American Revolution: In 1776, members of the Continental Congress began signing the Declaration of Independence. A committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston had been chosen on June 11 to prepare a statement justifying the decision to assert independence, should it be taken. The document was prepared, and on July 1 nine delegations voted for separation. On the following day, July 2, with the New York delegation abstaining only because it lacked permission to act, the Lee resolution for independence was voted on and endorsed. (The convention of New York gave its consent on July 9, and the New York delegates voted affirmatively on July 15.) On July 19 the Congress ordered the document to be engrossed as “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.” It was accordingly put on parchment, probably by Timothy Matlack of Philadelphia. Members of the Congress present on August 2 affixed their signatures to this parchment copy on that day, and others later. The last signer was Thomas McKean of Delaware, whose name was not placed on the document before 1777.
So why do we celebrate Independence Day on July 4?
July Revolution: In 1830, Charles X of France abdicated the throne, unable to resist the revolt.
In 1876, James Butler (Wild Bill) Hickok—a frontiersman, marksman, gambler, and legend of the American West—was murdered in the city of Deadwood, South Dakota Territory. It was there, at a poker table in Nuttall & Mann’s No. 10 saloon, that Hickok was shot dead by a drunken stranger, Jack McCall. The cards Hickok was holding—a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights plus an unknown fifth card—became known as the dead man’s hand. McCall’s motive was never learned; he was tried, convicted of murder, and hanged on March 1, 1877.
In 1923, President Warren Gamaliel Harding suddenly died from either a heart attack or stroke. John Calvin Coolidge became president.
World War II: In 1939, Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program. That letter was delivered to Roosevelt by one of his economic advisers, Alexander Sachs, on October 11. Roosevelt wrote back on October 19, informing Einstein that he had organized the Uranium Committee to study the issue.
In 1990, Iraq’s leader, Ṣaddām Ḥussein, ordered the invasion and occupation of Kuwait with the apparent aim of acquiring that nation’s large oil reserves, canceling a large debt Iraq owed Kuwait, and expanding Iraqi power in the region. On August 3 the United Nations Security Council called for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, and on August 6 the council imposed a worldwide ban on trade with Iraq. Iraq’s subsequent refusal to withdraw its troops sparked the Persian Gulf War, in which an international force led by the United States quickly defeated Iraq.
Regards, Roger Mickelson
Source material includes Associated Press International and Encyclopædia Britannica.
“If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame. But, if orders are clear and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.” Sun Tzu