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Today in History with a Twist: September 18, 2013

Bank Crashes! Panic Ensues!

      1873 - One of the largest banks in the United states, Jay Cooke & Company, declares bankruptcy, triggering a series of bank failures known as the Panic of 1873.  The collapse had its roots in Europe where the effects of the Franco-Prussian War were hurting the European economies.  In the United States over speculation in Rail Roads, bad land deals in Chicago and rising interest rates were the main causes of the collapse of several large banks in the U.S.  The resulting depression would last until 1879. - The Great Depression....until the next one.

     You still need to eat so fire up the grill or head to your favorite restaurant because today is National Cheeseburger Day!  There are several theories about the origins of the cheeseburger.  One story claims that the cheeseburger was created between 1924 and 1926 by a chef named Lionel Sternberger.  As the story goes, a homeless man dining at Sternberger's restaurant in Pasadena, California, suggested the addition of a slice of cheese to his hamburger order.  Sternberger complied, eventually added it to his menu, and the rest is history.  Today, cheeseburgers are a staple at restaurants and backyard celebrations all across the country. (Punchbowl.com)

     Two major changes in Roman leadership:

14 - The Roman Senate confirmed Tiberius as Roman Emperor following the natural death of Augustus - That's a rarity!

324 - Constantine the Great established sole control over the Roman Empire by decisively defeating Licinius in the Battle of Chrysopolis. - Now that's more like it.

     Major events in Washington D.C. on this date:

1793 - George Washington laid the first cornerstone of the Capitol building.  He and eight friends, decked out in their Masonic finest, conducted a Masonic ceremony celebrating the laying of the stone. - Making Dan Brown millions.

1850 - As part of the Compromise of 1850 The U.S. Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.  The act required that any runaway slave if captured whether in a free state or a slave state had to be returned to his owner.  Helped to raise tensions between the two regions. - Compromise isn't always the best course.

1947 - The National Security Act is passed establishing the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. - Good to have it concentrated in one place.

     1885 - Riots break out in Montreal to protest against compulsory smallpox vaccination.  It is mostly the poor and illiterate who are against the mandatory vaccinations, even though they are free.  2% of Montreal's population would die in the epidemic. - Is Jenny McCarthy around?

     1870 - The famous tourist attraction, the Old Faithful Geyser, is observed for the first time and named by Henry D. Washburn during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition to Yellowstone. - It's just a big water leak.

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     53 - Trajan - Roman emperor (d. 117) - Ruled Rome at its peak. - Probably would have been a big fan of SimCity.

     1924 - J. D. Tippit - Police officer (d. 1963) - Sadly only really remembered for being the other person killed by Oswald on that fateful day.

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


Amazon Says: In 1869, Jay Cooke, the brilliant but idiosyncratic American banker, decided to finance the Northern Pacific, a transcontinental railroad planned from Duluth, Minnesota, to Se more...
Amazon Says: In 1869, Jay Cooke, the brilliant but idiosyncratic American banker, decided to finance the Northern Pacific, a transcontinental railroad planned from Duluth, Minnesota, to Seattle. M. John Lubetkin tells how Cooke’s gamble reignited war with the Sioux, rescued George Armstrong Custer from obscurity, created Yellowstone Park, pushed frontier settlement four hundred miles westward, and triggered the Panic of 1873.Staking his reputation and wealth on the Northern Pacific, Cooke was soon whipsawed by the railroad’s mismanagement, questionable contracts, and construction problems. Financier J. P. Morgan undermined him, and the Crédit Mobilier scandal ended congressional support. When railroad surveyors and army escorts ignored Sioux chief Sitting Bull’s warning not to enter the Yellowstone Valley, Indian attacks—combined with alcoholic commanders—led to embarrassing setbacks on the field, in the nation’s press, and among investors.Lubetkin’s suspenseful narrative describes events played out from Wall Street to the Yellowstone and vividly portrays the soldiers, engineers, businessmen, politicians, and Native Americans who tried to build or block the Northern Pacific. less...
Amazon

