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May 16 events

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.”

independence considered, May 15

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.

May 14

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 in 1887, Lysander Spooner — author of the pamphlets titled “The Constitution of No Authority” — died.

Minnesota becomes a state, May 11

On May 11, 1858, Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. State. Other May 11th events include Luxembourg’s gaining independence in 1867, and Klaus Barbie going on trial in Lyon, 120 years later, for war crimes committed during World War II.

John Brown born

On May 9, 1800, abolitionist revolutionary (and, technically, terrorist) John Brown was born. In 1883 on this date Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset was born.

Estonian blow-up, Hayek’s birthday

On May 8, 1899, Austrian-English economist and philosopher Friedrich August von Hayek was born. He signed the bulk of his books written in the English language as “F.A. Hayek,” and is best known for “The Road to Serfdom,” “The Constitution of Liberty,” “The Fatal Conceit,” and many essays, several of

27th Amendment, Germany surrenders

On May 7, 1992, Michigan ratified a 203-year-old proposed amendment to the United States Constitution making the 27th Amendment law. The amendment had been written by James Madison and was part of the original twelve amendments that became the ten amendments making up the Bill of Rights. It bars the

Thoreau born

On May 6, 1862, American author, philosopher and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau was born.

May 5, Magna Carta and Cinco de Mayo

On May 5, 1215, rebel barons renounced their allegiance to King John of England, which eventually led to the signing of the Magna Carta. In 1862, troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza stopped a French invasion in the Battle of Puebla in Mexico — an event leading to the popular “Cinco de Mayo” celebration.

Birth of Prescott

On May 4, 1796, American historian William H. Prescott was born. Prescott’s “History of the Conquest of Mexico” and his “Conquest of Peru” remain classic works of well-researched, “scientific history.”

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