Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Hamilton

14
Mar
09

On This Day, March 14: Alexander Hamilton

March 14, 1776

Alexander Hamilton is named captain of artillery company

On this day in 1776, Alexander Hamilton receives his commission as captain of a New York artillery company. Throughout the rest of 1776, Captain Hamilton established himself as a great military leader as he directed his artillery company in several battles in and around New York City. In March 1777, Hamilton’s performance came to the attention of General George Washington and he was commissioned lieutenant colonel and personal aide to General Washington in the Continental Army.

After serving under Washington for four years, Hamilton resigned in February 1781 after a dispute with the general, but remained in the army. In July 1781, Hamilton took a position as commander of a regiment of New York troops and served with distinction at the Battle of Yorktown in the fall of that year.

After resigning from the army and working at a law practice, Hamilton was elected to the Continental Congress from New York in 1782, where he quickly became known as a proponent of a stronger national government. In the years to come, Hamilton became well-known for his political philosophy and published several papers with James Madison and John Jay that became known as the “Federalist Papers.”

Hamilton became the first secretary of the treasury in September 1789 after the election of President George Washington and served in that office until resigning in January 1795. Hamilton then returned to the private sector and a law practice in New York City, but remained a close advisor to President Washington.

In 1800, Hamilton became embroiled in a bitter dispute when he threw his support behind President John Adams’ reelection campaign instead of presidential candidate Aaron Burr’s. After his defeat, Burr ran for governor of New York in 1804; Hamilton again opposed his candidacy. Humiliated, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey. Alexander Hamilton was shot in the duel and died of his wound the following day, July 12, in New York at the age of 49.

“Alexander Hamilton is named captain of artillery company.” 2009. The History Channel website. 14 Mar 2009, 01:12 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=310.

 

 On This Day

1743 – First American town meeting was held at Boston’s Faneuil Hall.

1794 – Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin.

1900 – U.S. currency went on the gold standard with the ratification of the Gold Standard Act.

1901 – Utah Governor Heber M. Wells vetoed a bill that would have relaxed restrictions on polygamy.

1903 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Hay-Herran Treaty that guaranteed the U.S. the right to build a canal at Panama. The Columbian Senate rejected the treaty.

1914 – Henry Ford announced the new continuous motion method to assemble cars. The process decreased the time to make a car from 12½ hours to 93 minutes.

1918 – An all-Russian Congress of Soviets ratified a peace treaty with the Central Powers.

1936 – Adolf Hitler told a crowd of 300,000 that Germany’s only judge is God and itself.

1938 – Germany invaded Austria. A union of Austria and Germany was proclaimed by Adolf Hitler.

1939 – Hungary occupied the Carpatho-Ukraine. Slovakia declared its independence.

1945 – In Germany, a 22,000 pound “Grand Slam” bomb was dropped by the Royal Air Force Dumbuster Squad on the Beilefeld railway viaduct. It was the heaviest bomb used during World War II.

1947 – Moscow announced that 890,532 German POWs were held in the U.S.S.R.

1954 – The Viet Minh launched an assault on Dien Bien Phu in Saigon.

1976 – Egypt formally abrogated the 1971 Treaty Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.

 

March 14, 1969

Nixon discusses the possibility of U.S. troop withdrawals

At a news conference, President Richard Nixon says there is no prospect for a U.S. troop reduction in the foreseeable future because of the ongoing enemy offensive. Nixon stated that the prospects for withdrawal would hinge on the level of enemy activity, progress in the Paris peace talks, and the ability of the South Vietnamese to defend themselves. Despite these public comments, Nixon and his advisers were secretly discussing U.S. troop withdrawals. On June 8, at a conference on Midway Island with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, Nixon formally announced a new policy that included intensified efforts to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces so that U.S. forces could be gradually withdrawn. This program became known as “Vietnamization.” The first U.S. troop withdrawals occurred in the fall of 1969 with the departure of the headquarters and a brigade from the 9th Infantry Division.

“Nixon discusses the possibility of U.S. troop withdrawals.” 2009. The History Channel website. 14 Mar 2009, 01:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1728.

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18
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-18-2008: Antietam

IMG_1485

Union artillery practicing during Boscobel Civil War reenactment.

