Little Bits of History

April 10

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 10, 2017

1904: Alwass finished the dictation of the third chapter of The Book of the Law. Edward Alexander Crowley, aka Aleister Crowley was born in 1875 in Warwickshire, England. His family was wealthy and he was raised in a fundamentalist Christian household. He rejected his family’s religion and pursued interest in Western esotericism. He may or may not have been recruited by a British intelligence agency and may or may not have ever or always been a spy. In 1898 he joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and began training in magic and the occult. He was an international mountain climber and while in India he studied Hindu and Buddhist practices. He married Rose Edith Kelly in 1904 and they went to Cairo for their honeymoon.

While there, Alwass contacted the mystic and on three consecutive days, dictated the three chapters to The Book of the Law. Beginning at noon each day, the spirit communicated with Crowley as he wrote the sacred messages for an hour each day. The book is the central sacred text of Thelema, the belief system which held the new stage of spiritual evolution was at hand and the Æon of Horus had arrived. The primary principle of Thelema is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.” The religion is not monotheistic, but rather has a pantheon of ancient Egyptian deities with Nuit, Haddit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit the primary gods.

Crowley explained the entire series of events in a later book, The Equinox of the Gods. The story began on March 16 when Crowley performed the Bornless Ritual for his new bride while they spent the night in the Great Pyramid of Giza. She saw nothing but went into a light trance and told her husband, “They’re waiting for you.” Because she was not a mystic and took no interest in magic, Crowley thought nothing of it. Two days later, he called on Thoth, the god of knowledge, and Horus’s name was mentioned as the person waiting. Crowley gave his wife a series of tests which she passed, although she shouldn’t have. In doing so, she convince Crowley of the authenticity of the divine intervention.

There are four directives to the willfulness of the religion. There is the first duty, the Duty to Self in which you follow your True Will or fulfillment of a balanced life of autonomy. There is a Duty to Others so we may all become one. Fight if you must but do not interfere with the Will of others. There is a Duty to Mankind which is manifested in the greatest liberty for all individuals. Crime is a violation of True Will. There is a final duty, the Duty to All Other Being and Things. This states the Law of Thelema should be applied to all problems in order to discern an ethical solution. Crowley continued to write several books on Thelema. He died in East Sussex, England in 1947 at the age of 72.

I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.

The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.

I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff.

Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people. – all from Aleister Crowley


April 9

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 9, 2017

1860: The oldest known recording of an audible human voice is made. Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was a French printer and bookseller from Paris. He patented a phonautograph on March 25, 1857. The sound recording device could capture sound waves as propagated through the air rather than earlier devices which needed physical contact with the sound producing item, such as a tuning fork. The phonautograph transcribed sound waves as ripples or undulations and made the wavy line as a tracing on a smoke-blackened paper or glass. The instrument was made to be used only in a laboratory in the study of acoustics. It could be useful to visually study and measure the amplitude of the waves of speech or other sounds. Pitch could be determined if a simultaneous recording was made with the reference frequency.

There was no way to play back the recordings and no one thought to do so prior to the 1970s. The phonautograms held enough information about the sound that they, at least in theory, could be used to recreate the captured sounds. It wasn’t until 2008 when the earliest recordings were optically scanned and then a computer was used to process the scans into digital audio files. The scan from this day was turned into what appears to be Scott singing. The papers had been found stored in the French patent office with Scott’s other papers. High quality images were obtained and a playback was possible. There is much background noise, but the slowly sung words are distinguishable.

Charles Cros realized the phonautograph recordings could be turned back into sounds in 1877. He used a photoengraving technique to trace the graphs onto metal surfaces which created a playable groove. Then using a stylus and diaphragm similar to the phonautograph the reverse process allowed the sounds to be heard. Before he could write up a paper, Thomas Edison’s phonograph was already in use. There has been no record found of any attempts by Scott to listen to his prior phonautograms and it would take a new technology and 150 years before he was heard singing.

