Little Bits of History

October 11

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 11, 2017

1311: The Ordinances of 1311 are widely distributed. King Edward I of England had waged wars against Scotland, trying to bring the northern portion of the island under his control. The expense of war led to his institution of prises or purveyance, the right of the Crown to requisition goods and services for royal use. This meant that when royal troops were in the region, local peers were expected to house and feed them, often with little or no payment. Edward I’s last ten years of his reign was spent trying to unite the island while his son showed a keen disinterest in the war. Edward I died of dysentery while on campaign and his son gained the throne of England.

Piers Gaveston had made a good impression on Edward I and was brought into the household of the future Edward II. Piers was of low station, the son of a knight and the same age as the prince. The two became close. At one point Edward I exiled Piers because the two had become too close. There is speculation today about the nature of the relationship, with some opining it was sexual. However, the peerage’s concerns with Gaveston’s presence at court at this time was listed as his overweening influence over the King and not in any way referencing anything more than a brotherly relationship. Shortly after Edward II became King, his friend was made Earl of Cornwall, usually a position bestowed upon family members. He also arranged for Piers to marry his niece, Margaret de Clare, sister of the Earl of Gloucester.

The 21 signatories of the Ordinances are called either the Lords Ordainers or simply the Ordainers. The entire premise of the document was to limit the powers of the King and place those powers into the hands of the peerage and clergy. The eight earls, seven bishops, and six barons were royalists, but opponents of the Edward. The six preliminary ordinances were released in March 1310 but it took until August of 1311 for a final wording to be acceptable to the committee. The King’s Scotland foray had been aborted during this time and on August 16, Parliament met in London and presented the King with the demands. He was presented with 41 articles of concern, mainly the “evil” councilors of the King or Piers Gaveston, the military situation abroad, and the dangers of rebellion at home. The King signed under duress.

On this day, the Ordinances were published for the citizens, hoping to gain maximum popular support. There was a squabble lasting more than a decade over whether or not these rules should be enforced or repealed. Although Gaveston was exiled, he had returned in 1312 and civil war seemed imminent. Two of the leaders of the Ordainers had Gaveston executed which led to the slow erosion of cohesiveness among the peers. The Earl of Lancaster, leader of the group, was killed after the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322 and the Ordinances were repealed, except for the six clauses about household jurisdiction and appointments of sheriffs. All royal restriction were null and void. Edward II remained King for another five years.

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. – Colin Powell

Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love. – Morihei Ueshiba

A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. – George William Curtis

What I value most in my friends is loyalty. – David Mamet



October 10

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 10, 2017

1780: The Great Hurricane starts it’s destructive journey. The Atlantic hurricane database began collecting data from 1851 and so earlier storms have less accurate statistics. However, much can be surmised from the path of the storm. The origin is unknown, but most Atlantic hurricanes begin off the Cape Verde Islands and travel in a westward direction. This unnamed hurricane, known as the Great Hurricane because it had the highest death toll of any Atlantic storm, had its first impact on Barbados. The storm moved over the island on this day and then moved near Saint Lucia and on toward Martinique, not making landfall at these two islands, but with destructive winds and storm surges.

By October 12, the storm passed Dominica and then made landfall on Guadeloupe before heading for Saint Kitts. The hurricane neared Puerto Rico but did not cross the island, holding its pattern running along the southern coastline. After passing the southwest portion of the island, the storm turned northwest and hit the island of Mona before coming ashore in what is today the Dominican Republic province of Samana. It turned back out to the Atlantic Ocean missing the Grank Turk Island and skirted close to Bermuda. It was last observed about 295 miles southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, Canada. The dissipated at sea on October 20, 1780.

The top wind speeds are thought to have reached 200+ miles per hour. Every house on Barbados was destroyed and in Kingstown on Saint Vincent island, 584 of the 600 houses were destroyed. At Grenada, 19 Dutch ships were destroyed. On Saint Lucia, the ships in the harbor were tossed inland, with one landing on top of the city’s hospital at Port Chastries where only two houses in the entire city remained standing. Over 6,000 died, many aboard the ships in the harbor as well as most of the town. Many of the British ships in the area were caught at sea and sank in the storm with less than 50 sailors surviving.