September 18, 1862

McClellan lets Lee retreat from Antietam

Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army pulls away from Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and heads back to Virginia. The day before, Lee’s force had engaged in the biggest one-day battle of the Civil War against the army of General George B. McClellan. The armies struggled to a standstill, but the magnitude of losses forced Lee to abandon his invasion of Maryland.

The significance of the battle was not Lee’s withdrawal, but McClellan’s lack of pursuit. When Lee settled into a defensive line above Antietam Creek on September 16, he had only about 43,000 troops. McClellan had around 50,000 in position on September 17, with many more on the way.

On September 18, the armies remained in their positions without fighting. By this point, Lee was highly vulnerable. His army had its back to the Potomac River, just a few miles away, and a quarter of his force had been lost in the previous day’s battle. And after more than two weeks of marching, his men were tired. McClellan, on the other hand, welcomed an additional 12,000 troops on September 18, with another 24,000 who had seen little or no action the day before, to join his original force. But, although he outnumbered Lee’s troops by almost three times, McClellan did not pursue Lee. In fact, despite constant urging from President Lincoln and Chief of Staff Henry Halleck, McClellan did not move toward Virginia for over a month. McClellan overestimated the size of Lee’s force, assuming that Lee had nearly 100,000 troops in his command, and insisted that the fall of Harpers Ferry, Virginia, on September 15 allowed an additional 40,000 Confederate troops—in his inflated estimation—to fight at Antietam.

In McClellan’s defense, it should be noted that his soldiers were extremely fatigued after the Battle of Antietam, which was the bloodiest day of the war. It would be difficult to rally them for another attack; but certainly not impossible. Instead, Lee was allowed to escape with his command intact. A chance to destroy the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was lost, and the war lasted another two and a half years.

“McClellan lets Lee retreat from Antietam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Sep 2008, 11:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2322.

IMG_1497

Muskets stacked in Civil War tradition during the Boscobel Civil War reenactment.

On This Day September 18

1789 – Alexander Hamilton negotiated and secured the first loan for the United States. The Temporary Loan of 1789 was repaid on June 8, 1790 at the sum of $191,608.81.

1793 – U.S. President George Washington laid the actual cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.

1850 – The Fugitive Slave Act was declared by the U.S. Congress. The act allowed slave owners to claim slaves that had escaped into other states.

 

IMG_1318

Union soldiers tent from the Boscobel reenactment.

September 17, 1862

Antietam: The Bloodiest Day in American History

Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac fight to a standstill along a Maryland creek on the bloodiest day in American history. Although the battle was a tactical draw, it forced Lee to end his invasion of the North and retreat back to Virginia.

After Lee’s decisive victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862, the Confederate general had steered his army north into Maryland. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis believed that another Rebel victory might bring recognition and aid from Great Britain and France. Lee also sought to relieve pressure on Virginia by carrying the conflict to the North. His ragtag army was in dire need of supplies, which Lee hoped to obtain from Maryland farms that were untouched by the war.

Lee split his army as he moved into Maryland. One corps marched to capture Harpers Ferry, Virginia, while the other two searched for provisions. Although a copy of Lee’s orders ended up in the hands of McClellan, the Union general failed to act quickly, allowing Lee time to gather his army along Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg, Maryland. McClellan arrived on September 16 and prepared to attack.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted appalling casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. McClellan lost a total of 12,401 men, including 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing. Lee lost 10, 406, including 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

Although the Union army drove Lee’s force back to Virginia, the battle was a lost opportunity for the Yankees. McClellan had an overwhelming numerical advantage, but he did not know it. Another attack on September 18 may well have scattered the Confederates and cut off Lee’s line of retreat.

“Antietam: The Bloodiest Day in American History.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Sep 2008, 11:39 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2321.

14
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-14-08: Bastille Day

French revolutionaries storm Bastille

Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, a decade of political turmoil and terror in which King Louis XVI was overthrown and tens of thousands of people, including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette, were executed.

The Bastille was originally constructed in 1370 as a bastide, or “fortification,” to protect the walled city of Paris from English attack. It was later made into an independent stronghold, and its name–bastide–was corrupted to Bastille. The Bastille was first used as a state prison in the 17th century, and its cells were reserved for upper-class felons, political troublemakers, and spies. Most prisoners there were imprisoned without a trial under direct orders of the king. Standing 100 feet tall and surrounded by a moat more than 80 feet wide, the Bastille was an imposing structure in the Parisian landscape.

