In 1540, on this day De Soto Discovers Gold North of Florida. Conquistador Hernando de Soto had been born to a poverty-stricken area of Spain and left to seek his fortune, which he did in the New World. He sailed to Panama in 1514 and accompanied Pizarro on the expedition to conquer the Inca in 1532.
De Soto Discovers Gold North of FloridaDe Soto, who had proven himself as an able, cunning, and ruthless commander, returned to Spain in 1534 with vast wealth from his share of the plunder. He married and petitioned the king to return to the New World as governor of Guatemala so he could explore further into the Pacific Ocean, but Charles V awarded him Cuba instead with an order to colonize Florida to the north. Ponce de Leon had discovered the vast lands to the north in 1521, but attempts colonize up the coast over the next decade had all failed due to disease, lack of supplies, and hostile natives.
In 1539, de Soto put together a 600-man expedition with ample provisions and livestock for an ongoing expedition to discover gold. He studied the stories of Cabeza de Vaca, one of the four survivors of the ill-fated Narváez expedition into North America in 1527, which suffered endless attacks from natives, shipwreck, enslavement, and finally fame among natives for healing techniques. Upon their arrival in Florida, the de Soto expedition came upon Juan Ortiz, who had been dispatched years before to find the lost Narváez and was captured by locals. De Soto took on Ortiz as a guide and friend to local Indians, which served the expedition much more smoothly than the natives Narváez had captured and forced to be guides, resulting in them leading his men in circles through the roughest territories possible with ample ground for ambushes.
After months of exploring up the Florida peninsula, the expedition wintered in Anhaica, the greatest city of the Apalachee people, whom Narváez had been falsely told were wealthy with gold. Rumors now said there was gold "toward the sun's rising". They traveled inland through the spring, northeasterly across a number of rivers and through several realms of native peoples. Finally among the Cofitachequi, they met "The Lady of the Cofitachequi", their queen. She treated the well armed men kindly with gifts of pearls, food, and, at last, gold. Rather than being native gold, however, the men recognized the items as Spanish, most likely abandoned from the nearby failed settlement by Lucas Vézquez de Ayllón that lasted only three months in 1526. Disturbed by the bad luck with gold, the expedition departed, bringing the Lady with them as an involuntary escort as they came through the lands of the Joara, what she considered her western province. There they found the "Chelaque", who were described in the later annuals translated by Londoner Richard Hakluyt, as eating "roots and herbs, which they seek in the fields, and upon wild beasts, which they kill with their bows and arrows, and are a very gentle people. All of them go naked and are very lean". The civilization was rudimentary at best, "the poorest country of maize that was seen in Florida". De Soto wanted to go further into the mountains and rest his horses there, but he determined to rest first using supplies ransomed for the Lady. During the month-lost rest, many of his soldiers searched ahead for gold, while at least one stayed and taught agricultural techniques to the locals.
During a plowing session using a horse, which the natives had never seen before, they struck a large yellow rock. The natives worked to free it and throw it away, but the conquistador recognized it as a 17-pound gold nugget. De Soto was shocked by the find, as were the natives, who had never considered the inedible metal worth anything. He immediately built a fort and dispatched men back to Cuba for reinforcements. Meanwhile, de Soto and the bulk of his force captured the Lady of the Cofitachequi again and seized her kingdom. The Spanish built a settlement at the mouth of the Santee River called Port Carlos (for Charles V) as well as another farther inland, where mining of the placer deposits of gold began. Other deposits of gold were discovered in the region, spurring a gold rush to the area. A short-lived war broke out with King Tuscaloosa in the west, but the area was quickly depopulated of natives due to disease from the Columbian Exchange.
De Soto's gold fields proved to be shallower than he hoped, but the Spanish presence in Florida was affirmed. Plantations grew up as planters experimented with what grew best, eventually settling on tobacco as a cash crop. With the seventeenth century, the English began to block the spread of Spanish influence with colonies in Virginia and Plymouth, eventually assigning a border along the James River. The French challenged Spanish control over the Mississippi River and dominated much of Canada until the Seven Years' War caused Britain to annex Canada and force France to give the Louisiana to the Spanish, dividing North America between the Spanish and British Empires.
Due to heavy taxation following the war, Enlightenment ideals caused many in the American Colonies to call for resistance and even independence. However, with a strong Spanish bastion just to the south, the outcry never spread beyond the Boston Insurrection. Instead, the American Union would gain marginal self-rule, which would be successfully tested with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. The expansive state of Florida, meanwhile, would undergo a bloody fifteen year war of independence from Spain.
In 1844, on this day the twenty-sixth President of the United States Garret Augustus Hobart (pictured) was born in Long Branch, New Jersey.
President HobartAfter attending Rutgers College, Hobart read law with prominent Paterson attorney Socrates Tuttle. Although he rarely set foot in a courtroom, Hobart became wealthy as a corporate lawyer. Hobart served in local governmental positions, and then successfully ran for office as a Republican, serving in both the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate. He became Speaker of the first, and president of the latter.
Hobart was a longtime party official, and New Jersey delegates went to the 1896 Republican National Convention determined to nominate the popular lawyer for vice president. Hobart's political views were similar to those of McKinley, who was the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. With New Jersey a key state in the upcoming election, McKinley and his close adviser, future senator Mark Hanna, decided to have the convention select Hobart. The vice-presidential candidate emulated his running mate with a front porch campaign, though spending much time at the campaign's New York City office. McKinley and Hobart were elected.
