The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

McCarthy-era Madison Capital-Times era journo dies

A personal reminiscence by Dennis Hertzel in the York Daily Record (December 14) of John Patrick Hunter.

Hunter worked for William Evjue's Cap Times in the early 50s, when the rag was a thorn in Tail Gunner Joe's side.

There's a nice story about Hunter back then:
It was on the 4th of July in 1951 that Hunter was told - as reporters still are told today - to find a holiday story that might be more interesting than the standard fare of parades and fireworks. Hunter later recalled that he saw a copy of the Declaration of Independence posted on the newsroom wall as he left.

"I went by and saw it and thought, this is real revolutionary," Hunter said in a 2001 interview, recounting how he felt as he read those stirring words. "I wonder if I could get people to sign it now."

So he took the preamble, six of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights and the 15th amendment to the Constitution - the one that says the rights of citizens can't be denied because of race, color or previous servitude. He typed them into a petition and went to Vilas Park in Madison to see if anyone would sign it.

Hunter reported that he talked to 112 people that day. Only one would sign it. Twenty accused him of being a Communist and "many said they feared repercussions if they signed any petitions."

He calls Evjue an
outspoken partisan[] for the American Progressive movement - a subject that probably gets about 10 minutes in most U.S. history courses these days.

I can't believe that's right - Prohibition, muckraking and the Trusts, that wen Wilson: aren't they all Progressivism in one form or another?

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