On this day in 1799, one of the founding fathers of United States of America and the first president George Washington dies at the age of 67 in his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Born in 1732 to a family of planters who owned tobacco plantations and slaves, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, George Washington had his first direct military experience as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia colonial militia in 1754, when on behalf of Virginia governor, he led a small crusade against the French in the Ohio River valley. In 1756, during the French and Indian War, Washington took control of the defenses of the western Virginian frontiers. When the war's battleground moved somewhere else, he resigned from his military post, went back to his family's business and won a seat at Virginia's House of Burgesses. The next two decades saw Washington openly opposed the ever-increasing British taxation and oppression of the American settlements. He was selected to represent Virginia at the Continental Congress in 1774, and after the American Revolution crises began in 1775, Washington was chosen as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. However, some members of the Continental Congress opposed his appointment, arguing that there were men that are more competent and suitable for the position, but he was eventually selected because of his leadership roles as a Virginian who played a key role in uniting the Southern colonies.With his unprepared and poorly equipped civilian army, General Washington led an effective war that the defeated the British forces in America while urging the French army to join forces with the colonists. On October 19, 1781, British General Charles Lord Cornwallis' surrendered the British army at Yorktown, Virginia.When the war ended, Washington returned to his estate at Mount Vernon but returned in 1787 when he was called back into politics to chair the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Unknowingly to him, the drafters of the constitution had created the office of the president with his name in mind, and in February 1789, Washington was unanimously chosen as the president of the United States of America.Washington strived to unite the country and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. He said of his administration, "Here I am, walking a new path. There is hardly any piece of my actions, which may not from this point forward be use as a point of reference." He effectively implemented the executive power, and made good use of great minds for example, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet and did not use the presidency to cause tyranny. He won a reelection in 1792 and later rejected a third term bid.He finally retired in 1797 at his estate in Virginia. Two years later, Washington died of acute laryngitis. His longtime friend Henry Lee gave an acclaimed tribute to the father of the United States: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his people."
Have you ever wanted to have a nickname that people would seem meaningful and that it would go down in the history books? What about what does a person have to do in order to achieve such notoriety? Good or bad, people throughout history have been remembered for their deeds as well as the nickname he/she had earned while alive. One such person who has been remembered for almost three hundred years was not because of his good deeds but quite the opposite. Edward Teach, known to the world of the past and present as Blackbeard, is killed around North Carolina’s Outer Banks on November 22nd, 1718 while engaged in a bloody conflict with a British navy force originating from Virginia.Edward Teach was thought of as hailing from England and it was assumed in 1713 that he began his career as a pirate by joining a pirate ship commanded by Benjamin Hornigold of the Caribbean Sloop. Hornigold would soon retire from being a pirate as well as accepting an offer from the British crown of a general amnesty in 1717. Now that Hornigold was retired, Teach decided to take command of a seized twenty-six-gun French merchantman in which he renamed the ship the “Queen Anne’s Revenge” as well as taking its’ armament and increasing it to forty guns. The Queen Anne’s Revenge became the flagship of a fleet of pirates over the next six months that had over 200 men on four vessels. Being the most notorious pirate of his time, he eventually became known as Blackbeard for his obvious long, dark beard but also was said to be able to scare his enemies by setting his beard on fire during battle. His pirate fleet spread terror through the coast of North America as well as the Caribbean while their cruelty towards others was well-known.Despite his reputation, the infamous Blackbeard finally saw his Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwrecked with another vessel. This event forced him to abandon a third vessel and a large number of his force due to lack of supplies. Blackbeard took his last vessel and sent sail to meet with Governor Charles Eden in Bath in North Carolina. The governor made an agreement that Blackbeard must give a part of his sizable treasure to Eden in order to secure a pardon; Blackbeard agreed to the terms.However, the North Carolina planters had other ideas as per their request; Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia sent a British naval force to North Carolina in order to confront Blackbeard under the command of Lieutenant Robert Maynard. What followed was a bloody battle at Ocracoke Island and Blackbeard’s forces were defeated on November 22nd; Blackbeard was also killed during the conflict. Meanwhile, those who believe in Blackbeard’s legend say that the man responsible for seizing over thirty vessels during his short pirating career; it is said that before dying Blackbeard had received twenty sword lacerations and five musket-ball wounds.
