Saturday April 12, 2014
On April 12, 1945, one of the greatest political figures of the 20th century passed away at the age of 63. Franklin D. Roosevelt can best be remembered for his development of the New Deal programs for helping America out of the Great Depression and his ideals that inspired the foundation of the United Nations Organization.
Wednesday April 9, 2014
On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. Ironically, the site of this last major battle was owned by Wilmer McLean, a retired officer of the Virginia militia, who had moved his family into the Courthouse nearly four years earlier after his farm in Northern Virginia became the site of the first battle of Bull Run. It could be said that McLean hosted both one of the major battles at the beginning and near the end of the Civil War.
Additional troops around the country disbanded and surrendered. In fact, the last major surrender by a general occurred on June 23, 1865. The last naval vessel to surrender did not occur until November 6, 1865.
Tuesday April 8, 2014
On April 8, 1913, the 17th amendment to the Constitution was ratified. This amendment called for the direct election of Senators. Prior to the passage of the amendment, Senators were chosen by the state legislatures. While the House of Representatives was to represent the people's interests, the Senate was supposed to represent the states. However, over time the selection of Senators became more and more contentious within states divided by opposing beliefs in the mid to late 1800s. There were many cases of deadlocked decisions resulting in delays for selecting state senators or even periods of time when states had no senators representing them at all.
The move for the 17th amendment to pass really became strong with the advent of the muckrakers and William Randolph Hearst's reporters doggedly reporting on cases of bribery and corruption amongst senators. The final amendment was proposed on May 13 1912 and took 330 days to be fully ratified. Only Utah rejected the amendment.
Monday April 7, 2014
Many people may not realize how much James Monroe was involved in the American Revolution. He was the son of a patriot who fought against British colonial policy. In 1775, he was one of 24 students who stormed the governor's palace in Williamsburg to seize weapons. He not only crossed the Delaware with Washington and stayed at Valley Forge, but also fought in the Battles of Trenton, Germantown, Brandywine, and Monmouth. Learn more about our fifth president who was reelected unopposed gathering all but one of the electoral votes in the Election of 1820: