Anyone who has been fortunate to visit the Washington Monument must have been impressed on its’ actual size. Others may have been in awe at looking at it and wonder how on Earth was this able to be built? To answer those and other questions that people may wonder about this huge structure, the answers go back to the 1800s when this monument was finally finished as well as further back to why it was constructed in the first place.Workers in Washington, D.C. place a nine-inch aluminum pyramid on top of a white marble tower that finishes the building of an awesome monument to the nation’s original president and the city’s namesake George Washington on December 6th, 1884. Looking back to when the U.S. Congress had basically started, a decision was reached in 1783 that a statue of the great Revolutionary War general, George Washington, should reside close to wherever the site would be for the new Congressional building. Architect Pierre L’Enfant would be asked by President Washington to craft a new federal capital that would reside on the Potomac River in 1791; Pierre left a spot for the statue to be placed at the western end of the sweeping National Mall which is close to the present day location of the monument. Ironically, it wasn’t until thirty-three-years after the death of Washington that someone finally did something to have the monument built in 1832 and the same year saw the birth of the private Washington National Monument Society. They held a design competition and the winner was architect Robert Mills for his elaborate Greek temple-like creation. Then, a fundraising drive was held by the society in an attempt to acquire funds for the creation of the statue. Although this action, as well as appealing to the nations school children for assistance, $230,000 thousand was raised; unfortunately, this was well-short of the needed $1 million. Nevertheless, construction began as the society’s representatives worked to create the monument’s cornerstone; this was a pure white marble block that weighed 24,500 pounds on July 4th, 1848.Regrettably, construction would be halted after six years due to lack of funds. Author Mark Twain would later comment about the unfinished monument by it looking like a “hollow, oversized chimney” around the time of the start of the Civil War in 1861. Sadly, no progress would be made about completing the monument for another fifteen years until the centennial of American independence as authorization for completing the monument’s building by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1876.The monument became the tallest building in the world at that time as it was made of roughly 36,000 blocks of granite and marble that was stacked 555 feet in the air; it was finished in December of 1884. More than 10,000 individuals climbed the roughly 900 steps to the Washington Monument’s top just after the dedication ceremony six months prior. Presently, the trip to the top is made easier through the use of an elevator and each year, more than 800,000 individuals visit the monument. The city passed a law in 1910 that the height of new buildings would be limited to make sure that the tallest building in Washington, D.C. remains the monument; this is a fitting tribute to the individual remembered as the “Father of His Country.”
Usually, individuals remembered throughout history are seen in a positive light when something good is accomplished while viewed in a negative light when something bad is achieved. Sometimes an individual can be remembered as having a favorable reputation while at the same time known for a devastating failure. One such person was born in Harrison County, Ohio on December 5th, 1839. Although Union General George Armstrong Custer is mostly remembered in history for his death in Montana at the Battle of the Big Horn by the Cheyenne Indians in 1876, he is also remembered for his reputation during the Civil War as an effective and dashing cavalry leader.Custer’s reputation was much different years before the Civil War when in 1857, he attended West Point and was known for the many demerits he received for his disobedient behavior as well as earning poor grades. While graduating at the bottom of his class in 1861, Custer would shortly be put into military action despite his showing of bad academic’s. He would be involved in fighting at Virginia in July of 1861 during the First Battle of Bull Run; this occurred roughly two months after his departure from West Point. During the entire war, Custer was a part of the Army of the Potomac. Being a part of almost all the important battles that involved the army, Custer accomplished being the youngest general in the Union army at age 23 in June of 1863. Custer would command the Michigan cavalry brigade in General Judson Kilpatrick’s third Cavalry Division. Custer and his troop known as his “Wolverines” played an important part in halting the cavalry attack by Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, who assisted the victory of the Union in Pennsylvania at the Battle of Gettysburg. Custer achieved this just shortly after his promotion. He would personally lead every attack in battle which helped earn the admiration of his men as a leader. An observer of Custer’s command wrote, “So brave a man I never saw and as competent as brave. Under him a man is ashamed to be cowardly. Under him our men can achieve wonders.”During the campaigns of 1864, Custer secured his greatest battlefield success. He would lead the attack in Virginia at the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11th, 1864; the attack resulted in Stuart’s death. Custer would one month later lead an attack at Trevilian Station on a train carrying supplies that resulted in the Confederate cavalry surrounding them. Nonetheless, his soldiers created a triangle and fought valiantly to stop the Rebels until the arrival of reinforcements. Custer’s men in October achieved an impressive victory at Tom’s Brook in the Shenandoah Valley over the Confederate cavalry; this would become the best one-sided Yankee cavalry win of the war in the East.When the Civil War was finished, downsizing occurred which resulted in the demotion of Custer to lieutenant colonel. Fighting Native Americans, his postwar missions were not as effective which on June 25th, 1876 Custer’s reckless attack on the camp at Little Big Horn led to his demise; this earned him an undesirable reputation that reduced his previous success in the Civil War.
