Posts Tagged ‘Articles of Confederation

21
Jun
09

On This Day, June 21: US Constitution Ratified

June 21, 1788

U.S. Constitution ratified

New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land.

By 1786, defects in the post-Revolutionary War Articles of Confederation were apparent, such as the lack of central authority over foreign and domestic commerce. Congress endorsed a plan to draft a new constitution, and on May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. On September 17, 1787, after three months of debate moderated by convention president George Washington, the new U.S. constitution, which created a strong federal government with an intricate system of checks and balances, was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.

On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution–the Bill of Rights–and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791. In November 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Rhode Island, which opposed federal control of currency and was critical of compromise on the issue of slavery, resisted ratifying the Constitution until the U.S. government threatened to sever commercial relations with the state. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island voted by two votes to ratify the document, and the last of the original 13 colonies joined the United States. Today the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world.

“U.S. Constitution ratified,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5111 [accessed Jun 21, 2009]

On This Day

1834 – Cyrus McCormick patented the first practical mechanical reaper for farming. His invention allowed farmers to more than double their crop size.

1913 – Georgia Broadwick became the first woman to jump from an airplane.

1938 – In Washington, U.S. President Roosevelt signed the $3.75 billion Emergency Relief Appropriation Act.

1954 – The American Cancer Society reported significantly higher death rates among cigarette smokers than among non-smokers.

1958 – In Arkansas, a federal judge let Little Rock delay school integration.

1963 – France announced that they were withdrawing from the North Atlantic NATO fleet.

1982 – A jury in Washington, DC, found John Hinckley Jr. innocent by reason of insanity in the shootings of U.S. President Reagan and three other men.

1985 – Scientists announced that skeletal remains exhumed in Brazil were those of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.

2004 – SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan and piloted by Mike Melvill, reached 328,491 feet above Earth in a 90 minute flight. The height is about 400 feet above the distance scientists consider to be the boundary of space.

June 21, 1964

The KKK kills three civil rights activists

Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney are killed by a Ku Klux Klan lynch mob near Meridian, Mississippi. The three young civil rights workers were working to register black voters in Mississippi, thus inspiring the ire of the local Klan. The deaths of Schwerner and Goodman, white Northerners and members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), caused a national outrage.

When the desegregation movement encountered resistance in the early 1960s, CORE set up an interracial team to ride buses into the Deep South to help protest. These so-called Freedom Riders were viciously attacked in May 1961 when the first two buses arrived in Alabama. One bus was firebombed; the other boarded by KKK members who beat the activists inside. The Alabama police provided no protection.

Still, the Freedom Riders were not dissuaded and they continued to come into Alabama and Mississippi. Michael Schwerner was a particularly dedicated activist who lived in Mississippi while he assisted blacks to vote. Sam Bowers, the local Klan’s Imperial Wizard, decided that Schwerner was a bad influence, and had to be killed.

When Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney, a young black man, were coming back from a trip to Philadelphia, Mississippi, deputy sheriff Cecil Price, who was also a Klan member, pulled them over for speeding. He then held them in custody while other KKK members prepared for their murder. Eventually released, the three activists were later chased down in their car and cornered in a secluded spot in the woods where they were shot and then buried in graves that had been prepared in advance.

When news of their disappearance got out, the FBI converged on Mississippi to investigate. With the help of an informant, agents learned about the Klan’s involvement and found the bodies. Since Mississippi refused to prosecute the assailants in state court, the federal government charged 18 men with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney.

Bowers, Price, and five other men were convicted; eight were acquitted; and the all-white jury deadlocked on the other three defendants.
On the forty-first anniversary of the three murders, June 21, 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter. The 80-year-old Killen, known as an outspoken white supremacist and part-time Baptist minister, was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

“The KKK kills three civil rights activists,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1043 [accessed Jun 21, 2009]

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15
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-15-2008: Articles of Confederation

November 15, 1777

Articles of Confederation adopted

After 16 months of debate, the Continental Congress, sitting in its temporary capital of York, Pennsylvania, agrees to adopt the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union on this day in 1777. Not until March 1, 1781, would the last of the 13 states, Maryland, ratify the agreement.