There had been a legend that Scott’s phonautograph was used to record Abraham Lincoln’s voice at the White House in 1863. Legend stated Edison had the phonautogram in with his papers. However, this seems to have been an urban legend and there has been no recording found anywhere. There is no evidence a recording was ever even made, since at the time, there wasn’t a playback option to make it worth traveling to a war torn country to make it. Edison did have a recording of Rutherford B Hayes made in 1878, the earliest recording of a US President.

The sweetest of all sounds is that of the voice of the woman we love. – Jean de la Bruyere

When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. – Malala Yousafzai

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. – Neil Gaiman

I long for the raised voice, the howl of rage or love. – Leslie Fiedler

April 8

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 8, 2017

1904: Longacre Square gets a new name. The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle Manhattan Island and when they arrived there were three small streams which united at what is today, 10th Avenue and 40th Street. The stream then ran through what was called the Great Kill where fish and waterfowl were for sale. The stream entered into the Hudson River at present day 42nd Street. The region became known for carriage-making. John Morin Scott’s manor house was located at 43rd Street prior to the Revolutionary War and he was the overseer of much of the land used for farming and breeding horses. In the early 19th century, John Jacob Astor took control and sold off lots, at a great profit, as what was by then New York City grew.

As lower Manhattan became more upscale, homes, theaters, and prostitution were pushed north toward and Longacre Square which became known as Thieves Lair because of pickpockets and the low entertainment offered. The first theater on the square was built by Oscar Hammerstein, a cigar manufacturer, and by the 1890s Broadway was “ablaze with electric light and thronged by crowds of middle- and upper-class theatre, restaurant and café patrons”. In 1904 Adolph S Ochs moved his thriving newspaper to the newly built skyscraper on 42nd Street at Longacre Square. Ochs persuaded Mayor George McClellan, Jr. to build a subway station there and then, on this day, the name was changed to Times Square. Three weeks later, the first electrified ad showed up on the Horse Exchange (now the Winter Garden Theatre).

While the newspaper changed venues in 1913, the name has stayed the same. It is sometimes called by other names: The Crossroads of the World, The Center of the Universe, or the heart of The Great White Way. The area at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets is one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world. It is the center for the Broadway Theater District and is a much visited tourist destination. About 330,000 people pass through the area daily and 50 million yearly tourists are a great part of that number. On some of the busiest days, 460,000 people are there. Since 1907, they show up on New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop from the Times Building, now One Times Square. About a million show up for this event.

Today, the Square is known for art and commerce. Electric and neon signs light up the night. Zipper news crawls across screens begging for “eyes on” views. There are landmarks in abundance including the origin of the Times name. Many important buildings are on or adjacent to Times Square as are many corporate buildings. The area is universally recognizable and so is often used in movies and in some of them, the Square and New York City are destroyed. Or else it is depicted as a busy section of urban life in the US. However it is shown, it is iconic.

Times Square quickly became New York’s agora, a place to gather to await great tidings and to celebrate them, whether a World Series or a presidential election. – James Traub

How can you be organized when you’re in Times Square? – Mary-Kate Olsen

I always have a positive reaction to Times Square – you’ve got so many people passing through here, so many cultures, and so many people merging into the central community of New York City. This is the hub of America. – Dhani Jones

L.A., it’s nice, but I think of sunshine and people on rollerblades eating sushi. New York, I think of nighttime, I think of Times Square and Broadway and nightlife and the city that never sleeps. – Jimmy Fallon

April 7

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 7, 2017

1989: K-278 Komsomolets sinks. It was the only Project 685 Plavnik (fin) nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Soviet Navy. It’s NATO reporting name was “Mike class” and it was part of the fourth generation of nuclear subs built by the USSR. She was laid down on April 22, 1978 and launched on June 3, 1983 with commission coming on December 28 of that year. The 385 foot long submarine had a top speed of 14 knots or 16 mph while surfaced and 30 knots or 35 mph while submerged. A fully staffed ship would have 33 officers, 21 warrant or petty officers, and 15 enlisted men aboard.