On this exact day in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, making him the first Frenchman to have the title of an emperor in a thousand years. The conqueror of Europe had placed the crown on Pope Pius VII who now proclaimed Napoleon emperor of France.Born on August 15, 1769, in Ajaccio, Corsica, France to an average family from the minor nobility, he became one of the most celebrated leader and military strategist in the history of the West. Napoleon served as an artillery officer in the French army during the French Revolution of 1789. By 1798, Napoleon led a military expedition to Egypt but returned in 1789 when France was at war with most of Europe, and engineered a coup to take over the French government and save his country from destruction. In February of 1800, he became the First Consul and later led an organized military campaign that defeated Austria. Two years later, he created the Napoleonic Code, another arrangement of French law, and in 1804, he set up the French empire and was proclaimed emperor of France. By 1807, Napoleon's reign had extended from the River Elbe in the north, down through Italy in the south, and from the Pyrenees to the Dalmatian coast in the west.Napoleon experienced his first major military defeat in 1812, when Austria and Prussia joined Russia forces against France, and then he lost Spain to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula War, and in 1813, a full military crusade was launched by the Allied Forces against France, which led to the fall of his empire. Captured and banished to the island of Elba near Rome, yet he found his way back into France in 1815, raised another Grand Army and took over France once again. However, his success did not last before the Allied Forces responded and defeated him in the Battle of Waterloo in June of the same year.Captured again, Napoleon was exiled to the Island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic off the coast of Africa, where he was placed under house arrest along with a few of his followers. He was allowed to do what he want in his new home, he write often and read a lot. Unfortunately, Napoleon died of possibly stomach ulcer in May 1821, at the age of 51. In 1840, Louis Philippe I received permission from the British to return Napoleon's remains to France. A glorious funeral service was held in his honor. A hearse carried his body through the Arc de Triomphe, before buried under the dome at Les Invalides.
Today in 1859, British naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin published a noteworthy scientific work on the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, in England. In the work, Darwin hypothesis argued that organisms develop through a procedure he called "natural selection." During the process, organisms with hereditary variations, which fit their surrounding have a tendency to multiply a larger number of offspring than organisms of similar species that do not have the variation thus, affecting the general genetic existence of the species. Born on February 12, 1809, Darwin was inspired by the work of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and the English economist Thomas Mathus. He obtained the vast majority of the proof for his hypothesis amid a five-year voyage on board the HMS Beagle in the 1830s. The expedition took him to places like the Galapagos Islands and New Zealand, known for their diversity, where he obtained accurate information of the flora, fauna, and geology of several places. This data, alongside his studies in variation and interbreeding helped improve his theory of the organic evolution when he returned to England. The possibility of natural evolution of organisms was not new. Among others, his grandfather Erasmus Darwin, a notable English scientist who with the help of Lamarck who in the mid nineteenth century drew the first evolutionary diagram had earlier suggested the evolution theory. Nevertheless, Darwin made science have a handy clarification for the mystery of evolution.By 1844, Darwin had detailed his theory of natural selection by, but to make the theory public made Darwin uneasy because it clearly opposed the scriptural account of creation. In 1858, while Darwin was yet to make is discoveries public, a British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace published a paper that was the whole summary of Darwin's theory. In 1858, before the Linnean Society of London, Darwin and Wallace gave a joint lecture on evolution. Following the lecture, Darwin arranged for the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.By November 24, 1859, Origin of Species became published and sold out. Immediately, most scientists accepted the theory because it shed lights on the mystery behind biological science, yet conventional Christians denounced the work as a blasphemy to God and the Christian faith. Subsequently, his publication of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), in which he proved that man evolved from apes made matter worse.His evolution theory had been widely acknowledged before his death in 1882. To pay tribute to his notable work, Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey alongside kings, queens, rulers, and other celebrated figures from British history. Until this day, Darwin's theory remains the bedrock of the evolution theory.
