Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Book: "Robert Morris" by Charles Rappleye

Robert Morris' signature can be found on the Declaration on Independence if you look carefully just to the right of John Hancock's. Originally however Robert Morris opposed independence and walked out of the final vote allowing the Pennsylvania delegation to vote unanimously for separation from Britain. From there he became a vital cog in the war effort by using his business connection to supply the American forces. The author of a new book Charles Rappleye actually argues that the war could not have been won if it was not for Morris' efforts. As Washington marched his troops to Yorktown to take advantage of the situation against the British, Morris took care of all the behind the scenes details. Morris effectively became the treasury for the new United States during the war. Unfortunately for Morris he went bankrupt in a real estate bubble after the Revolution and spent three years toward the end of his life in prison. This should be a great read on a fairly unknown player in our fight for independence.


New Book: "First Family" By Joseph Ellis

Anyone that knows me knows my favorite President is John Adams. Despite his many flaws one the endearing aspects of his life and character was his relationship with his wife, Abagail. She was his partner in life and politics as well as his one true love. Their passion for each ran deep, not just emotionally but also physically and professionally. Over their life apart they wrote over 1,300 letters back and forth to each other. Joseph Ellis looks into these letters and their life together and sees that the people of their time saw them as a politically team not simply as John and his wife Abagail. Ellis is an excellent narrator and I can only imagine the wonderful story he weaves in these pages. Because of my passion for learning the life of John and Abagail Adams I will definitely be buying this book in the near future.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Nation Divided: South Carolina Secedes

"We, the people of the State of South Carolina in convention assembled, do declare and ordain... that the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of 'the United States of America,' is hereby dissolved."

This ordinance written by a delegation in South Carolina officially broke ties with the United States of America on this date, 150 years ago. A monumentally significant moment in American History which many, including newly elected President Lincoln, did not believe would happen. The differences between to North and South had been an issue since the very founding of the United States. The signers and debaters of the Constitution in 1787 were very carefully to keep in tact the fragile divide between the North and South, namely the issue of slavery. The issue of slavery itself was placed on the back burner in order to allow the passage of the Constitution by all the states. The divide however only grew larger. With slavery at the center the differences economically, politically, and even religiously became too overwhelming for the government to control. Compromises and negotiations only accomplished in putting off the problem rather than solving it. Finally with the election of the first Republican President whose party was proactively against slavery, many of the Southern states believed the time for debate and legislation had come to an end and separation was the only answer. Still many around the country did not believe it would happen. The feeling that the Union was still strong and the brotherly ties to its founding were still close. Then, on January 5, 1861, the citizenry of theUnited States and the world learned of not just the secession of South Carolina but much more.

"On the 26th, a resolution was passed declaring citizens of South Carolina all citizens of the United States within her limits on the 20th inst., the date of her secession. Another provides for a Convention of slaveholding States at Montgomery, Alabama, for the purpose of forming a Southern Confederacy, under the Constitution of the United States.  The Convention, in secret session, adopted an ordinance continuing the present Federal revenue officers in their places, and also continuing the United States revenue and navigation laws in force, subject to certain regulations.""Governor Pickens has, agreeably to the ordinance of session, issued a proclamation, proclaiming to the world sovereign, free and independent State, and as such has a right to levy war, conclude peace, negotiate treaties, leagues, or covenants, and do all acts whatever that rightly appertain to a free and independent State."
--Harper's Weekly Jan 5, 1861
Not only did everyone learn that South Carolina hadclaimed independence from the United States of America but they were commissioning for a convention to rally all Southern states in creating a confederacy of their own accord. Now following the news of South Carolina's secession six other states: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all seceded from the Union in January 1861. Lincoln at this time wasn't even officially President. His election was in November however his inauguration was still nearly two months away. President Buchanan was not surprisingly absent from this whole affair so many officially from the South and North sought out Lincoln to make some kind of public statement to reassure the South and avoid permanent separation. Lincoln however refused. In a letter which was written just before South Carolina's official secession but in the midst of heavy talk by Southern states to break away, Lincoln responded privately to a North Carolina congressman by stating,
"Is it desired that I shall shift the ground upon which I have been elected? I can not do it. You need only to acquaint yourself with that ground, and press it on the attention of the South. It is all in print and easy of access. May I be pardoned if I ask whether you have ever attempted to procure the reading of the Republican platform, or my speeches by the Southern people? If not, what reason have I to expect that any additional production of mine would meet a better fate? It would make me appear as if I repented for the crime of having been elected, and was anxious to apologize and beg forgiveness."
Lincoln clearly was not going to put himself in a position of weakness where the Southern states would feel like if they flexed their muscle enough or made threats, such as secession, they would get their way. The Union must be preserved in Lincoln's eyes but not at the expense of his principles on slavery and not by giving in to demands. Lincoln's first real public statement does not actually come until March 4, 1861 which is his inaugural address to the nation as President of the United States. This will be the subject of a future "Our Nation Divided" post in March.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Worst Snowstorms in U.S. History

