Posts Tagged ‘John Adams

07
Jun
09

On This Day, June 7: Mohandas K Gandhi

June 7, 1893

Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience

In an event that would have dramatic repercussions for the people of India, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a young Indian lawyer working in South Africa, refuses to comply with racial segregation rules on a South African train and is forcibly ejected at Pietermaritzburg.

Born in India and educated in England, Gandhi traveled to South Africa in early 1893 to practice law under a one-year contract. Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers. Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off a train, as his moment of truth. From thereon, he decided to fight injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man.

When his contract expired, he spontaneously decided to remain in South Africa and launch a campaign against legislation that would deprive Indians of the right to vote. He formed the Natal Indian Congress and drew international attention to the plight of Indians in South Africa. In 1906, the Transvaal government sought to further restrict the rights of Indians, and Gandhi organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise agreement with the South African government.

In 1914, Gandhi returned to India and lived a life of abstinence and spirituality on the periphery of Indian politics. He supported Britain in the First World War but in 1919 launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britain’s mandatory military draft of Indians. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest, and by 1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. Always nonviolent, he asserted the unity of all people under one God and preached Christian and Muslim ethics along with his Hindu teachings. The British authorities jailed him several times, but his following was so great that he was always released.

After World War II, he was a leading figure in the negotiations that led to Indian independence in 1947. Although hailing the granting of Indian independence as the “noblest act of the British nation,” he was distressed by the religious partition of the former Mogul Empire into India and Pakistan. When violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India in 1947, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas in an effort to end India’s religious strife. On January 30, 1948, he was on one such prayer vigil in New Delhi when he was fatally shot by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s tolerance for the Muslims.

Known as Mahatma, or “the great soul,” during his lifetime, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States.

“Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5073 [accessed Jun 7, 2009]

 

On This Day

1494 – Spain and Portugal divided the new lands they had discovered between themselves.

1498 – Christopher Columbus left on his third voyage of exploration.

1712 – The Pennsylvania Assembly banned the importation of slaves.

1775 – The United Colonies changed their name to the United States.

1863 – Mexico City was captured by French troops.

1903 – Professor Pierre Curie revealed the discovery of Polonium.

1932 – Over 7,000 war veterans marched on Washington, DC, demanding their bonuses.

1939 – King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, arrived in the U.S. It was the first visit to the U.S. by a reigning British monarch.

1942 – The Battle of Midway ended. The sea and air battle lasted 4 days. Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties.

1944 – Off of the coast of Normandy, France, the Susan B. Anthony sank. All 2,689 people aboard survived.

1965 – In the U.S., the Gemini 4 mission was completed. The mission featured the first spacewalk by an American.

1981 – Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers destroyed Iraq’s only nuclear reactor.

1998 – James Byrd Jr., at age 49, was murdered in Jasper, TX. Byrd had been dragged to death behind a pickup truck. On February 25, 1999 William King was sentenced to the death penalty for the racial crime while two other men charged awaited trial.

June 7, 1776

“Lee’s Resolution” presented to Continental Congress

On this day in 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduces a resolution for independence to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia; John Adams seconds the motion.

Lee’s resolution declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”

During the ensuing debates, it became clear that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were as yet unwilling to declare independence, but would likely be ready to vote in favor of a break with England in due course. Thus, Congress agreed to delay the vote on Lee’s Resolution until July 1. In the intervening period, Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence. Its members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, well-known to be the best writer of the group, was selected to be the primary author of the document, which was presented to Congress for review on June 28, 1776.

On July 1, 1776, debate on the Lee Resolution resumed as planned, with a majority of the delegates favoring the resolution. Congress thought it of the utmost importance that independence be unanimously proclaimed. To ensure this, they delayed the final vote until July 2, when 12 colonial delegations voted in favor of it, with the New York delegates abstaining, unsure of how their constituents would wish them to vote.

John Adams wrote that July 2 would be celebrated as “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson’s edited Declaration of Independence was adopted.

“‘Lee’s Resolution’ presented to Continental Congress,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=714 [accessed Jun 7, 2009]

27
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-27-2008: Poland Surrenders!

September 27, 1939

Poland surrenders

On this day in 1939, 140,000 Polish troops are taken prisoner by the German invaders as Warsaw surrenders to the superior mechanized forces of Hitler’s army. The Poles fought bravely, but were able to hold on for only 26 days.

On the heels of its victory, the Germans began a systematic program of terror, murder, and cruelty, executing members of Poland’s middle and upper classes: Doctors, teachers, priests, landowners, and businessmen were rounded up and killed. The Nazis had given this operation the benign-sounding name “Extraordinary Pacification Action.” The Roman Catholic Church, too, was targeted, because it was a possible source of dissent and counterinsurgency. In one west Poland church diocese alone, 214 priests were shot. And hundreds of thousands more Poles were driven from their homes and relocated east, as Germans settled in the vacated areas.

