The Difference of 100 Years

Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and realize how far the world has come in the past one hundred years. While our generations can get stuck in the day-to-day grind of work, school, marriage, children, personal life, and electronic life, life was much slower in 1917. Or was it?

Suffragists are arrested as they picket the White House. Over the course of the year, more than 1,000 women picket to support the proposed “Anthony amendment” to the Constitution that would guarantee women the right to vote. 218 protesters are arrested from June to November. The 19th Amendment would not be ratified until August 18, 1920.

Russian Revolution. Rumblings began in 1913, but with the abdication of Czar Nicholas II of Russia in March and under the leadership of Lenin in summer 1917, people came out in droves in Petrograd to revolt. Lenin’s committee included Stalin and Trotsky. The Bolsheviks seize control of the Russian Government by October. The Revolution was the precursor to the Russian Civil War (1917-1922) and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.

Al Capone becomes “Scarface” from knife fight. Capone insults a woman while working as a doorman of a Brooklyn night club. This provokes a fight with her brother, earning Capone three slashes on the left side of his face. He later misrepresents his injuries as war wounds.

Houdini performs his first “Buried Alive” escape. In 1917, his first attempt of the trick almost cost the magician his life. He was buried, without a casket, in a six-foot earthen pit. He tried to dig to the surface but became weak at the top, becoming unconscious after breaking the surface. He later perfected the escape in 1926, using controlled breathing to stay buried for over an hour.

United States declares war on Germany. Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare as well as invited Mexico to join the war as Germany’s ally against the United States. This “Zimmerman telegram” promised that Germany would finance Mexico’s war and help the country recover Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. On April 6, the United States formally enters World War I. President Wilson proposes a preliminary Army of 500,000 soldiers and that the United States will cooperate with the Allied Powers.

The Selective Service bill passes Congress. Under this Act, passed in May, all male citizens (and intended citizens), between the ages of 21 and 30, were subject to register their names for possible enrollment. By the end of WWI, 24 million men had registered, with 2.8 million men drafted.

Ella Fitzgerald is born. On April 25, one of the world’s most acclaimed jazz singers is born in Virginia. Over a 59-year career, the “Queen of Scat” won 13 Grammy awards, sold over 40 million albums, and was recognized for her vocal gift by two presidents.

1917 World Series. In this historical set of games, the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Giants four games to two. The White Sox would not win another World Series until 2005.

What will the world remember about 2017?

Assistance with extractions from

Jennifer Helton Holt

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  1. What a great post! Thanks for sharing all these things. With the Internet, get so caught up in the news and happenings of today that we sometimes forget to look back at where we were 100 years ago.

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