News, Events, Birthdays, History - September 17 - September 23
Baron Friedrich Von Steuben - September 17, 1730
An unlikely hero of the American Revolution, von Steuben obtained the title of Baron on the basis of a falsified lineage prepared by his father. He traveled from Germany to Paris in 1777, and lucked into an introduction to none other than Benjamin Franklin. Franklin recommended him to George Washington, further exaggerating his credentials (not intentionally, but due to an improper translation). Long story short...von Steuben landed in Valley Forge, and during the long cold winter that would follow he introduced the ragtag soldiers to a course of training that vastly improved their skills and would be key to their later victories.
Charles Carroll - September 19, 1737
Carroll was an active political leader during the American Revolutionary War. He was one of 56 leaders who would, under threat of treason and death, sign their name to the Declaration of Independence. He died in 1832 at the age of 95, having outlived all of the other signers.
James Gandolfini - September 18, 1961
He was awarded the title of "Class Flirt" in his high school yearbook. He considers himself a pacifist. He developed an interest in acting after accompanying a friend to an acting class. It would be a good career choice, ultimately leading him to a role for which he won three Emmys and was paid $1,000,000 per episode. His big role? Tony Soprano, Mafia boss and family man in the multi-award-winning HBO series The Sopranos.
September 17, 1787 - Constitution of the U.S. Adopted
It would be easy to believe that politics in the United States have become more divisive and argumentative than ever before - but that wouldn't be accurate. Political divisions have existed throughout our history, and the years following the end of the American Revolution were no exception. Yet in 1787, representatives from twelve of the thirteen newly independent colonies (Rhode Island did not participate) managed to work through their differences and forge a blueprint for the new nation - a blueprint that 222 years later still serves as the foundation of our government.
September 18,1851 - New York Times First Published
This venerable institution of journalism was founded by a political leader and a former banker, and sold at an original price of one cent per copy. The following statement of purpose comes from that first issue:
"We shall be Conservative, in all cases where we think Conservatism essential to the public good;—and we shall be Radical in everything which may seem to us to require radical treatment and radical reform. We do not believe that everything in Society is either exactly right or exactly wrong;—what is good we desire to preserve and improve;—what is evil, to exterminate, or reform."
September 18, 1783 - Capitol Cornerstone Laid
On this day in 1783, George Washington attended a ceremony to lay a cornerstone in the U.S. Capitol building, and read aloud from an inscription on a silver plate that was affixed to the cornerstone. And so the mystery begins. The Capitol building has undergone extensive expansion, remodeling and reconstruction over the years, but neither the cornerstone nor the silver plate have ever been found, despite numerous extensive searches.
September 22, 1862 - Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named ten specific states where it would apply. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.
September 23, 1846 - Planet Neptune Discovered
Neptune is the eighth and outermost-known planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third-largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth, is 2,796,700,000 miles from the sun (about 30 times as far from the sun as Earth), and completes a single revolution around the sun once every 164.8 years.
September 23, 1806 - Lewis and Clark Expedition Returns
In September 1806, the Lewis and Clark Expedition returned to St. Louis after an absence of two years and four months. The men had crossed more than 6,000 miles of wilderness, exploring the newly acquired territories of the Louisana Purchase. The Louisian Purchase had effectively increased the size of America by two-thirds, but most of this land had remained unseen and unexplored.