This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
March 31 is the 90th day of the year (91st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1776, future first lady Abigail Adams writes to her husband urging him to “remember the ladies” when drafting a new “code of laws” for the fledgling nation.
While John Adams participated in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Abigail remained at their home in Braintree, Massachusetts, managing their daily affairs in his absence. At the same time that Adams was preparing to publish his “Thoughts on Government” essay, which outlined proposed political philosophy and structures for the new nation, Abigail pondered if and how the rights of women would be addressed in an American constitution.
Adams was an advocate of married women’s property rights and more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education. Women, she believed, should not submit to laws not made in their interest, nor should they be content with the simple role of being companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and thus be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so they could guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. She is known for her March 1776 letter to John and the Continental Congress, requesting that they, “…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
John declined Abigail’s “extraordinary code of laws,” but acknowledged to Abigail, “We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight.”
Tho we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling least the Lot of Boston should be theirs. But they cannot be in similar circumstances unless pusilanimity and cowardise should take possession of them. They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it. I long to hear that you have declared an independancy and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.
307 – After divorcing his wife Minervina, Constantine marries Fausta, the daughter of the retired Roman Emperor Maximian.
1146 – Bernard of Clairvaux preaches his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade. Louis VII is present, and joins the Crusade.
1492 – Queen Isabella of Castille issues the Alhambra decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.
1717 – A sermon on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ” by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy.
1774 – American Revolutionary War: The Kingdom of Great Britain orders the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.
1822 – The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix.
1854 – Commodore Matthew Perry signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.
1866 – The Spanish Navy bombs the harbor of Valparaíso, Chile.
1877 – The family with samurai antecedents that responded to the Saigo army in Oita Nakatsu, rebels.
1885 – The United Kingdom establishes a protectorate over Bechuanaland.
1889 – The Eiffel Tower is inaugurated.
1903 – Richard Pearse allegedly makes a powered flight in an early aircraft.
1906 – The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later National Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for amateur sports in the United States.
1909 – Serbia accepts Austrian control over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1910 – Six North Staffordshire Pottery towns federate to form modern Stoke-on-Trent.
1917 – The United States takes possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands.
1918 – Massacre of ethnic Azerbaijanis was committed by allied armed groups of Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Bolsheviks. Nearly
12,000 Azerbaijani Muslims were killed.
1918 – Daylight saving time goes into effect in the United States for the first time.
1921 – The Royal Australian Air Force is formed.
1930 – The Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film, in the U.S., for the next thirty eight years.
1931 – An earthquake destroys Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000.
1933 – The Civilian Conservation Corps is established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment.
1942 – World War II: Japanese forces invade Christmas Island, then a British possession.
1945 – World War II: a defecting German pilot delivers a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1, the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft, to the Americans, the first to fall into Allied hands.
1949 – The Dominion of Newfoundland joins the Canadian Confederation and becomes the 10th Province of Canada.
1951 – Remington Rand delivers the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau.
1957 – Elections to the Territorial Assembly of the French colony Upper Volta are held. After the elections PDU and MDV form a government.
1958 – In the Canadian federal election, 1958, the Progressive Conservatives, led by John Diefenbaker, win the largest percentage of seats in Canadian history, with 208 seats of 265.
1959 – The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crosses the border into India and is granted political asylum.
1964 – A coup d’état in Brazil establishes the Brazilian military government, under the aegis of general Castello Branco.
1965 – An Iberia Airlines Convair 440 crashes into the sea on approach to Tangier, killing 47 of 51 occupants.
1966 – The Soviet Union launches Luna 10 which later becomes the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.
1970 – Explorer 1 re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere after 12 years in orbit.
1970 – Nine terrorists from the Japanese Red Army hijack Japan Airlines Flight 351 at Tokyo International Airport, wielding samurai swords and carrying a bomb.
1979 – The last British soldier leaves the Maltese Islands. Malta declares its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien).
1980 – The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad operates its final train after being ordered to liquidate its assets because of bankruptcy and debts owed to creditors.
1985 – The first WrestleMania, the biggest wrestling event from the WWE (then the WWF), takes place in Madison Square Garden in New York.
1986 – A Mexicana Boeing 727 en route to Puerto Vallarta erupts in flames and crashes in the mountains northwest of Mexico City, killing 166.
1986 – Six metropolitan county councils are abolished in England.
1990 – 200,000 protestors take to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.
1991 – The Islamic Constitutional Movement, or Hadas, is established in Kuwait.
1991 – Georgian independence referendum, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters support the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.
1992 – The USS Missouri, the last active United States Navy battleship, is decommissioned in Long Beach, California.
1994 – Human evolution: The journal Nature reports the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull.
2004 – In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, are killed after being ambushed.
* Cesar Chavez Day (California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin)
* Christian Feast Day
o Acathius of Melitene (Eastern Orthodox Church)
o Anesius and companions
* King Nangklao Memorial Day (Thailand)
* Thomas Mundy Peterson
Day (New Jersey)
* Transfer Day (US Virgin Islands)