still stronger to put into permanent shape the continued story of a contest which already had extended far beyond the extreme limits imagined when she dedicated to it the full power of her young womanhood with its wealth of dauntless courage and unfailing hope. She resigned the presidency of the National Association in February, 1900, which marked her eightieth birthday, in order that she might carry out this project and one or two others of especial importance. Among her birthday gifts she received $1,000 from friends in all parts of the country, and this sum she resolved to apply to the contemplated volume. One of the other objects which she had in view was the collecting of a large fund to be invested and the income used in work for the enfranchisement of women. Already about $3,000 had been subscribed.

By the time the first half year had passed, nature exacted tribute for six decades of unceasing and unparalleled toil, and[Pg ix] it became evident that the idea of gathering a reserve fund would have to be abandoned. The donors of the $3,000 were consulted and all gave cordial assent to have their portion applied to the publication of the fourth volume of the History. The largest amount, $1,000, had been contributed by Mrs. Pauline Agassiz Shaw, of Boston. Dr. Cordelia A. Greene, of Castile, N. Y., had given $500 and Mrs. Emma J. Bartol, of Philadelphia, $200. The other contributions ranged all the way down to a few dollars, which in many cases represented genuine sacrifice on the part of the givers. It is not practicable to publish the list of the women in full. They will be sufficiently rewarded in the consciousness of having helped to realize Miss Anthony’s dream of finishing the story, to the end of her own part in it, of a great progressive movement in which they were her fellow-workers and loyal friends.

Mrs. Gage passed away in 1898. Although Mrs. Stanton is still living as this volume goes to the publishers in 1902, and evinces her mental vigor at the age of eighty-seven in frequent magazine and newspaper articles, she could not be called upon for this heavy and exacting task. It seemed to Miss Anthony that the one who had recently completed her Biography, in its preparation arranging and classifying her papers of the past sixty years, and who necessarily had made a thorough study of the suffrage movement from its beginning, should share with her this arduous undertaking. The invitation was accepted with much reluctance because of a full knowledge of the great labor and responsibility involved. It must be confessed that even a strong sense of obligation to further the cause of woman’s enfranchisement would not have been a sufficient incentive, but personal devotion to a beloved and honored leader outweighed all selfish considerations. It is to Miss Anthony, however, that the world is indebted for this as well as the other volumes. It was she who conceived the idea; through her came the money for its publication; for several years her own home has been given up to the mass of material, the typewriters, the coming and going of countless packages, the indescribable annoyances and burdens connected with a matter of this kind. In addition she has borne from her private means a considerable portion of the expenses,[Pg x] and has endured the physical weariness and mental anxiety at a time when she has earned the right to complete rest and freedom from care. There is not a chapter which has not had the inestimable benefit of her acute criticism and matured judgment.

The peculiar difficulties of historical work can be understood only by those who have experienced them. General information is the easiest of all things to obtain—exact information the hardest, and a history that is not accurate has no practical utility. If a reader discover one mistake it vitiates the whole book. Every historian knows how common it is to find several totally different statements of the same occurrence, each apparently as authentic as the others. He also knows the eel-like elusiveness of dates and the flat contradictions of statistics which seem to disprove absolutely the adage that “figures do not lie.” He has suffered the nightmare of wrestling with proper names; and if he is conscientious he has agonized over the attempt to do exact justice to the actors in the drama which he is depicting and yet not detract from its value by loading it with trivial details, of vital moment to those who were concerned in them but of no importance to future readers. All of these embarrassments are intensified in a history of a movement for many years unnoticed or greatly misrepresented in the public press, and its records usually not considered of sufficient value to be officially preserved. None, however, has required such supreme courage and faithfulness from its adherents and this fact makes all the more obligatory the preserving of their names and deeds.

To collect the needful information from fifty States and Territories and arrange it for publication has required the careful and constant work of over two years. It has been necessary many times to appeal to public officials, who have been most obliging, but the main dependence has been on the women of various localities who are connected with the suffrage associations. These women have spent weeks of time and labor, writing letters, visiting libraries, examining records, and often leaving their homes and going to the State capital to search the archives. All this has been done without financial compensation, and it is largely through their assistance that the editors have been able to prepare this volume. To give an idea of the exacting work[Pg xi] required it may be stated that to obtain authentic data on one particular point the writer of the Kansas chapter sent 198 letters to 178 city clerks. The meager record of Florida necessitated about thirty letters of inquiry. Several thousand were sent out by the editors of the History, while the number exchanged within the various States is beyond computation.

The demand is widespread that the information which this book contains should be put into accessible shape. Miss Anthony herself and the suffrage headquarters in New York are flooded with inquiries for statistics as to the gains which have been made, the laws for women, the present status of the question and arguments that can be used in the debates which are now of frequent occurrence in Legislatures, universities, schools and clubs in all parts of the country. Practically everything that can be desired on these points will be found herein. The first twenty-two chapters contain the whole argument in favor of granting the franchise to women, as every phase of the question is touched and every objection considered by the ablest of speakers. It has been a special object to present here in compact form the reasons on which is based the claim for woman suffrage. In Chapter XXIV and those following are included the laws pertaining to women, their educational and industrial opportunities, the amount of suffrage they possess, the offices they may fill, legislative action on matters concerning them, and the part which the suffrage associations have had in bringing about present conditions. There are also chapters on the progress made in foreign countries and on the organized work of women in other lines besides that of the franchise. All the care possible has been taken to make each chapter accurate and complete.

Beginning with 1884, where Vol. III closes, the present volume ends with the century. This is not a book which must necessarily wait upon posterity for its readers, but it is filled with live, up-to-date information. Its editors take the greatest pleasure in presenting it to the young, active, progressive men and women of the present day, who, without doubt, will bring to a successful end the long and difficult contest to secure that equality of rights which belongs alike to all the citizens of this largest of republics and greatest of nations.


It has been frequently said that the first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage, which bring the record to twenty years ago, represent the seed-sowing time of the movement. They do far more than this, for seeds sown in the early days which they describe would have fallen upon ground so stony that if they had sprung up they would soon have withered away. The pioneers in the work for the redemption of women found an unbroken field, not fallow from lying idle, but arid and barren, filled with the unyielding rocks of prejudice and choked with the thorns of conservatism. It required many years of labor as hard as that endured by the forefathers in wresting their lands from undisturbed nature, before the ground was even broken to receive the seed. Then followed the long period of persistent tilling and sowing which brought no reaping until the last quarter of the century, when the scanty harvest began to be gathered. The yield has seemed small indeed at the end of each twelvemonth and it is only when viewed in the aggregate that its size can be appreciated. The condition of woman to-day compared with that of last year seems unchanged, but contrasted with that of fifty years ago it presents as great a revolution as the world has ever witnessed in this length of time.

If the first organized demand for the rights of woman—made at the memorable convention of Seneca Falls, N. Y., in 1848—had omitted the one for the franchise, those who made it would have lived to see all granted. It asked for woman the right to have personal freedom, to acquire an education, to earn a living, to claim her wages, to own property, to make contracts, to bring suit, to testify in court, to obtain a divorce for just cause, to possess her children, to claim a fair share of the accumulations during marriage. An examination of Chap. XXIV and the following chapters in this volume will show that in many of the States[Pg xiv] all these privileges are now accorded, and in not one are all refused, but when this declaration was framed all were denied by every State. For the past half century there has been a steady advance in the direction of equal rights for women. In many instances these have been granted in response to the direct efforts of women themselves; in others without exertion on their part but through the example of neighboring States and as a result of the general trend toward a long-delayed justice. Enough has been accomplished in all of the above lines to make it absolutely certain that within a few years women everywhere in the United States will enjoy entire equality of legal, civil and social rights.

Behind all of these has been the persistent demand for political rights, and the question naturally arises, “Why do these continue to be denied? Educated, property-owning, self-reliant and public-spirited, why are women still refused a voice in the Government? Citizens in the fullest sense of the word, why are they deprived of the suffrage in a country whose institutions rest upon individual representation?”

There are many reasons, but the first and by far the most important is the fact that this right, and this alone of all that have had to be gained for woman, can be secured only through Constitutional Law. All others have rested upon statute law, or upon the will of a board of trustees, or of a few individuals, or have needed no official or formal sanction. The suffrage alone must be had through a change of the constitution of the State and this can be obtained only by consent of the majority of the voters. Therefore this most valuable of all rights—the one which if possessed by women at the beginning would have brought all the others without a struggle—is placed absolutely in the hands of men to be granted or withheld at will from women. It is an unjust condition which does not exist even in a monarchy of the Old World, and it makes of the United States instead of a true republic an oligarchy in which one-half of the citizens have entire control of the other half. There is not another country having an elected representative body, where this body itself may not extend the suffrage. While the writing of this volume has been in progress the Parliament of Australia by a single Act has fully enfranchised the 800,000 women of that commonwealth. The Parliament of Great Britain has conferred on women every[Pg xv] form of suffrage except that for its own members, and there is a favorable prospect of this being granted long before the women of the United States have a similar privilege.

Not another nation is hampered by a written Federal Constitution which it is almost impossible to change, and by forty-five written State constitutions none of which can be altered in the smallest particular except by consent of the majority of the voters. Every one of these constitutions was framed by a convention which no woman had a voice in selecting and of which no woman was a member. With the sole exception of Wyoming, not one woman in the forty-five States was permitted a vote on the constitution, and every one except Wyoming and Utah confined its elective franchise strictly to “male” citizens.

Thus, wherever woman turns in this boasted republic, from ocean to ocean, from lakes to gulf, seeking the citizen’s right of self-representation, she is met by a dead wall of constitutional prohibition. It has been held in some of the States that this applies only to State and county suffrage and that the Legislature has power to grant the Municipal Franchise to women. Kansas is the only one, however, which has given such a vote. A bill for this purpose passed the Legislature of Michigan, after years of effort on the part of women, and was at once declared unconstitutional by its Supreme Court. Similar bills have been defeated in many Legislatures on the ground of unconstitutionality. It is claimed generally that they may bestow School Suffrage and this has been granted in over half the States, but frequently it is vetoed by the Governor as unconstitutional, as has been done several times in California. In New York, after four Acts of the Legislature attempting to give School Suffrage to all women, three decisions of the highest courts confined it simply to those of villages and country districts where questions are decided at “school meetings.” Eminent lawyers hold that even this is “unconstitutional.” (See chapter on New York.) The Legislature and courts of Wisconsin have been trying since 1885 to give complete School Suffrage to women and yet they are enabled to exercise it this year (1902) for the first time. (See chapter on Wisconsin.) Some State constitutions provide, as in Rhode Island, that no form even of School Suffrage can be conferred[Pg xvi]on women until it has been submitted as an amendment and sanctioned by a majority of the voters.

The constitutions of a number of States declare that it shall not be sufficient to carry an amendment for it to receive a majority of the votes cast upon it, but it must have a majority of the largest vote cast at the election. Not one State where this in the case ever has been able to secure an amendment for any purpose whatever. Minnesota submitted this question itself to the electors in 1898 in the form of an amendment and it was carried, receiving a total of 102,641, yet the largest number of votes cast at that election was 251,250, so if its own provisions had been required it would have been lost. Nebraska is about to make an effort to get rid of such a provision, but, as this can be done only by another amendment to the constitution, the dilemma is presented of the improbability of securing a vote for it which shall be equal to the majority of the highest number cast at the general election. Since it is impossible to get such a vote even on questions to which there is no special objection, it is clearly evident that an amendment enfranchising women, to which there is a large and strong opposition, would have no chance whatever in States making the above requirement.