The sub was designed by Rubin Design Bureau for Project 685 in order to craft a submersible capable of carrying a mix of torpedoes and cruise missiles with either conventional or nuclear warheads. The call for designs was issued in 1966 and it was completed in 1974. The double hulled Komsomolets was able to dive deeper than the best American subs because of the titanium inner hull. The pressure hull had seven compartments with stronger forward and aft bulkheads which created a safety zone in case of emergency. Also included in the design was an escape capsule filled into the sail above the stronger compartments which would allow the crew to abandon ship in an underwater emergency. There were many automated systems included which allowed for fewer crewmembers than would be expected for a submarine of that size.

On August 4, 1984 Komsomolets was recorded at a submergence of 3,350 feet in the Norwegian Sea. This proved she was able to withstand the pressure for which the ship was designed. On this day, under the command of Captain 1st Rank Evgeny Vanin, the ship was cruising at a depth of 1,099 feet and had traveled about 100 nautical miles southwest of Bear Island, Norway. A fire broke out in the engine room due to a short circuit. The watertight doors were shut, but the fire spread along the bulkhead cable penetrations and soon propulsion was lost. As the cables burned, more electrical problems emerged and control was threatened. An emergency ballast tank blow was done so the ship could surface eleven minutes after the fire broke out. Distress calls were sent and most of the crew abandoned ship.

Komsomolets was able to remain on the surface for several hours as the fire continued to burn, fed by compressed air. The ship was unable to be saved and at 3.15 PM local time, it sank into 5,510 feet of water. The captain and four others still on board were able to enter the escape capsule and make their way to the surface but only one of the five escaped the capsule before it sank in the rough waters. Rescue aircraft arrived and dropped small rafts but many of the men had already died of hypothermia. In all 42 of the 69 crew died, including the captain. Four died in the fire and 34 froze or drowned in the bitterly cold water awaiting a slow to arrive rescue. The ship with its nuclear reactor and two nuclear warheads remains a mile underwater.

The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim. – Edsger Dijkstra

In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine. – J. William Fulbright

I’ve been to the Titanic in a yellow submarine and the North Pole in a Russian nuclear ice breaker. – Buzz Aldrin

My own grandfathers were a submarine commander and a ‘desert rats’ tank operator in the Second World War. – Benedict Cumberbatch

April 6

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 6, 2017

1947: The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre commences. Better known as the Tony Award, it was named in honor of Toni Perry. The American Theatre Wing (ATW) was originally called the Stage Women’s War Relief and during World War I they helped to sew uniforms and other garments, turning out close to two million articles. They also helped entertain the troops and raised nearly $7 million for the war effort. During World War II, the women of the theater again banded together to help. Perry was a part of that effort. After the War, the group continued to function but dedicated itself to supporting “excellence and education in the theatre”.

Perry was born in 1888 in Denver, Colorado and worked successfully as an actress prior to retiring in 1909 to marry. Her husband died in 1922 and she returned to the theater. She took up directing and partnered with Brock Pemberton to produce several plays, the most famous of them the Pulitzer Prize winning Harvey, which Perry also directed. During the War, she was chairwoman of the board and secretary in the ATW. They provided entertainment to servicemen in several American cities. Perry died suddenly on June 29, 1946 suffering a heart attack just one day after her birthday. She was 58 years old.

Her friends at ATW wanted to honor her for all her work in the industry. Pemberton suggested the ATW create a series of awards given in her name. On this day, the Tony Awards were first distributed and have been handed out yearly ever since. They are one of the industry’s most coveted awards and analogous  to the Academy Awards (Oscars) for films, Grammy Awards for music, and Emmy Awards for television. They are the fourth spoke in EGOT, for the select few who have won all four awards. This “grand slam” of entertainment has been achieved only twelve times.

There were 11 awards passed out on this day but they have expanded and by 2014 there were 24 categories honored. There are competitive awards given in performance categories as well as show and technical categories. There are also non-competitive awards honoring not just the year’s work, but lifetime achievements. Some of the honors have been retired and other have been renamed and split into different awards. The Tony Awards were originally passed out at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. The venue has changed with time and the next award ceremony is to be held on June 11, 2017, venue as yet to be named.

