Archive for the 'Quotes' Category

21
Jan
09

First Proclamation — 1-20-2009

“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”  A.  Lincoln

 

NATIONAL DAY OF RENEWAL AND RECONCILIATION, 2009

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As I take the sacred oath of the highest office in the land, I am humbled by the responsibility placed upon my shoulders, renewed by the courage and decency of the American people, and fortified by my faith in an awesome God.

We are in the midst of a season of trial. Our Nation is being tested, and our people know great uncertainty. Yet the story of America is one of renewal in the face of adversity, reconciliation in a time of discord, and we know that there is a purpose for everything under heaven.

On this Inauguration Day, we are reminded that we are heirs to over two centuries of American democracy, and that this legacy is not simply a birthright — it is a glorious burden. Now it falls to us to come together as a people to carry it forward once more.

So in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, let us remember that: “The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, and call upon all of our citizens to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

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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]

25
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-25-2008: Central High

September 25, 1957

Central High School integrated

Under escort from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, nine black students enter all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Three weeks earlier, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus had surrounded the school with National Guard troops to prevent its federal court-ordered racial integration. After a tense standoff, President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent 1,000 army paratroopers to Little Rock to enforce the court order.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in educational facilities was unconstitutional. Five days later, the Little Rock School Board issued a statement saying it would comply with the decision when the Supreme Court outlined the method and time frame in which desegregation should be implemented.

In August 1957, the newly formed Mother’s League of Central High School won a temporary injunction from the county chancellor to block integration of the school, charging that it “could lead to violence.” Federal District Judge Ronald Davies nullified the injunction on August 30. On September 2, Governor Orval Faubus–a staunch segregationist–called out the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School and prevent integration, ostensibly to prevent the bloodshed he claimed desegregation would cause. The next day, Judge Davies ordered integrated classes to begin on September 4.

That morning, 100 armed National Guard troops encircled Central High School. A mob of 400 white civilians gathered and turned ugly when the black students began to arrive, shouting racial epithets and threatening the teenagers with violence. The National Guard troops refused to let the black students pass and used their clubs to control the crowd. One of the nine, 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, was surrounded by the mob, which threatened to lynch her. She was finally led to safety by a sympathetic white woman.

On September 23, as a mob of 1,000 whites milled around outside Central High School, the nine black students managed to gain access to a side door. However, the mob became unruly when it learned the black students were inside, and the police evacuated them out of fear for their safety. That evening, President Eisenhower issued a special proclamation calling for opponents of the federal court order to “cease and desist.” On September 24, Little Rock’s mayor sent a telegram to the president asking him to send troops to maintain order and complete the integration process. Eisenhower immediately federalized the Arkansas National Guard and approved the deployment of U.S. troops to Little Rock. That evening, from the White House, the president delivered a nationally televised address in which he explained that he had taken the action to defend the rule of law and prevent “mob rule” and “anarchy.” On September 25, the Little Rock Nine entered the school under heavily armed guard.

Troops remained at Central High School throughout the school year, but still the black students were subjected to verbal and physical assaults from a faction of white students. Melba Patillo, one of the nine, had acid thrown in her eyes, and Elizabeth Eckford was pushed down a flight of stairs. The three male students in the group were subjected to more conventional beatings. Minnijean Brown was suspended after dumping a bowl of chili over the head of a taunting white student. She was later suspended for the rest of the year after continuing to fight back. The other eight students consistently turned the other cheek. On May 27, 1958, Ernest Green, the only senior in the group, became the first black to graduate from Central High School.

Governor Faubus continued to fight the school board’s integration plan, and in September 1958 he ordered Little Rock’s three high schools closed rather than permit integration. Many Little Rock students lost a year of education as the legal fight over desegregation continued. In 1959, a federal court struck down Faubus’ school-closing law, and in August 1959 Little Rock’s white high schools opened a month early with black students in attendance. All grades in Little Rock public schools were finally integrated in 1972.

“Central High School integrated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Sep 2008, 02:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7031.

 

On This Day

1725 – Nicolas Joseph Cugnot was born. He was the inventor and builder of two steam-propelled tractors. They are considered to be the world’s first automobiles.

1775 – Ethan Allen was captured by the British during the American Revolutionary War. He was leading the attack on Montreal.

1847 – During the Mexican-American War, U.S. forces led by General Zachary Taylor captured Monterrey Mexico.

1890 – The Sequoia National Park was established as a U.S. National Park in Central California.

