Khrushchev barred from visiting Disneyland September 19 2012
In one of the more surreal moments in the history of the Cold War, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev explodes with anger when he learns that he cannot visit Disneyland. The incident marked the climax of Khrushchev's day in Los Angeles, one that was marked by both frivolity and tension.
Khrushchev arrived in the United States on September 15 for an extended visit and a summit meeting with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Soviet leader indicated a desire to see Hollywood and a visit was arranged. On September 19, Khrushchev and his wife arrived in Los Angeles. The day began pleasantly enough, with a tour of the Twentieth Century Fox Studios in Hollywood. The Soviet premier was taken on to the sound stage for the movie "Can-Can" and was immediately surrounded by the cast of the film, including Shirley MacLaine and Juliet Prowse. MacLaine greeted Khrushchev in broken Russian and then attempted to engage the premier in an impromptu dance. Khrushchev jovially begged off and then stood by while the cast members performed a number from the film. Frank Sinatra was brought in to serve as an unofficial master of ceremonies for the visit, and he later lunched with an obviously delighted Khrushchev.
Things began to unravel when Twentieth Century Fox President Spyros P. Skouras introduced Khrushchev at Los Angeles Town Hall. Almost immediately, Skouras, who was an ardent anticommunist, irritated Khrushchev by referring to the premier's famous statement that Russia would "bury" capitalism. Skouras declared that Los Angeles was not particularly interested in "burying" anyone, but would meet the challenge if posed. Khrushchev's famous temper quickly flared. He charged that Skouras's remarks were part of a campaign to heckle him during his trip to America. The plan, Khrushchev suggested, was to needle him, "rub" America's strength in his face, and make him "a little shaky in the knees." Addressing Skouras directly, Khrushchev stated, "If you want to go on with the arms race, very well. We accept that challenge. As for the output of rockets--well, they are on the assembly line. This is a most serious question. It is one of life or death, ladies and gentlemen. One of war and peace."
Khrushchev's anger increased when he learned that he would not be allowed to visit Disneyland. Government authorities feared that the crowds would pose a safety hazard for the premier. Khrushchev, still fuming about the debate with Skouras, exploded. "And I say, I would very much like to go and see Disneyland. But then, we cannot guarantee your security, they say. Then what must I do? Commit suicide? What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken hold of the place that can destroy me?" Khrushchev left Los Angeles the next morning.
From photo ops with Shirley MacLaine to a heated debate with the head of a movie studio and a childish outburst about not being allowed into Disneyland, Khrushchev's day in Los Angeles was full of activity. The Soviet leader continued his trip through California without further incident and returned to Washington for his meeting with Eisenhower.
Quote of the Day September 13 2012
Snapshot September 12 2012
Quote of the Day September 06 2012
Outlaw Jesse James is born September 05 2012
Seen by some as a vicious murderer and by others as a gallant Robin Hood, the famous outlaw Jesse Woodson James is born on this day in 1847, in Clay County, Missouri.
Jesse and his older brother Franklin lost their father in 1849, when the Reverend Robert James abandoned his young family and disappeared forever into the California gold fields. Their mother, Zerelda, quickly remarried, but rumor had it that their new stepfather treated Jesse and Frank poorly, and a third husband soon followed. Perhaps it was a violent and unstable family life that led the young Jesse and Frank into lives of crime. Regardless, it is certain that the brothers first learned to kill during the Civil War. As Confederate sympathizers, both Jesse and Frank joined William Quantrill's vicious Missouri guerilla force, and Jesse participated in the cold-blooded murder of 25 unarmed Union soldiers in August 1863.
When the war ended, neither man felt any enthusiasm for the drab life of a Missouri farmer-earning a living with their guns seemed easier and more exciting. Joining a motley band of ex-soldiers and common thieves, Jesse and Frank staged the first daylight bank robbery in U.S. history on Valentine's Day in 1866, making off with $57,000 of the hard-earned cash of the citizens of Liberty, Missouri. For the next decade the James Gang would steal many thousands more from banks, stores, stagecoaches, and trains.
The boldness of their crimes and the growing resentment among westerners of big railroads and robber barons led some to romanticize Jesse and Frank, a process that was encouraged by the authors of popular dime novels who created largely fictional versions of the James brothers as modern-day Robin Hoods who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In reality, the James brothers' crimes preyed as much on the common folks as on the very rich, and they did little to spare the lives of innocents caught in the crossfire. The Robin Hood myth conveniently ignores the little girl shot in the leg during a botched robbery at the Kansas City Fair, the train engineer killed when the James Gang derailed his locomotive, or the dozens of other innocent bystanders murdered or maimed by Jesse, Frank, or their gang. Nonetheless, the myth that Jesse James was a good-hearted hero of the common folk remains popular to this day. Robert Ford shot James in the back of the head-- killing him on April 3, 1882.
V-J Day September 04 2012
Quote of the Day August 30 2012
Alexander Hamilton August 29 2012
Alexander Hamilton was born in the West Indies.
The Filthy Thirteen August 29 2012
Rough Riders August 23 2012
'MERICA! August 23 2012
Bloody Ban Tarleton is born in Britain August 21 2012
On this day in 1754, Banastre Tarleton is born as the fourth child of John Tarleton, the former lord mayor of Liverpool, and a money lender, merchant and slave trader.
After completing his education at Oxford, Tarleton became the most feared officer in the British army during the War for American Independence, memorialized in portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, as well as on film in The Patriot (2000), starring Mel Gibson, as the basis for the character Colonel William Tavington. The treatment of Patriot prisoners by Tarleton and his Loyalist troops in the Southern Campaign led to the coining of a phrase that came to define British brutality during of the last years of the War for Independence: "Tarleton’s Quarter."