After driving this morning in extremely snowy conditions it got me thinking what have been the worst snowstorms in our nation's history. There are many more storms that I found and could have listed here such as blizzards that occured in 1899, 1913, 1950, 1967, 1996, 2006. These just happen to be the six most extreme and unique that our country has seen.

1) The Great Snow of 1717 - Native Americans could not recall a story in their oral tradition which rivaled the magnitude of this winter storm that hit the colonies in New England. The storm started at the end of February with major bouts of snow hitting on the 1st of March, the 4th and another on the 7th. All together, four storms in about a ten day period totaled over five feet of snow in some areas along with reports of drifting to the point that people could only leave their homes from their second story windows. With poor record keeping at the time and a scarce population outside the New England region it is unclear to what extent the storm reached. The Reverend Cotton Mather, remembered for his role in the Salem Witch Trials, wrote a detailed account of the snowstorm, which was also the first publication of the Massachusettes Historical Society, "As mighty a snow, as perhaps has been known in the memory of man, is at this time lying on the ground." Reports of the damage this storm caused were fairly scattered. Post roads were reported to have had drifts as high as 25 feet in the Boston region and areas north. Various reports talked about how nearly 95% of the deer population in the region was wiped out with "deer-reserves" being established in the aftermath to preserve the species. Wolves and other predators even moved into populated areas seeking food, killing livestock and threatening humans. John Winthrop reported that a herd of sheep was buried under snow for 28 days and was dug out alive and well. How those sheep survived is unclear.

2) The Great White Hurricane of 1888 - If one needs to look for a benchmark on which all other blizzards are measured it is the one which occured in March 1888. Ironically this was actually the second major winter storm to hit the United States that year. In January the middle of the country was hit with extremely frigid temperatures dropping as low as -52 degrees. Some areas saw a swing in temperature from 70 degrees to -40 degrees in a matter of days. Nearly 240 people lost their lives which was a large number considering the sparce population between Minnesota and Texas. Livestock also took a major toll due to the low temperatures with cattle getting hardest hit. Many historians have attributed this event to the downfall of the free-range cattle industry. The more famous blizzard however that year was the one that occurred in March. In a 48 hour period anywhere from 40-55 inches of snow fell on areas of New York, Massachusetts, Conneticut, and New Jersey with winds hitting 45 miles per hour. Many people were stuck in their homes for over a week. Telegraph lines were disabled resulting in some cities like Montreal, Washington D.C. and Boston being isolated for days. In the aftermath numerous states, such as New York, buried their telegraph and telephone lines to prevent storms like this in the future from disabling major means of communication. Road and rail lines were also effected making them impassable for days with drifts in some areas taking over a week to clear. The shutdown of transportation for so long in these major cities resulted in underground subways being constructed with the first one opening only nine years later in Boston. Fire departments were immoblized and fires raged in certain areas resulting in millions of dollars in damage. Even shipyards and ships at sea were effected. Over 200 ships were grounded or wrecked with nearly 100 seamen losing their lives. Being March the average temperatures are typically above freezing so when the snow started to melt flooding occured especially in Brooklyn. With so much snow piled up many areas, New York foremost on the list, attempted to push as much snow as possible into the Atlantic.