1890 – Mormon President Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto in which the practice of polygamy was renounced.

1973 – The three crewmen of Skylab II landed in the Pacific Ocean after being on the U.S. space laboratory for 59 days.

1978 – 144 people were killed when a private plane and a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 collided over San Diego, CA.

1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when she was sworn in as the 102nd justice. She had been nominated the previous July by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

1983 – A Soviet military officer, Stanislav Petrov, averted a potential worldwide nuclear war. He declared a false alarm after a U.S. attack was detected by a Soviet early warning system. It was later discovered the alarms had been set off when the satellite warning system mistakenly interpreted sunlight reflections off clouds as the presence of enemy missiles.

1995 – Ross Perot announced that he would form the Independence Party.

 

September 25, 1789

Bill of Rights passes Congress

The first Congress of the United States approves 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and sends them to the states for ratification. The amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were designed to protect the basic rights of U.S. citizens, guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms; and that powers not delegated to the federal government were reserved for the states and the people.

Influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the Bill of Rights was also drawn from Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776. Mason, a native Virginian, was a lifelong champion of individual liberties, and in 1787 he attended the Constitutional Convention and criticized the final document for lacking constitutional protection of basic political rights. In the ratification process that followed, Mason and other critics agreed to approve the Constitution in exchange for the assurance that amendments would immediately be adopted.

In December 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. Of the two amendments not ratified, the first concerned the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first of these two amendments was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.

“Bill of Rights passes Congress.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Sep 2008, 02:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5372.

The Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/kids/constitution/billofrights.html

All men are by nature born equally free and independent.
George Mason

07
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-7-2008: Turtle

World’s first submarine attack

During the Revolutionary War, the American submersible craft Turtle attempts to attach a time bomb to the hull of British Admiral Richard Howe’s flagship Eagle in New York Harbor. It was the first use of a submarine in warfare.

Submarines were first built by Dutch inventor Cornelius van Drebel in the early 17th century, but it was 150 years later before they were first used in naval combat. David Bushnell, an American inventor, began building underwater mines while a student at Yale University. Deciding that a submarine would be the best means of delivering his mines in warfare, he built an eight-foot-long wooden submersible that was christened the Turtle for its shape. Large enough to accommodate one operator, the submarine was entirely hand-powered. Lead ballast kept the craft balanced.

Donated to the Patriot cause after the outbreak of war with Britain in 1775, Ezra Lee piloted the craft unnoticed out to the 64-gun HMS Eagle in New York Harbor on September 7, 1776. As Lee worked to anchor a time bomb to the hull, he could see British seamen on the deck above, but they failed to notice the strange craft below the surface. Lee had almost secured the bomb when his boring tools failed to penetrate a layer of iron sheathing. He retreated, and the bomb exploded nearby, causing no harm to either the Eagle or the Turtle.

During the next week, the Turtle made several more attempts to sink British ships on the Hudson River, but each time it failed, owing to the operator’s lack of skill. Only Bushnell was capable of executing the submarine’s complicated functions, but because of his physical frailty he was unable to pilot the Turtle in any of its combat missions. During the Battle of Fort Lee, the Turtle was lost when the American sloop transporting it was sunk by the British.

Despite the failures of the Turtle, General George Washington gave Bushnell a commission as an army engineer, and the drifting mines he constructed destroyed the British frigate Cereberus and wreaked havoc against other British ships. After the war, he became commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stationed at West Point.

“World’s first submarine attack.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Sep 2008, 05:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5325.

 

On This Day

1533 – Queen Elizabeth I, of England, was born in Greenwich.

1812 – Napoleon defeated the Russian army of Alexander I at the battle of Borodino.

1813 – The nickname “Uncle Sam” was first used as a symbolic reference to the United States. The reference appeared in an editorial in the New York’s Troy Post.

1822 – Brazil declared its independence from Portugal.

1901 – The Boxer Rebellion began in China ending the Peace of Beijing.

1936 – Buddy Holly was born.

1940 – London received its initial rain of bombs from Nazi Germany during World War II.

1942 – During World War II, the Russian army counter attacked the German troops outside the city of Stalingrad.

1977 – G. Gordon Liddy was released from prison. He had been incarcerated for more than four years for his involvement in the Watergate conspiracy.

1979 – ESPN, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, made its debut on cable TV.

1995 – U.S. Senator Bob Packwood announced that he would resign after 27 years in the Senate.

