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Beaumarchais

Beaumarchais

On January 24, 1732, French playwright, watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, horticulturalist, arms dealer, satirist, financier, and revolutionary (both French and American) Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was born. He proved instrumental in securing armaments for the America Revolution, but remains best known for his three “Figaro” plays, Le






Stendhal

Stendhal

On January 23, 1783, novelist Marie-Henri Beyle, known by his pen name Stendhal (pictured above), was born. Stendahl was an avid student of the French liberal philosophical tradition, a follower of Destutt de Tracy and an attendant at the count’s salons. His most famous works include the novel The Red






Irving Kristol

Kristol

On January 22, 1920, American neoconservative pundit and author Irving Kristol was born.






Witness by Whittaker Chambers

Witness

On January 21, 1950, Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury, with Whittaker Chambers being the main witness in Hiss’s prosecution. Chambers confessed to having been a Soviet spy, and accused Hiss as an accomplice, which Hiss denied to his dying day. Chambers gave a fascinating account of all this in






ACLU

ACLU

On January 20, 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union was founded.






Lysander Spooner

Lysander Spooner

On January 19, 1808, Lysander Spooner was born. Spooner’s achievements in American life, law, and political philosophy, are among the most colorful of the 19th century. Studying law privately, he sued to practice without joining the bar, and won the suit. He set up a postal service that directly competed






Montesquieu

Montesquieu

On January 18, 1689, Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, French satirist and philosopher, was born. His treatise The Spirit of the Laws was a major influence upon America’s founding generation. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is






George Stigler

George Stigler

On January 17, 1937, Chicago School economist George Stigler was born. Stigler won a Nobel Memorial Prize for his work. His autobiography is entitled Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist.

jefferson041216_565

Religious Freedom

On January 16, 1786, Virginia enacted the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.






LEOX

Against Slavery

On January 14, 1514, Pope Leo X issued a papal bull against slavery. On the same date in 1639, the first written constitution to create a government, the “Fundamental Orders,” was adopted in Connecticut.






January 13, 1833

Nullification?

On January 13, 1833, United States President Andrew Jackson (pictured, top left) wrote to Vice President Martin Van Buren (pictured, top right) expressing his opposition to South Carolina’s defiance of federal authority in the Nullification Crisis. Jackson insisted that “the crisis must be now met with firmness” and “the modern






Ford 999

Fast Ford

On Jan. 12, 1904, Henry Ford set a land-speed record of 91.37 mph on the frozen surface of Lake St. Clair in Michigan, driving a four-wheel vehicle, dubbed the “999,” with a wooden chassis but no body or hood. Ford’s record was broken within a month, but the publicity from






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