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October 2, Bill of Rights

On October 2, 1789, George Washington sent the proposed Constitutional amendments (the United States Bill of Rights) to the States for ratification. On the same date in 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed, preventing him from reacting to the economic downturn following the

1st Model T, Lawrence of Arabia captures Damascus

On October 1, 1908, Ford produced the first Model T at a plant in Detroit. The auto could travel 40 miles per hour and ran on gasoline or hemp-based fuel. (As oil prices fell, Ford phased out the hemp option.) The Model T was the first car designed for a

September 30, Oppenheimer

On September 30, 1943, Franz Oppenheimer — a German-Jewish sociologist and political economist, who most famously published on the fundamental sociology of the state — died. September 30 has served as Blasphemy Rights Day since 2009, when it was initiated by the Center for Inquiry. Botswanans celebrate their independence from

August 12

On August 12, 30 BC, Queen Cleopatra commited suicide, ending the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt and providing grist for literary works such as Shakespeare’s great tragedy, “Antony and Cleopatra.” On this day in 1898, an Armistice ended the Spanish-American War, a war commemorated best by sociologist and economist William Graham

August 7

On August 7, 1782, George Washington instituted the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle, an award later renamed “the Purple Heart.”

Slavery Ends

On August 1, 1834, Great Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act 1833 took force, freeing slaves throughout the British empire. Technically, it freed slaves under the age of six. On the August 1 date in 1838 and 1840, the rest of the empire’s slaves were freed, practically speaking. August 1 births include

July 31

On July 31, 1703, Daniel Defoe — who would later become famous as the author of “Robinson Crusoe” and other literary works — was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel. The sedition pertained to a satirical pamphlet he had published, “The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or,

July 30, Vanuatu and Lini and Jimmy Stevens

On July 30, 1980, the Pacific Islands nation of Vanuatu gained independence — it had previously been a French-English colony, New Hebrides — with foreign government aid from a variety of First World nations, placing as prime minister the very statist Walter Lini. Lini’s first act was to send troops

July 16

On July 16, 1931, Ethiopia’s Emperor Haille Selassie I signed a new Constitution. Not exactly a model of classical liberal limitations on government, the new document proved that the emperor was in keeping with the time, which was a period of weakening constitutional limits in America, Europe, and Britain. A

July 14

On July 14, 1789, Paris citizens storm the Bastille. On the same date nine years later, in America, the Sedition Act prohibited the writing, publishing, or speaking false or malicious statements about the United States government. The passage of this repressive law spurred the formation of the first opposition party

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