 

Panama to control canal

In Washington, President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos sign a treaty agreeing to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama at the end of the 20th century. The Panama Canal Treaty also authorized the immediate abolishment of the Canal Zone, a 10-mile-wide, 40-mile-long U.S.-controlled area that bisected the Republic of Panama. Many in Congress opposed giving up control of the Panama Canal–an enduring symbol of U.S. power and technological prowess–but America’s colonial-type administration of the strategic waterway had long irritated Panamanians and other Latin Americans.

On September 7, 1977, President Carter had also signed the Neutrality Treaty with Torrijos, which guaranteed the permanent neutrality of the canal and gave the United States the right to use military force, if necessary, to keep the canal open. This treaty was used as rationale for the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, which saw the overthrow of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who had threatened to prematurely seize control of the canal after being indicted in the United States on drug charges.

Democratic rule was restored in Panama in the 1990s, and at noon on December 31, 1999, the Panama Canal was peacefully turned over to Panama. In order to avoid conflict with end-of-the-millennium celebrations, formal ceremonies marking the event were held on December 14. Former president Jimmy Carter represented the United States at the ceremony. After exchanging diplomatic notes with Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, Carter simply told her, “It’s yours.”

“Panama to control canal.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Sep 2008, 05:06 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7013.

28
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-28-2008: Emmet Till

The death of Emmett Till

While visiting family in Money, Mississippi, 14-year-old Emmett Till, an African American from Chicago, is brutally murdered for flirting with a white woman four days earlier. His assailants–the white woman’s husband and her brother–made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.

Till grew up in a working-class neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, and though he had attended a segregated elementary school, he was not prepared for the level of segregation he encountered in Mississippi. His mother warned him to take care because of his race, but Emmett enjoyed pulling pranks. On August 24, while standing with his cousins and some friends outside a country store in Money, Emmett bragged that his girlfriend back home was white. Emmett’s African American companions, disbelieving him, dared Emmett to ask the white woman sitting behind the store counter for a date. He went in, bought some candy, and on the way out was heard saying, “Bye, baby” to the woman. There were no witnesses in the store, but Carolyn Bryant–the woman behind the counter–claimed that he grabbed her, made lewd advances, and then wolf-whistled at her as he sauntered out.

Roy Bryant, the proprietor of the store and the woman’s husband, returned from a business trip a few days later and found out how Emmett had spoken to his wife. Enraged, he went to the home of Till’s great uncle, Mose Wright, with his brother-in-law J.W. Milam in the early morning hours of August 28. The pair demanded to see the boy. Despite pleas from Wright, they forced Emmett into their car. After driving around in the Memphis night, and perhaps beating Till in a toolhouse behind Milam’s residence, they drove him down to the Tallahatchie River.

Three days later, his corpse was recovered but was so disfigured that Mose Wright could only identify it by an initialed ring. Authorities wanted to bury the body quickly, but Till’s mother, Mamie Bradley, requested it be sent back to Chicago. After seeing the mutilated remains, she decided to have an open-casket funeral so that all the world could see what racist murderers had done to her only son. Jet, an African American weekly magazine, published a photo of Emmett’s corpse, and soon the mainstream media picked up on the story.

Less than two weeks after Emmett’s body was buried, Milam and Bryant went on trial in a segregated courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi. There were few witnesses besides Mose Wright, who positively identified the defendants as Emmett’s killers. On September 23, the all-white jury deliberated for less than an hour before issuing a verdict of “not guilty,” explaining that they believed the state had failed to prove the identity of the body. Many people around the country were outraged by the decision and also by the state’s decision not to indict Milam and Bryant on the separate charge of kidnapping.

The Emmett Till murder trial brought to light the brutality of Jim Crow segregation in the South and was an early impetus of the African American civil rights movement.

“The death of Emmett Till.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Aug 2008, 05:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5297.

On This Day

1619 – Ferdinand II was elected Holy Roman Emperor. His policy of “One church, one king” was his way of trying to outlaw Protestantism.

1833 – Slavery was banned by the British Parliament throughout the British Empire.

1907 – “American Messenger Company” was started by two teenagers, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan. The companies name was later changed to “United Parcel Service.”

1916 – Italy’s declaration of war against Germany took effect during World War I.

1917 – Ten suffragists were arrested as they picketed the White House.

1939 – The first successful flight of a jet-propelled airplane took place. The plane was a German Heinkel He 178.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at a civil rights rally in Washington, DC. More than 200,000 people attended.

