Damn Interesting Reblog: The Petticoat Rebellion of 1916

On 05 December 1916, the polls opened at 8:00am, but the town’s women behaved as if it were any other day. Instead of rushing to the polls, the town’s female residents tidied their homes, ran their businesses, supervised their children. With the morning’s chores taken care of, the women hit the polls around 2:00pm—and it was obvious they had a plan.

Electoral participation in Oregon has a long, colorful history of citizen engagement. From the passage of Measure 60 in 1998, which established vote-by-mail as our standard voting mechanism, to this year’s adoption of the Motor Voter Act, which turns an opt-in process into an opt-out process through automatic registration through the DMV, voters in Oregon don’t mess around when it comes to exercising their constitutional rights.

umatillaofficialsThe Petticoat Rebellion of 1916 in Umatilla might take the cake for ‘not messing around’ with the voting process. Shortly after women gained the right to vote in Oregon, a council of women in the small town of Umatilla exercised their newfound right and took over not only the mayoral post, but the city council and several city government posts in a single, well planned clean sweep.

They didn’t stop there. Over the course of the Council’s four years in charge, they changed the direction of Umatilla city management.

Want to learn more? Read about the Rebellion here at Damn Interesting, or another take on the incident over here and over here.

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SmartPeople RePodcast: How the Federal Reserve was created

“…Roger (Lowenstein) shows how our current distrust of big government is exactly the same as when Americans did not want a central bank. Americans’ mistrust of big government and of big banks was so widespread that modernizing reform was deemed impossible. Each bank was left to stand on its own, with no central reserve or lender of last resort. The real-world consequences of this chaotic and provincial system were frequent financial panics, bank runs, money shortages, and depressions. Roger… tells the drama-laden story of how America created the Federal Reserve…”

For better or worse (depending on who you ask), our financial system is a crucial part of how modern America functions. But how did it come to be, and how might life have been different under a less centralized system? Roger Lowenstein explores these questions and more over at smartpeoplepodcast.com.

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Radiolab RePodcast: Questions of Jurisdiction

This entertaining and surprising podcast episode from Radiolab explores questions of jurisdiction and authority when it comes to federal and state power…and throws in some lurid (but SFW) tales to illustrate the concepts presented in the piece.

James Madison considered the early document of the Constitution to be “riddled with compromise,” with matters of jurisdiction between state and federal governments frequently left vague. Eventually he came to consider the Constitution to be, rather than a prescriptive set of answers for the young nation, a “framework for argument” that would act as a living (and changing) document well into the future.

Even today, local, state and federal entities work within frameworks that are ambiguous and sometimes face disagreements and public misunderstandings about who is, or should be, in charge. Is the ambiguity of power under the U.S. Constitution an asset to democracy, as Madison came around to thinking, or is it a barrier to decision-making and effective governance? These questions, and more like them, are discussed in a breezy 22 minute thought piece.

Listen in below, or click here to tune in to the episode titled ‘Sex, Ducks & the Founding Feud.’


Want more Radiolab? Click here.

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