Little Bits of History

June 20

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 20, 2017

1631: The Sack of Baltimore is carried out. Baltimore lies in County Cork in Ireland and is the southernmost parish in the country. The English were in control of Ireland at the time and Sir Thomas Crooke, 1st Baronet was given permission from King James I to establish a center there in 1605. The lands were leased from Sir Fineen O’Driscoll, head of the O’Driscoll clan. Baltimre had an established, lucrative sardine fishery and was a pirate base. It was said all the women of Baltimore were either the wives or mistresses of pirates and when the English took over, not much changed.

A raid was spearheaded by the Dutch captain, Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, also called Murad Reis the Younger. He was joined by other Dutchmen, Moroccans, Algerians, and Ottoman Turks working the slave trade. The attack on this day remains the largest by Barbary pirates in either Ireland or Great Britain. Murad’s crew captured a fishing boat and coerced Hackett, the fisherman, to lead them stealthily into the village upon which time he would be granted his freedom. Hackett led the armed pirates in and they then captured most of the villagers. There were at least 108 English settlers taken with 237 given from another source. Most of the local people were taken away as well. The captured people were taken away to be sold into slavery in North Africa.

There are some theories about the day’s event. It has been suggested that Sir Walter Coppinger, a Catholic lawyer and member of a leading Cork family was vying for control of the lucrative assets of the village. Coppinger had become the dominant British power in the region after the death of Cooke. However, the O’Driscoll family was still in nominal control of the money being paid for the use of their fisheries. Coppinger wished to gain complete control of the village, the fishery, and the farming done by English settlers. Another possible reason for the attack was the exiling of the O’Driscoll family with many of them having gone to Spain after the Battle of Kinsale (1601-1602). With little hope of legally retaining their control over Baltimore from abroad, they may have orchestrated the raid to thwart Coppinger. Or perhaps, Murad thought it up all by himself.

It should be noted that there were rumors of a Barbary pirate attack on the Cork coast but it was thought Kinsale was a more likely target than Baltimore. In the wake of the attack, Hackett was seized by the remaining villagers who hung him. They then scattered and Baltimore was deserted for generations. Most of the captured were relegated to becoming galley slaves and rowed pirate ships for others until they died. More were placed as domestic slaves or laborers. Three of the captured were returned to Ireland via ransoms paid; one almost at once and two more were ransomed in 1646.

Life’s pretty good, and why wouldn’t it be? I’m a pirate, after all. – Johnny Depp

I don’t really know much about pirates, or pirate culture. I’d be a contrarian pirate. – Todd Barry

If ye can’t trust a pirate, ye damn well can’t trust a merchant either! – unknown

Even pirates, before they attack another ship, hoist a black flag. – Bela Kiraly


June 19

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 19, 2017

1913: The Natives Land Act is given Royal Assent. Also called Act No. 27 of 1913, it was aimed at regulating the acquisition of land enacted by the Parliament of South Africa. When the British landed at Cape of Good Hope they began their colonization expansion by setting up their own government in the land. The Queen granted the Cape its first Parliament in 1853 and they created a government in which all males were given the same considerations, regardless of race. Women were still second class citizens, also regardless of race. In 1872, a new Parliament with new laws entered the picture and all males were still given the franchise if they could pay the £25 fee. This was available to most males owning land. Time moved on and whites began to become the majority holders of all lands while Natives were stripped of both lands and franchise.

In 1910, South Africa united and became the southernmost country in Africa. It was governed still by the British Empire and the population was mostly black, although 90% of the land was now owned by whites. The Natives Land Act instituted the policy that land could neither be bought or sold to members of another race. Included in the law was a prohibition against serfdom or sharecropping but it protected existing agreements or arrangements whereby land could be hired or leased at will. The law was able to protect African chiefs and their communal landholdings. Included in the Act, no longer would black tenant farming on white-owned land be permitted. The devastating effects of this last part were not immediate, but they were long-lasting.

The law was implemented on June 19, 1913 and blacks were essentially stripped of the right to own land. Chiefs were able to retain lands, but since whites already owned most of the land, blacks were forced into wage labor market. This Act was a cornerstone of the racial segregation and discrimination that ruled South Africa. Apartheid was institutionalized with more laws stripping natives of their lands, their rights, and any say in their government. It took decades before the systematic degradations afforded to people daring to live in their own lands were repealed. Apartheid is an Afrikaans word literally meaning “apart-hood” or the state of being apart or separate.

