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Tuesday, March 13, 2007
February revisited
I have to stop reading ahead. Trouble is, when I'm involved in just absorbing facts and come to the end of the page, it's too easy to just turn the page and keep on reading. So, let's back up from the Ides of March and concentrate on the 13th of March. (And, I promise not to skip the 14th either.)

Today ought to have been in February, for much happened in the 1860s that would have fit the Black History Month theme.
1861 - Jefferson Davis signs a low authorizing the use of slaves as soldiers during the Civil War (not good)
1862 - The Federal government officially forbids Union officers from returning runaway slaves (good)
1865 - The Confederate Congress calls for slaves for field service in the war (not good)
1869 - The Arkansas legislature passed anti-KKK legislation (good)

Using slaves as "cannon fodder" during the Civil War was probably a low point. It reminds me of the use of serfs in the middle ages in Europe. Like slaves, they had little control over their own lives and livelihood. They were often considered disposable - unless too many of them died and productivity on the estate declined as a result. During the 18th century, however, a number of rulers began to look at the serf-system and make changes. These rulers, or "enlightened despots," were influenced greatly by the Enlightenment. They included Catherine II of Russia, Frederick II of Prussia, Gustav III of Sweden, and Charles III of Spain.

This Day in History: Today would be the 266th birthday of what enlightened despot?

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Blogger robynl said...
Joseph I (full name: Joseph Benedikt August Johannes Anton Michel Adam; March 13, 1741 – February 20, 1790)

Blogger Denise Patrick said...
Woo-hoo, Robyn. Joseph I and his brother, Leopold I, were considered very enlightened for Austrian and Holy Roman Emperors. Too bad their descendants didn't continue the tradition.

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