Posts Tagged ‘George Washington

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.

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08
Jan
09

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 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4659.

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 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4658.

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]

14
Dec
08

On This Day, 12-14-2008: George Washington

December 14, 1799

George Washington dies

George Washington, the American revolutionary leader and first president of the United States, dies of acute laryngitis at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was 67 years old.

George Washington was born in 1732 to a farm family in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His first direct military experience came as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia colonial militia in 1754, when he led a small expedition against the French in the Ohio River valley on behalf of the governor of Virginia. Two years later, Washington took command of the defenses of the western Virginian frontier during the French and Indian War. After the war’s fighting moved elsewhere, he resigned from his military post, returned to a planter’s life, and took a seat in Virginia’s House of Burgesses.

During the next two decades, Washington openly opposed the escalating British taxation and repression of the American colonies. In 1774, he represented Virginia at the Continental Congress. After the American Revolution erupted in 1775, Washington was nominated to be commander in chief of the newly established Continental Army. Some in the Continental Congress opposed his appointment, thinking other candidates were better equipped for the post, but he was ultimately chosen because as a Virginian his leadership helped bind the Southern colonies more closely to the rebellion in New England.

With his inexperienced and poorly equipped army of civilian soldiers, General Washington led an effective war of harassment against British forces in America while encouraging the intervention of the French into the conflict on behalf of the colonists. On October 19, 1781, with the surrender of British General Charles Lord Cornwallis’ massive British army at Yorktown, Virginia, General Washington had defeated one of the most powerful nations on earth.

After the war, the victorious general retired to his estate at Mount Vernon, but in 1787 he heeded his nation’s call and returned to politics to preside over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The drafters created the office of president with him in mind, and in February 1789 Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States.

As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, “I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent.” He successfully implemented executive authority, making good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously reelected but four years later refused a third term.

In 1797, he finally began a long-awaited retirement at his estate in Virginia. He died two years later. His friend Henry Lee provided a famous eulogy for the father of the United States: “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

“George Washington dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 14 Dec 2008, 12:37 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5600.

The entire lengthy long-winded eulogy can be found here:  http://www.sonofthesouth.net/revolutionary-war/patriots/henry-light-horse-harry-lee.htm

02
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-2-2008: Coup in South Vietnam

November 2, 1963

Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated in South Vietnam

Following the overthrow of his government by South Vietnamese military forces the day before, President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother are captured and killed by a group of soldiers. The death of Diem caused celebration among many people in South Vietnam, but also lead to political chaos in the nation. The United States subsequently became more heavily involved in Vietnam as it tried to stabilize the South Vietnamese government and beat back the communist rebels that were becoming an increasingly powerful threat.

While the United States publicly disclaimed any knowledge of or participation in the planning of the coup that overthrew Diem, it was later revealed that American officials met with the generals who organized the plot and gave them encouragement to go through with their plans. Quite simply, Diem was perceived as an impediment to the accomplishment of U.S. goals in Southeast Asia. His increasingly dictatorial rule only succeeded in alienating most of the South Vietnamese people, and his brutal repression of protests led by Buddhist monks during the summer of 1963 convinced many American officials that the time had come for Diem to go.

Three weeks later, an assassin shot President Kennedy. By then, the United States was more heavily involved in the South Vietnamese quagmire than ever. Its participation in the overthrow of the Diem regime signaled a growing impatience with South Vietnamese management of the war. From this point on, the United States moved step by step to become more directly and heavily involved in the fight against the communist rebels.

“Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 2 Nov 2008, 01:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2472.

On This Day

1721 – Peter the Great (Peter I), ruler of Russia, changed his title to emperor.

1776 – During the American Revolutionary War, William Demont, became the first traitor of the American Revolution when he deserted.

1783 – U.S. Gen. George Washington gave his “Farewell Address to the Army” near Princeton, NJ. http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/revolution/farewell/index.html

1889 – North Dakota and South Dakota were admitted into the union as the 39th and 40th states.

