Ten on Tuesday: That’s history now

I’m not sure what inspired this Ten on Tuesday theme, “10 Favorite Moments in Your Country’s History,” but I suspect that it might be related to a recent event that’s actually on this list; you’ll know what I mean when you read it, I’m sure.

(OK, I have to be honest; this post is itself history, since this was actually last week’s theme. Due to my vacation, guest posts, and trying to work out the blog schedule ahead of time, it missed its regular slot. But since I missed the announcement of this week’s actual topic, I figure it all evens out.)

This is a challenging topic in a way, because some of the most significant and unifying moments in American history aren’t likely candidates to be “favorites;” they’re more closely associated with tragedy than with triumph, but they did bring the country together. Even so, I came up with six of these pretty easily, but then I needed a little help to fill out the list; the book Don’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis proved quite useful as both a memory refresher and a source for dates.

  1. The arrival of the Pilgrims, 1620: Although my own ancestors didn’t get here till more than 250 years later, this was when the population of this land by non-natives began in earnest

  2. The signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776: Although I doubt there was much singing and dancing involved, the first steps of forming a whole new country had to have been very dramatic

  3. The Louisiana Purchase, 1804: The best real-estate bargain ever

  4. The Emancipation Proclamation, September 1862: It’s taken over a hundred years of legal work to obtain and secure the rights that accompany free citizenship, but it had to start somewhere

  5. The passage of the 19th Amendment, August 26, 1920: Thank you, Tennessee, for being the one that made sure women got the right to vote.

  6. The 1939 New York World’s Fair: It was like a trip to the future for visitors, and some of the wonders they saw have not only come to pass, they’ve been surpassed

  7. The first moon landing, July 20, 1969: “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”

  8. The Bicentennial, 1976: It was a celebration of history, and now it’s history itself; but if you were around then – and especially if you were an impressionable grade-school kid – it was exciting and educational!

  9. The Democratic presidential primary season, 2008: Granted, it all dragged on longer than anyone expected – but in some ways, that’s what kept it interesting. Well, that and knowing that one way or the other, someone would be the “first” of a demographic to be nominated for President.

  10. The Beatles’ arrival in New York City, February 1964: It’s on here because I wanted something a little less serious to wrap up the list, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t make an impact in its time, because it sure did; popular culture, and music, haven’t been the same since. Besides, I started the list with an arrival from England, so this brings it full circle.

What are some of your favorite historical moments? If you haven’t really thought about it before – and to be honest, I don’t think I had until this topic came up – now’s your chance!

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  1. Hooray for women getting the right to vote!

    What also comes to my mind – In 1874, Social worker, Etta Angell Wheeler, successfully fought for the rights of an abused child under the animal cruelty laws. It was the beginning of a new phase in our society where children were seen to have rights too.

  2. Literary Feline – I didn’t know that. It’s interesting that the case had to look to animal-cruelty laws; but considering that children basically were considered property for a long time (possible even more so than wives), we have definitely made some progress.