Thursday, March 15, 2012

Learn Our History Today: March 15

Learn Our History Today: Today, March 15, is known as the Ides of March. While having nothing to do with American history, it bears mentioning.  In 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was murdered (stabbed in the back 23 times) by his friend and protege Marcus Brutus.  Caesar had been warned by a prophet of sorts (called a “seer”) that he would be harmed no later than the Ides of March on his way to the Theater of Pompey.  When Caesar met the seer on that day, he joked “The Ides of March have come” meaning that the prophecy had not been fulfilled.  The seer was quick to reply, “Ay, Caesar, but not gone!”  This meeting was immortalized by William Shakespeare in the play, Julius Caesar, with the line “beware the Ides of March.”  The word “Ides” comes from the Latin word “Idus” meaning “half division” and especially pertains to a month.
In more recent history, in 1767, Andrew Jackson was born in South Carolina to Irish immigrant parents.  He became the 7th president of the United States, serving from 1829 to 1837.
And on this day in 1783, General George Washington appeared at an assembly of army officers in Newburgh, New York.  The purpose of his visit was to calm the growing frustration and distrust that the army had been expressing towards Congress, which was brought on by Congress’ failure to honor its promise to pay them and reimburse them for food and clothing.  Washington emplored his officers to place “full confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress.”  His meeting was a success; the officers realized that Washington was sincere and, within minutes, they voted unanimously to express confidence in Congress and their country.
And on this day in 1820, Maine is admitted into the Union as the 23rd state, as part of the Missouri Compromise between the North and South.  The Compromise granted the entrance of Maine as a free state in exchange for the entrance of Missouri as a slave state.

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