After the surrender of Charleston, South Carolina, on May 12, 1780, the 3rd Virginia, commanded by Colonel Abraham Buford, was virtually the only organized Patriot formation remaining in South Carolina; Colonel Tarleton had been given the mission to destroy any colonial resistance in the state. At Waxhaws on the North Carolina border, a cavalry charge by Tarleton’s men broke the 350 remaining Patriots under Buford. Tarleton and his Tories proceeded to shoot at the Patriots after their surrender, a move that spawned the term "Tarleton’s Quarter," which in the eyes of the Patriots meant a brutal death at the hands of a cowardly foe. The Continentals lost 113 killed and 203 captured in the Battle of Waxhaws; British losses totaled 19 men and 31 horses killed or wounded. Although they were routed, the loss became a propaganda victory for the Continentals, as wavering Carolina civilians terrified of Tarleton and their Loyalist neighbors were now prepared to rally to the Patriot cause.
After the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, Tarleton returned to Britain where he served in Parliament as a representative from Liverpool and argued for the preservation of the slave trade. He became Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, in 1815. He died in 1833.
Quote of the Day August 16 2012
Artist Emanuel Leutze specialized in dramatic scenes from American history. He froze the characters in this painting at the most powerful moment of their story. With the pointing hands, Leutze directs our eyes around the canvas to make sure we take in every detail we need to know.
It’s September, 1777. The British army is on the march toward Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler’s farm, outside Saratoga, New York. Everyone is about to leave, but before they do, Mrs. Schuyler decides to torch her fields, preventing the British from harvesting her crop for themselves. She’s the woman in the center, wearing the straw hat. With one hand, she sets her wheatfield on fire.
No one knows whether Mrs. Schuyler really did burn her wheat fields. But the British did burn her house down during the Battle of Saratoga. It was rebuilt after the battle, and is now part of the Saratoga National Historical Park.
Who Spiked The Punch? August 08 2012
This porcelain punch bowl was made and decorated in China around 1770 for export to Britain and its American colonies. The design on the exterior of the bowl was intended to poke fun at those who had opposed the English politician John Wilkes (1727-97), a proponent of English civil liberties, parliamentary reform, and American rights. Wilkes was elected to the House of Commons several times, but was repeatedly expelled for attacking King George III and his loyalists. American patriots, including Boston’s Sons of Liberty, rallied to the cry of “Wilkes and Liberty!” and incorporated his name and likeness into broadsides, drinking bowls, cuff links, and other items.
Source: The American Revolution Center
Washington creates the Purple Heart August 07 2012
On this day in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the "Badge for Military Merit," a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for "any singularly meritorious action" and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree's name and regiment were also to be inscribed in a "Book of Merit."
Washington's "Purple Heart" was awarded to only three known soldiers during the Revolutionary War: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. The "Book of Merit" was lost, and the decoration was largely forgotten until 1927, when General Charles P. Summerall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, sent an unsuccessful draft bill to Congress to "revive the Badge of Military Merit." In 1931, Summerall's successor, General Douglas MacArthur, took up the cause, hoping to reinstate the medal in time for the bicentennial of George Washington's birth. On February 22, 1932, Washington's 200th birthday, the U.S. War Department announced the creation of the "Order of the Purple Heart."
In addition to aspects of Washington's original design, the new Purple Heart also displays a bust of Washington and his coat of arms. The Order of the Purple Heart, the oldest American military decoration for military merit, is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action against an enemy. It is also awarded to soldiers who have suffered maltreatment as prisoners of war.
2 Pistols August 01 2012
German-American Brigadier General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg (1746—1807) carried these English holster pistols during the American Revolution. Born at Trappe, Pennsylvania and educated in Philadelphia and Europe as a Lutheran minister, Muhlenberg commanded the Eighth Virginia Regiment, a corps composed largely of German-speaking recruits raised in the Shenandoah Valley in 1776.
Lafayette Accepts Job Without Pay July 31 2012
On this day in 1777, a 19-year-old French aristocrat, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, accepts a commission as a major-general in the Continental Army—without pay.
During his service as the Continental Congress' secret envoy to France, Silas Deane had, on December 7, 1776, struck an agreement with French military expert, Baron Johann DeKalb, and his protege, the Marquis de Lafayette, to offer their military knowledge and experience to the American cause. However, Deane was replaced withBenjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, who were unenthused by the proposal. Meanwhile, King Louis XVI feared angering Britain and prohibited Lafayette's departure. The British ambassador to the French court at Versailles demanded the seizure of Lafayette's ship, which resulted in Lafayette's arrest. Lafayette, though, managed to escape, set sail and elude two British ships dispatched to recapture him. Following his safe arrival in South Carolina, Lafayette traveled to Philadelphia, expecting to be made General George Washington's second-in-command. Although Lafayette's youth made Congress reluctant to promote him over more experienced colonial officers, the young Frenchman's willingness to volunteer his services without pay won their respect and Lafayette was commissioned as a major-general.
Lafayette served at Brandywine in 1777, as well as Barren Hill, Monmouth and Rhode Island in 1778. Following the formal treaty of alliance with Lafayette's native France in February 1778 and Britain's subsequent declaration of war, Lafayette asked to return to Paris and consult the king as to his future service. Washington was willing to spare Lafayette, who departed in January 1779. By March, Franklin reported from Paris that Lafayette had become an excellent advocate for the American cause at the French court. Following his six-month respite in France, Lafayette returned to aid the American war effort in Virginia, where he participated in the successful siege of Yorktown in 1781, before returning to France and the further service of his own country.
Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth July 30 2012
Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth by Emanuel Leutze (c.1853). It is said this was the one time in Washington's entire life that he swore in public.
The Bostonians Paying the Excise-Man July 25 2012
Print shows five men forcing a tarred and feathered customs officer to drink from a teapot, a bucket and a liberty cap are on the ground at his feet. They stand beneath the "Liberty Tree" from which a rope with a noose hangs; in the background, shadowy figures on a ship dump tea overboard.