He worked very closely with McKinley, so much so that he was informally known as the "Assistant President". As a result of this partnership, he was widely acknowledged as the of the most powerful vice presidents in history. Perhaps his most memorable moment in office was casting the tie breaking vote against Philippine independence. He was also a proponent of sound finance, famous for the sound bite "An honest dollar, worth 100 cents everywhere, cannot be coined out of fifty-three cents of silver, plus a legislative fiat".
Hobart rose unexpectedly to the Presidency on September 14th, 1901 when McKinley was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition. Shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, the most reknowned surgeon of the day, Dr. Roswell Park was unable to save his life even with the use of an experimental X-Ray machine which was on show at the exhibition.
To be continued.
In 1722, on this day the incomparable Highland rebel Flora MacDonald was born in Milton South Uist, Scotland.
Hard Woman, Reboot
by Ed, Bagpipelover & Jackie RoseHer father died when she was a child, and her mother was abducted and married by Hugh MacDonald of Armadale, Skye. She was brought up under the care of the chief of her clan, the MacDonalds of Clanranald, and was partly educated in Edinburgh.
During the Jacobite Risings she was living on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides when Bonnie Prince Charlie took refuge there. In despair the Young Pretender had left the still undefeated Jacobite Army in the hands of his trusted companion, Captain Francis O'Neill. Planning to flee Scotland forever, the Prince sought her assistance only to discover that the MacDonalds were secretly sympathetic with the Jacobite cause.
She convinced the Prince to rejoin the Jacobite Army by promising to organize reinforcements from her own Clan. With fresh resolve, he inspired the "forty-five" rebels with a fiery new leadership that turned the tables on the Hanoverians.
This article is a reversal of the Jackie Rose story Hard Man which focuses on Captain Francis O'Neill.
In 2008, retired radio-TV journalist Jeff A. Davis wrote ~ on the 199th birthday celebration of President Jefferson Davis, I pause to think what it will be in the public recognition of this monumental American during the coming year and after.
President Jefferson DavisWhat if the New England Democrats in 1860 had convinced Jefferson Davis to be a candidate for president, as they tried to do, unsuccessfully? What if the Democrats in 1860 had the sense to know they couldn't split their voting power in the nation three ways and hope to win? What if in some wise meeting of the minds, John Breckinridge had seen the likelihood of the Whigs, who had become Republicans, might prevail in a U. S. election with only a fraction of the vote because of fragmented opposition? What if Stephen Douglas acknowledged the same real scenario? What if John Bell acknowledged the same scenario? What if all three agreed they couldn't run three separate opposition campaigns and hope to win? What if they all agreed to get behind the overwhelming consensus choice, Jefferson Davis, who wouldn't run because he was committed to John Breckinridge? What if all the Democrats came together behind the one candidate they could all agree on, a devoted Southerner, who also was a unionist?"I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it". - Jefferson Davis Now, you may be saying this is all foolish, it didn't happen. It is meaningless. You've got a good point.
Let me show you how we lost our way and then consider the horrendous effect it has had on our country and its future.
Abraham Lincoln was the nominee of the then recently formed Republican Party. He didn't win the nomination easily. As a matter of fact, he trailed in votes until the third ballot. Some historians have claimed he would have never won the nomination without the packing of the convention with Marxist immigrants of the recent German Revolution.
Now we come to what is meaningful, and we no longer rely on supposition.
Lincoln won the election by less than ten electoral votes. [ Correction: It was 57 electoral votes per the National Archives.]
Anyone who believes he was the favorite of the North and West needs to examine states like California, Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey and Wisconsin which he failed to carry a majority. He carried a Michigan majority by around 2,000 votes.
Correction: See Results by State. ]
Lincoln won the election on less than 40% of the popular vote.
What if, just what if, Jefferson Davis had been the consensus Democrat candidate? No one can say, but most students of electoral politics in America conclude that Lincoln may not have carried states in the East that openly favored Davis. Speculation though it is, the likelihood of Jefferson Davis as a consolidated Democrat candidate points to far more than the few electoral votes needed to defeat Lincoln.
Back to reality, It is clear that the majority of the voters, 60%, did not favor Lincoln for president.
Now, consider this:
If Jefferson Davis were elected in 1860, would there have been a War Between the States?
If Mr. Davis were elected would we have seen the vibrant expanse of opportunity in the USA? Look at my previous commentary about his accomplishments at Secretary of War to President Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, who, by the way felt Jefferson Davis should be president in 1861 but the situation was delicate because of the candidacy of Vice President, John Breckinridge.
If Mr. Davis were elected do you suppose we would have seen the deterioration of the Constitution we have witnessed? In his essay entitled, The Imaginary Abe, Joseph Sobran writes,
How could Lincoln be so wrong? Well, he was a product of a later generation of rising nationalism, typified by Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, that was out of touch with the Founders and the Framers of the Constitution. As a matter of fact, the longer I study Lincoln, the more I am convinced that he was simply ignorant of the greatest body of American political thought; I seriously doubt that he ever read even The Federalist Papers. If he did, he never assimilated their thinking about the problems of "confederation," "consolidation," "usurpation," and the like. Jefferson Davis was steeped in these ideas and completely mastered them, as his memoirs show. Lincoln, however, couldn?t have carried on an intelligent conversation with Madison, Hamilton, or his hero Jefferson (whose Kentucky Resolutions he also seems ignorant of).
Finally, if Jefferson Davis had been our president in 1861, do you think the politicians of today might have a little more respect for both his name and great visions he had for the country he loved and gave large part of his life in serving?