There are those who say that man makes his own destiny while others feel that life has been pre-ordained. Looking back at American history, it makes me wonder which view Continental Commander in Chief General George Washington would believe in if he knew what the end result of a certain decision was. The fateful day in question happened on November 21st, 1776 when Washington sent a letter to General Charles Lee in Westchester County, New York to order Lee to come to New Jersey with his troops because Fort Lee was no longer theirs.Washington was forced to wait impatiently for Lee and his reinforcements to arrive because he took his time to cross the Delaware River in order to get to New Jersey as he wanted to stay in New York as long as possible. Another reason for the delay was his feeling of being slighted by Washington for being given control of the Continental Army. Lee finished military school when he was twelve and was immediately given a commission in the British army as well as serving in the Seven Years’ War in North America; so, he had no desire to rush to Washington’s aid. The Mohawk had named Lee “Boiling Water” for his well-known intemperance and temper. His marriage to a Mohawk woman made him an adopted tribesman although his desire for prostitutes had not changed. This proved to be his downfall as on December 13th, Lee was continuing to waste time before joining Washington and decided to ride into New Jersey, without much protection, to look for female companionship at the Widow White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge. Two days later, Lee found himself that morning being captured by British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the 16th Queen’s Light Dragoons.Ironically being former soldiers in the British army, Lee and Tarleton were now captive and captor. Lee’s unsuccessful attempts to acquire a lucrative royal position led him to leave in 1773 to the colonies and immediately sided with the Patriot cause. Tarleton in a London club vowed to hunt down the now traitor to Britain and remove his head! Although Lee was originally grateful that Tarleton had not kept his vow, the conceited general might have wanted an immediate end to his humiliation as he was removed from the tavern to New York City clothed only in his nightdress.While Washington tried his best to secure Lee’s release, The British celebrated the capture of the best-trained commander of the Patriots. Surprisingly, Lee was happy with being a prisoner as he offered to his captors a battle plan from fancy accommodations. Also, Lee had his own servant who cleaned his three rooms while most likely served his wine and food in civilized fashion. All things must come to an end as he was set free in May of 1778 and reported to Valley Forge; Britain failed to follow through with his battle plan. Washington and Lee had many quarrels which found Lee being suspended in December of 1778 from the army and in 1780 was finally dismissed.
Traditionally, it is not uncommon for a structure to start off being called one name and then changed to another at a later date. Sometimes the reason can be related to someone’s act of heroism or it may have to do with an individual being disgraced. Looking back in history, there are plenty of examples that demonstrates this which includes one stemming back several centuries earlier. Going back to the days of the American Revolution, there was a structure known at one time as Fort Washington. However, British Commander in Chief General William Howe decides to rename it “Fort Knyphausen” on November 18th, 1776 in honor of Lieutenant General Wihelm von Knyphausen as he has rushed the post five days before.Fort Washington was the scene of an assault launched by Knyphausen on November 16th, 1776 using a force comprised of 5,000 Redcoats and 3,000 mercenaries at the tallest point and the northern end of Manhattan Island. Wihelm met harsh resistance from inside by Patriot riflemen through the course of the morning; however, the Patriots could no longer hold the upper hand by the afternoon and the result was an order of surrender was issued by garrison commander Robert Magaw. The Hessians were now in control of important supplies and ammunition as well as taking 3,000 Patriots prisoners. Unfortunately, a dire fate was waiting for the captured Patriots as a large number of them were anchored in New York Harbor aboard British prison ships where they died.Patriots Margaret and John Corbin of Virginia were among the 96 wounded and 53 dead. After John had perished in action, Margaret took over for her husband the canyon where she loaded, cleaned and fired the weapon until she became wounded severely. Margaret survived as well as being the first female to have battled for the Continental Army; tragically, she could no longer use her left arm.An officer for Magaw, William Demont, had two weeks prior left the Fifth Pennsylvania Battalion and became a traitor by giving information regarding the defense and whereabouts of Fort Washington to British Intelligence. Demont had now for the Patriots become their first traitor and his treachery significantly contributed to the victory for Knyphausen.Presently, Fort Washington stood where now exists Bennet Park that rests in the Washington Heights area of New York City. The park is not far away from the George Washington Bridge while being at the corner of 183rd Street and of Fort Washington Avenue. Another point of interest is that Fort Washington Point and Fort Washington Park reside under the site beside the Hudson River. While tourists may stop to admire the area, historians will remember the location as one of the tragic battles that occurred during the American Revolution.
