THE SHAME OF A GREAT NATION by E. Norine Law
Written in 1909, published by the “United Evangelical Publishing House” of Harrisburg, PA, this book is of great historical and cultural significance. The book documents that there was a national, and international, human slave trade infesting the major metropolitan centers of the United States at the turn of the 20th century, a kidnapping ring which preyed upon innocent young women, abducting them, beating them, enslaving them, indebting them, and finally converting them into prostitutes in the red light districts of New York, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, and other American cities.
The domestic nerve center of this “white slave trade,” as it was called back then, was—you guessed it—the infamously corrupt Tammany Hall political machine of New York. Naive young girls just off the farm, or wide-eyed, frightened young immigrant girls were the favored victims of the nationwide ring of pimps, which were apparently called “cadets” back then. These “cadets” were backed by the corrupt political machines of each metropolitan center they infested, and these political machines controlled and corrupted the police department of each city, which was how the “cadet” could offer protection from prosecution for his harem of prostitutes. No doubt much the same process happens today with only slight variations; still, it is interesting to find that it was prevalent in “God-breathed” America so long ago. These “cadets,” by the way, as well as the higher-ups of this 19th century ring of human trafficking in America, were nearly all recently immigrated European criminals and lowlifes: This fact is interesting to encounter because it vindicates even more the warnings of American inventor Samuel Morse, who was writing about the dangers of American laissez-faire immigration policy three-quarters of a century prior to all this brouha.
This is also very interesting history because nowadays this is “memory-holed” history. It has been excised from the textbooks. How convenient.
The only negative about this book is that it is much too heavy and relentless on the rhetoric. There are facts and dates supplied enough to prove the charges, to be sure, but this author clearly preferred to use rhetoric over facts all too often. She makes it clear that she was pushing the “Temperance Movement” also, which movement would result, a little over a decade after this book was published, in the Prohibition Era of the 1920s. Thus it is also interesting to read how the author’s several rhetorical predictions that the abolishment of alcohol would cure the woes of America were proven to be groundless. The fault, the sin, lay in the heart of mankind. You can’t legislate that away. Religious crusaders never fail to lose sight of that, do they?
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