Well, he wasn't US president in 1861 but why should that change the appropriate respect for what Davis did for his country and what he stood for?
I have tried to follow his advice though at times my will gets tested by those who have little understanding of the man or his philosophy and guidance to us of this and other generations. Then there are those who intentionally distort history to defame his character.
In this way I have tried to be a patriotic American, serving my country in many ways. For all its faults, and they increase every day, it is still our last and best hope on the face of this earth. Yes, I believe if the era beginning 1861 had changed, our lives and our country today would be what our Founders envisioned. We should never stop working to restore that grand experiment.
We are today at the edge of a precipice where our Republic's sovereignty is at stake. We need loyal unhypenated Americans more than ever. We are perilously close to being rolled into a world government with philosophies totally alien to anything resembling our Founders ideals.
The time may be coming, as Mr. Davis predicted, that there will be a new dawning of liberty though it may take a new and different form.
Happy birthday, Mr. President. We really do wonder how it would have been if you could have met Mr. Lincoln at the ballot box rather than the terrible ordeal on hundreds of battlefields our Republic suffered then, and still suffers today as the direct result of one of the most significant blunders in American history.
In 2009, on this day, Terminator Salvation, the fourth installation in the film sequence was released in movie theatres across the United Kingdom.
Terminator Salvation released in the UKWritten by John Brancato and Michael Ferris and directed by McG, this American science fiction movie would receive critical acclaim for its appropriately noir intepretation of the central protagonists set in the context of their "End Begins" post-apocalypse timeframe.
You survived the nuclear holocaust and you crawl out of the hole after three-to-five years and say, "Well, I know what's going on - I'm the one!" Some SAS guy isn't going to say, "Where do I go, boss?" He'd say, "Shut the f**k up and get in line". ~ McG The success of the movie was surely due to McG's ingenius casting - and the reaction from the principle actors. Although he would later receive an Academy Award for the part, Josh Bolin had initially rejected the role of John Connor, telling McG "[the character was] interesting and dark, [but] ultimately, though, I didn't think it felt right".
But McG forced the actor to reconsider, agreeing that Brolin could develop the central character in new and unexpected ways. And so in the revised screenplay, John Connor is portrayed by Brolin as a tragic anti-hero who dies at the climax of the movie.
Christian Bale was considered by McG to be "the most credible action star in the world" but for reasons he "can't really remember why" had originally sought the role of the main character as well. Instead, McG convinced Bale he was better suited to play the part of Marcus Wright, a mysterious man who donated his body to Cyberdyne Systems for experimentation. His last memory is of being on death row in 2003, before he returns in 2018 as the cyborg whose hidden programming lures Connor to his death at Skynet headquarters.
In 1861, Stephen A. Douglas (pictured), 16th president of the United States, died.
The Death of President Douglas by Eric LippsIn the divisive four-way 1860 election, in which h his opponents were the Republican Abraham Lincoln, Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge and John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party, Douglas had been seen as a unifying figure who could head off the threat of Southern secession. And indeed it seemed as though he might succeed.
When South Carolina demanded that the U.S. government turn over its outpost fort Sumter to the state, Douglas managed to pacify Charleston by assuring the state legislature that the Sumter garrison would not be used against its people. "The United States are united because they stand together of their own free will," he declared in his inaugural address on March 4, 1861. "The moment the government of this Union must use force to hold the country together, the bonds which hold the states together shall have dissolved. Such differences as we have must be resolved by peaceful means".
Douglas's words angered many in the North, as did his announced refusal to send reinforcements to Fort Sumter when its commander requested them in early April.
"The United States are united because they stand together of their own free will. The moment the government of this Union must use force to hold the country together, the bonds which hold the states together shall have dissolved. Such differences as we have must be resolved by peaceful means" ~ President DouglasDouglas's death brought Vice-President Herschel V. Johnson to the White House. A native Georgian, he was if anything more sympathetic to the South than his predecessor had been. He became an outspoken opponent of abolitionist "radicalism," declaring that the states must decide the issue of slavery individually. "I am confident," he declared in a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1863, "that good faith and good judgement shall prevail in this vexing matter if allowed to do so under law and the Constitution".
President Johnson's pro-Southernism would lead to an unsuccessful attempt at his impeachment in early 1864, spearheaded by former Attorney General Edwin M. Stanton, who after Johnson's acquittal in the Senate would declare his own candidacy for the presidency. Capitalizing on Northern resentment of Johnson's "softness" toward the south, Stanton would defeat the Georgian that November.
Stanton's election would burst the dam which had been holding back secession, and in March of 1864, just after his inauguration, the War of the States would begin. By the time it ended, five bloody years later, it would have taken over 700,000 lives.
In 2008, the United States military judge overseeing the Canadian's war-crimes case called a sensational press conference at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. An appearance of interference, repurposed contract from the Globe and the Mail
It was alleged that determined attempts had been made to suddenly remove Col. Peter C Brownback from the new military-commission system for suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo after he had quarrelled with the prosecution. Col. Brownback had been recalled from retirement by the military in 2004 to serve for one year on the Guantanamo military commissions. Three times, the military extended his recall orders,a year at a time, and Col. Ralph Kohlman had personally requested an extension so Col. Brownback could see the Khadr Trial through to its completion. At the press conference Brownback insisted that he would continue in the service of his country for as long as deemed appropriate by the cognizant authorities. He insisted that he would not retire before justice was served for both Canadian Omar Khadr and the U.S. soldier he was alleged to have killed with a grenade, Christopher Speer. Those choice of words fueled speculation began by Khadr's lawyer Lt-Col William Kuebler that fresh evidence suggests the innocence of Khahr, and political pressures have been brought to bear to force an unjust conviction. Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay - including those assigned to Canadian Omar Khadr - were encouraged to destroy handwritten notes from interview sessions to protect them from future legal action, according to newly released documents.
