The Year Was: 1776

I wrote an article entitled The Year Was: 1949 with no real direction of where it would take me or how to begin a series of articles of that subject material. However, it occurred to me that it would be interesting to write about every year from the year our nation became a free and sovereign country via the Declaration of Independence up to recent years that revealing events and society a particular year, which will be over 225 entries. Therefore, here is what should have been the first article of this new series – 1776.

Seventeen Seventy Six was a leap year that started on a Monday of the Gregorian calendar.

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Americana: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier

This patriot needs little introduction because he is the one of the best known historical figure and folk hero in American history …

Davy Crockett_03David “Davy” Crockett [August 17th 1786 – March 6th 1836] was a frontiersman, soldier and politician. He was dubbed the King of the Wild Frontier and legendary tales followed after his death and even during his lifetime. He was a representative for the state of Tennessee in the US House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution and died at the Battle of the Alamo.

Growing up in the eastern part of Tennessee, he gained a reputation for storytelling and his hunting prowess. After being commissioned as a colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1826, Crockett was elected to the US Congress, where he strongly opposed many policies of popular President Andrew Jackson, especially the Indian Removal Act, which caused his defeat in the 1834 elections. Angered he departed to Texas a Mexican governed state and in early 1836, he became a part of the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March of 1836. He was a living legend to Americans that became popularized in tales in almanacs and subject material for stage plays.

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Organized Labor in the United States

Organized Labor in the United States

Activists Protest Supreme Court Decision On Corporate Political SpendingElection 2012 - Tax Reform Not Campaign Issue, AgainDuring the 1850s, improving economic conditions led to the first national labor unions. The typesetters, iron molders, hat finishers, stonecutters, and cigar makers all formed permanent groups. When the Civil War followed, labor shortages encouraged other groups to create their own unions. During and immediately after the war, railroad workers formed brotherhoods; locomotive engineers unionized in 1863, conductors in 1868, and firefighters in 1873. Other artisan professions joined in unions but fell victim to the industrial changes after the war. The Knights of St. Crispin started in 1867 as an association of shoemakers; the introduction of shoemaking machinery doomed the union to extinction within a decade.

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Odessa Files: Joe McCarthy – a Patriot or Witch Hunter?

Joseph Raymond “Joe” McCarthy was born on November 14th, 1908 and died May 2nd, 1957. He was an American politician that served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 to his death in 1957. Many know him from the term McCarthyism, in reference to his anti-communist advocacy. History books are not kind to him in today’s textbooks, but in recent years he has been vindicated and it was shown that communist infiltration and subversion within the power of government was deeper than maybe McCarthy realized and certainly a problem that liberals have denied and coined as a “witch hunt”, ridiculing the man who cared about his country.

Americana: Alamo


The Alamo was the site of a legendary battle in Texas when the Texan citizens struggled for independence from Mexico between 1835 and 1836. Texans were disenchanted with the Mexican government, which legislated against slavery, allowed the military to intrude upon civil affairs, and created an atmosphere of instability.

In December of 1835, a volunteer Texan force drove government troops out of San Antonio and settled in around the Alamo, a mission compound adapted to military purposes after the 1790s. In January of 1836, Mexico’s president, General Antonio López de Santa Anna, concentrated his forces south of the Rio Grande River. Sam Houston, commander of the Texan armies, ordered San Antonio abandoned, but troops under James Bowie and William B. Travis chose to remain. They were joined by others, notably the Tennessee boys led by Davy Crockett. William Travis took full command when Jim Bowie became ill and when General Santa Anna’s army had reached San Antonio. From within the Alamo, Travis declared:
I shall never surrender or retreat … victory or death.
The Mexican force had an estimated strength of 2,400 to over 5,000 troops and the defenders of the Alamo only about 185. General Santa Anna gave the troops the order that no quarter be given.

On March 6th of 1835, after thirteen days of siege, the Mexicans stormed the citadel. It took three attempts of assault and close combat to overcome the small garrison. Apparently only one Texan combatant survived, José Maria Guerrero, who told his captors he had been forced to fight. Women, children and a black slave were also spared; estimated counts of Mexican troops killed in action were from 600 to nearly 1600.

The battle provided a heightened resolve to defeat the Mexican army with the battle cry of:
Remember the Alamo!
Six weeks later, Texans overwhelmed a Mexican force at San Jacinto on April 21st, 1836. There, General Santa Anna was captured and the independence and birth of the Texan Republic had been won.

Americana: Adams-Otis Treaty


The Adams-Otis Treaty of 1819 is also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, which solved two problems. Citizens of Georgia wanted the United States to purchase eastern Florida from Spain because Seminole natives frequently raided the state and then retreated to the Spanish territory. Spain wanted to establish the boundary between Mexico and the Louisiana Purchase before too many American settlers moved into the area.

John Quincy Adams, then the secretary of state for President James Monroe, negotiated the treaty with Luis de Onis of Spain. Onis was willing to sell eastern Florida due to Spain’s preoccupation with independence movements and Spain’s other colonial issues. John Q. Adams secured a boundary between the Louisiana Purchase lands and the Texas territory that was favorable to the interests of the United States; despite Luis de Onis’ initial insistence that Spain retain rights to much of the land involved. The boundary was set at the western bank of the Sabine, Red and Arkansas rivers to the Continental Divide. From that point the boundary line followed the 42nd parallel west to the Pacific Ocean. Spain also gave up all claims on the Oregon territory.

The purchase of Florida for $5 million, which was paid directly to citizens with claims against the Spanish government, assured the treaty’s popularity in the United States, but John Q. Adams establishing the western boundary as his best accomplishment. The treaty was signed and ratified in 1821.

Americana: John Adams


John Adams
was a lawyer, revolutionary theorist and leader, diplomat, first vice president, and second president of the United States. He was raised on
a farm in Braintree (later renamed Quincy), Massachusetts and was the first in his family to attend college at Harvard, as well as the first
professional person as a lawyer.

In 1765, John Adams lived part of the time in Boston with his wife, Abigail Adams, and their children, opposing British revenue measures and their enforcement by the military. Yet he was considered a moderate because he never joined in demonstrations or publishing inflammatory rhetoric in the manner of his cousin Samuel Adams or a friend and fellow lawyer, James Otis.