24
Mar
09

On This Day, March 24: Abolition

March 24, 1862

Wendall Phillips booed in Cincinnati

Abolitionist orator Wendall Phillips is booed while attempting to give a lecture in Cincinnati, Ohio. The angry crowd was opposed to fighting for the freedom of slaves, as Phillips advocated. He was pelted with rocks and eggs before friends whisked him away while a small riot broke out.

Phillips was perhaps the most outspoken abolitionist of the era. Born in Boston to a wealthy New England family, Phillips was educated at Harvard and practiced law until he became swept up in the anti-slave crusade in the 1830s. The abolitionist movement was a major cause of the rising tension between North and South in the 1830s. Abolitionists denounced slavery as a sin, and they framed the debate over slavery as a moral issue rather than an economic or political one. Called the “golden trumpet” of the movement, Phillips’ shrill denunciation of slavery won many converts to the abolitionist cause and attracted many other northerners to moderate anti-slave positions.

When the war began, Phillips and other abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison exerted pressure on the Lincoln administration to make the destruction of slavery the primary objective of the war. For the first year and half, President Lincoln insisted that the Union’s war goal was reunion of the states. He did this in order to keep the border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware from seceding. Not until the Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862 would the stated purpose of the war shift.

The incident in Cincinnati demonstrated the fierce resistance that existed in the northern states to the proposition of fighting a war to free the slaves. The most outspoken resisters lived in the “Butternut” region–the southern parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Called “Butternuts” because their homespun clothing was died a light brown from nut extracts, residents of the region did not own slaves but they shared many sentiments with Southerners. Lincoln encountered serious resistance from this area when he announced his Emancipation Proclamation.

“Wendall Phillips booed in Cincinnati.” 2009. The History Channel website. 23 Mar 2009, 03:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2145.

 

On This Day

1664 – A charter to colonize Rhode Island was granted to Roger Williams in London.

1765 – Britain passed the Quartering Act that required the American colonies to house 10,000 British troops in public and private buildings.

1832 – Mormon Joseph Smith was beaten, tarred and feathered in Ohio.

1837 – Canada gave blacks the right to vote.

1868 – Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was formed.

1882 – In Berlin, German scientist Robert Koch announced the discovery of the tuberculosis germ (bacillus).

1898 – The first automobile was sold.

1906 – The “Census of the British Empire” revealed that England ruled 1/5 of the world.

1927 – Chinese Communists seized Nanking and break with Chiang Kai-shek over the Nationalist goals.

1946 – The Soviet Union announced that it was withdrawing its troops from Iran.

1955 – The first oil drill seagoing rig was put into service.

1972 – Great Britain imposed direct rule over Northern Ireland.

1995 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a welfare reform package that made the most changes in social programs since the New Deal.

1999 – NATO launched air strikes against Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Vojvodina). The attacks marked the first time in its 50-year history that NATO attacked a sovereign country. The bombings were in response to Serbia’s refusal to sign a peace treaty with ethnic Albanians who were seeking independence for the province of Kosovo.

March 24, 1989

Exxon Valdez runs aground

The worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.

Exxon itself was condemned by the National Transportation Safety Board and in early 1991 agreed under pressure from environmental groups to pay a penalty of $100 million and provide $1 billion over a 10-year period for the cost of the cleanup. However, later in the year, both Alaska and Exxon rejected the agreement, and in October 1991 the oil giant settled the matter by paying $25 million, less than 4 percent of the cleanup aid promised by Exxon earlier that year.

“Exxon Valdez runs aground.” 2009. The History Channel website. 23 Mar 2009, 03:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4860.

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