Skip to content
courtesy of the U.S. Government

Today in History with a Twist: November 15, 2013

We're a Country!

     1777 - The Articles of Confederation are approved by the Continental Congress after 16 months of debate.  The document unified the former colonies as a loose confederation of sovereign states.  The Constitution replaced the Articles in 1789 and provided for a much stronger central government, but it would take the Civil War to truly make us a country.  Though it took a year and half to make the Articles of Confederation law, the Continental Congress used the draft to legitimize its actions against England. - The first example of a continuing resolution?

      Hope the Continental Congress recycled all the notes taken during those 16 months.  Today is America Recycles Day!  Did you know that recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees, 2 barrels of oil, 4100 kilowatts of energy, 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space, and 60 pounds of air pollution?  These environmental benefits should be enough of an incentive for everyone to take part in the simple activity of recycling.  By reusing the Earth's natural resources, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the need to build landfills.  We also ensure that these natural resources will be around for future generations to use.  America Recycles Day celebrates all of the benefits associated with recycling and encourages people to do their part. (Punchbowl.com)

     1920 - First assembly of the League of Nations is held in Geneva, Switzerland.  The League, the brain child of President Woodrow Wilson, was put together after World War One.  Its purpose was to prevent future wars through negotiation.  The United States itself did not become a member. - And we all know how effective it was.

     1943 - SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders that Gypsies are to be put "on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps".  Though often only mentioned as a footnote over one million non-Jews died in the concentration camps. - Equal opportunity extermination.

     1835 - Charles Darwin reached Tahiti. Darwin describes an expedition in Tahiti in Voyage of the Beagle, beginning with a description of the group's guide:   "Here he takes us climbing and cooking in Tahiti.  There was a vertical wall of rock. One of the Tahitians, a fine active man, placed the trunk of a tree against this, climbed up it, and then by the aid of crevices reached the summit.  He fixed the ropes to a projecting point, and lowered them for our dog and luggage, and then we clambered up ourselves.  Beneath the ledge on which the dead tree was placed, the precipice must have been five or six hundred feet deep; and if the abyss had not been partly concealed by the overhanging ferns and lilies my head would have turned giddy, and nothing should have induced me to have attempted it.  We continued to ascend, sometimes along ledges, and sometimes along knife-edged ridges, having on each hand profound ravines.  In the Cordillera I have seen mountains on a far grander scale, but for abruptness, nothing at all comparable with this." (Entry courtesy of Alexis from NE) - He goes to Tahiti and he doesn't write about the beaches?

     1966 -Today marks splashdown of Gemini XII, the final mission in NASA's Project Gemini.  Gemini XII was the 10th Gemini flight, and the first demonstration that an astronaut could work easily in space.  Buzz Aldrin spent a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes on a tethered space-walk, photographing star fields and other space "chores." (I may hate doing chores, but what I wouldn't do to collect meteorite samples for NASA!) This flight is Jim Lovell's second trip to space, and his first time commanding a mission. Interestingly, astronauts used underwater training for the first time during mission training for Gemini XII -- a practice that is now a standard part of mission training. - ed. note: Government planning that made sense. (Entry courtesy of Alexis from NE)

     1971 - Intel releases the world's first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004. - And our lives are changed forever.

Today's birthdays:

     1738 - William Herschel - German-English astronomer (d. 1822).  The astronomer, technical expert, and composer was born in Hanover, Germany.  Herschel followed his father into the Military Band of Hanover, before immigrating to Britain at age 19.  He became famous for his discovery of the planet Uranus, along with two of its major moons (Titania and Oberon), and also discovered two moons of Saturn.  In addition, he was the first person to discover the existence of infrared radiation.  He is also known for the twenty-four symphonies, and many other musical pieces, that he composed. - Just couldn't make up his mind on what he wanted to do with his life.

     1882 - Felix Frankfurter - Austrian-American jurist (d. 1965).  Born in Vienna, he immigrated to New York at the age of 12.  He graduated from Harvard Law School, was politically active, helping to found the American Civil Liberties Union, and a friend and adviser of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1939.  Frankfurter served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court for 23 years, and was a noted advocate of judicial restraint in the judgments of the Court. - He would have made this list by his name alone!

     1891 - Erwin Rommel - German Field Marshal (d. 1944) - He was good at what he did, but he also knew how to run a good PR campaign.

     1907 - Claus von Stauffenberg - German army officer, member of the 20 July plot (d. 1944) - Have to love someone who tried to blow up Hitler.

