Some things actually do change…

July 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the things that struck me while discussing the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution with my children earlier this month was the insight of the American forefather’s demonstrated in their framing of the foundation of this new experiment in self-rule. While some might point to the flaws found within many of the founding documents, procedures, underlying beliefs, and early practices to poke holes in our current state of government, truth be told the seeds of change were sewn throughout the fabric of this new society – avenues which have allowed for peaceful and rightful adjustments to be made over time. Sure, there were times when peaceful change took a backseat, however, many changes have occurred through the prescribed method for making country-wide adjustments: the amendment process. This truth came to light recently when I came across a headline (Los Angeles Times, June 11, 1979) announcing a Supreme Court decision regarding the rights of the handicapped (see images). Was their prior decision regarding the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 correct? How about this related-decision? How were the rights of the handicapped perceived prior to the 1973 decision? Now? Sometimes the changes made over time are quite dramatic. At other times, the adjustments have as much to do with how we describe things, such as the 1990 Amendment which replaced all appearances of the word “handicapped” with “disabled.” Things really can and do change over time.

As a side note, I also happened to notice that on the same day, The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Madalyn Murry O’Hair aimed at having the inscription, “In God We Trust” eliminated from all U. S. coins. Wikipedia notes: “”In God We Trust” as a national motto and on U.S. currency has been the subject of numerous unsuccessful lawsuits. The motto was first challenged in Aronow v. United States in 1970, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: “It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.” Yes, somethings do change, but others, at least for now, remain the same. However, thanks to the wisdom of those who have gone before us, “We, the People” have a given means for expressing our views and may continue to do so until those who wish to silence dissent rule the day.

The Traveler… 13th Amendment ratified…

December 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-12-7-2015-13th-AmendmentToday I traveled to New York City by the way of the New York Tribune (December 7, 1865). The headlines: “The Constitutional Amendment”, “It Is Adopted”, “The Twenty-Seventh State”, “Freemen To Be Protected” were all reporting: “The Constitutional Amendment has passed each branch of the Legislature. The House passed a resolution instructing the Judiciary Committee to report a bill to protect persons of African descent in their persons and property, and also to allow them to testify in cases in which they may be interested.”

This abolished slavery in the United States.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… three cheers…

April 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, through the Independent Chronicle dated April 22, 1813. There I found Commodore Bainbridge was addressing the sailors of the Constitution as they had been invited to the Theatre. “Sailors, In the action with the Java you shewed yourselves men. You are this ev’ng invited to partake of the amusements of the Theatre. Conduct yourselves well… Let the correctness of your conduct equal your bravery, and I shall have additional cause to speak of you in terms of approbation.” He then informed them that on Monday morning,  “pay to them the prize money in consideration of their good conduct in the actions with the Guerriere and Java. The crew received the information with great satisfaction, and gave the Commodore three cheers.”

The article has a concluding paragraph from a correspondent who had observed the attendance of the sailors and the comments to their appearance and behavior.

Blessed are the feet of those who bring good news – for a change.

Regarding the remainder of the issue, I wonder if James Madison suffered from writing cramps after all his signing???

~The Traveler

The Traveler… Captain Hull honored…

January 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to Hartford, Connecticut by way of the American Mercury, January 6, 1813. There I found that Isaac Hull, commander of the United States frigate Constitution, was being honored in New York City. He was being presented the  freedom of the city “…for his gallantry in capturing the British frigate Guerriere…”. He was presented with a gold box, richly set with emeralds, representing the action between the two frigates, and the arms of the city. Mr. Clinton delivered the speech, Captain Hull replied to the address and “…on descending the steps from the Hall was greeted with three cheers as a brave and faithful public servant whom all ‘the people delight to honor.'”

Also in this issue are several military recruitment advertisements, one which is illustrated for the Dragoons.

~The Traveler

The “top ten”: 18th century…

December 14, 2009 by · 7 Comments 

Continuing with our “top ten events to be found in newspapers” for various periods of time, today we consider the 18th century.

What an event-filled one hundred years it was. As you can tell by the list my focal point is on the American Revolution, but there are other events or specific newspapers which made it into my top ten.

Again I offer apologies to our non-American friends as this list has  a decidedly American bias, primarily because the vast majority of those who purchase from us are American.

Here we go, starting with number ten:

George-Washington-death10) Death of George Washington, 1799 (Front page, preferably in a Virginia Gazette)

9) Hanging of Captain Kidd, 1701 (Just can’t resist a great pirate hanging, he being perhaps the most famous of all time)

8.) Any newspaper with the first installment of Paine’s “The Crisis” (“These are the times that try men’s souls…” has to be one of the more famous beginnings of all time)

7) Full text of the Stamp Act (Certainly a trigger event that would lead to the Revolution)

6) Boston Tea Party (In a Boston newspaper. An event every school kid knows about)

5) The Pennsylvania Journal, Nov. 1, 1765 “skull & crossbones” engraving (Replaced its normal masthead on this date: seen in most history books)

Constitution_PA_Packet4) Battle of Lexington & Concord with mention of Paul Revere’s ride (The beginning of the Revolutionary War. I had one once with mention of Revere–exceedingly rare–great to have in a Boston area newspaper)

3) The Boston News-Letter, 1704 (Great to have issue #1 of America’s first successful newspaper, but any issue from 1704 would do)

2) The Pennsylvania Packet, Sept. 19, 1787 (First newspaper to print the Constitution, & done in broadside format. Need I say more?)

1) The Declaration of Independence, 1776 (Ideally the Pennsylvania Evening Post, July 6, 1776, but the Packet of July  8 would work too as it contains the Declaration entirely on the front page: better for display).