It then remains to consider the situation in those States where only a majority of the votes cast upon the amendment itself is required. One or two instances will show the stubborn objection which exists among the masses of men to the very idea of woman suffrage. In 1887 the Legislature of New Jersey passed a law granting School Suffrage to women in villages and country districts. After they had exercised it until 1894 the Supreme Court declared it to be unconstitutional, as “the Legislature can not enlarge or diminish the class of voters.” The women decided it was worth while to preserve even this scrap of suffrage, so they made a vigorous effort to secure from the Legislature the submission of an amendment which should give it to them constitutionally. The resolution for this had to pass two successive Legislatures, and it happened in this case that by a technicality three were necessary, but with hard work and a petition signed by 7,000 the amendment was finally submitted in 1897. The unvarying testimony of the school authorities was that the women had used their vote wisely and to the great advantage of[Pg xvii] the schools during the seven years; there was no organized opposition from the class who might object to the Full Suffrage for women lest their business should be injured, or that other class who might fear their personal liberty would be curtailed; yet the proposition to restore to women in the villages and country districts the right simply to vote for school trustees was defeated by 75,170 noes, 65,029 ayes—over 10,000 majority.

South Dakota as a Territory permitted women to vote for all school officers. It entered the Union in 1889 with a clause in its constitution authorizing them to vote “at any election held solely for school purposes.” They soon found that this did not include State and county superintendents, who are voted for at general elections, and that in order to get back their Territorial rights an amendment would have to be submitted to the electors. This was done by the Legislature of 1893. There had not been the slightest criticism of the way in which they had used their school suffrage during the past fourteen years, no class was antagonized, and yet this amendment was voted down by 22,682 noes, 17,010 ayes, an opposing majority of 5,672.

With these examples in two widely-separated parts of the country, the old and the new, representing not only crystallized prejudice in the one but inborn opposition in both to any step toward enfranchising women, and with this depending absolutely on the will of the voters, is it a matter of wonder that its progress has been so slow? If the question were submitted in any State to-day whether, for instance, all who did not pay taxes should be disfranchised, and only taxpayers were allowed to vote upon it, it would be carried by a large majority. If it were submitted whether all owning property above a certain amount should be disfranchised, and only those who owned less than this, or nothing, were allowed to vote, it would be carried unanimously. No class of men could get any electoral right whatever if it depended wholly on the consent of another class whose interests supposedly lay in withholding it. Political, not moral influence removed the property restrictions from the suffrage in order to build up a great party—the Democratic—which because of its enfranchisement of wage-earning men has received their support for eighty years. After the Civil War, although the Republican party was in absolute control, amendments to the State constitutions[Pg xviii] for striking out the word “white,” in order to enfranchise colored men, were defeated in one after another of the Northern States, even in Kansas, the most radical of them all in its anti-slavery sentiment. It finally became so evident that this concession would not be granted by the voters that Congress was obliged to submit first one and then a second amendment to the Federal Constitution to secure it. But even then the ratification of the necessary three-fourths of the Legislatures could be obtained only because it was positively certain that through this action an immense addition would be made to the Republican electorate. Now after a lapse of thirty years this same party looks on unmoved at the violation of these amendments in every Southern State because it is believed that thus there can be, through white suffrage, the building up of the party in that section which the colored vote has not been able to accomplish.

The most superficial examination of the conditions which govern the franchise answers the question why, after fifty years of effort, so little progress has been made in obtaining it for women. Of late years every new or “third” party which is organized declares for woman suffrage. This is partly because such parties come into existence to carry out reforms in which they believe women can help, and partly because in their weak state they are ready to grasp at straws. While giving them full credit for such recognition, whatever may be its inspiring motive, it is clearly evident that the franchise must come to women through the dominant parties. If either of these could have had assurance of receiving the majority of the woman’s vote it would have been obtained for her long ago without effort on her part, just as the workingman’s and the colored man’s were secured for them, but this has been impossible. Even in the four States where women now have the full suffrage neither party has been able to claim a distinct advantage from it. At the last Presidential election two of the four went Democratic and two Republican. In Colorado, where women owed their enfranchisement very largely to the Populists, that party was deposed from power at the first election where they voted and never has been reinstated. Although there was no justification for holding women responsible, they were so held, and the party consequently did not extend the franchise to women in other States where it[Pg xix] might have done so. Many consider that the principles of the Republican party in general would be more apt to commend themselves to women than those of the Democratic, but others believe that, so great is their antipathy to war and all the evils connected with it and the consequences following it, they would have opposed the party responsible for these during the past four years. It may be accepted, however, as the most probable view that women will divide on the main issues in much the same proportion as men. From this standpoint neither party will see any especial advantage in their enfranchisement, and both will look with disfavor upon adding to the immense number of voters who must now be reckoned with in every campaign an equally great number who are likely to require an entirely different management. There is a certain element in the leadership of all parties which is not especially objectionable to men, but would not be tolerated by women. Candidates who would be perfectly acceptable to men if they were sound on the political issues might be wholly repudiated by the women of their own party. If temperance and morality were made requisites many leaders and officials who now hold high position would be permanently retired. These are all reasons which appeal to politicians for deferring the day of woman suffrage as long as possible.

Each of the two dominant parties is largely controlled by what are known as the liquor interests. Their influence begins with the National Government, which receives from them billions of revenue; it extends to the States, to which they pay millions; to the cities, whose income they increase by hundreds of thousands; to the farmers, who find in breweries and distilleries the best market for their grain. There is no hamlet so small as not to be touched by their ramifications. No “trust” ever formed can compare with them in the power which they exercise. That their business shall not be interfered with they must possess a certain authority over Congress and Legislatures. They and the various institutions connected with them control millions of votes. They are among the largest contributors to political campaigns. There are few legislators who do not owe their election in a greater or less degree to the influence wielded by these liquor interests, which are positively, unanimously and unalterably opposed to woman suffrage. This can be gained only by the submission of[Pg xx] an amendment to the National or State constitutions, and for that women must go to the Congress or the Legislatures. What can they offer to offset the influences behind these bodies? They have no money to contribute for party purposes. They represent no constituency and can not pledge a single vote, a situation in which no other class is placed. They ask men to divide a power of which they now have a monopoly; to give up a sure thing for an uncertainty; to sacrifice every selfish interest—and all in the name of abstract justice, a word which has no place in politics. Was there ever apparently a more hopeless quest?

With the exception of the three amendments made necessary by the Civil War, the Federal Constitution has not been amended for ninety-eight years, and there is strong opposition to any changes in that instrument. If Congress would submit an article to the State Legislatures for the enfranchisement of women the situation would be vastly simplified and eventually the requisite three-fourths for ratification could be secured, but undoubtedly a number of States will have to follow the example of those in the far West in granting the suffrage before this is done. The question at present, therefore, may be considered as resting with the various Legislatures. With all the powerful influences above mentioned strongly intrenched and pitted against the women who come empty-handed, it is naturally a most difficult matter to secure the submission of an amendment where there is the slightest chance of its carrying. With the two exceptions of Colorado and Idaho, it may be safely asserted that in every case where one has been submitted it has been done simply to please the women and to get rid of them, and with the full assurance that it would not be carried. Two conspicuous examples of the impossibility of obtaining an amendment where it would be likely to receive a majority vote are to be found in California and Iowa. In the former State one went before the electors in 1896, and, although the conditions were most unfavorable and the strongest possible fight was made against it, so large an affirmative sentiment was developed that it was clearly evident it would be carried on a second trial. Up to that time the women of this State had very little difficulty in securing suffrage bills, but since then the Legislature has persistently refused to submit another amendment. (See chapter on California.)[Pg xxi]

In probably no State is the general sentiment so strongly in favor of woman suffrage as in Iowa, and yet for the past thirty years the women have tried in vain to secure from the Legislature the submission of an amendment—simply an opportunity to carry their case to the electors. (See chapter on Iowa.) The politics of that State is practically controlled by the great brewing interests and the balance of power rests in the German vote. It is believed that woman suffrage would be detrimental to their interests and they will not allow it. Here, as in many States, a resolution for an amendment must be acted upon by two successive Legislatures. If a majority of either party should pass this resolution, the enemy would be able to defeat its nominees for the next Legislature before the women could get the chance to vote for them. In other words, all the forces hostile to woman suffrage are already enfranchised and are experienced, active and influential in politics, while the women themselves can give no assistance, and the men in every community who favor it are very largely those who have not an aggressive political influence. This very refusal of certain Legislatures to let the voters pass upon the question is the strongest possible indication that they fear the result. If women could be enfranchised simply by an Act of Congress they would have an opportunity to vote for their benefactors at the same time as the enemies would vote against them, and thus the former would not, as at present, run the risk of personal defeat and the overthrow of their party by espousing the cause of woman suffrage.

If, however, Legislatures were willing to submit the question it is doubtful whether, under present conditions, it could be carried in any large number of States, as the same elements which influence legislators act also upon the voters through the party “machines.” Amendments to strike the word “male” from the suffrage clause of the Constitution have been submitted by ten States, and by five of these twice—Kansas, 1867-94; Michigan, 1874; Colorado, 1877-93; Nebraska, 1882; Oregon, 1884-1900; Rhode Island, 1886; Washington, 1889-98; South Dakota, 1890-98; California, 1896; Idaho, 1896. Out of the fifteen trials the amendment has been adopted but twice—in Colorado and Idaho. In these two cases it was indorsed by all the political parties and carried with their permission. Wyoming and Utah placed equal[Pg xxii] suffrage in the constitution under which they entered Statehood. In both, as Territories, women had had the full franchise—in Wyoming twenty-one and in Utah seventeen years—and public sentiment was strongly in favor. In the States where the question was defeated it had practically no party support.

Aside from all political hostility, however, woman suffrage has to face a tremendous opposition from other sources. The attitude of a remonstrant is the natural one of the vast majority of people. Their first cry on coming into the world, if translated, would be, “I object.” They are opposed on principle to every innovation, and the greatest of these is the enfranchisement of women. To grant woman an equality with man in the affairs of life is contrary to every tradition, every precedent, every inheritance, every instinct and every teaching. The acceptance of this idea is possible only to those of especially progressive tendencies and a strong sense of justice, and it is yet too soon to expect these from the majority. If it had been necessary to have the consent of the majority of the men in every State for women to enter the universities, to control their own property, to engage in the various professions and occupations, to speak from the public platform and to form great organizations, in not one would they be enjoying these privileges to-day. It is very probable that this would be equally true if they had depended upon the permission of a majority of women themselves. They are more conservative even than men, because of the narrowness and isolation of their lives, the subjection in which they always have been held, the severe punishment inflicted by society on those who dare step outside the prescribed sphere, and, stronger than all, perhaps, their religious tendencies through which it has been impressed upon them that their subordinate position was assigned by the Divine will and that to rebel against it is to defy the Creator. In all the generations, Church, State and society have combined to retard the development of women, with the inevitable result that those of every class are narrower, more bigoted and less progressive than the men of that class.

While the girls are crowding the colleges now until they threaten to exceed the number of boys, the demand for the higher education was made by the merest handful of women and granted by an equally small number of men, who, on the boards of trustees,[Pg xxiii] were able to do so, but it would have been deferred for decades if it had depended on a popular vote of either men or women. The pioneers in the professions found their most trying opposition from other women, instigated by the men who did their thinking for them to believe that the whole sex was being disgraced. Married women almost universally were opposed to laws which would give them control of their property, being assured by their masculine advisers that this would deprive them of the love and protection of their husbands. Public sentiment was wholly opposed to these laws and no such objections ever have been made in Legislatures even to woman suffrage as were urged against allowing a wife to own property. The contest was won by the smallest fraction of women and a few strong, far-seeing men, the latter actuated not alone by a sentiment of justice but also by the desire of preventing husbands from squandering the property which fathers had accumulated and wished to secure to their daughters, and fortunate indeed was it that this action did not have to be ratified by the voters.