Opposition to this Act was minimal, but vocal. John Dube, a newspaperman, used his platform to bring the issue to the public. The black leader supported whites who had created an environment where white leaders returned at least some of the land to the native populations so they might live and thrive. The minister at the time was a Cape Liberal who opposed the disenfranchisement of blacks but was perfectly fine with separate residential areas for Whites and Natives. Apartheid would eventually fall, but much was lost during the years of separation and the years of struggle to return South Africa to a desegregated state.

Together we have travelled a long road to be where we are today. This has been a road of struggle against colonial and apartheid oppression. – Thabo Mbeki

I played an integral part in helpings formulating that new vision… that we must abandon apartheid and accept one united South Africa with equal rights for all, with all forms of discrimination to be scrapped from the statute book. – F. W. de Klerk

Apartheid – both petty and grand – is obviously evil. Nothing can justify the arrogant assumption that a clique of foreigners has the right to decide on the lives of a majority. – Steven Biko

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. – Nelson Mandela

June 18

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 18, 2017

1972: British European Airways (BEA) Flight 548 goes into a deep stall. BEA was founded in 1948 and flew from the United Kingdom to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. They were also the largest domestic UK operator with hubs in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Belfast. They were formed after World War II when restrictions on civil flying were lifted. They operated independently until 1974 when they merged with British Overseas Airways Corporation to form British Airways. On this day, the plane was a Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident (originally the de Havilland DH 121) which was typically used for short or medium-range flights. It was the first T-tail three-engined jet and 117 of them were built for BEA.

The incident took place amid turbulence caused by an impending pilots’ strike which caused disruptions among the crew members. A postal ballot was being held and because of the possible strike, Flight 548 was loaded to maximum capacity. Part of the issue was pay increases, which younger pilots needed, but older pilots did not. Twenty-two of the lower paid co-pilots were already out on strike and even more junior help was placed into a higher demand position in order to keep flights moving. Captain Stanley Key had complained just three days prior how useless the inexperienced and recently promoted co-pilots were. Because of tensions in the cockpit, even more errors were made and while experienced pilots could compensate for the errors, given enough time, it was part of the issues pilots had with the company.

Key was an experienced pilot, aged 51 and with 15,000 hours flying time including 4,000 hours on this particular plane type. Jeremy Keighley was co-pilot, aged 22 with six weeks of employment with the company and just 29 hours experience in the co-pilot position. Simon Ticehurst, aged 24, was the P3 crew member with 1,400 hours of flying time including 750 on Tridents. There were three more crew members and 112 passengers on the flight which left Heathrow Airport on its way to Brussels. Just three minutes before takeoff, three other people needed to fly a plane back from Brussels were boarded, which necessitated the removal of some cargo because of weight restrictions. The doors were locked and 4.03 PM the plane was given permission to taxi and three minutes later they were given departure clearance.

One minute later, with clearance given a second time, Key was permitted to take off into the stormy skies full of turbulence and low cloud cover. At 4.08.30 they began to taxi and were in the skies 44 seconds later. The cloud cover was so low, there was little visibility and at 114 seconds into the flight, mechanical procedures began, which needed more altitude to be done correctly. Within two seconds the plane went into a deep stall. With no time to correct the problem and the plane crashed precisely at 4.11 PM just missing a busy London road. All aboard were killed. The crash was investigated under a media circus atmosphere. The end result was a new rule necessitating planes now carry cockpit voice recorders.

We were out with the dog and I looked up and saw the plane.

It was just coming out of the mist when the engines stalled and it seemed it glided down. It was just like a dream. The plane just fell out of the sky.

We just about saw it hit the ground … because it was right in a clump of trees.

When it did hit the ground the front bit hit first and the back bit was just blown away. – all from Trevor Burke, eyewitness aged 13

June 17

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 17, 2017

1462: The Night Attack takes place at Târgovişte. Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Mehmed II, the Sultan, thought it would be possible to add more lands to his Empire and went northwest in order to bring more lands under his command. Mehmed issued a Jizya over Bosnia, this was a tax imposed on all non-Muslims. Wallachia, located north of the Danube River, was in control not only of the lands there, but the northern side of the waterway. Mehmed sought to control the river, the people, and the income stream. The West continued to fight against the invaders and even the Pope sent out a Crusade to help defeat the Ottomans. There was little European backing for the Crusade, which Mehmed took as a chance to invade northwards. The ruler of the Wallachia had one ally, Mihály Szilágyi, and he had been captured in 1460. His men were tortured and killed and he was sawed in half.

