Meintz was tarred and feathered for not supporting War Bond drives.
Anti-German hysteria runs rampant during the war. The Minnesota Commission of Public Safety is given sweeping powers to bully German Minnesotans, suppress the right of free speech, break strikes, and even remove elected officials from office.*
Our Constitution is designed to protect us from both tyranny of the majority or tyranny of the minority.
“In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” – Speech, Constitutional Convention June 29th 1787 (https://thefederalistpapers.org/founders/james-madison-quotes)
To offer some more specific historical context, read the excerpt from Matt Reicher’s article on the MNopedia site.
“The U.S. entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Minnesota legislators worked quickly to pass war-related laws before the end of their spring session. As a result, the Sullivan bill saw very little debate. It passed both houses and was signed into law by Burnquist on April 16, 1917. The MCPS took control of many of the state’s regulatory, public safety, and military functions.
Throughout its tenure the MCPS provided useful services. It distributed food, controlled the prices of goods, and conserved fuel. However, it is best known for its use of secret surveillance, intimidation, and other extreme tactics in the name of protecting Minnesota’s citizens.
Ensuring clear-cut loyalty to America eventually overtook the MCPS’s other efforts. Commissioners regarded any lack of patriotism as rebellion. Political beliefs were irrelevant. Governor Burnquist maintained that there were only two parties during the war: “loyal” and “disloyal”. He and the MCPS praised the former and tried to eliminate the latter.” (ibid http://www.mnopedia.org/group/minnesota-commission-public-safety)
As defined by the American Psychological Association, ambiguity is “a perceptual object that may have more than one interpretation. (http://www.apa.org/research/action/glossary.aspx) One problem with loyalty litmus tests is that they often force emotional ambiguity upon society. Citizens face the dilemma of feigning outward compliance to the law, but inwardly rejecting its divisiveness and lack of subtlety.
It is significant that this bifurcating mania existed towards our State’s most populous ethnicity during the run up to World War I. “The largest flow of German immigration to America occurred between 1820 and World War I, during which time nearly six million Germans immigrated to the United States. From 1840 to 1880, they were the largest group of immigrants.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Americans#World_War_I_anti-German_sentiment)
German Americans compose a plurality in New York, Pennsylvania, and the Midwestern states. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Americans)
Lord, hear our prayer! In the era of WWI, we allowed a consensus opinion to beat down the rights of German Americans solely on the basis of their race. In offending them, the largest and most populous group of Minnesotans, we have offended You. We have treated citizens as suspects: in social circles, in their work life, in their property, and in their faith. Have mercy!
Will You restore to German Americans the damages done to them in this chapter of history? Will You forgive our fears that overcame wise law during the Great War? Will You forgive us from literally erasing their names from the persons, places, and things of Minnesota? Will You forgive the MCPS and Minnesotans from “piling on” of shame over imagined offenses, instead of dealing solely with real guilt of actually breaking the law through collaborating with an enemy during wartime?
Contrarily, will You forgive the judgments of German Americans towards the MCPS and the State? Will You free them from the weight of maintaining the offense of their humilations? Will You remove this historic offense up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Only You can bear our sins, and change us into overcomers!
In our present and future, will You help us slow down our destructive reactionary responses to war and rumors of war through the gateway of our fears? Your Word says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear is by suspicion, but he who fears is not grown up in love. 1John 4:18 Aramaic Bible in Plain English*** Will You help us to trust our neighbors, and honor the rights, privileges, and duties of their citizenship as much as our own?
Will You protect us from societal damages through the means of group and identity politics? We cherish our race, or our subculture, but You have called us beyond our ethnicities as individuals! Our worth to You is not based one our “ism”, “hyphen”, our other marker; we are worthy because You have called us worthy!
Further, will You heal Your Church to be cognizant that our first citizenship is in Heaven? Will You free us from the Enemy’s triggers, and the bait of ethnic-based offense? We relinquish our rights to maintain an offense and declare the Jubilee of Your grace towards all people of Minnesota now and always. Maranatha!
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**Find primary sources of the Minnesota commission of Public Safety. http://invention.si.edu/minnesota-commission-public-safety-main-files-1917-1919