Today in history, Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election to become the 16th president of the United States of America over a severely partitioned Democratic Party, thus, making him the first ever Republican to win the White House race. He was able to get only 40 percent of the electorate, yet Lincoln beat the other three different candidates from Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a onetime rival and U.S. congressman for Illinois. Born and bred in Kentucky, Lincoln became a lawyer, and even the former Whig representative to the Congress. He gained popularity during the great debate against Stephen Douglas of Illinois for U.S. Senate seat in 1858. The senatorial battle highlighted an astounding arrangement of well-constructed open arguments on the matter relating to slavery, which is widely known as the "Lincoln-Douglas debates" where Lincoln opposed the spread of slavery, while Douglas argued that every region ought to have the privilege to choose whether it would turn out to be free or slave. In the final analysis, Lincoln lost the Senate race, however his campaign conveyed national awareness regarding the youthful Republican Party. Two years later, Lincoln won the party's presidential primaries.At the presidential election in November 1860, Lincoln once again had to compete against Douglas, who is representing a faction of a vigorously separated Democratic Party, and additionally Breckinridge and Bell. The declaration of Lincoln's triumph flagged the withdrawal of the Southern states, which since the start of the year had been openly threatening to secede if the Republicans won the White House race.As at the time of Lincoln's inauguration on March 4, 1861, the Confederate States of America had been formally formed with only seven Southern Democratic states. The Confederate States decided to make Jefferson Davis as president of the newly established states. This event led to the American Civil War that started one month later when Confederate armies under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Eventually, in 1863, the Confederacy lost the battle, Lincoln liberated the slaves and in 1864, he was reelected for a second term as the president of the United States. At Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. in April 1865, a Confederate supporter named John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln. The assault came just five days after the American Civil War ended with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.To this day, Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of the greatest American presidents ever for his role in protecting the Union, abolishing slavery, and for his exceptional character and effective eloquence.
Although Rochester attorney George Selden had never personally invented nor built a car, he did have the intelligence to submit a patent that made it seem like he did. On November 5, 1895, Selden was granted the U.S. Patent No. 549,160 for an enhanced car engine, the patent of which should broadly apply to any form of liquid-hydrocarbon engine of the compression type. The patent submitted by Selden was unclear to begin with. On top of that, it was really someone else’s idea. He saw a two-cylinder internal combustion engine at the 1872 Philadelphia Exposition and copied it. In 1899, he made the decision to make money from the patent and sold this to Electric Vehicle Company. It so happened that someone else had already been building gas-powered cars, the Winton Motor Carriage Company. Investors at the Electric Vehicle Company thought that this was in violation of the patent they acquired from Selden and made the decision to sue Winton Motor Carriage Company which was the largest car manufacturer in the US during that time. The court upheld Selden’s patent in 1903 while Winton Motor Carriage Company on the other hand was forced to settle. At first, automobile makers were dismayed by the existence of the patent but soon realized that it was possible to turn the situation around. The patent was one way for them to leverage competition in a very competitive industry. Winton and other car companies met with Selden and the Electric Vehicle Company and together, they agreed to establish the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM). Manufacturers who built gas-powered cars but were not members of the organization ended up getting sued. The organization also threatened their potential buyers, saying that they would be slapped with a lawsuit if they bought a car from an unlicensed company.Most of the members of the Selden group were Eastern carmakers that catered only to the affluent buyers. The Midwestern manufacturers that targeted ordinary people were excluded. One of the Midwestern manufacturers that tried to get into the group but got denied was Henry Ford. He found the demands of ALAM unreasonable and was irked by it. Instead of giving in to these, he went ahead with his plans and ignored ALAM, which got him sued by the organization on October 22, 1903 for patent infringement. The case went to trial in 1909, seven months after the company’s Model T was introduced. Although Ford failed to impress ALAM and its members, he did get most Americans to side his case because they were pleased when Ford made cars accessible to most of them. The judge on the other hand thought that Ford violated the Selden patent and ruled against him.Things took a different turn in January 11, 1911 when the appeals court ruled in favor of Ford. The court issued a statement saying that the patent was only applicable to replicas of the same exact engine that Selden saw in 1872.