1947 – Howard Hughes flew his “Spruce Goose,” a huge wooden airplane, for eight minutes in California. It was the plane’s first and only flight. The “Spruce Goose,” nicknamed because of the white-gray color of the spruce used to build it, never went into production.

1948 – Harry S. Truman defeated Thomas E. Dewey for the U.S. presidency. The Chicago Tribune published an early edition that had the headline “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” The Truman victory surprised many polls and newspapers.

1962 – U.S. President Kennedy announced that the U.S.S.R. was dismantling the missile sites in Cuba.

1989 – Carmen Fasanella retired after 68 years and 243 days of taxicab service in Princeton, NJ.

November 2, 1917

Britain supports creation of Jewish homeland

British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour submits a declaration of intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The British government hoped that the formal declaration would help garner Jewish support for the Allied effort in World War I. The Balfour Declaration was included in the British mandate over Palestine, which was approved by the League of Nations in 1922. Arabs opposed the Balfour Declaration, fearing that the creation of a Jewish homeland would mean the subjugation of Arab Palestinians.

After World War I, the Jewish population in Palestine increased dramatically, as did Jewish-Arab violence. Arab resistance and failures to reach a compromise led Britain to delay deciding on the future of Palestine. In the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, much of the international community took up the Zionist cause, and in 1948 the State of Israel was declared.

“Britain supports creation of Jewish homeland.” 2008. The History Channel website. 2 Nov 2008, 01:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5487.

In Wisconsin

1954 – Wisconsin Voters Oppose Public Television
On this date Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly opposed the idea of a state-supported public educational TV station. The final vote was 662,044 to 295,329. [Source: Janesville Gazette 11/3/1954, p. 1]

26
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-26-2008: The Missile Gap

Russia tests an intercontinental ballistic missile

The Soviet Union announces that it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of being fired “into any part of the world.” The announcement caused great concern in the United States, and started a national debate over the “missile gap” between America and Russia.

For years after World War II, both the United States and the Soviet Union had been trying to perfect a long-range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Building on the successes of Nazi Germany in developing the V-1 and V-2 rockets that pummeled Great Britain during the last months of World War II, both American and Russian scientists raced to improve the range and accuracy of such missiles. (Both nations relied heavily on captured German scientists in their efforts.) In July 1957, the United States seemed to win the race when the Atlas, an ICBM with a speed of up to 20,000 miles an hour and an effective range of 5,000 miles, was ready for testing. The test, however, was a disaster. The missile rose only about 5,000 feet into the air, tumbled, and plunged to earth. Just a month later, the Soviets claimed success by announcing that their own ICBM had been tested, had “covered a huge distance in a brief time,” and “landed in the target area.” No details were given in the Russian announcement and some commentators in the United States doubted that the ICBM test had been as successful as claimed. Nevertheless, the Soviet possession of this “ultimate weapon,” coupled with recent successful test by the Russians of atomic and hydrogen bombs, raised concerns in America. If the Soviets did indeed perfect their ICBM, no part of the United States would be completely safe from possible atomic attack.

Less than two months later, the Soviets sent the satellite Sputnik into space. Concern quickly turned to fear in the United States, as it appeared that the Russians were gaining the upper hand in the arms and space races. The American government accelerated its own missile and space programs. The Soviet successes–and American failures–became an issue in the 1960 presidential campaign. Democratic challenger John F. Kennedy charged that the outgoing Eisenhower administration had allowed a dangerous “missile gap” to develop between the United States and the Soviet Union. Following his victory in 1960, Kennedy made missile development and the space program priorities for his presidency.

“Russia tests an intercontinental ballistic missile.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2771.

 

On This Day

55 B.C. – Britain was invaded by Roman forces under Julius Caesar.

1743 – Antoine Lavoisier was born. He was the chemist that proved that the union of oxygen and other chemicals is used in burning, rusting of metals and breathing.

