Posts Tagged ‘14th Amendment

13
Jun
09

On This Day, June 13: The Pentagon Papers

June 13, 1971

“Pentagon Papers” damage credibility of Cold War policy

The New York Times begins to publish sections of the so-called “Pentagon Papers,” a top-secret Department of Defense study of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The papers indicated that the American government had been lying to the people for years about the Vietnam War and the papers seriously damaged the credibility of America’s Cold War foreign policy.

In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered his department to prepare an in-depth history of American involvement in the Vietnam War. McNamara had already begun to harbor serious doubts about U.S. policy in Vietnam, and the study–which came to be known as the “Pentagon Papers”–substantiated his misgivings. Top-secret memorandums, reports, and papers indicated that the U.S. government had systematically lied to the American people, deceiving them about American goals and progress in the war in Vietnam. The devastating multi-volume study remained locked away in a Pentagon safe for years. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a Defense Department employee who had turned completely against the war, began to smuggle portions of the papers out of the Pentagon. These papers made their way to the New York Times, and on June 13, 1971, the American public read them in stunned amazement. The publication of the papers added further fuel to the already powerful antiwar movement and drove the administration of President Richard Nixon into a frenzy of paranoia about information “leaks.” Nixon attempted to stop further publication of the papers, but the Supreme Court refused to issue an injunction.

The “Pentagon Papers” further eroded the American public’s confidence in their nation’s Cold War foreign policy. The brutal, costly, and seemingly endless Vietnam War had already damaged the government’s credibility, and the publication of the “Pentagon Papers” showed people the true extent to which the government had manipulated and lied to them. Some of the most dramatic examples were documents indicating that the Kennedy administration had openly encouraged and participated in the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963; that the CIA believed that the “domino theory” did not actually apply to Asia; and that the heavy American bombing of North Vietnam, contrary to U.S. government pronouncements about its success, was having absolutely no impact on the communists’ will to continue the fight.

“”Pentagon Papers” damage credibility of Cold War policy,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2697 [accessed Jun 13, 2009]

 

On This Day

1777 – The Marquis de Lafayette arrived in the American colonies to help with their rebellion against the British.

1866 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. It was ratified on July 9, 1868. The amendment was designed to grant citizenship to and protect the civil liberties of recently freed slaves. It did this by prohibiting states from denying or abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, depriving any person of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denying to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

1888 – The U.S. Congress created the Department of Labor.

1898 – The Canadian Yukon Territory was organized.

1912 – Captain Albert Berry made the first successful parachute jump from an airplane in Jefferson, Mississippi.

1920 – The U.S. Post Office Department ruled that children may not be sent by parcel post.

1944 – Germany launched 10 of its new V1 rockets against Britain from a position near the Channel coast. Of the 10 rockets only 5 landed in Britain and only one managed to kill (6 people in London).

1966 – The landmark “Miranda vs. Arizona” decision was issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision ruled that criminal suspects had to be informed of their constitutional rights before being questioned by police.

1983 – The unmanned U.S. space probe Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to leave the solar system. It was launched in March 1972. The first up-close images of the planet Jupiter were provided by Pioneer 10.

1989 – U.S. President George Bush exercised his first Presidential veto on a bill dealing with minimum wage.

2000 – In Pyongyang, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il welcomed South Korea’s President Kim Dae for a three-day summit. It was the first such meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea.

June 13, 1807

Thomas Jefferson subpoenaed in Aaron Burr’s treason trial

President Thomas Jefferson receives a subpoena to testify in the treason trial of his former vice president, Aaron Burr, on this day in 1807. In the subpoena, Burr asked Jefferson to produce documents that might exonerate him.

Burr had already been politically and socially disgraced by killing former Treasury secretary and Revolutionary-era hero Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. After killing Hamilton, Burr, still Jefferson’s vice president, went into hiding to avoid prosecution for murder. (The charges were later dropped.) Burr then concocted a seditious plan to enlist the help of Britain and Spain to create a separate nation in the southwestern reaches of the American continent, including parts of Mexico, over which Burr would rule. The outrageous plan failed miserably when one of Burr’s co-conspirators, General James Wilkinson, betrayed Burr and alerted Jefferson to the plot. Burr was hunted down and arrested in 1806 and indicted for treason.