Georgie's Cups July 24 2012
These silver camp cups, with later commemorative inscriptions, were part of General George Washington’s camp equipment during the American War of Independence. The original set of twelve cups, used to serve wine to aides and guests at the General’s table, were made in the shop of Philadelphia silversmith Edmund Milne in August 1777.
Source: American Revolution Center
John, Paul, George, & Ben July 23 2012
John Paul Jones Dies July 18 2012
On this day in 1792, the Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones dies in his Paris apartment, where he was still awaiting a commission as the United States consul to Algiers. Commander Jones, remembered as one of the most daring and successful naval commanders of the American Revolution, was born in Scotland, on July 6, 1747. He became an apprentice to a merchant at 13 and soon went to sea, traveling first to the West Indies and then to North America as a young man.
In Virginia at the onset of the American Revolution, Jones sided with the Patriots and received a commission as a first lieutenant in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775. After departing from Brest, Jones successfully executed raids on two forts in England's Whitehaven Harbor, despite a disgruntled crew more interested in gain than honor. Jones then continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, Scotland, where he intended to abduct the earl of Selkirk and then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones' crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife's teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where his Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship`s captain and lieutenant.
In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.
One of the greatest naval commanders in history, Jones is remembered as a Father of the American Navy, along with fellow Revolutionary War hero Commodore John Barry. At the conclusion of the American War for Independence, Jones briefly served Empress Catherine II of Russia, before retiring to Paris. John Paul Jones is buried in a crypt at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, where a Marine honor guard stands at attention in his honor whenever the crypt is open to the public.
"Mad" Anthony Wayne Earns Nickname July 16 2012
On this day in 1779, American Brigadier General Anthony Wayne launches a coup de main against British fortifications at Stony Point, New York, on the orders of General George Washington. He earns the moniker "Mad" Anthony Wayne for the ensuing maneuver.
The British fort on the cliffs at Stony Point overlooking the Hudson River threatened West Point, which was only 12 miles upriver. Wayne, at the head of 1,200 light infantry, successfully assaulted what the British believed was an impregnable position, losing only 15 killed and 83 wounded while the British lost 94 killed and wounded and 472 captured. Remarkably, the attack took place under cover of darkness, employed only bayonets as weaponry and lasted a mere 30 minutes. Two days later, Wayne, now dubbed "mad" for his enthusiastic and successful undertaking of a mission that had seemed doomed to failure, destroyed the fortifications and evacuated the area. Congress rewarded Wayne's efforts with a medal.
Much of Wayne's ensuing career involved divesting Native Americans of their land. Following the victory at Yorktown, Wayne traveled to Georgia, where he negotiated treaties with the Creeks and Cherokees. They paid dearly in land for their decision to side with the British, and Georgia paid Wayne in land—giving him a large plantation—for his efforts on their behalf. In 1794, President George Washington called upon Wayne to bring the ongoing violence with British-backed Indians in the Northwest Territory to a close. Wayne was victorious at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, near what is now Toledo, Ohio, and gained much of what would become Ohio and Indiana for the U.S. in the Treaty of Greenville.
General Prescott Captured In His Skivvies July 10 2012
Colonel William Barton of the Rhode Island Patriot militia captures British General Richard Prescott, from his bed, during the early morning hours of this day in 1777.
Prescott was the only British general to suffer the ignominy of being captured twice by Patriot forces during the War for Independence. American forces first captured Prescott after Montreal fell to the Patriots in 1775. He was returned to the British in exchange for a Patriot officer, only to face the same plight two years later, when he awoke to find Barton's men in his garrison in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Colonel Barton and his 40 men departed Warwick Neck under cover of darkness on the night of July 9 and proceeded silently across 10 miles of water in Narraganset Bay toward Portsmouth. Evading British warships by staying close to shore, the Patriots were able to completely surprise Prescott's sentinel shortly after midnight on July 10. They took the general, who was the British commander for Rhode Island, and his aide-de-camp directly onboard a Patriot vessel, without even giving him the opportunity to dress.
The humiliated Prescott was held in Providence until the British commander in chief, General Sir William Howe, exchanged him for captured American Major General Charles Lee. The exchange was particularly appropriate, as General Lee had also been taken into custody in his dressing gown after being surprised in the morning hours at Basking Ridge, New Jersey, having spent the night at White's Tavern enjoying some dubious recreation.
Georgie Steps Up To The Plate July 03 2012
On this day in 1775, George Washington rides out in front of the American troops gathered at Cambridge common in Massachusetts and draws his sword, formally taking command of the Continental Army. Washington, a prominent Virginia planter and veteran of the French and Indian War, had been appointed commander in chief by theContinental Congress two weeks before. In agreeing to serve the American colonies in their war for independence, he declined to accept payment for his services beyond reimbursement of future expenses.
George Washington was born in 1732 to a farm family in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His first direct military experience came as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia colonial militia in 1754, when he led a small expedition against the French in the Ohio River Valley on behalf of the governor of Virginia, beginning a fight that resulted in disastrous defeat for first Washington and then British General Edward Braddock. This launched the Seven Years War, but Washington resigned from his military post and returned to a planter's life in Virginia, later taking a seat in Virginia's House of Burgesses. During the next two decades, Washington openly opposed escalating British taxation and repression of the American colonies. In 1774, he represented Virginia at the Continental Congress.
After the American Revolution erupted in 1775, Washington was nominated to be commander in chief of the newly established Continental Army. Some in the Continental Congress opposed his appointment, thinking other candidates were better equipped for the post, but he was ultimately chosen because, as a Virginian, his leadership helped bind the southern colonies more closely to the rebellion in New England. Despite his inexperienced and poorly equipped army of civilian soldiers, General Washington led an effective war of harassment against British forces in America, while encouraging the intervention of the French into the conflict on behalf of the colonists. On October 19, 1781, with the surrender of British General Charles Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, General Washington defeated one of the most powerful nations on earth.