History was made in Tombstone, Arizona as the Clanton-McLaury gang face off against the Earp brothers involving a shootout at the OK Corral on October 26th, 1881.Tombstone immediately rose in stature as being one of the wealthiest mining towns in the Southwest when silver was found nearby in 1877. The “law and order” of the town was represented by a prior Kansas police officer that worked as a security guard for the bank named Wyatt Earp. Assisting him were his two brothers Morgan and the town marshal Virgil although their reputations has them as being ruthless and power-hungry. The McLaurys and Clantons were cowboys who resided outside of town on a ranch as well as being murderers, rustlers and thieves. The conflict between the two groups over control of Cochise County and Tombstone would conclude at the OK Corral in blazing gunfire in October of 1881. Both Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury ventured into Tombstone to acquire supplies on the morning of October fifth. Both men had a few violent run-ins with the Earp and a friend of theirs named Doc Holiday. The next day at approximately 1:30 p.m., Frank McLaury, Billy Claiborne and Ike’s brother Billy rode into town to meet up with them. Venturing into the local saloon, the first individual the group encounters is Doc Holiday who is ecstatic to inform them that the Earps both pistol-whipped their brothers. Vowing revenge, Billy and Frank quickly left the saloon.Five members of the Clanton-McLaury gang were spotted in a deserted lot behind the OK Corral, which is located where Fremont Street ends, by Holiday and the Earp roughly at 3 p.m. The historic gunfight that ensued lasted only 30 seconds while roughly 30 shots were fired. Even though today that there is still an ongoing debate on who actually pulled the trigger first, the majority of reports suggest it was started by Virgil Earp pulling out his gun and hitting point-blank in the chest Billy Clanton. Meanwhile, Doc Holiday joined in with a shotgun blast in the chest of Tom McLaury. However, Billy was able to unload a few shots before collapsing as did Frank McLaury after being shot and wounded in the stomach by Wyatt Earp. Finally, when the dust cleared, Claiborne and Ike Clanton retreated into the hills; the McLaury brothers and Billy Clanton were dead while Doc Holiday, Morgan and Virgil Earp had been wounded.Although this ends with what happened on this historical day, the story does not end there. The aftermath of the gunfight led to the arrest of the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday by Cochise County Sheriff John Behan, who was an actual witness to the event, and charged all of them with murder. The defendants and the citizens of Cochise County only had to wait one month before a verdict would be decided on. The judge in Tombstone declared that the three of them were found to be not guilty being that their action was “fully justified in committing these homicides.” What transpired at the OK Corral is more than simply a story that has been passed down through the generations or mentioned in an encyclopedia. The historic shootout has also appeared in movies making it immortalized for future generations to actually see. Some of these movies, not in order of when they appeared, include “Wyatt Earp” in 1994, “Frontier Marshal” in 1939, “Tombstone” in 1993 and “Gunfight at the OK Corral” in 1957.
One of the most famous and greatest artist of the 20th century known for as the co-creator of Cubism is born in the city of Malaga, Spain.Born of a father who is a professor at drawing, Picasso was brought-up in the family way of academic art. Naturally talented, he had his first exhibition at the age of 13, however, he was not comfortable with what he is been taught, and eventually quit school of art so that he can have enough time to experiment with modern art styles. In 1900, he moved to Paris, by 1901, he had already secured an exhibition at an art gallery on rue Lafitte in Paris, a notable street for its impressive art galleries. Now 19 years of age, Picasso had produced hundreds of paintings in his name. After receiving positive comments from art lovers, he deiced to stay in Paris for the rest of the year and then he moved to the country to settle permanently. Picasso had more than 50,000 paintings, beautiful drawings and engravings, sculptures and ceramics produced for a period of 80 years in his collection, which is in a series of corresponding periods. The Blue Period includes famous paintings like Blue Nude and La Vie. It was the first notable period he did after his first Paris exhibit. Another works of his called The Old Guitarist was produced in 1903; it was painted with the blue color depicting the miserable world of the poor. Afterwards, he created the Rose Period, among the works includes Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which depicts five nude prostitutes with abstract and distorted features that reflects the human form. This spectacular work gave birth to Cubism, an imaginative style created by Picasso and his fellow painter Georges Braque.Cubism is divided into two phases called analytical and synthetic. Picasso and Braque created the modern norm to display that artwork does not necessarily need to represent reality in other to have real artistic value. His major Cubist works comprises his costumes and collections he made for Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1917, The Three Musician in 1921. Cubist experiments of both Picasso and Braque pave way for various modern inventions such as collage.He later moved on to explore classical and Mediterranean themes, with pictures of violence and suffering surfaced in his works. By the end of 1937, the theme had already turned to another masterpiece called Guernica, which showcase the horrific suffering bore by the people of Basque town of Guernica after the German warplanes destroyed the town in the Spanish Civil War. During Nazi's occupation, Picasso spent most of his time in France but refused fascism and joined the French Communist Party after the war ended.Unfortunately, most of his works after the Second World War were not critically studied as his earlier designs. However, he continued to work fervently, made profits, and receives critical success. He produced great works of art until his death in 1973 at the age of 91.
