Posts Tagged ‘17th Amendment

31
May
09

On This Day, May 31: Joseph Johnston Wounded

May 31, 1862

Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), Virginia

Confederate forces strike Union troops in the Pen insular campaign. During May 1862, the Army of the Potomac, under the command of George B. McClellan, slowly advanced up the James Peninsula after sailing down the Chesapeake Bay by boat. Confederate commander Joseph Johnston had been cautiously backing his troops up the peninsula in the face of the larger Union force, giving ground until he was in the Richmond perimeter. When the Rebels had backed up to the capital, Johnston sought an opportunity to attack McClellan and halt his advance.

That chance came when McClellan’s forces were straddling the Chickahominy River. The swampy ground around the river was difficult to maneuver, and the river was now a raging torrent from the spring rains. A major storm on May 31 threatened to cut the only bridge links between the two wings of the Union army.

Johnston attacked one of McClellan’s corps south of the river on May 31 in a promising assault. The plan called for three divisions to hammer the Federal corps from three sides, but the inexperienced Confederates were delayed and confused. By the time the attack came, McClellan had time to muster reinforcements and drive the Rebels back. A Confederate attack the next day also produced no tangible results. The Yankees lost 5,000 casualties to the Rebels’ 6,000.

But the battle had two important consequences. McClellan was horrified by the sight of his dead and wounded soldiers, and became much more cautious and timid in battle—actions that would eventually doom the campaign. And since Johnston was wounded during the battle’s first day, Robert E. Lee replaced him. Lee had been serving as Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ military advisor since his undistinguished service in western Virginia during the war’s first year. The history of the war in the eastern theater drastically changed as Lee ascended the ranks. His leadership and exploits soon became legend.

“Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), Virginia,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2051 [accessed May 31, 2009]

 

On This Day

1854 – The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed by the U.S. Congress.

1889 – In Johnstown, PA, more than 2,200 people died after the South Fork Dam collapsed.

1902 – The Boer War ended between the Boers of South Africa and Great Britain with the Treaty of Vereeniging.

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its first conference.

1913 – The 17th Amendment went into effect. It provided for popular election of U.S. senators.

1947 – Communists seized control of Hungary.

1955 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that all states must end racial segregation “with all deliberate speed.”

1962 – Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel. Eichmann was a Gestapo official and was executed for his actions in the Nazi Holocaust.

2003 – In North Carolina, Eric Robert Rudolph was captured. He had been on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list for five years for several bombings including the 1996 Olympic bombing.

May 31, 1775

Mecklenburg Resolutions reject the power of the British in North Carolina

On this day in 1775, the committeemen of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, meet and respond to news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolution, with a series of 20 patriotic resolutions.

This meeting gave rise to a lasting historical myth better known than the event itself. In 1819, the Raleigh Register published a document that it claimed was the “Mecklenberg Declaration of Independence” from May 20, 1775. Controversy continues regarding the declaration’s authenticity, but it is likely that the so-called declaration was a misdated and edited version of the resolves that were actually recorded on May 31.

The so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence printed in 1819 contained five resolutions. The first charges, “That whosoever directly or indirectly abetted, or in any way, form, or manner, countenanced the unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this County, to America, and to the inherent and inalienable rights of man.” The second resolution “dissolved” Mecklenburg County’s ties “to the Mother Country” and removed “all allegiance to the British Crown,” which had “shed the innocent blood of American Patriots at Lexington. The third resolution declared the Mecklenbergers, “a free and independent people.” The fourth and fifth resolutions dissolved the power of all British appointments and called every officer in the county to resume “his former command and authority… until a more general and organized government be established in this province.”

The myth of the May 20, 1775, declaration is deeply entrenched: North Carolina’s state seal and flag bear the dates May 20, 1775, and April 12, 1776. April 12, 1776, was the date of the Halifax Resolves, with which the North Carolina Provincial Congress empowered its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote in favor of independence from Britain. Despite the continued popularity of the “Mecklenburg Declaration” in popular lore, the less emphatic set of 20 resolves issued on May 31, which suspended crown authority in North Carolina without overtly declaring independence, are the only ones confirmed to have existed by contemporary documents.

“Mecklenburg Resolutions reject the power of the British in North Carolina,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=639 [accessed May 31, 2009]

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08
Apr
09

On This Day, April 8: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

April 8, 1945

Defiant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged

On this day in 1945, Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged at Flossenburg, only days before the American liberation of the POW camp. The last words of the brilliant and courageous 39-year-old opponent of Nazism were “This is the end–for me, the beginning of life.”