After the war, the victorious general retired to his estate at Mount Vernon, but, in 1787, he heeded his nation's call and agreed to preside over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The drafters created the office of president with him in mind, and, in February 1789, Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States. As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent." He successfully implemented executive authority, making good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously reelected but, four years later, refused a third term. He died in 1799.
Continental Congress Rocks The Vote July 02 2012
On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress, assembled in Philadelphia, formally adopts Richard Henry Lee's resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote is unanimous, with only New York abstaining.
The resolution had originally been presented to Congress on June 7, but it soon became clear that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were as yet unwilling to declare independence, though they would likely be ready to vote in favor of a break with England in due course. Thus, Congress agreed to delay the vote on Lees Resolution until July 1. In the intervening period, Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence. Its members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, well-known to be the best writer of the group, was selected to be the primary author of the document, which was presented to Congress for review on June 28, 1776.
On July 1, 1776, debate on the Lee Resolution resumed as planned, with a majority of the delegates favoring the resolution. Congress thought it of the utmost importance that independence be unanimously proclaimed. To ensure this, they delayed the final vote until July 2, when 12 colonial delegations voted in favor of it, with the New York delegates abstaining, unsure of how their constituents would wish them to vote. John Adams wrote that July 2 would be celebrated as the most memorable epoch in the history of America. Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson's edited Declaration of Independence was adopted.
Old Put June 29 2012
Israel Putnam was an American army general and Freemason who fought with distinction at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolutionary War. His reckless courage and fighting spirit were known far beyond Connecticut's borders through the circulation of folk legends celebrating his exploits.
Quote of the Day June 28 2012
Sci-Fi Revisionist History June 27 2012
Alien vs. Predator, American Revolution style.
Quote of the Day June 21 2012
Congress Adopts the Great Seal of the United States June 20 2012
On this day in 1782, Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States after six years of discussion.
The front of the seal depicts a bald eagle clutching an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left. On its breast appears a shield marked with 13 vertical red and white stripes topped by a bar of blue. The eagle's beak clutches a banner inscribed, E pluribus unum, a Latin phrase meaning "Out of Many One." Above the eagle's head, golden rays burst forth, encircling 13 stars.
Charles Thomas outlined the symbolic connotations of the seal's elements when he presented his design to Congress. The bottom of the shield (or pale) represents the 13 states united in support of the blue bar at the top of the shield (or chief), "which unites the whole and represents Congress." The motto E Pluribus Unum serves as a textual representation of the same relationship. The colors used in the shield are the same as those in the flag: alternating red and white for the important balance between innocence and valor, topped by the blue of "vigilance, perseverance and justice." The eagle's talons hold symbols of Congress power to make peace (the olive branch) and war (arrows). The constellation of stars indicates that "a new State [is] taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers."
The reverse side of the seal bears the familiar Masonic motif of a pyramid, which Thomas proposed as a symbol of "Strength and Duration." The pyramid, like the new nation, is unfinished and frequently depicted as having 13 steps for the original states. The disembodied eye floating above the structure is that of providence, which Thomas believed had acted "in favour of the American cause." Beneath the pyramid, the number 1776 appears in Roman numerals as a reminder of the year of independence. The phrase Annuit Coeptis or "Providence has Favored Our Undertakings" appears above the providential eye; Novus Ordo Seclorum or "A New Order of the Ages" appears beneath the pyramid.
Limited Edition 4th of July Tees June 19 2012
These limited edition "Uncle Sam" tees commemorating Independence Day and our nation's patriotic heritage are selling fast! Hand-numbered and limited to 50 pieces, once these shirts are gone they will be gone forever! Act now before these exclusive t-shirts are gone for good!
Colonel Magaw June 14 2012
Lafayette Arrives June 13 2012
On this day in 1777, a 19-year-old French aristocrat, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arrives in South Carolina with the intent to serve as General George Washington's second-in-command.
Silas Deane, during his service as the Continental Congress envoy to France, had, on December 7, 1776, struck an agreement with Johann de Kalb and Lafayette to offer their military expertise to the American cause. However, Deane was replaced with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, who were unenthused by the proposal. Meanwhile, King Louis XVI feared angering Britain and prohibited Lafayette's departure. The British ambassador to the French court at Versailles demanded the seizure of Lafayette's ship, which resulted in Lafayette's arrest. Lafayette, though, managed to escape, set sail and elude two British ships dispatched to recapture him.
Following his safe arrival in South Carolina, Lafayette traveled to Philadelphia. Although Lafayette's youth made Congress reluctant to promote him over more experienced colonial officers, the young Frenchman's willingness to volunteer his services without pay won their respect and Lafayette a commission as major-general on July 31, 1777.
Lafayette served at Brandywine in 1777, as well as Barren Hill, Monmouth and Rhode Island in 1778. Following the formal treaty of alliance with Lafayette's native France in February 1778 and Britain's subsequent declaration of war, Lafayette asked to return to Paris and consult the king as to his future service. Washington was willing to spare Lafayette, who departed in January 1779. By March, Franklin reported from Paris that Lafayette had become an excellent advocate for the American cause at the French court.
Following his six-month respite in France, Lafayette returned to aid the American war effort in Virginia, where he participated in the successful siege of Yorktown in 1781, before returning to France and the further service of his own country.
Quote of the Day May 31 2012
Jackson vs. Dickinson Duel May 30 2012
Born in the Waxhaws area along the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, Andrew Jackson was the last president to be a veteran of the American Revolution and the first president to bring the backcountry values of the Carolinas to the White House. His willingness to not only duel Charles Dickinson, but also to kill him at short range for having printed libelous comments about Jackson, revealed the extent to which he had imbibed the brutality of the Carolinas during the revolution. Born in 1767, Jackson served with the Patriots in the devastatingly brutal battles that characterized the American War for Independence in the Carolinas. His eldest brother died following the Battle of Stono Ferry in 1779. A print depicts a young Jackson, who served as a scout in the region, watching British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton's massacre of Patriot militiamen at his home settlement of Waxhaws on May 29, 1780. Jackson then fought in Patriot Thomas Sumter's uncontrolled attack on the British and their Loyalist allies at Hanging Rock in August 1780, before falling into British hands with his brother Robert in 1781. While in prison, he and his bother contracted smallpox, to which his brother succumbed.