The French fleet helping the US Revolutionary War effort lost 40 ships and 4,000 soldiers in Martinique. Another 9,000 civilians died on the island. Property damage along the path was also astounding as the storm passed close to many different low lying islands, destroying coastal buildings and wrecking many of the local ships and boats. The loss of life was over 20,000 with some estimates as high as 24,000. Even as the storm left the Caribbean, it wasn’t done. Another 50 ships were grounded as it passed close to Bermuda. The 1780 Atlantic hurricane season was not finished. There were two more deadly storms to come before the end of the month.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The lofty pine is oftenest shaken by the winds; High towers fall with a heavier crash; And the lightning strikes the highest mountain. – Horace

The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of bulls; the soldier details his wounds, the shepherd his sheep. – Laurence J. Peter



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October 9

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 9, 2017

1701: The Collegiate School is established in Saybrook Colony. It was the third such higher institution to be formed in the colonies and was formed for the purpose of educating Congregationalist ministers. Fifteen years later, the institution moved to New Haven and was renamed in honor of a gift from British East India Company governor, Elihu Yale. In the early years, the only subjects taught were theology and sacred languages but by the time of the American Revolution, the humanities and sciences were also being included in the curriculum. Yale was a merchant, philanthropist, and a slave trader. While president of Fort St. George, he purchased property for his own private use which led to accusations of corruption and his removal.

The first Yale PhD was awarded in 1861 and the school was reorganized into a university in 1887. After 1890, there was a rapid growth associated with increased campus size and their foray into scientific research. Yale has fourteen constituent schools – the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and twelve professional schools. Their overarching governing body is the Yale Corporation but each school has their own oversight for curriculum and degree programs. They currently have an endowment of over $25.4 billion, which is the second largest in the US. Harvard University has the largest, with $35.5 billion and only eight US universities have over $10 billion in endowments.

Yale is part of the Ivy League which was formed in 1954 as an athletic conference. Their membership is comprised of eight private institutions of higher learning in the Northeastern United States. The universities are noted for their academic excellence and their selectivity of admissions as well as their socially elite status. They include Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. Yale competes as the Bulldogs and has a mascot named Handsome Dan. Their sport color is Yale blue. The student body is made up of over 12,000 students with slightly more postgraduate students than undergrads. The academic staff numbers over 4,400.

The General Court of the Colony of Connecticut passed “An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School” on this day. Classes were offered in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson. By the time they moved to New Haven, Harvard’s administration was developing a schism with Increase Mather at odds with the rest of the staff. Mather saw the others as too liberal, too lax, and overly broad in Church politics. The Mather family opted to then move to championing the upstart college in Connecticut, it was hoped the younger school would maintain the Puritan religious orthodoxy which Harvard had eschewed.

A man who graduated high in his class at Yale Law School and made partnership in a top law firm would be celebrated. A man who invested wisely would be admired, but a woman who accomplishes this is treated with suspicion. – Barbra Streisand

Who is more in touch with the problems of this country? One of those guys who goes off to Oxford or to University of Yale, or someone who has lived in buses, in the Metro, in the street? – Gloria Trevi

I really liked Yale, although it was extremely intimidating. When I visited the campus, I was hiding behind trees, I felt so unworthy. – Claire Danes

I don’t think the alternative to Yale is jail by any means. On the other hand, there is a mass of research that does show that there are real advantages to your subsequent career in going to selective institutions. – Derek Bok



October 8

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 8, 2017

1969: The Days of Rage begin in Chicago, Illinois. The event was scheduled to last from October 8 to 11 and organized by the Weatherman, a faction of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The Weather Underground Organization or Weathermen formed in 1969 with the expressed purposed of overthrowing the US government. They were an outgrowth of the black power movement and opposition to the Vietnam War contingency. This was their first public demonstration and it was timed to coincide with the trial of the Chicago Seven, (originally eight) who were charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges stemming from anti-War protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

The Days of Rage were planned as a “National Action” based on John Jacobs’s slogan “Bring the war home”. Jacobs was a leader in the SDS and the Weathermen and unlike Dr. King, advocated for the use of force to accomplish his stated goal – overthrowing the US government. Although Weathermen were still part of SDS, there were already some disagreements between the two organizations. Even before the Days of Rage started, factions of SDS were pulling away from the event. Two days before the event, a statue commemorating the police killed in the Haymarket Riots in 1896 was blown up with the blast destroying the statue and breaking nearly 100 windows. No one was ever arrested for the bombing.

