Posts Tagged ‘Amadou Diallo

25
Feb
09

On This Day, February 25: Greenbacks

February 25, 1862

Legal Tender Act passed

The U.S. Congress passes the Legal Tender Act, authorizing the use of paper notes to pay the government’s bills. This ended the long-standing policy of using only gold or silver in transactions, and it allowed the government to finance the enormously costly war long after its gold and silver reserves were depleted.

Soon after the war began, the federal government began to run low on specie. Several proposals involving the use of bonds were suggested. Finally, Congress began printing money, which the Confederate government had been doing since the beginning of the war. The Legal Tender Act allowed the government to print $150 million in paper money that was not backed by a similar amount of gold and silver. Many bankers and financial experts predicted doom for the economy, as they believed that there would be little confidence in the scheme. There were also misgivings in Congress, as many legislators worried about a complete collapse of the nation’s financial infrastructure.

These notes, called “greenbacks,” worked much better than expected. It allowed the government to pay its bills and, by increasing the money in circulation, greased the wheels of northern commerce. The greenbacks were legal tender, which meant that creditors had to accept them at face value. The same year, Congress passed an income tax and steep excise taxes, both of which cooled the inflationary pressures created by the greenbacks.

Another legal tender act passed in 1863, and by war’s end nearly a half-billion dollars in greenbacks had been issued. The Legal Tender Act laid the foundation for the creation of a permanent currency in the decades after the Civil War.

“Legal Tender Act passed.” 2009. The History Channel website. 25 Feb 2009, 12:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2117.

On This Day

1570 – England’s Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by Pope Pius V.

1836 – Samuel Colt received a patent for a “revolving gun”.

1901 – The United States Steel Corp. was incorporated by J.P. Morgan.

1913 – The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It authorized a graduated income tax.

1919 – The state of Oregon became the first state to place a tax on gasoline. The tax was 1 cent per gallon.

1933 – The first aircraft carrier, Ranger, was launched.

1956 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev criticized the late Josef Stalin in a speech before a Communist Party congress in Moscow.

1986 – Phillippino President Ferdinand E. Marcos fled the Philippines after 20 years of rule after a tainted election.

2000 – In Albany, NY, a jury acquitted four New York City police officers of second-degree murder and lesser charges in the February 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo.

February 25, 1948

Communists take power in Czechoslovakia

Under pressure from the Czechoslovakian Communist Party, President Eduard Benes allows a communist-dominated government to be organized. Although the Soviet Union did not physically intervene (as it would in 1968), Western observers decried the virtually bloodless communist coup as an example of Soviet expansion into Eastern Europe.

The political scene in Czechoslovakia following World War II was complex, to say the least. Eduard Benes was head of the London-based Czech government-in-exile during the war, and returned to his native land in 1945 to take control of a new national government following the Soviet withdrawal in July of that year. National elections in 1946 resulted in significant representation for leftist and communist parties in the new constituent assembly. Benes formed a coalition with these parties in his administration.

Although Czechoslovakia was not formally within the Soviet orbit, American officials were concerned with the Soviet communist influence in the nation. They were particularly upset when Benes’ government strongly opposed any plans for the political rehabilitation and possible rearmament of Germany (the U.S. was beginning to view a rearmed Germany as a good line of defense against Soviet incursions into western Europe). In response, the United States terminated a large loan to Czechoslovakia. Moderate and conservative parties in Czechoslovakia were outraged, and declared that the U.S. action was driving their nation into the clutches of the communists. Indeed, the communists made huge electoral gains in the nation, particularly as the national economy spiraled out of control.

When moderate elements in the Czech government raised the possibility of the nation’s participation in the U.S. Marshall Plan (a massive economic recovery program designed to help war torn European countries rebuild), the communists organized strikes and protests, and began clamping down on opposition parties. Benes tried desperately to hold his nation together, but by February 1948 the communists had forced the other coalition parties out of the government. On February 25, Benes gave in to communist demands and handed his cabinet over to the party. Rigged elections were held in May to validate the communist victory. Benes then resigned and his former foreign minister Jan Masaryk died under very suspicious circumstances. Czechoslovakia became a single-party state.

The response from the West was quick but hardly decisive. Both the United and Great Britain denounced the communist seizure of power in Czechoslovakia, but neither took any direct action. Perhaps having put too much faith in Czechoslovakia’s democratic traditions, or possibly fearful of a Soviet reaction, neither nation offered anything beyond verbal support to the Benes government. The Communist Party, with support and aid from the Soviet Union, dominated Czechoslovakian politics until the so-called “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 brought a non-communist government to power.

“Communists take power in Czechoslovakia.” 2009. The History Channel website. 25 Feb 2009, 12:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2588.

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04
Feb
09

On This Day, February 4: Confederate States of America

February 4, 1861

States meet to form Confederacy

In Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana convene to establish the Confederate States of America.