The leader of Wallachia had not paid the Jizya for years. The yearly tax of 10,000 ducats was only part of the debt as Mehmed also insisted on payment for 1,000 boys trained as janissaries or soldiers. Mehmed crossed the Danube to exact revenge and teach his opponent a lesson. He called for armies to be assembled and amassed troops numbering between 100,000 and 120,000 men. But his opponent was not an ordinary soldier. The Wallachia leader had invaded Bulgaria and impaled over 23,000 Turks which gave him his name, Vlad the Impaler. Vlad III Țepeș was also called Vlad Dracula, the son of Vlad Dracul. He led his troops numbering around 30,000 to 35,000.

Mehmed’s estimate of his troops was as high as 500,000 while Vlad was unable to amass anything near that number. The Hungarian king had promised support but did not deliver. The majority of Vlad’s army were peasants and shepherds. The men on horseback were few in number and properly armed as were Vlad’s personal guards. The Turks approached lands and tried to disembark their boats only to be overcome by arrows. They withdrew and tried again landed in sections downstream until their army was on the north side of the river. Vlad fought a scorched earth pattern, poisoning waters and setting traps in the marshes. Mehmed’s army advanced for a week until this night. Vlad had used the time to send the sick and dying into the midst of his enemy’s troops, especially people with bubonic plague. During the night, as Mehmed’s troops were encamped south of the capital, Vlad struck.

Vlad entered the camp in disguise and was unchallenged. He learned where the Sultan was and how his defense was set. Vlad knew it was Mehmed’s policy that soldiers must remain in their tents at night. The Wallachian troops used the information their leader had gathered and sent several forays into the camp. Documents differ on how many losses were incurred. All agree Vlad sustained few losses while Mehmed suffered considerable casualties, one account listing 20,000. Vlad had hoped to assassinate Mehmed, but came to the wrong tent and attacked two viziers instead. Mehmed continued his move north only to find Vlad had gone before. He found another 20,000 impaled Turks lining the road. Mehmed, capturing slaves and goods, returned home.

War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.- Benito Mussolini

Against war one might say that it makes the victor stupid and the vanquished malicious. In its favor, that in producing these two effects it barbarizes, and so makes the combatants more natural. For culture it is a sleep or a wintertime, and man emerges from it stronger for good and for evil. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The god of war is impartial: he hands out death to the man who hands out death. – Homer

Wars grew and mutated, finding ways to stay alive; they hung on with the grim tenacity of a weed growing in a crack in a wall, feeding on whatever nutrients their roots and tendrils could find. – K. J. Parker

June 16

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 16, 2017

1904: Leopold Bloom shares his day. Leopold Bloom is the protagonist of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Bloom was the son of a Huganrian Jew who emigrated to Ireland and converted to Protestantism. He converted to Catholicism in order to marry. He awoke on this day and began his journey, his odyssey, through the streets of Dublin. Ulysses, the Roman version of the term Odysseus, is based on the Homeric poem and the 265,000 word book is divided into 18 episodes, each based on the trip outlined in the Odyssey. The tale first appeared in The Little Review as a serialized version between March 1918 and December 1920. It was published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach in Paris on February 2, 1922 which was Joyce’s fortieth birthday. It is considered one of the most important works of modern literature.

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was also a short story writer from Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin. In his early twenties he moved to mainland Europe where he lived for the rest of his life. The family was relatively wealthy. As a boy, he was attacked by a dog, leaving him with a lifelong fear of the animal and after his aunt’s description of storms as God’s wrath, he also was terrorized by thunderstorms. Joyce was educated in Jesuit schools and was influenced by the philosophy or Thomas Aquinas. While in college, Joyce began his writing career in earnest, and even learned Norwegian in order to send a letter to Henrik Ibsen. After graduation, he left for Paris to study medicine, but soon abandoned it. Although raised in a Catholic home, by the age of twenty, he had abandoned his faith as well.