Even before their first foray, there were about 800 Weathermen in Chicago and they had faced about 2000 police. By the time the Days of Rage started, only about 300 were left willing to face off against such a large show of force. A crowd showed up, but not nearly the numbers the Weathermen had hoped for. There were some speeches given. At 10.25 PM, a signal was given for the crowd to march to a more affluent part of the city, smashing windows and cars as they moved. Their targets were random and before 11 PM, the riot was quashed and 28 police were injured, none seriously. Six Weathermen were shot and many injured with 68 protestors arrested.

The following three days brought more unrest to the city. Chicago and Illinois racked up $183,000 in extra bills (pay for National Guard who were called in, $35,000 in damages, and $20,000 for injuries) and 287 members of the Weathermen were arrested. Most of the Weathermen’s and SDS’s leadership were jailed and they paid out more than $243,000 to cover bail. Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, denounced the Weatherman’s actions even though he had been sympathetic prior to this. Their planned event did not do what it was meant to do and instead just worsened relationships between various counterculture groups.

The Elections Don’t Mean Shit—Vote Where the Power Is—Our Power Is In The Street. – John Jacobs

We believe that the Weather [Underground Organization’s] action was anarchistic, opportunistic, individualistic, chauvinistic, [and] Custeristic… It’s nothing but child’s play – it’s folly. – Fred Hampton

Rioting is a childish way of trying to be a man, but it takes time to rise out of the hell of hatred and frustration and accept that to be a man you don’t have to riot. – Abraham Maslow

We hoped against hope that what we had been doing was enough to prevent a riot. It was not enough. – Jerome Cavanagh



October 7

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 7, 2017

1826: The Granite Railway begins operation. The Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the first major battles of the US Revolutionary War. Most of the battle was fought on Breed’s Hill and that is the location of the Bunker Hill Monument. William Ticknor suggested a granite obelisk be raised to replace the 18 foot tall wooden one erected in 1794 and dedicated to Colonel William Prescott and Dr. Joseph Warren. On May 10, 1823, the first public meeting of the Bunker Hill Monument Association was held and monies were raised for the project. The countryside was scoured for a good source of granite for the structure and it was found by Solomon Willard and located in nearby Quincy, Massachusetts.

To get the heavy granite from the quarry to the building site, a specific conveyance was built. The Granite Railway got a charter for its construction on March 4, 1826 and invoked eminent domain to acquire land for the right of way course. Most of the project was left in the hands of Thomas Perkins who eventually owned majority shared in the venture. The railway was designed and built by Gridley Bryant using many of the features already in use by railroads in England. Although he had to modify his design in order to carry heavier loads. The railway ran for three miles from the quarry to the Neponset River where the granite was then loaded on barges for the rest of the trip.

The initial railway had wooden rails plated with iron set five feet apart on stone crossties spaced at eight foot intervals. The wagons traveling on this railway were drawn by horses even though steam locomotives had been in use in England for over twenty years. The wheels on the wagons were six feet in diameter and having the rails made it easier for the horses to transport the heavy building blocks. The railway saw many different improvement over the years including additions as well as rebuilding of the original tracks. Bryant introduced new concepts to rail construction adding railway switches, the turntable, and double-truck railway cars. He chose to not patent any of his inventions, believing they belonged to humanity.

It was also the site of the first fatal train accident in the US. On July 25, 1832, Thomas Achuas of Cuba was being given a ride on the railway. He and three guests were being pulled along on a return trip and ascending an incline when a cable broke and the wagon derailed. The four passengers were dumped out and thrown over a cliff, falling about 35 feet. Achuas was killed and the other three passengers were seriously injured. The line has changed hands several times over the years and is currently part of the Southeast Expressway in Milton and Quincy. Two original portion were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Stupidity is something unshakable; nothing attacks it without breaking itself against it; it is of the nature of granite, hard and resistant. – Gustave Flaubert

When you literally build a state of granite, it takes a certain toughness and perseverance as well as a unique blend of community and independence: a culture that also helps spur economic growth. – Maggie Hassan

Hell is paved with great granite blocks hewn from the hearts of those who said, I can do no other. – Heywood Broun

Men, you are all marksmen — don’t one of your fire until you see the whites of their eyes. – Israel Putnam, at the Battle of Bunker Hill



October 6

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 6, 2017

1892: Alfred Tennyson dies. He was born in 1809 in Somersby, England into a middle-class line of Tennysons who had noble and royal connections. His father was part of the clergy who dabbled in a wide range of other endeavors, as many of the clergy did in those days. Alfred went to a number of lower schools before entering Trinity College, Cambridge in 1827. He published his first book, co-written by his older brother, that same year. His poetry won the Chancellor’s Gold Medal in 1829 when he was just twenty. He also published his first solo book that same year. Although critics called his work “overly sentimental,” the public enjoyed the poems.

