Marilyn McGrath

Historical Bits and Pieces

Sigmund Freud: 1856-1939 – Austrian psychiatrist and founder of psychoanalysis. He worked, primarily, with hysteria patients in Vienna, using hypnosis to release their psychic traumas. Eventually, he rejected hypnosis in favor of free association, a method he devised that allowed images stored in the unconscious to emerge in the form of conscious recognition. Others who eagerly joined him, notably Carl Jung, later broke away in protest against Freud’s emphasis on infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex, as well as his early notion that femininity was failed masculinity. These practitioners did, however, retain Freud’s basic structure of analysis. His methods and theories had immeasurable impact on twentieth-century thought, not only in psychology, but in art, literature, education, and anthropology.
The couch that Freud’s patients used

Suffragettes in the U.S:In 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a prominent abolitionist, presented her Declaration of Sentiments. Modeling her document after the Declaration of Independence, she took a stand against the tyranny of men over women, comparing it to slavery. Among those to attend and sign her Declaration was Frederick Douglas, a renowned freed slave. Later, when she began working with Susan B. Anthony of the temperance movement, a new image was introduced to the American consciousness: drunken husbands beating their wives. Now, the call for a strict ban on alcohol marched alongside the right to vote. The attention garnered by prohibitionists and their adversaries superseded the original issue, though, and may have pushed women’s suffrage aside for a number of years. In January of 1918, perhaps due to the pressure of constant protesters outside the White House, President Woodrow Wilson announced his support of an amendment for women’s suffrage. It narrowly passed in the House, but the Senate refused to debate it until October. When they finally voted, the measure failed to pass by just three votes. After the congressional elections of 1918, the mood of the country was changing and most members returning to Congress were pro-suffrage. In June of 1920, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified. Prior to this date, the Territory of Wyoming and eight states had already passed such laws. Of interest to readers of my book: In 1912 lawmakers in territorial Arizona were advised to jettison their provision for women’s suffrage to ensure that statehood would go through. It did, and the measure was re-introduced a few months later when it passed. Women in the new state of Arizona were able to vote eight years before it became an amendment to the United States Constitution.

Pancho Villa: 1878-1923 (born Doroteo Arango) -- Legend has it that Villa, a worker on a hacienda in Durango, was forced to flee his home at age 16 after shooting the wealthy landowner who was about to rape his sister. The truth of the story is not known. He left for Chihuahua where he became a cattle rustler and took the name Francisco “Pancho” Villa, a well-known outlaw. His ability to evade capture caught the attention of Francisco Madera and others, who asked Villa for help in overthrowing President Porfirio Diaz. Since the president openly supported wealthy citizens who were gobbling up land traditionally held by the poor, Villa was only too happy to sign on. His raids against the federal army led to the president’s stepping down and self-exile in France. As a revolutionary, Villa rose to the rank of colonel and gained international prominence. He was even asked in 1912 to consult with movie producers on a film about his life as a soldier/outlaw. He led countless successful raids, and supported his vast army of peasants and their families with occasional train robberies. But at the same time, he was engaged in legitimate business ventures, some with U.S. financial backing. Villa attempted to retire quietly in Chihuahua, but by that time his various activities had made him enemies among the revolutionaries. He was gunned down, along with his bodyguards, while driving his automobile in 1923.

In his definitive biography, Friedrich Katz has this to say: "There are legends of Villa the Robin Hood, Villa the Napoleon of Mexico, Villa the ruthless killer, Villa the womanizer, and Villa the only foreigner who has attacked the mainland of the United States since the war of 1812 and gotten away with it." (His book predates 9/11.) Following his attack on Columbus, New Mexico, the U.S. sent several thousand soldiers across the border to find Villa, but after a year they gave up and went home.

Mr. Katz writes that Villa was remarkable, not for the legends and myths that surrounded him, but because his Division del Norte was probably the largest revolutionary army that Latin America ever produced, and because the revolution he led was one of few twentieth-century uprisings that remains legitimate to this day in the eyes of its own people. Villa confined his war to a specific region, and played an enormous role in reallocating land in Chihuahua and stabilizing the economy.

Roosevelt Dam: In 1903 ranchers and farmers in metropolitan Phoenix who were concerned about the management of water rights joined forces to form the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association. This became part of the first water and power reclamation project started under President Theodore Roosevelt’s National Reclamation Act. This visionary piece of legislation allowed money from the sale of public lands in the West to be used for reclamation projects that would enhance growth and settlement of the western territories and states. Construction began in 1904, and power from the dam was delivered to Phoenix Light and Power Company in 1909. When completed, it was the tallest masonry dam in the world at 280 feet, and it cost $10.3 million. Former President Roosevelt came to Arizona to dedicate the dam, named for him, in March of 1911. In his speech, he claimed the National Reclamation Act and the Panama Canal as the two greatest achievements of his administration. The effect of the dam was felt immediately. Water stored in the newly created lake irrigated over 130,000 acres, saving untold crops from almost-certain failure. It is widely believed that the successful completion of this modern dam enabled Arizona to finally achieve statehood on February 14, 1912, the 48th state of the Union.