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Today in History with a Twist: December 2, 2013

teDay of Declarations!

     1823 - In his State of the Union message, President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warns European powers not to interfere in the Americas.  This would become known as the Monroe Doctrine and influences American policy in the Americas to this day.  Basically it said that European and other foreign powers could not establish new colonies or interfere in the internal politics in any nation in the Americas; established colonies were not affected by the policy.  Also often forgotten is that the doctrine also stated that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. - At least not when it is in our national interest.

     Take a quick break from the declarations with a fritter.  Today is National Fritters Day! Fritters are delicious fried cakes filled with fruit or meat.  They can be served as a snack, side dish, dessert, or even the main course!  There's actually not much difference between pancake and fritter batter.  They are both made with the same ingredients.  It is only once fruit or meat is dipped into the raw batter and then fried that it actually becomes a fritter.  The first historical record of the fritter dates back to 1665. Samuel Pepys, an Englishman who served as a Member of Parliament during the English Restoration period, noted in his diary that he would be enjoying some fritters before Lent! (Punchbowl.com)

     1845 - In his State of the Union message, President James K. Polk proposes that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.  This policy has become known as Manifest Destiny.  In essence it stated the United States had the moral right and obligation to expand its influence on the American continent and around the world.  It has three basic tenants:  1. The American people and their institutions demonstrate special virtues - superior to other countries   2. It is America's mission to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America;   3. An irresistible destiny direction to accomplish this essential duty. - it is America's obligation to follow this policy.  It was used by President Polk to justify the War with Mexico and our acquisition of land as war spoils.  It also justified the expansion into the American West.  It would later be expanded to be the underlying theory in our international actions.  It was not universally supported in the United States, it was primarily a policy supported by the Democratic Party.  The Whig party and nascent Republican Party, including such notable future leaders Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant opposed it.  John Quincy Adams, originally a major supporter, turned against it when he realized it meant the spread of slavery into Texas.  The Republicans would reverse their stand and use manifest destiny to justify the Spanish-American War and acquisition of colonies and territories in the early 1900's.  The belief that it is America's mission to promote and defend democracy throughout the world is still very prevalent in our policies today. - Can't keep a good man down.

      1961 - In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism. - Seems like both of the above principles failed here.

     1804 - At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.  During the ceremony Napoleon unexpectedly took the crown and crowned himself and Josephine as Emperor and Empress rather than having the Pope perform the act.  This symbolized that no earthly person had any authority over him. - A master propagandist he could of had a great career in advertising.

     1805 - At the Battle of Austerlitz Napoleon decisively defeated a Russo-Austrian army, commanded by Tsar Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, after nearly nine hours of difficult fighting. In one of the classic battles in military history Napoleon destroyed the Third Coalition and would result in the end of The Holy Roman Empire. - One heck of a one year anniversary present to himself.

     1954 - The United States Senate votes 65 to 22 to censure Joseph McCarthy for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute".  After dragging the United States through the 'Red Scare' he brought himself down trying to take on the Army and General Marshall. - Now where did he put that list?

Today's birthdays:

     1863 - Charles Edward Ringling - Co-founded the Ringling Brothers Circus (d. 1926) - His mother probably thought it was circus at home with him and his four brothers.

     1935 - David Hackett Fischer - American historian - His works include:  Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (1989) ISBN 0-19-503794-4; Paul Revere's Ride (1994) ISBN 0-19-508847-6;  Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History) (2004) ISBN 0-19-517034-2 and Historians' Fallacies : Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (1970) ISBN 0-06-131545-1 (in which he coined the term Historian's fallacy).  The historian's fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision. It is not to be confused with presentism, a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas (such as moral standards) are projected into the past. - Hind sight is 20-20.

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


Amazon Says: Revealing new study of Napoleon's greatest victory. Dispels many of the myths surrounding the famous battle of the three emperors. Brought to life with numerous eyewitness a more...
Amazon Says: Revealing new study of Napoleon's greatest victory. Dispels many of the myths surrounding the famous battle of the three emperors. Brought to life with numerous eyewitness accounts. A Main Selection for the History Book Club. The Battle of Austerlitz is almost universally regarded as the most impressive of Napoleon's many victories. The magnitude of the French achievement against a significantly larger army was unprecedented. In this insightful new study the author analyses the planning of the opposing forces and details the course of the battle hour by hour, describing the fierce see-saw battle around Sokolnitz, the epic struggle for the Pratzen Heights, the dramatic engagement between the legendary Lannes and Bagration in the north, and the widely misunderstood clash of Napoleon's Imperial Guard and Alexander's Imperial Leib-Guard. The author has produced a detailed and balanced assessment of the battle that for the first time places familiar French accounts in their proper perspective and exposes many myths regarding the battle that have been perpetuated and even embellished in recent books. With 1805: Austerlitz, the reader is left with a new appreciation of Napoleon and his Grande Army of 1805, an army that decisively defeated not a hapless relic of the ancien regime but rather a formidable professional army that had fought the French armies on equal terms five years earlier. Robert Goetz has been studying the Russian Army of the Napoleonic Wars for the past seven years, an area of specialization that emerged from his longstanding interest in the French Revolution and Napoleonic era. He is the author of several award-winning articles concerning the Russian Army and its campaigns. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Recreates the life of the controversial senator, focusing on his fanatical accusations of communist influence in the federal government. more...
Amazon Says: Recreates the life of the controversial senator, focusing on his fanatical accusations of communist influence in the federal government. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: This fascinating book is the first volume in a projected cultural history of the United States, from the earliest English settlements to our own time. It is a history of Amer more...
Amazon Says: This fascinating book is the first volume in a projected cultural history of the United States, from the earliest English settlements to our own time. It is a history of American folkways as they have changed through time, and it argues a thesis about the importance for the United States of having been British in its cultural origins. While most people in the United States today have no British ancestors, they have assimilated regional cultures which were created by British colonists, even while preserving ethnic identities at the same time. In this sense, nearly all Americans are "Albion's Seed," no matter what their ethnicity may be. The concluding section of this remarkable book explores the ways that regional cultures have continued to dominate national politics from 1789 to 1988, and still help to shape attitudes toward education, government, gender, and violence, on which differences between American regions are greater than between European nations. less...
Amazon
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