In 1831, Tennyson Sr. died and Alfred was forced to leave Cambridge before receiving his degree. He had to return home to help care for his mother. Tennyson remained there for six years but continued to write and published another volume in 1833. One of his best known poems, “The Lady of Shallot” was included in that book. The critics panned the work and Tennyson was so discouraged, he published nothing for the next ten years. Also in 1833, Alfred’s dear friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, died suddenly while in Vienna and left Tennyson so moved, he wrote several poems, including “In Memoriam A.H.H.” a long poem that would later impress Queen Victoria.

William Wordsworth died in 1850 and England was in need of a new Poet Laureate. Samuel Rogers was first offered the post and refused. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Leigh Hunt were considered but the position was offered to Tennyson, partly because of the Queen’s liking for his AHH poem. While in that position, he wrote another of his very famous poems, “Charge of the Light Brigade,” a tribute to the cavalry of the Crimean War. He held the post of Poet Laureate until this day, the longest tenure of any poet in England.

He was offered a baronetcy in 1865 and again in 1868 but declined both times. In 1883, Prime Minister Gladstone again made the offer and this time, Tennyson accepted. Queen Victoria created him Baron Tennyson, of Aldworth in the County of Sussex and of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight. Lord Tennyson took his seat in the House of Lords on March 11, 1884. Tennyson was the first to be raised to a British peerage for his writing. He finally accepted the offer in order to secure a future for his son, Hallam, who would be 2nd Baron Tennyson. Today, the title belongs to David Tennyson, 6th Baron Tennyson, the great-great-grandson of Alfred. Tennyson died at Aldsworth and left an estate of £57,206 to his family.

‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.

Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die. – all from Alfred, Lord Tennyson



October 5

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 5, 2017

1869: The Hennepin Island tunnel collapses. Saint Anthony used to be a separate town from Minneapolis. Minnesota and the Water Power Company approved a plan to build a tunnel to use as a controlled spillway. The St. Anthony Falls were the only natural waterfall on the Mississippi River but they had slowly been eroding upstream, as Niagara Falls is doing today. The natives imbued the falls with spiritual meaning long before Europeans arrived on the scene. The falls made it necessary for them to portage in the area and it was reflected in the name they used. Father Louis Hennepin (who brought Niagara Falls to Western attention) arrived at the Mississippi and named the falls after Saint Anthony of Padua in 1690.

By the mid-1800s, after eroding away for eons, there was only 100 feet of limestone remaining upstream. William Eastman and John Merriam bought Nicollet Island with the plan to build a 2,500 foot tunnel under Hennepin Island, which would exit below St. Anthony Falls. This would benefit the many milling and lumber businesses in the area and allow them to generate power from the water flow. The falls themselves were made up of hard limestone capping soft sandstone. The tunnel was dug through the sandstone and work had been progressing for more than a year.

On this day, the thin layer of limestone between the riverbed and the tunnel collapsed and the Mighty Mississippi came flooding down the tunnel. As it rushed through, it also collapsed part of Hennepin Island. There was serious concern St. Anthony Falls would collapse, leaving a long set of rapids which would have been useless for all business concerns. Locals tried many different stop gap methods of stopping the flow of water. Eventually a plug of stone and dirt was made that staunched the flow, at least for a while. A more permanent solution needed to be found. Locals were against funding a repair job for the benefit of only a few commercial businesses.

By the spring of 1870 floods tore up new dams placed to shore up the damage. At that time, several businesses were undermined and fell into the river. By autumn of that year, the riverbed and banks were stabilized but it was still not a permanent fix. Lawsuits were filed, political change was called for, and made. But the Falls were still unstable. In 1880, the Army Corps of Engineers had covered the face of the falls with a sloping concrete apron, creating an artificial falls. It cost the federal government $615,000 and both Saint Anthony and Minneapolis contributed $334,500. In the 1950s and 1960s a series of locks and dams were built in order to allow navigation to points upstream.