In 1777, Patriot leaders, stinging from British oppression, were reluctant to establish any form of government that might infringe on the right of individual states to govern their own affairs. The Articles of Confederation, then, provided for only a loose federation of American states. Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Less than five years after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, enough leading Americans decided that the system was inadequate to the task of governance that they peacefully overthrew their second government in just over 20 years. The difference between a collection of sovereign states forming a confederation and a federal government created by a sovereign people lay at the heart of debate as the new American people decided what form their new government would take.

In 1787, an extra-legal body met in seclusion during Philadelphia’s summer heat to create this new government. On March 4, 1789, the modern United States was established when the U.S. Constitution formally replaced the Articles of Confederation.

Between 1776 and 1789, Americans went from living under a sovereign king, to living in sovereign states, to becoming a sovereign people. That transformation defined the American Revolution.

“Articles of Confederation adopted.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Nov 2008, 10:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5524.

On This Day

1806 – Explorer Zebulon Pike spotted the mountaintop that became known as Pikes Peak.

1920 – The League of Nations met for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland.

1940 – The first 75,000 men were called to Armed Forces duty under peacetime conscription.

1965 – The Soviet probe, Venera 3, was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. On March 1, 1966, it became the first unmanned spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet when it crashed on Venus.

1966 – The flight of Gemini 12 ended successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.

1986 – A government tribunal in Nicaragua convicted American Eugene Hasenfus of charges related to his role in delivering arms to Contra rebels. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and was pardoned a month later.

November 15, 1957

Nikita Khrushchev challenges United States to a missile “shooting match”

In a long and rambling interview with an American reporter, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile “shooting match” to prove his assertion. The interview further fueled fears in the United States that the nation was falling perilously behind the Soviets in the arms race.

The interview elicited the usual mixture of boastful belligerence and calls for “peaceful coexistence” with the West that was characteristic of Khrushchev’s public statements during the late 1950s. He bragged about Soviet missile superiority, claiming that the United States did not have intercontinental ballistic rockets; “If she had,” the Russian leader sneered, “she would have launched her own sputnik.” He then issued a challenge: “Let’s have a peaceful rocket contest just like a rifle-shooting match, and they’ll see for themselves.” Speaking about the future of East-West relations, Khrushchev stated that the American and Soviet people both wanted peace. He cautioned, however, that although the Soviet Union would never start a war, “some lunatics” might bring about a conflict. In particular, he noted that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had created “an artificial war psychosis.” In the case of war, it “would be fought on the American continent, which can be reached by our rockets.” NATO forces in Europe would also be devastated, and Europe “might become a veritable cemetery.” While the Soviet Union would “suffer immensely,” the forces of communism would ultimately destroy capitalism.

Khrushchev’s remarks came just a few days after the Gaither Report had been leaked to the press in the United States. The report supported many of the Russian leader’s contentions, charging that the United States was falling far behind the Soviets in the arms race. Critics of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s foreign policy, particularly from the Democratic Party, went on the attack. The public debate concerning the alleged “missile gap” between U.S. and Soviet rocket arsenals continued through the early 1960s and was a major issue in the 1960 presidential campaign between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

“Nikita Khrushchev challenges United States to a missile “shooting match”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Nov 2008, 10:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2485.

November 15, 1969

Second moratorium against the war held

Following a symbolic three-day “March Against Death,” the second national “moratorium” opens with mass demonstrations in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Organized by the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (“New Mobe”), an estimated 500,000 demonstrators rallied in Washington as part of the largest such rally to date. It began with a march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Washington Monument, where a mass rally and speeches were held. Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and four different touring casts of the musical “Hair” entertained the demonstrators.

Later, violence erupted when police used tear gas on radicals who had split off from the main rally to march on the Justice Department. The crowd of about 6,000, led by members of the Youth International Party (“Yippies”), threw rocks and bottles and burned U.S. flags. Almost 100 demonstrators were arrested.

