Saturday, September 25, 2010

July 19th in History

1814  Birth of Samuel Colt, firearm manufacturer who revolutionized the revolver, and who implemented an assembly line process in their manufacture, along with interchangeable parts.
 He was so successful that in 1847 Colonel Samuel Walker and the Texas Rangers ordered 1,000 of the Colt revolvers for use in the Mexican American War.  The innovations in firearms pioneered by Colt are widely considered to have altered the course of U.S. history.  A picture of the Walker Colt is at left.

1832  The British Medical Association is founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary.

1834  Edgar Degas, the French Impressionist painter and sculptor, was born. His brother Rene emigrated to the United States, where Degas joined him in New Orleans to continue his painting career.  After a couple of years he returned to Paris to continue painting and sculpting.
At right, his "New Orleans Cotton Exchange".

1848 A pioneer women's rights convention convened over two-days in Seneca Falls, N.Y., known as the Seneca Falls Convention.  It featured a document, the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, and attendant resolutions signed by 68 women and 32 men.  The issue of extending suffrage - the vote - to women was only one of the changes that the men and women involved considered. Property ownership was another facet, as were social issues.  For example,, in 1831, it had been considered revolutionary when the Presbyterian minister, Rev. Charles Grandison Finney, allowed women to pray out loud in mixed company.  Many of the women organizing the Convention were Quakers,  considered at the time to be radical.  The extension of the right to vote to women didn't occur until the passage of the 19th Amendment is 1920.  Former slaves, provided they were male, were extended the franchise more than 50 years before women.  The issue of universal suffrage and disenfranchisement continues to be an evolving one.

Inspired by the eloquent words of the Declaration of Independence, the 1848 Declaration began:

          “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
          We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
          Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.
          The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world."

1860 Birth of Lizzie Borden, who allegedly "Took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks, and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41."  Not quite accurate; it was her stepmother, and she 'only' received 18 or 19 blows; her father received 11.

1865 Birth of Charles Horace Mayo, the surgeon who with his brother William James Mayo, and their partners in 1919 founded the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

1883  Max Fleischer, Austrian animator and film producer.  His family emigrated to the United States in 1887. He was a major creative force in the art as well as contributing techinical innovations with inventions like the Rotoscope.  His animated characters include Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Fritz the Cat, Popeye, Bimbo, among others; he also invented the 'follow the bouncing ball' sing-a-long "song car-tunes".

1904 Birth of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, American lawyer, the last descendant of Abraham Lincoln (d. 1985)

1941  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill launched his "V for Victory" campaign in Europe.

1979 The Nicaraguan capital of Managua fell to Sandinista guerrillas. Today is celebrated as Liberation Day.

1980 The Moscow Summer Olympics began; dozens of nations boycotted the games because of Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.

1983  The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT is published.

1993 President Bill Clinton announced the "don't ask, don't tell" policy which allows homosexuals to serve in the military, but not openly. The federal law, Pub.L. 103-160, U.S.C. § 654 prohibits showing any "propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" while serving in the armed forces of the United States, for fear "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."  As of May 27, 2010, the Murphy Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act allows for the relevant sections of Pub.L.103-160 to be repealed after the findings of a study by the U. S. Department of Defense.

2005 President George W. Bush announced his choice of federal appeals court judge John Roberts, originally to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who was retiring.  Chief Justice William Rehnquist died before Roberts was confirmed to replace Justice O'Connor, so Bush withdrew his nomination for that position, and made a new nomination for Roberts to take the position of Chief Justice.  President Bush then nominated Justice Alito as O'Connor's replacement.

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