Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Carnegie

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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13
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-13-08: Alliance for Progress

Kennedy proposes Alliance for Progress

President John F. Kennedy proposes a 10-year, multibillion-dollar aid program for Latin America. The program came to be known as the Alliance for Progress and was designed to improve U.S. relations with Latin America, which had been severely damaged in recent years.

When Kennedy became president in 1961, U.S. relations with Latin America were at an all-time low. The Latin American republics were disappointed with U.S. economic assistance after World War II. They argued that they had supported America during the war by increasing their production of vital raw materials and keeping their prices low–when the United States began massive aid programs to Europe and Japan after the war, Latin American nations protested that they also deserved economic assistance. Their anger was apparent during Vice President Richard Nixon’s trip through the region in 1958, when a mob attacked his car at a stop in Caracas.

More troubling to American officials was the threat of communism in Latin America. In 1954, the Central Intelligence Agency had funded and supplied a revolution that overthrew the leftist government of Guatemala. In 1959, Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba and by 1961, the United States had severed relations with his government. In response to these developments, Kennedy made his plea for the Alliance for Progress. In requesting funds from Congress, the president stressed the need for improved literacy, land use, industrial productivity, health, and education in Latin America. The United States needed to help Latin America, where “millions of men and women suffer the daily degradations of hunger and poverty” and “discontent is growing.” The United States would provide money, expertise, and technology to raise the standard of living for the people of Latin America, which would hopefully make the countries stronger and better able to resist communist influences.

In response to Kennedy’s plea, Congress voted for an initial grant of $500 million in May 1961. During the next 10 years, billions were spent on the Alliance, but its success was marginal and there were many reasons that the program was ultimately a failure. American congressmen were reluctant to provide funds for land redistribution programs in Latin America because they felt it smacked of socialism. Latin American elites directed most of the funds into pet projects that enriched themselves but did little to help the vast majority of their people. The Alliance certainly failed in its effort to bring democracy to Latin America: by the time the program faded away in the early-1970s, 13 governments in Latin America had been replaced by military rule.

“Kennedy proposes Alliance for Progress.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Mar 2008, 04:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2605.

1519 – Cortez landed in Mexico.

1639 – Harvard University was named for clergyman John Harvard.

1660 – A statute was passed limiting the sale of slaves in the colony of Virginia.

1777 – The U.S. Congress ordered its European envoys to appeal to high-ranking foreign officers to send troops to reinforce the American army.

1868 – The U.S. Senate began the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

1881 – Tsar Alexander II was assassinated when a bomb was thrown at him near his palace.

1900 – In South Africa, British Gen. Roberts took Bloemfontein.

1901 – Andrew Carnegie announced that he was retiring from business and that he would spend the rest of his days giving away his fortune. His net worth was estimated at $300 million.

1902 – Andrew Carnegie approved 40 applications from libraries for donations.

1918 – Women were scheduled to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York due to a shortage of men due to wartime.

1925 – A law in Tennessee prohibited the teaching of evolution.

1928 – The St. Francis Dam in California burst and killing 400 people.

1935 – Three-thousand-year-old archives were found in Jerusalem confirming some biblical history.

1941 – Adolf Hitler issued an edict calling for an invasion of the U.S.S.R.

1946 – Premier Tito seized wartime collaborator General Draja Mikhailovich in a cave in Yugoslavia.

1963 – China invited Soviet President Khrushchev to visit Peking.

1964 – 38 residents of a New York City neighborhood failed to respond to the screams of Kitty Genovese, 28 years old, as she was stabbed to death.

1974 – An embargo imposed by Arab oil-producing countries was lifted. (ahem)

Viet Minh attack French garrison

A force of 40,000 Viet Minh with heavy artillery surround 15,000 French troops at Dien Bien Phu. French General Henri Navarre had positioned these forces 200 miles behind enemy lines in a remote area adjacent to the Laotian border. He hoped to draw the communists into a set-piece battle in which he hoped superior French firepower would destroy the enemy. He underestimated the enemy.

Viet Minh General Vo Nguyen Giap entrenched artillery in the surrounding mountains and massed five divisions around the French positions. The battle began with a massive Viet Minh artillery barrage, followed by an infantry assault. Fierce fighting continued to rage until May 7, 1954, when the Viet Minh overran the last French positions. The shock of the fall of Dien Bien Phu led France, already plagued by public opposition to the war, to agree to the independence of Vietnam at the Geneva Conference in 1954.

