08
Jan
09

On This Day, 1-8-2009: Enfranchisement

From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.  Carl Schurz

 

January 8, 1867

Congress expands suffrage in nation’s capital

Congress overrides President Andrew Johnson’s veto of a bill granting all adult male citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote, and the bill becomes law. It was the first law in American history that granted African-American men the right to vote. According to terms of the legislation, every male citizen of the city 21 years of age or older has the right to vote, except welfare or charity recipients, those under guardianship, men convicted of major crimes, or men who voluntarily sheltered Confederate troops or spies during the Civil War. The bill, vetoed by President Johnson on January 5, was overridden by a vote of 29 to 10 in the Senate and by a vote of 112 to 38 in the House of Representatives.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Republican-dominated Congress sought to enfranchise African-American men, who thus would be empowered to protect themselves against exploitation and strengthen the Republican control over the South. In 1870, in a major victory in this crusade, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, prohibiting all states from discriminating against potential male voters because of race or previous condition of servitude.

“Congress expands suffrage in nation’s capital.” 2009. The History Channel website. 8 Jan 2009, 12:12 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4659.

On This Day

1642 – Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri, Italy.

1675 – The first corporation was charted in the United States. The company was the New York Fishing Company.

1790 – In the United States, George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address.

1889 – The tabulating machine was patented by Dr. Herman Hollerith. His firm, Tabulating Machine Company, later became International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

1900 – U.S. President McKinley placed Alaska under military rule.

1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points as the basis for peace upon the end of World War I.

1935 – The spectrophotometer was patented by A.C. Hardy.

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.”

1973 – Secret peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam resumed near Paris, France.

1973 – The trial opened in Washington, of seven men accused of bugging Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, DC.

January 8, 1815

The Battle of New Orleans

Two weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, U.S. General Andrew Jackson achieves the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans.

In September 1814, an impressive American naval victory on Lake Champlain forced invading British forces back into Canada and led to the conclusion of peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium. Although the peace agreement was signed on December 24, word did not reach the British forces assailing the Gulf coast in time to halt a major attack.

On January 8, 1815, the British marched against New Orleans, hoping that by capturing the city they could separate Louisiana from the rest of the United States. Pirate Jean Lafitte, however, had warned the Americans of the attack, and the arriving British found militiamen under General Andrew Jackson strongly entrenched at the Rodriquez Canal. In two separate assaults, the 7,500 British soldiers under Sir Edward Pakenham were unable to penetrate the U.S. defenses, and Jackson’s 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky and Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, General Pakenham was dead, and nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing. U.S. forces suffered only eight killed and 13 wounded.

Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson’s overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans was also the last armed engagement between the United States and Britain.

“The Battle of New Orleans.” 2009. The History Channel website. 8 Jan 2009, 12:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4658.

On This Day in Wisconsin: January 8

1910 – Vagrant Snow Shovelers Strike for Pay


On this date 228 vagrants were brought in to shovel snow at the Chicago & Northwestern rail yard in Janesville. Shortly thereafter, they went on strike for 25 cents an hour and better food. Two days later, they went on strike again, asking for 30 cents an hour. [Source: Janesville Gazette]

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