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.
January 18 is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 347 days remaining until the end of the year (348 in leap years).
On this day in 1865, the United States House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United States. It read, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On December 18, Secretary of State William H. Seward, in a proclamation, declared it to have been adopted. It was the first of the Reconstruction Amendments.
President Lincoln was concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation, which outlawed slavery in the ten Confederate states still in rebellion in 1863, would be seen as a temporary war measure, since it was based on his war powers and did not abolish slavery in the border states.
The first twelve amendments were adopted within fifteen years of the Constitution’s adoption. The first ten (the Bill of Rights) were adopted in 1791, the Eleventh Amendment in 1795 and the Twelfth Amendment in 1804. When the Thirteenth Amendment was proposed there had been no new amendments adopted in more than sixty years.
During the secession crisis, but prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, the majority of slavery-related bills had protected slavery. The United States had ceased slave importation and intervened militarily against the Atlantic slave trade, but had made few proposals to abolish domestic slavery, and only a small number to abolish the domestic slave trade. Representative John Quincy Adams had made a proposal in 1839, but there were no new proposals until December 14, 1863, when a bill to support an amendment to abolish slavery throughout the entire United States was introduced by Representative James Mitchell Ashley (Republican, Ohio). This was soon followed by a similar proposal made by Representative James F. Wilson(Republican, Iowa).
Eventually the Congress and the public began to take notice and a number of additional legislative proposals were brought forward. On January 11, 1864, Senator John B. Henderson of Missouri submitted a joint resolution for a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. The abolition of slavery had historically been associated with Republicans, but Henderson was one of the War Democrats. The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Lyman Trumbull (Republican, Illinois), became involved in merging different proposals for an amendment. On February 8 of that year, another Republican, Senator Charles Sumner (Radical Republican, Massachusetts), submitted a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery as well as guarantee equality. As the number of proposals and the extent of their scope began to grow, the Senate Judiciary Committee presented the Senate with an amendment proposal combining the drafts of Ashley, Wilson and Henderson.
Originally the amendment was co-authored and sponsored by Representatives James Mitchell Ashley (Republican, Ohio) and James F. Wilson (Republican, Iowa) and Senator John B. Henderson (Democrat, Missouri).
While the Senate did pass the amendment on April 8, 1864, by a vote of 38 to 6, the House declined to do so. After it was reintroduced by Representative James Mitchell Ashley, President Lincoln took an active role in working for its passage through the House by ensuring the amendment was added to the Republican Party platform for the upcoming Presidential elections. His efforts came to fruition when the House passed the bill on January 31, 1865, by a vote of 119 to 56. The Thirteenth Amendment’s archival copy bears an apparent Presidential signature, under the usual ones of the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, after the words “Approved February 1, 1865”.
Shortly after the amendment’s adoption, selective enforcement of certain laws, such as laws against vagrancy, allowed blacks to continue to be subjected to involuntary servitude in some cases.
350 – Generallus Magnentius deposes Roman Emperor Constans and proclaims himself Emperor.
474 – Leo II briefly becomes Byzantine emperor.
532 – Nika riots in Constantinople fail.
1126 – Emperor Huizong abdicates the Chinese throne in favour of his son Emperor Qinzong.
1486 – King Henry VII of England marries Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV.
1520 – King Christian II of Denmark and Norway defeats the Swedes at Lake Asunden.
1535 – Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima, the capital of Peru.
1562 – Pope Pius IV reopens the Council of Trent for its third and final session.
1591 – King Naresuan of Siam kills Crown Prince Minchit Sra of Burma in single combat, for which this date is now observed marked as Royal Thai Armed Forces day.
1670 – Henry Morgan captures Panama.
1701 – Frederick I becomes King in Prussia.
1778 – James Cook is the first known European to discover the Hawaiian Islands, which he names the “Sandwich Islands”.
1788 – The first elements of the First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australia arrives at Botany Bay.
1866 – Wesley College, Melbourne is established.
1871 – Wilhelm I of Germany is proclaimed the first German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles ( France ) towards the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The empire is known as the Second Reich to Germans.
