Today’s travels took me to Springfield, Massachusetts, by the means of the Springfield Republican dated March 6, 1917, where the headlines announce “President Wilson Takes Oath”, “Firm Stand for Armed Neutrality – Nation Poised on Verge of War”. “Woodrow Wilson, with the major part of the world at war and America poised on its verge, consecrated his second inauguration as president of the United States at Washington yesterday with a last message of hope for peace… the president renewed his oath of allegiance to the constitution, praying to God that he might be given wisdom and prudence to do his duty in the true spirit of the American people…” Just in case anyone thinks the United States is more politically divided by geographic region today than it was 100 years ago…
Today I traveled Boston, Massachusetts via the Boston Commercial Gazette, January 16, 1817. There I found that a change was being made that would be an on-going occurrence every fourth of July… sometimes. It was the new flag design! The Star Spangled Banner — “The stripes are to be reduced permanently to their original number of thirteen; but the stars are to be constantly increased in number, equal to the number of the States in the Union. The first change to take place on the 4th of July next, and the change of every additional star after that to take place on the succeeding 4th of July…”. Let the flag continue to fly, free and proud!
Perhaps a precursor to what would now be a typical Facebook post…
The June 19, 1804 issue of “The Balance & Columbian Repository“ newspaper from Hudson, New York, has a brief and seemingly purposeless news report reading in its entirety: “Monticello–Yesterday morning the President arose precisely fifty-nine minutes past four, and put on a clean shirt and breeches.” Had this appeared on the President’s Facebook page today, what might be some of the comments from his followers?
My Fellow Americans: Devastating hurricanes, Pearl Harbor, 9-11, the end of WWII, Lindbergh’s 1st flight across the Atlantic – while there is much that divides us, there have been times throughout our history when both triumphs and tragedies have inspired us to lay down our weapons and to unite as one. While these times of mutual good will are typically short-lived, they often act as a reset to help center us on that which binds us together. We need such a time!
It is was with the current atmosphere of angst as a backdrop that I was moved by an under-the-radar prayer found buried on page 11 of an issue reporting the assassination of President JFK. His death, airmailed via television directly into the living room of nearly every home in America, brought together Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike and unified us around shared grief. May a day come when such unity of spirit flourishes without the inspiration of deep sorrow, tragedy, or war. As another assassinated President once said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand (Abraham Lincoln).” It is time for us to lay down our weapons. Much is at stake.
Now that the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is in the rear view mirror, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at past elections.Which were the most impacting? hotly contested? controversial? The History Channel has an interesting post (Memorable Elections) which explores these questions. It begins, in part:
“With the chance to serve as chief executive of the world’s premier power at stake, the race for the U.S. presidency has delivered its share of hotly-contested elections. George W. Bush became the fourth president to win despite losing the popular vote in 2000, an election that wasn’t decided until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a Florida recount to be unconstitutional. Harry S. Truman won in 1948 despite the publication of a newspaper that announced otherwise, while Rutherford B. Hayes moved to the White House only after a controversial electoral commission helped him overcome a massive popular-vote deficit in 1877… (read more).”
Please enjoy the currently available authentic historic newspapers containing election content, spanning from George Washington to Barack Obama. The list has been arranged in reverse-chronological order: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS (excuse the stray reports regarding non-U.S. elections).
The “Maryland Gazette” of April 30, 1784 includes a small yet fascinating report from Congress that ten new states cut out of the Western Territory had bee created, but none of the states are as we know them today.
Through the information provided by QalaBist.com we learn that the state of Sylvania was proposed to include much of present-day Minnesota, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and some of northern Wisconsin. The State of Michigania was proposed to include most of Wisconsin, but nothing of Michigan. The State of Chersonesus (the Greek word for peninsula) was proposed to include most of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The State of Assenispia (named after the Assenisipi River, also known as the Rock River.) was proposed to include the northern part of modern-day Indiana. The State of Metropotamia was proposed to include southern Michigan and parts of northern Ohio and Illinois. The State of Illinoia was proposed to include most of Illinois. The State of Saratoga was proposed to include most of Indiana. The State of Washington was proposed to include most of Ohio. The State of Polypotamia was proposed to include most of western Kentucky. The State of Pelisipia was proposed to include most of eastern Kentucky.
A fascinating piece of American history not known by most.
Finding “first” mentions of significant, people, places and terms is always a delight for the rare newspaper collector, and with the internet–and the time required–many fascinating items can be found.
The term “Columbia” as a reference to America, very commonly used through the 19th century in both print & image, was first used in the London publication “Gentleman’s Magazine” in 1738. Because the printing of Parliamentary debates was illegal in England, they appeared under the thinly veiled heading of “Debates in the Senate of Lilliput” or similar heading, with names & places often fictitious or taken from Johnathan Swift’s famous work, which was the literary sensation at that time. The term Columbia was coined by the famed Samuel Johnson, a regular contributor to the “parliamentary” reports found in “The Gentleman’s Magazine“.
In the June issue of 1738, the debates from Parliament note: “…It is observable that their conquests and acquisitions in Columbia (which is the Lilliputian name for the country that answers our America,) have very little contributed to the power of those nations…”.
A significant “first use” of a very popular poetic name for the United States of America.