Friday, November 9, 2018

The Great War: November 5, 1918

In the weeks before this past Tuesday's midterm election, we were constantly reminded that midterm elections are typically bad for the party that controls the White House. Examples cited to demonstrate the axiom usually went back couple of decades, but they could have gone back as far as a century. In 1918, Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, was president. The headlines in the Columbia Republican on Tuesday, November 5, Election Day in 1918, announced the triumph of the Republican Party at the polls.

We have to be a little suspicious of the results reported by the Columbia Republican on Election Day 1918, especially since they declared an outcome before the "soldier vote" was received. Republican Charles Seymour Whitman was not re-elected to a third term as governor of New York. Instead, he lost to Democrat Al Smith. It does appear that Daniel V. McNamee, a Hudson lawyer and presumably a Democrat, did go down "to a crushing defeat" in his run for re-election as county judge. In the Hudson city directories for 1916 and 1917, "County Judge" appears after McNamee's name in the directory. In the years immediately after 1918, his occupation appears as simply "Lawyer." 

In the category of "It Was Ever Thus," Hudson in 1918 was a Democratic stronghold in a predominantly Republican county. Mayor Charles S. Harvey, a Democrat, was re-elected to a fourth term, and every alderman but one elected in 1918 was a Democrat. It seems, however, based on the report in the Columbia Republican, that the women of Hudson, voting for the first time in a midterm election, proved not as predictable as some expected. Instead of simply replicating their husbands' votes, hence doubling the number of Democratic votes in Hudson, it seems the women of Hudson may have demonstrated they had minds of their own by voting Republican, the party which at the time was seen to be more supportive of woman suffrage.

Meanwhile, less than a week before the armistice that ended World War I was signed, the front page of the Columbia Republican also reported that French, British, and American troops continued to press forward . . .   

and German leaders were deciding whether or not to accept the terms of surrender agreed to by the allied governments--terms rumored to be "no less drastic than those accepted by Austria, which strip that nation of its war-making machinery both on land and sea and compel the evacuation not only of occupied territory, but part of its own soil."


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