This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
March 20 is the 79th day of the year (80th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 286 days remaining until the end of the year.
March 20th is also the usual date of the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere when both day and night are of equal length, therefore it is frequently the date of traditional Iranian holiday Norouz in many countries.
On this day in 1854, Republican Party is founded in Ripon Wisconsin.
The Republican Party emerged in 1854, growing out of a coalition of former Whigs and Free Soil Democrats who mobilized in opposition to the possibility of slavery extending into the new western territories. The new party put forward a vision of modernizing the United States-emphasizing free homesteads to farmers (“free soil”), banking, railroads, and industry. They vigorously argued that free-market labor was superior to slavery and the very foundation of civic virtue and true republicanism, this is the “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men” ideology. The Republicans absorbed the previous traditions of its members, most of whom had been Whigs; others had been Democrats or members of third parties (especially the Free Soil Party and the American Party or Know Nothings). Many Democrats who joined up were rewarded with governorships. or seats in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. Since its inception, its chief opposition has been the Democratic Party, but the amount of flow back and forth of prominent politicians between the two parties was quite high from 1854 to 1896.
Two small cities of the Yankee diaspora, Ripon, Wisconsin and Jackson, Michigan, claim to be the birthplace of the Republican Party (in other words, meetings held there were some of the first 1854 anti-Nebraska assemblies to call themselves by the name “Republican”). Ripon held the first county convention on March 20, 1854. Jackson held the first statewide convention on July 6, 1854; it declared their new party opposed to the expansion of slavery into new territories and selected a state-wide slate of candidates. The Midwest took the lead in forming state party tickets, while the eastern states lagged a year or so. There were no efforts to organize the party in the South, apart from a few areas adjacent to free states. The party initially had its base in the Northeast and Midwest. The party launched its first national convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in February 1856, with its first national nominating convention held in the summer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
John C. Fremont ran as the first Republican nominee for President in 1856, using the political slogan: “Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont.” Although Fremont’s bid was unsuccessful, the party showed a strong base. It dominated in New England, New York and the northern Midwest, and had a strong presence in the rest of the North. It had almost no support in the South, where it was roundly denounced in 1856-60 as a divisive force that threatened civil war.
Historians have explored the ethnocultural foundations of the party, along the line that ethnic and religious groups set the moral standards for their members, who then carried those standards into politics. The churches also provided social networks that politicians used to sign up voters. The pietistic churches emphasized the duty of the Christian to purge sin from society. Sin took many forms-alcoholism, polygamy and slavery became special targets for the Republicans. The Yankees, who dominated New England, much of upstate New York, and much of the upper Midwest were the strongest supporters of the new party. This was especially true for the pietistic Congregationalists and Presbyterians among them and (during the war), the Methodists, along with Scandinavian Lutherans. The Quakers were a small tight-knit group that was heavily Republican. The liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Episcopal, German Lutheran), by contrast, largely rejected the moralism of the Republican Party; most of their adherents voted Democratic.
235 – Maximinus Thrax is proclaimed emperor. He is the first foreigner to hold the Roman throne.
1208 – Michael IV Autoreianos is appointed Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
1600 – The Linkoping Bloodbath takes place on Maundy Thursday in Linkoping, Sweden.
1602 – The Dutch East India Company is established.
1616 – Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment.
1760 – The “Great Fire” of Boston, Massachusetts destroys 349 buildings.
1815 – After escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
1848 – Revolutions of 1848 in the German states: King Ludwig I of Bavaria abdicates.
1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published.
1861 – An earthquake completely destroys Mendoza, Argentina.
1883 – The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property is signed.
1888 – The premiere of the very first Romani language operetta is staged in Moscow, Russia.
1913 – Sung Chiao-jen, a founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party, is wounded in an assassination attempt and dies 2 days later.
1914 – In New Haven, Connecticut, the first international figure skating championship takes place.
1916 – Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity.
1922 – The USS Langley (CV-1) is commissioned as the first United States Navy aircraft carrier.
1923 – The Arts Club of Chicago hosts the opening of Pablo Picasso’s first United States showing, entitled Original Drawings by Pablo Picasso, becoming an early proponent of modern art in the United States.
1933 – Giuseppe Zangara is executed in Florida’s electric chair for fatally shooting Anton Cermak in an assassination attempt against President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1942 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, makes his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.
1948 – With a Musicians Union ban lifted, the first telecasts of classical music in the United States, under Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini, are given on CBS and NBC.
1951 – Fujiyoshida, a city located in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, in the center of the Japanese main island of Honshu is founded.
1952 – The United States Senate ratifies a peace treaty with Japan.
1956 – Tunisia gains independence from France.
1964 – The precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organization) is established per an agreement signed on June 14, 1962.
1974 – Ian Ball attempts, but fails, to kidnap Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and her husband Captain Mark Phillips in The Mall, outside Buckingham Palace, London.
1980 – The Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo founders in a gale off the English coast.
1985 – Libby Riddles becomes the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
1987 – The Food and Drug Administration approves the anti-AIDS drug, AZT.
1988 – Eritrean War of Independence: Having defeated the Nadew Command, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front enters the town of Afabet, victoriously concluding the Battle of Afabet.
1990 – Ferdinand Marcos’s widow, Imelda Marcos, goes on trial for bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering.
1993 – An IRA bomb explodes, killing two children in Warrington, Northwest England.
1995 – A sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway kills 12 and wounds 1,300 persons.
1999 – Legoland California, the only Legoland outside of Europe, opens in Carlsbad, California.
2000 – Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a former Black Panther once known as H. Rap Brown, is captured after murdering Georgia sheriff’s deputy Ricky Kinchen and critically wounding Deputy Aldranon English.
2003 – 2003 invasion of Iraq: In the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries begin military operations in Iraq.
2005 – A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits Fukuoka, Japan, its first major quake in over 100 years. One person is killed, hundreds are injured and evacuated.
2006 – Cyclone Larry makes landfall in eastern Australia, destroying most of the country’s banana crop.
2006 – Over 150 Chadian soldiers are killed in eastern Chad by members of the rebel UFDC. The rebel movement sought to overthrow Chadian president Idriss Deby.
* Christian Feast Day:
o Abdon and Sennen, celebrated in Soissons, France
o Cuthbert of Lindisfane, patron saint of Northumbria
* Earliest date for the vernal equinox:
o Chunfen (China)
o Earth Day, during its first celebration in 1971. Now celebrated on April 22.
o Nowruz (Iranian diaspora, Kurdish diaspora, Zoroastrians)
o International Astrology Day (astrologers and astrology enthusiasts)
o Shunbun no Hi, a national holiday in Japan.
o World Storytelling Day, a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling.
* Earliest day on which Good Friday can fall, while April 23 is the latest; celebrated on Friday before Easter. (Christianity)
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Tunisia from France in 1956.
* International Day of the Francophonie (International Organization of the Francophonie)