To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection:


Amazon Says: Book by Callahan, Kerry P., Moehn, Heather more...
Amazon Says: Book by Callahan, Kerry P., Moehn, Heather less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Create extraordinary handmade gifts and decorative accents by recycling everyday household items such as detergent boxes, wallpaper scraps, chipped dishes, and more. TRASH TO more...
Amazon Says: Create extraordinary handmade gifts and decorative accents by recycling everyday household items such as detergent boxes, wallpaper scraps, chipped dishes, and more. TRASH TO TREASURE is jam-packed with 125 economical, earth-friendly projects--each accompanied by clear, easy-to-follow instructions, and radiant full-color photographs. Use your creativity to turn everyday "trash" into delightful "treasures". less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: At the end of his first term in 1916, Woodrow Wilson had emerged as one of the most forceful and progressive presidents in American history. At home, he had pushed through le more...
Amazon Says: At the end of his first term in 1916, Woodrow Wilson had emerged as one of the most forceful and progressive presidents in American history. At home, he had pushed through legislation that restricted child labor, provided workmen's compensation, secured a truly progressive income tax, and established the eight-hour day for railroad workers. He had also appointed two prominent "radicals," Louis Brandeis and John Hessin Clarke, to the Supreme Court. In world affairs, he had already taken his place as the great voice of the New Diplomacy, the inspiration of "progressive internationalists" in both the United States and Europe. Indeed, in a world gripped by the Great War, he was seen as the shining hope for a new, more moral and rational system of international relations. But four years later his presidency ended under a cloud of defeat, his greatest work of all--the Covenant of the League of Nations--discredited and voted down by the Senate. In To End All Wars, Thomas J. Knock provides a fascinating narrative of Wilson's epic quest for a new world order. Massively researched and filled with intriguing and provocative insights, this account follows Wilson's thought and diplomacy from his early historical writings to his policy towards revolutionary Mexico, from his dramatic call for "Peace Without Victory" in World War I to America's entry into that conflict, and from the Fourteen Points Address to the frustrating negotiations at Versailles, through to his stroke and the Senate's rejection of the League. Knock takes a revealing look at the place of internationalism in American politics, sweeping away the old view that isolationism was the cause of Wilson's failure. Internationalism, he writes, was an accepted viewpoint in the mainstream of both major parties as well as the Socialist party of America; at stake, though, were competing visions of internationalism--conservative and progressive. Knock brilliantly weaves together world events with the debates in American politics to show how World War I wrecked Wilson's alliance with progressive forces, as he permitted the U.S. government to stamp out dissent and acquiesced in the "one hundred percent Americanism" fever that overcame the country in a wave of intolerance. At the same time, his plans for a new world order incensed such conservative internationalists as Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge; after the peace conference, even the sympathetic William Howard Taft worried that Wilson had signed away American power and sovereignty. Jane Addams, Max Eastman, John Reed, Eugene Debs, Walter Lippmann, and other compelling figures of the era all play important roles as Knock traces the rise and fall of progressive internationalism at home and abroad--putting Wilson's tragic stroke in a new and strikingly different context. Today, as the world emerges from the Cold War, Woodrow Wilson's appeal for collective cooperation, disarmament, and self-determination echoes with new meaning. Knock's penetrating analysis of Wilson's thought and diplomacy offers a fresh understanding of this pivotal statesman and his ideals, which continue to affect world politics at the beginning of a new epoch. less...
Amazon