In 1931, the alleged mysognist John Frederick Lange, Jr. was born on this day in Chicago. Better known as John Norman he is a professor of philosophy, holding a Ph.D. from Princeton University and is a professor at Queens College of the City University of New York in New York City.
Frequently in trouble over political correctness, especially feminism, Lange was allegedly connected with a cult known as the Goreans uncovered by Police in 2006.Birth of an Alleged Mysognist
- "Swords are often drawn on Gor over women, and particularly over lovely slaves. Women are prizes, perfections and treasures. It is no wonder that men fight over them with ferocity. Wars have been fought to recover a stolen slave". ~ Renegades of Gor, page 397.
- "No woman can be fully fulfilled and happy until she finds herself at the feet of her master". ~ Witness of Gor, page 544.
- "To take the most brilliant, the most imaginative, the most beautiful women, and put them at your feet, impassioned, helpless slaves is victory". ~ Tribesmen of Gor, page 128.
In 1937, King Edward VIII marries a much younger noble woman, Lady Edwina Goddard, in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Queen EdwinaKing Edward had been convinced by several Parliamentary leaders to give up his relationship with the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, and settle down with a nice English girl. Although to all outward appearances this is exactly what he did, the reality of his relationship with Queen Edwina was that she had little interest in him, preferring the company of other ladies; so, she raised no objections to the continuance of his affair with Simpson.
The affair threw the country into turmoil in 1972, when Edward died without having produced an heir by his Queen; Edward's niece Elizabeth claimed the crown at first, but was challenged by Edward and Simpson's illegitimate son, George. The scandal very nearly brought down the monarchy, but Parliament decided to crown Elizabeth. Conservative MP Trenton Stokes famously stated the Parliamentary position on the matter when he muttered, "No b*stard is going to sit on the throne of England while I live".
In 2015, on this day London's Imperial War Museum, running a deficit of over 200 million pounds sterling, closed its doors for good.
In 1902, the Vidalia Eddie is introduced. The Vidalia has a small movie screen on it that allows the user to see the output of the Vidalia prior to printing it. This innovation rocks the world and spells the end of Edison's French competitors, who cannot match this technological advance.
In 1602, Francis Bacon's A Midsummer Night's Dream is performed for the royal court. Shortly thereafter, Bacon is arrested and charged with witchcraft; after a personal meeting with the crown, he is freed.
In 899, Pope Pius III met with King Arthur of Britain and declared him to be God's Apostle on earth. He crowned him Pope Arthur I, abdicating his own position, and Arthur renamed his kingdom the Holy British Empire. It included many disparate areas of Europe at its beginning, but by Arthur's death in 932, it stretched from Scotland to the Italian boot.
In 1999, Queen Gwen reads the message from Dr. Archibald Mordred that Sir Lance du Lac forwarded her, and growls at an assistant to have the doctor brought to her chambers. Once he is there, though, she puts on her sweetest face for him. 'My good doctor,' she says, 'I wanted to thank you for your discretion about the king's condition - and mine, too, of course. I was possibly feeling the hormonal shift a little too much when I snapped at you.' The doctor is put off-balance by the gentleness of her disposition, and relaxes slightly. 'Of course, Your Majesty. I should think nothing of it.' Queen Gwen demurs, saying, 'No, no, I must apologize for my rudeness to you. Forgive me?' He bows and says, 'Certainly, My Queen.' She smiles at him as he straightens up, and extends a hand out to him, which he takes. He feels a small sharp pain in his finger, then looks at her in horror as he feels his own heart stopping. 'I'm sorry, doctor, but I can't have you interfering with my plans at this late stage of the game.' She waits several moments until the doctor is good and still, then cries out in desperation for her people to summon medical help. Doctor Mordred is already beyond their help by the time they arrive.
In 1891, 'Sockless' Simpson rallies his Kansan volunteers at Abilene. 'We still outnumber them,' he tells the huge throng. 'We still have right on our side. They surprised us at Topeka, but we will be careful from now on. They brought in allies from our neighboring states; they will be surprised to learn that we, too, have allies in those states, whom we are sending word to right now. This war, my friends, is far from over.' The assembled multitudes cheered loudly, mollified that they were only experiencing a temporary setback.
In 1810, French Emperor Napoleon I, who has spent the last three years furiously arming his country, issues an ultimatum to Britain demanding the immediate return of Louisiana to France.
England's acting monarch, George, Prince of Wales, recently established as regent for his ailing father King George III, is incensed at the peremptory tone taken by Napoleon and sends an official reply which concludes, 'If the Corsican usurper believes he can wrest from Britain what the legitimate monarch of his country was unable to hold against her, he is welcome to try.'
Napoleon's response upon receiving the British note is, 'Of course, you understand this means war.' And it does: the French emperor immediately orders mobilization of France's military forces, including the assembly and launching of a large fleet to strike at New Orleans and a second to cross the Channel and strike England itself.
In 1989, the Communist government of China began unravelling as the rebellion in Tiananmen Square expanded to the streets of Beijing. By the fall, the entire province was in open revolt, with many military units coming over to the rebel side.
