4th of July in History

Leave a comment

 Events That

Occurred On

The 4th Of July

For Americans, the 4th of July is one of the most significant dates in history. Yet, what many may not know is that a host of other historically significant events also occurred on this particular day. Here are ten of the most important for world history, arranged chronologically.

10. The Battle of Mantinea (362 BC)

Battle-of-Mantinea

In a battle of Greek city-states, the Thebans, led by Epaminondas, actually managed to defeat the famed Spartans. Epaminondas won the battle while fighting in the front line, resulting in him sustaining a fatal wound. To make matters worse for the “victors,” the two Theban leaders whom he intended to succeed him perished. A dying Epaminondas thus instructed the Thebans to make peace, despite having won the battle. As a consequence, Theban hopes for hegemony faded, while the Spartans were unable to replace their losses. Because both sides had lost their most capable leaders at Mantinea and its aftermath, the battle paved the way for the Macedonian rise as the leading force in Greece. An ascendant Macedon went on to unite most of Greece, in a campaign under Alexander the Great that conquered most of the Persian Empire, including Egypt.

9. A Major Turning Point In The Crusades (1187)

Saladin

During the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, Saladin defeated and captured Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem. French knight Raynald of Châtillon died in the aftermath, personally beheaded by Saladin. The Muslim victory set the stage for their march on Jerusalem, which they besieged successfully a few months later in the Autumn of 1187. These two victories destroyed the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and thereby directly resulted in the coming Third Crusade, a major event in world history in which the Holy Roman Emperor joined with the kings of England and France to attempt to retake Jerusalem. They failed and as such, Saladin’s destruction of the Crusader army at Hattin, capture of Jerusalem’s king, and conquest of Jerusalem itself had long-lasting consequences for Middle Eastern history. If somehow Guy would have triumphed instead and prevented Saladin from moving on Jerusalem, the history of the Crusades and, therefore, of Christian and Muslim relations could have been quite different.

8. THE 4th of July (1776)

declaration-of-independence

During the American Revolution, The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress. Yet, American independence was not immediately recognized by the British. So, in 1778, American forces under George Clark captured Kaskaskia during the Illinois campaign, one of many victories that would eventually encourage the British to acknowledge America’s independence. The result meant that the United States Declaration of Independence would go down as one of the most important documents of American times. At least two dozen countries around the world drew upon this document when drafting their own declarations of independence, in the nineteenth through twentieth centuries. Moreover, that it inspired Americans to successful liberate themselves from British rule was not only a hallmark in notions of human rights, but also in ideas of democracy. Consider the number of absolutist governments in the centuries before 1776 versus the increasing number of constitutional governments in the years afterwards. America’s success inspired many other countries’ elder statesmen, whose words regarding freedom bear obvious resemblance to that established by Adams, Jefferson, and Monroe.

7. The Deaths of America’s Founders (1826 and 1831)

july-4-dead-presidents

Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, died the same day in 1826 as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Just a few years later, fellow founding father, and fifth President of the United States, James Monroe passed away on July 4th, 1831. That three of the first five American presidents died on the 4th of July is not only obviously symbolic, it also reflects something of the end of an era for the first leaders of one of history’s most powerful countries. Their passing was not just the deaths of well-known American politicians, but giants of Western civilization whose legacy still appears visually in numerous monuments, films, and even on currency


6. Alice First Entered Wonderland (1862)

alice-in-wonderland

On July 4th, 1862, Lewis Carroll told Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels. Wonderland was subsequently published on July 4th, 1865. The number of adaptations of the book and its sequel, in films, television, and video games is enormous. Allusions to Carroll’s stories in popular culture are incredibly pervasive, especially throughout the Anglophone world, but also in non-English speaking cultures as well. Stories about Alice rival the Oz books and the writings of Jules Verne as far as being regularly adapted in various media over the years is concerned.

5. The Turning Points Of the American Civil War Concluded (1863)

ulysses-s-grant

During the American Civil War, Vicksburg, Mississippi was surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant after 47 days of siege, while 150 miles up the Mississippi River, a Confederate Army was repulsed at the Battle of Helena in Arkansas. On the same day, The Army of Northern Virginia withdrew from the battlefield after its loss at the Battle of Gettysburg, signaling an end to the Southern invasion of the North. These three defeats represented the turning point of the American Civil War. They prevented any remaining chance that a European power might intervene militarily on the South’s behalf. They also demonstrated decisively that the South could not successfully invade the North. For the remainder of the war, the South was now entirely on the defensive and, although she held out for two more years, they were two disastrous years that resulted in the deaths of numerous Southerners.

4. The New Colossus Enlightened the World (1884)

Statue-of-Liberty-1800s

The people of France offered the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World to the people of the United States on July 4th, 1884. The two allies participated in this symbolic act nearly a hundred years after both of their revolutions began in (1776 for America, and 1789  for France.) The erection of the sculpture symbolized the triumph of Enlightenment ideas of liberty, ideas that continue to enrapture large chunks of humanity. Moreover, the magnificence and endurance of the sculpture has led many to refer to it as a “wonder of the modern world,” and “The New Colossus.”

3. The End Of A Dynasty (1918)

tsar-nicholas-II

When Bolsheviks killed future Orthodox saints Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family, they effectively ended the Romanov dynasty that ruled the Russian Empires, one of the largest countries in human history after centuries of rule. The event also foreshadowed the end of other European dynasties amidst the cataclysmic First World War. Following the Russian examples, the Habsburgs of Austria, the Hohenzollerns of Germany, and the Ottomans of Turkey were also toppled by their people in rapid succession.

