Social engineering – policies aimed at influencing behavior by carrot and/or stick – has been going on almost as long as humans have been gathering carrots and/or sticks. Here’s an example from 1915, as reported in a page one story in the Minneapolis Tribune.
City Jobs Will Go
to Married Men
Council Gives Preference to Common Laborers With Dependents.
After Them Will Come Citizens – Non-Citizens to Be Third Choice.
Rule Will Take 300 “First Paper” Residents Off the Payroll.
Outlining a new policy which is to govern the employment of crews on city construction work in the future, the City Council yesterday afternoon decided that married men and those with relatives dependent upon them should be given preference over all others by heads of departments employing common labor. Men who have lived in the city for over one year and who are citizens of the United States will have no difficulty in getting work under this system.
As many laborers in the employment of the city have their homes outside the city limits, the Council decided these men should be second choice in the selection of construction crews. Non-citizens who have taken out their first papers will be third choice and those who have no papers at all must wait until all others have found work before they can be employed in the different crews. Married men will be given preference over the single workers in each class.
300 Will Lose Jobs.
The new rule will put 300 first paper men out of jobs and will be the means of the same number of citizens and residents getting work. In the former group are many men who have worked for the city for over 30 years, but who have neglected to get their first citizenship papers. Many are home owners and taxpayers with large families, but they will be dropped from the payrolls next week to make room for the married citizens now out of work.
Alderman Dight refused to vote on the resolution setting forth the new system, declaring he could not conscientiously vote to throw men out of their jobs. He offered a motion directing the Minneapolis Street Railway company to build an extension from Twenty-fifth street and Thirty-sixth avenue south to Forty-second avenue and Fortieth street, saying this work would relieve the condition of unemployment which now prevails in the city, but the motion was sent to the committee on street railway matters along with another motion for an extension on Crystal Lake avenue north from Twenty-sixth avenue to the city limits. The Dight motion asked that work be started at once and the new line be completed within six months.
|Car 1389 of the Como-Harriet line in Minneapolis about 1911. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society) |
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The Minnesota State Fair has featured many unusual attractions in its 150-year history: death-defying aerial acts, colliding locomotives, freak shows, live animal births, the Minnesota Iceman and premature babies in incubators. Wait … what? The Minneapolis Morning Tribune was there:
This Minneapolis Tribune story is a mess. But the headline is sublime.
"We're more popular than Jesus now," John Lennon told an British journalist in 1966. A year later, the Monkees' Mike Nesmith, in the Twin Cities for a show at the St. Paul Auditorium, humbly explained his band's place in the cosmic pecking order.
Read it in the voice of Garrison Keillor for the full effect.
A musically inclined vagrant known as Banjo Ben walked the streets of Minneapolis in the city's early days. His weakness for alcohol and penchant for strong language landed him in court with some frequency. In February 1876, for example, he was sentenced to 20 days in jail for spewing obscenities at the St. Paul and Pacific depot. Later that year, he walked into the Tribune newsroom and issued an invitation to witness a spectacular feat at the new suspension bridge under construction nearby.
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