There are in the United States between three and four million women engaged in wage-earning occupations outside of domestic service. Would this be possible had they been obliged to have the duly recorded permission of a majority of all the men over twenty-one years old? If the question were submitted to the votes of these men to-day whether women should be allowed to continue in these employments and enter any and all others, would it be carried in the affirmative in a single State?

And yet this prejudiced, conservative and in a degree ignorant and vicious electorate possesses absolutely the power to withhold the suffrage from women. A large part of it is composed of foreign-born men, bringing from the Old World the most primitive ideas of the degraded position which properly belongs to woman. Another part is addicted to habits with which it never would give women the chance to interfere. Boys of twenty-one form another portion, fully imbued with a belief in woman’s inferiority which only experience can eradicate. Men of the so-called working classes vote against it because they fear to add to the power of the so-called aristocracy. The latter oppose it because they think the suffrage already has been too widely extended and ought to be curtailed instead of expanded.[Pg xxiv] The old fogies cast a negative ballot because they believe woman ought to be kept in her “sphere,” and the strictly orthodox because it is not authorized by the Scriptures. A large body who are “almost persuaded,” but have some lingering doubts as to the “expediency,” satisfy their consciences for voting “no” by saying that the women of their family and acquaintance do not want it. Thus is the most valuable of human rights—the right of individual representation—made the football of Legislatures, the shuttlecock of voters, kicked and tossed like the veriest plaything in utter disregard of the vital fact that it is the one principle above all others on which the Government is founded.

Nevertheless there is abundant reason for belief that, in the face of all the forces which are arrayed against it, this measure could be carried in almost any State where the women themselves were a unit or even very largely in the majority in favor of it. In the indifference, the inertia, the apathy of women lies the greatest obstacle to their enfranchisement. Investigation in States where a suffrage amendment has been voted on has shown that practically every election precinct where a thorough canvass was made and every voter personally interviewed by the women who resided in it, was carried in favor. Some men of course can not be moved, but many who never have given the subject any thought can be set to thinking; while there is in the average man a latent sense of justice which responds to the persuasion of a woman who comes in person and says, “I ask you to grant me the same rights which you yourself enjoy; I am your neighbor; I pay taxes just as you do; our interests are identical; give me the same power to protect mine which you possess to protect yours.” A man would have to be thoroughly hardened to vote “no” after such an appeal, but if he were let alone he could do so without any qualms. The same situation obtains in the family and in social life. The average man would not vote against granting women the franchise if all those of his own family and the circle of his intimate friends brought a strong pressure to bear upon him in its favor. The measure could be carried against all opposition if every clergyman in every community would urge the women of his congregation to work for it, assuring them of the sanction of the church and the blessing[Pg xxv] of God, and showing them how vastly it would increase their power for good.

Every privilege which has been granted women has tended to develop them, until their influence is incomparably stronger at the present time than ever before. Their great organizations are a power in every town and city. If these throughout a State would unite in a determined effort to secure the franchise, bringing to bear upon legislators the demands of thousands of women, high and low, rich and poor, of all classes and conditions, they would be compelled to yield; and the same amount of influence would carry the amendment with the voters. But the petitioners for the suffrage are in the minority. There are many obvious reasons for this, and one of them, paradoxical as it may seem, is because so much already has been gained. Woman in general now finds her needs very well supplied. If she wants to work she has all occupations to choose from. If she desires an education the schools and colleges are freely opened to her. If she wishes to address the public by pen or voice the people hear her gladly. The laws have been largely modified in her favor, and where they might press they are seldom enforced. She may accumulate and control property; she may set up her own domestic establishment and go and come at will. If the workingwoman finds herself at a disadvantage she has not time and often not ability to seek the cause until she traces it to disfranchisement, and if she should do so she is too helpless to make a contest against it. Those women who “have dwelt, since they were born, in well-feathered nests and have never needed do anything but open their soft beaks for the choicest little grubs to be dropped into them,” can not be expected to feel or see any necessity for the ballot. Nor will the woman half way between, absorbed in her church, her clubs, her charities and her household, make the philosophical study necessary to show that she could do larger and more effective work for all of these if she possessed the great power which lies in the suffrage. Even women of much wealth who are not idle, self-centered and indifferent to the needs of humanity, but are giving munificently for religious, educational and philanthropic purposes, have not been aroused in any large number to the necessity of the suffrage, for reasons which are evident.

Reforms of every kind are inaugurated and carried forward[Pg xxvi] by a minority, and there is no reason why this one should prove an exception. In not an instance has a majority of any class of men demanded the franchise, and there is no precedent for expecting the majority of women to do so. It will have to be gained for them by the foresight, the courage and the toil of the few, just as all other privileges have been, and they will enter into possession with the same eagerness and unanimity as has marked their acceptance of the others.

With this mass of prejudice, selfishness and inertia to overcome is there any hope of future success? Yes, there is a hope which amounts to a certainty. Nothing could be more logical than a belief that where one hundred privileges have been opposed and then ninety-nine of them granted, the remaining one will ultimately follow. While women still suffer countless minor disadvantages, the fundamental rights have largely been secured except the suffrage. This, as has been pointed out, is most difficult to obtain because it is intrenched in constitutional law and because it represents a more radical revolution than all the others combined. The softening of the bitter opposition of the early days through the general spirit of progress has been somewhat counteracted by a modern skepticism as to the supreme merit of a democratic government and a general disgust with the prevalent political corruption. This will continue to react strongly against any further extension of the suffrage until men can be made to see that a real democracy has not as yet existed, but that the dangerous experiment has been made of enfranchising the vast proportion of crime, intemperance, immorality and dishonesty, and barring absolutely from the suffrage the great proportion of temperance, morality, religion and conscientiousness; that, in other words, the worst elements have been put into the ballot-box and the best elements kept out. This fatal mistake is even now beginning to dawn upon the minds of those who have cherished an ideal of the grandeur of a republic, and they dimly see that in woman lies the highest promise of its fulfilment. Those who fear the foreign vote will learn eventually that there are more American-born women in the United States than foreign-born men and women; and those who dread the ignorant vote will study the statistics and see that the percentage of illiteracy is much smaller among women than among men.[Pg xxvii]

The consistent tendency since the right to individual representation was established by the Revolutionary War has been to extend this right, until now every man in the United States is enfranchised. While a few, usually those who are too exclusive to vote themselves, insist that this is detrimental to the electorate, the vast majority hold that in numbers there is the safety of its being more difficult to purchase or mislead; that even the ignorant may vote more honestly than the educated; that more knowledge and judgment can be added through ten million electors than through five; and also that by this universal male suffrage it is made impossible for one class of men to legislate against another class, and thus all excuse for anarchy or a resort to force is removed. Added to these advantages is the developing influence of the ballot upon the individual himself, which renders him more intelligent and gives him a broader conception of justice and liberty. All of these conditions must lead eventually to the enfranchising of the only remaining part of the citizenship without this means of protection and development.

The gradual movement in this direction in the United States is seen in the partial extension of the franchise which has taken place during the past thirty-three years, or within one generation. During this time over one-half of them have conferred School Suffrage on women; one has granted Municipal Suffrage; four a vote on questions of taxation; three have recognized them in local matters, and a number of cities have given such privileges as were possible by charter. Since 1890 four States, by a majority vote of the electors, have enfranchised 200,000 women by incorporating the complete suffrage in their constitutions, from which it never can be removed except by a vote of women themselves. During all these years there have been but two retrogressive steps—the disfranchising of the women of Washington Territory in 1888 by an unconstitutional decision of the Supreme Court, dictated by the disreputable elements then in control; and the taking away of the School Suffrage from all women of the second-class cities in Kentucky by its Legislature of 1902 for the purpose of eliminating the vote of colored women. In every other Legislature a bill to repeal any limited franchise which has been extended has been overwhelmingly voted down.

Another favorable sign is the action taken by Legislatures on[Pg xxviii] bills for the full enfranchisement of women. Formerly they were treated with contempt and ridicule and either thrown out summarily or discussed in language which the descendants of the honorable gentlemen who used it will regret to read. Now such bills are treated with comparative courtesy; a discussion is avoided wherever possible, members not wishing to go on record, but if forced it is conducted in a respectful manner; and, while usually rejected, the opposing majority is small, in many instances only just large enough to secure defeat, and frequently members have to change their votes to the negative as they find the measure is about to be carried. Several instances have occurred in the last year or two where the bill passed but during the night the party whip was applied with such force that the affirmative was compelled to reconsider its action the next day. There is little doubt that even now if members were free to vote their convictions a bill could be carried in many Legislatures.

A most encouraging sign is the attitude of the Press. Although the country papers occasionally refer to the suffrage advocates as hyenas, cats, crowing hens, bold wantons, unsexed females and dangerous home-wreckers—expressions which were common a generation ago—these are no longer found in metropolitan and influential newspapers. Scores of both city and country papers openly advocate the measure and scores of others would do so if they were not under the same control as the Legislatures. Ten years ago it was almost impossible to secure space in any paper for woman suffrage arguments. To-day several of the largest in the country maintain regular departments for this purpose, while the report of the press chairman of the National Association for 1901 stated that during the past eight months 175,000 articles on the subject had been sent to the press and a careful investigation showed that three-fourths of them had been published. In addition different papers had used 150 special articles, while the page of plate matter furnished every six weeks was extensively taken. New York reported 400 papers accepting suffrage matter regularly; Pennsylvania, 368; Iowa, 253; Illinois, 161; Massachusetts, 107, and other States in varying numbers. Since this question is very largely one of educating the people, the opening of the Press to its arguments is probably the most important advantage which has been gained.[Pg xxix]

The progress of public sentiment is strikingly illustrated in a comparison of the votes in those States which have twice submitted an amendment to their constitution that would give the suffrage to women. In Kansas such an amendment in 1867 received 9,070 ayes, 19,857 noes; in 1894, 95,302 ayes, 130,139 noes. The second time it was indorsed by the Populists and not by the Republicans, therefore the latter, who in that State are really favorable to the measure, largely voted against it in order that the Populists might not strengthen their party by appearing to carry it, and yet the percentage of opposition was considerably decreased. In Colorado in 1877 the vote stood 6,612 ayes, 14,055 noes; in 1893 the amendment was carried by 35,698 ayes, 29,461 noes—a majority of 6,237. Oregon in 1884 gave 11,223 ayes, 28,176 noes; in 1900, 26,265 ayes, 28,402 noes—an increase of 226 opponents and 15,042 advocates. The vote in Washington in 1889 was 16,527 ayes, 35,917 noes; in 1898, 20,171 ayes, 30,497 noes—the opposing majority reduced from 19,396 to 10,326, or almost one-half.

One is logically entitled to believe from these figures that the question will be carried in each of those States the next time it is voted on. It must be remembered that women go into all these campaigns with no political influence and practically no money, not enough to employ workers and speakers to make an approach to a thorough organization and canvass of the State; totally without the aid of party machinery; with no platform on which to present their cause except such as is granted by courtesy; and with no advocacy of it by the speakers on the platforms of the various parties. The increased majorities indicate solely that men are emerging from the bondage of tradition, prejudice and creed, and that when they can escape from the bondage of politics they will grant justice to women.

The very fact that women themselves are arousing from their inertia to the extent of organizing in opposition to what they term “the danger of having the ballot thrust upon them” shows life. While their enrollment is infinitesimal it has set women to thinking, and a number who have signed the declaration that they do not want the franchise, have for the first time been compelled to give the matter consideration and have decided that they do want it. The facts also that within a few years the[Pg xxx] membership of the National Suffrage Association has doubled; that auxiliaries have been formed in every State and Territory; that permanent headquarters have been established in New York; and that the revenues (almost wholly the contributions of women) have risen from the $2,000 or $3,000 per annum, which it was barely possible to secure half-a-dozen years ago, to $10,345 in 1899, $22,522 in 1900 (including receipts from Bazar), $18,290 in 1901—these facts are indisputable evidence of the growth of the sentiment among women. In this line of progress must be placed also the thousands of other organizations containing millions of women, which, although not including the suffrage among their objects, are engaged in efforts for better laws, civic improvements and a general advance in conditions that inevitably will bring them to realize the immense disadvantage of belonging to a class without political influence.

