Friday, September 16, 2016

History: The Year is 1872

I've uploaded year 1872 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The First Female Presidential Candidate is NOT a Witch -- She is a serious candidate but they try to smear her. They have a lot of good material so I talk about past smearing of women in politics.

Surprise! John Wilkes Booth Gets Married -- There is a marriage certificate. DNA evidence is available but no one is willing to check.

In Other News -- The secret ballot, Yellowstone Park and Popular Science magazine.

The First Female Presidential Candidate is NOT a Witch

She is also not a prostitute, not a man, and not a lesbian. Victoria Woodhull is a suffragette and despite any criticism she might receive in the modern day, she is a serious candidate. Given the obvious corruption of the U.S. Grant Administration and the inept campaign of the Democrat's candidate, Horace Greeley, just about anyone stands a chance at the presidency. Woodhull is a newspaper editor and successful stockbroker at a time when women are not allowed to trade in the stock exchange. Luckily for women, one is not required to use the stock exchange to exchange stocks, and she contracts with men who can make the trades for her where she is prohibited. Commodore Vanderbilt is one of her clients, and he has made millions following her advice, so she is a contender. Woodhull is running under the Equal Rights Party and they nominate Frederick Douglass (the popular author and ex-slave) as her vice-presidential running mate. This is news to him, but he doesn't disavow the nomination, and he is member of the electoral college for New York so it's official. Since newspapers are often used as political instruments, having Woodhull as a newspaper editor is not a problem, but a few days before the election, Federal marshals arrest her for publishing an obscene newspaper. Months later she is acquitted, but the damage is done. She will try for the presidential nomination again in 1884, but controversies surrounding her messy divorce will cause the suffragettes to distance themselves from her. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Woodhull was not a witch. She was a medium. With so many dead after the War Between the States, surviving relatives were in despair, so there was a market for mediums who could contact the dead. Woodhull was also a hypnotist, so her work as a medium might be considered therapeutic. Nowadays, there is a popular TV show called Long Island Medium. I doubt it is real but she seems to think she is helping people. Fine. She is not asking me to participate, and lots of people pray to their dead relatives or dead saints. It is so common that the practice is usually ignored... unless you are a politician. Then if you drop to your knees and pray to God for strength you are labelled a nut. First Lady Nancy Reagan consulted her horoscope because of her concern for her husband's safety. It seemed a little foolish, but harmless. When Christine O'Donnell was running for the Senate a video of her younger self showed her declaring herself to be a witch. It seemed like a kid's joke to me, but the controversy overwhelmed her campaign so that she produced an ad beginning with "I am not a witch". ([Click Here]) Her denial did more damage to her campaign than if she had said, "Heck yeah! I'm a witch! Kiss my backside, you jerks!" The other controversy with Victoria Woodhull seems almost trivial. She was 34 years old. Her birthday fell a few days before inauguration so if she had won, she would have been 35 when she took the oath of office. At the time no one cared, but apparently modern historians care now. The issues for female candidates are not tougher... just different. At least she had no missing emails to worry about. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Surprise! John Wilkes Booth Gets Married

And I didn't send a card. Since the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, a number of conspiracy theories have cropped up concerning the final arrangements for his assassin, John Wilkes Booth. He was supposedly killed in a shootout a few days later, but there was a witness who told federal officials that Booth was NOT in the barn before they started shooting it full of holes. The body they dragged out had the wrong hair color, and bore a strong resemblance to James W. Boyd, a Confederate soldier who disappeared around the same time. A quick investigation followed and the body was expertly identified as that of John Wilkes Booth. Then the body was dumped in the river so it would not become a rallying point. It was sort of like dumping Osama bin Laden's body in the ocean, only the public actually saw a body dumped in the river. Case closed. Right? Well, the body was never identified by his relatives. In fact, they were excluded from ever seeing the body. Testimony from the coroner's children years later, indicates that a lot of pressure was put on the doctors to identify the body of Booth as quickly as possible, probably to quell any controversy. But the controversy simply expanded. The only solid proof (if that is what you want to call it) occurs this year when someone in Tennessee named John St. Helen marries a woman named Louisa Payne. He admits to her that St. Helen is not his real name. He is really John Wilkes Booth. Louisa is horrified! But not by the fact that he is an evil assassin. She is horrified that she has married a man under a false name! She drags him back to the courthouse and makes him marry her again under his correct name, and that is how we know that Booth got away alive. [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Is any of this true? The marriage certificate exists. Whether it is really Booth or another man with the same name or simply John St. Helen pulling the wool over his new wife's eyes for the thrill of it, is anyone's guess. However, there is a means of determining part of the truth. There is a sample of Booth's DNA in the form of bones kept from the original autopsy. They are stored (but not displayed) at a museum. His brother lies in the grave. If the DNA of those two closely match, as they should, then John St. Helen is a fraud and all of this speculation is simple silliness. They still haven't checked, though, so the controversy rages on. There is speculation that Booth's body was mummified and placed on display at the circus. In fact a circus did claim they had his body, but it has long since disappeared. Maybe some day we will know for sure, but I'm fairly sure he is dead by now. Yeah. Fairly sure. [8]

In Other News

  • The UK now has a secret ballot. IT'S THE LAW! Before this time, factory owners would helpfully review their employee's ballot to make sure they were voting correctly. Now all they can do is check the bumper stickers on our cars. I brake for unicorns. [9] [10]
  • Yellowstone is dedicated as the first national park. The area spans the Montana and Wyoming territories. Over 2 million acres is set aside as a park for the enjoyment of the nation's citizens. But there is going to be a war with the Indians north of there, so don't pack up your RV just yet. [11]
  • Popular Science Magazine begins publication. They are currently reprinting articles from English journals from such distinguished scientists and philosophers as Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer. I read a great article from 1872 on how schools are making our kids stupid. Ah... it never ends. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1872, Wikipedia.

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