Roger Mickelson’s History For Today (3/21/13)

Benito Juárez with his sister Nela (left) and ...

Benito Juárez with his sister Nela (left) and his wife Margarita (right), 1843 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Happy Birthday, Benito        


 In 1806, future Mexican national hero Benito Juárez was born in San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca. Juárez’ political rise was a continual struggle to transform his liberal ideas into a permanent political reality and to overcome the prevalent social attitudes toward his Indian background. Only in the 20th century did the Mexicans come to admire and respect their Indian heritage; the prejudices of the 19th century serve to emphasize and enhance Juárez’ extraordinary qualities and achievements. His domestic reforms set the stage for Mexico’s remarkable modernization in the last quarter of the 19th century and freed Mexico from the most flagrant remnants of neocolonialism. His leadership against the French earned Juárez his place in the national pantheon.



In 1556, Thomas Cranmer, the first Protestant archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake for violating heresy laws revised under the Roman Catholic queen Mary I, known as Bloody Mary. As archbishop, he put the English Bible in parish churches, drew up the Book of Common Prayer, and composed a litany that remains in use today

Napoleonic Wars:    In 1804, the French civil code (later called the “Code Napoléon“) was adopted. The first book of the code deals with the law of persons: the enjoyment of civil rights, the protection of personality, domicile, guardianship, tutorship, relations of parents and children, marriage, personal relations of spouses, and the dissolution of marriage by annulment or divorce.

World War I:    In 1918, the Second Battle of the Somme began. General Erich Ludendorff believed that it was essential for Germany to use the troops freed from the Eastern Front by the collapse of Russia to achieve a victory on the Western Front in the spring of 1918, before American troops arrived in sufficient numbers to effectively reinforce the war-weary Allies. His first offensive was directed against the rather weak British armies north of the Somme River, between Arras and La Fère. The British trenches were shelled and gassed before a massive morning attack in dense fog, which took the British by surprise. Their first and second lines quickly fell, and by March 22 the shattered British 5th Army was in retreat and had lost contact with the French to the south.

In 1963, the federal prison on San Francisco Bay’s Alcatraz Island, which had held some of the most dangerous civilian prisoners—including Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz”—was closed

In 1965,American civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King, Jr, began a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

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