The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack

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Today in History: The Bill of Rights

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 25, 2018 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 25) in 1789 the United States Congress passed The Bill of Rights firmly establishing the limits of the authority of the Federal Government in regard to its citizens. What is less well known is that two other amendments were also passed that day. The Congressional Apportionment Amendment would have established a formula for deciding how many people from each state would be elected to the House of Representatives. Since it was never ratified by the states, this has been determined by legislation. The Congressional Compensation Amendment languished for 202 years before being ratified. It established that pay increases or decreases for Congress cannot take effect until the next session of congress. It is the most recent constitutional amendment ratified in the U.S.

Today in History: The Mormans Renounce Polygamy

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 24, 2018 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 24) in 1890, the Mormons officially renounced polygamy. The “1890 Manifesto” was issued by Church of Latter Day Saints President Wilford Woodruff under intense pressure from the United States. Renouncing polygamy helped to pave the way for Utah becoming a state in 1896. (One of the conditions for statehood was that the ban on polygamy be written into the state constitution.)

Today in History: Nintendo Was Founded

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 23, 2018 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 23) in 1899, Nintendo was founded. Originally it made playing cards, but eventually turned into a video game giant. There is a fascinating account of its history and longtime rivalry with Sony in one of the seasons of the podcast: Business Wars.

Today in History: The Book of Mormon

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 22, 2018 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 22) in 1823, John Smith reported that he discovered the golden plates from which he said he translated the word of God into the Book of Mormon. Smith said that the Angel Moroni led him to the site where the plates were buried. Witnesses say the plates were gold in color, weighed 30-60 pounds, and formed thin metallic pages engraved on both sides. After completing his translation, Smith said he returned the plates to the angel but did not elaborate on how this was accomplished.

Today in History: A Coup in Imperial China

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 21, 2018 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 21) in 1898 Dowager Empress Cixi seized control of China from her nephew and ended the reform movement called The Hundred Days pretty ending Imperial China’s efforts to modernize along western models and putting many of the final nails into the imperial coffin. Cixi held on to power for 47 years (1861-1908) and basically opposed any reform which she felt might eventually threaten her powerbase. She cancelled efforts to modernize the Chinese navy and diverted imperial funds to projects like the building of a marble ship for her amusement. Generally she has been considered to be a cruel tyrant whose actions were ultimately responsible for the death of imperial China, but revisionist historians have pointed out that China’s problems started long before she came to the throne.

Today in History: The Battle of the Sexes

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 20, 2018 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 20) in 1973, Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. HBO did a really nice movie about this this year. Bobby Riggs was past his prime and always looking for a way to promote himself. Bill Jean King was working hard to get women’s tennis players treated like the serious professionals they were and of course, she kicked his posterior all over the place on the court. This post is in honor of my mother-in-law who loves to remember what an exciting moment this was. Thanks for sharing, Sharon. It’s still exciting.

Today in History: The Battle of Poitiers

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 20, 2018 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 19) in 1356, the English defeated the French in the Battle of Poitiers. Fought ten years after the Battle of Crecy, Poitiers was a significant victory with far reaching consequences for the English in the Hundred Years War. The English force was composed of approximately 6000 soldiers including 2000 longbowmen. The French force was composed of roughly 11,000 men—most of whom fought dismounted.


The longbows made the difference in the battle, repulsing a cavalry charge and thinning the ranks of French infantry before it clashed with the English lines. After two hours of fighting the French were repulsed only to collide with the French troops coming up to reinforce them. The English took advantage of the confusion this caused to counterattack the French flank. Fearful of being encircled, most of the French troops fled but French King John and his son refused to do so and were captured. This proved to be a disaster for France. In addition to losing their king, the French nobility suffered grievous losses for the second time in ten years. Chaos reigned in France as rebellions sparked around the countryside.


Today in History: The Atlanta Compromise

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 18, 2018 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September Eighteen) in 1895, Booker T. Washington and many southern black leaders forged the controversial Atlanta Compromise with southern white political leaders. In the compromise, the whites agreed to provide blacks with due process of law and a basic education steered toward vocational and industrial work in exchange for blacks not pushing for the vote, or complaining about segregation and the lack of their civil rights. Originally the Compromise received support from other black leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois, but as the twentieth century dawned opinions changed in favor of fighting for full civil rights.

Today in History: The Lord of the Flies

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 17, 2018 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 17) in 1954, Lord of the Flies was published by William Golding. If you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely put it on your reading list. At its roots, when you get past the basic adventure story of a group of boys stranded together on an uninhabited island, this is a novel of civilization and how easily and rapidly it unravels in extreme circumstances. I’d heard about this novel most of my life but decided to read it only after reading Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis. In the opening novella of that collection, King brilliantly weaves the plot of Lord of Flies into his larger story. This book continually makes it on to top 100 book lists. Give it a read. You won’t regret it.

Today in History: The Camp David Accords

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 17, 2018 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 17) in 1978, the Camp David Accords were signed establishing the framework that led to peace between Egypt and Israel. The treaty was signed by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin after 12 days of secret negotiations. U.S. President Jimmy Carter served as mediator. It was in essence a “land for peace” deal. Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula and return it to Egypt and Egypt guaranteed Israel’s access to the Suez Canal and to limit its military presence in Sinai. To sweeten the deal, the U.S. agreed to provide several billion dollars in subsidies each year to both countries.


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