On June 16, 1904 he met Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid from Galway. It was his basis for choosing the date for his most famous work. He was drinking heavily and got into a fight. His father’s friend, Alfred Hunter, brought him home and cared for his injuries. Hunter was a Jew with an unfaithful wife, the basis for Leopold. In less than a week, he was in another altercation, packed his things, and took off with Nora in a self-imposed exile. The couple first moved to Switzerland where a job was supposed to be waiting; it wasn’t. They moved to Trieste and stayed there for the next ten years. In 1920, Ezra Pound invited the Joyce family to visit for a week. They lived in Paris for the next twenty years.

Ulysses, the stream of consciousness novel, was full of puns, parodies, and allusions, which Joyce hoped would keep literature professors busy for decades. It worked and the novel has a following worldwide with many arguing points from throughout the text. There have been at least eighteen editions, of various lengths, published. Each holds variations in different impressions. The first edition, with over 2,000 errors was said to still be the most accurate printed. Regardless of errors, intentional or not, the date is celebrated in Dublin and around the world as Bloomsday, in honor of Leopold Bloom.

There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.

Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end.

To say that a great genius is half-mad, while recognizing his artistic prowess, is worth as much as saying that he was rheumatic, or that he suffered from diabetes. Madness, in fact, is a medical expression to which a balanced critic should pay no more heed than he would to the accusation of heresy brought by the theologian, or to the accusation of immorality brought by the public prosecutor.

Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why. – all from James Joyce

June 15

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 15, 2017

1878: Proof of how a horse runs is captured. Eadweard Muybridge (born Edward James Muggeridge, but changed his to what he believed to be the original Anglo-Saxon form) was born in England in 1830. He came to America at age twenty but returned to England at age 31. He then took up the craft of photography and gained two British patents around the idea of the wet-plate collodion process. He returned to America and took large photographs of the Yosemite Valley which made him world famous. He 1874, he shot and killed Major Harry Larkyns, his wife’s lover, but was acquitted on the grounds of justifiable homicide. He then traveled in Central America on a photographic expedition. In the 1880s, he created over 100,000 images of animals and humans in motion while at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

By filming individual frames of stop action movement, it was possible to see what the eye could not. The movements were disrupted in mid-pose. At speed, the human eye cannot see the flow of the movements. Leland Stanford commission Muybridge to create a series of still photographs of a horse galloping. Stanford was interesting in the exact gait of a moving horse, specifically, if all four hooves were off the ground at one time. He owned a large farm where he bred and trained horses, both Stanardbreds and Thoroughbreds. The former were used for trotting races while the latter where ridden by jockeys. In order to improve their running styles, Stanford needed to know what that was.

During July 1877, Muybridge attempted to learn the four-hoof answer by taking ever sharper images of Occident, one of Stanford’s trotters, running at racing speed gait. He managed to catch a still shot of the horse with all four feet off the ground. However, when the image was sent to the press, it was found the negative had been retouched and it was disqualified. Although retouching was permitted at the time and Muybridge won an award with the picture, the press was not impressed. So on this day, a new experiment was carried out.

Sallie Gardner, a Thoroughbred, was photographed at 1.40 gait (about 36 mph). Muybridge set up 24 cameras, each 27 inches apart from the prior one. The shutters were controlled by trip wires triggered by the horse’s legs. The pictures were taken one twenty-fifth second apart. The series of photographs could then be viewed in rapid succession using a zoopraxiscope and Sallie Gardner did, indeed, have all four hooves off the ground at once. In  1880, the images were projected to a large screen at the California School of Fine Arts and so began the moving picture industry.

In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality. – Alfred Stieglitz

Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is. – unknown

A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it. – Edward Steichen

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them. – Diane Arbus

June 14

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 14, 2017

1966: The Index Librorum Prohibitorum or List of Prohibited Books is abolished. The Roman Catholic Church had maintained a list of books no good Catholic should read from as early as the 9th century. The first list was created then, but never officially authorized. Decretem Glasianum gave way to the Pauline Index first published in 1559 by Pope Paul IV. The invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 changed the way books were published. Handwritten copies of books were rare and kept in a small number of libraries. But with mass production possible, more books came to print and were dispersed among the general citizens. After about 100 years of continual growth of books and literacy, both the Church and European governments tried to regulate or control printing.

