This is your morning Open Thread.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
July 28 is the 209th day of the year (210th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 156 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1868, following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans citizenship and all its privileges, is officially adopted into the U.S. Constitution.
In the decades after its adoption, the equal protection clause was cited by a number of African American activists who argued that racial segregation denied them the equal protection of law. However, in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that states could constitutionally provide segregated facilities for African Americans, so long as they were equal to those afforded white persons. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which announced federal toleration of the so-called “separate but equal” doctrine, was eventually used to justify segregating all public facilities, including railroad cars, restaurants, hospitals, and schools. However, “colored” facilities were never equal to their white counterparts, and African Americans suffered through decades of debilitating discrimination in the South and elsewhere. In 1954, Plessy v. Ferguson was finally struck down by the Supreme Court in its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 29, 1868 as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.
Its Due Process Clause prohibits state and local governments from depriving people (individual and corporate) of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken. This clause has been used to make most of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, as well as to recognize substantive rights and procedural rights.
Its Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. This clause later became the basis for Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court decision which precipitated the dismantling of racial segregation in the United States.
The there is that pertinent and pesky Article 4:
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Validity of public debt
Section 4 confirmed the legitimacy of all United States public debt appropriated by the Congress. It also confirmed that neither the United States nor any state would pay for the loss of slaves or debts that had been incurred by the Confederacy. For example, several English and French banks had lent money to the South during the war. In Perry v. United States (1935), the Supreme Court ruled that under Section 4 voiding a United States government bond “went beyond the congressional power.” Section 4 has been cited (during the debate in July of 2011 over whether to raise the U.S. debt ceiling) by some legal experts and Democratic members in the U.S. House Democratic caucus, as giving current President Barack Obama the authority to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling if the Congress does not appear to be able to pass an agreement by Tuesday, August 2, 2011. The White House Press Office and President Obama have said that it will not be resorted to, though Democratic members of the House that support the move are formally petitioning him to do so “for the sake of the country’s fiscal stability.” A final resolution to the crisis has not yet been decided upon.
1364 – Troops of the Republic of Pisa and of the Republic of Florence clash in the Battle of Cascina.
1540 – Thomas Cromwell is executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason. Henry marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.
1794 – Maximilien Robespierre is executed by guillotine in Paris during the French Revolution.
1809 – Peninsular War: Battle of Talavera – Sir Arthur Wellesley’s British, Portuguese and Spanish army defeats a French force led by Joseph Bonaparte.
1821 – José de San Martín declares the independence of Peru from Spain.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Ezra Church – Confederate troops make a third unsuccessful attempt to drive Union forces from Atlanta, Georgia.
1868 – The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is certified, establishing African-American citizenship and guaranteeing due process of law.
1896 – The city of Miami, Florida is incorporated.
1914 – World War I: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia after Serbia rejects the conditions of an ultimatum sent by Austria on July 23 following the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand.
1932 – U.S. President Herbert Hoover orders the United States Army to forcibly evict the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C.
1933 – Diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Spain are established.
1935 – First flight of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
1942 – World War II: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin issues Order No. 227 in response to alarming German advances into the Soviet Union. Under the order all those who retreat or otherwise leave their positions without orders to do so are to be immediately executed.
1943 – World War II: Operation Gomorrah – The British bomb Hamburg causing a firestorm that kills 42,000 German civilians.
1945 – A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashes into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building killing 14 and injuring 26.
1948 – The Metropolitan Police Flying Squad foils a bullion robbery in the “Battle of London Airport”.
1955 – The Union Mundial pro Interlingua is founded at the first Interlingua congress in Tours, France.
1957 – Heavy rain and a mudslide in Isahaya, western Kyushu, Japan, kill 992.
1965 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces his order to increase the number of United States troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.
1973 – Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: 600,000 people attend a rock festival at the Watkins Glen International Raceway.
1976 – The Tangshan earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 moment magnitude flattens Tangshan in the People’s Republic of China, killing 242,769 and injuring 164,851.
1993 – Andorra joins the United Nations.
1996 – The remains of a prehistoric man are discovered near Kennewick, Washington. Such remains will be known as the Kennewick Man.
2001 – Australian Ian Thorpe becomes the first swimmer to win six gold medals at a single World Championships.
2002 – Nine coal miners trapped in the flooded Quecreek Mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, are rescued after 77 hours underground.
2005 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its thirty year long armed campaign in Northern Ireland.
2005 – Tornadoes touch down in a residential areas in south Birmingham and Coventry England, causing £4,000,000 worth of damages and injuring 39 people.
2008 – The historic Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare burns down for the second time in 80 years.
2010 – Airblue Flight 202 crashes into the Margalla Hills north of Islamabad, Pakistan, killing all 152 people aboard. It is the deadliest aviation accident in Pakistan history and the first involving an Airbus A321.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Alphonsa Muttathupadathu
* Nazarius and Celsus
* July 28 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval (Canada)
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Peru from Spain by General San Martin in 1821. (Peru)
* Liberation Day (San Marino)
* National Tree Planting Day (Australian schools)
* Olavsoka Eve (Faroe Islands)
* World Hepatitis Day (International)