100 years ago: U.S. on brink of two wars
                 Economy booms, income tax ruled legal, Babe Ruth pitches
                             Spoilin' The Broth by Bill Cooke
                              Rockdale Reporter - 2016-01-14

Here’s our second issue of the new year and time to see what was happening in 1916, just
a short 100 years ago, as per reference book Chronicles of America.

• U.S. and Mexico on the brink of war? Yep. President Woodrow Wilson sent Gen. John J.
Pershing with 12,000 soldiers to pursue Mexican rebel Pancho Villa deep into Mexico after
Villa’s soldiers crossed the border and killed Americans in New Mexico and Texas. The
U.S. lost 18 soldiers to Villa’s forces at Carrizal, Mexico. Congress, was calling for a
full-force U.S. intervention.

• In the first Rose Bowl football game played since 1902, Washington State defeated Brown
14-0. After that 1902 game, football fell into disrepute because of deaths and injuries.
But with the legalization of the forward pass, the end of the flying wedge and other
safety changes, the sport was winning back favor.

• President Woodrow Wilson (D) won a second term, defeating Charles Evan Hughes (R).
Wilson campaigned on having kept the U.S. out of the European war (WWI) while Hughes
favored direct American intervention in both Europe and Mexico.

• Congress passed a Child Labor Law. The Keating- Owen Act banned interstate commerce of
goods made by children under 14.

• Margaret Sanger opened the nation’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn. In 1914,
she had been jailed for distributing birth-control leaflets.

• Seattle timber magnate William E. Boeing established Boeing Airplane Co. with 21
employees, mostly carpenters and seamstresses. He vowed to build 50 Model C biplanes for
the navy.

• American industry boomed as war raged overseas. Foreign trade hit a record $8 billion;
domestic output hit a high of $45 billion. Prices and wages were up, the jobless rate
low. Continued talk of war sent stock prices soaring.

• National Committee on Public Morals of the American Federation of Catholic Societies
warned of “alien radicalism” regarding divorce and the “foisting upon our women and
children immoral films and insidious attacks on Christianity.”

• Ford’s mass production lines turned out almost 2,000 cars a day. Its sales of 534,000
cars represented one-third of all brands sold.

• John Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, invented Lincoln Logs so kids could
build too.

• Congress passed National Defense Act, doubling the size of the regular army. A movie,
The Fall of a Nation, depicting an invasion of the U.S. by a Germanic-looking army, plus
the sinking of the liner Lusitania by German U-boats, caused a groundswell of support for
military buildup.

• Professional Golfers Association (PGA) was founded. • Supreme Court, in Brushaber vs.
Union Pacific, ruled that the federal income tax is constitutional.

• Norman Rockwell’s first Saturday Evening Post cover illustration appeared.

• Congress’ Admanson Act established 8-hour workday for all railroad employees.

• Boston Red Sox won World Series 4 games to 1 over Brooklyn Dodgers. Babe Ruth pitched a
6-hit win.

• Jeannette Rankin became first woman elected to Congress.

• Humorist Will Rogers, in Ziegfeld Follies in NYC, said, “All I know is what I read in
the papers.”

• Psychologist L.M. Terman, developer of intelligence test, coins term “IQ” for
intelligence quotient.

Bill Cooke


Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America
Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
All Credit for this article
goes to Bill Cooke 
and the
Rockdale Reporter