The largest protest outside Washington was held in San Francisco, where an estimated 250,000 people demonstrated. Antiwar demonstrations were also held in a number of major European cities, including Frankfurt, Stuttgart, West Berlin, and London. The largest overseas demonstration occurred in Paris, where 2,651 people were arrested.

“Second moratorium against the war held,” The History Channel website, 2008, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1486 [accessed Nov 15, 2008]

01
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-1-08: The Weather Underground

1950: Fuchs guilty of espionage

In London, Klaus Fuchs, a German-born physicist who helped build the first two US atomic bombs, is convicted of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Because he committed the espionage before the USSR was designated a British enemy, he was only sentenced to 14 years.

Fuchs, a Communist, fled Germany for Britain after the rise of Adolf Hitler. In 1943, he was enlisted into the US atomic bomb program and soon was relating precise information about the US program to a Soviet spy. In 1945, Fuchs returned to England, where he was arrested by British intelligence in December 1949.

The discovery of Fuchs’ espionage came four months after the Soviets successfully tested their first atomic bomb, a development that helped motivate US President Harry Truman to approve the American hydrogen bomb program.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_March_1.php

1498 – Vasco de Gama landed at what is now Mozambique on his way to India.

1562 – In Vassy, France, Catholics massacred over 1,000 Huguenots. The event started the First War of Religion.

1692 – In Salem Village, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Salem witch trials began. Four women were the first to be charged.

1781 – In America, the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation.

1803 – Ohio became the 17th U.S. state.

1815 – Napoleon returned to France from the island of Elba. He had been forced to abdicate in April of 1814.

1845 – U.S. President Tyler signed the congressional resolution to annex the Republic of Texas.

1864 – Louis Ducos de Hauron patented a machine for taking and projecting motion pictures. The machine was never built.

1867 – Nebraska became the 37th U.S. state.

1872 – The U.S. Congress authorized the creation of Yellowstone National Park. It was the world’s first national park.

1873 – E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, NY, began the manufacturing the first practical typewriter.

1912 – Captain Albert Berry made the first parachute jump from a moving airplane.

1932 – The 22-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was kidnapped. The child was found dead in May.

1937 – U.S. Steel raised workers’ wages to $5 a day.

1950 – Klaus Fuchs was convicted of giving U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.

1954 – The United States announced that it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test on the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

1954 – Five U.S. congressmen were wounded when four Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from the gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives.

1961 – The Peace Corps was established by U.S. President Kennedy.

1966 – The Soviet probe, Venera 3 crashed on the planet Venus. It was the first unmanned spacecraft to land on the surface of another planet.

1971 – A bomb exploded in a restroom in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol. There were no injuries. A U.S. group protesting the Vietnam War claimed responsibility.*

1974 – Seven people were indicted in connection with the Watergate break-in. The charge was conspiring to obstruct justice.

1999 – In Uganda, eight tourists were brutally murdered by Hutu rebels.

*The Weather Underground, a radical and violent splinter group of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), are held responsible for this attack.

“Hello, I’m going to read a declaration of a state of war…within the next 14 days we will attack a symbol or institution of American injustice.” ~ Bernardine Dohrn http://www.upstatefilms.org/weather/main.html

This is a full length film documentary and has graphic violent content.

“The Weather Underground”

Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962

Introductory Note: This document represents the results of several months of writing and discussion among the membership, a draft paper, and revision by the Students for a Democratic Society national convention meeting in cf2 Port Huroncf0 , Michigan, June 11-15, 1962. It is represented as a document with which SDS officially identifies, but also as a living document open to change with our times and experiences. It is a beginning: in our own debate and education, in our dialogue with society.

published and distributed by Students for a Democratic Society 112 East 19 Street New York 3, New York GRamercy 3-2181

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/huron.html

“Violence didn’t work.”  Mark Rudd

A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal.
Mohandas Gandhi

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi




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