1988 – At an air show in Ramstein, West Germany, an Italian Air Force jet collided with 2 other jets and then plunged into a crowd. 70 people were killed.

1990 – Iraq declared Kuwait to be its 19th province and renamed Kuwait City al-Kadhima.

1995 – A mortar shell killed 38 people in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The act triggered NATO airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs.

1996 – A divorce decree was issued for Britain’s Charles and Princess Diana. This was the official end to the 15-year marriage.

Mass slaughter in Ukraine

On this day in 1941, more than 23,000 Hungarian Jews are murdered by the Gestapo in occupied Ukraine.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union had advanced to the point of mass air raids on Moscow and the occupation of parts of Ukraine. On August 26, Hitler displayed the joys of conquest by inviting Benito Mussolini to Brest-Litovsk, where the Germans had destroyed the city’s citadel. The grand irony is that Ukrainians had originally viewed the Germans as liberators from their Soviet oppressors and an ally in the struggle for independence. But as early as July, the Germans were arresting Ukrainians agitating and organizing for a provisional state government with an eye toward autonomy and throwing them into concentration camps. The Germans also began carving the nation up, dispensing parts to Poland (already occupied by Germany) and Romania.

But true horrors were reserved for Jews in the territory. Tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews had been expelled from that country and migrated to Ukraine. The German authorities tried sending them back, but Hungary would not take them. SS General Franz Jaeckeln vowed to deal with the influx of refugees by the “complete liquidation of those Jews by September 1.” He worked even faster than promised. On August 28, he marched more than 23,000 Hungarian Jews to bomb craters at Kamenets Podolsk, ordered them to undress, and riddled them with machine-gun fire. Those who didn’t die from the spray of bullets were buried alive under the weight of corpses that piled atop them.

All told, more than 600,000 Jews had been murdered in Ukraine by war’s end.

“Mass slaughter in Ukraine.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Aug 2008, 04:59 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6566.

Riots in Chicago fracture the Cold War consensus

At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, tens of thousands of protesters against the Vietnam War battle police in the streets while the Democratic Party tears itself to shreds concerning a platform statement on Vietnam. In one day and night, the Cold War consensus that had dominated American thinking since the late 1940s was shattered.

Since World War II ended and tensions with the Soviet Union began to intensify, a Cold War consensus about foreign policy had grown to dominate American thinking. In this mindset, communism was the ultimate enemy that had to be fought everywhere in the world. Uprisings in any nation, particularly in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, were perceived through a Cold War lens and were usually deemed to be communist-inspired. In Chicago in August 1968, that Cold War consensus began to crack and crumble. The Democratic Party held its national convention in Chicago that year. Problems immediately arose both inside and outside the convention. Inside, the delegates were split on the party’s stance concerning the ongoing Vietnam War. Many wanted a plank in the party’s platform demanding a U.S. withdrawal from the bloody and frustrating conflict. Most of these delegates supported Eugene McCarthy, a committed antiwar candidate, for president. A majority, however, believed that America must not give up the fight against communism. They largely supported Vice President Hubert Humphrey. As the debate intensified, fights broke out on the convention floor, and delegates and reporters were kicked, punched, and knocked to the ground. Eventually, the Humphrey forces were victorious, but the events of the convention left the Democratic Party demoralized and drained.

On the streets of Chicago, antiwar protesters massed in the downtown area, determined to force the Democrats to nominate McCarthy. Mayor Richard Daley responded by unleashing the Chicago police force. Thousands of policemen stormed into the crowd, swinging their clubs and firing tear gas. Stunned Americans watched on TV as the police battered and beat protesters, reporters, and anyone else in the way. The protesters began to chant, “The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching.”

The world–and the American nation–was indeed watching that night. What they were witnessing was a serious fracture beginning to develop in America’s previously solid Cold War consensus. For the first time, many Americans were demanding that their nation withdraw from part of its war against communism. North Vietnam, instead of being portrayed as the villain and pawn of its Soviet masters, was seen by some as a beleaguered nation fighting for independence and freedom against the vast war machine of the United States. The convention events marked an important turning point: no longer would the government have unrestrained power to pursue its Cold War policies. When future international crises arose–in Central America, the Middle East, or Africa–the cry of “No more Vietnams” was a reminder that the government’s Cold War rhetoric would be closely scrutinized and often criticized.

“Riots in Chicago fracture the Cold War consensus.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Aug 2008, 05:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2773.