1883 – A two-day eruption of the volcanic island Krakatoa began. The tidal waves that were associated with the eruption killed 36,000 people when they destroyed the island.

1920 – The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The amendment prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in the voting booth.

1937 – All Chinese shipping was blockaded by Japan.

1957 – The first Edsel made by the Ford Motor Company rolled out.

1998 – The U.S. government announced that they were investigating Microsoft in an attempt to discover if they “bullied” Intel into delaying new technology.

1998 – Sudan filed a criminal lawsuit against U.S. President Clinton and the United States for the bombing of the El-Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries Company. The Sudanese claimed that the plant was strictly civilian.

 

Washington urges Hessians to desert

Falsely confident that the British would not attack New York’s Manhattan Island, General George Washington pours additional reinforcements into the lines around Brooklyn Heights, then considered part of rural Long Island, on this day in 1776. Washington also ordered the dispersal of certain documents among the Hessians, about which he wrote “The papers designed for the foreign (Hessian) Troops, have been put into several Channels, in order that they may be conveyed to them, and from the Information I had yesterday, I have reason to believe many have fallen into their Hands.” The “papers” induced Hessian troops to desert the British army.

“Washington urges Hessians to desert.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50706.

Democratic convention besieged by protesters

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Chicago, thousands of antiwar demonstrators take to Chicago’s streets to protest the Vietnam War and its support by the top Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. During the four-day convention, the most violent in U.S. history, police and National Guardsmen clashed with protesters outside the International Amphitheater, and hundreds of people, including innocent bystanders, were beaten by the Chicago police. The violence even spilled into the convention hall, as guards roughed up delegates and members of the press, including CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace, who was punched in the face. On August 29, Humphrey secured the nomination and the convention ended.

In the convention’s aftermath, a federal commission investigating the convention described one of the confrontations as a “police riot” and blamed Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for inciting his police to violence. Nevertheless, eight political radicals–the so-called “Chicago Eight”–were arrested on charges of conspiring to incite the violence, and in 1969 their trial began in Chicago, sparking new waves of protests in the city.

“Democratic convention besieged by protesters.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Aug 2008, 04:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5292.

 

By 1968 John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy had been murdered, and the Vietnam War had escalated into an epic struggle between capitalism and communism.  Anti-war protesters descended on the Democratic convention in 1968.  Before Chicago in 1968 the protests had been relatively peaceful, after Chicago anti-war violence escalated.

“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 Port Huron, 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

04
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-4-08: Anne Frank

Anne Frank and her family arrested by Gestapo

On this day in 1944, a German-born Jewish girl and her family, who had been hiding in German-occupied Holland, are found by the Gestapo and transported to various concentration camps. The young girl’s diary of her time in hiding was found after her death and published. The Diary of Anne Frank remains one of the most moving testimonies to the invincibility of the human spirit in the face of inhuman cruelty.

“Anne Frank and her family arrested by Gestapo.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 Aug 2008, 01:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6540.

 

On This Day

1735 – Freedom of the press was established with an acquittal of John Peter Zenger. The writer of the New York Weekly Journal had been charged with seditious libel by the royal governor of New York. The jury said that “the truth is not libelous.”

1753 – George Washington became a Master Mason.

1892 – Andrew and Abby Borden were axed to death in their home in Fall River, MA. Lizzie, Andrew’s daughter, was accused of the killings but was later acquitted.

1914 – Britain declared war on Germany in World War I. The U.S. proclaimed its neutrality.

1922 – The death of Alexander Graham Bell, two days earlier, was recognized by AT&T and the Bell Systems by shutting down all of its switchboards and switching stations. The shutdown affected 13 million phones.

1949 – An earthquake in Ecuador destroyed 50 towns and killed more than 6000 people.

1964 – The bodies of Michael H. Schwerner, James E. Chaney, and Andrew Goodman were found in an earthen dam in Mississippi. The three were civil rights workers. They had disappeared on June 21, 1964.

