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Cornwallis Surrenders

On October 19, 1781, representatives of British commander Lord Cornwallis handed over Cornwallis’s sword and formally surrendered to George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau, at Yorktown, Virginia. The Revolutionary War (or War for Independence, or Colonial Rebellion, or whatever you wish to call it) was over. In 1918 on






First African-American Author

On October 18, 1775, African-American poet Phillis Wheatley was freed from slavery, upon the death of her master. Widely appreciated in her day, she was the first African-American to publish a book.






Yorktown Siege Ends

On October 16, 1781, George Washington captured Yorktown, Virginia, after the Siege of Yorktown. October 16 is a traditional date to award Nobel Peace Prizes, good (Desmond Tutu, 1984), and bad (Henry Kissinger, 1973). Two Nobel laureates were born on October 16, as well: Austen Chamberlain, English statesman, saw daylight






The Dreyfus Affair

On October 15, 1894, Alfred Dreyfus (1859 – 1935) was arrested for spying: The Dreyfus Affair began.






William Penn

On October 14, 1644, Willliam Penn was born. An English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania (the English North American colony and future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania), he was an early champion of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful treaties with






Albert Jay Nock

On October 13, 1870, American social critic and education theorist Albert Jay Nock was born. Nock was the author of a number of books, including Jefferson, the Man and Our Enemy, The State, but was probably most famous for his intellectual autobiography, Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, which was widely






The New World

On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas, thinking he had reached India. Exactly two hundred years later, a letter from Massachusetts Governor William Phips ended the Salem Witch Trials. On this date in 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited by students in many U.S. public






Remembering the Revolution

October 11, 1890, marks the founding of the Daughters of the American Revolution. On the same date in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford approved a congressional joint resolution Public Law 94-479 to appoint, posthumously, George Washington to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States, as part






Dead Economists

On October 10, 1973, Austrian-born American economist, Ludwig von Mises (pictured above) died. Two-hundred fifty-nine years earlier, the French law-maker and Jansenist Pierre le Pesant, sieur de Boisguilbert died. Both economists were known for their defenses of freer markets: le Pesant for pioneering the critique of mercantilism, arguing that a






Roger Williams

Roger Williams

On October 9, 1635, Protestant theologian Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a religious dissident after he spoke out against punishments for religious offenses and giving away Native American land. He moved south, founding Providence Plantations, where he worked for separation of church and state, the






Missing Day(s)

On October 8, 1793, American merchant and first Governor of Massachusetts, John Hancock (b. 1737), died. The date October 8, 1582, does not exist in the records of Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, the result of that year’s implementation of the Gregorian calendar. Fearing a Catholic plot, Protestant countries adopted






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