As early as 1858, the ongoing conflict between the North and the South over the issue of slavery led Southern leadership to discuss a unified separation from the United States. By 1860, the majority of the slave states were publicly threatening secession if the Republicans, the anti-slavery party, won the presidency. Following Republican Abraham Lincoln’s victory over the divided Democratic Party in November 1860, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings. On December 20, its legislature passed the “Ordinance of Secession,” which declared that “the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved.” After the declaration, South Carolina set about seizing forts, arsenals, and other strategic locations within the state. Within six weeks, five more Southern states had followed South Carolina’s lead.

In February 1861, representatives from the six seceded states met in Montgomery, Alabama, to formally establish a unified government, which they named the Confederate States of America. On February 9, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was elected the Confederacy’s first president.

By the time Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated in March 1861, Texas had joined the Confederacy, and federal troops held only Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Fort Pickens off the Florida coast, and a handful of minor outposts in the South. On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. Within two months, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee had all joined the embattled Confederacy.

“States meet to form Confederacy.” 2009. The History Channel website. 4 Feb 2009, 09:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4734.

On This Day

1783 – Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America.

1789 – Electors unanimously chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States.

1865 – The Hawaiian Board of Education was formed.

1904 – The Russo-Japanese War began after Japan laid seige to Port Arthur.

1932 – The first Winter Olympics were held in the United States at Lake Placid, NY.

1941 – The United Service Organizations (USO) was created.

1945 – During World War II, U.S. President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began a conference at Yalta to outline plans for Germany’s defeat.

1964 – The Admistrator of General Services announced that the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been ratified. The amendment banned the poll tax.

1985 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s defense budget called for a tripling of the expenditure on the “Star Wars” research program.

1998 – In northeast Afghanistan, at least 5,000 people were killed in an earthquake that measured 6.1 on the Richter Scale.

1999 – Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, was shot and killed in front of his Bronx home by four plainclothes New York City police officers. The officers had been conducting a nighttime search for a rape suspect.

Bruce Springsteen:  American Skin (41 Shots)

February 4, 1976

Earthquake rocks Guatemala City

In the very early morning of February 4, 1976, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake levels much of Guatemala City, killing 23,000 people and leaving 1 million others homeless.

It was 3:04 a.m. when the first large tremor, centered six miles under the Earth’s surface 120 miles northwest of Guatemala City, struck. The quake was the result of a clash between the Caribbean and North American plates on the Motagua Fault. In a matter of minutes, about one third of the city was destroyed. All over the city, sleeping residents were crushed and killed when their weak adobe homes collapsed on top of them.

Immediately, efforts began to rescue the thousands of people buried beneath the rubble. Many people could not be saved, as it was extremely difficult to get help to the city. The roads and bridges leading to Guatemala City had been extensively damaged. Thousands of those people lucky enough to be pulled out alive suffered broken backs and pelvises. It is estimated that more than 70,000 people suffered serious injuries. The U.S. Air Force assisted by airlifting food and medicine into the area. With all the available hospitals filled beyond capacity, the United States also set up a field hospital in Chimaltenango. The number of deceased overwhelmed the authorities, so communal grave sites had to be established. To make matters worse, strong aftershocks followed for an entire week, terrorizing the survivors, who were staying in improvised shelters.

“Earthquake rocks Guatemala City.” 2009. The History Channel website. 4 Feb 2009, 09:12 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=53068.

04
Feb
08

On This Day 2-4-08: Yalta

1945: Big Three meet at Yalta

On this day in 1945, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta, a Ukrainian resort town on the Black Sea.

During their second and most controversial conference, the three allies compromised on their visions of the post-war world order and discussed military considerations in the war against Japan. With victory over Germany imminent, the leaders agreed to divide Germany into zones of occupation.

A frail President Roosevelt, two months from his death, concentrated most of his energies in petitioning Stalin to join the war against Japan. Stalin agreed, but only after being assured of an occupation zone in Korea and postwar possession of territories historically disputed between Russia and Japan.

Although the Soviets’ eventual entrance into the Pacific War hastened the Japanese surrender, Roosevelt was later criticized for delivering Eastern Europe and North Korea into communist domination by conceding too much to Stalin at Yalta.*

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/

1783 – Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America.

1789 – Electors unanimously chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States.

1794 – The French Revolutionary legislature abolishes slavery in the territories of the French Republic.

1861 – Delegates from six southern states met in Montgomery, AL, to form the Confederate States of America.

1904 – The Russo-Japanese War began after Japan laid seige to Port Arthur.

1932 – The first Winter Olympics were held in the United States at Lake Placid, NY.

1974 – Patricia (Patty) Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, CA, by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

1999 – Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant (Gambia), was shot and killed in front of his Bronx home by four plainclothes New York City police officers. The officers had been conducting a nighttime search for a rape suspect.

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
Winston Churchill

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
Winston Churchill

*This seems revisionist, because through my own research I’ve found that until the United States dropped the atom bombs on Japan, the US expressed no interest in Korea.




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