Words of Wisdom: December

  • December 1

    “[I] will save the nation from the rule of demagogues who by intrigue are, and have been attempting to cheat the people out of their constitutional rights, by a caucus of congressional members.”

    — Andrew Jackson, 1824

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 2

    “The occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.

    “We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”

    — President James Monroe announced the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union address to Congress. The term "Monroe Doctrine" was coined in 1850.

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 3

    “We are now about to assume the management of the editorial department of a newspaper, devoted to the cause of Liberty, Humanity and Progress. The position is one which, with the purest motives, we have long desired to occupy. It has long been our anxious wish to see, in this slave-holding, slave-trading, and Negro-hating land, a printing-press and paper, permanently established, under the complete control and direction of the immediate victims of slavery and oppression.” Read more.

    — Frederick Douglass, on the creation of The North Star, and the "Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, vol. 1"

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 4

    “Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.”

     

    — President John Tyler, whose famous nickname was 'His Accidency' in a reference to his unexpected elevation to the Presidency by the death of his predecessor, William Harrison. The character and personality of this famous President is described as being charming, elegant man with courteous manners. He was shy and uncomfortable with the working class with whom he had nothing in common

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 5

    “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” Learn more about Mary Ball Washington here.

    — George Washington

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  • December 6

    “It is with no feeling of pride, as an American, that the remark be made, that, on the comparatively small territorial surface of Europe, there are existing upward of one
    hundred and thirty of these lighthouses of the skies; while throughout the whole
    American hemispphere, there is not one.”

    — In his 1825 first annual address to Congress, President John Quincy Adams challenged Congress to build the country’s first national observatory. The “Old Man Eloquent” argued the duty and right of government to promote learning, and he emphasized that a significant component of this duty was to erect an astronomical observatory

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 7

    “Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe.”

    — Martin Van Buren

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  • December 8

    “Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.”

    — Capt. James Cook

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  • December 9

    “Newspapers, from their cheapness, and the frequency and rapidity of their circulation, may, in America, assume an eminent rank in the catalog of useful publications in a great degree, supersede the use of Magazines and Pamphlets. The public mind in America, roused by the magnitude of political events and impatient of delay, cannot wait for monthly intelligence. Daily or at furthest weekly communications are found necessary to gratify public curiosity.”

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 10

    “Why is a woman to be treated differently? Woman suffrage will succeed, despite this miserable guerilla opposition.”

    — Victoria Claflin Woodhull, later Victoria Woodhull Martin (Sept. 23, 1838 – June 9, 1927), was an American leader of the woman's suffrage movement.

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 11

    “The pilgrims on the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. To my knowledge, they didn’t wait around for a return trip to Europe. You settle some place with a purpose. If you don’t want to do that, stay home. You avoid an awful lot of risks by not venturing outward.”

    — American engineer and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the second person to walk on the Moon. He was the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history.

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  • December 12

    “Through uninterrupted diligence you will receive Mozart’s spirit through Haydn’s hands.”

    — German nobleman and patron of the arts Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein, from his farewell note to Beethoven

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 13

    “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

    — Plato (424-347 BC) was a philosopher and mathematician in Classical Greece, and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world

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  • December 14

    “The Wilderness Road, though rough, muddy and difficult as compared with present day highways, was nevertheless immediately popular.  In an Act approved March 1, 1797, the Legislature provided for opening a road from near Milford [then the county seat] in the county of Madison, the nearest and best way that can be had, to intersect the road opened last summer under the before recited act…”

    — “Kentucky Gazette” article, which shows that from April 28 to Nov. 15, 1796, a total of £1696 and 10 shillings were expended on the building of the Wilderness Road

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 15

    “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

    — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, United States Patent and Trademark Office (1898 to 1901), who was later a United States federal judge

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  • December 16

    “Comtemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen and then ask yourself, What should be the reward of such sacrifices… If ye love wealth better than freedom, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands that feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

    — Samuel Adams (1722-1803), American Revolutionary leader and patriot; an organizer of the Boston Tea Party and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 17

    “I confide to your care my beloved children, the most precious jewels I can leave you. The great monarch beyond the ocean will interest himself to see that they come into their inheritance, if you present before him their just claims. I know your master will do this, if for no other reason, then for kindness I have shown the Spaniards though it has occasioned my ruin. For all my misfortunes, Maliche, I bear you ill will.”

