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This Day in History - A Re-blog

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A daily dose of American History.

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23 Feb, Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge

This Day in History: Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge On this day in 1778, Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge. His task? To better train and organize the soldiers in the American army.   In some ways, it’s a bit odd that Steuben landed in Valley Forge—of all places. He was a former Prussian officer who’d been looking for work with the British, French or Austrian armies. He’d been unsuccessful, an

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20 Feb, Abraham & Mary Lincoln lose their son

This Day in History: Abraham & Mary Lincoln lose their son On this day in 1862, Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, passes away. He’d been gravely ill for weeks. It was the second time that Abraham and Mary Lincoln would lose a child.   Unfortunately, only one of the Lincolns’ four sons would live past the age of 18.    

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19 Feb, William Prescott, a hero of Bunker Hill

This Day in History: William Prescott, a hero of Bunker Hill On this day in 1726, William Prescott is born in Groton, Massachusetts. He is best known for his role in the Battle of Bunker Hill.   You may remember that Americans besieged the British in Boston following the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775. A few months into the siege, Americans became worried that British General Thomas Gage might try to posses

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14 Feb, The Legend of Nancy Hart, Revolutionary War Heroine

This Day in History: The Legend of Nancy Hart, Revolutionary War Heroine On this day in 1779, an unsung Revolutionary War heroine fights gallantly in the Battle of Kettle Creek! Or . . . maybe she didn’t. Nancy Hart’s story is “too good not to tell,” as one historian notes, but it also “seem[s] to hang in a mythical realm somewhere between fiction and history.”  

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13 Feb, Mammy Kate saves a future Governor

This Day in History: Mammy Kate saves a future Governor At about this time in 1779, a slave known as Mammy Kate performs a heroic deed. Or did she? “Mammy Kate’s story,” one historian concludes, “is an example of how hard it is to discover the facts of the life of a woman who lived 200 years ago, especially one who was enslaved.”   The story handed down through the ages has survived because of oral tradition and narratives

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12 Feb, “Operation Homecoming” & James B. Stockdale

This Day in History: “Operation Homecoming” & James B. Stockdale On this day in 1973, nearly 150 American POWs are released by the North Vietnamese. In the weeks that followed, 591 American prisoners—both military and civilian—would finally come home as a part of “Operation Homecoming.”     Stockdale receives his Medal of Honor

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11 Feb, The origins of the “Sons of Liberty”

This Day in History: The origins of the “Sons of Liberty” On this day in 1765, the term “Sons of Liberty” is used in a letter written by Jared Ingersoll, Sr. The term would soon be adopted by many American patriots, and these “Sons of Liberty” would fight against British tyranny.   Perhaps most memorably, of course, the Sons of Liberty were responsible for the Boston Tea Party!

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05 Feb, A brawl in Congress

This Day in History: A brawl in Congress On this day in 1798, trouble brews in the United States Congress. Bitter feelings would ultimately lead to an open brawl on the floor of the House of Representatives.   The nation was then facing some difficult issues. The country was in a Quasi-War with France, and there was a lot of disagreement about how to proceed. But you don’t think the congressmen were brawling about those t

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04 Feb 2021, SO WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH GUN REGISTRATION? EVERYTHING!

SO WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH GUN REGISTRATION? EVERYTHING! Posted by Matt Bracken | Feb 4, 2021 | History, Matt Bracken, Opinion, Uncategorized | 35 | So what’s the matter with gun registration? (This is part of “Dear Mr. Security Agent,” written in 2013, and it is now part of “The Bracken Collection: Essays and Short Fiction, 2010 to 2019.”) To say that Turkey did not enjoy a smooth transition from being the seat of the collapsing Ottoman E

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04 Feb, George Washington is unanimously elected President

This Day in History: George Washington is unanimously elected President On this day in 1789, George Washington is unanimously elected President of the United States by the Electoral College. He would be elected unanimously, again, during the election of 1792. Washington was the first and only U.S. President to be unanimously elected.      

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31 Jan, Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier

This Day in History: Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier On this day in 1919, a baby boy is born to poor sharecroppers in Georgia. Jack “Jackie” Roosevelt Robinson would go on to become the first black man to play Major League Baseball during the 20th Century. Robinson had a rough time of it when he was little. His father left his mother, who ended up moving her entire family to California. Mallie Robinson had

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30 Jan, Isaiah Thomas, “most wanted” by the British

This Day in History: Isaiah Thomas, “most wanted” by the British On this day in 1749, a little-known Revolutionary War printer and patriot is born. Isaiah Thomas would work so effectively against the British that he was on a “most wanted” list of sorts: The British wanted him dead.   Early in the American Revolution, a circular letter advised British officers to put men such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock “to the sword,

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A Special Message From the Writer

If we wait for life to be perfectly safe again, then we will never again start living. Life is never perfectly safe. We used to know that. We used to tackle the challenge of life, head-on. What's happened to us? We are a people who took on the biggest military power in the world. We lost husbands, sons, mothers, & daughters--but we won a Revolution. Then we created a new form of government, knowing it could flounder & fail. But it didn't. We sent pioneers across unsettled land,

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23 Jan, The pacifist who signed the Declaration

This Day in History: The pacifist who signed the Declaration On this day in 1730, a signer of the Declaration of Independence is born in Princeton, New Jersey. Joseph Hewes was born in a Quaker family, which would have made him naturally reluctant to support the need for a war. Nevertheless, he came to the conclusion that a Revolution was inevitable, and he signed the Declaration during the summer of 1776.

