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?
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: