Monday, March 4, 2013

A Few Things that Happened on this Day in US History

The Government began operating under the U.S. Constitution on this day in 1789. I wonder if those first lawmakers had any notion of how big their little government would someday become? The President lived in rented rooms and the War Department (now the Department of Defense) worked in a single room above a local pub. Thier only income to pay for anything came from Customs fees. If anyone had even suggested income or sales taxes they would probably have been tarred and feathered –and several states would have sleft the union… oh, how times have changed…

Ernest Hemingway completed his short novel "The Old Man and the Sea". He wrote his publisher the same day, saying he had finished the book and that it was the best writing he had ever done. The critics agreed: The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and became one of his bestselling works.

In 1829 Andrew Jackson held an “open house” at the White House. Everyone was invited to drop by. No guards, no security. The front door was propped open and everyone just walked in and said hi, then went out to the front lawn for an outdoor party. Lots of toasts, but not one political speech…

On this day in 1952, actor and future President Ronald Reagan marries his second wife, actress Nancy Davis. The couple wed in Los Angeles at the Little Brown Church in the Valley.  Nancy Davis, whose real name is Anne Frances Robbins, met her husband in 1951. (MGM Studios signed her to a contract and billed her as Nancy Davis for her first screen role in the film Shadow on the Wall). The two met in 1951, while Reagan was serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Nancy was embroiled in an effort to remove her name from the notorious McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist of possible communist sympathizers. The list actually referred to another actress of the same name, but it was preventing Davis from finding work, so the future first lady contacted Reagan to see if he, as SAG president, could help clear up the confusion. The two fell in love and were married a year later. Their first child, Patricia, was born 7 months after the wedding.

On this day in 1861, Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th president of the United States. In his inauguration speech Lincoln extended an olive branch to the South, but also made it clear that he intended to enforce federal laws in the states that seceded. Since Lincoln's election in November 1860, seven states had left the Union. Worried that the election of a Republican would threaten their rights, especially slavery, the lower South seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. In the process, some of those states seized federal properties such as armories and forts. By the time Lincoln arrived in Washington, D.C., for his inauguration, the threat of war hung heavy in the air. In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would "hold, occupy, and possess" its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation's common heritage:

"In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it... We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Live Long and Prosper...

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