On This Date In 1215 Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John put his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation's laws. Although more a reactionary than a progressive document in its day, the Magna Carta was seen as a cornerstone in the development of democratic England by later generations.
On This Date In 1300 Poet Dante Alighieri became one of six priors of Florence, Italy, active in governing the city. Dante's political activities, which included the banishment of several rivals, lead to his own exile from Florence, his native city, after 1302. He would write his great work, The Divine Comedy, as a virtual wanderer, seeking protection for his family in town after town.
On This Date In 1775 George Washington, who would one day become the first American president, accepted an assignment to lead the Continental Army.
On This Date In 1776 The Assembly of the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania declared itself independent of British and Pennsylvanian authority, thereby creating the state of Delaware.
On This Date In 1846 Representatives of Great Britain and the United States signed the Oregon Treaty, which settled a long-standing dispute with Britain over who controlled the Oregon territory. The treaty established the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Georgia as the boundary between the United States and British Canada. The United States gained formal control over the future states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, and the British retained Vancouver Island and navigation rights to part of the Columbia River.
On This Date In 1846 Francis Parkman, one of the first serious historians to study the American West, arrived at Fort Laramie in Wyoming, and prepared for a summer of research with the Sioux.
On This Date In 1863 During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln put out an emergency call for 100,000 troops from the state militias of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia to protect Washington, D.C., America’s capital city. Although the troops were not needed, and the call could not be fulfilled in such a short time, it was an indication of how little the Union authorities knew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia's movements, and how vulnerable they thought the Federal capital was.
On This Date In 1864 During the American Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia collided for the last time as the first wave of Union troops attacked Petersburg, a vital Southern rail center 23 miles south of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The two massive armies would not become disentangled until April 9, 1865, when Lee surrendered and his men went home.
On This Date In 1877 Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, in 1856, became the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Flipper, who was never spoken to by a white cadet during his four years at West Point, was appointed a second lieutenant in the all-African American 10th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Sill in Indian Territory.
On This Date In 1904 The PS General Slocum, a passenger steamboat built in Brooklyn, New York, in 1891, and named for Civil War General and New York Congressman Henry Warner Slocum, caught fire and sank in New York's East River. At the time of the accident, she was on a chartered run carrying members of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church (German Americans from Little Germany, Manhattan) to a church picnic. An estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board died. The General Slocum disaster was the New York area's worst disaster in terms of l*** of life until the September 11, 2001 attacks.
On This Date In 1917 Some two months after America's formal entrance into World War I against Germany, the United States Congress passed the Espionage Act. It originally prohibited any attempt to interfere with military operations, to support U.S. enemies during wartime, to promote insubordination in the military, or to interfere with military recruitment. In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Schenck v. United States that the act did not violate the freedom of speech of those convicted under its provisions. The constitutionality of the law, its relationship to free speech, and the meaning of the law's language have been contested in court ever since.
On This Date In 1938 Cincinnati Red Johnny Vander Meer pitched his second consecutive no-hit, no-run game. Vander Meer is the only pitcher in baseball history to throw two back-to-back no-hitters.
On This Date In 1943 During World War II, Paul Blobel, an SS colonel, was given the assignment of coordinating the destruction of the evidence of the grossest of Nazi atrocities, the systematic extermination of European Jews.
On This Date In 1945 23-year-old actress and singer Judy Garland married director Vincente Minnelli, her second husband. The couple had one daughter, the actress and singer Liza Minnelli.
On This Date In 1946 The United States presented the Baruch Plan for the international control of atomic weapons to the United Nations. The failure of the plan to gain acceptance resulted in a dangerous nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
On This Date In 1963 Kyu Sakamoto accomplished something never achieved before or since when he earned a #1 hit on the American pop charts with a song sung entirely in Japanese - a song originally written and recorded under the title “Ue O Muite Aruk?.” This was not the title under which it climbed the U.S. pop charts, however. Instead of a faithfully translated title like “I Look Up When I Walk,” Sakamoto's ballad was called, for no particular reason, “Sukiyaki.”
On This Date In 1964 At a meeting of the National Security Council, McGeorge Bundy, President Lyndon B. Johnson's national security advisor, informed those in attendance that President Johnson had decided to postpone submitting a resolution to Congress asking for authority to wage war in Vietnam. Just two months later, they revisited the idea of a resolution in the wake of the Tonkin Gulf incident. Known as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, it gave President Johnson the power to take whatever actions he deemed necessary, including “the use of armed force.” The resolution passed 82 to 2 in the Senate, where Wayne K. Morse (D-Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska) were the only dissenting votes; and passed unanimously in the House of Representatives. President Johnson signed it into law on August 10, 1964, and it became the legal basis for every presidential action taken by the Johnson administration during its conduct of the war.
On This Date In 1965 During the Vietnam War and as part of Operation Rolling Thunder, U.S. planes bombed targets in North Vietnam, but refrained from bombing Hanoi and the Soviet missile sites that surrounded the city. On June 17, two U.S. Navy jets downed two communist MiGs, and destroyed another enemy aircraft three days later. U.S. planes also dropped almost 3 million leaflets urging the North Vietnamese to get their leaders to end the war.
On This Date In 1986 Driving legend Richard Petty made the 1,000th start of his National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) career, in the Miller American 400 in Brooklyn, Michigan. He became the first driver in NASCAR history to log 1,000 career starts.
Happy Birthday Mario Cuomo (1932), Billy Williams (1938), Xaviera Hollander (1943), Mike Holmgren (1948), Dusty Baker (1949), James Belushi (1954), Julie Hagerty (1955), Polly Draper (1955), Helen Hunt (1963), Courteney Cox (1964), August Busch IV (1964), Leah Remini (1970), Dana Bash (1971), Andy Pettitte (1972), Neil Patrick Harris (1973), Greg Vaughan (1973), Elizabeth Reaser (1975), Kate Ford (1977), Nadine Coyle (1985), and Denzel Whitaker (1990).
RIP Rachel Jackson (1767 – 1828), Mary Ellis (1897 – 2003), David Rose (1910 – 1990), Trevor Huddleston (1913 – 1998), Alberto Sordi (1920 – 2003), Mo Udall (1922 – 1998), Belinda Lee (1935 – 1961), Waylon Jennings (1937 – 2002), Harry Nilsson (1941 – 1994), and Jim Varney (1949 – 2000).
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. Thomas Paine
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Hunter S. Thompson
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Steve Jobs
I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions. Lillian Hellman
I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. John Locke
We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action. Frank Tibolt
The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach and Mozart settled down day after day to the job in hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn't waste time waiting for inspiration. Ernest Newman
A 5-minute history of tightrope walkers and daredevils at Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls has been a magnet for daredevils since the 1800's - and wire walkers - also called funambulists - were a big part of the earliest daredevils. Now, on June 15, 2012, Nikolas Wallenda will attempt what no one has done in over 100 years - walk the wire across Horseshoe Falls. The last successful walk was in 1897.
Blue Star Museums is a program which offers active duty military and their families free museum admission at more than 1,500 museums nationwide from Memorial Day, May 28, through Labor Day, September 3, 2012. Blue Star Museums is a collaborative effort among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America. For more info, or to listen to the Bloggers Roundtable visit: http://bit.ly/K2B2WF
A little something for Fathers’ Day:
I've been loved, and I've been left. I've held on, and I've let go. I've forgiven, and I've forgotten. Death has taught me more about life than living ever could, and family is always there when the world never is. I've learned tradition is grasping your past without holding you back, and being who you are is an obligation, not a choice. Laura Kessler
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. Calvin Coolidge