The capture of the Bastille symbolized the end of the ancien regime and provided the French revolutionary cause with an irresistible momentum. Joined by four-fifths of the French army, the revolutionaries seized control of Paris and then the French countryside, forcing King Louis XVI to accept a constitutional government. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis and his wife Marie-Antoinette were sent to the guillotine for treason in 1793.

By order of the new revolutionary government, the Bastille was torn down. On February 6, 1790, the last stone of the hated prison-fortress was presented to the National Assembly. Today, July 14–Bastille Day–is celebrated as a national holiday in France.

“French revolutionaries storm Bastille.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6958.

 

On This Day

1430 – Joan of Arc, taken prisoner by the Burgundians in May, was handed over to Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais.

1914 – Robert H. Goddard patented liquid rocket-fuel.

1933 – All German political parties except the Nazi Party were outlawed.

1940 – A force of German Ju-88 bombers attacked Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.

1941 – Vichy French Foreign Legionaries signed an armistice in Damascus, which allowed them to join the Free French Foreign Legion.

1945 – American battleships and cruisers bombarded the Japanese home islands for the first time.

1965 – The American space probe Mariner 4 flew by Mars, and sent back photographs of the planet.

1966 – In a Chicago dormitory, Richard Speck murdered eight student nurses.

2001 – Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympics. It was the first time that the China had been awarded the games.

 

Sedition Act becomes federal law

On this day in 1798, one of the most egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution in history becomes federal law when Congress passes the Sedition Act, endangering liberty in the fragile new nation. While the United States engaged in naval hostilities with Revolutionary France, known as the Quasi-War, Alexander Hamilton and congressional Federalists took advantage of the public’s wartime fears and drafted and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, without first consulting President John Adams. The first three acts took aim at the rights of immigrants. The period of residency required before immigrants could apply for citizenship was extended from five to 14 years, and the president gained the power to detain and deport those he deemed enemies.

President Adams never took advantage of his newfound ability to deny rights to immigrants. However, the fourth act, the Sedition Act, was put into practice and became a black mark on the nation’s reputation. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act. In opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drafted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, declaring the acts to be a violation of the First and Tenth Amendments. President Adams, appalled at where Hamilton and the congressional Federalists were leading the country under the guise of wartime crisis, tried to end the undeclared war with France to undercut their efforts. He threatened to resign from the presidency and leave the Federalists with Republican Vice President Thomas Jefferson if they did not heed his call for peace. Adams succeeded in quashing Hamilton and the Federalists’ schemes, but ended any hope of his own re-election in the process.

“Sedition Act becomes federal law.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50377.

Rupture between USSR and China grows worse

Relations between the Soviet Union and China reach the breaking point as the two governments engage in an angry ideological debate about the future of communism. The United States, for its part, was delighted to see a wedge being driven between the two communist superpowers.

In mid-1963, officials from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China met in Moscow to try to mend their ideological rift. The Chinese government had become openly critical of what it referred to as the growing “counterrevolutionary trends” in the Soviet Union. In particular, China was unhappy with the Soviet Union’s policy of cooperation with the West. According to a public statement made by the Chinese government on June 14, 1963, a much more militant and aggressive policy was needed in order to spread the communist revolution worldwide. There could be no “peaceful coexistence” with the forces of capitalism, and the statement chided the Russians for trying to reach a diplomatic understanding with the West, and in particular, the United States.

“Rupture between USSR and China grows worse.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2728.

Quotes

Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.
Maximilien Robespierre

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.
Maximilien Robespierre

11
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-11-08: Alexander Hamilton

Burr slays Hamilton in duel

In a duel held in Weehawken, New Jersey, Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shoots his long-time political antagonist Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, a leading Federalist and the chief architect of America’s political economy, died the following day.

Alexander Hamilton, born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, came to the American colonies in 1773 as a poor immigrant. (There is some controversy as to the year of his birth, but it was either 1755 or 1757.) In 1776, he joined the Continental Army in the American Revolution, and his relentless energy and remarkable intelligence brought him to the attention of General George Washington, who took him on as an aid. Ten years later, Hamilton served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and he led the fight to win ratification of the final document, which created the kind of strong, centralized government that he favored. In 1789, he was appointed the first secretary of the treasury by President Washington, and during the next six years he crafted a sophisticated monetary policy that saved the young U.S. government from collapse. With the emergence of political parties, Hamilton was regarded as a leader of the Federalists.