3) The "Knickerbocker Storm" of 1922 - Very few storms are named after the damage it caused however this was a tragic event. In January 1922 a low formed over Georgia and slowly began moving northward. By the time it hit the Carolinas the snow began to fall and reached all the way to Philadelphia. The storm stalled and snowed over two days resulting in over 20 inches of snow throughout the area. It was some of the most snowfall ever recorded in a 24 hour period and some of the most snowfall seen in the Mid-Atlantic states until the blizzard in February of 2010. The biggest story of the snow storm was located in Washington D.C. at the Kinckerbocker Theatre. Despite two-days of blizzard conditions around 500 people decided to attend the theater the evening of January 28th to watch a movie. At around 9:00pm the weight of over 20 inches of snow on top of the Knickerbocker's flat roof gave way. Witnesses stated that there was no indication that the roof was coming down it simply just gave way. Mass confusion insued in the aftermath. One man recorded his account of being trapped in the rubble.
“I grabbed for my hat and coat, and the next minute found myself flat on my face with something weighty on top. I lay still for about five minutes when I noticed at the side of me a girl with an arch or pillar resting upon her. I tried to pull it off but couldn’t move it. Then I started work­ing my way slowly in some direction – I think the middle – and with four other fellows we saw a hole with a light shining through. The next thing I know I was on the street, but I don’t know how I got there. I stayed around for a while and helped several others, who were apparently uninjured, out of the place. It was a frightful sight within, nothing but moans, cries and darkness.” (Retrieved December 17, 2010, http://www.weatherbook.com/knickerbocker.htm)
Family members and pedstrians tried to rush in to help with no real organized rescue efforts in place. People took lanterns and moved throughout the rubble looking for loved ones and survivors. One reporter compared the scene to something out of World War 1. Once police and fire crews arrived the rescue effort saw better results. By 2:30am over 600 rescue workers were on the scene including the military. Residents in the area brought out hot food and coffee to the rescuers due to the frigid temperatures. A small boy was even sent in to distribute medicine to those still alive, under the wreckage, and in pain. A makeshift hospital was established in a nearby candy store and every hospital in the city was overloaded with patients as a result of the collapse. The rescue was not fully completed until the following afternoon and after all was said and done the final toll was 98 people dead and 133 people injured. It still goes down as one of the worst disasters and one of the largest single snow falls in Washington D.C.'s history.

4) Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 - This snow storm is known more for how it started and the result of that than anything else. As the morning of November 11, 1940, Armistice Day, broke it was unseasonable warm. All the way up in Minnesota temperatures in the early afternoon reached 60 degrees. In fact due to the fantastic weather conditions hundreds of hunters went out to the Mississippi River looking to take advantage of the great duck hunting conditions. The weather deterioriated quite quickly however, and temperatures dropped rapidly, winds picked up, rain changed to sleet and then eventually snow. Snow fell throughout the rest of the day and night. Overall snowfalls reached over 25 inches with winds reaching 50-80 miles per hour. The only forecasting station in the region was located in Chicago. Therefore forecasts had not predicted the extreme drop in temperature and major snow fall and wind. As a result many of the hunters along the Mississippi River were stranded. When the storm first broke many hunters took shelter on small islands in the middle of the river. With 50 mile per hour winds and waves hitting over five feet high the encampments were overrun. Some tried to swim across the river and drowned while others that tried to stay on the island actually froze to death as a result of single-digit temperatures and a lack of proper winter clothing. Casualities were actually lessened by the herorics of pilot Max Conrad and one of his students, John Bean. After the storm passed Conrad and his student flew up and down the river in the Minnesota/Wisconsin region dropping supplies to survivors. In addition the storm caused five ships to sink on Lake Michigan with a total of 66 sailors losing their lives. The following is a great article written in the Herald Journal in 2004 detailing out another account from someone who lived through the blizzard (http://www.herald-journal.com/archives/2004/stories/snow.html). The complete surprise of the storm was due to a lack of local forecasting. As a result of the lives lost in this snow storm covereage of weather events was expanded to 24 hours a day and local forecasting station were built to give more accurate information outside of just major cities like Chicago.