In 1876, Wichita's police force decides that they can do without Wyatt Earp, dismissing him from their force because he assaulted a candidate for the office of country sheriff. There was some discussion of arresting him, but he fled Kansas with his brothers and took up prospecting in the west, where the Earp brothers became rather infamous as a band of violent outlaws.
In 1937, King Edward VIII married his American fiancee, Wallis Simpson. Parliament erupted in a storm of protest, and Prime Minister Baldwin demanded Edward's crown, but the controversy settled down after Great Britain got to know their new queen.
In 1923, Benito Mussolini's extension of the right to vote to women backfires when his Fascisti are ousted from Parliament. He attempts to reverse the election results, but a general uprising forces him from office; far-right politics in Europe follow him into obscurity.
In 1851 AUC, Messianics attack Antiochus in the eastern half of the Roman Republic. In spite of a thousand years of repression, these cultists from the Judean province were still causing troubles for Rome; Senator Sentilus of Judea proposed a temporary lifting of the Republic's guarantee of religious freedom in order to fight them, but the Senate didn't approve his measure.
In 1965, Major Ed White becomes the first American to walk in space. Unfortunately, he also became the first American to die in space when he was captured by the aliens.
In 1864, the Union's loss at Cold Harbor spells the end of their efforts to bring back the rebel Confederate States. Within a year, the two countries begin their long, uneasy cold war that only ends with reunification in 1999.
In 1993, in the far-reaching "look and feel copyright" precedent ruling of Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, San Francisco federal Judge Vaughn Walker rejected Microsoft's argument that the dispute was a contractual matter relating to the original licensing agreement for Windows version 1.0. Instead, he found in favour of original design manufacturers who were entitled to "get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface (GUI), or the idea of a desktop metaphor [under copyright law]."..
By Ed, Brian Hartman, John E. Bredehoft & Stan BrinHowever the main beneficiary would be Xerox Corporation who had launched the first GUI computer called Star in 1981 (pictured). Because the Apple design team had been invited to view Star at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) research lab and these visits had been very influential on the development of the Macintosh which was launched two years later in 1983.
During 1990 the same judge had presided over a case in which Xerox had been denied $150m. However Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation redefined the "originality" argument proposed by Apple that while the individual components were not original, the complete GUI was. During the case, Apple had been forced to admit licensing many of its representations from Xerox opening the wider debate of whether copyright protection only extends to original expression.
In 1773, on this day the future President of the United States John Randolph was born at Cawsons, Virginia. The son of rich tobacco planter, both of his parents were descended from the prominent First Families of Virginia.
Triumph of the Quids
By Ed, Andrew Beane & Jared MyersFirst studying under private tutors, Randolph attended Walter Maury's private school, then the College of New Jersey, and Columbia College, New York City. He studied law in Philadelphia, but never practiced and was elected to the sixth US Congress at the age of just twenty-six. He developed a conservative stance, breaking with his cousin Thomas Jefferson to lead the "Quids" or Old Republicans.
In 1803, he emerged as the leading opponent of the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory, arguing that the Purchase was fundamentally unconstitutional. As a result of his firebrand leadership, the House of Representatives rejected the motion by 59-57. Of course a compromise was reached, but it was a harsh bargain that only empowered Jefferson to purchase the port city of New Orleans.
It was an unequivocal rejection to the President's "larger republic" philosophy. Because during his own term of office, he radically shaped the political landscape, pointedly arguing that the vastness of the continent had bankcrupted the British, the French and if left unchecked would surely bankrupt the Americans too. It was a hard indisputable truth that taxation was higher than under King George III and local representation would become increasingly threatened by a strong Federal Government. In short, Randolph was advocating states rights as a pre-condition to a truly scaleable "larger republic". And the result was that by the mid 1820s that scaleable framework was in place that could actually incorporate the dozen new states without unnecessarily swelling the size of the central government.
In 1835, on this day P. T. Barnum Begins Political Career. Phineas Taylor Barnum was born July 5, 1810, in Bethel, Connecticut. From an early age, he showed skill in bookkeeping and thinking of ways to avoid hard labor. He was son of Philo Barnum, who ran an inn and store, and grandson of Phineas Taylor, who taught him a lesson about reputation when he gave his namesake a five-acre piece of land known as "Ivy Islandquot;.
P. T. Barnum Begins Political CareerThe young Barnum was proud to be "the richest child in town," and his grandfather told everyone he met about the great fortune the boy held, even though P. T. had never seen it. Finally, at age 12, he ventured with his father's hired man to see his great landholding, which turned out to be a barren, almost inaccessible lowland bog. His grandfather's decade-long practical joke paid off with years of laughter, and Barnum had learned that titles must match the subject matter.
Barnum grew and opened his own store, book auction, and real estate brokerage, but he profited mainly from state lottery sales as people vied for tickets to win a great prize, often cash. He became skillful in haggling and making great promises, and he worked to follow through on his promises out of his moral code and understanding of repeat business. In 1829, Barnum began his own weekly newspaper known as The Herald of Freedom and wrote against Connecticut's blue laws, which he felt instituted too much control over the population (in addition to biting into his profits as his shop could not be open on Sundays and sales on lotteries were limited). A feud with staunch Calvinists led to Barnum being convicted of libel through his paper, and he spent two months in jail. When he was released, he had become locally famous as a great liberal leader.
