27
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-27-2008: Quakers

October 27, 1659

Quakers executed for religious beliefs

William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, two Quakers who came from England in 1656 to escape religious persecution, are executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for their religious beliefs. The two had violated a law passed by the Massachusetts General Court the year before, banning Quakers from the colony under penalty of death.

The Religious Society of Friends, whose members are commonly known as Quakers, was a Christian movement founded by George Fox in England during the early 1650s. Quakers opposed central church authority, preferring to seek spiritual insight and consensus through egalitarian Quaker meetings. They advocated sexual equality and became some of the most outspoken opponents of slavery in early America. Robinson and Stevenson, who were hanged from an elm tree on Boston Common in Boston, were the first Quakers to be executed in America. Quakers found solace in Rhode Island and other colonies, and Massachusetts’ anti-Quaker laws were later repealed.

In the mid 18th century, John Woolman, an abolitionist Quaker, traveled the American colonies, preaching and advancing the anti-slavery cause. He organized boycotts of products made by slave labor and was responsible for convincing many Quaker communities to publicly denounce slavery. Another of many important abolitionist Quakers was Lucretia Mott, who worked on the Underground Railroad in the 19th century, helping lead fugitive slaves to freedom in the Northern states and Canada. In later years, Mott was a leader in the movement for women’s rights.

“Quakers executed for religious beliefs.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Oct 2008, 11:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5472.

On This Day

1787 – The first of the Federalist Papers were published in the New York Independent. The series of 85 essays, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, were published under the pen name “Publius.”

1795 – The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo. The treaty is also known as “Pinckney’s Treaty.”

1880 – Theodore Roosevelt married Alice Lee.

1938 – Du Pont announced “nylon” as the new name for its new synthetic yarn.

1954 – Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were divorced. They had been married on January 14, 1954.

1978 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for their progress toward achieving a Middle East accord.

1994 – The U.S. Justice Department announced that the U.S. prison population had exceeded one million for the first time in American history.

1997 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 554.26 points. The stock market was shut down for the first time since the 1981 assassination attempt on U.S. President Reagan.

2002 – Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected president of Brazil in a runoff. He was the country’s first elected leftist leader.

October 27, 1962

The United States and Soviet Union step back from brink of nuclear war

Complicated and tension-filled negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union finally result in a plan to end the two-week-old Cuban Missile Crisis. A frightening period in which nuclear holocaust seemed imminent began to come to an end.

Since President John F. Kennedy’s October 22 address warning the Soviets to cease their reckless program to put nuclear weapons in Cuba and announcing a naval “quarantine” against additional weapons shipments into Cuba, the world held its breath waiting to see whether the two superpowers would come to blows. U.S. armed forces went on alert and the Strategic Air Command went to a Stage 4 alert (one step away from nuclear attack). On October 24, millions waited to see whether Soviet ships bound for Cuba carrying additional missiles would try to break the U.S. naval blockade around the island. At the last minute, the vessels turned around and returned to the Soviet Union.

On October 26, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev responded to the quarantine by sending a long and rather disjointed letter to Kennedy offering a deal: Soviet ships bound for Cuba would “not carry any kind of armaments” if the United States vowed never to invade Cuba. He pleaded, “let us show good sense,” and appealed to Kennedy to “weigh well what the aggressive, piratical actions, which you have declared the U.S.A. intends to carry out in international waters, would lead to.” He followed this with another letter the next day offering to remove the missiles from Cuba if the United States would remove its nuclear missiles from Turkey.

Kennedy and his officials debated the proper U.S. response to these offers. Attorney General Robert Kennedy ultimately devised an acceptable plan: take up Khrushchev’s first offer and ignore the second letter. Although the United States had been considering the removal of the missiles from Turkey for some time, agreeing to the Soviet demand for their removal might give the appearance of weakness. Nevertheless, behind the scenes, Russian diplomats were informed that the missiles in Turkey would be removed after the Soviet missiles in Cuba were taken away. This information was accompanied by a threat: If the Cuban missiles were not removed in two days, the United States would resort to military action. It was now Khrushchev’s turn to consider an offer to end the standoff.

“The United States and Soviet Union step back from brink of nuclear war.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Oct 2008, 11:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2466.

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