Today in History, March 10:
I was researching for today and found amazing connections – I love connections in History! This will be a long post, but in summary:
In 1804 a ceremony was held in St. Louis commemorating the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of our young nation overnight.
In 1848 the US Senate ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, officially ending the Mexican-American War and again doubling the size of our nation.
Many believed the Mexican-American War was an unjust, fabricated conflict, much as many of us argue today about the Iraq War and its costs (not saying what my beliefs are…but I always stand with my beloved country).
Two of the men who felt the Mexican-American War was unjust spoke out vocally about their beliefs. One was a Congressman who disagreed with men he respected on the issue. The other who spoke out was a young Army officer who, in spite of his beliefs, fought courageously during the war.
In 1864 the Congressman, now President, signed documents promoting the young officer to Lt. General of the US Army (a rank only George Washington had previously held as permanent) so no other officer would be his equal. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant believed wholeheartedly in their cause during the Civil War.
Today in History, March 10, 1804:
In St. Louis (not yet Missouri), an official ceremony is conducted, transferring possession of the “Louisiana Purchase” from Spain to the United States, virtually doubling the size of the American landscape overnight.
Today in History, March 10, 1848:
Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, or the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending the Mexican-American War is ratified by the US Senate after several amendments were made by that Congressional body.
The treaty had been negotiated in Mexico, documenting monies to be paid by the United States to Mexico and territories including modern day California, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah to be ceded to the US.
Senators to include Thomas Hart Benton, Jefferson Davis, Sam Houston, Stephen A. Douglas, and John C. Calhoun fought over the final draft.
Today in History, March 10, 1864:
President Lincoln signs documents promoting Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Grant was only the second person to hold the rank, the first having been George Washington. Winfield Scott had held the rank in the interim, but only as a “brevet” or temporary rank.
Lincoln wanted his commanding general to have a rank above his other generals for leadership purposes. Grant would answer only to the President. I didn’t find anything to document it, but have to wonder if this was partially because Grant had been promoted over several more senior officers to command the army due to his runaway successes in the west.
Today in History, March 2, 1807:
The US Congress passes a law abolishing the transatlantic slave trade in the US, “An Act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight.”
Congress began the habit of “kicking the can down the road” from the very beginning. When the Constitution was ratified, a clause was included that prohibited any laws affecting slavery for 20 years, or 1808.
The clause was included to ensure that southern states would sign off on the union.
By 1794 abolitionist groups were already forming to push for action once the time was up; in 1805 Senator Stephen Row Bradley of Vermont announced his intention to present the bill described here, and did so. The British also outlawed the slave trade in 1807.
However the importation of slaves continued in Central and South America, especially in Brazil where it had begun, until 1860 (officially).
Even this step by US lawmakers was a bit of a cynical compromise…the South signed off on the new law easily because they had enough slaves already in the country that they didn’t feel they needed to import them anymore.
Today in History, November 17, 1800:
The Sixth US Congress meets for the first time in the new Capitol of Washington, D. C. Five days later President John Adams addressed them for the first time in DC. I know there were political shenanigans then also, but one has to wonder what those Senators and Congressmen would think of the behavior of those that have assumed their roles today.
Today in History, November 10, 1775:
The First Continental Congress commissions a local innkeeper to raise two battalions of Marines to serve in the Revolutionary War. At Tun Tavern in Philadelphia the recruiting took place, and the United States Marine Corps was born. Aboard numerous US Navy ships during the Revolution, at Tripoli, during the Civil War, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima and dozens of places in between, when the chips were down, the cry went out, “Send in the Marines!”
Today in History, June 7, 1776:
The Lee Resolution.
“Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”
Continental Congress member Richard Henry Lee, reperesentative from the Virginia Colony, proposes independence from Great Britain after receiving orders to do so from the Virginia Convention. It would take until July, after efforts by John Adams, Sam Adams, and Lee, to gather enough votes to pass the resolution as the Declaration of Independence.
The Lee family would fight in the revolution for Union and Independence. All families are complicated. I would love to know what Richard would have to say about his great-nephew Robert E. Lee fighting so hard to dissolve the Union Richard and his family fought so hard to create.