Nothing could be more illogical than the belief that a republic would confer every gift upon woman except the choicest and then forever withhold this; or that women would be content to possess all others and not eventually demand the one most valuable. The increasing number who are attending political conventions and crowding mass meetings until they threaten to leave no room for voters, are unmistakable proof that eventually women themselves and men also will see the utter absurdity of their disfranchised condition. The ancient objections which were urged so forcibly a generation or two ago have lost their force and must soon be retired from service. The charge of mental incapacity is totally refuted by the statistics of 1900 showing the percentage of girls in the High Schools to be 58.36 and of boys, 41.64; the number of girl graduates, 39,162; boys, 22,575; 70 per cent. of the public school teachers women; 40,000 women college graduates scattered throughout the country and 30,000 now in the universities, with the percentage of their increase in women students three times as great as that of men, and 431,153 women practicing in the various professions.

The charge of business incompetency is disproved by the 503,574 women who are engaged in trade and transportation, the 980,025 in agriculture and the 1,315,890 in manufacturing and mechanical pursuits. Every community also furnishes its special examples of the aptitude of women for business, now that they[Pg xxxi] are allowed a chance to manifest it. Statistics show further that one-tenth of the millionaires are women and that they are large property holders in every locality. Whether they earned or inherited their holdings, the fact remains that they are compelled to pay taxes on billions of dollars without any representation.

The military argument—that women must not vote because they can not fight—is seldom used nowadays, as it is so clearly evident that it would also disfranchise vast numbers of men; that the value of women in the perpetuation of the Government is at least equal to that of the men who defend it; and that there is no recognition in the laws by which the franchise is exercised of the slightest connection between a ballot and a bullet.

The most persistent objection—that if women are allowed to enter politics they will neglect their homes and families—is conclusively answered in the four States where they have had political rights for a number of years and domestic life still moves on just as in other places. In two of the four while Territories women had exercised the franchise from seventeen to twenty-one years, and yet a large majority of the men voted to grant it perpetually. Women do not love their families because compelled to do so by statute, or cling to their homes because there is no place for them outside. This same direful prediction was made at every advanced step, but, although the entire status of women has been changed, and they are largely engaged in the public work of every community, they are better and happier wives, mothers and housekeepers because they are more intelligent and live a broader life. But they are learning, and the world is learning, that their housekeeping qualities should extend to the municipality and their power of motherhood to the children of the whole nation, and that these should be expressed through this very politics from which they are so rigorously excluded.

The objections of the opponents have been so largely confuted that they have for the most part been compelled to make a last defense by declaring: “When the majority of women ask for the suffrage they may have it.” By this very concession they admit that there is no valid reason for withholding it, and in thus arbitrarily doing so they are denying all representation to the minority, which is wholly at variance with republican principles. This is excused on the ground that the franchise is not a “right”[Pg xxxii] but a privilege to be granted or not as seems best to those in power. This was the Tory argument before the American Revolution, and, carried back to its origin, it upholds “the divine authority of kings.” The law to put in force the one and only amendment ever added to our National Constitution to extend the franchise was entitled, “An act to enforce the right of citizens of the United States to vote;” and the amendment itself reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged.” (See Chap. I.)

The readers of the present volume will not find such a story of cruel and relentless punishment inflicted upon advocates of woman suffrage as is related in the earlier volumes of this History, but the passing of rack and thumbscrew, of stake and fagot, does not mean the end of persecution in the world. Those who stand for this reform to-day do not tread a flower-strewn path. It is yet an unpopular subject, under the ban of society and receiving scant measure of public sympathy, but it must continue to be urged. If the assertion had been accepted as conclusive, that a measure which after years of advocacy is still opposed by the majority should be dropped, the greatest reforms of history would have been abandoned. The personal character of those who represent a cause, however, sometimes carries more weight than the numbers, and judged by this standard none has had stronger support than the enfranchisement of women[2].

The struggle of the Nineteenth Century was the transference of power from one man or one class of men to all men, it has been said, and while but one country in 1800 had a constitutional government, in 1900 fifty had some form of constitution and some degree of male sovereignty. Must the Twentieth Century be consumed in securing for woman that which man spent a hundred years in obtaining for himself? The determination of those engaged in this righteous contest was thus expressed by the president of the National Suffrage Association in her address at the annual convention of 1902:

Before the attainment of equal rights for men and women there will be years of struggle and disappointment. We of a younger generation have taken up the work where our noble and consecrated pioneers left it. We, in turn, are enlisted for life, and generations[Pg xxxiii] yet unborn will take up the work where we lay it down. So, through centuries if need be, the education will continue, until a regenerated race of men and women who are equal before man and God shall control the destinies of the earth.

But have we not reason to hope, in this era of rapid fulfilment—when in all material things electricity is accomplishing in a day what required months under the old régime—that moral progress will keep pace?  And that as much stronger as the electric power has shown itself than the coarse and heavy forces of the stone and iron periods, so much superior will prove the noblesse oblige of the men and women of the present, achieving in a generation what was not possible to the narrow selfishness and ignorant prejudice of all the past ages?

A part of the magnificent plan to beautify Washington, the capital of the nation, is a colossal statue to American Womanhood.  The design embodies a great arch of marble standing on a base in the form of an oval and broken by sweeps of steps.  On either side are large bronze panels, bearing groups of figures.  One of these will be a symbolic design showing the spirit of the people descending to lay offerings on woman’s altar.  Lofty pillars crowned by figures representing Victory, are to be placed at the approaches.  Surmounting the arch will be the chief group of the composition, symbolizing Woman Glorified.  She is rising from her throne to greet War and Peace, Literature and Art, Science and Industry, who approach to lay homage at her feet.  Inside the arch is a memorial hall for recording the achievements of women.

How soon this symbol shall become reality and woman stand forth in all the glory of freedom to reach her highest stature, depends upon the use she makes of the opportunities already hers and the fraternal assistance she receives from man.  Fearless of criticism, courageous in faith, let each take for a guide these inspiring words which it has been said the Puritan of old would utter if he could speak: ‘I was a radical in my day; be thou the same in thine!  I turned my back upon the old tyrannies and heresies and struck for the new liberties and beliefs; my liberty and my belief are doubtless already tyranny and heresy to thine age; strike thou for the new!'” Susan B. Anthony, A History of Woman Suffrage–Volume Four; Preface & Introduction, 1902

hammer law court lawyer gavel judgment


Numero Dos“Gentlemen, I need not tell you how important this case is.  How important to the man on trial and to those who still must be placed where he is today.  How important to his family and his friends.  How important to society.  How important to a great movement which represents the hopes and the wishes and the aspirations of all men who labor to sustain their daily life.  You know it!  You could not have sat here day after day so long as you have without understanding it, and grasping it, and excusing us if in our haste and zeal we seemed to say things we should not have said, and forgot things we should have spoken of to you.And, gentlemen, we are here as aliens to you.  Our client and the men who are with him down here in this jail have been brought fifteen hundred miles to be tried by a practically foreign, alien jury, a jury unfamiliar with their method of thought, a jury unfamiliar with their methods of life, a jury who has not viewed life from the standpoints of industry as these men have viewed it; I am here, two thousand miles from home, unacquainted with you, with your life, with your methods of reasoning—all of us are brought here in an alien country, before people, if not unfriendly, whom at least we do not know, and we are here met by the ablest counsel that the state of Idaho ever produced—the peer of any counsel anywhere; and, more than that, we are here in the home of the man who was killed in the most ruthless, cowardly, brutal way that any man could meet his death.

We are here, strangers, aliens, if not regarded by you as enemies, to meet an accusation of the murder of a man whom you all know, whom many of you voted for, maybe, whom one of you at least did business with, a man in whose house one juror lived for two long years.   We are trying this case to a jury that is almost the-family of the man who is dead.  We are trying it to a community that has no community of interest with the men whom we defend.  We are defending these men for what seems to you almost an assault upon your own home, and your own fireside, and we must be contented with results.  We can only appeal to you, gentlemen, to lay aside those common feelings which possess the minds of all men, to not be governed by passion or feeling or prejudice, but to look at us as if we were of you, to try to find out the standpoints from which these men acted, to give us that same fair, impartial trial that should be given to a defendant if you did not know the deceased or as if you knew the defendant and stood equally between him and the law.


More than that, gentlemen, we are all human. We have come into this court room and into this community, a community that has been deliberately poisoned for a year and a half, a community where feeling, and sentiment, and hatred have been deliberately sown against this defendant and his friends; a community where lie after lie has been sent broadcast like poison to infect the minds of men. We have come here after a year and a half of that, and must submit our case to a jury that has been fed upon this poison for all these months. We have no redress. We ask for none. You have sat here for two months, and you know the lies that have been scattered broadcast on the leaflet of every paper, almost that is circulated in this community. You have heard it from the witness stand, and you know it, and they could not have failed to have influenced this jury and this court. Men cannot rise above their environments. We are all alike, and if I were to tell this jury that I believed they were great enough and wise enough and strong enough to overcome the environments in which they live, and if I were to say to this Court that he could do what no other judge in Christendom ever did, rise superior to his environments and his life, you would know I was lying to you. You would understand that, if you did not understand anything else. We are all human, we are all influenced alike, moved by the same feelings and the same emotions, a part of the life that is around us, and It is not in the nature of things that this Court or this jury would not to some degree have been influenced by all that has gone before. But, gentlemen, as men go, as we see our neighbors and our friends, I have no doubt that you twelve men before me intend to carefully guard and protect the rights, the hopes, the interests and the life of this defendant. I have no doubt that you mean to give to him the same honest trial, the same benefit of the law, that you would expect twelve men to give you, if by some trick of Chance or by some turn of the wheel of Fate your life was hanging in the balance and twelve of your fellowmen were passing upon it.

* * *


“Gentlemen of the jury, one thing more: William O. Haywood is charged with murder. He is charged with having killed ex-Governor Steunenberg. He was not here. He was fifteen hundred or a thousand miles away, and he had not been here for years. There might be some member of this jury who would hesitate to take away the life of a human being upon the rotten testimony that has been given to this jury to convict a fellow citizen. There might be some who still hold in their minds a lurking suspicion that this defendant had to do with this horrible murder. You might say, we will compromise; we cannot take his life upon Orchard’s word, but we will send him to the penitentiary; we will find him guilty of manslaughter; we will find him guilty of murder in the second degree instead of the first.

“Gentlemen, you have the right to do it if you want to. But, I want to say to you twelve men that whatever else you are, I trust you are not cowards, and I want to say to you, too, that William Haywood is not a coward. I would not thank this jury if they found this defendant guilty of assault and battery and assessed a five-dollar fine against him. This murder was cold, deliberate, cowardly in the extreme, and if this man, sitting in his office in Denver, fifteen hundred miles away, employed this miserable assassin to come here and do this cowardly work, then, for God’s sake, gentlemen, hang him by the neck until dead. Don’t compromise in this case, whatever else you do. If he is guilty—if, under your conscience and before your God, you can say that you believe that man’s story, and believe it beyond a reasonable doubt, then take him—take him and hang him. He has fought many a fight—many a fight with the persecutors who are hounding him in this court. He has met them in a battle in the open field, and he is not a coward. If he is to die, he will die as he has lived, with his face to the foe. This man is either innocent or guilty. If he is guilty, I have nothing to say for him.

