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Jul 04 2011

On This Day In History July 4

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 180 days remaining until the end of the year. The Aphelion, the point in the year when the Earth is farthest from the Sun, occurs around this date.

On this day in 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively, die on this day, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Adams was elected vice president to George Washington, and Jefferson was appointed secretary of state. During Washington’s administration, Jefferson, with his democratic ideals and concept of states’ rights, often came into conflict with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who supported a strong federal government and conservative property rights. Adams often arbitrated between Hamilton and his old friend Jefferson, though in politics he was generally allied with Hamilton.

In 1796, Adams defeated Jefferson in the presidential election, but the latter became vice president, because at that time the office was still filled by the candidate who finished second. As president, Adams’ main concern was America’s deteriorating relationship with France, and war was only averted because of his considerable diplomatic talents. In 1800, Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans (the forerunner of the Democratic Party) defeated the Federalist party of Adams and Hamilton, and Adams retired to his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts.

As president, Jefferson reduced the power and expenditures of the central government but advocated the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, which more than doubled the size of the United States. During his second administration, Jefferson faced renewed conflict with Great Britain, but he left office before the War of 1812 began. Jefferson retired to his estate in Monticello, Virginia, but he often advised his presidential successors and helped establish the University of Virginia. Jefferson also corresponded with John Adams to discuss politics, and these famous letters are regarded as masterpieces of the American enlightenment.

John Adams’ Death

Less than a month before his death, John Adams issued a statement about the destiny of the United States, which historians such as Joy Hakim have characterized as a “warning” for his fellow citizens. Adams said:

   My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

On July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Adams died at his home in Quincy. Told that it was the Fourth, he answered clearly, “It is a great day. It is a good day.” His last words have been reported as “Thomas Jefferson survives”. His death left Charles Carroll of Carrollton as the last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams died while his son John Quincy Adams was president.

His crypt lies at United First Parish Church (also known as the Church of the Presidents) in Quincy. Originally, he was buried in Hancock Cemetery, across the road from the Church. Until his record was broken by Ronald Reagan in 2001, he was the nation’s longest-living President (90 years, 247 days) maintaining that record for 175 years.

Thomas Jefferson’s Death

Jefferson’ health began to deteriorate by July 1825, and by June 1826 he was confined to bed. He likely died from uremia, severe diarrhea, and pneumonia (?). Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and a few hours before John Adams.

Though born into a wealthy slave-owning family, Jefferson had many financial problems, and died deeply in debt. After his death, his possessions, including his slaves, were sold, as was Monticello in 1831. Thomas Jefferson is buried in the family cemetery at Monticello. The cemetery only is now owned and operated by the Monticello Association, a separate lineage society that is not affiliated with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation that runs the estate.

Jefferson wrote his own epitaph, which reads:

   HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON

   AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE

   OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

   AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.

John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States (1825-1829), was at his father’s bed side when he died. He was 7 days short of his 59th birthday

 836 – Pactum Sicardi, peace between the Principality of Benevento and the Duchy of Naples

1054 – A supernova is observed by the Chinese, the Arabs and possibly Amerindians near the star Tauri. For several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day. Its remnants form the Crab Nebula.

1187 – The Crusades: Battle of Hattin – Saladin defeats Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem.

1456 – The Siege of Nandorfehervar (Belgrade) begins. (Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe)

1634 – The city of Trois-Riviéres is founded in New France (Quebec, Canada)

1636 – City of Providence, Rhode Island forms. The site of Netroots Nation 2012

1744 – The Treaty of Lancaster, in which the Iriquois ceded lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River to the British colonies, is signed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

1754 – French and Indian War: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.

1774 – Orangetown Resolutions adopted in the Province of New York, one of many protests against the British Parliament’s Coercive Acts

1776 – American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

1778 – American Revolutionary War: American forces under George Clark capture Kaskaskia during the Illinois campaign.

1802 – At West Point, New York the United States Military Academy opens.

1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.

1810 – The French occupy Amsterdam.

1817 – At Rome, New York, United States, construction on the Erie Canal begins.

1826 – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.

1827 – Slavery is abolished in New York State.

1831 – Samuel Francis Smith wrote My Country, ‘Tis of Thee for the Boston, MA July 4th festivities.