When it comes to compromise, it is almost a guarantee that some time will pass before both sides can agree on a given plan. Sometimes it can be achieved in a short span of time while other times it can be longer; then again, there are cases where no compromise can be reached. One example of this process goes back centuries to the colonial times of our fore-fathers. In fact, Congress had to find a way for everyone to be comfortable with the Articles of Confederation that was finally sent to all of the states for ratification on November 17th, 1777.Congress had signed the Articles two days prior but it took roughly sixteen months of debating before a compromise could be reached. Even though it took Congress about a year-and-a-half before they would sign the Articles, the quarreling between Maryland and Virginia over land claims had postponed the final agreement for roughly four more years. The last state to finally give permission to accept the Articles was Maryland on March 1st, 1781; this would now become the outline for the legitimate government of the United States. This document would lead our nation until 1789 where the present Constitution of the United States was implemented. There is an important distinction between the U.S. Constitution and the Articles of Confederation as the states authority can be best comprehended by comparing specific lines of each document. The beginning of the Articles of Confederation says, “To all to whom these Present shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States…” However, the Constitution starts off in contrast by saying, “We the People of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”When looking at the Articles of Confederation, it becomes apparent that the emphasis of importance is on the states than on the people or individual. Another line that these claims become more explicit are found in Article II that says, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”Even though the states were committed to the Articles of Confederation, almost five years after this document was ratified saw leading Americans reach the conclusion that a mistake was made. The new system was inadequate to fulfill this new government, so Americans once again overthrew another government in almost twenty years but this time it was done peacefully. The heart of the discussion was should a confederation be formed by sovereign states or should sovereign people create a federal government; the decision of how the government should be shaped was in the hands of the new American people.History would remember how the American Revolution transformed what would become the United States. Americans from 1776-1787 went from existing under a sovereign king, to living in states that were sovereign and finally becoming a sovereign people.
When finding out that the so-called Olive Branch Petition was rejected by England on November 12th, 1775, Abigail Adams decides to write a letter to her husband. She writes, “Let us separate, they are unworthy to be our Brethren. Let us renounce them and instead of supplications as formerly for their prosperity and happiness, let us beseech the almighty to blast their councils and bring to Nought all their devices.” The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by Congress the previous July and written by John Dickinson. The purpose of it was directed towards King George III in an effort for reconciliation between Great Britain and the colonies. Dickson desperately hoped to avoid a permanent break with the king explained opposition to British policies from the colonies saying that: “Your Majesty’s Ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defense, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.” Their discontent was phrased this way as Congress attempted to explain to the king it was the ministerial policy that the American colonists were upset over rather than his own. With a last statement of fidelity to the throne, they ended their plea by saying, “That your Majesty may enjoy long and prosperous reign, and that your descendants may govern your Dominions with honor to themselves and happiness to their subjects, is our sincere prayer.”However, what was presented in the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776 was somewhat different: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”To understand why the language from Congress changed means paying attention to events that occurred roughly one year ago. British Redcoats that were shot at by the militia at Concord and Lexington in April of 1775 were upset with Parliament and not the king. They wanted only great things for each of his subjects around the world since they still trusted him. However, the king’s act of refusing to accept the Olive Branch Petition soon changed their opinion of King George. The main reasons for arms to be taken up by Americans were now different.The response from Abigail Adams basically put to words what the colonists were thinking which was that Patriots prayed that the rights of colonists that were being taking away by Parliament was done without the king’s knowledge; therefore, the petition would give the king the opportunity to come to the defense of his subjects. George III demonstrated to Patriots like Abigail that he knew what Parliament was doing by not even looking at the sent petition. The English-born radical Thomas Paine only increased the patriotic rage of the Americans with his publication of his persuading pamphlet in January of 1776 that was against the monarchy. Paine felt they had permitted “crowned ruffians” to “impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears.”