On this present day in 1854, an American politician and lawyer who comes from the state of Illinois by the name Abraham Lincoln delivers a speech concerning the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which was passed by the Congress five months earlier. The future president of the United States of America condemned the act, while giving his own views concerning slavery in an outline called "immoral". He believed there is nothing moral about enslaving one man by another.The new Kansas-Nebraska Act specified that the two new states of Kansas and Nebraska will be allowed into the Union and the citizens of each new territory have the power to decide whether slavery will be allowed within their walls. According to abolitionist, the new law would serve as a yardstick in determining the legitimacy of slavery in other new territories that would be created. There were many debates over the act among political races throughout the country. Abolitionist, like Lincoln who believed slavery to be inhumane tried convincing lawmakers in the newly found states to reject slavery. At the time, Lincoln who was still practicing law campaigned for the abolitionist Republicans in the state of Illinois and condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Lincoln attacked members of the Democratic Party for backing the law of enslaving one man by another. In his opinion, the law had gone totally against everything the founding fathers of America believed in, that is "all men are born equal". He disliked slavery; however, he realized that campaigning against slavery in states where it has been in existence might lead to civil war. Rather, he advocated and focused all his attention on outlawing the widespread of slavery to newly created states. A plan he hoped would preserve the Union and gradually eliminate slavery while confining it to the south, in which, it will soon die a slowly.Eventually, Kansas voted a pro-slavery candidate into Congress in November, a move that left Lincoln and his fellow abolitionist discouraged. Over the next several years, Lincoln's political career continually gathered momentum and he would refer to the Kansas-Nebraska Act as act of violence that was conceived in violence, passed in violence, maintained in violence and finally executed in violence.He did not give-up the fight against slavery, rather he continued to actively campaign against it in Kansas. In fact, he helped in raising funds to support anti-slavery candidates in the state. Still practicing law, Lincoln contested for the United State Senate in 1859, but lost to Democrat Stephen Douglas. He was actively involved in national politics and he began to make a name for himself, which later earned him increasing support from the North and abolitionist across all across the nation. His persistency helped in winning the presidency race and landed him in the White House in 1860. Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of United State of America in November 6, 1860, after beating the same Democrat candidate Stephen Douglas and John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats.
On October 12, 1810, Bavarian Crown Prince Louis who was later known as King Louis I of Bavaria tied the knot with Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The event was graced with the presence of the citizens of Munich who were invited by the Bavarian royalty to join the celebration. The festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates were concluded with horse races, done in the presence of the royal family. These events happened all across Bavaria and celebrated in varying forms. The fields were later named Theresienwiese or “Therese’s fields” in honor to the crown princess. The name was abbreviated by the locals and fondly called these as “Wies’n” instead.The festivities were repeated in the following years and this gave birth to the Oktoberfest tradition. Today, this is being celebrated from late September through the first Sunday of October where alcohol consumption has become a big part of it. In fact, it is estimated that more than one million gallons of beer is consumed yearly during Oktoberfest celebrations.