Two days after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, lecturer at Berlin University, took to the radio and denounced the Nazi Fuhrerprinzip, the leadership principle that was merely a synonym for dictatorship. Bonhoeffer’s broadcast was cut off before he could finish. Shortly thereafter, he moved to London to pastor a German congregation, while also giving support to the Confessing Church movement in Germany, a declaration by Lutheran and evangelical pastors and theologians that they would not have their churches co-opted by the Nazi government for propagandistic purposes. Bonhoeffer returned to Germany in 1935 to run a seminary for the Confessing Church; the government closed it in 1937. Bonhoeffer’s continued vocal objections to Nazi policies resulted in his losing his freedom to lecture or publish. He soon joined the German resistance movement, even the plot to assassinate Hitler. In April 1943, shortly after becoming engaged to be married, Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Gestapo. Evidence implicating him in the plot to overthrow the government came to light and he was court-martialed and sentenced to die. While in prison, he acted as a counselor and pastor to prisoners of all denominations. Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison was published posthumously. Among his celebrated works of theology are The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics.

“Defiant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6409 (accessed Apr 8, 2009).

 

On This Day

1525 – Albert von Brandenburg, the leader of the Teutonic Order, assumes the title “Duke of Prussia” and passed the first laws of the Protestant church, making Prussia a Protestant state.

1789 – The U.S. House of Representatives held its first meeting.

1913 – The Seventeenth amendment was ratified, requiring direct election of senators.

1935 – The Works Progress Administration was approved by the U.S. Congress.

1939 – Italy invaded Albania.

1942 – The Soviets opened a rail link to the besieged city of Leningrad.

1946 – The League of Nations assembled in Geneva for the last time.

1974 – Hank Aaron hits 715th home run breaking Babe Ruth’s record.

1985 – India filed suit against Union Carbide for the Bhopal disaster.

1998 – The widow of Martin Luther King Jr. presented new evidence in an appeal for new federal investigation of the assassination of her husband.

April 8, -563

Buddhists celebrate birth of Gautama Buddha

On this day, Buddhists celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, thought to have lived in India from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C. Actually, the Buddhist tradition that celebrates his birthday on April 8 originally placed his birth in the 11th century B.C., and it was not until the modern era that scholars determined that he was more likely born in the sixth century B.C., and possibly in May rather than April.

At his birth, it was predicted that the prince would either become a great world monarch or a Buddha–a supremely enlightened teacher. The Brahmans told his father, King Suddhodana, that Siddhartha would become a ruler if he were kept isolated from the outside world. The king took pains to shelter his son from misery and anything else that might influence him toward the religious life. Siddhartha was brought up in great luxury, and he married and fathered a son. At age 29, he decided to see more of the world and began excursions off the palace grounds in his chariot. In successive trips, he saw an old man, a sick man, and a corpse, and since he had been protected from the miseries of aging, sickness, and death, his charioteer had to explain what they were. Finally, Siddhartha saw a monk, and, impressed with the man’s peaceful demeanor, he decided to go into the world to discover how the man could be so serene in the midst of such suffering.

Siddhartha secretly left the palace and became a wandering ascetic. He traveled south, where the centers of learning were, and studied meditation under the teachers Alara Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra. He soon mastered their systems, reaching high states of mystical realization, but was unsatisfied and went out again in search of nirvana, the highest level of enlightenment. For nearly six years, he undertook fasting and other austerities, but these techniques proved ineffectual and he abandoned them. After regaining his strength, he seated himself under a pipal tree at what is now Bodh Gaya in west-central India and promised not to rise until he had attained the supreme enlightenment. After fighting off Mara, an evil spirit who tempted him with worldly comforts and desires, Siddhartha reached enlightenment, becoming a Buddha at the age of 35.

The Gautama Buddha then traveled to the deer park near Benares, India, where he gave his first sermon and outlined the basic doctrines of Buddhism. According to Buddhism, there are “four noble truths”: (1) existence is suffering; (2) this suffering is caused by human craving; (3) there is a cessation of the suffering, which is nirvana; and (4) nirvana can be achieved, in this or future lives, though the “eightfold path” of right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

For the rest of his life, the Buddha taught and gathered disciples to his sangha, or community of monks. He died at age 80, telling his monks to continue working for their spiritual liberation by following his teachings. Buddhism eventually spread from India to Central and Southeast Asia, China, Korea, Japan, and, in the 20th century, to the West. Today, there are an estimated 350 million people in 100 nations who adhere to Buddhist beliefs and practices.

“Buddhists celebrate birth of Gautama Buddha,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6861 (accessed Apr 8, 2009).




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