Going as far back as to the American Revolution, a resolution was agreed upon by the Continental Congress stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” to be used as landing forces for the newly assembled Continental Navy. Future U.S. president John Adams and taken up in Philadelphia, a resolution brought about the Continental Marines and is today honored as when the United States Marine Corps was born. However, many do not know the history regarding why the Marines were formed in the first place or that there was a time when they were actually disbanded with no thought of ever needing them again.Throughout the Revolutionary War, the first U.S. Marines separated themselves through a variety of important operations that served on both sea and land. The first landing of Marines on a dangerous shore happened when under the command of Captain Samuel Nicholas, took a group of Marines to take control of New Province Island that resides in the Bahamas on March of 1776 that was under British control. Captain Samuel is known as the first officer that was commissioned in the Continental Marines and is also recognized as the first Marine commandant. The Continental Navy demobilized and its’ Marines went their separate as a result of America achieving their independence in 1783. With growing conflict occurring at sea with Revolutionary France a decade later, the U.S. Congress decided to formally create in May of 1798 the U.S. Navy. President John Adams signed the bill a mere two months later on July 11th that designated the U.S. Marine Corps as a fixed military force that would fall under the authority of the Department of the Navy. During the beginning of the 19th century, U.S. Marines were involved in the so-called Quasi-War with France and later battled against the Barbary pirates in North Africa. After that, Marines have been involved in the United States wars and in a majority of times were the first soldiers to engage the enemy. Today, more than 300 landings on hostile shores have been executed by Marines.With the expansion of the United States’ population over the centuries, the amount of enlisted Marines has increased as well. Presently, the number of reserve and active-duty Marines totals over 200,000. They are stationed into three divisions with one being in Camp Pendleton, California; another at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and the last at Okinawa, Japan. Strategically placed, each division has a minimum or more than one expeditionary unit that when given at least two weeks’ notice, they will be prepared to go ahead with important operations no matter where they may be needed in the world. Expeditionary units of Marines are completely self-reliant as they use their own air force, tanks and artillery. Semper Fidelis is the motto of the Marines in Latin and translated into English means “Always Faithful.”
The year is 1775 Major General Sir William Howe, the new commander in chief of the British army, makes a serious declaration to those who reside in Boston on this day. Rather than speaking to the citizens up close, he decides to deliver this notice from another location. Making his speech in Boston from the British headquarters, the Major orders citizens to become part of military companies as well as forbidding any individual from exiting the city. The reason for this was for everyone to do everything possible to maintain an effective and disciplined government within Boston. Roughly four months ago, a man by the name of George Washington had accepted the command of the Continental Army on July 3rd, 1775. The new commander, a veteran of the war between the Indian and the French as well as being a distinguish Virginia planter, was given the position of commander in chief by the Continental Congress just two weeks prior to the attempt to turn the impromptu attack of Boston. This was started by New Englanders that were furious over the Battle of Concord and Lexington that occurred the past April into an organized congressionally revolt within the colony against the harsh rule by the parliament. The spontaneous attack of Boston reached its’ greatest success when Israel Putnam and William Prescott led New Englanders who accomplished wounding 838 and killing 226 members of world-renowned British army until June 17th, 1775, in which they withdrew their rag-tag group from Bunker Hill.Despite what they had accomplished and perceived to be a tremendous victory several weeks ago, Washington seemed unimpressed when first meeting these men who considered themselves an army. Thinking back to the war between the Indian and the French, the stupidity apparent in that war was evident in these enlisted men; they had grown accustomed to being commanded by their neighbors in militias instead of elected officers. Immediately, Washington ordered that officers should act accordingly while the enlisted men show the proper respect toward rank. While this practice showed signs of working with this first army, it was inevitable that the New Englanders would return to their lands and as 1775 was reaching its’ end, Washington had no choice but to work with new soldiers in 1776.Nevertheless, the British would finally leave Boston on March 27th, 1776. This was due to Washington being able to successfully take over Dorchester Heights some 13 days earlier. The victory was obtained by using a cannon, acquired at Fort Ticonderoga from the British on May 10th, 1775, that was let loose on the British-held city. Being fearful more of their own cannon being used on them instead of the Patriot soldiers, the British fled and the Boston citizens finally could move around in their own city; something they had not been able to do for the past six months.