Constantine and Rome by R. Ross Holloway
Amazon Says: Constantine the Great (285-337) played a crucial role in mediating between the pagan, imperial past of the city of Rome, which he conquered in 312, and its future as a Christi more...
Amazon Says: Constantine the Great (285-337) played a crucial role in mediating between the pagan, imperial past of the city of Rome, which he conquered in 312, and its future as a Christian capital. In this learned and highly readable book, Ross Holloway examines Constantine's remarkable building programme in Rome. Holloway begins by examining the Christian Church in the period before the Peace of 313, when Constantine and his co-emperor Licinius ended the persecution of the Christians. He then focuses on the structure, style, and significance of important monuments: the Arch of Constantine and the two great Christian basilicas, St. John's in the Lateran and St. Peter's, as well as the imperial mausoleum at Tor Pignatara. In a final chapter Holloway advances a new interpretation of the archaeology of the Tomb of St. Peter beneath the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica. The tomb, he concludes, was not the original resting place of the remains venerated as those of the Apostle but was created only in 251 by Pope Cornelius. Drawing on the most up-to-date archaeological evidence, he describes a cityscape that was at once Christian and pagan, mirroring the personality of its ruler. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: At the age of thirty-six, in 1852, Lt. Montgomery Cunningham Meigs of the Army Corps of Engineers reported to Washington, D.C., for duty as a special assistant to the chief ar more...
Amazon Says: At the age of thirty-six, in 1852, Lt. Montgomery Cunningham Meigs of the Army Corps of Engineers reported to Washington, D.C., for duty as a special assistant to the chief army engineer, Gen. Joseph G. Totten. It was a fateful assignment, both for the nation’s capital and for the bright, ambitious, and politically connected West Point graduate. Meigs's forty-year tenure in the nation's capital was by any account spectacularly successful. He surveyed, designed, and built the Washington water supply system, oversaw the extension of the U.S. Capitol and the erection of its massive iron dome, and designed and supervised construction of the Pension Building, now the home of the National Building Museum. The skills he exhibited in supervising engineering projects were carefully noted by political leaders, including president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who named Meigs quartermaster general of the Union Army, the most important position he held during his long and active military career. Meigs believed Washington, D.C., should be the reincarnation of Rome, the ancient capital of the Roman Empire. He endeavored to memorialize the story of the American nation in all the structures he built, expressing these ideas in murals, sculpture, and monumental design. Historians have long known Meigs for the organizational genius with which he fulfilled his duty as quartermaster general during the Civil War and for his unwavering loyalty to Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. This volume establishes his claim as one of the major nineteenth-century contributors to the built environment of the nation's capital. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: During the tumultuous decade before the Civil War, no issue was more divisive than the pursuit and return of fugitive slaves—a practice enforced under the Fugitive Slave Ac more...
Amazon Says: During the tumultuous decade before the Civil War, no issue was more divisive than the pursuit and return of fugitive slaves—a practice enforced under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. When free Blacks and their abolitionist allies intervened, prosecutions and trials inevitably followed. These cases involved high legal, political, and—most of all—human drama, with runaways desperate for freedom, their defenders seeking recourse to a “higher law” and normally fair-minded judges (even some opposed to slavery) considering the disposition of human beings as property. Fugitive Justice tells the stories of three of the most dramatic fugitive slave trials of the 1850s, bringing to vivid life the determination of the fugitives, the radical tactics of their rescuers, the brutal doggedness of the slavehunters, and the tortuous response of the federal courts. These cases underscore the crucial role that runaway slaves played in building the tensions that led to the Civil War, and they show us how “civil disobedience” developed as a legal defense. As they unfold we can also see how such trials—whether of rescuers or of the slaves themselves—helped build the northern anti-slavery movement, even as they pushed southern firebrands closer to secession. How could something so evil be treated so routinely by just men? The answer says much about how deeply the institution of slavery had penetrated American life even in free states. Fugitive Justice powerfully illuminates this painful episode in American history, and its role in the nation’s inexorable march to war. less...
Amazon
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