On Sunday, October 8th of 1871, the Great Chicago Fire was started by accident. The fire destroyed 3.3 square miles of the city of Chicago, and killed as many as 300 people. About a hundred thousand more people were left homeless. The fire had started at about 9pm, in a small barn belonging to the O'Leary family. The story goes that the fire started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern, but no one really knows how the fire got started. However, we do know how the fire spread. The Great Chicago Fire was fueled by the city's wood framed architecture, topped with highly flammable shingle roofs. Even the city's roads and sidewalks were made of wood at that time. Adding to the severity of the catastrophe was the unusually dry weather and strong southwest winds. It was a deadly combination of factors. In 1871, the Chicago fire department consisted of only 185 overworked firefighters on the job, with just 17 horse drawn steam engines to assist them in protecting the whole city of Chicago. What's more, the firefighters were directed to the wrong location during the Great Fire. This gave the fire time to spread.Firefighters kept trying to fight the fire, but eventually, the water mains dried up and left the city helpless. Firefighters hoped the river area would create a natural firebreak. However, the river was loaded with warehouses, coal yards and barges, so the fire made its way across the river, consuming everything in its path.Mayor Roswell B. Mason began sending messages to other towns for help, but when the courthouse caught fire, he ordered it evacuated and ordered the prisoners being held in the basement to be freed. A short while later, the cupola of the courthouse collapsed, and the giant bell came crashing to earth. People said they could hear it from a mile away.Across the river, the fire grew, as the southwest wind intensified and became super-heated. When hot air rises and mixes with the cold air above it, it creates what amounts to a tornado made of fire, also known as a fire whirl, throwing sparking embers in all directions. Flaming debris flew across the river and set fire to the buildings on the other side. All anyone could do was watch it happen.Early on Tuesday of October 10th, it finally started to rain in Chicago, but the fire had already pretty much extinguished itself by then. There was very little left to burn.At the end of it all, the Great Chicago Fire had destroyed an area about four miles long and averaging ¾ of a mile wide. It encompassed an area of more than 2,000 acres. About a third of the city's residents were left homeless. There were 120 bodies recovered, but the death toll may have been much higher. The fire also caused the destruction of 73 miles of roads, 120 miles of sidewalks, about 2,000 lampposts, and roughly 17,500 buildings, totaling (in today's dollars) more than 4 billion dollars in property damage, or a third of what the entire city of Chicago is worth.
On October 5th of 1877, less than one month after the great Lakota Chief Crazy Horse was killed, Chief Joseph, a famous Chief of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce tribe, surrendered to U.S. Troops, after a heart wrenching chase of almost 1,200 miles that ended just about three hundred yards short of the Canadian border. This is what became known as the Nez Perce war. Chief Joseph had planned to seek asylum with Lakota Chief Sitting Bull, who had already escaped to Canada, but would soon be forced to return to the United States. Chief Joseph was born Hinmuuttu Yalatlat in 1840, somewhere in northeastern Oregon. In English, his name meant Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain. His father, Joseph the Elder, signed a treaty with the United States government in 1855, which separated settlement lands from Indian lands. The treaty allowed 7.7 million acres set aside for the Nez Perce reservation. The land occupied parts of eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, and Idaho. Joseph the Elder made his son (Joseph the Younger) promise never to sell this land, and to protect his father's burial site at all costs.In 1863, the U.S. Government asked the Nez Perce to accept a much smaller piece of land, in exchange for hospitals and schools being built there, as well as financial rewards. Some Nez Perce Chiefs signed the new treaty, while others (including Chief Joseph the Elder) did not. This caused a rift between the treaty Indians, who entered the smaller land area, and the non-treaty Indians, who stayed where they were.Then Joseph the Elder surrounded the Wallowa valley with markers and signs that said “Inside this boundary, all our people were born. It circles the graves of our fathers, and we will never give up these graves to any man.”As his father lay dying, Joseph the Younger became the leader of the Wallowa band of Nez Perce. Once again, his father made him promise to protect the graves of his parents (in other words, don't sell the land). Chief Joseph later remarked, “I clasped my fathers hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father's grave is worse than a wild beast.”Chief Joseph went on to lead his Wallowa band through the most difficult part of their history, as they were increasingly outnumbered by white American settlers. For fear of reprisal by the American military, Chief Joseph would not allow any violence, preferring to just give in to the settlers demands whenever possible. Despite his reputation for pacifism, eventually, all Nez Perce were forced to move to the smaller land area in Idaho Territory.In the end, Chief Joseph and his band of about 750 men outmaneuvered the United States Army for more than three months. Their traveling took them through the rugged terrain of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.Finally, on October 5th of 1877, Chief Joseph surrendered.In September of 1904, Chief Joseph died, still in exile from his homeland. His doctor listed the cause of death as “a broken heart.”