5) The Blizzard of '78 - Thanks to the blizazrd of 1978 my parents and grandparents will always use it as the benchmark in which they compare all future snow storms. When the barometric pressure records the lowest non-tropical level ever recorded in the United States then you know something bad is about to happen. The hardest hit states for the storm were Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and worst of all Ohio where 51 people died as a result. Snowfall totals reached 40-50 inches, wind gusts neared 100 miles per hour, and wind chills dropped to -60 degrees. Despite hearing stories from my family for years about that blizzard I asked my mom the other night about what her experience was like during the blizzard. One part of the story I found most interesting was the family listening to the radio stations of two local cities located north and south of them. The station was relaying information about how the only people able to get around were snowmobiliers. A group of them were actually worked to bring vital medical supplies from one of the city's hospitals to the other. The radio broadcaster would excitedly talk about how the group made it to a certain point and were safe. Then another report would come in that they had made it to another point, slowly they moved along the snow covered route that was once a fast moving two lane state highway. She even talked about how the snow was so deep and the drifting was so bad that one of their cars was buried in snow until May, nearly five months later. The following is another account I found written during the 30th anniversary year of the blizzard of 1978. What a story this is, I would love the opportunity to interview her.
"I well remember the blizzard of 1978!  I was snowbound for three days with my husband, daughter and step-son near Kansas, Ohio.  My husband was ill and needed a blood transfusion.   We hadn't lived there very long and had no close neighbors, so I called the local volunteer fire department.  Those wonderful people who didn't know us from Adam fought their way through several drifts on our small side road to rescue us. Then they stood in the field across the road holding flares and landed a national guard helicopter that took my husband into Fostoria Hospital for blood. One of the firemen, Don Conley, insisted the kids and I go home with him.  In the coming two days the Conley family and us became fast friends. Their son and friends took snow mobiles and went to a local farmer who had milk and no way to transport it.  The kids said it was the best milk they ever tasted.  Tom, Carol and Don have all passed on, but those of us left behind will never forget that winter.  God Bless the Kansas Volunteer Fire Department, which many years later my son-in-law became a member of.  My daughter ended up working with a nurse who is married to one of the guys who was on that helicopter. It truly is a small world full of wonderful people. Thank you for allowing me to share." - Jodee (Retrieved December 17, 2010, http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=7780807)
If you talk with anyone that lived through that event you will quickly be able to dig up a fasicinating and sometimes adventerous story. For the Baby Boomer generation this will always be the blizzard to end all blizzards and from the sound of it, they might be right.

6) The 1993 "Storm of the Century" - The uniqueness of this storm lies not so much in the amounts of snow fall and drifting we find in other blizzards but in the massive size of the storm itself. At the height of storm it reached from Canada to Central America with the brunt of it hitting the Eastern United States. The storm actually marked the first time the National Weather Service was able to accurately predict the severity of storm five days in advance. States of emergency were issued in Northeastern states two days before the storm hit. Despite Southern states being told of the coming freeze, mild temperatures that lead up to the storm caused many to believe the predictions of cold temperatures and snow was not going to happen. Many local TV news stations were hesitant to report the numbers being given rom the NWS because they seemed ridiculous but they turned out to be right. Midday, March 12th the temperatures began to drop rapidly from Maine to Florida and Texas. Thundersnow, which is more like a thunderstorm than a blizzard but with snow rather than rain, fell from Texas to Pennsylvania and recorded over 60,000 lightning strikes. Snowfalls as high as 69 inches were found in parts of Tennessee, 12-16 inches in Alabama, and nearly four inches on the Florida panhandle along with hurricane force winds. In addition to the snow, 11 tornadoes were reported in parts of Florida and Louisiana. Ships in the Gulf of Mexico and all the way up the East Coast of the United States had trouble, with some actually sinking including the "Fantastico" which lost seven crew members off the coast of Florida. Nearly one hundred pleasure crafts and charter boats sank as a result of the storm. For me this is the first storm I am actually able to have a vivid memory about. As a Midwestern living in rural Indiana the biggest element of the storm I remembered was the ice. Anywhere from one-fourth to an inch of ice covered everything. Everywhere you looked from the tops of trees which hung extremely low to the ground below was covered. Being in the country it did not take long for us to lose our electricity and because of that we had to find shelter for the night. My dad loaded up the family and we slowly drove into town, staying the night at a motel, which at the time I thought was so cool. Despite the dangerous conditions and lack of electricity which forced us out of our home it was a beautiful picture. My mom took some great shots of our property and all the ice made for a picturesque scene. Throughout the United States the storm caused extensive damage totaling over six billion dollars. Although other storms have had higher snow falls and drifting the magnitude of this storm's size and how much of the United States was affected made it one of the largest one-piece storms in recorded history and therefore made it the "storm of the century."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From Privilege to Heroes

Here is a link from the BBC News website about group of young millionaries who flew for the RAF during World War 2. In the mid 1920s the Chief of the Air Staff developed the idea of small auxiliary squadrons that could be called up quickly during times of war. One of the first such squadrons created was the 601. According to stories the squadron was formed in an exclusive gentlemen's club from the young men there who could fly. Despite their wealth and privilege these men were called up into service just after Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1939. The men saw heavy action and sadly some of them died. It is an interesting story and I highly suggest reading it.  