The content of Dickinson's slanderous comments about Jackson also indicated a great deal about the culture of Jackson's times. In 1790, Jackson claimed to marry Rachel Donelson Robards, whose husband had abandoned her. What Rachel and Jackson did not know was that the couple had not technically divorced, and when this was discovered, Rachel was ostracized by society as a bigamist. Her husband insisted on defending her honor, even if it required him to kill. The men rode from their homes in Tennessee to Kentucky, where dueling was legal, in order to settle their deadly feud as gentlemen.
Meigs' Expedition May 23 2012
At Sag Harbor, New York, Patriot troops under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs capture several British vessels and burn Redcoat supplies.
With the help of two local men, Meigs and his Connecticut raiders grabbed the British commander from his bed in the wee hours of the morning, firing only one gunshot. Instead of guns, the Patriots used silent but deadly bayonets to capture the British fort, successfully avoiding announcing their presence with gunfire.
The British had built their fort on the site of a burial ground because it was the highest land in the area and had the best view of the harbor. The Redcoats desecrated colonists' family gravesites, and in the process, lost the important battle for the hearts and minds of the residents. Nearly half of Sag Harbor's families fled to Connecticut during the British occupation.
With six Redcoats dead and 53 captive from their success on land, the Patriots moved from the hilltop fort towards the harbor. The British ships anchored there eventually noticed the body of men moving towards them and opened fire. The Patriots, though, went on to burn 24 British ships and their cargoes of hay, rum, grain and other merchandise. With an additional 37 prisoners in custody, the 170 Yankee raiders returned to Connecticut without having lost a single man in their party.
The Sag Harbor ambush was the only successful Patriot attack on Long Island between the British takeover in 1776 and their departure following the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
Sybil Ludington -- Youthful Heroine May 22 2012
On the dark night of April 26, 1777, 16-year-old Sybil rode her horse “Star” alone through the Connecticut countryside rallying her father’s militia to repel a raid by the British on Danbury.
Button Gwinnett Fatally Wounded May 16 2012
On this day in 1777, British-born Georgia Patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence Button Gwinnett receives a bullet wound in a duel with his political rival, Georgia city Whig Lachlan McIntosh. Three days later, Gwinnett died as a result of the gangrenous wound. McIntosh was also shot in the duel, but the wound was not fatal.
Button Gwinnett was born in Down Hatherly, Gloucestershire, England, and was baptized in Gloucester in 1735. He was married and began a career in trading while still in Britain. In the 1760s, Gwinnett moved first to Charleston, South Carolina, then to Savannah, Georgia, where he had established himself as a trader by 1765. Entering politics in 1769, he was elected to the Commons House of Assembly. Taking up residence on St. Catherine's Island, Georgia, in 1770, Gwinnett left commerce for farming. His politics were deeply influenced by his contempt for the wealthy and powerful city Whigs of Savannah. Gwinnett's political base of country Whigs consisted of less prosperous coastal dwellers like himself and backcountry farmers. When first made commander of Georgia's Patriot forces, Gwinnett was forced to resign by the outcry of city Whigs. He went on to win election to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia and became a signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
Gwinnett returned to Georgia immediately after signing the declaration to find city Whig Lachlan McIntosh commanding Georgia's nascent military efforts. Determined to take control of Georgia politics, Gwinnett became speaker of the legislature, guided the Georgia Constitution of 1777 into existence and took over as governor when Archibald Bulloch died suddenly in office.
Gwinnett then wanted to lead an expedition to secure Georgia's border with Florida. A dispute between McIntosh and Gwinnett over who would command the effort ultimately led to their duel and Gwinnett's death.
Financial Hero May 15 2012
Salomon (sometimes written as Solomon and Solomons in period documents) was a Polish-born Jewish immigrant to America who played an important role in financing the Revolution. When the war began, Salomon was operating as a financial broker in New York City. He seems to have been drawn early to the Patriot side and was arrested by the British as a spy in 1776. He was pardoned and used by the British as an interpreter with their German troops. Salomon, however, continued to help prisoners of the British escape and encouraged German soldiers to desert. Arrested again in 1778, he was sentenced to death, but managed to escape to the rebel capital of Philadelphia, where he resumed his career as a broker and dealer in securities. He soon became broker to the French consul and paymaster to French troops in America.
Salomon arrived in Philadelphia as the Continental Congress was struggling to raise money to support the war. Congress had no powers of direct taxation and had to rely on requests for money directed to the states, which were mostly refused. The government had no choice but to borrow money and was ultimately bailed out only by loans from the French and Dutch governments. Government finances were in a chaotic state in 1781 when Congress appointed former Congressman Robert Morris superintendent of finances. Morris established the Bank of North America and proceeded to finance the Yorktown campaign of Washington and Rochambeau. Morris relied on public-spirited financiers like Salomon to subscribe to the bank, find purchasers for government bills of exchange, and lend their own money to the government.
From 1781 on, Salomon brokered bills of exchange for the American government and extended interest-free personal loans to members of Congress, including James Madison. Salomon married Rachel Franks in 1777 and had four children with her. He was an influential member of Philadelphia’s Mikveh Israel congregation, founded in 1740. He helped lead the fight to overturn restrictive Pennsylvania laws barring non-Christians from holding public office. Like many elite citizens of Philadelphia, he owned at least one slave, a man named Joe, who ran away in 1780. Possibly as a result of his purchases of government debt, Salomon died penniless in 1785. His descendants in the nineteenth century attempted to obtain compensation from Congress, but were unsuccessful. The extent of Salomon’s claim on the government cannot be determined, because the documentation disappeared long ago.