In 1765, certain influential members of Colonial American society began to protest the British government. They felt that Parliament had no right to pass laws without at least boasting representative from the colonies. Liberty fever spread across the thirteen colonies, and in 1775, Massachusetts militiamen engaged British Redcoats for the first time, leading to the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). One July 4, 1776, after a long debate in the sweltering Philadelphia summer, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. It was official. America was its own nation. The next five years saw stiff fighting across the former British holdings. Though the Continental Army was outgunned, outclassed, and never far from starvation or nakedness, they managed to impress France, Britain’s sworn enemy, to support their cause. General George Washington, a gentleman planter from Virginia and former British Army officer, proved a tremendous leader, and by 1781, the war was hugely unpopular in Britain (think Vietnam) and the Redcoats were unable to stand long against the Americans. What had started the war as a rag-tag collection of farmers, blacksmiths, lawyers, slaves, Indians, freedmen, and plantation owners had become, in six short years, a capable fighting force more than able to stand up to the world’s greatest army.In 1781, General Cornwallis, one of the Queen’s top commanders in the American theater, withdrew to the coastal Virginia City of Yorktown after a number of hit-and-run attacks by men under the Marquis de Lafayette. Cornwallis’s decision to entrench at Yorktown was not his own: He had been ordered to choose a position on the Virginia Peninsula by his superior, Sir Henry Clinton. Cornwallis surely must have known that he was backing himself into a corner, but he did as he was told, reaching the city in August with several hundred battle-weary men. At once they set about fortifying the city.Knowing Cornwallis’s position, Washington, who was in New York at the time, ordered Lafayette to make sure that Cornwallis didn’t escape. Then, with 2,500 of his own men, he linked up with a French regiment of 4,000 under the Count de Rochambeau and began marching south. The plan was to decapitate Cornwallis’s army once and for all with help from a French naval fleet commanded by the Count de Grasse.In early September, Cornwallis’s expected reinforcements failed to break through a French blockade. By the end of the month, the French and Americans had completely surrounded Yorktown and began overtaking the city’s outer defenses.After a near two week siege, General Cornwallis, on October 19, 1781, surrendered his forces to Washington and Lafayette. Though the war would continue for another two years, the victory at Yorktown effectively ended hostilities in the colonies proper, and convinced not only Britain but also the world that America was here to stay.
In 1632, the Calvert family was given a land grant by Maryland up to the 40th parallel. In 1681, Charles II gave a royal charter to William Penn, thus creating Pennsylvania. Because Charles had taken his information from an inaccurate map, the charter included land belonging to Maryland and the Calverts. Matters were further complicated in 1682 when Pennsylvania took possession of modern-day Delaware, territory that Maryland considered its own.In 1730, settlers in the disputed area took up arms against each other in a series of violent clashes. In 1736, Maryland militiamen were sent into present-day Pennsylvania by Lord Baltimore. During one scuffle, a Marylander killed a Lancaster County, PA, Sherriff’s deputy. When Pennsylvania demanded Maryland arrest him for murder, Maryland made him a captain in the militia. In 1760, the British Crown, sick of continuing violence, demanded something be done. Two surveyors – Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon – were given the task of defining the border. They began in 1763 and wrapped up on October 18, 1767, determining the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes.In the Missouri Compromise of 1820, it was decided that states north of the Mason-Dixon Line would be free while those south of it would be slave-holding. This led directly to the Mason-Dixon Line becoming a symbol of the cultural differences between the North and the South. The North was free and largely industrialized, while the South retained its use of slavery and relied heavily on agriculture. To non-Americans, the most apt comparison one can make is of the Berlin Wall. Though only a few feet from each other, East and West Germany were vastly different in terms of culture, government, and society. The differences between lands flanking the Mason-Dixon Line weren’t quite as stark, but as time wore on, it became apparent that the North and the South might as well be two different countries. In 1861, the South attempted to break away from the Union. The North fought to keep them from leaving. The American Civil War (1861-1865) remains even today the bloodiest conflict in the history of the United States, claiming the lives of 620,000 people (all other wars combined claimed 644,000).Today, the Antebellum South, with its stately plantation homes and Southern belles, is a romanticized memory. All things that go with it as well. Including the Mason-Dixon Line, perhaps one of the most well-known borders in all of history.