This was all part of a Hitler master plan. Back in August, Hitler warned his own officers that he was preparing Poland for that “which would not be to the taste of German generals”–including the rounding up of Polish Jews into ghettos, a prelude to their liquidation. All roads were pointing to Auschwitz.

“Poland surrenders.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Sep 2008, 05:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6597.

 

On This Day

1779 – John Adams was elected to negotiate with the British over the American Revolutionary War peace terms.

1928 – The U.S. announced that it would recognize the Nationalist Chinese Government.

1938 – The League of Nations branded the Japanese as aggressors in China.

1940 – The Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis was set up. The military and economic pact was for 10 years between Germany, Italy and Japan.

1964 – The Warren Commission issued a report on the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963. The report concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone.

1973 – U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew said he would not resign after he pleaded “no contest” to a charge of tax evasion. He did resign on October 10th.

1982 – Italian and French soldiers entered the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Beirut. The move was made by the members of a multinational force due to hundreds of Palestinians being massacred by Christian militiamen.

2004 – North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon announced that North Korea had turned plutonium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods into nuclear weapons. He also said that the weapons were to serve as a deterrent against increasing U.S. nuclear threats and to prevent nuclear war in northeast Asia. The U.S. State Department noted that the U.S. has repeatedly said that the U.S. has no plans to attack North Korea.

 

September 27, 1540

Jesuit order established

In Rome, the Society of Jesus–a Roman Catholic missionary organization–receives its charter from Pope Paul III. The Jesuit order played an important role in the Counter-Reformation and eventually succeeded in converting millions around the world to Catholicism.

The Jesuit movement was founded by Ignatius de Loyola, a Spanish soldier turned priest, in August 1534. The first Jesuits–Ignatius and six of his students–took vows of poverty and chastity and made plans to work for the conversion of Muslims. If travel to the Holy Land was not possible, they vowed to offer themselves to the pope for apostolic work. Unable to travel to Jerusalem because of the Turkish wars, they went to Rome instead to meet with the pope and request permission to form a new religious order. In September 1540, Pope Paul III approved Ignatius’ outline of the Society of Jesus, and the Jesuit order was born.

“Jesuit order established.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Sep 2008, 05:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5378.

11
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-11-08: Henry VIII

Henry VIII marries first wife

King Henry VIII of England marries Catherine of Aragon, the first of six wives he will have in his lifetime. When Catherine failed to produce a male heir, Henry divorced her against the will of the Roman Catholic Church, thus precipitating the Protestant Reformation in England.

Henry went on to have five more wives; two of whom–Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard–he executed for alleged adultery after he grew tired of them. His only surviving child by Catherine of Aragon, Mary, ascended to the throne upon the death of her half-brother, Edward VI, in 1553. In 1558, Mary was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth, the only surviving child of Henry VIII by Anne Boleyn. She was crowned Queen Elizabeth I.

“Henry VIII marries first wife.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Jun 2008, 01:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5084.

Congress appoints “Committee of Five” to draft the Declaration of Independence

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress selects Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence.

“Congress appoints “Committee of Five” to draft the Declaration of Independence.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Jun 2008, 01:16 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=718.

D-Day landing forces converge

Five days after the D-Day landing, the five Allied landing groups, made up of some 330,000 troops, link up in Normandy to form a single solid front across northwestern France.

“D-Day landing forces converge.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Jun 2008, 01:12 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5086.

University of Alabama desegregated

Facing federalized Alabama National Guard troops, Alabama Governor George Wallace ends his blockade of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and allows two African American students to enroll.

“University of Alabama desegregated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Jun 2008, 01:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5087.

Six-Day War ends

The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire. The outnumbered Israel Defense Forces achieved a swift and decisive victory in the brief war, rolling over the Arab coalition that threatened the Jewish state and more than doubling the amount of territory under Israel’s control. The greatest fruit of victory lay in seizing the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan; thousands of Jews wept while bent in prayer at the Second Temple’s Western Wall.

“Six-Day War ends.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Jun 2008, 01:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6925.

12
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-12-08: Anschluss

Germany annexes Austria

On March 12, 1938, German troops march into Austria to annex the German-speaking nation for the Third Reich.

In early 1938, Austrian Nazis conspired for the second time in four years to seize the Austrian government by force and unite their nation with Nazi Germany. Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg, learning of the conspiracy, met with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the hopes of reasserting his country’s independence but was instead bullied into naming several top Austrian Nazis to his cabinet. On March 9, Schuschnigg called a national vote to resolve the question of Anschluss, or “annexation,” once and for all. Before the plebiscite could take place, however, Schuschnigg gave in to pressure from Hitler and resigned on March 11. In his resignation address, under coercion from the Nazis, he pleaded with Austrian forces not to resist a German “advance” into the country.