27
Aug
08

On This day, 8-27-2008: Red Scare

Red Scare dominates American politics

As the presidential election of 1952 begins to heat up, so do accusations and counteraccusations concerning communism in America. The “Red Scare”–the widespread belief that international communism was operating in the United States–came to dominate much of the debate between Democrats and Republicans in 1952.

On August 27, 1952, the New York Times front page contained three stories suggesting the impact of the Red Scare on the upcoming election. In the first story, the Republican-dominated Senate Internal Security Subcommittee released a report charging that the Radio Writers Guild was dominated by a small number of communists. The Guild, whose members were responsible for producing more than 90 percent of the programs on radio, had purportedly been run by a small clique of communists for at least the last nine years. According to the subcommittee report, communist subversion of the Guild was merely one step in a larger effort to control the media of the United States-including radio, television, movies, and book publishing. The second front-page story was a report that the American Legion was demanding, for the third year in a row, that President Harry S. Truman dismiss Secretary of State Dean Acheson for his lack of vigor in dealing with the communist threat. The Legion report declared that the Department of State was in desperate need of “God-fearing Americans” who had the “intestinal fortitude not to be political puppets.” The organization demanded a quick and victorious settlement of the Korean War, even if this meant expanding the war into China. The third story provided a counter of sorts to the previous two stories. It reported a speech by Democratic nominee for president Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, in which he strongly criticized those who used “patriotism” as a weapon against their political opponents. In an obvious slap at the Senate Subcommittee and others, such as Senator Joseph McCarthy, Stevenson repeated the words of the writer Dr. Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” The governor claimed that it was “shocking” that good Americans, such as Acheson and former secretary of state General George C. Marshall, could be attacked on the grounds that they were unpatriotic.

The three related stories from the front page of the Times indicated just how deeply the Red Scare had penetrated American society. Accusations about communists in the film, radio, and television industries, in the Department of State and the U.S. Army, in all walks of American life, had filled the newspapers and airwaves for years. By 1952, many Americans were convinced that communists were at work in the United States and must be rooted out and hunted down. Republicans and their allies were obviously planning to use the Red Scare to their advantage in the presidential election of that year, while the Democrats were going to have to battle the perception that they had been “soft” on communism during the administration of President Truman (who came to office in 1945 following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Republicans were eventually victorious, with Dwight D. Eisenhower scoring a victory over Stevenson.

“Red Scare dominates American politics.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Aug 2008, 05:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2772.

On This Day

1660 – The books of John Milton were burned in London due to his attacks on King Charles II.

1789 – The Declaration of the Rights of Man was adopted by the French National Assembly.

1859 – The first oil well was successfully drilled in the U.S. by Colonel Edwin L. Drake near Titusville, PA.

1894 – The Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act was passed by the U.S. Congress. The provision within for a graduated income tax was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1921 – The owner of Acme Packing Company bought a pro football team for Green Bay, WI. J.E. Clair paid tribute to those who worked in his plant by naming the team the Green Bay Packers. (NFL)

1928 – The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed by 15 countries in Paris. Later, 47 other nations would sign the pact.

1945 – American troops landed in Japan after the surrender of the Japanese government at the end of World War II.

1979 – Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed in a boat explosion off the coast of Ireland. The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility.

2001 – Work began on the future site of a World War II memorial on the U.S. capital’s historic national Mall. The site is between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

“Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.”

Dr. Samuel Johnson

26
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-26-2008: The Missile Gap

Russia tests an intercontinental ballistic missile

The Soviet Union announces that it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of being fired “into any part of the world.” The announcement caused great concern in the United States, and started a national debate over the “missile gap” between America and Russia.

For years after World War II, both the United States and the Soviet Union had been trying to perfect a long-range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Building on the successes of Nazi Germany in developing the V-1 and V-2 rockets that pummeled Great Britain during the last months of World War II, both American and Russian scientists raced to improve the range and accuracy of such missiles. (Both nations relied heavily on captured German scientists in their efforts.) In July 1957, the United States seemed to win the race when the Atlas, an ICBM with a speed of up to 20,000 miles an hour and an effective range of 5,000 miles, was ready for testing. The test, however, was a disaster. The missile rose only about 5,000 feet into the air, tumbled, and plunged to earth. Just a month later, the Soviets claimed success by announcing that their own ICBM had been tested, had “covered a huge distance in a brief time,” and “landed in the target area.” No details were given in the Russian announcement and some commentators in the United States doubted that the ICBM test had been as successful as claimed. Nevertheless, the Soviet possession of this “ultimate weapon,” coupled with recent successful test by the Russians of atomic and hydrogen bombs, raised concerns in America. If the Soviets did indeed perfect their ICBM, no part of the United States would be completely safe from possible atomic attack.

