Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Great War: October 29, 1918

A hundred years ago, the armistice that ended the First World War was less than two weeks away. A midterm election, which in 1918 took place on Tuesday, November 5, was also only days away. President Woodrow Wilson was in the middle of his second term in office. 

The front page of the Columbia Republican for October 29, 1918, displayed prominently two headlines. The headline at the left accompanied a report about a mass meeting of Republicans at Carnegie Hall at which former president Theodore Roosevelt was the leading speaker.

In the article that followed, the text of Roosevelt's speech was introduced with these comments: 
[He] was strong in his denunciation of Wilson's "fourteen points" which he characterized as a "type-writer settlement" and his continued chastisement of the administration and its delays swept the house with thunders of applause. Col. Roosevelt did not mince matters. He said the time for soft words had long gone by.
The Fourteen Points, which Wilson outlined in a speech to Congress on January 18, 1918, were the principles being used in the peace negotiations to end World War I.

The right side of the front page carried this headline, accompanying the report on President Wilson's most recent response to the Germans in the peace negotiations.

It should be noted that in the 1918 midterm election the Republicans gained six seats in the Senate and twenty-five in the House of Representatives and took control of both houses.

Further exploring the politics of the time, page two of the Columbia Republican for October 29, 1918, featured this item, accusing New York gubernatorial candidate Alfred E. Smith, a Democrat, of trying to disenfranchise rural voters. 

This accusation, of course, was meant to appeal to voters in the very rural Columbia County, but nevertheless, Smith won the race for governor of New York, unseating the incumbent governor, Charles S. Whitman.

Page three of the Columbia Republican for October 29, 1918, presents a sobering reminder of what else was happening in Hudson a hundred years ago. The page was filled with obituaries--sixty-four of them, fifty of which contained a line similar to this one: "Death came as a result of influenza which developed into pneumonia." On the penultimate page of the newspaper this item appears, intimating the severity of the pandemic.

The Charles W. Macy Co, a lumber dealer, was located at 550 Union Street, the current location of VFW Post 1314.


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