The next day, March 12, Hitler accompanied German troops into Austria, where enthusiastic crowds met them. Hitler appointed a new Nazi government, and on March 13 the Anschluss was proclaimed. Austria existed as a federal state of Germany until the end of World War II, when the Allied powers declared the Anschluss void and reestablished an independent Austria. Schuschnigg, who had been imprisoned soon after resigning, was released in 1945. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4830

Public Notice urges recognition of “humane ladies”

On this day in 1776, in Baltimore, Maryland, a public notice appears in local papers recognizing the sacrifice of women to the cause of the revolution. The notice urged others to recognize women’s contributions and announced, “The necessity of taking all imaginable care of those who may happen to be wounded in the country’s cause, urges us to address our humane ladies, to lend us their kind assistance in furnishing us with linen rags and old sheeting, for bandages….” On and off the battlefield, women were known to support the revolutionary cause by providing nursing assistance. But donating bandages and sometimes applying them was only one form of aid provided by the women of the new United States. From the earliest protests against British taxation, women’s assent and labor was critical to the success of the cause. The boycotts that united the colonies against British taxation required female participation far more than male—in fact, the men designing the non-importation agreements generally chose to boycott products used mostly by women.

Tea and cloth are perhaps the best examples of these products. While most schoolchildren have read of the men who dressed as Mohawk Indians and dumped large volumes of tea into Boston Harbor as a form of opposition to the hated Tea Act, few realize that women–not men–drank most of the tea in colonial America. Samuel Adams and his friends may have dumped the tea in the harbor, but they were far more likely to drink rum than tea when they returned to their homes. Conveniently, their actions served to deprive their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters, not themselves. The colonists only resorted to an attempted boycott of rum in 1774, after Britain had closed the port of Boston.

Similarly, when John Adams and other men in power thought it best to stop importing fine British fabrics with which to make their clothing during the protests of the late 1760s, it had little impact on their daily lives. Wearing homespun cloth may not have been as comfortable nor look as refined as their regular clothing, but it was Abigail and other colonial wives and homemakers, not John and his fellow men, who were forced to spend hours spinning clothes to create their families’ wardrobes.

Thus, in 1776, when Abigail begged John to “remember the ladies” while drafting the U.S. Constitution, she was not begging a favor, but demanding payment of an enduring debt. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=308

1496 – Jews were expelled from Syria.

1755 – In North Arlington, NJ, the steam engine was used for the first time.

1789 – The U.S. Post Office was established.

1884 – The State of Mississippi authorized the first state-supported college for women. It was called the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College.

1894 – Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time.

1903 – The Czar of Russia issued a decree providing for nominal freedom of religion throughout his territory.

1904 – After 30 years of drilling, the tunnel under the Hudson River was completed. The link was between Jersey City, NJ, and New York, NY.

1909 – Three U.S. warships were ordered to Nicaragua to stem the conflict with El Salvador.

1923 – Dr. Lee DeForest demonstrated phonofilm. It was his technique for putting sound on motion picture film.

1930 – Ghandi began his 200-mile march to the sea that symbolized his defiance of British rule over India.

1940 – Finland surrendered to Russia ending the Russo-Finnish War.

1985 – Former U.S. President Richard M. Nixon announced that he planned to drop Secret Service protection and hire his own bodyguards in an effort to lower the deficit by $3 million.

1989 – About 2,500 veterans and supporters marched at the Art Institute of Chicago to demand that officials remove an American flag placed on the floor as part of an exhibit.

1999 – Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic became members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). All three countries were members of the former Warsaw Pact.

2003 – In Utah, Elizabeth Smart was reunited with her family nine months after she was abducted from her home. She had been taken on June 5, 2002, by a drifter that had previously worked at the Smart home.

Truman Doctrine is announced

In a dramatic speech to a joint session of Congress, President Harry S. Truman asks for U.S. assistance for Greece and Turkey to forestall communist domination of the two nations. Historians have often cited Truman’s address, which came to be known as the Truman Doctrine, as the official declaration of the Cold War. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2604

1930: Gandhi leads civil disobedience

In his boldest act of civil disobedience against British rule in India to date, Mahatma Gandhi begins a long march to the sea in protest of the British salt tax. Joined by thousands of protesters, Gandhi and his followers eventually reached the Arabian Sea, where they made their own salt by evaporating sea water. The march, which resulted in the arrest of Gandhi and 60,000 others, earned new international respect and support for the leader and his movement. Gandhi’s nonviolent methods, including dramatic hunger strikes, eventually did bring to fruition his goal of Indian independence in 1947. In 1948, a Hindu extremist’s bullet ended his life at the age of 78.  http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_March_12.php

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
George Washington

It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world.
George Washington

A president either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a moment.
Harry S. Truman

09
Feb
08

On This Day 2-9-08: Turning Points, Guadalcanal

1825 – The U.S. House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams president. No candidate had received a majority of electoral votes.

