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Annals Of Senate Appointment History

Rick Hertzberg has an entertaining riff on some of the highlights and lowlights over the years, including this one:

On the other hand there was Senator Rebecca Felton. In 1922, Thomas Hardwick, the governor of Georgia, hoping to ingratiate himself with newly enfranchised women voters (he was in the doghouse for having opposed the Nineteenth Amendment), made gimmicky history by appointing a woman, the first ever, to the world’s supposedly most exclusive club. Mrs. Felton, an eighty-seven-year-old suffragist and prohibitionist, spent one day in the job before being displaced by an elected successor. If she is not remembered today as a feminist heroine, perhaps it has something to do with her bloodcurdling enthusiasm for murder as the surest remedy for interracial relationships of the sort that gave us our soon-to-be President. As she said on August 11, 1897, “When there is not enough religion in the pulpit to organize a crusade against sin; nor justice in the court house to promptly punish crime; nor manhood enough in the nation to put a sheltering arm about innocence and virtue—if it needs lynching to protect woman’s dearest possession from drunken, ravening beasts—then I say lynch a thousand a week.”

I guess she’d have been a PUMA.

--Noam Scheiber