In 1834, Connecticut's state legislature banned new lotteries, establishing a punishment of 90-day imprisonment and $300 fine merely for advertising. Barnum's shop, which had often profited up to $2000 a day from lottery sales, became reduced, and he considered selling it and going to New York City to start a fresh business. However, he ultimately decided to give up business and rather work to overthrow what he felt was legalized tyranny of the few. While most politicians were either lawyers or famous citizens who entered politics after established themselves as war heroes or leading businessmen, young Barnum started with only his personal savings and his knowledge of spinning a deal. He struggled initially but was able to find minor city government positions and a standing in the Democratic Party, coming into connection with his third cousin William Barnum, whose family controlled the growing industrial power in the Barnum Richardson Company. P. T. made a name for himself campaigning for approval of the Mexican War on grounds of expansion and national security, but he went beyond approved party speech by adding that he wished it had not come to war, even though it was a boon for Connecticut's arms manufacturers.
Increasingly, Barnum became fed up with party politics and prejudices of the day. He quit the Democrats over the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and joined the Republican Party that formed that year. While the Republicans were a minority in Connecticut as the Democratic and American ("Know Nothing") parties held power through much of the 1850s, by the 1859, the Republicans gained great standing, and Barnum was on top. He had used his skills in showmanship to win over the thoughts of locals and affirm them with skill in debate. Most notably, Barnum helped stage satirical blackface shows displaying the humanity of slaves as well as productions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, rewritten to the happy ending of all slaves being freed. He later spoke out in support of the Thirteenth Amendment, "A human soul, 'that God has created and Christ died for,' is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot ? it is still an immortal spirit".
After supporting former Illinois Representative Abraham Lincoln in his presidential bid in 1860, Barnum hoped for a cabinet position as a former Democratic New Englander like Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, but positions were granted to men such as Simon Cameron, who served only one year before resigning amid corruption scandals. Barnum, who had issue enough with politicians making promises they did not keep, was outraged by Cameron, who once said, "An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought". Using his position in Connecticut, which had become a valuable munitions-producing region for the Union, Barnum began to root out any sign of corruption, opposing the spread of Cameron's "Pennsylvania idea" of political dominance through bribery and threats of industrial regulation.
After the war in 1867, he ran opposed to his cousin William Barnum for the Fourth Congressional District. William refused P. T.'s invitation to an open debate in which he wrote, "It is due to the voters of the Fourth Congressional District that they have an early and full opportunity to examine their candidates in regard to these important problems", and instead used his industrial connections to secure the election. When Barnum read in the newspaper about allegations of bribery and fraud in the election, he wrote, "I was never, at any time before or afterwards, consulted upon the subject. The movement proved to have originated with neighbors and townsmen of the successful candidate, who claimed to be able to prove that he had paid large sums of money to purchase votes. They also claimed that they had proof that men were brought from an adjoining State to vote, and that in the office of the successful candidate naturalization papers were forged to enable foreigners to vote upon them. But, I repeat, I took no part nor lot in the matter, but concluded that if I had been defeated by fraud, mine was the real success". He demanded an investigation into the matter, some of the first precursors of the coming Progressive Movement calling for an end to political corruption. Using his own resources in investigation and provoking near-riots from the people of Connecticut (akin to those seen in New York City over Tammany Hall a few years later), Barnum had his cousin dismissed from Congress.
Taking his seat as representative in Washington, Barnum was disgusted at the corruption among the Radical Republicans who had overtaken Congress, even working to impeach President Andrew Johnson. He began a campaign of "debunking" corrupt politicians, speaking at trials, and revealing "the tricks of the trade". Although all of his attempts at bills were destroyed by party politics, his term made him wildly popular among American citizens, who pressed President U.S. Grant to clean up the corruption of Reconstruction. Campaign reform laws were passed, numerous leaders taken out of office, and Barnum gained control of the Republican Party and continued as a representative. Many suggested he run for president himself, but Barnum found he preferred working behind the scene to find good men for the job and even said, "politics were always distasteful to me".
Barnum continued as the "Watchman of Washington" until a stroke during a speech disabled him in 1890. He died one year later, leaving behind a legacy of reform through the Barnum Act of 1878 and being the foremost to fight against what Mark Twain called "The Gilded Age". While never a wealthy man himself, Barnum led others in creating endowments for "profitable philanthropy", summarizing a philosophy that "if by improving and beautifying our nation and adding to the pleasure and prosperity of our neighbors, we can do so at a profit, the incentive to 'good works' will be twice as strong as if it were otherwise".
In 1860, on this day the thirty-sixth United States Congress voted to impeach President Matthew C. Perry for ordering the US Navy to force open Charleston Harbor thereby exceeding the authority of Commander-in Chief as defined by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.
President Perry ImpeachedThe escalating crisis in government had been precipitated by the abolitionist seizure of Fort Sumter. A catastrophic loss of trade forced the South Carolina Militia to launch an attack on John Brown's raiders, but the possibility of Federal Property being occupied was too much for Perry who decided to pre-empt. However the US Navy refused to execute the order, considering the retired Commodore quite insane to consider that the gunboat tactics of Tokyo Bay would translate into a resolution in Charleston Harbour.
Indeed such a clumsy attempt at coercion would have been tantamount to a declaration of war, a power reserved to the US Congress. This point was forceably expressed by the former lawyer turned Whig Congressman Abraham Lincoln (pictured) who argued that "they [the framers at Philadelphia] so frame[d] the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bring this oppression upon us".
In 2012, the first of the Clinton Administration's many android-related challenges began on this day when a prominent Senator's daughter was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by a Mobile Dextrous social robot owned by the girl's father.
Social RobotsProduct recalls were immediately issued by the Personal Robots Group of Media Lab, part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's sprawling campus in Cambridge.