At Jacob Wilk’s suggestion, [Pemberton] proposed an award in her honor for distinguished stage acting and technical achievement. At the initial event in 1947, as he handed out an award, he called it a Tony. The name stuck. – Ellis Nassour

There’s not a person in this theater that doesn’t know what it is to be a salesman – to be out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. As we know, a salesman has got to dream. It goes with the territory. – Mike Nichols, accepting the award for best director of a play for Death of a Salesman

You were my first crush! When that whistle was blown in Sound of Music, you made my day. – Nina Arianda, accepting the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play for Venus in Fur from presenter Christopher Plummer

Welcome to the 66th annual Tony Awards, or as we like to call it, 50 Shades of Gay. – Neil Patrick Harris, host

April 5

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 5, 2017

1242: The Battle on the Ice takes place. The Novgorod Republic was a large kingdom in what is today parts of Finland and Russia. They were partnered with the Grand Duchy of Vladimir (now part of Russia) and the Pskov Republic, also part of Russia today. They were led by Alexander Nevsky, who at the time of the battle was just 20 years old. He was Prince of Novgorod and eventually also the Grand Prince of both Kiev and Vladimir. He is considered to be one of the key people of medieval Rus history and rose to legendary status due to his many military victories.

They were fighting against the Livonian Order of Teutonic Knights who were aligned with the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church via the Pope. They were a religious order who wished to bring their faith to the pagans and Eastern Orthodox Christians. They were waging a crusade against these non-believers rather than taking their battle to the Muslims in the Holy Land. They were aided in their quest by the Bishopric of Dorpat and the Kingdom of Denmark. They were led by Hermann of Dorpat, a Prince-Bishop of his domain.

On this day, a battle was fought on Lake Peipus. The lake has a surface area (today) of 1,373 square miles and is the fifth largest lake in Europe. It is the largest transboundary lake in Europe and is part of the border between present-day Estonia and Russia. The lake’s average depth is 23 feet with a maximum depth of 50 feet. It was frozen over on this day and became the battleground for the confrontation, thus the name of the battle. Nevsky brought about 5,000 troops to battle against a force about half the size led by the Knights and Hermann. The battle was famous enough to make its way into both the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, a history of Livonia (modern Estonia and Latvia) covering over 150 years and the Novgorod First Chronicle, a history of Novgorod covering over 450 years.

The Novgorod forces were victorious. Although it is unknown how many were lost, the Livonians recorded 20 knights killed and 6 captured while the Novgorod reported 400 Germans (westerners) killed and “countless” Estonians killed. The victory was so decisive the Crusaders opted to end their campaigns against the Orthodox Novgorod Republic as well as other Slavic territories for the next 100 years. This halt of Teutonic forces established the divide between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism at the Narva River and Lake Peipus. Alexander Nevsky was canonized a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1574.

The Strength of a sword is measured by the arm that wields it!

We have a saying: it’s better to die for your country than to leave it.

If you can’t fight on foreign soil, you have no right to fight on your own!

I haven’t come to Novgorod as a lover, but as a military commander! – all from Alexander Nevsky, in the movie of the same name

April 4

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 4, 2017

1873: The Kennel Club is founded. Unable to find consistent rules for the up and coming new attraction, dog shows, SE Shirley and twelve of his friends started the club on this day. The Victorian Era was a time of hobbies and an Englishman’s love of dogs and hobbies meant new events, dog showing and field tests. The first recorded dog show was held at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1859. There was explosive growth in the activity and in 1865 the first organized Field Test was held at Southill. The former was a more urban activity while the latter appealed more to the rural gentleman.

The founders of the Kennel Club were interested in the events being run fairly and honestly and they were also concerned with the welfare of the dogs on display. Their original scope was to monitor events nationwide. The following year, the first Kennel Club Stud Book was published and it listed the results of all Dog Shows and Field Tests from 1859 onward. It also listed the rules for running the events. This book has been published yearly since 1874 and now provides results for all Championship Dog Shows, Field Trials, and other dog activities (Obedience and Agility).

