Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Is Media Matters Trying to Rewrite The History of My State?

Uh, check out Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's record when he was the governor of Maine. He was awful. Just sayin'.
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      I believe you are quite wrong. A very large percentage were, I would suspect most. You should look up "The Maine Law" a defacto abolition of capital punishment that had been in effect for quite a while. The legislature abolished it, in effect in 1835, under the "Maine Law". Its defacto abolition happened, first, in 1876, though abolition of it was briefly repealed in 1883, it was abolished, I hope for good, in 1887.
      Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was an enormous proponent of execution in opposition to that history of its abolition. Getting Media Matters to suppress that history won't do anything to change it.
    Here's a brief description of capital punishment in Maine before Chamberlain took office.

    For example, in 1835, Maine enacted what was in effect a moratorium on capital punishment after over ten thousand people who watched a hanging had to be restrained by police after they became unruly and began fighting. All felons sentenced to death would have to remain in prison at hard labor and could not be executed until one year had elapsed and then only on the governor's order. No governor ordered an execution under the 'Maine Law' for twenty-seven years."

    I can't see any other reason for them to remove that comment.   The last one was posted after I saw that notification about removing my original comment.   Anyone who wants to read Chamberlain's advocacy for the state killing people can read his inaugural addresses.  Starting with the first one.

    Here is a description of the last hangings in Maine, after Chamberlain campaigned for its reinstatement.

    The last hanging was on November 20, 1885 at the Maine State Prison in Thomaston. The victim was Daniel Wilkinson. However, the controversy that lead to its abolition in 1876 was based on a double hanging in 1875. There was serious doubt about the guilt of Lewis Wagner who protested his innocence to the end. John Gordon, the other person hanged at the same time, was carried to the gallows bleeding from a self-inflicted stab wound.

    According to some who have research the matter, “There was no time to wash Gordon off and, consequently, he was covered with blood and groaning as the deputies held him in a sitting position on a soap box placed upon the trap. Wagner looked down . . . and said, ‘Poor Gordon, poor Gordon, you are almost gone.’ Wagner again protested his innocence and said that someday the guilty party would be found.”

    The last double-hanging was on April 17, 1885 when two Italians, Carmine Santore and Raffaele Capone, were executed. Wilkinson was executed later that year in November, as noted above.


    1. History is what we want it to be. The Church killed "scientists" because it feared the truth. Nobody opposed capital punishment until the enlightened 21st century. And (apropos of the post below) MLK, Jr. wasn't a religious figure, just an ethical one. Or something.

      Still working my way through this whole "ethics without religion (i.e, Christianity)" debate, partly because it conflates "religion" with Christianity, and "Christianity" with a very particular view of God as Hairy Thunderer who will smite you for eating a cheeseburger or looking at a picture of a woman in a bikini who isn't your wife. I don't have a problem with your argument, I just can't get past the stone ignorance of the people arguing over this rather weirdly restrictive view of "ethics."

    2. Back then the Governor's term was one year. And Chamberlain was a Republican. During Reconstruction. How would Maine NOT re-elect him?

    3. His time in office was, actually, quite controversial, especially around capital punishment. I think what most people know about him is pretty much what Ken Burns included in his Civil War series. I read some more about him and came away thinking he was hardly the admirable figure Burns presented him as being.