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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 the pamphlets titled “The Constitution of No Authority” — died.






Brazilian slavery

On May 13, 1888, Brazil abolished slavery with the passage of the Lei Áurea (“Golden Law”).






Union, disunion

On May 11, 1858, Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. State. Nine years later, to the day, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s independence and neutrality were affirmed in the Second Treaty of London.






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