Archive for February, 2010

Happy Birthday George Washington!

George Washington is born
On this day in 1732, George Washington is born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the second son from the second marriage of a colonial plantation owner. An initially loyal British subject, Washington eventually led the Continental Army in the American Revolution and became known as the “father” of the United States.

Washington rose to eminence on his own merit. His first job at age 17 was as a surveyor in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1752, he joined the British army and served as a lieutenant in the French and Indian War. When the war ended, Washington left the army and returned home to Virginia to manage Mount Vernon, the plantation he had recently inherited upon the death of his older brother. He married a wealthy widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, in 1759. Although the couple had no children, Washington adopted Martha’s son and daughter from her previous marriage. While in Virginia, Washington served in the colonial House of Burgesses and, like many of his compatriots, grew increasingly frustrated with the British government. He soon joined his co-revolutionaries in the Continental Congress.

In 1775, the Continental Congress unanimously chose Washington to command the new Continental Army. In addition to advocating civilian control over the military, Washington possessed that intangible quality of a “born leader” and had earned a reputation for coolness under fire and as a strict disciplinarian during the French and Indian campaign. In that war, he dodged bullets, had horses shot out from under him and was even taken prisoner by the French. Part of his success in the Revolutionary War was due to his shrewd use of what was then considered the “ungentlemanly,” but effective, tactic of “guerrilla” warfare, in which stealthy “hit-and-run” attacks foiled British armies used to close-formation battle-line warfare. Although Washington led almost as many losing battles as he won, his successes at Trenton, Princeton and Yorktown proved pivotal for the Continental Army and the emerging nation. In 1789, in part because of the leadership skills he displayed during the war, the Continental Congress elected Washington as the first American president.

George Washington’s legacy has endured a long process of untangling myth from fact. The famous “cherry tree incident” never occurred, nor did Washington have wooden teeth, though he did have only one tooth by the time he became president and wore a series of dentures made from metal and cow or hippopotamus bone. In portraits of Washington, the pain caused by his dentures is evident in his facial expression. Known for being emotionally reserved and aloof, Washington was concerned with personal conduct, character and self-discipline, but was known to bend the rules if necessary, especially in war. Although Washington was undoubtedly ambitious, he pursued his goals humbly and with quiet confidence in his abilities as a leader.

An extraordinary figure in American history and unusually tall at 6’ 3”, Washington was also an ordinary man. He loved cricket and fox-hunting, moved gracefully around a ballroom, was a Freemason and possibly a Deist, and was an astute observer of the darker side of human nature. His favorite foods were pineapples, Brazil nuts (hence the missing teeth from cracking the shells) and Saturday dinners of salt cod. He possessed a wry sense of humor and, like his wife Martha, tried to resist the vanities of public life. Washington could also explode into a rage when vexed in war or political battles. Loyal almost to a fault, he could also be unforgiving and cold when crossed. When Republican Thomas Jefferson admitted to slandering the president in an anonymous newspaper article for his support of Federalist Alexander Hamilton’s policies, Washington cut Jefferson out of his life. On at least one occasion, Washington’s stubbornness inspired John Adams to refer to him as “Old Muttonhead.”

An unenthusiastic political leader, Washington nevertheless recognized his unique and symbolic role in keeping a fledgling nation together. He worked hard to reconcile competing factions within his administration and was keenly aware of setting unwritten rules of conduct for future presidents. He struggled with advisors over what sort of “image” a president should project. He preferred one of dignity and humility and stumbled when encouraged to act out of character or “monarchical.” After two terms, old, tired, and disillusioned with vicious partisan politics, he resigned. His granddaughter remembered him as “a prisoner of his own celebrity.” Abigail Adams described Washington as having “a dignity which forbids familiarity mixed with an easy affability which creates love and reverence.”

After leaving office, Washington returned to Mount Vernon, indulged his passion for the rural life and started a successful whiskey distillery. A member of the Virginia planter class, he grew increasingly uncomfortable with the hypocrisy of owning slaves, yet publicly he promoted a gradual abolition of slavery. In his will he requested that his slaves be freed upon Martha’s death. Although he and Martha had a good relationship, the great love of his life was Sally Fairfax, the wife of his friend George. Abandoning his characteristic self-control, Washington wrote to Sally toward the end of his life, confessing that his moments with her had been the “happiest” of his life.

On December 14, 1799, Washington died of a severe respiratory ailment. He humbly identified himself in his will as “George Washington, of Mount Vernon, a citizen of the United States.”


Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is born
On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Lincoln, one of America’s most admired presidents, grew up a member of a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana. He attended school for only one year, but thereafter read on his own in a continual effort to improve his mind. As an adult, he lived in Illinois and performed a variety of jobs including stints as a postmaster, surveyor and shopkeeper, before entering politics. He served in the Illinois legislature from 1834 to 1836, and then became an attorney. In 1842, Lincoln married Mary Todd; together, the pair raised four sons.

Lincoln returned to politics during the 1850s, a time when the nation’s long-standing division over slavery was flaring up, particularly in new territories being added to the Union. As leader of the new Republican Party, Lincoln was considered politically moderate, even on the issue of slavery. He advocated the restriction of slavery to the states in which it already existed and described the practice in a letter as a “minor issue” as late as 1854. In an 1858 senatorial race, as secessionist sentiment brewed among the southern states, he warned, “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. He did not win the Senate seat but earned national recognition as a strong political force. Lincoln’s inspiring oratory soothed a populace anxious about southern states’ secessionist threats and boosted his popularity.

As a presidential candidate in the election of 1860, Lincoln tried to reassure slaveholding interests that although he favored abolition, he had no intention of ending the practice in states where it already existed and prioritized saving the Union over freeing slaves. When he won the presidency by approximately 400,000 popular votes and carried the Electoral College, he was in effect handed a ticking time bomb. His concessions to slaveholders failed to prevent South Carolina from leading other states in an exodus from the Union that began shortly after his election. By February 1, 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas had also seceded. Soon after, the Civil War began. As the war progressed, Lincoln moved closer to committing himself and the nation to the abolitionist movement and, in 1863, finally signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The document freed slaves in the Confederate states, but did not address the legality of slavery in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska or Arkansas.

Lincoln was the tallest president at 6’ 4.” As a young man, he impressed others with his sheer physical strength–he was a legendary wrestler in Illinois–and entertained friends and strangers alike with his dry, folksy wit, which was still in evidence years later. Exasperated by one Civil War military defeat after another, Lincoln wrote to a lethargic general “if you are not using the army I should like to borrow it for awhile.” An animal lover, Lincoln once declared, “I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.” Fittingly, a variety of pets took up residence at the Lincoln White House, including a pet turkey named Jack and a goat called Nanko. Lincoln’s son Tad frequently hitched Nanko to a small wagon and drove around the White House grounds.

Lincoln’s sense of humor may have helped him to hide recurring bouts of depression. He admitted to friends and colleagues that he suffered from “intense melancholia” and hypochondria most of his adult life. Perhaps in order to cope with it, Lincoln engaged in self-effacing humor, even chiding himself about his famously homely looks. When an opponent in an 1858 Senate race debate called him “two-faced,” he replied, “If I had another face do you think I would wear this one?”

Lincoln is remembered as “The Great Emancipator.” Although he waffled on the subject of slavery in the early years of his presidency, his greatest legacy was his work to preserve the Union and his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. To Confederate sympathizers, however, Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation reinforced his image as a hated despot and ultimately led John Wilkes Booth to assassinate him on April 14, 1865. His favorite horse, Old Bob, pulled his funeral hearse.


French & Indian War Ends

February 10, 1763
The French and Indian War ends

The Seven Years’ War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain, and Spain.

In the early 1750s, France’s expansion into the Ohio River valley repeatedly brought the country into armed conflict with the British colonies. In 1756, the British formally declared war against France.

In the first year of the war, the British suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the French and their broad network of Native American alliances. However, in 1757, British Prime Minister William Pitt (the older) recognized the potential of imperial expansion that would come out of victory against the French and borrowed heavily to fund an expanded war effort. Pitt financed Prussia’s struggle against France and her allies in Europe and reimbursed the colonies for the raising of armies in North America. By 1760, the French had been expelled from Canada, and by 1763 all of France’s allies in Europe had either made a separate peace with Prussia or had been defeated. In addition, Spanish attempts to aid France in the Americas had failed, and France also suffered defeats against British forces in India.

The Seven Years’ War ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. The treaty ensured the colonial and maritime supremacy of Britain and strengthened the 13 American colonies by removing their European rivals to the north and the south. Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the Patriots.


Martin Luther King Jr’s Last Speech


The Price For Independence: Events Leading to the American Revolution

After Watching the Movie Answer the Following Questions.

Name Two  events that led to the American Revolution and explain what they were

For Example

The Stamp act. The Stamp act was a tax on all published paper like newspapers, marriage certificates or a deed to the house. If a colonist wanted to get these pieces of paper they had to pay a heavy tax on them to the British in British currency (dollars) not colonist money.