* * *

“Mr. Hawley tells you that he is a friend of the union. There cannot be any doubt about that! He told you in his opening statement that this labor union was a criminal conspiracy from the beginning, and that Ed Boyce, who led it in its earliest troubles, and its early triumphs, who organized this great mass of unorganized labor, that they might look up in the face of their master and demand a portion of what they earned, that he was a criminal—that he is guilty; and all you would need to do would be to go to Mr. Van Duyn and get him to sign his name, and Hawley could get him to bring Boyce in here, too, and charge him with this murder as well.

“He told us how from the beginning it was a criminal organization, and yet he organized it himself—and he admits it after we have proved it—and he organized it while the leaders of this union, or a large part of them, lived, from that day to this, down here in the jail. He organized it where for conscience sake these men were confined in the cells down below. He said to them, ‘You have your poor, weak individual organizations all over; you have one in Butte, you have them in Idaho, you have them in Colorado; there is nothing on earth but to get together into one great Federation so you can fight together.’ That was good advice wasn’t it? And he went out here in the jail yard and he told them about it, and when he got through and they got out, released for a crime which the court said did not exist, after they had suffered eight months’ imprisonment for a crime which was not a crime, there was no way to give them their liberty back, any more than there is a way to give Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone the eighteen months they have spent here in the Boise jail. These are all a part of the premium that one gets, and has always received, for his services to his fellow man. For the world is the same now that it always was, and if a man is so insane that he wants to go out in the wilderness and preach and work for the poor and the oppressed and the despised, for the men who do not own the tools, the newspapers, and the courts, and the machinery, and organization of society, these are the wages that he receives today, and which he has received from the time the first foolish man commenced to agitate for the uplifting and the upbuilding of the human race.

“But Mr. Hawley took their money; he organized them; he fought their battles; he was their first attorney; and he says to this jury, I have always been a friend of labor unions.’

“Yes, gentlemen, Mr. Hawley has always been a friend of labor unions —when they got their cash to his office first. But when they did not they had better hunt some other friends. Mr. Hawley is advising the state in this case—he had better stick to the state and let the labor unions be taken care of by some one of their own choice.


“Let us see, now, gentlemen: I will give you a specimen. When I opened this case I said to this jury that before the first witness left the stand I would convince Mr. Hawley that his precious client had lied upon one important fact. Now, I want to apologize to the the jury—I did not. That is because I did not understand Mr. Hawley. I thought he had some sense. Let me tell you who was the first witness in this case—you may have forgotten it, it was so long ago; it was Mrs. King. Do you remember Mrs. King? Let us hold an inquest on Hawley’s sanity for a minute, and let us see whether he is sane or insane. Now, gentlemen, Mrs. King was a matronly woman of perhaps 55 or 60 years of age; she was not a member of the Western Federation of Miners; she did not work in the mines at all. She has two sons working in the mines and they are both scabs, so she would not favor us on that account; both of them are working there now, neither one belonging to the union or having ever belonged to the union.

“I submit there has not been a witness placed upon this stand in this trial who had more of the appearance of truth and candor and integrity than Mrs. King. Is there any doubt about it? Is there any man in this jury box that would not as soon doubt his own wife, except for the fact that she is his own wife, as Mrs. King? I do not believe it. Will you tell me what license this lawyer has, for a few paltry deficiency warrants, to say to this jury that Mrs. King is a perjurer to get the blood of Mr. Haywood; and yet you twelve men are expected to take that sort of talk so you can get his blood and accommodate Mr. Hawley with another scalp at his belt in his declining years!

“Mrs. King swore that she kept a rooming house and that Mr. Sterling the detective of the Mine Owners’ Association, occupied a front room, and she saw Harry Orchard come there at least six or eight times, and he came up the back stairs at any time, and she only saw him when she happened to see him. She does not stand alone, for her daughter, a bright, intelligent, comely girl, who is not a member of this organization, swears that she saw him four or five times, and she is a perjurer, too, and it is a wonder that Mr. Hawley doesn’t swear out a warrant for them before they leave the state; in these hot days and hot times—you could expect Mr. Hawley to do most anything.


* * *

“I want to say a few words for the benefit, not of this jury, but of those sickly slobbering idiots who talk about Harry Orchard’s religion. If I could think of any stronger term to apply to them I would apply that term. The English language falls down on Orchard and likewise upon all those idiots who talk about Orchard’s regeneration. Now I am going to take a chance and talk about that for a few minutes.

“There is one thing that is well for them to remember right at the beginning, and that is that at least a month before Dean Hincks persuaded him to lay his sins on Jesus, Father McParland had persuaded him to lay his crimes on Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone. You might remember that in starting. It is on a par with the character of a characterless man—I am referring to Orchard now, so there will be no mistake. It is a smooth game of shifty Harry. You are asked to give him immunity and to give immunity to everyone of his kind. You are askeA to say to the old and to say to the youth, you may kill, you may burn, you may lie, you may steal, you may commit any crime or any act forbidden by God or forbidden by man, and then you can turn and throw your crimes on somebody else, and throw your sins on God, and the lawyers will sing your praises. All right, gentlemen. If in your judgment public policy demands it, go ahead and do it. Don’t stop for a little matter like Bill Haywood’s neck.

“Shifty Harry meets McParland. He has lived a life of crime and been taken in his deeds, and what does he do? Why, he saves his soul by throwing the burden on Jesus, and he saves his life by dumping it onto Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone. How can you beat that game, gentlemen? Can you beat it? And you twelve men are asked to set your seal of approval on it and to make that contract good so it may go out to every youth in the land. You may need to do it, but it should be a mighty strong necessity that would lead you to do it, should it not?


“Now, gentlemen, like Brother Hawley and I know like Senator Borah, I, too, have a profound regard for religion. Mine may be broader than Brother Hawley’s. I don’t want to say to these twelve men that I think the Christian religion is the only religion that the world has ever known. I do not believe it for a moment. I have the greatest respect for any religion or any code of ethics that would do anything to help man, whatever that religion may be. And for the poor black man who looks into the black face of his wooden idol and who prays to that wooden idol to make him a better man and a stronger man, I have the profoundest respect. I know that there is in him, when he addresses his prayers to his wooden idol, the same holy sentiment, and the same feeling that there is in the breast of a Christian when he raises his prayer to the Christian’s God. It is all one. It is all a piece of ethics and a higher life, and no man could have more respect for it than I have. In the ways of the world and in the language of the world I am not a professed Christian. I do not pretend to be. I have had my doubts, my doubts about things which to other men’s minds seem plain. I look out on the great universe around me, at the millions and millions of stars that dot the firmament of Heaven in the night time; I look out on all the mysteries of Nature, and the mysteries of life, and I ask myself the solution of the riddle, and I bow my head in the presence of the infinite mystery and say, ‘I do not know.’ Neither do I. I cannot tell. But for that man who understands it all and sees in it the work of a Supreme Being, who prays to what he honestly believes to be this higher power, I have the profoundest regard; and any communion with him, any communion of that poor, weak mortal with that higher power, that power which permeates the universe and which makes for good, any communion that lifts a man higher and higher and makes him better, I have regard for that. And, if Orchard has that religion, well and good. I am willing that he should have it. I hope that he has it. I would not deny that consolation and that solace to him, not for a moment. But I ask you whether he has it, and what it means to him? I have no desire to injure Harry Orchard. I am not made that way. I might have once when the blood in me was warmer and my feelings were stronger. But I, like Hawley, have been tempered by years, and I have no desire to hurt even Harry Orchard, despicable as I think he is I have no desire to take his life. I am not responsible for his being. I cannot understand the purposes of the infinite God who fashioned his head as he saw fit to fashion it. I cannot understand the purpose of that mysterious power who molded Harry Orchard’s brain as he pleased. I am willing to leave it to him to judge, to Him who alone knows.


“I never asked for a human being’s life and I hope that I may never ask for a human life to the end of my days. I do not ask for his. And if the time should ever come that somebody pronounces against him the decree of death and nobody else asks to save his life, my petition will be there to save it, for I do not believe in it. I do not believe in man tinkering with the work of God. I do not believe in man taking away the life of his fellow man. I do not believe that I understand, I do not believe that you understand, I do’ not believe that you and I can say in the light of Heaven that if we had been born as he was born, If our brain had been moulded as his was moulded, if we had been surrounded as he has been surrounded, we could say that we might not have been like him.

* * *


“To kill him, gentlemen! I want to speak to you plainly. Mr. Haywood is not my greatest concern. Other men have died before him. Other men have been martyrs to a holy cause since the world began. Wherever men have looked upward and onward, forgotten their selfishness, struggled for humanity, worked for the poor and the weak, they have been sacrificed. They have been sacrificed in the prison, on the scaffold, in the flame. They have met their death, and he can meet his, if you twelve men say he must. But, gentlemen, you short-sighted men of the prosecution, you men of the Mine Owner’s Association, you people who would cure hatred with hate, you who think you can crush out the feelings and the hopes and the aspirations of men by tying a noose around his neck, you who are seeking to kill him, not because it is Haywood, but because he represents a class, don’t be so blind, don’t be so foolish as to believe you can strangle the Western Federation of Miners when you tie a rope around his neck. Don’t be so blind in your madness as to believe that when you make three fresh new graves you will kill the labor movement of the world. I want to say to you, gentlemen, Bill Haywood can’t die unless you kill him. You must tie the rope. You twelve men of Idaho; the burden will be on you. If at the behest of this mob you should kill Bill Haywood, he is mortal, he will die, but I want to say that a million men will grab up the banner of labor at the open grave where Haywood lays it down, and in spite of prisons or scaffolds or fire, in spite of prosecution or jury, or courts, these men of willing hands will carry it on to victory in the end.


“Now, gentlemen, I am not going to discuss to this jury whether his method was right or wrong. I believe it was wrong. I don’t believe any lawyer can defend the right of any human being to indiscriminately take his fellow man without any criminal charge whatever, without any trial or any hearing, and shut him up in a pen, as was done in the Coeur d’Alenes in ’99; and whatever Governor Steunenberg might have thought, and however honest and sincere his motives were at the time (and I am not here to impugn them) when he established the bull-pen in the Coeur d’Alenes he sowed the seed of more strife and contention than was ever sown by any governor from the days that this nation was founded to the present time. There was nothing to justify it. If the arm of the law was not strong enough, if the civil authorities were not strong enough, then the military authorities should have been called in to assist. But when you say that a governor or a general may reach out indiscriminately and take whom he will, without warrant, without charge, without a hearing of any kind, and lock them up as he sees fit, then you say that all government should be submerged and the only law be the law of might, and I don’t think the man lives who can defend it. Doubtless Governor Steunenberg felt at the time of this crisis that there was nothing else to do—I don’t propose to discuss him for a moment on that account—but I believe that large numbers of right-minded people, in labor organization and out, have always denounced that act and always will denounce that act so long as we pretend to have a government by law in these United States. It is not strange that at that time large numbers of miners and workingmen, that honest lawyers, ministers, congressmen and all classes of people protested against it as being an outrage, a crime against the liberties of man. But what had Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone to do with it? Orchard was doubtless there and he ran away.

