Today’s travels took me to Springfield, Massachusetts, by the means of the Springfield Republican dated March 6, 1917, where the headlines announce “President Wilson Takes Oath”, “Firm Stand for Armed Neutrality – Nation Poised on Verge of War”. “Woodrow Wilson, with the major part of the world at war and America poised on its verge, consecrated his second inauguration as president of the United States at Washington yesterday with a last message of hope for peace… the president renewed his oath of allegiance to the constitution, praying to God that he might be given wisdom and prudence to do his duty in the true spirit of the American people…” Just in case anyone thinks the United States is more politically divided by geographic region today than it was 100 years ago…
This week I traveled to New York City by the way of the New York Tribune, February 6, 1917. I found “Immigration Bill Wins Over Veto” “Senate Adopts Measure, with Literacy Test Passed by House” as being a headline on this issue. “For the first time in the Wilson Administration, a bill has been passed over the Presidential veto… the bill had twenty-four votes more than enough to pass the bill over the veto… The Senate’s action to-day was in spite of a fervent warning by Senator James A. Reed, of Missouri, that such action might lead to hostilities with Japan…”
A segment of the literacy test meant that people had to be able to read English to enter our country but there was a fear of curtailing Asians, especially Japan.
Today I traveled back to August 5, 1914 by the way of The Omaha Daily Bee Extra. There I found the banner headline announcing “Great Britain and Germany to War”. For the past few months, things have been unsettled in Europe, however in just the past few days it had now escalated after Germany had invaded the neutral countries of Belgium and Luxembourg as they were advancing towards France causing Great Britain to join in. Still at this point, “Neutrality of the United States in the great European war was formally proclaimed today by President Wilson…”. However we know that did not hold true as we joined the war in 1917.