On September 27th of 1854, two ships collided about fifty miles off the coast of Newfoundland, killing at least 322 people of the 400 who were onboard. Even stranger, all of the women and children onboard died, and most of the survivors were members of the ship's crew. The collision was caused by a sudden, heavy fog that obscured the view of both ships' Captains. The larger ship was the wood hulled paddle steamer called SS Arctic. The smaller ship was called the SS Vesta, an iron hulled, propeller driven French ship. The SS Arctic was a luxury ship, which had been built only four years earlier, for the purpose of transporting passengers across the Atlantic Ocean and back. The SS Arctic had a wood hull, and could reach speeds of up to 13 knots an hour, which was an impressive speed for those days. On September 20th, the SS Arctic had left Liverpool, England, on its way to North America. When the ship entered heavy fog seven days later, the Captain, James Luce, did not take any fog precautions, such as slowing down the ship, or sounding the ship's horn, or employing extra watchmen. At around 12:25, the Arctic crashed head on into the iron hull of the SS Vesta, which was captained by Alphonse Puchesne.At first, Captain Luce tried to help the passengers on the Vesta, but it was soon realized that more damage was done to the SS Arctic than to the SS Vesta. So Captain Luce tried to beach the SS Arctic. He aimed for Cape Race, which was about four hours away. In so doing, he ran over some of the lifeboats, drowning more than a few people. He even ran over a lifeboat launched from the SS Vesta, killing all but one of its dozen occupants when they were crushed under the Arctic's paddle wheels. Then his engine failed before he reached land. What's more, there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all the passengers, and many of the ones there were had capsized in the choppy ocean waters.Mostly crew members and able bodied men made it onto the rafts, by grabbing them away from the women and children who were trying to escape. When a high ranking officer tried to stop them, he was instantly killed by the ship's crew. The remaining 70 people who were left onboard struggled to build a makeshift raft, but most were unable to leave the ship, as the SS Arctic sank to the ocean floor, four hours after collision. It is believed that only one in this group survived. All women and children went down with the ship.Despite angry calls for investigation into the disaster, no investigation took place, and no criminal charges were ever filed. Some of the surviving crew chose not to return to the United States. Captain Luce was not blamed, as he had done all he could to help, and had even lost his son in the ordeal.On that day, chivalry was dead.
On September 22nd of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which effectively freed three out of four African American people from the imprisonment of slavery. Some states were still exempt. The Proclamation also called for African American soldiers in the military. The Proclamation set the date for the freedom of more than three million slaves, who were forced to work on wealthy plantations in the southern states. The Proclamation shed a new light on the Civil War, suddenly revealing it as a war against slavery. Previously, President Lincoln had claimed that the Civil War was meant to restore the Union. Lincoln, who personally found the notion of slavery morally repugnant, needed to move cautiously until he could gain wide enough support to carry out his plan. The original Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order, ordained by the President himself, as opposed to an act passed by Congress. The original proclamation would exempt states that had slaveholders, but were still loyal to the Union. In any case, the Emancipation Proclamation would set three out of four slaves free. President Lincoln's cabinet advised him not to make the announcement about freeing slaves until a Union victory occurs. So on September 22nd at the end of the battle of Antietam, President Lincoln announced that slaves still held in states that were still in rebellion would be free within 100 days.Lincoln probably had his personal motives for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Aside from finding slavery personally repugnant, maybe some states would stop rebelling against the Union if they thought it meant they could keep their slaves. Maybe Lincoln knew that freed slaves would make good war soldiers. In any case, on January 1st of 1863, President Lincoln made the announcement outlining the main points of the Emancipation Proclamation. At the same time, he also established black military units. As many as 180,000 African Americans were sent to serve in the Army, with another 18,000 more serving in the Navy.Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, and raised on the western frontier in Kentucky and Indiana. He was largely self-taught, but eventually studied law in Illinois. While in Illinois, he became a Whig party leader and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1854, he became the leader of a brand new political party called the Republicans. He was elected president in 1860, with very little support from the slave states. His term of office lasted from March 4th of 1861 to April 15th of 1865, when he was assassinated. Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States.After the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, it became impossible for anti-slavery nations such as Britain and France to side with the Confederacy. Lincoln then pushed for an anti-slavery amendment to the Constitution, to be sure of its permanence. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 abolished slavery in America for good.Lincoln's final, hand written draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871.