* * *


After Bill Haywood becomes the secretary-treasurer of the Western Federation of Miners, and, mark you, the next thing they have against him, the very next act, does not occur until 1903, four years after the Bunker Hill and Sullivan mill has been blown up, four years after the time when he was an obscure miner over here at Silver City. In the meantime he had been one of the officers of the Western Federation of Miners for three years, and all was peaceful and serene, and they have not brought to this jury one single act up to 1903, and then they gather up another act of Harry Orchard’s to charge to him. It is a strange thing, is it not, gentlemen. Here is Mr. Haywood, the secretary-treasurer of the Western Federation of Miners. Here is Mr. Moyer, the president. They have been leading a strenuous life, God knows. Their organization is a militant organization and has been from the beginning, from the time Mr. Hawley advised them how to construct it, when its officers were lying in the county jail, until now, when the hand of the powerful and the great has been raised against it. They have had to fight every inch of their way, and fight it, gentlemen, in the face of courts, in the face of jails, in the face of scaffolds, in the face of newspapers, in the face of every man who could get together a body of stolen gold to spend to fight this organization. Mr. Moyer and Haywood were connected with it for several years. Haywood has not been in Idaho since 1900 until he was brought to this state in 1906. Will you tell me where any voice has been raised against Haywood excepting Harry Orchard’s? Will you tell me—where the Pinkertons, with their million eyes focused upon him, with their million ears trained to catch every sound that could come from his voice; can you tell me while the public was poisoned against him and where its captains of industry poured out their gold to compass his death —can you tell me—why it is that there hasn’t been one word, one look, one letter, one circumstance that does not come from this foul creature upon whose testimony I undertake to say there is not one of you farmers but would blush with shame if you should kill a sheep-stealing dog! A man who would not give a dog a show for his life against Orchard would not be a man. Who else has said anything against him—the world of wealth, the world of power, the world of influence; the world of officialdom—and they have produced Harry Orchard and they have not produced another line or another letter or another word or another look or another thing. Gentlemen, another thing: In all of their unions everywhere were the Pinkerton detectives, ready to report every act, every word, every letter. They were present with them in all their trials and in all that took place. The Pinkertons were with Moyer In the bull-pen and stuck to him as close as a pull-pen tick. Why didn’t they get a word out of him in the days of his unlawful imprisonment and his tribulation? Why haven’t they found something somewhere that would give twelve men a reason, if they wanted it, for taking away the life of their fellow man? Why haven’t they found it? And these men have been conspiring, they have been talking, they have been writing, they have been working—this Pinkerton and all his cohorts—with the money of all the mines and all the mills behind them, and have produced nothing except the paltry story which you have heard upon this witness stand.

* * *

“The state of Colorado passed an eight-hour law in 1899—under the evidence in this case, 1899 is right, isn’t it? And the Guggenheims fought it, and they took it before the Supreme Court—and the courts are always the last to move, and the higher they are the slower—and they took it before the Supreme Court and of course the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional to pass a law which won’t permit Guggenheim to take ten hours out of the hide of his men instead of eight.

” ‘Mr. Richardson—It was twelve hours in the smelter.’

“Mr. Darrow—Well, a man that will work in a smelter ought to be worked twelve hours a day.

“The courts declared it unconstitutional. Of course they would. What is the constitution for except to use for the rich to destroy the laws that are made for the poor? That is the main purpose in these latter days. Then what did the workers do? They said, if the constitution is wrong, let us change it. And they appealed once more to the state—to the people. The people are blind and stupid, but still more generally right upon an issue like this—and they put it to a vote of the people, and the people voted six to one to change the constitution which was in their way, and the new constitution provided that the next legislature should enact an eight-hour law. This was the strike which Hawley says was unconstitutional—was unwarranted. They appealed to the people, and by six to one they changed the constitution of the state and then the legislature came in in 1902, and was asked to pass that law which the constitution commanded them to pass, and what did they do? Why, the constitution is only meant to be obeyed by the poor. What is the law for if a rich man has to obey it? Why should they make it if it can reach them? Why should they have the constitution if it could be used against them? The constitution said that they must change the law— must pass an eight-hour law, and Mr. Guggenheim and Mr. Moffat and the Union Pacific railroad and the Mine Owner’s Association and all the good people who lived by the sweat and blood of their fellow men:—all of these invaded the chamber of the house and the senate and said: ‘No, you must not pass an eight-hour law; true, the constitution requires it; but here is our gold which is stronger than the constitution.’

The legislature met and discussed the matter, and these miners were there. The evidence in this case has shown you who they were. Haywood was there; the labor organizations were there and they were there pleading then, as they have always pleaded, for the poor, for the weak, for the oppressed. I don’t mean to tell this jury that labor organizations do no wrong. I know them too well for that. They do wrong often, and sometimes brutally; they are sometimes cruel; they are often unjust; they are frequently corrupt; they will be as long as human nature is human nature, and there is no remedy for it. But I am here to say that in a great cause these labor organizations—despised and weak and outlawed as they generally are—have stood for the poor, they have stood for the weak, they have stood for every human law that was ever placed upon the statute books. They have stood for human life. They have stood for the father who was bound down with his task; they have stood for the wife threatened with being taken from the home to work by his side, and they have stood by the little child, who has also been taken to work in their places, that the rich could grow richer still, and they have fought for the right of the little one to have a little of life, a little of comfort while he is young. I don’t care how many wrongs they have committed—I don’t care how many crimes—these weak, rough, rugged, unlettered men, who often know no other power but the brute force of their strong right arm, who find themselves bound and confined and impaired which ever way they turn, and who look up and worship the God of might as the only God that they know; I don’t care how often they fail —how many brutalities they are guilty of. I know their cause is just. I know that trouble and strife and contention have been invoked, yet through brutality and bloodshed and crime has come the progress of the human race. I know they may be wrong in this battle or that, but in the great long struggle they are right, and they are eternally right, and they are working for the poor and the weak, they are working to give more liberty to the man, and I want to say to you, gentlemen of the jury, you Idaho farmers, removed from the trades unions, removed from the men who work in industrial affairs, I want to say, had it not been for the trades unions of the world—for the trades unions of England, for the trades unions of Europe, the trade unions of America—you today would be serfs instead of free men sitting upon a jury to try one of your peers. The cause of the men is right.

* * *


“Who was he, and what was he doing at that time? Let us see about this fellow. Harry Orchard swears that he tried first to explode a carload of gunpowder and failed, and he did not get any money for it, and then Bill Davis told him he was going to have plenty of money when they wrecked this train and it made Harry Orchard jealous because something was going on and he was not in it; to feel that anybody should explode a mine or tear up a railroad track, or kill any human being and Harry Orchard not considered. He said: Here is the union putting out their good money for a comparatively easy job; why don’t they hire me? And he went to Scott. Now, do you suppose that was the reason? I don’t know how anybody can tell. If you can tell, you are wiser than I, but there is one thing he did and that is sure—he did go to Scott. He went to Scott, the chief detective of the Florence and Cripple Creek railroad, and he had a conference with him, and, strange to say, the first time he ever saw Moyer or Haywood in the world he went up to Denver with a pass furnished by this detective and twelve or fifteen dollars in his pocket which this detective had given to him. Now think of it. And you are asked to believe that we are responsible for him. Before Haywood ever saw him or had heard of him, he had Scott’s money in his pocket. He was sent to Haywood with a pass and cash to get next to the officers of the Western Federation of Miners. Whose hired man was he? Now, let me be plain about this matter.

“Orchard went up to Denver with Scott’s money and Scott’s pass, and there he says he saw Moyer and Haywood. Now, Scott and he do not agree. I asked Scott how much money he ever gave him, and he said forty-five dollars at the most. I asked Orchard how much money he ever got of Scott, and he says he got either twelve or fifteen dollars once, and five dollars afterward, and that is all. They don’t agree. Perhaps neither of them tells the truth. I don’t care which, or whether either of them does.


“Gentlemen of the jury: Before I overlook it I want to refer to a few suggestions made by Mr. Hawley as to Jack Simpkins and why he is not here. I suppose the reason he is not here is because he is afraid to be here. That is the best reason I can give. I do not propose to go around the question or get up any fantastic reason. That is the reason. But Mr. Hawley says to you that the fact that he ran away proves that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With that statement I take serious issue. If the fact that Jack Simpkins ran away proves that he is guilty, then the fact that Haywood and Moyer did not run away, but waited in their offices and stayed to face whatever might come, proves that they are innocent. Neither statement is true. One is as true as the other, but neither statement is true. I used to think that I could tell something about whether a man was innocent or guilty by the way he acted. But 1 have gotten over it. Sometimes the guiltiest wretch on earth is the coolest man. Accuse a guilty man of crime, one who has known it and has lived in it and is accustomed to it, and he is often the coolest man you can imagine. Accuse an innocent man of crime, a man who has lived an upright life, and he may drop dead with fear, or he may tremble with confusion, or he may run away. No man can tell what an individual is going to do under circumstances like that. When you undertake to judge a man’s guilt or innocence by his conduct when he is accused, you are on very dangerous ground. Mr. Hawley says that because Jack Simpkins ran and hid himself therefore he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Now, Mr. Hawley is an expert on the subject of conversion and what it does for a sinful man. I don’t know whether he is a student of the Bible or not. But I can call his attention to one historical illustration of what an innocent man will do; and if he is as well posted on the acts that prove guilt as he is upon conversion, he is making a pretty dangerous statement when he says that if a man hides or runs away that is conclusive evidence of his guilt. There was once a great reformer and agitator who lived on the earth and walked with men and who was a disturber in his day and generation, one of the kind of men that Mr. Hawley describes who always makes trouble wherever he is, because if a man stands for truth and justice and righteousness he is bound to make trouble no matter when he lives or where. There was a man nineteen hundred years ago who stood for truth and justice and righteousness as they understand it. And this man offended the Jerusalem Daily Advertiser and the other fake newspapers which published the ads of the Pharisees of that time, and he offended the great and the strong and the mighty raised a mob in Jerusalem, just as they raised a mob at Cripple Creek and Victor, and they went out after this disturber and this outcast. What did he do? Why, he ran away and hid. Was he guilty? He ran away and hid to save his life from the mob, from the righteous mob that believed in order and law, especially order so long as they made it. And he hid himself securely, until one of his friends and disciples, Judas, betrayed him for thirty dollars, I believe it was. I wonder if he was guilty! I wonder if he was a criminal because he hid himself because he did not wish to throw himself into the hands of the mob of that time!


“Gentlemen, Mr. Hawley has told you that he believes in this case, that he would not ask you to convict unless he believed Haywood was guilty. I tell you I believe in my case. I believe in it as I believe in my very life, and my belief does not amount, nor his belief does not amount to anything, or count. I am not an unprejudiced witness in this case. Nobody knows it better than I. My mind is not unbiased in this great struggle. I am a partisan, and a strong partisan at that. For nearly thirty years I have been working to the best of my ability in the cause in which these men have given their toil and risked their lives. For nearly thirty years I have given this cause the best ability that God has given me. I have given my time, my reputation, my chances—all this in the cause of the poor. I may have been unwise—I may have been extravagant in my statements, but this cause has inspired the strongest devotion of my life, and I want to say to you that never in my life did I feel about a case as I feel about this. Never in my life did I wish anything as I wish the verdict of this jury, and, if I live to be a hundred years old, never again in my life will I feel that I am pleading in a case in which involves such momentous questions as this. You are jurors in a historical case. You are here, with your verdict to make history, here to make history that shall affect the nation for weal or woe, here to make history that will affect every man that toils, that will influence the liberties of mankind and bring weal or woe to the poor and the weak, who have been striving through the centuries for some measure of that freedom which the world has ever denied to them.

Gentlemen of the jury, this responsibility is on you, and if I have done my part I am glad to shift it upon your shoulders and be relieved of the grievous load.