Another aspect of the Club was to have a register of dogs in order to identify them properly. Beginning in 1880, a list of registration records was printed which would ensure each dog was uniquely identified and has served useful as a pedigree process. Today, there are over 200,000 dogs registered with the Kennel Club yearly. But pedigree is not enough if the dogs are poorly cared for. The first set of ten rules contained two rules concerned with the dogs’ health. A veterinary inspector was to be present at all shows with over 200 entrants and dogs were to be withdrawn if they showed any symptoms of contagious disease. Since 1949, the Kennel Club has also invested in veterinary and scientific research to improve the health and welfare of dogs.

The Kennel Club is the oldest recognized kennel club in the world. There are seven groups of dogs (hound, working, terrier, gundog, pastoral, utility, and toy) with 211 breed recognized, the last breed to be added was the Turkish Kangal dog in 2013. They license dog shows throughout the UK but operate only one show themselves. The Crufts conformation show, held since 1928, attracts dogs from around the world. It is held each March in Birmingham. They also hold an event, Discover Dogs, each year in November in London. Scruffs showcases crossbreed and mixed breed dogs.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. – Josh Billings

Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail. – Kinky Friedman

I don’t really understand that process called reincarnation but if there is such a thing I’d like to come back as my daughter’s dog. – Leonard Cohen

I know of nothing more moving, indeed semi-tragic, than the yearning helplessness in the face of a dog, who understands what is said to him, and cannot answer! – Bayard Taylor

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April 3

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 3, 2017

1973: Marin Cooper makes a phone call. Cooper, a researcher and executive at Motorola, called Joel Engel of Bell Labs using the first mobile handheld telephone able to use subscriber equipment. The phone he used weighed 2.4 pounds, was nine inches long, five inches deep, and nearly two inches wide. It took ten hours to recharge and offered thirty minutes of talk time per charge. Mobile phones are different from radios in that they connect wirelessly to the public switched telephone network. Voice over radio waves had been possible for far longer. The first claim to have created a wireless phone came in 1908, but the claimants were accused of fraud, charges were later dropped.

By 1918 Germany had wireless phones on military trains between Berlin and Zossen and by 1924 the practice became public and then grew in range. Mobile phones were often depicted in science fiction works and they were smaller and commonplace. By World War II, hand-held radio transceivers were available and phones could be placed into cars, using the power system there. They were bulky and uncommon, with the system unable to handle many calls. Bell Labs began mobile phone service for phones within cars on June 17, 1946 in St. Louis, Missouri. AT&T soon followed. Most mobile phones were incompatible and service was very limited.

European development was also taking place. In the USSR, Leonid Kupriyanovich developed a phone which fit into the palm of one’s hand and weighed only 2.5 ounces. Instead, they went with development of a car phone system. The infrastructure to carry the signals was an integral aspect of developing the phones themselves. Without the ability to carry signals to faraway places, the phones were not worth the cost. But with more users, a larger infrastructure was needed to carry increased load.

The networks built to carry traffic have steadily increased in size and scope as well as dependability and power. Today’s 4G or fourth generation network needed to adapt to changing use of phones which were now “smart” and able to carry more than phone calls. The streaming of media and the bandwidth-intensive applications installed on modern smart phones made a data-optimized, speed-enhanced system necessary. This was done by eliminating circuit switching and using an all-IP network which was the first time voice transmission was treated like streaming audio media and used packet switching over the internet.

Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone. – Steven Spielberg

I think most people in the developed world would admit to carrying some sort of handheld device, whether it’s a laptop or a cell phone, at all times. – Alexis Denisof

Now we’re e-mailing and tweeting and texting so much, a phone call comes as a fresh surprise. I get text messages on my cell phone all day long, and it warbles to alert me that someone has sent me a message on Facebook or a reply or direct message on Twitter, but it rarely ever rings. – Susan Orlean

The technology is just so far gone. It’s just like back in the day you needed a suitcase just to have a cell phone. The battery was so heavy, it was like carrying a gallon of soda around with you all day. – Jam Master Jay

April 2

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 2, 2017

1973: LexisNexis launches publicly. The Ohio based company offered full-text searches in all Ohio and New York cases. Before the World Wide Web was a thing, dial-up services were possible for lawyers looking for data on cases. As computers improved, data was available via disks. Today, the world’s largest electronic database for legal and public record related information is available by subscription at LexisNexis. They have over 30 terabytes of data on 11 mainframes supported by more than 300 midrange UNIX servers and almost 1,000 Windows NT servers. The main datacenter is in Miamisburg, Ohio.

