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June the 28th

June 28 birthdays include that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher, in 1712. On this date in 1914, 19-year-old Gavril Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and the Archduke’s wife Sophie. The Archduke had earlier missed a bomb thrown at his car, which necessitated a change in the

Mauser, Goldman, Keller

Paul von Mauser was born on June 27, 1838, and would go on to become a weapons designer. In 1869, Emma Goldman was born, to later become known as a feminist, anarchist, and early leftist opponent of Soviet Communism. In 1880, Helen Keller was born on this date.

Emperor Julian

On June 26, 363, Roman Emperor Julian was killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire. On this same date in 1960, Madagascar gained its independence from France; in 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy gave his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.

Tenth State to ratify U. S. Constitution

Virginia became the tenth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, on June 25, 1788. Other events on the 25th of June include Custer dying at the Battle of Little Bighorn (1876); Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird debuting (1910), with the composer becoming an instant celebrity; and Civil War veterans began

Bitter Bierce

June 24 birthdays include Henry Ward Beecher, clergyman and reformer (1813); Ambrose Bierce [pictured], author of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and The Devil’s Dictionary — his dark, cynical wit earned him the epithet “Bitter Bierce” (1842); Karin Pilsäter, Swedish politician of the Liberal People’s Party (1960).

Victory Day

Today is Estonia’s Victory Day, which has been celebrated on June 23 every year since 1934. The date recalls the victory in the 1919 Battle of Vonnu of the Estonian military forces (and Latvian North brigade) and their allies over German forces (Baltische Landeswehr) who sought to re-assert Baltic-German control


On June 22, 1633, astronomer Galileo Galilei recanted his belief in heliocentrism, the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun. He didn’t do this based on scientific research, but under pressure from the Holy Office in Rome. Three hundred forty-five years later, to the date, American astronomer James W.

Grandfather clauses

On June 21, 1915, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Oklahoma law denying the right to vote to some citizens. In Guinn v. United States, the Supreme Court found “grandfather clauses” in effect in several formerly slave states to be little more than sneaky ways of allowing illiterate white

A Federation

On the 20th of June in 1787, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Oliver Ellsworth moved to confine legislative powers to two distinct branches, and to strike the word “national” from the document. Edmund Randolph of Virginia had previously moved successfully to call the government the National Government of United

Happy Birthday, Václav

In 1941, Czech economist and politician Václav Klaus was born; other June 19 births include Salman Rushdie in 1947, Kathleen Turner in 1954, and Laura Ingraham in 1964.

Auberon Herbert

On June 18, 1838, Auberon Edward William Molyneux Herbert was born. Auberon Herbert was a Liberal Member of Parliament who, after reading the writings of Herbert Spencer, became a radical individualist and author of essays such as “The Ethics of Dynamite,” “A Politician in Trouble About His Soul,” and “The

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. On the same day in 1930, progressive Republican President Herbert Hoover — eager to please agricultural states, and confident that protectionism would yield greater wealth — signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. The Great Depression deepened, and watched up

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