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Great Tax Debate

Over the last month or so Congress and the White House have been debating over maintaining current tax cuts first enacted by President George W. Bush in 2001. The debate over are the tax breaks, right or wrong and to what capacity, can be left to another blog. It got me thinking however about where these taxes on our personal income started. More importantly why were they first enacted.

It happened to be during the Civil War where the first income tax in the United States was implemented. It was known as the Revenue Act of 1861 and it taxed a lot more than simply just people's take home pay. Up until this time the federal government collected the majority of their revenue from excise taxes especially from tobacco and liquor. However with the war starting to cost millions and a loss of revenue from the taxes once collected in the South, the Union had to figure out some means to sustain and pay for the war efforts. The Revenue Act of 1861 just that. With only about 5% of the Act actually addressing income taxes the majority focused on excise and property taxes. The income tax implemented was actually a flat amount of 3% on all income above $800. Near the end of 1861 and into 1862 it became very apparent that the civil conflict was not going to be over quick and more funds needed to be raised. In 1862, a new revenue act was established which superseded the previous one and gave our country a few features we are quite familiar with today. The first being a progressive rate income tax. Instead of a flat amount of 3% for people making over $800 it was changed to those making over $600 were to pay 3% and those making over $10,000 were to pay 5%. Although not nearly as complicated as it is today, it still increased the revenue of the government dramatically with top earners funding the largest majority of the revenue brought in to the government. The other familiar element we were given was a Commission of Internal Revenue, today we know them as the Internal Revenue Service or IRS. Both elements familiar to us today can directly be attributed to the need for revenue during the Civil War.

One feature of the Revenue Act of 1862 I find very interesting and rarely discussed is the temporary nature of it. The Revenue Act actually called for the entire measure to be terminated in 1866. Although it actually took until 1872 for the income tax to be repealed; the reality is that government officials believed at that time all revenue for the United States, during peace time, could be attained from excise taxes alone. The income tax actually remained dormant for nearly 20 years until the late nineteenth century when it was reintroduced.  

So how do we look at the revenue acts of the Civil War and place them into the context of today's government? Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying: 
 "...a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
However is Jefferson's comment even relevant today or not? Do we look to the founders of our country for answers on handling this or do we forge our own future? Is our system of government working with the construct that they were in the 1790s or the 1860s? The governments of that time worked within the notion that federal government had responsibilities to make treaties, carry out diplomacy which involved trade agreements, make war and sustain defense, as well as build and/or maintain the infrastructure at home. Although exceptions can be found with presidents such as Jefferson, Jackson, and Polk who towed the line of Constitutionality, they rarely moved outside this construct. It has really only been over the last 75 years that our government has chosen to take "promote the general welfare" to a different level. Is this right or wrong? Well this debate is what truly differentiates the conservative view point from the liberal one that we see in politics today. It is from this perspective that one would view tax-cuts as a must or not necessary. This debate can be argued and discussed at length with truly no right or wrong answer in my opinion it comes down to ones principles. Truly knowing what you believe is the right path and knowing why you believe it. However whether you lean on the left side or right of the debate knowing where it all came from and why is important.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vandals Destroy 2000-year-old Tree

I am completely amazed sometimes at people's complete disregard for sacred relics of history. No matter if you subscribed to ones religion or not one must seek respect for the history behind it. Tragically the Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury in England was maliciously cut down by vandals the other night. The tree is visited by thousands of people every year who pray before it and seek to be close to something that legend has it was forged from a staff used by Christ himself. Joseph of Arimathea, the great uncle of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is said to have visited England after Christ's crucifixion. While there and grasping the Holy Grail he thrust the staff into the ground and planted the seed which eventually became this tree. The tree itself even survived the English Civil War when Roundheads cut the tree down however locals were able to salvage it from the roots that remained. Keeping its location secret the tree was replanted in 1951 on the Glastonbury hill. Experts have recently verified that the tree is of Middle Eastern origin, giving rise to the truth behind the legend. The uniqueness of the tree also extends to the only two times of year it blooms which is Easter and Christmas time. In fact, a sprig from the tree is cut and sent to the Queen of England every year and sits atop the dining table for the holiday season. One can only hope that the locals will be able to salvage the tree once again and bring it back to life.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

What is the History Behind... Christmas Tree Lights

The first recorded lit Christmas Tree dates as far back as 1660. Which would make us believe that Christians sprang the tradition of an evergreen and lights from the notion of lighting a candle to send ones prayers to heaven or a rememberance of Christ's birth through fire. The irony is that the tradition of evergreens and lights during the winter season comes from a pagan tradition attempting to celebrate life during nature's dead period in winter. I absolutely love mentalfloss.com and believe they do a great job at informing you of the information you never thought to learn. Connect yourself through the link below to learn more about the history of Christmas Lights. Yule find it absolutely fascinating and have a Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remembering Pearl Harbor

If anyone knows my Uncle you know that he loves World War II. Watching World War II movies with him is fun because we will talk history, strategy, and also the weaponry. He has always had a keen ability to name the type of tank, plane, or machine gun from the war and even point out that the tank they are using isn't accurate for that country, time, or place. Aside from just talking about World War II and enjoying our discussions on it he has privileged me with a few Christmas gifts that I cherish closely. One is an authentic World War 2 helmet, completely redone to its original quality with a spade placed on the side (Can anyone name what unit this represents?). I will never forget his oldest son walking up to me after I opened it and admired it for a while and he stated, "You better like that it cost my dad a lot of money." Then last Christmas he gave me a CD which contains 24 straight hours of radio coverage following the breaking news of the invasion of Normandy. It is absolutely fascinating to listen to the coverage of the events as they are happening, listening to the false and misleading information coming in from Germany radio and the news broadcaster thinking quickly on his feet as new information pores in. Consider for a moment what that time period must have been like to live through. Not just as a soldier but also as a citizen back home. Trying your best to live a normal life and go to work and do what you can for the war effort. December 7th always reminds me of this sacrifice. It reminds me of what so many men and women went through during World War II. Not just the sacrifice of the soldier on the battlefield but also those at home. I'm also reminded of my Uncle and how we have the honor or learning about those brave men and women who fought, bled, and died for our country. December 7, 1941 is a day that needs to continue to live in infamy. We need to spend a moment reminding ourselves of what this country has gone through in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today. So many lives lost however their memory must never be forgotten and always honored.

If you want to learn more about the Attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, visit the website below. It is very interactive and well put together site. Spend a few minutes today learning about what this day means to our nation's history.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Our Nation Divided: Georgia Acknowledges Succession was Because of Slavery

We are continuing our series which will last over the next four years on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. In that entire time span it was been difficult to get a southern state to admit that slavery was a central component to their succession from the Union. Although everyone acknowledges that there were many factors involved in the break from the North it is obvious that slavery was that major element. On January 19, 2011 Georgia will commemorate the 150th anniversary of their vote for succession from the United States of America and the Georgia Historical Society will dedicate a historical marker in Milledgeville which was the site of the Georgia statehouse in 1861. The marker makes a free admission that the succession from the Union was a direct result of the election of an anti-slavery Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln. Many Southern intellectuals have always held onto the public persona that the South succeed to defend states-rights and aggression from the North on their way of life. While this is true, the South was trying to maintain their economic, religious, and political position because it was so different from the North. The reality was that if slavery was not a component in all three of those phases then the differences would not be as drastic. This really is quite possibly the first admission by a Southern state entity admitting that slavery was a real factor in the cause of the Civil War.

Look for the next major post of "A Nation was Divided" when we look back at the first state to secede from the Union, South Carolina on December 20th.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today in History: Rosa Parks Refused to Move

A special thanks to Google for commemorating and reminding us of one of the greatest acts of civil disobedience in our Nation's history. It was on December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks, a seamstress, was heading home from work and sat in front of the "black" section on the bus. When refusing to move so a white person could sit in her spot she was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Now Parks was not the first or the last individual to be arrested for such an act but it was her defiance and arrest that sparked a 381-day boycott of the busing system headed by a little known minister at the time named Martin Luther King Jr. That boycott helped eventually desegregate the buses however it was not until 1964 and the Civil Rights Act that all desegregation took effect. What an amazing story she has and a special thanks should go out to Rosa Parks today for her courage and determination to stand up to injustice. Her courage helped change our country for the better.
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