Jefferson expressed in his personal papers that he felt no love or loyalty to Burr despite their former political relationship. Burr had run a close and contentious election against the republican Jefferson in the 1800 campaign. After the election resulted in a tie, the vote went to the House of Representatives. Only after Alexander Hamilton reluctantly lobbied for Jefferson did the House select Jefferson for the presidency instead of Burr. This was only one of the many grievances Burr held against Hamilton that led to the fatal duel.

Jefferson refused to appear in Burr’s defense and released only a few of the documents Burr had requested, invoking his presidential right to protect the public interest. If Jefferson’s intent was to help get Burr convicted, his refusal to supply documentation backfired. In the end, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall found Burr not guilty by lack of evidence.

“Thomas Jefferson subpoenaed in Aaron Burr’s treason trial,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=656 [accessed Jun 13, 2009]

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09
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-9-08: Homestead

Showdown at Homestead steel plant

By the late nineteenth century, the workers at Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead, PA plant had eked out a modicum of power. They won a key strike in 1889, and in the process became a potent unit of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Still, these victories hardly erased the harsh working conditions at the Homestead mills. Nor did they mean that the Carnegie Company was pleased with or readily recognized the union. Ever mindful of Amalgamated’s potentially deleterious impact on his profit margins, Andrew Carnegie looked to erode the power of the union. In 1892, the company made its move against Amalgamated, though not with Carnegie at the helm: the steel baron had departed for a vacation in Scotland, leaving the task of smashing the union in the hands of his partner, Henry Clay Frick. Frick took his mission all too seriously: after refusing to renew the company’s contract with Amalgamated, he dug in for war, erecting a three-mile long steel wire fence around the plant. Frick also enlisted the aid of the Pinkerton Detective agency, which sent three hundred men to Homestead to ensure the plant’s transition to non-union workers. Amalgamated’s leaders responded in kind, lining up scores of workers, as well as a good chunk of the town, to wage battle against the plant. The showdown began in earnest on July 2, as Frick halted work at Homestead until the plant was staffed entirely by non-union workers. Three days later, the Homestead affair turned bloody, as the Pinkerton agents made their first appearance on the scene. Attempting to reach the plant via the Monongahela River, the agents were met by Amalgamated’s forces; the two sides engaged in a long and vicious battle that left nine strikers and seven agents dead. Despite the losses, Amalgamated’s motley army was able to turn back the detectives. Sensing that they were on the verge of disaster, officials for Carnegie enlisted the aid of the Pennsylvania Government. And, on this day in 1892, the state sent a band of 7000 troops to Homestead to “restore law and order.” The militia effectively squelched Amalgamated’s strike: the troops helped the Carnegie restaff its plant with non-union workers and by September, the Carnegie company had resumed production. Later that November, the union conceded defeat and called off its strike; Carnegie responded by summarily firing and even blacklisting the strikers.

“Showdown at Homestead steel plant.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 02:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5921.

0118 – Hadrian, Rome’s new emperor, made his entry into the city.

0455 – Avitus, the Roman military commander in Gaul, became Emperor of the West.

1540 – England’s King Henry VIII had his 6-month-old marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled.

1609 – In a letter to the crown, the emperor Rudolf II granted Bohemia freedom of worship.

1755 – General Edward Braddock was killed when French and Indian troops ambushed his force of British regulars and colonial militia.

1776 – The American Declaration of Independence was read aloud to Gen. George Washington’s troops in New York.

1789 – In Versailles, the French National Assembly declared itself the Constituent Assembly and began to prepare a French constitution.

1847 – A 10-hour work day was established for workers in the state of New Hampshire.

1850 – U.S. President Zachary Taylor died in office at the age of 55. He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore. Taylor had only served 16 months.

1868 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment was designed to grant citizenship to and protect the civil liberties of recently freed slaves. It did this by prohibiting states from denying or abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, depriving any person of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denying to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

1910 – W.R. Brookins became the first to fly an airplane a mile in the air.

1943 – American and British forces made an amphibious landing on Sicily.

1951 – U.S. President Truman asked Congress to formally end the state of war between the United States and Germany.

1971 – The United States turned over complete responsibility of the Demilitarized Zone to South Vietnamese units.

Khrushchev and Eisenhower trade threats over Cuba

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev trade verbal threats over the future of Cuba. In the following years, Cuba became a dangerous focus in the Cold War competition between the United States and Russia.

“Khrushchev and Eisenhower trade threats over Cuba.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 02:43 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2723.




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