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History

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I found a very interesting article on Time’s website. The article talks about a tablet that has been found which talks about the rising of a messiah after three days in the grave.

A 3-ft.-high tablet romantically dubbed “Gabriel’s Revelation” could challenge the uniqueness of the idea of the Christian Resurrection. The tablet appears to date authentically to the years just before the birth of Jesus and yet — at least according to one Israeli scholar — it announces the raising of a messiah after three days in the grave. If true, this could mean that Jesus’ followers had access to a well-established paradigm when they decreed that Christ himself rose on the third day — and it might even hint that they they could have applied it in their grief after their master was crucified. Keep reading at Time.com

Of course, if you know your history, or have seen the movie Zeitgeist, you’d know that the Christians took a lot of mythology from past religions and deities, including being born upon a virgin, the date of Jesus’ birth, the miracles he could perform, etc. If you’ve not watched the video, go watch it now.

I’ve been craving some new history books lately. I really like early 20th Century American history. Topics that I’ve enjoyed reading about the most seem to be about business. The rise of advertising, franchising, and rise of an urban society interest me a great deal. I’ve read books about Franchising in America, the creation of American food in Selling ‘Em by the Sack, the story of American beer in Ambitious Brew and the Rise of Modern Business in Great Britain, the United States, and Japan.

Last night, I purchased a book called 1920: The Year of Six Presidents. I never knew that six men who were/would be Presidents of the United States ran in that election. It should be a very interesting book. Does anyone have any suggestions for some more reading regarding 20th Century American history?

In America we spell certain words a bit different. Colour is color, favour is favor, parlour is parlor. Have you ever wondered why? Well, I was reading a good book called One-night Stands with American History and found out the answer: President Theodore Roosevelt.

On August 27, 1906 T.R. decided to change the American language. Some changes were small and were quickly adopted by American dictionaries. Many words had silent vowels removed, such as the words I listed. Also changed were words like rumor, which was rumour. Some of the other changes were not as elegant and were not kept. For example, the word kissed became kist and blushed became blusht. As soon as Congress came back from their recess there was a great debate. Shortly after, T.R.’s changes were knocked down and the Government Printing Office was ordered to “observe and adhere to the standard of orthography prescribed in generally accepted dictionaries of the English language.” Of course, since the dictionaries had already adopted some of the new spellings, they stuck with us. I bet T.R. “blusht” when he heard he had been beaten.

SOURCE: Mark Sullivan, Our Times (New York: Scribner’s, 1930-36), IV, 162-90.

I haven’t made a history post in a while, so I thought I’d post another little known fact about St. Louis history.

On August 26, 1856 Benjamin Gratz Brown, a newspaper editor, future United States Senator, and future governor faced Thomas C. Reynolds, a United States district attorney and future lieutenant governor, on the field of honor. The duel was the outcome of several years of bitter political disagreements resulting from editorials published in the Missouri Democrat.

Brown strongly supported the emancipation of slaves and Reynolds sympathized with the slaveholders. The first planned duel was never fought because the near-sighted Reynolds could not agree to Brown’s choice of rifles at eighty paces.

A year passed, and tempers flared again. Brown accused Reynolds of not honoring the first challenge. Reynolds retaliated by “posting” Brown and publicly charging him with cowardice. Brown challenged and Reynolds accepted.

“But because dueling was now against the law in Missouri, the two men agreed to take boats to a small island in the Mississippi River, nicknamed “Bloody Island.” The two met in the morning and held their duel. But this was interesting in ways that we can’t understand in the 21st Century, it was truly an affair of honor,” said CEO of the Missouri Historical Society, Robert Archibald.

Brown was shot in the leg and limped for the rest of his life. Reynolds sustained no injuries.

Brown was elected to the United States Senate in 1863 and became Governor of Missouri in 1870. In 1872, he ran as the vice-presidential candidate on the ticket with Horace Greeley and lost to incumbent Ulysses S. Grant and Henry Wilson.

Reynolds was elected Lieutenant Governor of Missouri in 1860 and later served as second Confederate governor of Missouri.

Bloody Island continued to grow through the early 1800s and threatened to land-lock the levee and the harbor of St. Louis. So, the Army Corps of Engineers under Captain Robert E. Lee devised a system of dikes and dams that did away with the western channel and joined the Island to the Illinois shore. Throughout the nineteenth century, Bloody Island had been a popular rendezvous for duelists. The island appeared as dueling became popular in Missouri, and sank back into obscurity as pistols ceased to be an acceptable means of settling differences. (via KSDK)

Don’t you sometimes wish dueling was still legal? I could thing of a few people I’d like to challenge.

In 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.

Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of the glider flights of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design. They built printing presses and in 1892 opened a bicycle sales and repair shop. Soon, they were building their own bicycles, and this experience, combined with profits from their various businesses, allowed them to pursue actively their dream of building the world’s first airplane.

After exhaustively researching other engineers’ efforts to build a heavier-than-air, controlled aircraft, the Wright brothers wrote the U.S. Weather Bureau inquiring about a suitable place to conduct glider tests. They settled on Kitty Hawk, an isolated village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly. Their first glider, tested in 1900, performed poorly, but a new design, tested in 1901, was more successful. Later that year, they built a wind tunnel where they tested nearly 200 wings and airframes of different shapes and designs. The brothers’ systematic experimentations paid off–they flew hundreds of successful flights in their 1902 glider at Kill Devils Hills near Kitty Hawk. Their biplane glider featured a steering system, based on a movable rudder, that solved the problem of controlled flight. They were now ready for powered flight.

In Dayton, they designed a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine with the assistance of machinist Charles Taylor and built a new aircraft to house it. They transported their aircraft in pieces to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1903, assembled it, made a few further tests, and on December 14 Orville made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged, and they spent three days repairing it. Then at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, in front of five witnesses, the aircraft ran down a monorail track and into the air, staying aloft for 12 seconds and flying 120 feet. The modern aviation age was born. Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur and Orville alternately flying the airplane. Wilbur flew the last flight, covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.

During the next few years, the Wright brothers further developed their airplanes but kept a low profile about their successes in order to secure patents and contracts for their flying machines. By 1905, their aircraft could perform complex maneuvers and remain aloft for up to 39 minutes at a time. In 1908, they traveled to France and made their first public flights, arousing widespread public excitement. In 1909, the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps purchased a specially constructed plane, and the brothers founded the Wright Company to build and market their aircraft. Wilbur Wright died of typhoid fever in 1912; Orville lived until 1948.

The historic Wright brothers’ aircraft of 1903 is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Via History.com