The Order of Terror by Wolfgang Sofsky
Amazon Says: During the twelve years from 1933 until 1945, the concentration camp operated as a terror society. In this pioneering book, the renowned German sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky loo more...
Amazon Says: During the twelve years from 1933 until 1945, the concentration camp operated as a terror society. In this pioneering book, the renowned German sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky looks at the concentration camp from the inside as a laboratory of cruelty and a system of absolute power built on extreme violence, starvation, "terror labor," and the business-like extermination of human beings. Based on historical documents and the reports of survivors, the book details how the resistance of prisoners was broken down. Arbitrary terror and routine violence destroyed personal identity and social solidarity, disrupted the very ideas of time and space, perverted human work into torture, and unleashed innumerable atrocities. As a result, daily life was reduced to a permanent struggle for survival, even as the meaning of self-preservation was extinguished. Sofsky takes us from the searing, unforgettable image of the Muselmann--Auschwitz jargon for the "walking dead"--to chronicles of epidemics, terror punishments, selections, and torture. The society of the camp was dominated by the S.S. and a system of graduated and forced collaboration which turned selected victims into accomplices of terror. Sofsky shows that the S.S. was not a rigid bureaucracy, but a system with ample room for autonomy. The S.S. demanded individual initiative of its members. Consequently, although they were not required to torment or murder prisoners, officers and guards often exploited their freedom to do so--in passing or on a whim, with cause, or without. The order of terror described by Sofsky culminated in the organized murder of millions of European Jews and Gypsies in the death-factories of Auschwitz and Treblinka. By the end of this book, Sofsky shows that the German concentration camp system cannot be seen as a temporary lapse into barbarism. Instead, it must be conceived as a product of modern civilization, where institutionalized, state-run human cruelty became possible with or without the mobilizing feelings of hatred. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: "The Voyage of the Beagle" is Charles Darwin's account of the momentous voyage which set in motion the current of intellectual events leading to "The Origin of Species". This more...
Amazon Says: "The Voyage of the Beagle" is Charles Darwin's account of the momentous voyage which set in motion the current of intellectual events leading to "The Origin of Species". This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Janet Brown and Michael Neve. When HMS Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal, here reprinted in a shortened form, shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology, natural history, people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia and the Australasian coral reefs - all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made here were to set in motion the intellectual currents that led to the theory of evolution, and the most controversial book of the "Victorian age: The Origin of Species". This volume reprints Charles Darwin's journal in a shortened form. In their introduction Janet Brown and Michael Neve provide a background to Darwin's thought and work, and this edition also includes notes, maps, appendices and an essay on scientific geology and the Bible by Robert FitzRoy, Darwin's friend and Captain of the Beagle. Charles Darwin (1809-82), a Victorian scientist and naturalist, has become one of the most famous figures of science to date. The advent of "On the Origin of Species" by means of natural selection in 1859 challenged and contradicted all contemporary biological and religious beliefs. If you enjoyed "The Voyage of the Beagle", you might enjoy Darwin's "On the Origin of Species", also available in "Penguin Classics". less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Provides details of the last Gemini flight, flown by veteran Commander James Lovell and brilliant rookie Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. more...
Amazon Says: Provides details of the last Gemini flight, flown by veteran Commander James Lovell and brilliant rookie Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. less...
Amazon
Amazon Says: This basic introductory text on microprocessors and their applications assumes little previous knowledge of computer hardware. The essential characteristics of microprocessors more...
Amazon Says: This basic introductory text on microprocessors and their applications assumes little previous knowledge of computer hardware. The essential characteristics of microprocessors and their operating and application principles are provided with the minimum of electrical/electronic detail. In its considerably revised and updated second edition, the Intel 8085 is the basic reference. Students in technical colleges and universities will find the approach particularly suitable. Although the book stands on its own, the many program and application examples can be run directly on a microprocessor prototyping system, which makes the book suitable for a hands-on introductory course. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Responsible for the greatest advances in astronomy since Copernicus, William and Caroline Herschel forever transformed our view of the heavens. Trained as a musician, amateur more...
Amazon Says: Responsible for the greatest advances in astronomy since Copernicus, William and Caroline Herschel forever transformed our view of the heavens. Trained as a musician, amateur scientist William Herschel found international fame after discovering the planet Uranus in 1781. Though he is still best known for this finding, his partnership with his sister Caroline yielded groundbreaking work, including techniques that remain in use today. The duo pioneered comprehensive surveys of the night sky, carefully categorizing every visible object in the void. Caroline wrote an influential catalogue of nebulae, and William discovered infrared radiation. Celebrated science writer Michael Lemonick guides readers through the depths of the solar system and into his protagonists' private lives: William developed bizarre theories about inhabitants of the sun; he procured an unheard-of salary for Caroline even while haggling with King George III over the funding for an enormous, forty-foot telescope; the siblings feuded over William's marriage and eventually reconciled. Erudite and accessible, The Georgian Star is a lively portrait of the pair who invented modern astronomy. 9 illustrations less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: When Erwin Rommel died—by forced suicide at Hitler’s command—he left behind in various ingenious hiding places the papers that recorded the story of his dramatic career an more...
Amazon Says: When Erwin Rommel died—by forced suicide at Hitler’s command—he left behind in various ingenious hiding places the papers that recorded the story of his dramatic career and the exact details of his masterly campaigns. It was his custom to dictate each evening a running narrative of the day’s events and, after each battle, to summarize its course and the lessons to be learned from it. He wrote, almost daily, intimate and outspoken letters to his wife in which his private feelings and—after the tide had turned—forebodings found expression. To this is added by Rommel’s son Manfred the story of the field marshall’s last weeks and the final day when he was given the choice of an honorable suicide or an ignominious trial for treason. An engrossing human document and a rare look at the mind of the ”Desert Fox,” The Rommel Papers throws an interesting light on the Axis alliance and on the inner workings of Hitler’s high command. less...
Amazon
Print

Comment about this page...