this day in 1915, Japan issued its
‘Twenty-One Demands’ to the Republic of China. This came during a period
of Japanese expansion in East Asia, as the country aimed to increase
its power in the region. Japan’s imperial desires followed the nation’s
forcible opening to international trade by American
Commodore Perry in the mid-nineteeth-century, ending hundreds years of
the sakoku policy of isolation. The demands were drafted under Prime Minister Ōkuma
Shigenobu and were presented to China’s General Yuan Shikai as an
ultimatum, threatening China with war if they failed to comply. They
included expanding Japan’s influence in southern Manchuria, the right of
extraterritoriality, disallowing China from giving any land to
countries other than Japan, and, lastly, the introduction of Japanese
advisers to the Chinese government to essentially manage the whole
economy. China objected to the last section and the Japanese
revised the demands, presenting them again to China, who accepted
the ultimatum in May 1915. Japan’s actions distanced the nation from
its allies in Britain and the United States, who opposed this
imperialist diplomacy. The Demands contributed to a growing anger
towards Japan among Chinese people, giving rise to an incipient
nationalism. At the Washington Conference in 1921-1922, Japan agreed to
withdraw troops from China and restore the nation’s sovereignty, thus
essentially nullifying the Twenty-One Demands.
December 14th 1780: Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler marry
On this day in 1780, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler. Hamilton was born to a troubled family in the British West Indies, and moved to America as a teenager for an education. However, as the American colonies teetered on the brink of revolution, Hamilton found himself drawn to the Patriot cause. Soon into the war, Hamtilon became the assistant and adviser to General George Washington. It was during this time that he met and married Elizabeth Schuyler, who came from a prominent New York family. Elizabeth, or Eliza, was known for her sharp wit, and Hamilton was immediately smitten with her. The couple married in 1780, and went on to have eight children. As Hamilton’s career progressed, Eliza was his chief companion and helped him with his political writings. Hamilton was a fierce advocate of a strong central government, penning the majority of the Federalist Papers which supported the ratification of the Constitution, and became the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton and Schuyler’s marriage was not without its trials; in 1797 the so-called Reynolds Pamphlet was published, revealing Hamilton’s affair with a woman named Maria Reynlds. In 1801, their nineteen-year-old son Philip was killed in a duel defending his father’s honour. Just three years after losing her son, Elizabeth was widowed when Alexander was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel. Elizabeth then devoted her life to philanthropy and preserving Hamiton’s legacy; in 1806, she founded New York’s first private orphanage. By the mid-nineteenth century, Elizabeth was one of the last living links to the revolutionary era, making her a very famous figure. In 1848, during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Washington Monument, Elizabeth
rode in the procession with President James K. Polk and future presidents James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton died in 1854, aged 97, fifty years after her husband’s death.
“With my last idea; I
shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world. Adieu
best of wives and best of Women. Embrace all my darling Children for
- Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Schuyler, just days before his death
this day in 1916, by the new style calendar, Russian mystic Grigori
Rasputin was killed in St. Petersburg, aged 47. Born to a peasant family
around 1869, Rasputin received little formal education, and joined a
monastery before leaving to travel around Europe and the
Middle East. He eventually arrived in St. Petersburg, where he
cultivated a reputation as a mystic and a faith healer, and found a
place in the Russian court of Tsar Nicholas II. Rasputin acted as an
adviser to the tsar’s wife Alexandra, who sought help for her son
Alexei’s hemophilia, which the mystic appeared to help alleviate; he
thus secured a place as Alexandra’s personal adviser. As the credibility
and popularity of the tsar’s rule began to wane, his critics used the
position of the peasant ‘mad monk’ in the court to call for reform.
While Rasputin’s influence over the Romanovs was limited, Alexandra’s
defiant defence of him gave rise to rumours of impropriety and even an
alleged affair between the tsarina and the mystic. On the evening of
December 29th 1916, a group of conspirators invited Rasputin to the
palace of Prince Felix Yusupov, who had cultivated a friendship with
Rasputin, intending to kill him to save the monarchy. They fed
him poison, which had no effect, then shot him, which he initially
survived, and finally shot him in the head and threw his body into a
river in the early hours of the morning. Rasputin’s body was found a few
days later, with his hands frozen in a raised position, giving rise to
rumours that he was still alive while underwater and had tried to untie
the rope on his hands, only to finally die by drowning. A few months
later, in March 1917, the tsar’s government was toppled by Bolshevik
revolutionaries, and, the next year, Nicholas, Alexandra, and all their
children were executed. The remarkable story of Rasputin’s murder is the
final chapter in a peasant monk’s rise to becoming one of the most
influential and notorious figures of Russian history.
Today is a good day to remember that the black panther party always was a proponent for queer rights and queer activists today can repay that kindness by supporting groups such as black lives matter and by working to eliminate racism in our own communities.
this day in 1929, the future civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Born as Martin King, he and his father
changed their names in honour of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. King
entered the ministry in his twenties and first came to national
attention for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. This
event is considered by many to be the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement,
which saw a national struggle to end discrimination against African-Americans. King was one of many leaders, but became the face of
the movement for his nonviolent tactics and powerful oratory. In 1963,
during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of
the movement - the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating
racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating
peace, especially during the Vietnam War. On April 4th 1968, King was
shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. He lived to see
the legislative achievements of the movement - the 1964 Civil Rights
Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act - but tragically was unable to continue
the push for full equality. The movement King set in motion continues to
be fought today; the United States is still not a completely equal
society and systemic discrimination persists. However, thanks to Martin
Luther King, America is closer to fulfilling King’s dream of a truly
free and equal society. Since 1986, a national Martin Luther King Day is
celebrated on the third Monday in January.
DON’T STOP US NOW!
*kicks down door*
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH!
WE WERE BORN TO MAKE HISTORY!
*flips chairs over*
WE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!
*sets items on fire*
WE’LL TURN IT AROUND!
*screams into the heavens*
YES WE WERE BORN TO MAKE HISTORY!