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Jacob Burckhardt

May 25, 1818, the Swiss historian and academic Jacob Burckhardt was born. Burckhardt’s best known work is The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860), but is remembered here as the author of Reflections on History (1905).

John Hancock

On May 24, 1775, John Hancock was elected president of the Second Continental Congress. Hancock’s involvement with Samuel Adams and his radical group, the Sons of Liberty, won the wealthy merchant the dubious distinction of being one of only two Patriots (the other being Sam Adams) that the Redcoats marching

Eighth State and Drew Carey

On May 23, 1788, South Carolina became the 8th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Other May 23 events include: * 1813: South American independence leader Simón Bolívar entered Mérida, where he was proclaimed El Libertador (“The Liberator”), leading the invasion of Venezuela. * 1900: Sergeant William Harvey Carney became

Term limits

On May 22, 1995, in the case U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Arkansas’s congressional term limits law, 5-4, overturning the congressional term limits then the law in 23 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New

Colombia

On May 21, 1851, slavery was abolished in Colombia, South America.

Mill and Passy

French economist and co-winner of the first (1901) Nobel Prize for Peace, Frédéric Passy, was born on May 20, 1822. English economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill was born exactly 16 years earlier.

Wilde Released

On May 19, 1897, Irish author, playwright, and poet Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was released from Reading Prison, where he had finished, in ill health, his hard labor sentence for “gross indecency.” His “Ballad of Reading Gaol,” first published pseudonymously in a periodical with wide

Heresy and Slavery

On May 18, 1593, playwright Thomas Kyd’s accusations of heresy led to an arrest warrant for fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe. Kyd was the famed author of The Spanish Tragedy, and “Kit” Marlowe [pictured] was known for a number of plays, including The Jew of Malta and The Tragicall History of

Watergate!

On May 17, 1973, televised hearings regarding the Watergate scandal began in the United States Senate. Sen. Sam Ervin chaired. Little did participants know that the name of the hotel in which the White House-arranged break-ins occurred would provide a template for most future political scandals: “-gate” would be suffixed

Oregon Trail

On May 16, 1843, one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri, set off for the Pacific Northwest, blazing what became known as the “Oregon Trail.”

Virginia for Independence

On May 15, 1776, the Virginia Convention instructed its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independence from Great Britain, paving the way for the United States’ Declaration of Independence.

Constitution, huzzah?

On May 14, 1787, delegates convened a Constitutional Convention, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to write a new Constitution for the United States. George Washington presided over the convention. On the same day a century later, Lysander Spooner — author of several numbered pamphlets titled “The Constitution of No Authority” — died.

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