1884 – Dr. William Price attempts to cremate the body of his infant son, Jesus Christ Price, setting a legal precedent for cremation in the United Kingdom.
1886 – Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.
1896 – The X-ray machine is exhibited for the first time.
1903 – President Theodore Roosevelt sends a radio message to King Edward VII: the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States.
1911 – Eugene B. Ely lands on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania stationed in San Francisco harbor, the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.
1913 – A Greek flotilla defeats the Ottoman Navy in the Naval Battle of Lemnos during the First Balkan War, securing the islands of the Northern Aegean Sea for Greece.
1915 – Japan issues the “Twenty-One Demands” to the Republic of China in a bid to increase its power in East Asia.
1916 – A 611 gram chondrite type meteorite strikes a house near the village of Baxter in Stone County, Missouri.
1919 – World War I: The Paris Peace Conference opens in Versailles, France.
1919 – Ignacy Jan Paderewski becomes Prime Minister of the newly independent Poland.
1919 – Bentley Motors Limited is founded.
1941 – World War II: British troops launch a general counter-offensive against Italian East Africa.
1943 – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: The first uprising of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
1944 – The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosts a jazz concert for the first time. The performers are Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden.
1944 – Soviet forces liberate Leningrad, effectively ending a three year Nazi siege, known as the Siege of Leningrad.
1945 – Liberation of the Budapest ghetto by the Red Army.
1955 – Battle of Yijiangshan is fought.
1958 – Willie O’Ree, the first African Canadian National Hockey League player, makes his NHL debut.
1960 – Capital Airlines Flight 20 crashes into a farm in Charles City County, Virginia, killing all 50 aboard, the third fatal Capital Airlines crash in as many years.
1967 – Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler”, is convicted of numerous crimes and is sentenced to life imprisonment.
1969 – United Airlines Flight 266 crashes into Santa Monica Bay killing all 32 passengers and six crew members.
1974 – A Disengagement of Forces agreement is signed between the Israeli and Egyptian governments, ending conflict on the Egyptian front of the Yom Kippur War.
1976 – Lebanese Christian militias overrun Karantina, Beirut, killing at least 1,000.
1977 – Scientists identify a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of the mysterious Legionnaires’ disease.
1977 – Australia’s worst rail disaster occurs at Granville, Sydney killing 83.
1978 – The European Court of Human Rights finds the United Kingdom government guilty of mistreating prisoners in Northern Ireland, but not guilty of torture.
1981 – Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield parachute off a Houston skyscraper, becoming the first two people to BASE jump from objects in all four categories: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).
1983 – The International Olympic Committee restores Jim Thorpe’s Olympic medals to his family.
1990 – Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.
1993 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is officially observed for the first time in all 50 states.
1994 – The Cando event, a possible bolide impact in Cando, Spain. Witnesses claim to have seen a fireball in the sky lasting for almost one minute.
1997 – In north west Rwanda, Hutu militia members kill 3 Spanish aid workers, 3 soldiers and seriously wound one other.
1997 – Boerge Ousland of Norway becomes the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided.
2000 – The Tagish Lake meteorite impacts the Earth.
2002 – Sierra Leone Civil War is finally declared over.
2003 – A bushfire kills 4 people and destroys more than 500 homes in Canberra, Australia.
2005 – The Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial jet, is unveiled at a ceremony in Toulouse, France.
2007 – The strongest storm in the United Kingdom in 17 years kills 14 people, Germany sees the worst storm since 1999 with 13 deaths.
Hurricane Kyrill, causes at least 44 deaths across 20 countries in Western Europe.
2009 – Gaza War: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other paramilitary groups announce they will accept Israel’s offer of a ceasefire, ending the war.
2012 – A series of coordinated actions (including a blackout of Wikipedia) take place in protest against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act).
* Christian Feast Day:
o Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox Church)
* Confession of Peter (Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches)
* Feast of the Cross(Eastern Orthodox Church)
* Revolution Day (Tunisia)
* Royal Thai Armed Forces Day (Thailand)
* The first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Christianity)