The Protestant Reformation helped to spur on many new works and the texts were often in direct opposition to the Catholic Church. This was the area of texts the Pope was concerned about. Governments had different concerns and both entities tried to control what could be printed and where it could be sold. Government tried to control who could have the presses and they issued licenses for the right to trade or print books. England and France were both concerned with ideas spread via the printed words and tried to stop the output. The Church had less access to this method of control and so began printing lists of books banned to the faithful. Even so, the first Indexes did not come from Rome. The first came from the Dutch (1529) and the next was from Venice (1543) which was followed by Paris (1551).

By the middle of the century, religious wars were waged in Germany and France and the ideas spread by the written words were quickly found in the hands of rebels. It was deemed by those in charge, that controlling the presses was imperative to their continued existence. The first Roman Index was issued in 1557 with a new edition in 1559 banning the entire works of about 550 authors as well as some individual titles. The censors were seen as being too restrictive, even within the intelligentsia of the Catholic Church. A new list came out in 1564 and was the basis for later texts even up to 1897.

Some Protestant scholars were blacklisted by the Catholic Church as well as some ideas that might be outside dogma as presented by the Church. Special dispensation could be granted so scholars could read the banned works. The last edition was published in 1948. It was the 20th edition and had about 4,000 titles included. Heresy and sexual explicitness could land a work on the list. Atheists could be blacklisted. Pope Pius VI brought the practice to an end. Good Christians still need to be wary of heretical topics, but they can no longer be punished by ecclesiastical law.

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world. – Malala Yousafzai

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read. – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image, but thee who destroys a good book, kills reason its self. – John Milton

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. – Oscar Wilde

June 13

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 13, 2017

1381: The Savoy Palace is destroyed. The palace was built on the Strand, the road leading from crowded, fetid, turbulent London to Westminster and the royal abode. It runs parallel to the Thames and makes access to the waterway possible while upriver of the city’s pollution which was rampant in the Middle Ages. While there were many palaces built in London in the Middle Ages, in 1246 King Henry III granted some land to his wife’s uncle, the Count of Savoy and gave him the title of Earl of Richmond. The house built there eventually came into the possession of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster and his descendants who would become the Dukes of Lancaster, resided there. By the 14th century, the house was the residence of John of Gaunt, the younger son of King Edward III.

John was the power broker of the nation. He had his father’s power bolstered by the wealth of his wife’s family, the Lancasters. John was the richest man in the kingdom and his house was the most magnificent in all the lands. He had collections of tapestries, jewels, and other art. Wat (Walter) Tyler led a Peasants’ Revolt (aka Wat Tyler’s Revolt) beginning on May 30, 1381 until it was successfully suppressed by November of that year.  The peasants had suffered greatly during the Black Plague decades before. The Hundred Years’ War was in progress and needed funding and the tax base lessened with the death of so many workers. A poll tax, a per person tax issued across the board, was the last straw. When an official came to Essex to collect the tax, the populace took up arms in protest.

Some rebels, led by Tyler and John Ball, eventually made their way to London. King Richard II, then 14 years old, fled to the Tower of London for safety. Most of the royal forces were overseas, due to war efforts. On this day, the rebels broke into the jails and released the prisoners and were joined in their advance by townspeople. They attacked Savoy Palace and destroyed everything within it. What couldn’t be burned or smashed, was thrown into the Thames. They blamed John of Gaunt for the introduction of the poll tax. He survived this assault on his property and flourished.

Wat Tyler did not have the same luck. His refusal to pay the 12 pence per adult tax (regardless of wealth or status) was just part of his discontent with the government. He wished for the unpaid labor of serfdom to be discontinued and wanted all to be able to choose career paths and bosses. Richard II met with rebels on June 14 and agreed to some concessions and full pardons upon dispersal. Tyler refused to accept the proposal and on June 15, he and his Kentish followers met with the King, insulted him, and then got into a fight with courtiers. Tyler tried to stab the Mayor of London while being arrested. Although stabbed in the fight, Tyler attempted to escape and only made it a few yards before he fell from his horse. He was decapitated the following day and his head displayed on London Bridge. All concessions were revoked and the entire uprising fell within months.

