Wright Brothers and Kitty Hawk, NC

wright-bros

The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were American inventors and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building and flying the world’s first successful airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than–air aircraft on this date in 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1904-05, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.  (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)

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Boston Tea Party

boston-tea-party

Source: W.D. Cooper. “Boston Tea Party.”, The History of North America. London: E. Newberry, 1789. Engraving. Plate opposite p. 58. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (40)

The Boston Tea Party was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston in 1773. The demonstrators, some disguised as Native  Americans, in defiance of the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company. They boarded the ships and threw the chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The British government responded harshly and the episode escalated into the American Revolution. The Tea Party became an iconic event of American history, and other political protests such as the Tea Party movement after 2010 explicitly refer to it.

The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which the Colonists believed violated their rights as Englishmen to “No taxation without representation.”  That is, be taxed only by their own elected representatives and not by a British parliament in which they were not represented.

The Boston Tea Party was a significant event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, or Intolerable Acts, which, among other provisions, ended local self-government in Massachusetts and closed Boston’s commerce. Colonists up and down the Thirteen Colonies, in turn, responded to the Coercive Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.  (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)

“Gone With the Wind”

 

Gone with the Wind (the movie) premiered in Atlanta, Georgia this date in 1939. Production was difficult from the start. Filming was delayed for two years due to Selznick’s determination to secure Clark Gable for the role of Rhett Butler, and the “search for Scarlett” led to 1,400 women being interviewed for the part, which was won by Vivien Leigh. Also featured were Olivia de Havilland as Melanie and Leslie Howard. At the 12th Academy Awards, the film received ten awards from thirteen nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Leigh) and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, becoming the first African-American to win an Academy Award). The film retained the record of the highest-earning movie for over a quarter of a century; when adjusted for monetary inflation, it is still the most successful film in box office history.

The film was based on the book, Gone with the Wind, written by Margaret Mitchell. Published in 1936, it was a bestseller that year and the next.  Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. A poll found it to be the second favorite book of American readers, and more than 30 million copies have been printed worldwide

 The story is set in Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following the destructive Sherman’s March to the Sea. This historical novel features a coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.  (photo on left below shows Union soldiers tearing up railroad tracks in Georgia) 

Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind in 1926 to pass the time while recovering from a slow-healing auto-accident injury. In April 1935, Harold Latham of Macmillan, an editor looking for new fiction, read her manuscript and saw that it could be a best-seller. After Latham had agreed to publish the book, Mitchell worked for another six months checking the historical references and rewriting the opening chapter several times. Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, a copy editor by trade, edited the final version of the novel. Mitchell wrote the book’s final moments first and then wrote the events that led up to it.  (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)

Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights was enacted, amending the U. S. Constitution tomorrow, December 15th, in 1791. It is a list of the most important rights of the citizens, the purpose of which is to protect those rights against infringement from public officials and private citizens. (Below is a brief description of each article in the Bill of Rights)

 

  1. Prohibits Congress from making any law  respecting an establishment of religion, impeding free exercise of religion, infringing on freedom of  speech and of the press, interfering with the right to peaceable assembly or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances;
  2. Protects the right to keep and bear arms;
  3. Places restrictions on the “quartering” of soldiers in private homes without owner’s consent; prohibited during peacetime;
  4. Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause;
  5. Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy;
  6. Protects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury, including rights to be notified of the accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnesses and to retain counsel;
  7. Provides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases;
  8. Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment;
  9. Protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution;
  10.  Reinforces the principle of federalism by stating that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the states or the people through the Constitution.  (from Wikipedia)

 

Poinsettia Day

xxpointsettiasThe poinsettia is a culturally and commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family that is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays.

The poinsettia derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825. The Poinsettia Day in 1852, initiated by the U.S. Congress, commemorates his death on this date in 1851.

The plant’s association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson “blossoms” sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias.

From the 17th Century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.  (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)