“Viet Minh attack French garrison.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Mar 2008, 05:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1726.

11
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-11-08: Johnny Appleseed Day

First cases reported in deadly influenza epidemic

Just before breakfast on the morning of March 11, Private Albert Gitchell of the U.S. Army reports to the hospital at Fort Riley, Kansas, complaining of the cold-like symptoms of sore throat, fever and headache. By noon, over 100 of his fellow soldiers had reported similar symptoms, marking what are believed to be the first cases in the historic influenza epidemic of 1918. The flu would eventually kill 675,000 Americans and more than 20 million people (some believe the total may be closer to 40 million) around the world, proving to be a far deadlier force than even the First World War.

The initial outbreak of the disease, reported at Fort Riley in March, was followed by similar outbreaks in army camps and prisons in various regions of the country. The disease soon traveled to Europe with the American soldiers heading to aid the Allies on the battlefields of France. (In March 1918 alone, 84,000 American soldiers headed across the Atlantic; another 118,000 followed them the next month.) Once it arrived on a second continent, the flu showed no signs of abating: 31,000 cases were reported in June in Great Britain. The disease was soon dubbed the “Spanish flu” due to the shockingly high number of deaths in Spain (some 8 million, it was reported) after the initial outbreak there in May 1918.

The flu showed no mercy for combatants on either side of the trenches. Over the summer, the first wave of the epidemic hit German forces on the Western Front, where they were waging a final, no-holds-barred offensive that would determine the outcome of the war. It had a significant effect on the already weakening morale of the troops–as German army commander Crown Prince Rupprecht wrote on August 3: “poor provisions, heavy losses, and the deepening influenza have deeply depressed the spirits of men in the III Infantry Division.” Meanwhile, the flu was spreading fast beyond the borders of Western Europe, due to its exceptionally high rate of virulence and the massive transport of men on land and aboard ship due to the war effort. By the end of the summer, numerous cases had been reported in Russia, North Africa and India; China, Japan, the Philippines and even New Zealand would eventually fall victim as well.

The Great War ended on November 11, but influenza continued to wreak international havoc, flaring again in the U.S. in an even more vicious wave with the return of soldiers from the war and eventually infecting an estimated 28 percent of the country’s population before it finally petered out. In its December 28, 1918, issue, the American Medical Association acknowledged the end of one momentous conflict and urged the acceptance of a new challenge, stating that “Medical science for four and one-half years devoted itself to putting men on the firing line and keeping them there. Now it must turn with its whole might to combating the greatest enemy of all—infectious disease.”

537 – The Goths began their siege on Rome.

1665 – A new legal code was approved for the Dutch and English towns, guaranteeing religious observances unhindered.

1824 – The U.S. War Department created the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Seneca Indian Ely Parker became the first Indian to lead the Bureau.

1847 – John Chapman ‘Johnny Appleseed’ died in Allen County, Indiana. This day became known as Johnny Appleseed Day.

1861 – A Confederate Convention was held in Montgomery, Alabama, where a new constitution was adopted.

1865 – Union General William Sherman and his forces occupied Fayetteville, NC.

1888 – The “Blizzard of ’88” began along the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard shutting down communication and transportation lines. More than 400 people died.(March 11-14)

1901 – U.S. Steel was formed when industrialist J.P. Morgan purchased Carnegie Steep Corp. The event made Andrew Carnegie the world’s richest man.

1907 – U.S. President Roosevelt induced California to revoke its anti-Japanese legislation.

1927 – The Flatheads Gang stole $104,250 in the first armored-car robbery near Pittsburgh, PA.

1941 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the Lend-Lease Act, which authorized the act of providing war supplies to the Allies.

1946 – Communists and Nationalists began fighting as the Soviets pulled out of Mukden, Manchuria.

1965 – The Rev. James J. Reeb, a white minister from Boston, died after being beaten by whites during a civil rights disturbances in Selma, Alabama.

1977 – More than 130 hostages held in Washington, DC, by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations.

1985 – Mikhail Gorbachev was named the new chairman of the Soviet Communist Party.

1986 – Popsicle announced its plan to end the traditional twin-stick frozen treat for a one-stick model.

1993 – Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the first female attorney general.

2002 – Two columns of light were pointed skyward from ground zero in New York as a temporary memorial to the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

2004 – In Madrid, Spain, several coordinated bombing attacks on commuter trains killed at least 190 people and injured more than 2,000.




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