In 1941, the George Washington-Robert Morris-Haym Salomon Memorial was erected along Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. The bronze and stone memorial was conceived by sculptor Lorado Taft and finished by his student, Leonard Crunelle. Although Salomon’s role in financing the Revolution has at times been exaggerated, his willingness to take financial risks for the Patriot cause helped establish the new nation.
By Bob Blythe (Source: NPS)
To learn more:
Laurens R. Schwartz, Jews and the American Revolution: Haym Salomon and Others (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 1987).
Salem Poor May 07 2012
In the Massachusetts State Archives is a petition to the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, stating that in the "late Battle at Charlestown," a man from Colonel Frye's Regiment "behaved like and experienced officer" and that in this man "centers a brave and gallant soldier." This document, dated December of 1775, just six months after the Battle of Bunker Hill, is signed by fourteen officers who were present at the battle, including Colonel William Prescott. Of the 2,400 to 4,000 colonists who participated in the battle, no other man is singled out in this manner.
This hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill is Salem Poor of Andover, Massachusetts. Although documents show that Poor, along with his regiment and two others, were sent to Bunker Hill to build a fort and other fortifications on the night of June 16, 1775, we have no details about just what Poor did to earn the praise of these officers. The petition simply states "to set forth the particulars of his conduct would be tedious." Perhaps his heroic deeds were too many to mention.
Few details of this hero's life are available to us. Born a slave in the late 1740s, Poor managed to buy his freedom in 1769 for 27 pounds, which represented a year's salary for the typical working man. He married Nancy, a free African-American woman, and they had a son. Salem Poor left his wife and child behind in May 1775 and fought for the patriot cause at Bunker Hill, Saratoga, and Monmouth. We can only speculate about the motives for Poor's sacrifice: was it patriotism, or the prospect of a new and better life? The Battle of Bunker Hill was a daring and provocative act against established authority; all who participated could well have been hanged for treason.
Salem Poor is one of some three dozen African Americans who fought at Bunker Hill. As many as 5,000 African Americans, both freemen and slaves, fought on the patriot side, while many more, perhaps 20 to 30 thousand, aided the British in some way. The hopes of blacks that military service for either side would lead to full equality were dashed. Although revolutionary sentiment led to the abolition of slavery in northern states, slavery persisted in the South, and free blacks everywhere faced discrimination in every aspect of life, notably in education, employment, and housing.
Source: National Park Service
Quote of the Day: American Badass April 26 2012
Sneak Peek! April 25 2012
Here's another sneak peek from our upcoming line!
Phillips & Arnold Attack April 24 2012
On the evening of April 24, 1781, British General William Phillips lands on the banks of the James River at City Port, Virginia. Once there, he combined forces with British General Benedict Arnold, the former American general and notorious traitor, to launch an attack on the town of Petersburg, Virginia, located about 12 miles away.
Defending the town of Petersburg from the approaching British troops was a contingent of 1,000 troops from the Virginia militia led by Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. General von Steuben had set up defensive lines of resistance, but had no real hope of victory as the Americans were severely outnumbered by the British army of 2,500 troops. After several hours of fighting, von Steuben ordered a full-scale retreat of the Virginia militia as the city of Petersburg fell into British hands. Although Petersburg was lost, General von Steuben and the Virginia militia were able to resist the British force long enough for Patriot troops to assemble and set up defensive positions in nearby towns.
General Phillips had survived three years of captivity after being taken prisoner by the Americans at Saratoga in 1777 and marching with the so-called "Convention Army"--dubbed as such because the British and Americans signed a short-lived convention that the prisoners would be released to Europe if they agreed not to fight in North America again--700 miles from Saratoga, New York, to Charlottesville, Virginia, in November 1778 (after the revocation of the Convention of Saratoga). He was released in exchange for Patriot Major General Benjamin Lincoln in 1780. Despite such earlier fortitude, Phillips died of typhus on May 13 in Petersburg, less than a month after his victory.
Quote of the Day April 19 2012
The British Are Coming! April 18 2012
On this day in 1775, British troops march out of Boston on a mission to confiscate the American arsenal at Concord and to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be hiding at Lexington. As the British departed, Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback from the city to warn Adams and Hancock and rouse the Minutemen.
By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington.
The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured: Dawes left the city via the Boston Neck peninsula and Revere crossed the Charles River to Charlestown by boat. As the two couriers made their way, Patriots in Charlestown waited for a signal from Boston informing them of the British troop movement. As previously agreed, one lantern would be hung in the steeple of Boston's Old North Church, the highest point in the city, if the British were marching out of the city by Boston Neck, and two lanterns would be hung if they were crossing the Charles River to Cambridge. Two lanterns were hung, and the armed Patriots set out for Lexington and Concord accordingly. Along the way, Revere and Dawes roused hundreds of Minutemen, who armed themselves and set out to oppose the British.
Revere arrived in Lexington shortly before Dawes, but together they warned Adams and Hancock and then set out for Concord. Along the way, they were joined by Samuel Prescott, a young Patriot who had been riding home after visiting a lady friend. Early on the morning of April 19, a British patrol captured Revere, and Dawes lost his horse, forcing him to walk back to Lexington on foot. However, Prescott escaped and rode on to Concord to warn the Patriots there. After being roughly questioned for an hour or two, Revere was released when the patrol heard Minutemen alarm guns being fired on their approach to Lexington.
About 5 a.m. on April 19, 700 British troops under Major John Pitcairn arrived at the town to find a 77-man-strong colonial militia under Captain John Parker waiting for them on Lexington's common green. Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment's hesitation, the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the "shot heard around the world" was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead and 10 others were wounded; only one British soldier was injured. The American Revolution had begun.