This day In History; Satchel Paige

1971 : Satchel Paige nominated to Baseball Hall of Fame

Satchel Paige footage from OleMissCub on Vimeo.

On this day in 1971, pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige becomes the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In August of that year, Paige, a pitching legend known for his fastball, showmanship and the longevity of his playing career, which spanned five decades, was inducted. Joe DiMaggio once called Paige “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.”

Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama, most likely on July 7, 1906, although the exact date remains a mystery. He earned his nickname, Satchel, as a boy when he earned money carrying passengers’ bags at train stations. Baseball was segregated when Paige started playing baseball professionally in the 1920s, so he spent most of his career pitching for Negro League teams around the United States. During the winter season, he pitched for teams in the Caribbean and Central and South America. As a barnstorming player who traveled thousands of miles each season and played for whichever team met his asking price, he pitched an estimated 2,500 games, had 300 shut-outs and 55 no-hitters. In one month in 1935, he reportedly pitched 29 consecutive games.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and became the first African American to play in the Major Leagues when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. The following year, Paige also entered the majors, signing with the Cleveland Indians and becoming, at age 42, baseball’s oldest rookie. He helped the Indians win the pennant that year and later played for the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City A’s.
Paige retired from the majors in 1953, but returned in 1965 to pitch three innings for the Kansas City A’s. He was 59 at the time, making him the oldest person ever to play in the Major Leagues. In addition to being famous for his talent and longevity, Paige was also well-known for his sense of humor and colorful observations on life, including: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you” and “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

He died June 8, 1982, in Kansas City, Missouri.

On this day in 1971, pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige becomes the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In August of that year, Paige, a pitching legend known for his fastball, showmanship and the longevity of his playing career, which spanned five decades, was inducted. Joe DiMaggio once called Paige “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.” Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama, most likely on July 7, 1906, although the exact date remains a mystery. He earned his nickname, Satchel, as a boy when he earned money carrying passengers’ bags at train stations. Baseball was segregated when Paige started playing baseball professionally in the 1920s, so he spent most of his career pitching for Negro League teams around the United States. During the winter season, he pitched for teams in the Caribbean and Central and South America. As a barnstorming player who traveled thousands of miles each season and played for whichever team met his asking price, he pitched an estimated 2,500 games, had 300 shut-outs and 55 no-hitters. In one month in 1935, he reportedly pitched 29 consecutive games. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and became the first African American to play in the Major Leagues when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. The following year, Paige also entered the majors, signing with the Cleveland Indians and becoming, at age 42, baseball’s oldest rookie. He helped the Indians win the pennant that year and later played for the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City A’s. Paige retired from the majors in 1953, but returned in 1965 to pitch three innings for the Kansas City A’s. He was 59 at the time, making him the oldest person ever to play in the Major Leagues. In addition to being famous for his talent and longevity, Paige was also well-known for his sense of humor and colorful observations on life, including: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you” and “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” He died June 8, 1982, in Kansas City, Missouri.


This Day In History: First President of the United States Elected

February 4, 1789
First U.S. president elected

George Washington, the commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, is unanimously elected the first president of the United States by all 69 presidential electors who cast their votes. John Adams of Massachusetts, who received 34 votes, was elected vice president. The electors, who represented 10 of the 11 states that had ratified the U.S. Constitution, were chosen by popular vote, legislative appointment, or a combination of both four weeks before the election.

According to Article Two of the U.S. Constitution, the states appointed a number of presidential electors equal to the “number of Senators and Representatives to which the state may be entitled in Congress.” Each elector voted for two people, at least one of whom did not live in their state. The individual receiving the greatest number of votes was elected president, and the next-in-line, vice president. (In 1804, this practice was changed by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, which ordered separate ballots for the office of president and vice president.)

New York–though it was to be the seat of the new United States government–failed to choose its eight presidential electors in time for the vote on February 4, 1789. Two electors each from Virginia and Maryland were delayed by weather and did not vote. In addition, North Carolina and Rhode Island, which would have had seven and three electors respectively, had not ratified the Constitution and so could not vote.

That the remaining 69 unanimously chose Washington to lead the new U.S. government was a surprise to no one. As commander-in-chief during the Revolutionary War, he had led his inexperienced and poorly equipped army of civilian soldiers to victory over one of the world’s great powers. After the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, Washington rejected with abhorrence a suggestion by one of his officers that he use his preeminence to assume a military dictatorship. He would not subvert the very principles for which so many Americans had fought and died, he replied, and soon after, he surrendered his military commission to the Continental Congress and retired to his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.