The loss of support from a leading pro-android member of a senatorial oversight committee would have profound implications for the US Government. Researchers working on a Defense Department program at iRobot Corporation and the University of Chicago had recently completed the military application work for "jamming skin-enabled locomotion". The stunning result was a robot purpose built for discreet reconnaissance missions that could squeeze through small holes, fitting through openings smaller than its own dimensions. Looking like a semi-inflated volleyball, the robot expands and contracts a flexible silicone shell to push itself around. That shell contains air pockets packed with particles. When the air is removed, the air pressure equalizers and the particles inside the pockets shift, changing the blob's shape.
Before the vehicular accident, such a mission had already received executive approval for the assassination of the reclusive leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il.
In 1888, German Emperor Frederick III recovered from a throat infection and resumed his duties.
Grand Duchy of Alsace-Lorraine by Stan BrinOn June 15, Bismark resigned and the Emperor announced that henceforth, the German chancellor would be chairman of a formal cabinet and would be responsible to the members of the Reichstag. In 1900, over the strenuous objection of his crown prince, Frederick ordered a plebiscite be held in Alsace-Lorraine if the French government would accept the results.
Much to the surprise of both countries, the provinces voted for independence, and became a grand duchy the following year, depriving France and Germany of a common frontier.
In 1749, on this day Charles Cromwell II was crowned King of England.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 7 - Charles II (1749-1754) by David AtwellIll health plagued Charles all his life & his reign (1749-1754) was thus short. As a result, the position of Prime Minister was established to act on his behalf in Cabinet meetings & the general running of the country. The position proved to be highly successful & Parliament decided to make the appointment a permanent one.
In 1973, the Silver Age of Comics ended when Marvel published the watershed June/July edition of the Amazing Spider-man. Click to watch the intro to the 1977 TV Series
The Night the Green Goblin diedIssue #122 was entitled The Night the Green Goblin died, marking the beginning of the Romantic Age of Comics.
The signs had already been there for some time as the genre eased into its fifth decade as the dominant force in American comic books. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Marvel Universe had made a huge difference, born out of the optimistic glow of the Camelot/Kennedy era and introducing much needed human elements into the cardboard cutout milieu of the superhero.
Insane industrialist Norman Osborn adopted the bizarre identity of the Green Goblin, based on a monster he feared in his childhood, with the goal of becoming the boss of the city's organized crime. Click to watch Episode 31 - Enter the Green Goblin
Prior to Issue #122 Norman Osborn came down with amnesia, suspending his identity as the supervillain and most notably forgetting that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are the same person. Also, Harry Osborn, Peter's best friend and Norman's son, became addicted to drugs and was sequestered in the Osborn home for detoxification in order to keep a potentially embarrassing issue from becoming public and hurting Norman Osborn's business.
Peter, his girlfriend Gwen Stacy, and friend Mary Jane Watson visit Harry, who is in a sorry state. His father Norman is livid about Harry's condition, blames Peter, Gwen, and Mary Jane for Harry's drug abuse, and throws them out. When Norman hears that he is facing financial ruin, he suffers a breakdown, and suddenly remembers everything. Norman again becomes the Green Goblin and makes it his goal to kill Peter/Spider-Man for all the misery he imagines Spider-Man has caused him and his family.
The Green Goblin abducts Gwen Stacey and lures Spider-Man to the George Washington Bridge. Holding an unconscious Gwen, he gloats at Peter. The two fight, and just when Spider-Man seems to get hold of Gwen, Norman hurls her off the bridge. Peter managed to save Gwen by jumping after her rather than catching her with a web-line (in pretty much the same way he saved Mary-Jane in the Spider-Man film), allowing him to cushion her from the impact as they hit the water and subsequently give her CPR.
In the aftermath of this rescue, he proposed to Gwen after revealing his secret identity to her, and, in a subsequent confrontation with the Green Goblin, Norman Osborn finally fought off his evil side when Harry moved to protect him regardless of what he'd become.
In 1953, Elizabeth, last of the British monarchs, was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
Republican JubileeAlthough the Queen was personally popular, her uncle's Nazi sympathies and the antics of other nobles in the UK made the British take a long look at the institution of royalty. Parliament took up the Common Acts in 1964 and debated them for some 3 years before finally passing them in 1967.
Elizabeth was allowed to reign until her death, but none of her descendants would assume a throne. Although many older Brits express a certain nostalgic longing for the old days of the monarchy, most feel that it was another relic of the barbaric past that they are better off without. Charles Windsor, who would have been Elizabeth's successor, briefly mounted a campaign to put himself on the throne in 2014, but his lack of popular support doomed it to failure.
In 1941, U.S. intelligence officials began noticing a shift in personnel deployments by the Imperial Japanese Navy within Japan's home islands.
Large numbers of men were being gradually transferred from Hokkaido to Kyushu and southern Honshu; although information about the precise timing and quantity of these transfers was sketchy, what data was available suggested Tokyo was beginning to prepare for possible future attacks on U.S. and British bases in the Pacific.
On this day in 1967, Israeli artillery began shelling Cairo.
In 1845, Arthur MacArthur is born in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In the 1887 Anglo-Spanish War which follows the sinking of the HMS King George IV in the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, MacArthur, by then one of the youngest vice-admirals in the British Navy and the first American ever to hold that rank, will perform heroically, destroying the Spanish fleet at Manila in the Philippine Islands with minimal British loss of life.
He will be knighted in January 1888, following the Spanish surrender.
MacArthur's son Douglas will become a general and play a major role in the Second World War against the so-called 'Axis' nations of France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
On this day in 1938, Francis Urqhuart graduated first in his class from West Point; he was commissioned with the rank of second lieutenant and assigned to command of a US Army infantry platoon stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
In 1971, a massive three-day aerial assault on Dien Bien Phu begins.
The city, which had been serving as the rump capital of North Vietnam since the country's leadership arrived there after fleeing the fall of Hanoi in March, is largely reduced to rubble. Several key North Vietnamese leaders are killed, among them President Ton Duc Thang, who had succeeded to the office following the death of Ho Chi Minh.
In 2003, the European Space Agency launched the Mars Express probe. Martian forces terminated it in December, prior to the invasion.
In 2000, our solar system was destroyed by the forces of galactic justice in order to contain He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
In 1999, Dr. Archibald Mordred sends an email to Sir Lance du Lac, expressing concern about the queen's behavior. He doesn't mention her pregnancy or the king's sterility, but tells du Lac, 'I no longer believe that Queen Gwen has the best interests of her king or kingdom at heart.' He then makes the decision to begin lowering the dosage of Brightol that he is giving King Arthur, replacing several of the pills he is carrying with sugar tablets. That evening, he gives the king a half-dose instead of the usual full dose, and watches the British monarch for any signs of change.
In 1891, in the somewhat battered Governor's mansion in Topeka, General Theodore Monteith and Lt. Colonel Mark Wainwright meet with three captured Farmers Council members to discuss how best to get their comrades to lay down arms. One of the councilors, Thaddeus Elridge, offers a truce - 'Withdraw your Union soldiers, and we'll let 'em leave without a shot fired. Then, after next year, once we have a real president 'stead of that thief Harrison, we'll agree to rejoin the US as a state.' General Monteith and Colonel Wainwright seriously considered Elridge's offer for a moment, but then the general replied, 'I'm afraid that I have to answer to that thief, sir. And, your actions have almost guaranteed his reelection, I believe. You cannot win. All you can do is draw out the bloodshed.' The three councilors regarded each other for a moment before Elridge spoke again. 'If that's all we can do sir, then you can rest assured that 'Sockless' Simpson will make that drawing out as long as is humanly possible.' Wearily, Wainwright answered, 'Yes, I believe you.'
In 1882, singer Carla Lambert was born. She caught the eye of Thomas Edison's movie company, Dynamic Pictures, and starred in several films for them. Rumors of an affair between her and Edison were heatedly denied, but she did spend quite a bit of time at his mansion in New Jersey.
In 4561, General Ka-Liet of the Viet forces in Hanoi managed to draw a sizable portion of the Chinese forces into a trap; the Viet had managed to capture one of the Sun Bombs that the Emperor's greatest scientists had been working on, and after drawing some 50,000 troops after him into the countryside around the city, he set it off. In one brief flash, the Chinese forces had been cut by a quarter.
On this day in 2014 Jerry Bruckheimer's big-screen movie adaptation of his hit crime TV series CSI was released in theaters in the United States and Canada.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King left for Seattle to meet with the woman who had sent him the letter tying a branch of Philip Boone's demonic cult to the disappearance of Ellen Rimbauer in 1948.
That letter and the Rimbauer case in general would figure prominently in Jerusalem's Lot and King's follow-up book, Rose Red.
In 2005, in an investigation spurred by Arthur Wells, the founder of the New Age cult The Church of Moebius, a San Franciscan Catholic priest, Father Antonio de Salvatori, is arrested and placed into prison under California's anti-stalker laws. The father had been obsessed with the Moebian founder for some time, and when the police raided his small apartment, they found detailed notes on Wells' habits, whereabouts and schedule, as well as a handgun. 'Looks like I dodged that bullet,' Wells told reporters after the arrest.
In 1886, Frances Folsom breaks the heart of President Grover Cleveland when she leaves him at the altar. Folsom, the daughter of Cleveland's law partner and 27 years younger than the president, decided that she couldn't bear the pressure of life as a First Lady, and fled Washington for New York City.
Senator Joseph R McCarthy held a press conference in which he announced that the State Department, charged with protecting America from foreign spies, had been infiltrated by a large number of 'known communists.' The announcement sent shock waves through America's political establishment. Communists add forged ciphers to the Venona transcripts
falsely claiming that 'the Tailgunner' became a paid Soviet agent in 1950.
In 1028 AUC, the Vandals, a barbarian tribe led by a chieftain named Gaiseric, placed the hopes of their people surviving on a last, suicidal attack on Rome. Ever since migrating to Spain, the Vandals had been restless and were in danger of being exterminated by constant Roman pressure. Gaiseric thought that he could lead a strong enough force into Rome itself, loot the Eternal City, and flee to some far-off land where he and his people could live well on their stolen goods. 'When the gods speak of this day, their lips will tremble at the mention of the name Vandal,' Gaiseric exhorted his people. Unfortunately for him, the 80,000 tribesman he started with from Spain were picked off by Roman troops along the way until he reached Rome with only 20,000, who were utterly destroyed by Rome's legions. Gaiseric was crucified for his temerity as a lesson to the other barbarian leaders who harbored thoughts of attacking the Empire.
In 1953, Elizabeth Windsor, daughter of exiled King George VI, was crowned Elizabeth II after her father's passing. The ceremony, held at the British Government-In-Exile's compound in Washington, D.C. was brief and untelevised. Elizabeth herself lived a reclusive life and would die without returning to England, which remained under Nazi control until her son's return in 1982.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.