Tag: william seward
Today’s blog post comes from National Archives social media intern Anna Fitzpatrick.
On the first day of the new year in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, declaring freedom for slaves in parts of the Confederacy that had not yet come under Union control. Historian John Hope Franklin described the day:
[It] was a bright, crisp day in the nation’s capital. The previous day had been a strenuous one for President Lincoln, but New Year’s Day was to be even more strenuous. So he rose early. There was much to do, not the least of which was to put the finishing touches on the Emancipation Proclamation. At 10:45 the document was brought to the White House by Secretary of State William Seward. The President signed it, but he noticed an error in the superscription. It read, “In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my name and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.” The President had never used that form in proclamations, always preferring to say “In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand. . . .” He asked Seward to make the correction, and the formal signing would be made on the corrected copy.
The traditional New Year’s Day reception at the White House began that morning at eleven o’clock. Members of the cabinet and the diplomatic corps were
One hundred forty three years ago today, the people of Alaska went to bed under the Russian flag, and awoke under the Stars and Stripes. They also woke up eleven days in the future.
The purchase of Alaska was not an easy sell for anyone. Russia wanted to offload the frozen territory in the 1850s. They tried to start a bidding war between Great Britain and the US for its purchase, but Great Britain wasn’t very interested. Then the American Civil War broke out. Then Lincoln was assassinated and the notoriously unpopular Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency. The unfortunate task of convincing an angry Congress that Alaska was a steal at 2.3 cents an acre fell to Johnson’s Secretary of State William Seward (7.2 million total). Somehow Seward managed though, and on October 18, 1867, Russian General Lovell Rousseau handed over the territory to US General Jefferson Davis. Or was that October 7?
Among the overwhelming drama of the unpopular purchase–one newspaper referred to it as a “sucked orange,” another called the buy a “dark deed done in the night”–no one seemed to notice that Russia worked off the Julian calendar, and the US worked off the Gregorian. The result was time travel.
That night, the calendar was officially changed from the Julian to the Gregorian, and all Alaskans lost 11 days out … [ Read all ]
Posted by Rob Crotty on October 18, 2010, under - Civil War, Myth or History.
Tags: american history, andrew johnson, gregorian calendar, how much did alaska cost, julian calendar, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, odd history, Pieces of History, prologue blog, purchase of alaska, russian alaska, sewards folly, time travel, whats past is prologue, william seward