Posts Tagged ‘Battle of New Orleans


On This Day, 1-8-2009: Enfranchisement

From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.  Carl Schurz


January 8, 1867

Congress expands suffrage in nation’s capital

Congress overrides President Andrew Johnson’s veto of a bill granting all adult male citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote, and the bill becomes law. It was the first law in American history that granted African-American men the right to vote. According to terms of the legislation, every male citizen of the city 21 years of age or older has the right to vote, except welfare or charity recipients, those under guardianship, men convicted of major crimes, or men who voluntarily sheltered Confederate troops or spies during the Civil War. The bill, vetoed by President Johnson on January 5, was overridden by a vote of 29 to 10 in the Senate and by a vote of 112 to 38 in the House of Representatives.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Republican-dominated Congress sought to enfranchise African-American men, who thus would be empowered to protect themselves against exploitation and strengthen the Republican control over the South. In 1870, in a major victory in this crusade, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, prohibiting all states from discriminating against potential male voters because of race or previous condition of servitude.

“Congress expands suffrage in nation’s capital.” 2009. The History Channel website. 8 Jan 2009, 12:12

On This Day

1642 – Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri, Italy.

1675 – The first corporation was charted in the United States. The company was the New York Fishing Company.

1790 – In the United States, George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address.

1889 – The tabulating machine was patented by Dr. Herman Hollerith. His firm, Tabulating Machine Company, later became International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

1900 – U.S. President McKinley placed Alaska under military rule.

1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points as the basis for peace upon the end of World War I.

1935 – The spectrophotometer was patented by A.C. Hardy.

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.”

1973 – Secret peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam resumed near Paris, France.

1973 – The trial opened in Washington, of seven men accused of bugging Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, DC.

January 8, 1815

The Battle of New Orleans

Two weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, U.S. General Andrew Jackson achieves the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans.

In September 1814, an impressive American naval victory on Lake Champlain forced invading British forces back into Canada and led to the conclusion of peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium. Although the peace agreement was signed on December 24, word did not reach the British forces assailing the Gulf coast in time to halt a major attack.

On January 8, 1815, the British marched against New Orleans, hoping that by capturing the city they could separate Louisiana from the rest of the United States. Pirate Jean Lafitte, however, had warned the Americans of the attack, and the arriving British found militiamen under General Andrew Jackson strongly entrenched at the Rodriquez Canal. In two separate assaults, the 7,500 British soldiers under Sir Edward Pakenham were unable to penetrate the U.S. defenses, and Jackson’s 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky and Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, General Pakenham was dead, and nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing. U.S. forces suffered only eight killed and 13 wounded.

Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson’s overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans was also the last armed engagement between the United States and Britain.

“The Battle of New Orleans.” 2009. The History Channel website. 8 Jan 2009, 12:21

On This Day in Wisconsin: January 8

1910 – Vagrant Snow Shovelers Strike for Pay

On this date 228 vagrants were brought in to shovel snow at the Chicago & Northwestern rail yard in Janesville. Shortly thereafter, they went on strike for 25 cents an hour and better food. Two days later, they went on strike again, asking for 30 cents an hour. [Source: Janesville Gazette]


On This Day 1-11-08

1815 – U.S. General Andrew Jackson achieved victory at the Battle of New Orleans. The War of 1812 had officially ended on December 24, 1814, with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. The news of the signing had not reached British troops in time to prevent their attack on New Orleans.

1861 – Alabama seceded from the United States.

1867 – Benito Juarez returned to the Mexican presidency, following the withdrawal of French troops and the execution of Emperor Maximilian.

1902 – “Popular Mechanics” magazine was published for the first time.

1935 – Amelia Earhart Putnam became the first woman to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1964 – U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report that said that smoking cigarettes was a definite health hazard.

I usually don’t talk about politics.  It’s kind of like arguing on the Internet.  You may win the argument, but people will view you as an idiot in the process because you were dumb enough to get into the argument in the first place.

I’m not a big fan of politics.  I don’t even like to vote.  I do remember the first time I voted though.  I had just turned eighteen and there was a runoff election for county judge in my home county.  The incumbent judge was the same guy who four years earlier had slammed his gavel down and given the man who murdered a best friend of mine two years for involuntary manslaughter.  If you’re thinking about murdering someone, shoot them seven times with a twenty-two rifle and then claim you thought you were shooting a bear.  You’ll only get two years.

I walked into that polling booth and of course the little old gray hairs knew my dad.  “You look just like him.”  I registered right then and there because Wisconsin isn’t one of those Nazi states that has all those rules about registering way before the election so people will be denied their right to vote — although they’re trying to Nazify the voting process here too.  One of the gray hairs handed me a ballot and explained how it worked.  I entered the booth not even knowing who was on the ballot.

I slipped the ballot booklet into the punch card apparatus and opened it to the instruction page.  I carefully read and followed the instructions.  I opened the next page and saw that judges name.  I think that is the day I began understanding my personal anger.  I pushed that punch through his opponents name and felt satisfied.  I didn’t care about political parties and still don’t.  I just voted my conscience and still do.

That judge lost.  After eleven years of being the county judge, we threw his butt out.  I like to believe that the other kids who turned eighteen that year and remembered that boy left face down in a trout stream also voted against that judge.  Oddly enough over the next five years we got them all.  From the dog catcher to the mayor to the state legislators.  We got them all, including a state legislator who had held his seat for twenty-three years.

This election will be historic.  The first time a woman or a black man will be running for president.  But no election has held any meaning for me since those first five years of my voting history.  Every time I voted in those days, I walked out of the polling place feeling satisfied.  These days I leave the polling place feeling like I need a shower.

April 2020

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