On September 20th of 1806, on their way back from their famous expedition, Lewis and Clark reached the first white settlement they had seen since leaving the east back in 1804. The settlement was located along the Missouri River. It was a frontier village called La Charette. President Jefferson had chosen Meriwether Lewis as the expedition's commander, because of his reputation for having all the qualities needed to undertake such a journey. Lewis chose his friend, William Clark, as second in command. In 1803, Jefferson sent Lewis to Philadelphia to study medicine and astronomy. In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and his friend, William Clark, embarked on an expedition that would take them all the way from Saint Louis, Missouri to Fort Klatsop, in northwestern Oregon. It would be the first expedition to cross the western part of the continental United States. The expedition was called Corps of Discovery.Along the way, Lewis and Clark experienced many adventures, and met a few friendly Indian tribes. They even traded with a Brule (Lakota / Sioux) chief named Black Bull, near what is now Pierre, South Dakota. Black Bull was the grandfather of the famous Chief Crazy Horse, although Crazy Horse had not yet been born. Black Bull was actually the father of Crazy Horse's mother, but even she had not yet been born.Of all the different native tribes Lewis and Clark met, there was only one violent confrontation, when a group of Blackfeet from the Piikani nation tried to steal rifles from Lewis' group. A fight broke out and two Native American people were killed.Eventually, Lewis and Clark arrived at their destination. Their travels had taken them from Missouri, into Iowa, through Nebraska, into South Dakota, up to North Dakota, through Montana, through Idaho, and finally into Fort Klatsop, at the extreme northwestern corner of Oregon, near the border of the state of Washington. The crew wintered at Fort Klatsop, before commencing their return to Saint Louis.La Charette was the last white settlement if you were heading west, and the first white settlement for those moving east. Lewis & Clark reunited with the people of La Charette when they had almost completed their journey. According to Lewis' journal entry, the people of La Charette gave Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and all their U.S. Army volunteers a hero's welcome home.Before embarking on the last leg of their journey, Meriwether Lewis asked that the mail be held at the post office in La Charette, just long enough so he could write a letter to President Thomas Jefferson, who had commissioned the voyage, which was intended to explore newly purchased territory, to find a manageable route from east to west, and to establish an American presence in the west, before the Europeans would try to claim it. On a secondary note, to study the area's plants, animals, and geography, to draw maps, and to establish trade with local native tribes.In the letter, Commander Lewis let President Jefferson know that the expedition had been a success.
Train trips have never been much of a joy ride, but the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail was an exceptionally bumpy example of early American pioneer ground travel. Passengers alternated between frost bite and sun stroke most of the time, as they bumped clumsily across the undeveloped Midwestern landscape. The Overland Mail was a stage coach service led by teams of horses. It carried both passengers and mail over rough, transcontinental terrain between the years of 1857 and 1869. Based on the increasing demand for better, faster mail service, Congress passed an act in March of 1857. A contract of $600,000 would be awarded to any company that could successfully deliver mail twice a week from St. Louis to San Francisco, and do so within a time limit of 25 days. The first contract of this kind was awarded to the Overland Mail Company. The company eventually spent one million dollars improving the routes, expanding its feet of horses, and building way stations every fifteen miles or so, where tired horses could be replaced with fresh ones. Then they charged passengers exorbitant fees to ride along. On September 15th of 1858, the first transcontinental mail train service left the city of St. Louis on its way from east to west. It arrived in San Francisco well within the 25-day time frame. The stage coming back from San Francisco took only 23 days and four hours. At its height, the Butterfield Overland Stage Company had more than 800 employees, 1,800 horses, 139 relay stations, and 250 Concorde stage coaches.California was still booming from the California Gold Rush of 1849, when hordes of prospectors and their wagon teams came rushing to San Francisco, scaring away the wild animals that native people had been using for food and warmth.The Overland trip took at least three weeks, but most passengers did not want to sleep at any of the “home stations” along the way, for fear that the next train might be full and leave them stranded. So they tried to spend the whole trip sleeping in the carriage, which was just about impossible, as the carriage was always in motion. Not only that, but the food was substandard and overpriced, and a bath or a toilet was hard to find. What's more, the stage drivers were often drunk and abusive, and stage coach robbery was an actual threat.Soon enough, other faster mail services started competing with Overland. The most famous of these was the Pony Express. Then, the first transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10th of 1869. On that day, the United States government canceled its final 6-year contract for the Overland Mail Trail. However, modern remnants of the Overland Trail, such as crumbling way stations and rusty old stage coaches, still exist today at various locations across the American landscape.How odd it is that the comfort level on trains, even today, is not that much better than it was when horse drawn carriages were all the rage.