1837 – Grand Junction Railway, the world’s first long-distance railway, opens between Birmingham and Liverpool.

1838 – The Iowa Territory is organized.

1855 – In Brooklyn, New York, the first edition of Walt Whitman’s book of poems, titled Leaves of Grass, is published.

1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Vicksburg – Vicksburg, Mississippi surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant after 47 days of siege. 150 miles up the Mississippi River, a Confederate Army is repulsed at the Battle of Helena, Arkansas.

1863 – The Army of Northern Virginia withdraws from the battlefield after its loss at the Battle of Gettysburg, signalling an end to the Southern invasion of the North.

1865 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is published.

1878 – Thoroughbred horses Ten Broeck and Mollie McCarty run a match race, immortalized in the song Molly and Tenbrooks.

1879 – Anglo-Zulu War: the Zululand capital of Ulundi is captured by British troops and burnt to the ground, thus, ending the war and forcing King Cetshwayo to flee.

1881 – In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opens.

1886 – The people of France offer the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.

1886 – The first scheduled Canadian transcontinental train arrives in Port Moody, British Columbia.

1887 – The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, joins Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam, Karachi.

1892 – Western Samoa changes the International Date Line, so that year there were 367 days in this country, with two occurrences of Monday, July 4.

1894 – The short-lived Republic of Hawaii is proclaimed by Sanford B. Dole.

1903 – Dorothy Levitt is reported as the first woman in the world to compete in a ‘motor race’.

1910 – African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match sparking race riots across the United States.

1913 – President Woodrow Wilson addresses American Civil War veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913.

1918 – Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI ascends to the throne.

1918 – Bolsheviks kill Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).

1927 – First flight of the Lockheed Vega.

1934 – Leo Szilard patents the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.

1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, tells a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth” as he announces his retirement from major league baseball.

1941 – Nazi Germans massacre Polish scientists and writers in the captured Ukrainian city of Lviv.

1946 – After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attains full independence from the United States.

1947 – The “Indian Independence Bill” is presented before British House of Commons, suggesting bifurcation of British India into two sovereign countries – India and Pakistan.

1950 – The first broadcast by Radio Free Europe.

1959 – With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1960 – Due to the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania almost ten and a half months later (see Flag Act).

1961 – Walt Disney is one of the two main speakers on the Independence Day in The Rebuild Hills at Skorping in Denmark.

1965 – Homophile activists picket at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the first in a series of Annual Reminders of the second-class status of LGBT people in the United States.

1966 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into United States law. The act goes into effect the next year.

1969 – Two teens (one male, one female) are attacked at Blue Rock Springs in California. They are the second (known) victims of the Zodiac Killer. The male survives.

1969 – The Ohio Fireworks Derecho kills 18 Ohioans and destroys over 100 boats on Lake Erie.

1976 – Israeli commandos raid Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by Palestinian terrorists.

1982 – Iranian diplomats kidnapping (1982): four Iranian diplomats are kidnapped by Lebanese militia in Lebanon.

1987 – In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (aka the “Butcher of Lyon”) is convicted of crimes against humanity and is sentenced to life imprisonment.

1993 – Sumitomo Chemical’s resin plant in Nihama explodes killing one worker and injuring three others.

1997 – NASA’s Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.

2004 – The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.

2005 – The Deep Impact collider hits the comet Tempel 1.

2006 – Space Shuttle program: STS-121 Mission – Space Shuttle Discovery launches at 18:37:55 UTC.

2006 – North Korea tests four short-range missiles, one medium-range missile, and a long-range Taepodong-2. The long-range Taepodong-2 reportedly fails in mid-air over the Sea of Japan.

2009 – The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopens to the public after 8 years, due to security reasons following the World Trade Center attacks.

2010The Stars Hollow Gazette began publishing on the internet.

Holidays and observances

   * Christian Feast Day:

       * Andrew of Crete

       * Bertha of Artois

       * Catherine Jarrige

       * Elizabeth of Portugal, patron saint of Coimbra (city holiday), known there as Rainha Santa Isabela.

       * Oda of Canterbury

       * Ulrich of Augsburg

       * July 4 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

   * Filipino-American Friendship Day (Philippines)

   * Independence Day, celebrates the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Great Britain in 1776. (United States and its dependencies)

   * Liberation Day (Rwanda)

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