     

    — Reportedly, the last words of Emperor Montezuma, the ninth ruler of Tenochtitlan who reigned as Emperor of the Aztec Empire from 1502 to 1520. The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire occurred during Emperor Montezuma’s reign

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 18

    “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

    — Upon his death, George Washington as eulogized by Henry Lee, December 1799

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  • December 19

    “It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”

    ― Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"

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  • December 20

    “What’s more New York than the Great White Way, which is Broadway. Broadway without being ablaze with light would not be Broadway.”

    — Writer Sarah Henry

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  • December 21

    “This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a ban of brethren, united to each other by the strongest of ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.”

    — John Jay The Federalist Papers Federalist No. 2, October 31, 1787

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  • December 22

    “On the impressment of our seamen, our remonstrances have never been intermitted. A hope existed at one moment, of an arrangement which might have been submitted to, but it soon passed away, and the practice, though relaxed at times in the distance seas, has been constantly pursued in those in our neighbourhood.”

    — Thomas Jefferson

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  • December 23

    “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”

    ― Thomas Paine, "The Crisis"

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  • December 24

    “In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time: the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.”

    ― Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher who is considered one of the most important social commentators of his time

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  • December 25

    “Having never seen so large a substance extracted, nor heard of an attempt, or success attending any operation such as this required, I gave to the unhappy woman information of her dangerous situation. The tumor appeared full in view, but was so large we could not take it away entire. We took out 15 pounds of a dirty, gelatinous looking substance. After which we cut through the fallopian tube, and extracted the sac, which weighed seven pounds and one half. In five days I visited her, and much to my astonishment found her making up her bed.

    “How is it that I have been so peculiarly fortunate with my patients of this description?, I know not; for, from all the information I can obtain, there has not one individual survived who has been operated, on elsewhere, for diseased ovaria. I can only say that the blessing of God has rested on my efforts.”

    — Dr. Ephraim McDowell (1817), describing the first surgery to remove an ovarian tumor

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?

  • December 25

    On the morning of December 25, George Washington ordered his army to prepare three days’ food, and issued orders that every soldier be outfitted with fresh flints for their muskets. He was also somewhat worried by intelligence reports that the British were planning their own crossing once the Delaware was frozen over.

    At 4 pm Washington’s army turned out for its evening parade, where the troops were issued ammunition, and even the officers and musicians were ordered to carry muskets. They were told that they were departing on a secret mission. Marching eight abreast in close formations, and ordered to be as quiet as possible, they left the camp for McKonkey’s Ferry.

    Washington’s plan required the crossing to begin as soon as it was dark enough to conceal their movements on the river, but most of the troops did not reach the crossing point until about 6 pm, about ninety minutes after sunset.

    The weather got progressively worse, turning from drizzle to rain to sleet and snow. “It blew a hurricane,” recalled one soldier.

    — George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, Dec. 25-26, 1776

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  • December 26

    “Tell General Sullivan to use the bayonet. I am resolved to take Trenton.”

    — George Washington on the Battle of Trenton, noting that it was raining, so soldiers couldn't use gun powder

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  • December 27

    “A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”

    — Theodore Roosevelt

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  • December 28

    “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.”

    ― Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack

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  • December 29

    “We, the great mass of the people think only of the love we have to our land for…we do love the land where we were brought up. We will never let our hold to this land go to let it go it will be like throwing away our mother that gave us birth.

    “Inclination to remove from this land has no abiding place in our hearts, and when we move we shall move by the course of nature to sleep under this ground which the Great Spirit gave to our ancestors and which now covers them in their undisturbed peace.”

    — Cherokee Legislative Council, New Echota, July 1830

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  • December 30

    “Every side of a coin has another side.”

    — Myron Scholes, Canadian-American financial economist

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  • December 31

    “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

    — Thomas Edison, on the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park, NJ

    What happened Today in History that illustrates this quote?