This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
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June 11 is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 203 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress selects Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence.
Knowing Jefferson’s prowess with a pen, Adams urged him to author the first draft of the document, which was then carefully revised by Adams and Franklin before being given to Congress for review on June 28.
The revolutionary treatise began with reverberating prose:
Draft and adoption
While political maneuvering was setting the stage for an official declaration of independence, a document explaining the decision was being written. On June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a “Committee of Five”, consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft a declaration. Because the committee left no minutes, there is some uncertainty about how the drafting process proceeded-accounts written many years later by Jefferson and Adams, although frequently cited, are contradictory and not entirely reliable. What is certain is that the committee, after discussing the general outline that the document should follow, decided that Jefferson would write the first draft. Considering Congress’s busy schedule, Jefferson probably had limited time for writing over the next seventeen days, and likely wrote the draft quickly. He then consulted the others, made some changes, and then produced another copy incorporating these alterations. The committee presented this copy to the Congress on June 28, 1776. The title of the document was “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” Congress ordered that the draft “lie on the table”.
On Monday, July 1, having tabled the draft of the declaration, Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, with Benjamin Harrison of Virginia presiding, and resumed debate on Lee’s resolution of independence. John Dickinson made one last effort to delay the decision, arguing that Congress should not declare independence without first securing a foreign alliance and finalizing the Articles of Confederation. John Adams gave a speech in reply to Dickinson, restating the case for an immediate declaration.
1184 BC – Trojan War: Troy is sacked and burned, according to calculations by Eratosthenes.
173 – Marcomannic Wars: The Roman army in Moravia is encircled by the Quadi, who have broken the peace treaty (171). In a violent thunderstorm emperor Marcus Aurelius defeats and subdues them in the so-called “miracle of the rain”.
631 – Emperor Taizong of Tang, the Emperor of China, sends envoys to the Xueyantuo bearing gold and silk in order to seek the release of enslaved Chinese prisoners captured during the transition from Sui to Tang from the northern frontier; this embassy succeeded in freeing 80,000 Chinese men and women who were then returned to China.
1429 – Hundred Years’ War: start of the Battle of Jargeau.
1509 – Henry VIII of England marries Catherine of Aragon.
1594 – Philip II recognizes the rights and privileges of the local nobles and chieftains in the Philippines, which paved way to the stabilization of the rule of the Principalía (an elite ruling class of native nobility in Spanish Philippines).
1770 – Captain James Cook runs aground on the Great Barrier Reef.
1776 – The Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.
1805 – A fire consumes large portions of Detroit in the Michigan Territory.
1825 – The first cornerstone is laid for Fort Hamilton in New York City.
1837 – The Broad Street Riot occurs in Boston, fueled by ethnic tensions between Yankees and Irish.
1892 – The Limelight Department, one of the world’s first film studios, is officially established in Melbourne, Australia.
1898 – Spanish-American War: U.S. war ships set sail for Cuba.
1898 – The Hundred Days’ Reform is started by Guangxu Emperor with a plan to change social, political and educational institutions in China, but is suspended by Empress Dowager Cixi after 104 days. The failed reform though led to the abolition of Imperial Examination in 1905.
1901 – New Zealand annexes the Cook Islands.
1903 – Group of Serbian officers stormed royal palace and assassinated King Alexander Obrenovic and his wife queen Draga.
1917 – King Alexander assumes the throne of Greece after his father Constantine I abdicates under pressure by allied armies occupying Athens.
1919 – Sir Barton wins the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown.
1920 – During the U.S. Republican National Convention in Chicago, U.S. Republican Party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the U.S. presidential election, leading the Associated Press to first coin the political phrase “smoke-filled room”.
1935 – Inventor Edwin Armstrong gives the first public demonstration of FM broadcasting in the United States at Alpine, New Jersey.
1936 – The International Surrealist Exhibition opens in London, England.
1937 – Great Purge: The Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin executes eight army leaders.
1938 – Second Sino-Japanese War: The Battle of Wuhan starts.
1938 – Second Sino-Japanese War: The Chinese Nationalist government creates the 1938 Yellow River flood to halt Japanese forces. 500,000 to 900,000 civilians are killed.
1942 – World War II: The United States agrees to send Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.
1944 – USS Missouri (BB-63) the last battleship built by the United States Navy and future site of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, is commissioned.
1955 – Eighty-three are killed and at least 100 are injured after an Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz collide at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the deadliest ever accident in motorsports.
1956 – Start of Gal Oya riots, the first reported ethnic riots that target minority Sri Lankan Tamils in the Eastern Province. The total number of deaths is reportedly 150.
1962 – Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin allegedly become the only prisoners to escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island.
1963 – American Civil Rights Movement: Alabama Governor George Wallace stands at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending that school. Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they are able to register.
1963 – Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.
1970 – After being appointed on May 15, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington officially receive their ranks as U.S. Army Generals, becoming the first females to do so.
1972 – The Eltham Well Hall rail crash, caused by an intoxicated train driver, kills six people and injures 126.
1978 – Altaf Hussain founds the students’ political movement All Pakistan Muhajir Students Organisation (APMSO) in Karachi University.
1981 – A Richter Scale 6.9 magnitude earthquake at Golbaf, Iran, kills at least 2,000.
1998 – Compaq Computer pays $9 billion for Digital Equipment Corporation in the largest high-tech acquisition.
2001 – Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.
2002 – Antonio Meucci is acknowledged as the first inventor of the telephone by the United States Congress.
2004 – Cassini-Huygens makes its closest flyby of the Saturn moon Phoebe.
2008 – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes an historic official apology to Canada’s First Nations in regard to a residential school abuse in which children are isolated from their homes, families and cultures for a century.
* Birthday of Prince Henrik (Denmark)
* Christian Feast Day:
* Barnabas the Apostle
* Bartholomew the Apostle (Eastern Christianity)
* June 11 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Davis Day (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada)
* Kamehameha Day, official state holiday of Hawaii, United States
* Matralia, in honor of Mater Matuta. (Roman Empire)