The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack

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Today in History: Anarchists Strike Out Against Wall Street

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 16, 2018 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 16) in 1920, a bomb was exploded on Wall Street that killed 38 and people and seriously injured 143. No one knows precisely how many hundreds more received minor injuries. The bomb was maneuvered into place in a horse wagon (which makes is a predecessor of the car bomb). It was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil up to this time and was probably carried out by Italian anarchists called Galleanists for Luigi Galleani, an anarchist famous for promoting the “propaganda of the deed” (using violence to prompt the overthrow of governments). Unfortunately, it was decided that cleaning up so that the stock exchange could open the next day was more important than the criminal investigation, so we will never know for certain who was responsible for the carnage. The bomb was composed of 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of cast iron sash weights (used to keep window panels in place).

Today in History: Charles Darwin

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 15, 2018 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 15) in 1835 Charles Darwin reached the Galapagos Islands. Darwin visited the Galapagos as part of the HMS Beagle survey. He carried out geological studies and collected animal specimens while the Beagle surveyed the coasts of the islands. It was his experiences in the Galapagos and on his voyage that led Darwin to begin thinking about the differentiation of species and to develop theories that he would eventually call Evolution and Natural Selection. Darwin is one of the most influential people to have ever lived.

Today in History: The Battle of Devil's Hole

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 14, 2018 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 14) in 1763, the Seneca defeated the British at the Battle of Devil’s Hole. The battle took place near Niagara Falls which the British had taken from the French in the French and Indian War. The British had invested in improving the trails so that ox drawn wagons could make the portage, putting several hundred Seneca out of work in what they viewed as their own land. They decided it was time to drive the British out and joined with other tribes in the Great Lakes Region in what has come to be known as Pontiac’s Rebellion. They attacked a wagon train and its armed escort and then ambushed two companies of British soldiers who tried to rescue the wagon train. The Seneca killed 21 out of 24 men in the wagon train and 81 soldiers. The Seneca suffered one wounded.

Today in History: The First Motor Vehicle Death in America

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 13, 2018 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 13) in 1899 Henry Bliss became the first person in America to die in a motor vehicle accident. Bliss had just stepped off a streetcar in New York City when he was hit by an electric-powered taxicab. His head and chest were crushed and he died from his injuries the next morning. The driver was charged with manslaughter but acquitted because he had no malice and was not negligent.

Today in History: Prehistoric Art

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 12, 2018 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 12) in 1940 Paleolithic cave paintings were discovered in a cave in Lascaux, France. There are over 600 pictures on the walls and ceilings of the cave complex that were painted over generations some 17,000 years ago. Most of the paintings depict large animals, human figures or abstract images (more than 6000 in total). No one living knows why the painting were produced, although it is theorized that they were either spiritual messages trying to ensure a good hunt or memorials of particularly successful hunts.

Today in History: The Battle of Stirling Bridge

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 11, 2018 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 11) in 1297 the Scots defeated the English at the Battle of the Stirling Bridge. The Earl of Surrey, leading English forces, rejected advice to send cavalry to flank the Scots by using a ford two miles down the river that would have allowed his cavalry to cross en masse. Instead he utilized Stirling Bridge which was the safest point of crossing but was only wide enough to permit two men on horseback to cross side by side. The Scots permitted about two thousand men to cross and then attacked, cutting off further reinforcements from crossing the bridge and probably killing most of the two thousand men who had already crossed. The loss broke the confidence o the Earl of Surrey who destroyed the bridge and retreated.

Today in History: HMS Oxley Was Sunk by Friendly Fire

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 10, 2018 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 10) in 1939, the British Royal Navy lost its first submarine, HMS Oxley, to friendly fire when HMS Triton fired on it off the coast of Norway. It was the beginning of World War II and Oxley was out of position and did not respond to four attempts to signal it. Two men survived the sinking of the Oxley.

Today in History: The Compromise of 1850

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 9, 2018 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 9) in 1850, the Compromise of 1850 went into effect. 1) California became a state. 2) Texas gave up much of the territory it claimed (including parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming) in exchange for the U.S. paying off $10 million of the debt it accumulated before becoming a state. (You can imagine how big it would have been without this deal.) 3) The Wilmot Provisio (which would have outlawed slavery in new territories) was abandoned in exchange for Popular Sovereignty which let the people of new territories vote on whether or not they would be slave or free states. 4) The slave trade (but not slavery) was outlawed in Washington D.C. But the most important aspect of the compromise was 5) a new, highly controversial, Fugitive Slave Act which required citizens to actively help U.S. marshals recapture escaped slaves and created a “system of justice” in which judges got paid $20 for finding that an alleged escaped slave actually had escaped, but only $10 if he found that he was a free black. Northern abolitionists were horrified by the new Fugitive Slave Act and encouraged them to become much more outspoken in their opposition to slavery with many prominent abolitionists proudly and publicly proclaiming they would go to jail before cooperating with this law. It also encouraged northerners to increase their financial support to men like John Brown and to abolitionist causes such as the violent contest over slavery we now call Bleeding Kansas. So the Compromise of 1850 resolved several short term problems the country was facing, but it moved the country much closer to civil war.

Today in History: The King Fish Was Assassinated

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 8, 2018 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September Eight) in 1935 the King Fish, Huey Long, was assassinated. Long was a populist politician who had served both as Governor and Senator of Louisiana. He abandoned his support for FDR when he decided that the New Deal was not doing enough to curb poverty. He created a “Share Our Wealth” platform that would have taxed the wealthy and redistributed their income to the poor in direct financial assistance (which FDR had believed to be unconstitutional when he became president). He was planning to challenge FDR for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. He was murdered by the son-in-law of a political opponent he had just succeeded in removing from office.

Today in History: The First Submarine Attack

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 8, 2018 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 7) in 1776, the United States made the first submarine attack in history. The submarine was called the Turtle and it was piloted by Ezra Lee. It attacked the British ship, Eagle. The plan was to attach a time bomb to the ship, but Lee was unable to stab the bomb into the underside of the ship and was forced to call off the attack.


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