On September 25th of 1789, the Bill of Rights was passed by the first Congress of the United States. Congress approved twelve amendments to the United States Constitution, and sent them to the states to be ratified. These twelve amendments were known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was adopted from the English Bill of Rights of 1689, and also from Virginia's Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776. Some ideas were even taken from earlier documents, such as the Magna Carta from 1215. In June 8th of 1789, Representative (and future president) James Madison introduced nine constitutional amendments to the House of Representatives. This Bill of Rights had previously been introduced at the Philadelphia Convention, which took place in Philadelphia between May 14th and September 17th of 1787. At the convention, it was learned that James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and quite a few others wanted to create a new government instead of fixing the old one. At first, Madison had been an opponent of the Bill of Rights, calling it “parchment barriers,” which offered only an illusion of protection.The 55 delegates who drafted the Constitution (including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton) are known as the Founding Fathers of our nation. Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the convention. At first, ratification opportunities were reserved for the federal government. The door opened for state governments sometime in the 1860s.The United States Bill of Rights was designed to protect the rights of the people of America. The provisions included freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. It also provides for the right to a fair trial and the right to bear arms. Finally, it states that any powers not reserved for the federal government are powers of the states and the people. The United States Bill of Rights is entrenched, meaning it cannot be modified or appealed by the legislature of a country through any normal procedure.In December of 1791, Virginia became the 10th of fourteen states (at that time) to accept ten of the twelve Bill of Rights amendments. This gave America the two-thirds majority of states it needed to make the Bill of Rights legal. Soon thereafter, the Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution. So, the Bill of Rights of the United States basically refers to the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It basically guarantees citizens their personal freedom, and limits government power over the people.Of the two amendments not ratified, one involved a population system of representation, and the other had to do with the payment of the members of Congress. One of these amendments was never ratified. The other one was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.In practice, the rights stated within the Bill of Rights are not always enforced.A copy of the Bill of Rights of the United States is on permanent public display at the National Archives in Washington DC.
On September 21st of 1780, sometime during the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold committed the act of treason. For this, he became so well known that, these days, anyone who switches sides in a conflict (in other words, anyone who is a traitor) might be referred to as a “Benedict Arnold.”It started when American General Benedict Arnold met with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in exchange for a large sum of money, and a high position in the British Army. The plot was unsuccessful, and Benedict Arnold was caught in the act of treason. Once an American Hero, now he was shamed, and the name Benedict Arnold, all of a sudden, became another word for traitor. Benedict Arnold was born in 1741 to a respectable colonial family in Norwich, Connecticut. When he grew up, he was a member of the militia during the French and Indian War, and later joined the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.Benedict Arnold had his good qualities. He was a brave and competent leader. This was a skill that earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general. He distinguished himself in various military campaigns, and even gained the support of George Washington. His successes included the Capture of Ticonderoga in 1775. The following year, Arnold established himself at the battle of Valcour Island, and the battle of Ridgefield, among others. He was injured in the battle of Saratoga, and his combat career ended for a few years.For some reason, in 1777, five men of lesser rank were promoted to ranks above him. Over the next few years, Benedict Arnold withdrew from combat, got married, and lived an elite lifestyle in Philadelphia. This sent him heavily into debt. Any of these events might have influenced his decision to become a traitor. Even sheer greed may have been the motivating factor.In 1780, Benedict Arnold was awarded the position of commanding West Point. Back then, West Point was an American fort on the Hudson River. It did not become a military academy we know today until 1802. From his lofty position at West Point, Arnold contacted the head of the British forces, Sir Henry Clinton, to discuss handing over West Point, and all of the men therein.On September 21st, Benedict Arnold met with John Andre. There, Benedict Arnold became a turncoat by signing the pact. The conspiracy was discovered, and Andre was captured and executed by the colonials. To avoid execution, Arnold fled to the enemy side, where he fought for the British Army in Virginia. Then he fled to Great Britain, and lived in England for the rest of his life, despite that the British did not deliver as promised. After all, the plot was foiled. Benedict Arnold died in London on June 14th of 1801.When the Revolutionary War finally ended in 1783, the colonies had won their independence from Great Britain and became the United States of America, no thanks to Benedict Arnold.