I have known Haywood—I have known him well and I believe in him.   God knows it would be a sore day to me if he should go upon the scaffold.  The sun would not shine or the birds would not sing on that day—for me.  It would be a sad day, indeed, if any such calamity could come to him.  I would think of him, I would think of his wife, of his mother, I would think of his children, I would think of the great cause that he represents.  It would be a sore day for me, but, gentlemen, he and his mother, and his wife and his children, are not my chief concern in this great case.  If you should decree that he must die, ten thousand men will work in the mines and send a portion of the proceeds of their labor to take care of that widow and these orphan children, and a million people throughout the length and breadth of the civilized world will send messages of kindness and good cheer to comfort them in their bereavement and to heal their wounds.  It is not for them I plead.  Other men died before.  Other men have died in the same cause in which Will Haywood has risked his life.  Men strong with devotion, men who loved liberty, men who loved their fellow men, patriots who have raised their voices in defense of the poor, in defense of right, have made their good fight and have met death on the scaffold, on the rack, in the flame, and they will meet it again and again until the world grows old and gray.  William Haywood is no better than the rest.  He can die if die he must.  He can die if this jury decrees it; but, oh, gentlemen, do not think for a moment that if you hang him you will crucify the labor movement of the world; do not think that you will kill the hopes and the aspirations and the desires of the weak and poor.  You men of wealth and power, you people anxious for his blood, are you so blind as to believe that liberty will die when he is dead.  Think you there are no other brave hearts, no other strong arms, no other devoted souls who will risk all in that great cause which has demanded martyrs in every land and age?

There are others and these others will come to take his place; they will come to carry the banner when he can hold it up no more.


Gentlemen, it is not for him alone that I speak. I speak for the poor, for the weak, for the weary, for that long line of men, who in darkness and despair, have borne the labors of the human race.  The eyes of the world are upon you—upon you twelve men of Idaho tonight.   Wherever the English language is spoken or wherever any tongue makes known the thoughts of men in any portion of the civilized world, men are talking, and wondering and dreaming about the verdict of these twelve men that I see before me now.  If you kill him your act will be applauded by many.  If you should decree Bill Haywood’s death, in the railroad offices of our great cities men will applaud your names.  If you decree his death amongst the spiders of Wall street will go up paeans of praise for these twelve good men and true.  In every bank in the world, where men hate Haywood because he fights for the poor and against that accursed system upon which the favored live and grow rich and fat—from all those you will receive blessings and unstinted praise.

But if your verdict should be ‘Not Guilty’ in this case, there are still those who will reverently bow their heads and thank these twelve men for the life and reputation you have saved.  Out on our broad prairies where men toil with their hands, out on the wide ocean where men are tossed and buffeted on the waves, through our mills and factories, and down deep under the earth, thousands of men, and of women and children—men who labor, men who suffer, women and children will kneel tonight and ask their God to guide your hearts— these men and these women and these little children, the poor, the weak, and the suffering of the world, are stretching out their helpless hands to this jury in mute appeal for Will Haywood’s life.”  Clarence Darrow, excerpts from his Summation in the murder trial of William (‘Big Bill’) Haywood; 1907 

By ProtoplasmaKid cc 4.0
By ProtoplasmaKid cc 4.0
Numero Tres“In carrying out the high duties entrusted to it, the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy has this year awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, a signal mark of honour on the international scene, to a writer from a small country, as it is commonly called.  In receiving this honour, I should like to make a few remarks about this country and to add a few considerations of a more general character about the storyteller’s work to which you have graciously awarded your Prize.

My country is indeed a «small country between the worlds», as it has aptly been characterized by one of our writers, a country which, at break-neck speed and at the cost of great sacrifices and prodigious efforts, is trying in all fields, including the field of culture, to make up for those things of which it has been deprived by a singularly turbulent and hostile past.  In choosing the recipient of this award you have cast a shining light upon the literary activity of that country, at the very moment when, thanks to a number of new names and original works, that country’s literature is beginning to gain recognition through an honest endeavour to make its contribution to world literature.  There is no doubt that your distinction of a writer of this country is an encouragement which calls for our gratitude; I am happy to have the opportunity to express this gratitude to you in this place and at this time, simply but sincerely.

It is a more difficult and more delicate task to tell you about the storyteller’s work which you have honoured with your Prize.   In fact, when it comes down to a writer and his work, can we expect him to be able to speak of that work, when in reality his creation is but a part of himself?  Some among us would rather consider the authors of works of art either as mute and absent contemporaries or as famous writers of the past, and think that the work of art speaks with a clearer and purer voice if the living voice of the author does not interfere.  This attitude is neither uncommon nor particularly new.  Even in his day Montesquieu contended that authors are not good judges of their own works.  I remember reading with understanding admiration Goethe’s rule: «The artist’s task is to create, not to talk»; and many years later I was moved to find the same thought brilliantly expressed by the greatly mourned Albert Camus.

Let me then, as seems fitting to me, concentrate in this brief statement on the story and the storyteller in general. In thousands of languages, in the most diverse climes, from century to century, beginning with the very old stories told around the hearth in the huts of our remote ancestors down to the works of modern storytellers which are appearing at this moment in the publishing houses of the great cities of the world, it is the story of the human condition that is being spun and that men never weary of telling to one another. The manner of telling and the form of the story vary according to periods and circumstances, but the taste for telling and retelling a story remains the same: the narrative flows endlessly and never runs dry. Thus, at times, one might almost believe that from the first dawn of consciousness throughout the ages, mankind has constantly been telling itself the same story, though with infinite variations, to the rhythm of its breath and pulse. And one might say that after the fashion of the legendary and eloquent Scheherazade, this story attempts to stave off the executioner, to suspend the ineluctable decree of the fate that threatens us, and to prolong the illusion of life and of time. Or should the storyteller by his work help man to know and to recognize himself? Perhaps it is his calling to speak in the name of all those who did not have the ability or who, crushed by life, did not have the power to express themselves. Or could it be that the storyteller tells his own story to himself, like the child who sings in the dark in order to assuage his own fear? Or finally, could the aim of these stories be to throw some light on the dark paths into which life hurls us at times and to tell us about this life, which we live blindly and unconsciously, something more than we can apprehend and comprehend in our weakness ? And thus the words of a good storyteller often shed light on our acts and on our omissions, on what we should do and on what we should not have done. Hence one might wonder whether the true history of mankind is not to be found in these stories, oral or written, and whether we might not at least dimly catch the meaning of that history. And it matters little whether the story is set in the present or in the past.

Nevertheless, some will maintain that a story dealing with the past neglects, and to a certain degree turns its back on, the present. A writer of historical stories and novels could not in my opinion accept such a gratuitous judgment. He would rather be inclined to confess that he does not himself know very well when or how he moves from what is called the present into what we call the past, and that he crosses easily – as in a dream – the threshold of centuries. But in the end, do not past and present confront us with similar phenomena and with the same problems: to be a man, to have been born without knowing it or wanting it, to be thrown into the ocean of existence, to be obliged to swim, to exist; to have an identity; to resist the pressure and shocks from the outside and the unforeseen and unforeseeable acts – one’s own and those of others – which so often exceed one’s capacities? And what is more, to endure one’s own thoughts about all this: in a word, to be human.

So it happens that beyond the imaginary demarcation line between past and present the writer still finds himself eye to eye with the human condition, which he is bound to observe and understand as best he can, with which he must identify, giving it the strength of his breath and the warmth of his blood, which he must attempt to turn into the living texture of the story that he intends to translate for his readers, in such a way that the result be as beautiful, as simple, and as persuasive as possible.

How can a writer arrive at this aim, by what ways, by what means?  For some it is by giving free rein to their imagination, for others it is by studying with long and painstaking care the instructions that history and social evolution afford.  Some will endeavour to assimilate the substance and meaning of past epochs, others will proceed with the capricious and playful nonchalance of the prolific French novelist who once said, «What is history but a peg to hang my novels on?»  In a word, there are a thousand ways and means for the novelist to arrive at his work, but what alone matters and alone is decisive is the work itself.

The author of historical novels could put as an epigraph to his works, in order to explain everything to everyone, once and for all, the old saying: «Cogitavi dies antiquos et annos aeternos in mente habui» (I have pondered the days of yore and I have kept in mind the years of eternity).  But with or without epigraph, his work, by its very existence, suggests the same idea.

Still, these are ultimately nothing but questions of technique, tastes, and methods, a fascinating intellectual pastime concerning a work or having vaguely to do with it.  In the end it matters little whether the writer evokes the past, describes the present, or even plunges boldly into the future.  The main thing is the spirit which informs his story, the message that his work conveys to mankind; and it is obvious that rules and regulations do not avail here.  Each builds his story according to his own inward needs, according to the measure of his inclinations, innate or acquired, according to his conceptions and to the power of his means of expression.  Each assumes the moral responsibility for his own story and each must be allowed to tell it freely.  But, in conclusion, it is to be hoped that the story told by today’s author to his contemporaries, irrespective of its form and content, should be neither tarnished by hate nor obscured by the noise of homicidal machines, but that it should be born out of love and inspired by the breadth of ideas of a free and serene human mind.  For the storyteller and his work serve no purpose unless they serve, in one way or another, man and humanity.  That is the essential point.  And that is what I have attempted to bring out in these brief reflections inspired by the occasion and which, with your permission, I shall conclude as I began them, with the repeated expression of a profound and sincere gratitude.”

CC BY-NC by Limbic
CC BY-NC by Limbic

Numero Cuatro“…In [Joint Chief’s chair] Lemnitzer’s view, the country would be far better off if the generals could take over.  [JFK assassination legend has it some general presided over the fudgy JFK autopsy. –Mk]For those military officers who were sitting on the fence, the Kennedy administration’s botched Bay of Pigs invasion was the last straw.  ‘The Bay of Pigs fiasco broke the dike,’ said one report at the time.  ‘President Kennedy was pilloried by the super patriots as a ‘no-win’ chief . . . The Far Right became a fount of proposals born of frustration and put forward in the name of anti-Communism. . . Active-duty commanders played host to anti-Communist seminars on their bases and attended or addressed Right-wing meetings elsewhere.’

Although no one in Congress could have known it at the time, Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs had quietly slipped over the edge.

According to secret and long-hidden documents obtained for Body of Secrets, the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.  In the name of anti-Communism, they proposed launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba.

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plan, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere.  People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked.  Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.The idea may actually have originated with President Eisenhower in the last days of his administration.  With the Cold War hotter than ever and the recent U-2 scandal fresh in the public’s memory, the old general wanted to go out with a win.  He wanted desperately to invade Cuba in the weeks leading up to Kennedy’s inauguration; indeed, on January 3 he told Lemnitzer and other aides in his Cabinet Room that he would move against Castro before the inauguration if only the Cubans gave him a really good excuse.  Then, with time growing short, Eisenhower floated an idea.  If Castro failed to provide that excuse, perhaps, he said, the United States ‘could think of manufacturing something that would be generally acceptable.’  What he was suggesting was a pretext a bombing, an attack, an act of sabotage carried out secretly against the United States by the United States.  Its purpose would be to justify the launching of a war.  It was a dangerous suggestion by a desperate president.

Although no such war took place, the idea was not lost on General Lemnitzer.  But he and his colleagues were frustrated by Kennedy’s failure to authorize their plan, and angry that Castro had not provided an excuse to invade.

The final straw may have come during a White House meeting on February 26, 1962.  Concerned that General Lansdale’s various covert action plans under Operation Mongoose were simply becoming more outrageous and going nowhere, Robert Kennedy told him to drop all anti-Castro efforts.  Instead, Lansdale was ordered to concentrate for the next three months strictly on gathering intelligence about Cuba.  It was a humiliating defeat for Lansdale, a man more accustomed to praise than to scorn.

As the Kennedy brothers appeared to suddenly ‘go soft’ on Castro, Lemnitzer could see his opportunity to invade Cuba quickly slipping away.  The attempts to provoke the Cuban public to revolt seemed dead and Castro, unfortunately, appeared to have no inclination to launch any attacks against Americans or their property Lemnitzer and the other Chiefs knew there was only one option left that would ensure their war.  They would have to trick the American public and world opinion into hating Cuba so much that they would not only go along, but would insist that he and his generals launch their war against Castro.  ‘World opinion, and the United Nations forum,’ said a secret JCS document, ‘should be favorably affected by developing the international image of the Cuban government as rash and irresponsible, and as an alarming and unpredictable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere.’

