Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Today we have ten favorite events in your country's history. This is a hard one, because there are lots of political events as well as breakthroughs in science and technology and social changes to choose from. Doing my best, in chronological order:
  1. Salem witch trials, 1692-3. Favorite is not exactly the right word here, but, having grown up in Massachusetts, I learned about the trials in elementary school and have read about them since. A group of girls and young women accused over 30 people in Salem Village (modern-day Danvers, MA) and nearby towns of witchcraft; 19 were eventually hanged and one crushed to death when he refused to enter a plea. It's a cautionary tale too little heeded of what can happen when people let fear take over their brains.
  2. Samuel Prescott's ride/battles of Lexington and Concord, April 18-19, 1775. You've never heard of Sam Prescott, have you? The poor guy should have hired a press agent: he, Paul Revere, and William Dawes rode out on April 18 to spread the word that the British were coming. Revere was captured in Lexington and Dawes in Lincoln, and only Prescott made it all the way to Concord. The battles of Lexington and Concord the next day were the first armed conflict of the American Revolution.
  3. Signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
  4. Adoption of the US Constitution, September 17, 1787.
  5. Samuel Morse's telegraph patent, 1837. Instant communication changed everything.
  6. Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862. I remember learning in ninth-grade history class that serfdom was not abolished in Russia until 1861. All the students agreed that Russia must have been pretty, well, medieval. "Really?" said the teacher. "When did we abolish slavery?" Oh, yeah. And high time, too.
  7. Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, May 17, 1954. And it took us only another 89 years to start dismantling Jim Crow.
  8. Moon landing, July 20, 1969. At the time, at age 10, I thought this was an incredible waste of time, energy and money, with so many desperately poor people right here on terra firma. But it was an amazing accomplishment, and the investment in technology has improved quality of life and paid for itself many times over.
  9. Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision, November 18, 2003. The ruling found that under its constitution the state could not "deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry." I don't know about you, but my marriage is at least as valid and meaningful now as it was then.
  10. Boumediene v. Bush Supreme Court decision, June 12, 2008. The right of habeas corpus is the only one specifically mentioned in the main body of the Constitution (rather than the Bill of Rights), and it applies to everybody. Everybody.
  11. I have to throw in one more, even though it's one too many and it doesn't quite fit the category: January 20, 2009. 'Nuff said.

6 Comments:

  • Oh my gosh! Are you saying that legalizing the abnormal union of all those lesbians and homosexuals hasn't completely tarnished and befouled the sanctity of your own godly marriage?

    Sorry. I don't do sarcasm well. There is little enough love in the world. If two people want to take care of each other, I think it's no one's business who they have sex with.

    Peter Dawes? Hmm . . . "Listen my children, t'will give you pause. Here's the midnight ride of Peter Dawes." ehhh.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:28 AM  

  • Ah this leaky brain - William Dawes. And Samuel Prescott? What the hell rhymes with Prescott?

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:30 AM  

  • Our anniversary was June 11th, so I took June 12th's decision as a present.

    By Blogger Alwen, at 10:43 AM  

  • All excellent choices :)

    By Anonymous Lynne, at 11:01 AM  

  • lol - #11. That one made me chuckle. That date can't come soon enough for me. Thanks for adding that.

    Oh, and just so you know, my daughter voted me the Meanest Mom yesterday. I made her stop playing with her friends to get ready for her softball game.

    Mean Moms Unite!

    By Blogger AngeliasKnitting, at 11:39 AM  

  • A thoughtful and erudite collection of dates. One I couldn't have conjured under the best of circumstances, but with which I totally agree. And number 11? Priceless.

    By Blogger Annie, at 8:47 AM  

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