When the Articles of Convention proved ineffectual, and the fledging republic teetered on the verge of collapse, Washington again answered his country’s call and traveled to Philadelphia in 1787 to preside over the Constitutional Convention. Although he favored the creation of a strong central government, as president of the convention he maintained impartiality in the public debates. Outside the convention hall, however, he made his views known, and his weight of character did much to bring the proceedings to a close. The drafters created the office of president with him in mind, and on September 17, 1787, the document was signed.

The next day, Washington started for home, hoping that, his duty to his country again served, he could live out the rest of his days in privacy. However, a crisis soon arose when the Constitution fell short of its necessary ratification by nine states. Washington threw himself into the ratification debate, and a compromise agreement was made in which the remaining states would ratify the document in exchange for passage of the constitutional amendments that would become the Bill of Rights.

Government by the United States began on March 4, 1789. In April, Congress sent word to George Washington that he had unanimously won the presidency. He borrowed money to pay off his debts in Virginia and traveled to New York. On April 30, he came across the Hudson River in a specially built and decorated barge. The inaugural ceremony was performed on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street, and a large crowed cheered after he took the oath of office. The president then retired indoors to read Congress his inaugural address, a quiet speech in which he spoke of “the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” The evening celebration was opened and closed by 13 skyrockets and 13 cannons.

As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, “I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent.” He successfully implemented executive authority, making good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his Cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously reelected but four years later refused a third term.

In 1797, he finally began his long-awaited retirement at Mount Vernon. He died on December 14, 1799. His friend Henry Lee provided a famous eulogy for the father of the United States: “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”


JACKIE ROBINSON

WRITE TWO PARAGRAPHS ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT JACKIE ROBINSON SO FAR.

SOME WORDS YOU MAY WANT TO USE :

GEORGIA,

PASEDENA,CALIFORNIA

SEGREGATION,

NEGRO LEAUGES, COLOR BARRIER

BRANCH RICKEY, MILITARY,

FOOTBALL TENNIS TRACK

BROOKLYN DODGERS


SPRING IS COMING SAYS CHUCK!

Groundhog Chuck made his prediction at the Staten Island Zoo at 7:30 a.m.

Click to Watch Video of Chuck’s prediction!
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It’s official — or as official as groundhogs can make a prediction: We’ll see an early spring this year.
Lured out of his house, Charles G. Hogg, better known as Staten Island Chuck, did not see his shadow and declared that winter will be over in two weeks.
“No shadow,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Spring is coming.”
Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, meanwhile — called for six more weeks of winter.
With all eyes on the pair with a rich history, Chuck did not bite Hizzoner today, instead acting as a sophisticated rodent.
“I think I have to be magnanimous and say that he put up a good fight,” Bloomberg quipped after it took a few minutes to coax — more like drag — Chuck out of his winter home
“I think it’s clear who the champion really was. Last year, I was willing to put that finger, right here, in the way to protect the people of this great borough. The only thing that stood between Chuck and you getting bitten was my finger and I have a scar to prove exactly how much I love one off the five best boroughs we have.”
The mayor donned heavy work animal-handling gloves this year after last year’s leather proved no match for the groundhog.
It didn’t seem like spring — it was cold at the Zoo with temperatures in the mid-20s this morning. Chuck’s prediction will get an early test with about an inch of snow forecast for tonight and another storm possible Friday night.
Children, their parents and curious onlookers started gathering early as the gates opened at about 6:45 a.m.
“I want him to say spring — it’s freezing,” Michelle Sulkin, 9, of Grasmere said before the ceremony began.
Her friend Jessica Maizer, 10, of Dongan Hills, disagreed.
“I like winter,” she said, adding that she had just been ice skating over the weekend.
In the moments leading up to the ceremony, children began chanting ‘We want Chuck’ as Bloomberg took his place on the podium. Advance Editor Brian Laline presided over the ceremony and a number of other elected officials and community leaders were on hand.
Albert Cardone, 8, of West Brighton, brought a First Aid kit in case Hizzoner needed medical attention.
“I’m pretty much ready for the sun,” he said, revealing his desire for winter to end.
Groundhog Day stems from the ancient belief that hibernating creatures were able to predict the arrival of springtime by their emergence. The German immigrants known as the Pennsylvania Dutch brought the tradition to the United States in the 18th century.
Had Chuck seen his shadow, it would have signified six more weeks of winter.
Check SILive.com later this morning for photos and video from the Zoo.


