The True Date of America’s Declaration of Independence: Fact, Fiction, Myth
July 2, 2011

Signatures Came on July 2, 1776

Declaration Not Signed By Most Everyone Until August 2, 1776 and Some Later

On This Date in History: 235 years ago, a group of 56 men faced the gallows for what they contemplated doing or rather what they had already done. You see, the Declaration of Independence was actually voted on by members of the Continental Congress and approved on July 2, 1776.   You see, it was the formal adoption of the document with a good clean copy that took place on July 4, 1776 and it wasn’t signed by most of the delegates for another month.   It was thought that the document would long be celebrated but at least on of the Founding Fathers contemplated that the actual date of approval would be the one noted in history, not the one associated  with formality.  John Adams wrote to his wife that “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance.” That letter wasn’t published until the 19th century and by that time the Fourth had become the traditional Independence Day. What happened on July 4 was an approval by the delegates of the final version of the document. The final version was not printed on parchment until July 19 and it wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776 by but 50 delegates. The other six got around to it later.

Did the Delegates Need a Final Bit of Persuasion Before Signing What Amounted to Their Death Warrants?

Someone may have been the catalyst to their moving forward and signing a document that would change world history. No one knows who that someone was but, he gave a speech that roused the emotions of the delegates in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Here is the text of what has become known as The Speech of the Unknown. It is said that this “unknown patriot” said in part, “Sign! if the next moment the gibbet’s rope is round your neck! Sign! if the next moment this hall rings with the echo of the falling axe! Sign! By all your hopes in life or death, as husbands–-as fathers–-as men–-sign your names to the Parchment or be accursed forever!” Sounds pretty good. But is it too good? The text of the speech is quite detailed, even accounting for applause. And the description of the “unknown patriot” is quite compelling, detailed and believeable. However, The Jefferson Encyclopedia says there is no evidence exists to support the story of the Speech of the Unknown. They claim the story of the “unknown patriot” was simply part of a work of historical fiction in 1847 by George Lippard: Washington and His Generals; Or, Legends of the Revolution. As evidence, it cites the American National Biography when it claimed that Lippard “wrote many semifanciful ‘legends’ of American history, mythologizing the founding fathers and retelling key moments of the American Revolution so vividly that several of the legends (most famously the one describing the ringing of the Liberty Bell on 4 July 1776) [2] became part of American folklore.”

Manly P. Hall Believed the Story of the Speech of the Unknown

However, Ronald Reagan and 20th century philosopher Manly P. Hall both made references to the unknown speech with both men claiming that the evidence lies in Thomas Jefferson’s records. Yet, the Jefferson Encyclopedia claims no such evidence exists in Jefferson’s writings. I certainly don’t know the truth, but I can say that I once had a published work (Ohio Valley History, 8 (Fall 2008), 40–61.) that uncovered much new material relating to Louisville. No scholars previously had ever come across the material. The reason was that most studies of Louisville used The 1896 Memorial History of Louisville and the editor of that book included only material that they wanted future Louisvillians to know. They skillfully made no mention of the decade long and successful Industrial Exposition but had an entire chapter devoted to the successful 5-year Southern Exposition. They also made no mention of the 63rd Birthday of Ulysses S. Grant even though it was nationally significant enough to find its way on a plaque at Grant’s Tomb. What I am saying is the the folks at the Jefferson Encyclopedia have no evidence that the speech took place, yet they have no evidence that it did not take place either. When one read’s the text of the speech put forth by Lippard, it is possible that Lippard made it up since he was considered a genius and an eloquent speaker. But, the detail makes it hard to believe that he was that creative and it certainly would indicate that Lippard would have a vivid imagination to match his “genius” talent.

Adams, Franklin and Jefferson collaborated on the Declaration of Independence But Jefferson Had the Mightiest Pen

In any event, the delegates really voted in favor of the declaration on this date in 1776. (see Second of July?) Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Jefferson was not the sole contributor to the Declaration of Independence. He was part of a committee consisting of Jefferson, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin (the committee of five) whose task it was to come up with a document for the Continental Congress to approve. They knew that the Declaration of Independence could be a historically significant document and so Adams and Franklin agreed that Jefferson was a much more gifted writer; Jefferson was thus given the job of putting their ideas to paper. The writer of the declaration, Thomas Jefferson was reluctant. John Adams had to convince him giving him three reasons:

“You are a Virginian and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of business”

” I(Adams) am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise.”

“You can write ten times better than I can.”

Jefferson responded, “if you are decided, then I will do as well as I can.”

John Locke's Ideas Were Foundation of Declaration of Independence

The beauty of the document resides in Jefferson’s style and structure more so than the substance because the ideas in the document were not new. The first part was a reformation of the contract theory of John Locke, a 17th Century British philosopher, which generally was that governments are created to protect the rights of life, liberty and property. Jefferson jazzed it up by exchanging “property” with “the pursuit of happiness.” The second part then laid out the crimes of King George in violating the “contract” with the colonies and he had therefore forfeited his claim on their loyalty. Initially, there was a middle section that condemned King George for his introduction of slavery in the colonies, but that section was removed as it was surmised the southern colonies would never sign such a document. Hence, they kicked the can when it came to the slavery issue and the Congress would follow suit into the mid 19th century when it finally came to a head in the form of a bloody Civil War.

