Today in History

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by limbkiller, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    1896
    Utah enters the Union
    • Six years after Wilford Woodruff, president of the Mormon church, issued his Manifesto reforming political, religious, and economic life in Utah, the territory is admitted into the Union as the 45th state.

      In 1823, Vermont-born Joseph Smith claimed that an angel named Moroni visited him and told him about an ancient Hebrew text that had lost been lost for 1,500 years. The holy text, supposedly engraved on gold plates by a Native-American historian in the fourth century, related the story of Jewish peoples who had lived in America in ancient times. Over the next six years, Smith dictated an English translation of this text to his wife and other scribes, and in 1830, The Book of Mormon was published. In the same year, Smith founded the Church of Christ, later known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Fayette, New York.

      The religion rapidly gained converts and Smith set up Mormon communities in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, the Christian sect was also heavily criticized for its unorthodox practices and on June 27, 1844, Smith and his brother were murdered in a jail cell by an anti-Mormon mob in Carthage, Illinois. Two years later, Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, led an exodus of persecuted Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois, along the western wagon trails in search of religious and political freedom.

      In July 1847, the 148 initial Mormon pioneers reached Utah’s Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Upon viewing the valley, Young declared: “This is the place,” and the pioneers began preparations for the tens of thousands of Mormon migrants who would follow.

    • In 1850, President Millard Fillmore named Young the first governor of the territory of Utah, and the territory enjoyed relative autonomy for several years. Relations became strained, however, when reports reached Washingtonthat Mormon leaders were disregarding federal law and had publicly sanctioned the practice of polygamy. In 1857, President James Buchananremoved Young, a polygamist with over 20 wives, from his position as governor, and sent U.S. army troops to Utah to establish federal authority. Tensions between the territory of Utah and the federal government continued until Wilford Woodruff, the president of the Mormon church, issued his Manifesto in 1890, renouncing the traditional practice of polygamy, and reducing the domination of the church over Utah communities. Six years later, the territory of Utah was granted statehood.

    1847
    Colt sells his first revolvers to the U.S. government
    • Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers.

      Before Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers in 1847, handguns had not played a significant role in the history of either the American West or the nation as a whole. Expensive and inaccurate, short-barreled handguns were impractical for the majority of Americans, though a handful of elite still insisted on using dueling pistols to solve disputes in highly formalized combat. When choosing a practical weapon for self-defense and close-quarter fighting, most Americans preferred knives, and western pioneers especially favored the deadly and versatile Bowie knife.

      That began to change when Samuel Colt patented his percussion-repeating revolver in 1836. The heart of Colt’s invention was a mechanism that combined a single rifled barrel with a revolving chamber that held five or six shots. When the weapon was cocked for firing, the chamber revolved automatically to bring the next shot into line with the barrel.

      Though still far less accurate than a well-made hunting rifle, the Colt revolver could be aimed with reasonable precision at a short distance (30 to 40 yards in the hands of an expert), because the interior bore was “rifled”–cut with a series of grooves spiraling down its length. The spiral grooves caused the slug to spin rapidly as it left the bbarrel, giving it gyroscopic stability. The five or six-shoot capacity also made accuracy less important, since a missed shot could quickly be followed with others.

    • Yet most cowboys, gamblers, and gunslingers could never have afforded such a revolver if not for the de facto subsidy the federal government provided to Colt by purchasing his revolvers in such great quantities. After the first batch of revolvers proved popular with soldiers, the federal government became one of Colt’s biggest customers, providing him with the much-needed capital to improve his production facilities. With the help of Eli Whitney and other inventors, Colt developed a system of mass production and interchangeable parts for his pistols that greatly lowered their cost.

      Though never cheap, by the early 1850s, Colt revolvers were inexpensive enough to be a favorite with Americans headed westward during the CaliforniaGold Rush. Between 1850 and 1860, Colt sold 170,000 of his “pocket” revolvers and 98,000 “belt” revolvers, mostly to civilians looking for a powerful and effective means of self-defense in the Wild West.

    1785
    Jacob Grimm is born

    On this day, the older of the two Grimm brothers, Jacob, is born in Hanau, Germany. His brother Wilhelm is born the following year.

    As young men, the two brothers assisted some friends with research for an important collection of folk lyrics. One of the authors, impressed by the brothers’ work, suggested they publish some of the oral folktales they’d collected. The collection appeared as Children’s and Household Tales, later known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, in several volumes between 1812 and 1822.

    Tales in the Grimm brothers’ collection include “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Rapunzel,” and “Rumpelstiltskin.” The brothers developed the tales by listening to storytellers and attempting to reproduce their words and techniques as faithfully as possible. Their methods helped establish the scientific approach to the documentation of folklore. The collection became a worldwide classic.

    Jacob continued researching stories and language, and published an influential book of German grammar. He also did important work in language study and developed a principle, called Grimm’s Law, regarding the relation of languages to each other. In 1829, Jacob and Wilhelm became librarians and professors at the University of Gottingen, and Jacob published another important work, German Mythologies, exploring the beliefs of pre-Christian Germans. In 1840, King Frederick William IV of Prussia invited the brothers to Berlin, where they became members of the Royal Academy of Science. They began work on an enormous dictionary, but Wilhelm died in 1859, before entries for the letter D were completed. Jacob followed four years later, having only gotten as far as F. Subsequent researchers finished the dictionary many years later.
     
  2. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    Great read, Edward! As always, thanks for the education!
     

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