It was on this day, August 7th, in 1782 that George Washington, who was at that time the commander in chief of the Continental Army, felt that there needed to be a badge that symbolizes good merit for soldiers in the military. Pursuing that need, he invented the “Badge for Military Merit,” which was a little badge that resembled a purple heart, with a narrow silver binding. The word “Merit” was stitched right on the face of the badge. In addition to receiving the Purple Heart, a soldier would permit them to pass guards and sentinels without any difficulties ever. The person receiving it will also be added to a “Book of Merit” which will hold all of the people that have received this award.During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington only felt that three of his soldiers were worthy of the Purple Heart. Those three soldiers were Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. However, the badge and the whole concept of the award started to get lost. People weren’t paying attention to it and honestly most likely just forgot about it.That’s when General Charles P. Summerall, who was the chief of staff for the United States’ Army, unsuccessfully tried to bring it back. After a bill was sent to Congress trying to make a return for the “Badge for Military Merit,” Congress would later shut it down. Four years later, General Douglas MacArthur took on the task of trying to do the same thing. This time, he was motivated to get it done by the time of bicentennial of the birth of George Washington. ON February 22, 1932, the United States War Department “announced the creation,” although it was really the re-creation, of the “Order of the Purple Heart.”The Purple Heart is one of the biggest honors a soldier can receive in battle. It is given to soldiers who exemplify the right thing and do something brave and courageous for their country. It’s a high merit that isn’t taken lightly and isn’t just handed to anyone.Marine Sgt. Albert L. Ireland is most known for being the person that has received this merit the most. In World War II, he received five Purple Heart Medals and also received four more in the Korean War. Altogether, he has received a total of nine purple hearts for his efforts. In addition, there were seven other soldiers that received the merit a total of 8 times.In today’s version of the Purple Heart, above the heart is a shield of the coat of arms of George Washington. It’s a white shield that shows two red bars and three stars in chief. It lays between sprays of green leaves. For the invasion of Japan, more than 500,000 Purple Heart medals were made, which are awarded for combat casualties.Some other notable people that have received this award are Bryan Anderson, Robert Leckie, Ron Kovic, John Kerry, Colin Powell, Wesley Clark, Manny Babbitt, Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and John McCain. Lee Marvin also received one.
On July 4th, the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence as they separated from Great Britain and become their own territory. Nearly a month later, the members of Congress joined together and penned their signatures to an enlarged copy of the Declaration of Independence, making it official. All in all, there were 56 delegates that were in attendance that would put pen to paper and sign one of the most important documents our nation has ever written. In fact, there were even some delegates that were in attendance to sign the document that weren’t at the vote that approved the document. However, there are some things to note about the signees of the document. First off, there were a small group of people that refused to sign the document. Those people were: John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, James Duane of New York, Robert Livingston of New York and John Jay of New York. In addition, there were four people that opposed the document, though they would later choose to sign it to keep Congress “unanimous” with the decision. Those people were Carter Braxton of Virginia, George Reed of Delaware, Robert Morris of Pennsylvania and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina.In addition, there were five delegates that were not in attendance, those being James Clinton, John Sullivan, Christopher Gadsden and George Washington – who were all Generals – and Patrick Henry, the governor of Virginia.One month prior to the signing, Richard Henry Lee put forth a resolution that read:“Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”Although that pretty much gives the gist of what the Declaration of Independence said, the Congress decided to still go out and adopt the Declaration of Independence as the official document. Immediately after being written, John Hancock – President of Congress – and his secretary, Charles Thompson, signed the document that was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson. They then sent it to the printers for publication. They ended up making several hand-made copies that would bear the delegates’ signatures individually.The news would quickly spread once it was officially signed into our land. The news would arrive in London just 8 days after it was signed by all of the delegates. However, the document – with all of the signatures – wouldn’t first be printed until January 18, nearly 6 months after it was signed. It was printed by Mary Katharine Goddard.The Declaration of Independence starts out:“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”