For untold generations of Indian people the Mississippi River was an important canoe route. To pass around the falls, the Dakota (Sioux) and Ojibway (Chippewa) used a well-established portage trail. Starting at a landing below the site now occupied by the steam plant, the trail climbed the bluff to this spot. From here it followed the east bank along what is now Main Street to a point well above the falls. – from Heritage Trail plaque at the St. Anthony Falls

Proprietors of stores hastened to the falls, taking their clerks with them; bakers deserted their ovens, lumbermen were ordered from the mills, barbers left their customers unshorn; mechanics dropped their tools; lawyers shut up their books or stopped pleading in the courts; physicians abandoned their offices. Through the streets, hurrying hundreds were seen on their way to the falls. – Bruce Benidt, writing about the incident

I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. – Mike May

Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea. – Mikhail Lermontov



October 4

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 4, 2017

1597: The Guale rebellion began. Guale were natives of what is today the coastal region of Georgia and occupied the Sea Islands, too. They are believed to belong to the Missiissippian culture group and their language may have had links to the Muskogean or Creek languages. They resided along the Atlantic coastal region since at least 1150 and archaeologists divide their culture into two phases, the earlier phase lasting to 1300 was the Savannah phase and the latter was the Irene phase. While they had related characteristics to other cultures in the area, they were a distinct group with distinguishing habits and their own chiefdom. They were mound builders and had a command over their environment in areas of agriculture and engineering.

Guale first made contact with Europeans when Jean Ribault of France explored the Atlantic coast and met the natives. They remained friendly with the French who had established a settlement on Parris Island in what is today South Carolina. The Spanish also entered into the colonization and settlement of the Atlantic coast and built at St. Augustine in Spanish Florida. They also made contact with the Guale and attempted to bring them into their mission system. The Spanish had four major mission provinces in their new land, the other three being the Timucua, Mocama, and Apalachee Provinces. Each was named after the chiefdoms found already living there.

The Spanish Guale Province was north of the Altamaha River and south of the Savannah River as well as including the coastal islands. By the mid 1600s they had established six Catholic missions within the Guale Province with their largest on St. Catherine’s Island. The Guale was the least stable of their four provinces and on this day, the first Guale rebellion began. It was also known as Juanillo’s Revolt, named after the Guale chief. He was attempting to stop the Franciscans from taking over his cultural identity and to allow his people to live freely, as they had prior to the Spanish invasion.

Guale were allowed to practice polygamy, divorce, dancing, and games, all of which affronted the sensibilities of the Franciscans as well as the governor of the territory. On September 13, 1597 Jaunillo led his men in a raid against the missionary and killed and decapitated Friar Corpa. He then went to other tribes and created a coalition to defy the Spanish incursion. Their concerted efforts began on this day and they eventually attacked all the missions in Guale and killed the missionaries. The Spanish were unable to capture the Natives but were finally able to use some other tribal allies to do so. Juanillo was captured in May 1598 and killed. While this stopped the present revolt, another was instituted in 1645 and nearly succeeded. The continual influx of Spaniards and the spread of European diseases led to the destruction of the Guale with their few remaining survivors teaming up with other decimated Natives to form the people known as Yamasee. Even though they were successful is destroying the missions, the Europeans remained.

In the past, missionaries have traveled to far countries with the message of the gospel – with great hardship and often with the loss of life. In contrast, we can reach millions instantly from the comfort of our homes by merely hitting the ‘send’ button on our computers, or with iPads, or phones. – Ray Comfort

The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages – as if the savages weren’t dangerous enough already. – Edward Abbey

People have the idea of missionaries as going out with the Bible and hitting natives with it. It’s not really what they were doing. They were all doing something rather different. – Colin Firth

All missionaries, younger and older, serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people. – Russell M. Nelson



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October 3

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 3, 2017

1835: JS Staedtler starts up his eponymous company. Begun within the old city walls of Nuremberg, Germany, the family had been making pencils even before the company startup date. The first mention of the Staedtler name was listed in 1662 and even then, they were pencil-making craftsmen. On this day, Staedtler got permission from the municipal council to produce blacklead, red chalk, and pastel pencils in his industrial plant. By 1866, they employed 54 people who produced 15,000 gross or 2,160,000 pencils per year. The privately owned company has worldwide distribution of a large variety of writing utensils as well as other stationery items.