Colbert Raids Fort Carlos April 17 2012
About 2 a.m. on the morning of April 17, 1783, British Captain James Colbert, along with a group of 82 British partisans, launches a surprise attack on the Arkansas post of Fort Carlos (modern-day Gillett, in Desha County), located on the banks of the Arkansas River. The "Colbert Raid" was the only Revolutionary War action to take place in Arkansas.
Colbert launched the British attack on the Spanish-controlled fort in response to Spain's decision to side with the Americans during the revolution. Forty Spanish soldiers defended the fort with help from their Quapaw Indian allies. After a six-hour battle, Spanish Commander Jacobo Du Breuil ordered a sortie, which forced the retreat of the British contingent.
The raid took place nearly two months after America's preliminary peace treaty was signed with Great Britain, but word of the peace treaty did not reach either the British or American troops located in the Mississippi Valley until well after the raid. The area did not become part of the United States until 1803; in 1800, the Spanish ceded it to France and the French in turn sold it to Thomas Jefferson as part of Louisiana Purchase three years later.
The first European to recognize the value of this location, at the intersection of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, had been a French trader, Henri de Tonty. In 1686, he established the Poste de Arkansea near a Quapaw Indian village in the area.
The state of Arkansas now maintains the fort and it surroundings as the Arkansas Post Memorial and Arkansas Post Museum State Park.
Caine's Arcade April 12 2012
Every once in a while we like to go a bit off topic here on the blog. This video is absolutely amazing.
Dr. Joseph Warren April 11 2012
When a person dies suddenly, tragically, especially in the “prime of life”, we tend to frame his or her life in those final moments. We can all name such people: John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, the victims of September 11th. These are our heroes. Such a man was Joseph Warren.
Joseph Warren was, undoubtedly, the hero of Bunker Hill and by dying on that hill that June day in 1775; he became the embodiment of the young nation’s sacrifice. The question remains; how do we separate the hero from the man? How did Joseph Warren, physician, find himself on that fated hill just six days after his 34th birthday?
Joseph Warren was born in Roxbury, MA on June 11, 1741, the eldest of four sons of Joseph Warren, a farmer, who died after falling out of an apple tree. Joseph, Jr. would attend Harvard, teach briefly at the Latin School and then study to be a physician (as his mother’s father had been). He married Elizabeth Hooten on 6 September, 1764. Elizabeth brought as her dowry a considerable fortune she had inherited.
Dr. Warren began his participation in the radical cause in 1767, with the passage of the Townsend Acts. Warren’s response was a series of articles in the Boston Gazette under the pseudonym “A True Patriot”. These articles so angered the royal governor that he attempted to charge Warren and the publishers of the newspaper with libel, but the grand jury refused to bring forth a true bill.
After the publishing of the articles, Warren’s star began to rise in the radical circles. His friendship with Samuel Adams as well as family ties with James Otis (his brother-in-law) and Masonic connection with Paul Revere and other rebel luminaries would put him in the thick of the separatist movement. Warren would become chairman of the Committee of Safety after the “Boston Massacre” of 1770 and would deliver two of the famous orations on the anniversaries of that event.
While Samuel Adams was away in Philadelphia in 1774, attending to the business of the Continental Congress, Joseph Warren assumed Adam’s leadership role in Boston and became involved with the raising of militias and procurement of arms and powder. A few months later Adams and John Hancock would return to Massachusetts to find the Crown had placed a price on their heads. It was Joseph Warren, who would direct Paul Revere and William Dawes to warn the two leaders that British soldiers were heading toward their sanctuary in Lexington, MA to arrest them on 18 April, 1775.
The news of the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord would cause Warren to leave his patients in the care of his assistant, William Eustis and ride toward the scene of battle. He would spend the next six weeks readying the militia for the inevitable battles to come. For his efforts, he was elected second general in command of the Massachusetts forces by the Provincial congress on 14 June, 1775.
After meeting with the committee of safety at General Artemas Ward’s headquarters on Cambridge common on the morning of 17 June, Warren learned that British forces had landed at Charlestown. About noon, he rode over to the American fortifications on Breed’s Hill. The rest is the stuff of legends: Warren refused to take command, instead going into the line as a regular volunteer. On the third and final British assault near the redoubt, while attempting to rally the militia, Warren was instantly killed by a ball between the eyes. The men that Warren had rallied in those last moments were a spectrum of Massachusetts society: merchants, farmers, mechanics, laborers; red men, black men, white men, both slave and free; all fighting for their freedom. How ironic that the leader was a slave owner.
The British forces, upon taking the field, placed Warren’s body in a common mass grave. His remains were later identified by Paul Revere, who identified him by the set of false teeth he had fashioned for him.
Joseph Warren became an instant hero. His death was immortalized in John Trumbull’s painting; “The Death of General Warren” King Solomon’s Lodge honored their Grand Master with the first Bunker Hill Monument, which now resides in the base of the present monument. In New England, every state has a town named in his honor. In death he was a hero, his life cut tragically short, and his potential unknown.
He left four small children orphaned (their mother had died in April, 1773), whose welfare remained in dire straits until 1778, when General Benedict Arnold (who had befriended Warren at Cambridge) gave $500 for their education and petitioned Congress for the amount of a major –general’s half pay for their welfare until the youngest reached majority.
In the course of just a decade, Dr. Joseph Warren married, fathered four children, furthered the revolutionary movement in Boston and died a hero’s death. Perhaps, Edna St. Vincent Millay could have been speaking of Joseph Warren when she wrote, “My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes and oh, my friends, it gives a lovely light!”
Source: National Park Service
This Day In History: April 10, 1778 April 10 2012
On April 10, 1778, Commander John Paul Jones and his crew of 140 men aboard the USS Ranger set sail from the naval port at Brest, France, and head toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during theRevolutionary War.
Commander Jones, remembered as one of the most daring and successful naval commanders of the American Revolution, was born in Scotland, on July 6, 1747. He became an apprentice to a merchant at 13 and soon went to sea, traveling first to the West Indies and then to North America as a young man. In Virginia at the onset of the American Revolution, Jones sided with the Patriots and received a commission as a first lieutenant in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775.