George Washington

Early Life and Career.

Born in Westmoreland County, Va., on Feb. 22, 1732, George Washington was the eldest son of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington, who were prosperous Virginia gentry of English descent. George spent his early years on the family estate on Pope’s Creek along the Potomac River. His early education included the study of such subjects as mathematics, surveying, the classics, and “rules of civility.” His father died in 1743, and soon thereafter George went to live with his half brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon, Lawrence’s plantation on the Potomac. Lawrence, who became something of a substitute father for his brother, had married into the Fairfax family, prominent and influential Virginians who helped launch George’s career. An early ambition to go to sea had been effectively discouraged by George’s mother; instead, he turned to surveying, securing (1748) an appointment to survey Lord Fairfax’s lands in the Shenandoah Valley. He helped lay out the Virginia town of Belhaven (now Alexandria) in 1749 and was appointed surveyor for Culpeper County. George accompanied his brother to Barbados in an effort to cure Lawrence of tuberculosis, but Lawrence died in 1752, soon after the brothers returned. George ultimately inherited the Mount Vernon estate.
By 1753 the growing rivalry between the British and French over control of the Ohio Valley, soon to erupt into the French and Indian War (1754-63), created new opportunities for the ambitious young Washington. He first gained public notice when, as adjutant of one of Virginia’s four military districts, he was dispatched (October 1753) by Gov. Robert Dinwiddie on a fruitless mission to warn the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf against further encroachment on territory claimed by Britain. Washington’s diary account of the dangers and difficulties of his journey, published at Williamsburg on his return, may have helped win him his ensuing promotion to lieutenant colonel. Although only 22 years of age and lacking experience, he learned quickly, meeting the problems of recruitment, supply, and desertions with a combination of brashness and native ability that earned him the respect of his superiors.

French and Indian War.

In April 1754, on his way to establish a post at the Forks of the Ohio (the current site of Pittsburgh), Washington learned that the French had already erected a fort there. Warned that the French were advancing, he quickly threw up fortifications at Great Meadows, Pa., aptly naming the entrenchment Fort Necessity, and marched to intercept advancing French troops. In the resulting skirmish the French commander the sieur de Jumonville was killed and most of his men were captured. Washington pulled his small force back into Fort Necessity where he was overwhelmed (July 3) by the French in an all-day battle fought in a drenching rain. Surrounded by enemy troops, with his food supply almost exhausted and his dampened ammunition useless, Washington capitulated. Under the terms of the surrender signed that day, he was permitted to march his troops back to Williamsburg.
Discouraged by his defeat and angered by discrimination between British and colonial officers in rank and pay, he resigned his commission near the end of 1754. The next year, however, he volunteered to join British general Edward Braddock’s expedition against the French. When Braddock was ambushed by the French and their Indian allies on the Monongahela River, Washington, although seriously ill, tried to rally the Virginia troops. Whatever public criticism attended the debacle, Washington’s own military reputation was enhanced, and in 1755, at the age of 23, he was promoted to colonel and appointed commander in chief of the Virginia militia, with responsibility for defending the frontier. In 1758 he took an active part in Gen. John Forbes’s successful campaign against Fort Duquesne. From his correspondence during these years, Washington can be seen evolving from a brash, vain, and opinionated young officer, impatient with restraints and given to writing admonitory letters to his superiors, to a mature soldier with a grasp of administration and a firm understanding of how to deal effectively with civil authority.

Virginia Politician.

Assured that the Virginia frontier was safe from French attack, Washington left the army in 1758 and returned to Mount Vernon, directing his attention toward restoring his neglected estate. He erected new buildings, refurnished the house, and experimented with new crops. With the support of an ever-growing circle of influential friends, he entered politics, serving (1759-74) in Virginia’s House of Burgesses. In January 1759 he married Martha Dandridge Custis, a wealthy and attractive young widow with two small children. It was to be a happy and satisfying marriage. After 1769, Washington became a leader in Virginia’s opposition to Great Britain’s colonial policies. At first he hoped for reconciliation with Britain, although some British policies had touched him personally. Discrimination against colonial military officers had rankled deeply, and British land policies and restrictions on western expansion after 1763 had seriously hindered his plans for western land speculation. In addition, he shared the usual planter’s dilemma in being continually in debt to his London agents. As a delegate (1774-75) to the First and Second Continental Congress, Washington did not participate actively in the deliberations, but his presence was undoubtedly a stabilizing influence. In June 1775 he was Congress’s unanimous choice as commander in chief of the Continental forces.