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22 Jan, Molly Pitcher Passes Away

This Day in History, Molly Pitcher Passes Away On this day in 1832, Revolutionary War patriot Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley passes away. Mary is often accepted as the woman behind the folk hero “Molly Pitcher,” and regular readers of this page have heard me tell her story before. But did you know that there is actually a fair amount of controversy regarding who the “true” Molly Pitcher is?   Some fervently contend that the “real” Molly Pitcher was not Mary after all. They believe

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22 Jan, The Legend of Molly Pitcher

This Day in History: The Legend of Molly Pitcher *Sorry if this is mildly repetitive to yesterdays post, I simply re-blog her work* On this day in 1832, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, one of the patriotic women behind the folk hero “Molly Pitcher,” dies in Pennsylvania.   Who on earth is Molly Pitcher?! Have you ever heard of her?    

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19 Jan, Hedy Lamarr, an unexpected heroine

This Day in History: Hedy Lamarr, an unexpected heroine On this day in 2000, Hedy Lamarr passes away. She was a well-known actress—but also a scientist who made a huge contribution to the technological revolution. You rely upon her work every day when you use your cell phone. She’s even been called the “Mother of Wi-Fi.”   Nevertheless, many today have no idea what she accomplished.

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Jan 15, "Democracy is a volcano"

This Day in History: "Democracy is a volcano" On this day in 1788, Fisher Ames addresses delegates at the Massachusetts state ratifying convention. Would his state ratify the U.S. Constitution and join the Union? Ames certainly hoped so.   Nevertheless, the statements he made on this day so long ago may sound shocking to modern ears.  

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This Week in History, Congress on the move

This Day in History: Congress on the move During this week in 1785, the Confederation Congress relocates from New Jersey to New York. Did you know that Congress changed its location 12 times in the years during and immediately after the American Revolution?   Perhaps it’s unsurprising. Americans were fighting a King who wouldn't hesitate to hang congressional delegates for treason. Wouldn’t you always be on the

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9 Jan, George Washington, patron of aviation pioneers?

This Day in History: George Washington, patron of aviation pioneers? On this day in 1793, the first successful balloon flight is made from American soil. Did you know that President George Washington was in the audience for the occasion?   Washington had been interested in hot air balloons for years. “I have only news paper Accts of the Air Balloons,” he wrote a friend in 1784, “to which I do not know what crede

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8 Jan, Andrew Jackson defeats the British at New Orleans

This Day in History: Andrew Jackson defeats the British at New Orleans On this day in 1815, Americans defeat British forces at the Battle of New Orleans. Did you know that we used to celebrate January 8 as a national holiday, with fireworks and celebrations, just like we do the Fourth of July?   Several weeks ago, I made a similar statement about “Evacuation Day,” the once-celebrated (now forgotten) New York holiday. What

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7 Jan, Israel Putnam, a legend in his own time

This Day in History: Israel Putnam, a legend in his own time On this day in 1718, Israel Putnam is born. He was a Major General in the American Revolution, but you may best recognize one quote sometimes attributed to him: “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”   Putnam was a bit of a legend in his time. In fact, he was extolled to such a great extent that it can be pretty hard to tell which stories are true a

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01 Jan, George Washington's Second Battle at Trenton

This Day in History: George Washington's Second Battle at Trenton On this day in 1777, the “second battle of Trenton” occurs. Americans had won an astounding victory only one week earlier. Now, the British were back, trying to recover the ground they’d lost.   Much had happened in one short week. On December 25, Washington’s men made a difficult trip across the Delaware River. On the 26th, they launched a surprise attack o

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28 Dec, George Washington’s stunning victory at Trenton

This Day in History: George Washington’s stunning victory at Trenton On this day in 1776, General George Washington wins the Battle of Trenton. 1776 had been a difficult year. The victory provided a much-needed morale boost.   As discussed in yesterday’s post, the beginning of December found Washington and British General William Howe on opposite sides of the Delaware River. As the weather deteriorated, Howe had

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This week in History, Apollo 8's Christmas at the moon

This Day in History: Apollo 8's Christmas at the moon On this day in 1968, Apollo 8 splashes down in the ocean. The crew had spent Christmas Eve orbiting the moon! The three men famously saw the first “Earthrise” as they came out from behind the lunar surface that day.   What a way to celebrate Christmas?! They snapped the attached photo, forever memorializing their experience.

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