After departing from Brest, Jones successfully executed raids on two forts in England s Whitehaven Harbor, despite a disgruntled crew more interested in "gain than honor." Jones then continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, Scotland, where he intended to abduct the earl of Selkirk and then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife s teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where the Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship s captain and lieutenant.
In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.
One of the greatest naval commanders in history, Jones is remembered as a "Father of the American Navy," along with fellow Revolutionary War hero Commodore John Barry.
John Paul Jones is buried in a crypt at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis,Maryland, where a Marine honor guard stands at attention in his honor whenever the crypt is open to the public.
Abigail Adams April 09 2012
Quote of the Day April 05 2012
This Day In History: Washington Begins March April 04 2012
After the successful siege of Boston, General George Washington begins marching his unpaid soldiers from their headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, toward New Yorkin anticipation of a British invasion, on this day in 1776.
In a letter to the president of Congress, General Washington wrote of his intentions in marching to New York and expressed frustration with Congress for failing to send adequate funds to allow him to pay his troops. Washington wrote, I heartily wish the money had arrived sooner, that the Militia might have been paid as soon as their time of Service expired. The lack of payment left Washington's soldiers with feelings of great uneasiness and they are gone home much dissatisfied and the commander in chief had received severe complaints from the other Troops on the same account. Washington hoped that, upon his arrival in New York, a sufficient sum will be there ready to pay every claim.
The Continental Congress' inability to promptly pay or adequately supply its soldiers persisted throughout the war and continued as a subject of debate following the peace at Yorktown. Two major ramifications of the financial crisis marked the birth of the new nation. First, Congress began to pay soldiers with promises of western lands instead of currency—the same land Congress simultaneously promised to its Indian allies. Secondly, Congress' inability to pay expenses even after winning the war eventually convinced conservative Patriots that it was necessary to overthrow the Articles of Confederation and draft the Constitution of the United States. The new and more centralized Constitution, with its three branches of government, had greater authority to raise funds and an increased ability to manage the new nation's finances. Alexander Hamilton, in his role as the first secretary of the treasury under President George Washington, focused his efforts on mimicking British financial institutions, most significantly in his championship of the First Bank of the United States, as a means of stabilizing the new nation's economy.
Washington's Life Guard April 03 2012
The Commander-in-Chief's Guard, better known as Washington's Life Guard, was a specialized unit in the Continental Army charged with the protection of GeneralGeorge Washington during the American Revolution. This "corps of sober, intelligent, an reliable men" was formed in 1776, present with Washington at all of his battles, and later disbanded in 1783 at the end of the war.
For more information on the C-in-C's Guard, click HERE.
Morgan's Rangers April 02 2012
The American revolutionaries were not without their Rangers, despite Rogers' support of the Crown. On the brink of war, the Continental Congress passed a resolution on 14 June 1775, on what is known as Flag Day, that "six companies of expert riflemen be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia." From these beginnings of the Continental Army, a group of expert riflemen composed of hardy frontiersmen were formed in 1777 into an organization George Washington referred to as The Corps of Rangers. Commanded by Dan Morgan, this Ranger force was singled out by British General John Burgoyne, the commander of British forces intent on isolating the New England colonies, as "the most famous corps of the Continental Army, all of them crack shots."
Following a disastrous expedition to Quebec, Canada, and his subsequent capture and parole as a prisoner, Morgan was appointed a colonel of a rifle regiment. Morgan's Corps of Rangers was coming to fruition. For the remainder of the war, the fame of Morgan and of his Rangers continued to grow as they deployed throughout the colonies engaging British forces.
Morgan would continue to fight in support of the American Revolution in a number of significant battles, including the battle at Cowpens, South Carolina, on 17 January 1781. An attack against Morgan and his "crack shots" by a British force of 1,100 men would result in a brilliant double envelopment that has been called by historians the "American Cannae." The British defeat was total with over 110 soldiers killed and 830 captured. Morgan's losses were placed at twelve killed and sixty-one wounded.
Source: Army Ranger
Friday Funnies March 30 2012
Quote of the Day March 29 2012
Upset by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property by American colonists, the British Parliament enacts the Coercive Acts, to the outrage of American Patriots, on this day in 1774.
The Coercive Acts were a series of four acts established by the British government. The aim of the legislation was to restore order in Massachusetts and punish Bostonians for their Tea Party, in which members of the revolutionary-minded Sons of Liberty boarded three British tea ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 crates of tea—nearly $1 million worth in today's money—into the water to protest the Tea Act.
Passed in response to the Americans' disobedience, the Coercive Acts included:
The Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid.
The Massachusetts Government Act, which restricted Massachusetts; democratic town meetings and turned the governor's council into an appointed body.
The Administration of Justice Act, which made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in Massachusetts.
The Quartering Act, which required colonists to house and quarter British troops on demand, including in their private homes as a last resort.
A fifth act, the Quebec Act, which extended freedom of worship to Catholics in Canada, as well as granting Canadians the continuation of their judicial system, was joined with the Coercive Acts in colonial parlance as one of the Intolerable Acts, as the mainly Protestant colonists did not look kindly on the ability of Catholics to worship freely on their borders.
More important than the acts themselves was the colonists' response to the legislation. Parliament hoped that the acts would cut Boston and New England off from the rest of the colonies and prevent unified resistance to British rule. They expected the rest of the colonies to abandon Bostonians to British martial law. Instead, other colonies rushed to the city's defense, sending supplies and forming their own Provincial Congresses to discuss British misrule and mobilize resistance to the crown. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and began orchestrating a united resistance to British rule in America.
The Swamp Fox March 27 2012
Francis Marion was a colonial American soldier in the American Revolution. Nicknamed the "Swamp Fox" by the British for his irregular methods of warfare, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers.
For more on Francis Marion, go here.