Masses are always breeding grounds of psychic epidemics. – Carl Jung

Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda. – Hannah Arendt

The mob is the mother of tyrants. – Diogenes

What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people. – Robert Kennedy

June 12

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 12, 2017

1987: US President Ronald Reagan gives a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin. Between 1961 and 1989, a barrier wall was part of the Berlin landscape. Construction began on August 13, 1961 by the German Democratic Republic. The Berlin Wall separated West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and East Berlin. The wall grew with time until it stretched 96 miles and was 11.8 feet high at the concrete segments. Guard towers were included and looked over the “death strip” – an area patrolled to keep anyone from exiting from the Eastern Bloc into the free west. Before the Wall went up, 3.5 million East Germans escaped across the border between Eastern and Western Germany.

Reagan, President from 1981 to 1989, addressed the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and later President of the Soviet Union on this day. But this was not Reagan’s first request to bring down the wall. In June 1982 while visiting West Berlin, he first posed the question as to why the wall was even needed. In 1986, after the Wall had stood for a quarter of a century, a West German newspaper posed a question to the President and asked for a timeline for dismantling the Wall. Reagan answered, “I call upon those responsible to dismantle it [today]”.

On June 11, 1987, about 50,000 people had demonstrated against Reagan and his presence, once again, in Berlin. While he was there, large portions of the city were closed off to prevent more anti-Reagan rallies. But it wasn’t just Germans upset with the outspoken President. Within his own administration, there were several senior staff members who were against his bringing up the Wall issue again as it might worsen already tense East-West relations. It was thought Reagan might offend
Gorbachev after years of attempting to create a better relationship between both the leaders and the countries they led. Speechwriters were told to leave the now iconic phrase in the speech.

Reagan arrived in Berlin earlier in the day. He and Nancy Reagan were taken to the Reichstag where they could see the wall from the balcony. At 2 PM, while standing in front of two panes of bulletproof glass, Reagan challenged his Soviet opponent to tear down the wall. The speech also called for an end to the arms race between the two nations. While it received little press at the time and was considered to be “absurd” or “openly provocative, war-mongering speech”, the Wall did eventually fall. Little if any credit goes to Reagan or this speech, but rather it was a series of political changes which allowed for the dismantling of the wall as well as what it stood for.

We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner, ‘This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.’

Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom. – all from Ronald Reagan

June 11

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 11, 2017

1776: The Committee of Five convenes. As the American Colonies began to prepare for their separation from the British Empire, they were tasked with creating their own system of governance. The First Continental Congress took place between September and October 1774 and managed to unite the colonies in efforts to control their own fates. They were able to institute a boycott of British products (and numbers dropped 95% in 1775) and if the Intolerable Acts were not repealed, they would also stop exporting to England. Their other major accomplishment was to provide for a second meeting on May 10, 1775 – the Second Continental Congress.

The Second Continental Congress appointed five men to create a document outlining how their new country would be separate from the British Empire. This Second meeting was essentially a continuation of the first with many of the same delegates present. Notable inclusions in the second which were absent from the first were Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. Peyton Randolph, president of the First meeting was in the same position for the Second until he was recalled to Virginia. Thomas Jefferson was his replacement delegate. Although Henry Middleton was elected as replacement president, he declined and Hancock took over the position.

The Committee of Five was tasked with creating a declaration of war, declaring the colonies in defiance of British authority and demanding their own government without British involvement or influence. The five men given the job of creating what we know as the Declaration of Independence were John Adams from Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson from Virginia, Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman from Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New York. They began by assigning Jefferson the authorship of the document. He had a very limited time in which to create a document supporting the Lee Resolution, in which America would declare to the world their intentions. In only 17 days, Jefferson completed the first draft and presented it to the Congress as a whole on June 28, 1776.

The rest of the Committee of Five had the chance to edit Jefferson’s work before presentation to the Committee of the Whole. One of the changes was to replace Jefferson’s longer phrase with the iconic “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. At 6.26 PM, the draft version was placed before all the delegates. There was some hammering out of phrasing and last minute changes before the accepting vote held on July 4, 1776. Late in the morning, the Second Continental Congress accepted the Declaration of Independence and the following day, the Dunlap broadside made the Declaration public with just one signature attached. It wasn’t until August 2 that a parchment document was available and all 56 members could affix their “John Hancock” to the important paper.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, he separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. hat these united Colonies are, and of Right ought 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. – all from the Declaration of Independence