1972 – Arthur Bremer was found guilty of shooting George Wallace, the governor of Alabama. Bremer was sentenced to 63 years in prison.

1977 – U.S. President Carter signed the measure that established the Department of Energy.

1993 – Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell, Los Angeles police officers were sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating Rodney King’s civil rights.

1997 – Teamsters began a 15-day strike against UPS (United Parcel Service). The strikers eventually won an increase in full-time positions and defeated a proposed reorganization of the companies pension plan.

 

Union generals squabble outside of Atlanta

A Union operation against Confederate defenses around Atlanta, Georgia, stalls when infighting erupts between Yankee generals.

The problem arose when Union General William T. Sherman began stretching his force—consisting of the Army of the Ohio, the Army of the Tennessee, and the Army of the Cumberland—west of Ezra Church, the site of a major battle on July 28, to Utoy Creek, west of Atlanta. The Confederate army inside of Atlanta, commanded by General John Bell Hood, had attacked Sherman’s army three times in late July and could no longer mount an offensive operation. Sherman now moved General John Schofield, who commanded the Army of the Ohio, from the east side of Atlanta to the west in an attempt to cut the rail lines that supplied the city from the south and west. Schofield’s force arrived at Utoy Creek on August 3.

The Army of the Cumberland’s Fourteenth Corps, commanded by General John Palmer, had also been sent by Sherman to assist Schofield. But on August 4, the operation came to a standstill because Palmer refused to accept orders from anyone but General George Thomas, commander of the Army of the Cumberland. Although Schofield was the director of the operation, Palmer felt that Schofield was his junior. The two men had been promoted to major general on the same day in 1862, but Schofield’s appointment had expired four months later. Schofield had been reappointed with his original date of promotion, November 29, 1862, but Palmer insisted that the reappointment placed Schofield behind him in seniority.

“Union generals squabble outside of Atlanta.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 Aug 2008, 01:55 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2272.

13
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-13-08: The Northwest Ordinance

Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance

On this day in 1787, Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance, structuring settlement of the Northwest Territory and creating a policy for the addition of new states to the nation. The members of Congress knew that if their new confederation were to survive intact, it had to resolve the states competing claims to western territory. In 1781, Virginia began by ceding its extensive land claims to Congress, a move that made other states more comfortable in doing the same. In 1784, Thomas Jefferson first proposed a method of incorporating these western territories into the United States. His plan effectively turned the territories into colonies of the existing states. Ten new northwestern territories would select the constitution of an existing state and then wait until its population reached 20,000 to join the confederation as a full member. Congress, however, feared that the new states–10 in the Northwest as well as Kentucky, Tennessee and Vermont–would quickly gain enough power to outvote the old ones and never passed the measure. Three years later, the Northwest Ordinance proposed that three to five new states be created from the Northwest Territory. Instead of adopting the legal constructs of an existing state, each territory would have an appointed governor and council. When the population reached 5,000, the residents could elect their own assembly, although the governor would retain absolute veto power. When 60,000 settlers resided in a territory, they could draft a constitution and petition for full statehood. The ordinance provided for civil liberties and public education within the new territories, but did not allow slavery. Pro-slavery Southerners were willing to go along with this because they hoped that the new states would be populated by white settlers from the South. They believed that although these Southerners would have no slaves of their own, they would not join the growing abolition movement of the North.

“Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Jul 2008, 10:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50376.

On This Day

1099 – The Crusaders launched their final assault on Muslims in Jerusalem.

1585 – A group of 108 English colonists, led by Sir Richard Grenville, reached Roanoke Island, NC.

1754 – At the beginning of the French and Indian War, George Washington surrendered the small, circular Fort Necessity in southwestern Pennsylvania to the French.

1793 – French revolutionary writer Jean Paul Marat was stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday. She was executed four days later.

1832 – Henry Schoolcraft discovered the source of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.

1863 – Opponents of the Civil War draft began three days of rioting in New York City, which resulted in more than 1,000 casualties.