Between 1900 and 1901 they launched their Mars and Noris brands, the latter being very popular in British schools. In 1922, a subsidiary was established in New York and in 1926 one was established in Japan. In 1937, they changed their name to Mars Pencil and Fountain Pen Factory and expanded their product line to include mechanical writing instruments. In 1949, Staedtler began to produce ballpoint pens as fountain pens were going out of style, however they continue to produce high end fountain pens even today. In 1950 they introduced mechanical pencils and theirs were made with a casing of wood.

They have changed logos for their company eight times since 1908. Today’s logo along with a name in all caps: STAEDTLER, has been used since 2001. Their official name is Staedtler Mars GmbH & Cl. KG and they produce not just pens and pencils of an astounding variety but are also in charge of the FIMO brand of modeling clay. They have won a variety of awards for their innovative and ground breaking work in pencil design. Axel Marx leads the company that now has six production plants, three of them in Nuremberg. They have 23 sales subsidiaries and have business partners in 150 countries. They are the largest European manufacturers of wood cased pencils, OHP pens, mechanical pencil lead, erasers, and modeling clay.

Although our modern idea of a pencil stems directly from an artist’s brush, something used to scratch symbols onto papyrus or wax tablets has been in used since Roman times. The meaning of a graphite writing implement came into use in the late 1500s after a large deposit of graphite was discovered in northern England. They held a monopoly on graphite and so the making of pencils until a method of reconstituting graphite powder was found. Wood holders for the graphite stick soon followed and erasers were attached in 1858. Colored pencils are made of wax or oil based cores tinted to various shades with some being water soluble. Pencils can today be made of graphite/clay mixture, charcoal, or carbon. The core can be encased in a variety of ways, as well. There are even pencils made from recycled newspapers on the market.

A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere. – Joyce Meyer

It’s not how big your pencil is; it’s how you write your name. – Dave Mustaine

Ideas are elusive, slippery things. Best to keep a pad of paper and a pencil at your bedside, so you can stab them during the night before they get away. – Earl Nightingale

The computer dictates how you do something, whereas with a pencil you’re totally free. – James Dyson



October 2

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 2, 2017

1919: US President Woodrow Wilson suffers a severe stroke. He was born in 1856 in Virginia. His father was a slave owning minister. During the Civil War, Wilson senior fought with the Confederacy. Wilson didn’t learn to read until he was ten, possibly because of dyslexia or perhaps the poor school system of the post-Civil War South. He went on to study law but quit school when his health failed. He went back later and received a PhD from Johns Hopkins University in history, political science, and German. From 1902-1910 he was the President of Princeton University and served as Governor of New Jersey from 1911-1913 at which time he became the 28th US President. He advocated for keeping America out of World War I in 1914 but by 1917 and after Germany resumed unrestricted submarine attacks, he changed his mind.

At the end of the War, he was a major figure at the Paris Peace Conference and was a champion of the League of Nations. While campaigning for this and fighting the Senate’s refusal to sign on, Wilson’s health failed. In September he suffered some minor strokes, brought on by his schedule and the stress of the times. On this day, he suffered a massive stroke which left him paralyzed on the left side, blind in the left eye, and with diminished vision on the right. His wife and his doctor managed to keep his condition unknown to the public and he continued to rule from his bed. His wife would decide which issues should be brought to his attention and left the cabinet to deal with the rest. By February 1920, his condition was known but he refused to step down from his position. His term ended in 1921.

Because he was considered to be “unable to fulfill his duties” but refused to step aside, a legislative means was set into place. Although it did not happen immediately and it took another presidential disaster to spur Congress on, eventually, they did respond. The Constitution delineated the passing of power from the President to the Vice President but it did not stipulate what should happen if a sitting President was unable to discharge his/her duties and refused to be unseated. Therefore, a new Amendment to the Constitution was proposed. It established the line of succession not just for the President, but also the Vice President and the subsequent line to follow. It also addressed the situation of an unfit President not able to fulfill his/her duties.

In 1963, Senator Keating proposed Congress could decide when a President became unfit but it was seen as a situation rife with the possibilities of abuse. Senator Bayh and Representative Celler proposed a new idea delineating how a President could be declared “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” and it passed the Senate, but the House passed a different version which the Senate then approved. The 25th Amendment was approved and sent out to the states for ratification. Nebraska was the first to ratify it in less than a week. In February 1967, the last state needed ratified the amendment. Three states have neglected to add their ratification stamp of approval. The amendment does not impeach the President and should he regain his health, he may resume his office.

The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them.

The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.

The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.

The history of liberty is a history of resistance. – all from Woodrow Wilson



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