2. Modern Warfare Was At Its Most Massive Scale (1943)

battle-of-kursk

During World War II, the Battle of Kursk (the largest full-scale battle in history and the world’s largest tank battle) began at Prokhorovka Village on July 4th, 1943. The battle resulted in over a million casualties on both sides (Germans versus Soviets) and the loss of over 10,000 tanks, guns, and aircraft. This decisive Soviet victory crippled Germany’s offensive power in the East, in what was Germany’s final strategic offensive on that front, and thus the final realistic chance for them to turn the tide on the Eastern Front.

1. Filipino Independence Achieved (1946)

Philippines-Independence-Day

After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attained full independence from the United States. The independence of the Philippines coincided with a global trend in the years following World War II in which many African and Asian countries, previously colonized by Western powers, achieved their independence after centuries of Western domination.


4th of July

in History

Bill Clinton Facts

Leave a comment

Bill Clinton Facts

He’s one of the most recognizable faces on the planet. He ran the free world. His popularity rating is the stuff of envy. And he’s reincarnated himself more times than Krishna. So we ought to know everything there is to know about Bill Clinton, right?

Well, here are 10 things you may not know about our 42nd President:

1) He once aced a radio quiz about My Little Pony.

my little pony

The challenge came from NPR host Peter Sagal. “So you’re a former president, you’re a Rhodes Scholar, you’re famously well informed,” said Sagal, “What could we be sure that an accomplished person like you would know nothing about? And then the answer came to us: the TV show ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.'” Then the former President proceeded to own the pony questions, answering all three questions correctly and winning a prize for listener Dave Parks of Chico, California.

2) He knows an astonishing amount about chickens and chicken-farming.

chickens

After flubbing a question about chickens and free trade during his Rhodes Scholarship interview, young Bill vowed never to be stumped again by any and all questions about chickens. As he put it in his book My Life, “It never happened again. When I was governor and President, people were amazed at how much I knew about how chickens are raised, processed, and marketed at home and abroad.”

3) An ancient Roman villain led him to study the law.

ancient rome

According to David Maraniss’s 1995 biography of Clinton, it was Hot Springs High Latin teacher Mrs. Buck who first fired the budding politico’s interest in the law. The class put on a rendition of the trial of Catiline, a roguish Roman who planned to sack and set fire to the city. Bill Clinton signed up to defend the quite-guilty Catiline, though he knew in advance he had lost the case before he started. Later he would mention to Mrs. Buck that the experience made him want to study law.

4) He played rugby at Oxford.

rugby

During his presidency, he was famous, or rather, infamous, for his itty-bitty running shorts and the peculiar habit of jogging to burn calories, before arriving at a McDonalds to put those same calories right back where they started. But in graduate school, Clinton dabbled in rugby. He reportedly played in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well.

5) Hopalong Cassidy, one of the first TV cowboys, was one of Bill Clinton’s boyhood heroes.

hopalong cassidy

He was one of the first TV cowboy heroes, and Bill Clinton was as thrilled by him as other boys of that era were. The President saw Hopalong every time he went to sleep, as his bedspread featured the cowboy. He even dressed up as him and later wrote a preface for a book about Hopalong.

6) He ever-so-briefly worked as a corporate lawyer.

bill clinton lawyer

He had been elected Governor of Arkansas at the almost unheard-of age of 32. Then he was unceremoniously dumped by the voters. So what’s the youngest ex-governor in America to do? Serve “Of Counsel” to a law firm, of course. Clinton joined the firm of Wright, Lindsey and Jennings, a two-year span between his governorships that seems to have been one of the more miserable professional periods in his life.

7) He prefers briefs over boxers…usually.

To this day the question of why he chose to answer the question remains a debated one among Clintonistas. But he did. When a young woman asked him whether he prefers boxers or briefs, he answered, “Usually briefs.” A clearly flummoxed Clinton violated the cardinal political rule: Always answer the question you wish you were asked, not the one you were actually asked.

8) He lined the back of his El Camino with astroturf.

el camino

“You don’t want to know why, but I did,” he winked and told an audience during a stop at a Louisiana truck plant in 1994. Later, though, he backtracked: “It wasn’t for what everybody thought it was for,” he told radio show host Don Imus. Sure, Bill, we believe you.

9) He eats apples all the way through–core, stem, seeds and all.

apples

It was a habit he picked up in his college days, while trying to emulate his professor Jan Deutsch. As Clinton writes in his autobiography, “[Professor Deutsch] was the only man I’d ever met who ate all of an apple, including the core. He said all the good minerals were there. He was smarter than I was, so I tried it. Once in a while, I still do, with fond memories of Professor Deutsch.”

10) He once ad-libbed a speech to Congress.

bill clinton congress

The TelePrompter was supposed to feature the finished, polished, worked-over-dozens-of-times version of a speech outlining the Clinton administration’s approach to health care. It didn’t. It had a dated speech, and by the time the President began speaking, he was forced to wing it for seven harrowing minutes of the address. “I thought, well Lord, you’re testing me,” the President later said. Some observers noted wryly that he seemed to do better while improvising and embellishing than when he was reading the prepared remarks.

Bill Clinton Facts