Aaron Burr, born into a prestigious New Jersey family in 1756, was also intellectually gifted, and he graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the age of 17. He joined the Continental Army in 1775 and distinguished himself during the Patriot attack on Quebec. A masterful politician, he was elected to the New State Assembly in 1783 and later served as state attorney. In 1790, he defeated Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law in a race for the U.S. Senate.

“Burr slays Hamilton in duel.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 01:57 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6955.

1533 – Henry VIII, who divorced his wife and became head of the church of England, was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Clement VII.

1786 – Morocco agreed to stop attacking American ships in the Mediterranean for a payment of $10,000.

1798 – The U.S. Marine Corps was formally re-established by “An Act for Establishing a Marine Corps” passed by the U.S. Congress. The act also created the U.S. Marine Band. The Marines were first commissioned by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775.

1864 – In the U.S., Confederate forces led by Gen. Jubal Early began an invasion of Washington, DC. They turned back the next day.

1955 – The U.S. Air Force Academy was dedicated in Colorado Springs, CO, at Lowry Air Base.

1972 – U.S. forces broke the 95-day siege at An Loc in Vietnam.

1977 – The Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a White House ceremony.

1979 – The abandoned U.S. space station Skylab returned to Earth. It burned up in the atmosphere and showered debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.

1980 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the release of hostage Richard Queen due to illness. Queen was flown to Zurich, Switzerland. Queen had been taken hostage with 62 other Americans at the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979.

1995 – Full diplomatic relations were established between the United States and Vietnam.

1998 – U.S. Air Force Lt. Michael Blassie, a casualty of the Vietnam War, was laid to rest near his Missouri home. He had been positively identified from his remains that had been enshrined in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington, VA.

 

Battle of Rich Mountain

On this day, Union troops under General George B. McClellan score another major victory in the struggle for western Virginia at the Battle of Rich Mountain. The Yankee success secured the region and ensured the eventual creation of West Virginia.

Western Virginia was a crucial battleground in the early months of the war. The population of the region was deeply divided over the issue of secession, and western Virginia was also a vital east-west link for the Union because the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ran through its mountains.

After McClellan scored a series of small victories in western Virginia in June and early July, Confederate General Robert Garnett and Colonel John Pegram positioned their forces at Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill to block two key roads and keep McClellan from penetrating any further east. McClellan crafted a plan to feign an attack against Garnett at Laurel Hill while he sent the bulk of his force against Pegram at Rich Mountain.

Part of McClellan’s force, led by General William Rosecrans, followed a rugged mountain path to swing around behind the Rebels’ left flank. McClellan had promised to attack the Confederate front when he heard gunfire from Rosecrans’s direction. After a difficult march through a drenching rain, Rosecrans struck the Confederate wing. It took several attempts, but he was finally able to drive the Confederates from their position. McClellan shelled the Rebel position, but did not make the expected assault. Each side suffered around 70 casualties.

Pegram was forced to abandon his position, but Rosecrans was blocking his escape route. Two days later, he surrendered his force of 555. Although McClellan became a Union hero as a result of this victory, most historians agree that Rosecrans deserved the credit. Nonetheless, McClellan was on his way to becoming the commander of the Army of the Potomac.

“Battle of Rich Mountain.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 02:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2242.

Soviets agree to hand over power in West Berlin

Fulfilling agreements reached at various wartime conferences, the Soviet Union promises to hand power over to British and U.S. forces in West Berlin. Although the division of Berlin (and of Germany as a whole) into zones of occupation was seen as a temporary postwar expedient, the dividing lines quickly became permanent. The divided city of Berlin became a symbol for Cold War tensions.

“Soviets agree to hand over power in West Berlin.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 02:01 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2725.

Thieu challenges NLF to participate in free elections

South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, in a televised speech, makes a “comprehensive offer” for a political settlement. He challenged the National Liberation Front to participate in free elections organized by a joint electoral commission and supervised by an international body. Following the speech, South Vietnamese Foreign Minister Tran Chanh Thanh, seeking to clarify the Thieu proposal, said communists could never participate in elections in South Vietnam “as communists” nor have any role in organizing elections–only by the South Vietnamese government could organize the elections.

“Thieu challenges NLF to participate in free elections.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 02:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1960.

“I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value”

 Alexander Hamilton quotes

I never expect to see a perfect work from an imperfect man.
Alexander Hamilton




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