February 12th Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th, 1809. His begins were humble, his education basically what he taught himself and he wasn’t the happiest man on earth. He had a sense of right from wrong and used that to his advantage but his best quality may have been that he listened to others. It doesn’t mean that he always agreed, but he listened. Since his roots came from the common man he could relate to them and never thought himself better than anyone else. Lincoln was shot on April 14th, 1865 as the Civil War was winding down. In death, he may have accomplished even more than he did in life. We celebrate his birthday as much for who he was as what he became.

How to celebrate – Remember Lincoln today. Research why he did what he did, you might be surprised with the answers. Watch a movie about Lincoln.

February 15th Susan B. Anthony Day

Today is Susan B. Anthony’s birthday. Of course, it occurred in 1820 but than’s not important. She is known for her drive to bring about equal rights for women, something we commonly accept today but back in her day, it was not very common. Women could not vote and really had no say even in their own lives.

She was arrested in 1872 for trying o vote in a Presidential election, something strictly forbidden in her day. She did help make the 19th amendment come about, finally award women the right to cast their vote legally. She also stood out for her anti-slavery stance and as well as other socially relevant issues.

Her home at 17 Madison Street in Rochester, New York stands as a monument to her efforts. She has also appeared on the famed coin dollar, not in use all that much anymore. Who knows where we would be if not for people like Susan B. Anthony, it’s good we don’t even have to consider that.

How to celebrate – Honor Susan B. Anthony today. See if you can find the Susan B. Anthony coin. Read the 19th amendment.

June 19th Juneteenth Day

The American Civil War had little, and everything, to do with slavery. Slavery became a cause, not of the war, but for those who both wanted the war to continue and those who wanted it to stop. No man should ever be another slave, but in the mid 1800’s it was a way of life.

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Most soldiers on either side of the conflict knew much about slavery. In the north, the industrialization no longer required such cheap labor (In fact, many slaves in the south earned more than freedmen in the north). The average Confederate soldier could not afford slaves. So neither side had first hand dealings with slavery, regardless of the stories told.

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It was a political situation and things were not going well for the north. So on September 22, 1862 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation interestingly freeing the slaves in only the states he no longer had control over. It was an effort to keep England out of the war and from siding with the south. (England had already outlawed slavery). It worked. I am quite sure Lincoln had the best of intentions ending slavery but it is not why he made the proclamation.

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No doubt if Lincoln had lived he would have made slavery illegal in the U.S. but when he died, it was only the law of the land in the south. He avoided nation wide because Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee could have left the Union if he had freed slaves countrywide.

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Freedom came when General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1965 officially ending the war. The 13th Amendment freeing all the slaves came on January 31st, 1865 declared by Congress.

How to celebrate – Learn more about slavery in America. Learn more about the Civil War in America. Celebrate freedom.

February 12th Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the 16th president of the Untied States, better known as “Honest Abe”. Born in Kentucky, 1809, Lincoln lived an interesting life before he became president.

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He educated himself, did practically every job there was, led military units in the Black Hawk War (Though they never saw action) and loved a woman (Ann Rutledge) who died before he could marry her.

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He never truly wanted to run for president but allowed himself to be talked into it. He was opposed to war but found himself leading a nation during the Civil War. He was opposed to slavery but initially did not fight to remove it, hoping to keep the states together. To keep England, and the rest of Europe, out of the war he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves only in the states rebelling. (It was later proclaimed slaves should be free n every state)

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He gave perhaps the greatest speech ever given, the Gettysburg Address lasting a little over two minutes after Edward Everett had spoken for over 2 hours (Which was the fashion of the day). Lincoln thought his speech was a failure when no one in the audience responded. He had actually left them speechless.

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Sadly Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre on April 14th, 1865. As president he did a lot of good, he also made mistakes. Whether he was a great president or not is open to opinion . No doubt he did he bast he could considering the circumstances and was, no doubt, the right man at the right time.

How to celebrate – Read a book about Lincoln. Watch a movie about Lincoln. Get a opy of the Gettysburg Address.

April 13th Thomas Jefferson Day

Thomas Jefferson will always be remembered as the chief writer of the Committee of 5 that crafted the Declaration of Independence.  Though born of Welsh parents and a British citizen, he felt called to help form a new nation that he loved deeply but was well aware of all her faults as well.

Born on April 13th, 1743 he became master of his own destiny at 14 when his father died.  All the proper own was split between two brothers, Thomas recieving Monticello and 5,000 acres.  He graduated from William & Mary College and became involved in legal and governmental issues of his time.  He served in the House of Burgesses as a representative in Virginia.

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When it became clear a seperation from Britan was eminent he joined the Continental Congress as a representative from Virginia.  As one of the Founding Fathers, hecontinued to serve in Congress as the war broke out.  From 1779-81 he was the war Govenor of Virginia.  He was, and would remain, a proponent of democracy, republicanism and the rights of the individual.

In 1785, after the war, he served as the U.S. Minister to France, a very important position in the new government. From 1790-93 he served as the countries first Secretary of State from 1790-93.  It is very unlikely he was ever caught using his personal email to send or recieve emails.

Jefferson and Madison formed the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose The Federalist.  He was very concerned with states having their rights above those of the Federal government.  In 1797 he became the 2nd Vice President of the United States.  He served in that position until becoming the 3rd President of the U.S. in 1801.

As President, serving two terms until 1809, he dealt with the 1st Barbary Pirates War, the Louisiana Purchase, The Embargo Act where Britan was interfering with America trade, and sent Lewis and Clark (1806) on their exploration of the west.

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Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton, who had been married preivoiusly, in 1772.  They had six children but only two fo their daughters reached adulthood.  Martha died in 1782.  Thomas became a very lonely man who apparently found some solice in the arms of Sally Hemings.  Through DNA tested, historians believe the two had several children together.  Sally was a slave.  Though Jefferson deplored slavery he had many slaves used to operate his numerous plantations.  When he left the Presidency he founded the University of Virginia.

He played the violin, was a surveyor, inventor, horticulturist and teacher of mathematics.  In 1785 he wrote, “Notes on the State of Viginia”, considered one of the most important book written prior to the 1800’s.

He was fluent in English, Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish.  He considered himself a Christian as Jesus woud have required, though not terribly religious.

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When the British burned the Library of Congress in the War of 1812, Jefferson sold the government 6,000 books from his personal library to reopen the insitution.  Having given away most of his books he found himself being acollector once again as he could not stand to be without books.

Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of Americas claim to liberty.

How to celebrate:  Read a copy of the Declaration of Independence, Visit the state of Virginia, track Lewis & Clark’s expedition.