1954 – In Geneva, the United States, Great Britain and France reached an accord on Indochina which divided Vietnam into two countries, North and South, along the 17th parallel.

1967 – Race-related rioting broke out in Newark, NJ. At the end of four days of violence 27 people had been killed.

 

Battle of Corrick’s Ford

On this day, Union General George B. McClellan distinguishes himself by routing Confederates under General Robert Garnett at Corrick’s Ford in western Virginia. The battle ensured Yankee control of the region, secured the Union’s east-west railroad connections, and set in motion the events that would lead to the creation of West Virginia.

Two days before Corrick’s Ford, Union troops under General William Rosecrans flanked a Confederate force at nearby Rich Mountain. The defeat forced Garnett to retreat from his position on Laurel Hill, while part of McClellan’s force pursued him across the Cheat River. A pitched battle ensued near Corrick’s Ford, in which Garnett was killed—the first general officer to die in the war. But losses were otherwise light, with only 70 Confederate, and 10 Union, casualties.

The Battle of Corrick’s Ford was a significant victory because it cleared the region of Confederates, but it is often overlooked, particularly because it was overshadowed by the Battle of Bull Run, which occurred shortly thereafter on July 21. However, the success made McClellan a hero, even though his achievements were inflated. Two weeks later, McClellan became commander of the Army of the Potomac, the primary Federal army in the east. Unfortunately for the Union, the small campaign that climaxed at Corrick’s Ford was the zenith of McClellan’s military career.

“Battle of Corrick’s Ford.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Jul 2008, 10:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2244.

Austrian investigation into archduke’s assassination concludes

On July 13, 1914, Friedrich von Wiesner, an official of the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office, reports back to Foreign Minister Leopold von Berchtold the findings of an investigation into the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife Sophie the previous June 28, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

On July 13, Wiesner reported the findings of the Austrian investigation: “There is nothing to prove or even suppose that the Serbian government is accessory to the inducement for the crime, its preparation, or the furnishing of weapons. On the contrary, there are reasons to believe that this is altogether out of the question.” The only evidence that could be found, it seemed, was that Princip and his cohorts had been aided by individuals with ties to the government, most likely members of a shadowy organization within the army, the Black Hand. Realizing he would have to go ahead without evidence of Serbian guilt, Berchtold declined to share these findings with Franz Josef, while his office continued the drafting of the Serbian ultimatum, which was to be delivered on July 23 in Belgrade.

“Austrian investigation into archduke’s assassination concludes.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Jul 2008, 10:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=813.

Democratic Party platform defends Roosevelt-Truman foreign policies

As the 1948 presidential campaign begins to heat up, the Democratic Party hammers out a platform that contains a stirring defense of the foreign policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Harry S. Truman. The tone of the platform indicated that foreign policy, and particularly the nation’s Cold War policies, would be a significant part of the 1948 campaign.

Throughout 1948, President Truman had been put on the defensive by Republican critics who suggested that former President Roosevelt had been too “soft” in dealing with the Soviet Union during World War II. The Republicans also criticized Truman’s Cold War policies, calling them ineffective and too costly. By the time the Democratic Party met to nominate Truman for re-election and construct its platform, Truman was already an underdog to the certain Republican nominee, Governor Thomas E. Dewey. The foreign policy parts of the Democratic platform, announced on July 13, 1948, indicated that Truman was going to fight fire with fire. The platform strongly suggested that the Democratic administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt was primarily responsible for America’s victory in World War II, and was entirely responsible for establishing the United Nations. After World War II, the document continued, Truman and the Democrats in Congress had rallied the nation to meet the communist threat. The Truman Doctrine, by which Greece and Turkey were saved from communist takeovers, and the Marshall Plan, which rescued Western Europe from postwar chaos, were the most notable results of the Democrats’ foreign policy.

“Democratic Party platform defends Roosevelt-Truman foreign policies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Jul 2008, 10:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2727.




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