Operation Northwoods called for a war in which many patriotic Americans and innocent Cubans would die senseless deaths, all to satisfy the egos of twisted generals back in Washington, safe in their taxpayer financed homes and limousines.

One idea seriously considered involved the launch of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth.  On February 20,1962, Glenn was to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on his historic journey.  The flight was to carry the banner of America’s virtues of truth, freedom, and democracy into orbit high over the planet.  But Lemnitzer and his Chiefs had a different idea.  They proposed to Lansdale that, should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, ‘the objective is to provide irrevocable proof that . . . the fault lies with the Communists et al Cuba [sic.]’

This would be accomplished, Lemnitzer continued, ‘by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans.’  Thus, as NASA prepared to send the first American into space, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing to use John Glenn’s possible death as a pretext to launch a war.

Glenn lifted into history without mishap, leaving Lemnitzer and the Chiefs to begin devising new plots which they suggested be carried out ‘within the time frame of the next few months.’

Among the actions recommended was “a series of well coordinated incidents to take place in and around” the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This included dressing “friendly” Cubans in Cuban military uniforms and then have them “start riots near the main gate of the base. Others would pretend to be saboteurs inside the base. Ammunition would be blown up, fires started, aircraft sabotaged, mortars fired at the base with damage to installations.”

The suggested operations grew progressively more outrageous. Another called for an action similar to the infamous incident in February 1898 when an explosion aboard the battleship Maine in Havana harbor killed 266 U.S. sailors. Although the exact cause of the explosion remained undetermined, it sparked the Spanish-American War with Cuba. Incited by the deadly blast, more than one million men volunteered for duty. Lemnitzer and his generals came up with a similar plan. “We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,” they proposed; “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.”

There seemed no limit to their fanaticism: “We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,” they wrote. “The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States.

We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). . . . We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized.”

Bombings were proposed, false arrests, hijackings:

*”Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.”

*”Advantage can be taken of the sensitivity of the Dominican [Republic] Air Force to intrusions within their national air space. ‘Cuban’ B-26 or C-46 type aircraft could make cane burning raids at night. Soviet Bloc incendiaries could be found. This could be coupled with ‘Cuban’ messages to the Communist underground in the Dominican Republic and ‘Cuban’ shipments of arms which would be found, or intercepted, on the beach. Use of MiG type aircraft by U.S. pilots could provide additional provocation.”

*”Hijacking attempts against civil air and surface craft could appear to continue as harassing measures condoned by the Government of Cuba.”

Among the most elaborate schemes was to “create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner en route from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama or Venezuela. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.”

Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs worked out a complex deception:

An aircraft at Elgin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CJA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone [a remotely controlled unmanned aircraft]. Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida.

From the rendezvous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Elgin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will be transmitting on the international distress frequency a “May Day” message stating he is under attack by Cuban MiG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by destruction of the aircraft, which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to tell the U.S. what has happened to the aircraft instead of the U.S. trying to “sell” the incident.

Finally, there was a plan to “make it appear that Communist Cuban MiGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack.” It was a particularly believable operation given the decade of shoot downs that had just taken place.

In the final sentence of his letter to Secretary McNamara recommending the operations, Lemnitzer made a grab for even more power asking that the Joint Chiefs be placed in charge of carrying out Operation Northwoods and the invasion. “It is recommended,” he wrote, “that this responsibility for both oven and covert military operations be assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

At 2:30 on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 13, 1962, Lemnitzer went over last-minute details of Operation Northwoods with his covert action chief, Brigadier General William H. Craig, and signed the document. He then went to a “special meeting” in McNamara’s office. An hour later he met with Kennedy’s military representative, General Maxwell Taylor. What happened during those meetings is unknown. But three days later, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer that there was virtually no possibility that the U.S. would ever use overt military force in Cuba.

Undeterred, Lemnitzer and the Chiefs persisted, virtually to the point of demanding that they be given authority to invade and take over Cuba. About a month after submitting Operation Northwoods, they met the “tank,” as the JCS conference room was called, and agreed on the wording of a tough memorandum to McNamara. “The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that the Cuban problem must be solved in the near future,” they wrote. “Further, they see no prospect of early success in overthrowing the present communist regime either as a result of internal uprising or external political, economic or psychological pressures. Accordingly they believe that military intervention by the United States will be required to overthrow the present communist regime.”

Lemnitzer was virtually rabid in his hatred of Communism in general and Castro in particular “The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that the United States can undertake military intervention in Cuba without risk of general war” he continued. “They also believe that the intervention can be accomplished rapidly enough to minimize communist opportunities for solicitation of UN action.” However; what Lemnitzer was suggesting was not freeing the Cuban people, who were largely in support of Castro, but imprisoning them in a U.S. military-controlled police state. “Forces would assure rapid essential military control of Cuba,” he wrote. “Continued police action would be required.”

Concluding, Lemnitzer did not mince words: “[T]he Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that a national policy of early military intervention in Cuba be adopted by the United States. They also recommend that such intervention be undertaken as soon as possible and preferably before the release of National Guard and Reserve forces presently on active duty.”

By then McNamara had virtually no confidence in his military chief and was rejecting nearly every proposal the general sent to him. The rejections became so routine, said one of Lemnitzer’s former staff officers, that the staffer told the general that the situation was putting the military in an “embarrassing rut.” But Lemnitzer replied, “I am the senior military office–it’s my job to state what I believe and it’s his [McNamara’s] job to approve or disapprove.” “McNamara’s arrogance was astonishing,” said Lemnitzer’s aide, who knew nothing of Operation Northwoods. “He gave General Lemnitzer very short shrift and treated him like a schoolboy. The general almost stood at attention when he came into the room. Everything was ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘No, sir.’

Within months, Lemnitzer was denied a second term as JCS chairman and transferred to Europe as chief of NATO. Years later President Gerald Ford appointed Lemnitzer, a darling of the Republican right, to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Lemnitzer’s Cuba chief, Brigadier General Craig, was also transferred. Promoted to major general, he spent three years as chief of the Army Security Agency, NSA’s military arm.

Because of the secrecy and illegality of Operation Northwoods, all details remained hidden for forty years. Lemnitzer may have thought that all copies of the relevant documents had been destroyed; he was not one to leave compromising material lying around. Following the Bay of Pigs debacle, for example, he ordered Brigadier General David W Gray, Craig’s predecessor as chief of the Cuba project within the JCS, to destroy all his notes concerning Joint Chiefs actions and discussions during that period. Gray’s meticulous notes were the only detailed official records of what happened within the JCS during that time. According to Gray, Lemnitzer feared a congressional investigation and therefore wanted any incriminating evidence destroyed.

With the evidence destroyed, Lemnitzer felt free to lie to Congress. When asked, during secret hearings before a Senate committee, if he knew of any Pentagon plans for a direct invasion of Cuba he said he did not. Yet detailed JCS invasion plans had been drawn up even before Kennedy was inaugurated. And additional plans had been developed since. The consummate planner and man of details also became evasive, suddenly encountering great difficulty in recalling key aspects of the operation, as if he had been out of the country during the period. It was a sorry spectacle. Senator Gore called for Lemnitzer to be fired. “We need a shake up of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” he said. “We direly need a new chairman, as well as new members.” No one had any idea of Operation Northwoods.

Because so many documents were destroyed, it is difficult to determine how many senior officials were aware of Operation Northwoods. As has been described, the document was signed and fully approved by Lemnitzer and the rest of the Joint Chiefs and addressed to the Secretary of Defense for his signature. Whether it went beyond McNamara to the president and the attorney general is not known.

Even after Lemnitzer lost his job, the Joint Chiefs kept planning “pretext” operations at least into 1963. Among their proposals was a deliberately create a war between Cuba and any of a number of .n American neighbors. This would give the United States military an excuse to come in on the side of Cuba’s adversary and get rid of “A contrived ‘Cuban’ attack on an OAS [Organization of Americas] member could be set up,” said one proposal, “and the attacked state could be urged to ‘take measures of self-defense and request ice from the U.S. and OAS; the U.S. could almost certainly obtain necessary two-thirds support among OAS members for collective action against Cuba.”

Among the nations they suggested that the United States secretly were Jamaica and Trinidad-Tobago. Both were members of the Commonwealth; thus, by secretly attacking them and then blaming Cuba, the United States could lure England into the war Castro. The report noted, “Any of the contrived situations de above are inherently, extremely risky in our democratic system in which security can be maintained, after the fact, with very great difficulty. If the decision should be made to set up a contrived situation it be one in which participation by U.S. personnel is limited only to the most highly trusted covert personnel. This suggests the infeasibility of the use of military units for any aspect of the contrived situation.”

The report even suggested secretly paying someone in the Castro government to attack the United States: “The only area remaining for ration then would be to bribe one of Castro’s subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on [the U.S. naval base at] Guantanamo.” The act suggested–bribing a foreign nation to launch a violent attack American military installation–was treason.

In May 1963, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul H. Nitze sent a the White House proposing ‘a possible scenario whereby an attack on a United States reconnaissance aircraft could be exploited toward the end of effecting the removal of the Castro regime.’  In the event Cuba attacked a U-2, the plan proposed sending in additional American pilots, this time on dangerous, unnecessary low-level reconnaissance missions with the expectation that they would also be shot down, thus provoking a war.  ‘[T]he U.S. could undertake various measures designed to stimulate the Cubans to provoke a new incident,’ said the plan.  Nitze, however, did not volunteer to be one of the pilots.

One idea involved sending fighters across the island on ‘harassing reconnaissance’ and ‘show-off’ missions ‘flaunting our freedom of action, hoping to stir the Cuban military to action.’  ‘Thus,’ said the plan, ‘depending above all on whether the Cubans were or could be made to be trigger-happy, the development of the initial downing of a reconnaissance plane could lead at best to the elimination of Castro, perhaps to the removal of Soviet troops and the installation of ground inspection in Cuba, or at the least to our demonstration of firmness on reconnaissance.’  About a month later, a low-level flight was made across Cuba, but unfortunately for the Pentagon, instead of bullets it produced only a protest.

Lemnitzer was a dangerous-perhaps even unbalanced-right-wing extremist in an extraordinarily sensitive position during a critical period.  But Operation Northwoods also had the support of every single member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and even senior Pentagon official Paul Nitze argued in favor of provoking a phony war with Cuba.  The fact that the most senior members of all the services and the Pentagon could be so out of touch with reality and the meaning of democracy would be hidden for four decades.

In retrospect, the documents offer new insight into the thinking of the military’s star-studded leadership.   Although they never succeeded in launching America into a phony war with Cuba, they may have done so with Vietnam.  More than 50,000 Americans and more than 2 million Vietnamese were eventually killed in that war.

It has long been suspected that the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident-the spark that led to America’s long war in Vietnam-was largely staged or provoked by U.S. officials in order to build up congressional and public support for American involvement.  Over the years, serious questions have been raised about the alleged attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats on two American destroyers in the Gulf.  But defenders of the Pentagon have always denied such charges, arguing that senior officials would never engage in such deceit.

Now, however, in light of the Operation Northwoods documents, it at deceiving the public and trumping up wars for Americans to fight and die in was standard, approved policy at the highest levels of the Pentagon.  In fact, the Gulf of Tonkin seems right out of the Operation Northwoods playbook: ‘We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba . . . casualty lists in U.S. newspapers cause a helpful wave of indignation.’  One need only replace ‘Guantanamo Bay’ with ‘Tonkin Gulf,’ and ‘Cuba’ with ‘North Vietnam’ and the Gulf of Tonkin incident may or may not have been stage-managed, but the senior Pentagon leadership at the time was clearly capable of such deceit.”  James Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency; 2001