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August in American History

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Dog days of summer in southern Louisiana, 1940.

Dog days of summer, Marion Post Wolcott, 1940.

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When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.


- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

August is named in honor of Augustus, the the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, who ruled from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD. In the northern hemisphere, it is one of the hottest months of the year and is often referred to as the "dog days of summer." In the meantime, the days are actually beginning to get shorter, the garden has withered, and the children are going back to school. The birthstone of August is an lime green colored stone called the peridot, which is said to host magical powers and healing properties to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year. The birth flower is the gladiolus symbolizing strength and moral integrity. The astrological signs of August are Leo, July 23 - August 22 and Virgo, August 23 - September 22.

 

A number of interesting events have occurred in August including the date that Christopher Columbus sailed for the New World, the month when the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the first income tax was collected in the United States, and the deaths of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Interestingly, August is the only month of the year without a U.S. holiday; but, in many European countries, it is the holiday (vacation) month for most workers

 


August Historic Events:

 

August 1

August 1, 1764 - Boston merchants begin a boycott of British luxury goods.

August 1, 1867 - The Hayfield Fight occurs three miles from Fort C.F. Smith, Montana. Pitting a determined stand of 31 soldiers and civilians against more than 700 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, the combined soldier/civilian force withstood six hours of attacks before relief finally arrived to disperse the warriors.

August 1, 1876 - Colorado joins the Union. After its first bid for statehood was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation declaring Colorado a state on August 1, 1876, the year the United States celebrated its centennial. Thus, the 38th state is known as the Centennial State.

 

August 2

August 2, 1776 - In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania most of the 55 members of the Continental Congress signed the parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence.

August 2, 1832 - Approximately 150 Sac and Fox men, women and children, under a flag of truce, were massacred at Bad Axe River by some 1,300 members of the Illinois militia. This final battle of the Black Hawk War took place near present-day Victory, Wisconsin. Black Hawk himself finally surrendered three weeks later, bringing the Black Hawk War to an end.

August 2, 1832 -  Texas settlers refused an order to surrender their arms to Josť de las Piedras, commander of the Mexican battalion at Nacogdoches. The ensuing battle of Nacogdoches is sometimes called the opening gun of the Texas Revolution.

August 2, 1867 - The Wagon Box Fight between the Sioux and the U.S. Army occurs near Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming.

August 2, 1876 - Wild Bill Hickok is murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota holding Aces and Eights, the dead manís hand, in a game of poker.

August 2, 1909 - The Lincoln penny is issued.

 

The Battle of Bad Axe River, Wisconsin

The Battle of Bad Axe River, Wisconsin, by Henry Lewis in 1857.

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Albert Einstein, 1931

Albert Einstein, 1931, by Doris Ulmann.

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August 2, 1923 - President Warren G. Harding died suddenly in a hotel in San Francisco while on a Western speaking tour. His administration had been tainted by the Teapot Dome political scandal and his sudden death prompted many unfounded rumors. He was succeeded the next day by Calvin Coolidge.

August 2, 1939 - Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt concerning the possibility of atomic weapons. "A single bomb of this type carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory." Six years later, on August 6, 1945, the first Atomic Bomb, developed by the U.S., was dropped on the Japanese port of Hiroshima.

August 2, 1990 - The Iraqi army invaded Kuwait amid claims that Kuwait threatened Iraq's economic existence by overproducing oil and driving prices down on the world market. An Iraqi military government was then installed in Kuwait which was annexed by Iraq on the claim that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq. This resulted in Desert Shield, the massive Allied military buildup, and later the 100-hour war against Iraq, Desert Storm, which ended February 28, 1991.

August 3

August 3, 1492 - Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Seeking a westerly route to the Far East, he instead landed on October 12th in the Bahamas, thinking it was an outlying Japanese island.

 

August 3, 1780 - Benedict Arnold is appointed commander of West Point. Unknown to the Americans, he has been secretly collaborating with British General Clinton since May of 1779 by supplying information on General Washington's tactics.

August 3, 1923 - Calvin Coolidge took the presidential oath of office on August 3, 1923, after the unexpected death in office of President Warren Harding. The new president inherited an administration plagued and discredited by corruption scandals. In the two remaining years of this term, Coolidge, long recognized for his own frugality and moderation, worked to restore the administration's image and regain the publicís trust. He went on to win the presidential election of 1924 in his own right.

August 4

August 4, 1753 - George Washington  became a Master Mason, the highest rank in the order. Derived from the practices and rituals of the medieval guild system, freemasonry gained popularity in the eighteenth century, particularly in Great Britain. For George Washington, joining the Masons was a rite of passage and an expression of civic responsibility. Members were required to express their belief in a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul. Masons were also were expected to obey civil laws, hold a high moral standard, and practice acts of charity.

August 4, 1964 - Three young civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were found murdered and buried in an earthen dam outside Philadelphia, Mississippi. They had disappeared on June 21st after being detained by Neshoba County police on charges of speeding. They were participating in the Mississippi Summer Project organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to increase black voter registration. When their car was found burned on June 23rd, President Lyndon Johnson ordered the FBI to search for the men.

 

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Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold by John Trumbull, 1894.

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