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Tag: bastille day

In their own words: Thomas Jefferson and the Storming of the Bastille

This post is part of a series, written by Jim Zeender, devoted to letters written by the Founding Fathers in their own words and often in their own hand. Jim is a senior registrar in Exhibits.

King Louis XVI of France, via Wikipedia.

On July 14, 1789, the U.S. Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, was a witness to the events of  a day in Paris that is commonly associated with the beginning of the French Revolution. Jefferson recorded the events of the day in a lengthy and detailed letter to John Jay, then Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

The American Revolutionary War began as a conflict between the colonies and England. In time, what began as a civil disturbance turned into a world war drawing France, Spain, and the Netherlands into the hostilities. France would send troops, ships, and treasure to support the American effort.   During the war, one of the first priorities of the French government and its allies was to raise funds to fight the war.

When the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, France was virtually broke and on the edge of social catastrophe, the result of decades of war with England and other countries. The poor suffered hunger and privation. By 1789, revolution would come to France.

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris to replace Benjamin Franklin, who was retiring … [ Read all ]

Magellans of the Sky

In 1924, a group of eight Army airmen set out to be the first humans to ever circle the globe by air. On their journey over Arctic mountain passes and vast Indian deserts, they would lose half their planes and set numerous records to become what were dubbed the “Magellans of the Sky.”

Listen as Prologue staff writer Rob Crotty describes their journey in the National Archives’ latest 2-3 minute produced video short from “Inside the Vaults.”

The film series is free to view and distribute. Watch our  “Inside the Vaults” series on our YouTube channel.

Prologue magazine is the award-winning quarterly publication of the National Archives.

[ Read all ]

American fliers storm Paris on Bastille Day

Who are these Americans in Paris on Bastille Day?
Gen. J.J. Pershing at Paris with World Fliers. Left to right: Lieuts. Ogden, Arnold, Smith,Gen. Pershing, Lieuts. Wade, Nelson, Harding (US Air Force Pre-1954 Official Still Photography Collection)

In 1924, a group of Americans were welcomed by thousands of Frenchmen in Paris on Bastille Day. There was no war, but General Pershing requested a meeting with them, as did the President of France, with whom they attended the Olympics as his special guests later on. He also offered these six American lieutenants the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration.

But who were these American servicemen? What group of people would draw such attention from President Doumergue, or Blackjack Pershing, or the throngs of Parisians who fought crowds just to catch glimpses of the six? They were six airmen racing to be the first humans to ever circle the globe by air, and their story (“Magellans of the Sky”) is in the newest issue of Prologue magazine, which hits the shelves (and the Internet) next week.… [ Read all ]