Less than two months later, the Soviets sent the satellite Sputnik into space. Concern quickly turned to fear in the United States, as it appeared that the Russians were gaining the upper hand in the arms and space races. The American government accelerated its own missile and space programs. The Soviet successes–and American failures–became an issue in the 1960 presidential campaign. Democratic challenger John F. Kennedy charged that the outgoing Eisenhower administration had allowed a dangerous “missile gap” to develop between the United States and the Soviet Union. Following his victory in 1960, Kennedy made missile development and the space program priorities for his presidency.

“Russia tests an intercontinental ballistic missile.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2771.

 

On This Day

55 B.C. – Britain was invaded by Roman forces under Julius Caesar.

1743 – Antoine Lavoisier was born. He was the chemist that proved that the union of oxygen and other chemicals is used in burning, rusting of metals and breathing.

1883 – A two-day eruption of the volcanic island Krakatoa began. The tidal waves that were associated with the eruption killed 36,000 people when they destroyed the island.

1920 – The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The amendment prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in the voting booth.

1937 – All Chinese shipping was blockaded by Japan.

1957 – The first Edsel made by the Ford Motor Company rolled out.

1998 – The U.S. government announced that they were investigating Microsoft in an attempt to discover if they “bullied” Intel into delaying new technology.

1998 – Sudan filed a criminal lawsuit against U.S. President Clinton and the United States for the bombing of the El-Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries Company. The Sudanese claimed that the plant was strictly civilian.

 

Washington urges Hessians to desert

Falsely confident that the British would not attack New York’s Manhattan Island, General George Washington pours additional reinforcements into the lines around Brooklyn Heights, then considered part of rural Long Island, on this day in 1776. Washington also ordered the dispersal of certain documents among the Hessians, about which he wrote “The papers designed for the foreign (Hessian) Troops, have been put into several Channels, in order that they may be conveyed to them, and from the Information I had yesterday, I have reason to believe many have fallen into their Hands.” The “papers” induced Hessian troops to desert the British army.

“Washington urges Hessians to desert.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50706.

Democratic convention besieged by protesters

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Chicago, thousands of antiwar demonstrators take to Chicago’s streets to protest the Vietnam War and its support by the top Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. During the four-day convention, the most violent in U.S. history, police and National Guardsmen clashed with protesters outside the International Amphitheater, and hundreds of people, including innocent bystanders, were beaten by the Chicago police. The violence even spilled into the convention hall, as guards roughed up delegates and members of the press, including CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace, who was punched in the face. On August 29, Humphrey secured the nomination and the convention ended.

In the convention’s aftermath, a federal commission investigating the convention described one of the confrontations as a “police riot” and blamed Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for inciting his police to violence. Nevertheless, eight political radicals–the so-called “Chicago Eight”–were arrested on charges of conspiring to incite the violence, and in 1969 their trial began in Chicago, sparking new waves of protests in the city.

“Democratic convention besieged by protesters.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5292.

 

By 1968 John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy had been murdered, and the Vietnam War had escalated into an epic struggle between capitalism and communism.  Anti-war protesters descended on the Democratic convention in 1968.  Before Chicago in 1968 the protests had been relatively peaceful, after Chicago anti-war violence escalated.

“Hello, I’m going to read a declaration of a state of war…within the next 14 days we will attack a symbol or institution of American injustice.” ~ Bernardine Dohrn http://www.upstatefilms.org/weather/main.html

This is a full length film documentary and has graphic violent content.

“The Weather Underground”

Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962

Introductory Note: This document represents the results of several months of writing and discussion among the membership, a draft paper, and revision by the Students for a Democratic Society national convention meeting in Port Huron, Michigan, June 11-15, 1962. It is represented as a document with which SDS officially identifies, but also as a living document open to change with our times and experiences. It is a beginning: in our own debate and education, in our dialogue with society.

published and distributed by Students for a Democratic Society 112 East 19 Street New York 3, New York Gramercy 3-2181

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/huron.html

“Violence didn’t work.”  Mark Rudd

A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal.
Mohandas Gandhi

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi




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