1861 – The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America elected Jefferson Davis as its president.

1870 – The United States Weather Bureau was authorized by Congress. The bureau is officially known as the National Weather Service (NWS).

1900 – Dwight F. Davis put up a new tennis trophy to go to the winner in matches against England. The trophy was a silver cup that weighed 36 pounds.

1909 – The first forestry school was incorporated in Kent, Ohio.

1942 – The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff held its first formal meeting to coordinate military strategy during World War II.

1943 – During World War II, the battle of Guadalcanal ended with an American victory over Japanese forces.

1950 – U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy charged that the State Department was riddled with Communists. This was the beginning of “McCarthyism.”

1971 – The Apollo 14 spacecraft returned to Earth after mankind’s third landing on the moon.

1975 – The Russian Soyuz 17 returned to Earth.

1989 – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. completed the $25 billion purchase of RJR Nabisco, Inc.

1997 – “The Simpsons” became the longest-running prime-time animated series. “The Flintstones” held the record previously.

I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.
Joseph R. McCarthy

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
John Adams

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
John Adams

One reason I have always been fascinated with History is because of points in time when something so significant happens that it alters life on Earth.  When it happens it may just be something deemed newsworthy by the press; such as, the US victory over the Japanese at Guadalcanal, or US Senator Joseph McCarthy (R, Wisconsin) charging that the United States State Department was riddled with Communists.  Events that may be viewed with great cheer or great consternation, but events so important that the course of mankind is forever altered.

The battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands of the South Pacific significantly altered the course of World War II against Japan in that from that point on Japan could not stop the US military. 

A grinding battle of attrition, Guadalcanal tested the endurance of each nation’s armies and navies.  Soldiers fought battles so closely that eye to eye hand to hand combat became the norm, rather than the firepower battles fought between dueling artillery batteries that have dominated warfare since the first time Stonewall Jackson lined up his artillery wheel to wheel in mass formation during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of the American Civil War. 

Navies gave no quarter as American PT boats and destroyers challenged Japanese destroyers and cruisers, or American cruisers took on Japanese battleships.  Both nations sacrificed air craft carriers, and desperate efforts to keep the soldiers supplied on Guadalcanal resulted in horrific casualties with American supply ships driven off and US soldiers forced to survive on captured Japanese supplies, or the desperate “Tokyo Express” runs made by fast Japanese destroyers carrying as many as a thousand soldiers each running through “The Slot” of the Solomon Islands, attempting to supply the Japanese Army on the island.  Caught out it in the open seas these ships could not outrun pursuing dive bombers or strafing fighters sent out by Japanese air craft carriers, or from the American held Henderson Air Field resulting in the untimely deaths of thousands of soldiers and sailors.  So many ships sunk in the area of sea between Guadalcanal and Tulagi it has forever been dubbed Iron Bottom Sound. 

For more pictures and information about this battle, please follow this link:  http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/guadlcnl/guadlcnl.htm

The Battle of Guadalcanal typifies the horrific cost of war and the terrible sacrifice made for American freedom. 

image 1The very real threat of foreign enemies fought during World War II gave way to a perceived threat of foreign enemies following the war.  A perceived threat that US Senator Joseph McCarthy (R, Wisconsin) defined in a speech before the US Senate on this day in history, a definitive moment in history and in how Americans define freedom. 

Dubbed McCarthyism this dangerous perception of Communists in the midst of the American government, military and society forever altered how Americans would interpret freedom.  No longer would Americans debate the nature of freedom.  What is freedom of the press?  What is freedom of speech?  Because Joe McCarthy defined it as freedom is not being Communist. 

If you lived in a Communist country, if you studied Communism, if you had ever attended a lecture about Communism, if you had ever quoted a Communist, you were not free.  The careers of scientists, writers, actors, movie producers, government workers, military officers, and common citizens could be ruined with the mere suggestion that they had Communistic tendencies.  If you worked in a union, supported unions or tried to organize unions you were labeled Communist.  If you argued against the war in Vietnam, you were labeled a Communist.  If you argued against government taxation or against government meddling you were labeled a Communist.  

Understanding the significance of a moment in time fascinates me.  Understanding how those moments alter life sometimes enthralls me and sometimes angers me.  Joe McCarthy’s power hungry paranoia and disregard for the sacrifices made by Americans in the many battles like Guadalcanal in the name of freedom and freedom loving peoples has altered how Americans interpret their freedom and significantly altered life on Earth.  For more on Joe McCarthy:  http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmccarthy.htm.




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