Today, they have current United States statutes and laws as well as a large number of published case opinions dating back from the 1770s and up to the present day. Also available are unpublished but publically available opinions from 1980 onward. In 2000, they began to build a library of briefs and motions. For questions from outside the US, they also have libraries of statutes and case judgments and opinions from Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. These are accompanied by databases of law review and legal journal articles from countries where such are available.

The original data was put together and managed by Mead Corporation, then based out of Dayton, Ohio and established as a continuation of an experiment organized by the Ohio State Bar in 1967. Mead, now MeadWestvaco, sold to Reed Elservier, now RELX Group. Reed Elsevier is an Anglo-Dutch publishing company and purchased LexisNexis in 1994. On this day, LEXIS was launched independently and was available for lawyers and the NEXIS service, for journalists writing about legal issues, was launched later in the year. Their headquarters remain, through mergers and buyouts, in Dayton.

The business of aggregating data is huge and when Mead first sold LexisNexis, it was for $1.5 billion. Since then, there have been several mergers bring more data under the LexisNexis umbrella. Included in purchases over the years have been RiskWise, Quicklaw, and Seisint, Inc. which owned and operated Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX). In 2008, ChoicePoint was purchased for $3.6 billion. The data aggregator company was rebranded as LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In 2014, they purchased Health Market Science (HMS) which collects high quality data about US healthcare professionals.

The safety of the people shall be the highest law. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom. – John Locke

Let me be clear – no one is above the law. Not a politician, not a priest, not a criminal, not a police officer. We are all accountable for our actions. – Antonio Villaraigosa

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. – Julius Caesar

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April 1

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 1, 2017

1789: Frederick Muhlenberg becomes the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was born in 1750 in Trappe, Pennsylvania. His father was a German immigrant and is considered to be the founder of the Lutheran Church in America. When he was 13, Frederick was sent to Germany to study theology. Back in the colonies, he was ordained a minister by the Pennsylvania Ministerium in 1770. His first parishes were in Pennsylvania but he then moved to New York City from 1774 to 1776. With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he returned to Pennsylvania and continued his mission. His brother was a General in the Continental Army.

Frederick had been a member of the Continental Congress and served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1780 to 1783 where he was elected speaker. He was the president of the Pennsylvania state constitutional convention in 1787 which was called to ratify the Federal Constitution. He was a signer of the Bill of Rights. He served in the House of Representatives for four terms. He was Speaker of the House during his first term and did not seek nomination for a second term in office but was once again the Speaker between 1793 and 1795. Jonathon Trumbull, Jr. held the post in the interim.

He was chairman of the Committee of the Whole on April 29, 1796 when he cast the deciding vote passing laws necessary to carry out the Jay Treaty. This early legislation between the US and Great Britain has been credited with averting a war by resolving issues left over from the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War. The Jay Treaty allowed for peaceful trade between the US and the UK. In 1794 a bill was before the House which would have required laws to be translated into German. Even with his family history, he was against it citing the need for Germans to become Americans if they were to assimilate here. He abstained from the vote and it failed to pass by a vote of 42-41. A legend grew up around this event giving him credit for prohibiting German from becoming an official language of the US.

Muhlenberg’s legends do not end there. He is also credited with our honorific for the Commander in Chief to be Mr. President rather than “His High Mightiness” or “His Elected Majesty” which were titles suggested by John Adams. After his time in the federal government, Muhlenberg returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he was appointed receiver general of the Pennsylvania Land Office. He died in 1801 at the age 51.

The faster the Germans become Americans, the better it will be. – Frederick Muhlenberg

Everybody in America who didn’t come over the Bering Strait ice bridge stole his land from somebody else. – P. J. O’Rourke

In America we have a Declaration of Independence, but our history, our advancements, our global strength all point to an American declaration of interdependence. – Cory Booker

America’s a family. We all yell at each other. It all works out. – Louis C. K.