Was Adams Foot on Jefferson's Deliberate of a Matter of Expediency?

In 1817, John Trumbull painted the famous portrait of the signers of the Declaration. He hadn’t been there on July 4, 1776 but he did make sketches of many of the individuals and checked out the room so there is still some accuracy. One funny thing he did was to have John Adams stepping on Thomas Jefferson’s foot. Jefferson and Adams became fast friends but were political rivals. Both died on July 4, 1826 exactly 50 years to the day of the official presentation of the Declaration of Independence. They were the only two signers of the declaration to become president. It is said that, on his deathbed, Adams said “Jefferson survives” or “Jefferson lives” not knowing that Tom had died a few hours earlier. I suppose it’s possible that Trumbull’s placement of Adams’ foot on the top of Jefferson’s was a statement of support for Adams who had been at odds over many issues with Jefferson. It just so happens that Trumbull had painted Adams’ portrait.

Trumbull Left a Few Signers Out and Added Imposters

However, I found one source that claims that the feet are merely close together and the claim of Adams stepping on his foot are unfounded. The University of Baltimore suggests that it was merely the artist’s problem with positioning of the founding fathers and points out that later engravings had the feet repositioned. To the right is a montage of all of the signers that you can click on. Trumbull for some reason left 14 of the signers out of the portrait but did manage to put 5 other men in the picture that were not signers. I have yet to find out why he did that…perhaps he was making another statement or he did not know what they looked like.

And the rest they say, is history. King George though had no idea of what was happening. Back in England, he wrote in his diary on July 4, 1776 that “nothing of importance happened today.” Oh…the folly of Kings. Or was it? Some say this too is a bit of American mythology. But, in this case, I say we go along with the idea brought forth by Maxwell Scott to Ransom Stoddard in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. “

Fact, Fiction and Myth Surround the Declaration of Independence
July 4, 2010

Signatures Came on July 2, 1776

Declaration Not Signed By Most Everyone Until August 2, 1776 and Some Later

On This Date in History:  234 years ago, a group of 56 men faced the gallows for what they contemplated doing or rather what they had already done.  You see, the Declaration of Independence was actually voted on by members of the Continental Congress and approved on July 2, 1776.  The formal adoption with a good clean copy took place on this date in 1776.  John Adams wrote to his wife that “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance.” That letter wasn’t published until the 19th century and by that time the Fourth had become the traditional Independence Day. What happened on July 4 was an approval by the delegates of the final version of the document. The final version was not printed on parchment until July 19 and it wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776 by but 50 delegates. The other six got around to it later.

Did the Delegates Need a Final Bit of Persuasion Before Signing What Amounted to Their Death Warrants?

Someone may have been the catalyst to their moving forward and signing a document that would change world history. No one knows who that someone was but, he gave a speech that roused the emotions of the delegates in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Here is the text of what has become known as The Speech of the Unknown.   It is said that this “unknown patriot” said in part, “Sign! if the next moment the gibbet’s rope is round your neck! Sign! if the next moment this hall rings with the echo of the falling axe! Sign!   By all your hopes in life or death, as husbands–-as fathers–-as men–-sign your names to the Parchment or be accursed forever!”   Sounds pretty good.  But is it too good?   The text of the speech is quite detailed, even accounting for applause.  And the description of the “unknown patriot” is quite compelling, detailed and believeable.  However,  The Jefferson Encyclopedia says there is no evidence exists to support the story of the Speech of the Unknown.  They claim the story of the “unknown patriot” was simply part of a work of historical fiction in 1847 by George Lippard:  Washington and His Generals; Or, Legends of the Revolution.  As evidence, it cites the American National Biography  when it claimed that Lippard “wrote many semifanciful ‘legends’ of American history, mythologizing the founding fathers and retelling key moments of the American Revolution so vividly that several of the legends (most famously the one describing the ringing of the Liberty Bell on 4 July 1776) [2] became part of American folklore.” 

Manly P. Hall Believed the Story of the Speech of the Unknown

However, Ronald Reagan and 20th century philosopher Manly P. Hall both made references to the unknown speech with both men claiming that the evidence lies in Thomas Jefferson’s records.  Yet, the Jefferson Encyclopedia claims no such evidence exists in Jefferson’s writings.  I certainly don’t know the truth, but I can say that I once had a published work (Ohio Valley History, 8 (Fall 2008), 40–61.) that uncovered much new material relating to Louisville.  No scholars previously had ever come across the material.  The reason was that most studies of Louisville used The 1896 Memorial History of Louisville and the editor of that book included only material that they wanted future Louisvillians to know.  They skillfully made no mention of the decade long and successful Industrial Exposition but had an entire chapter devoted to the successful 5-year Southern Exposition.  They also made no mention of the 63rd Birthday of Ulysses S. Grant even though it was nationally significant enough to find its way on a plaque at Grant’s Tomb.  What I am saying is the the folks at the Jefferson Encyclopedia have no evidence that the speech took place, yet  they have no evidence that it did not take place either.  When one read’s the text of the speech put forth by Lippard, it is possible that Lippard made it up since he was considered a genius and an eloquent speaker.  But, the detail makes it hard to believe that he was that creative and it certainly would indicate that Lippard would have a vivid imagination to match his “genius” talent.

Adams, Franklin and Jefferson collaborated on the Declaration of Independence But Jefferson Had the Mightiest Pen

In any event, the delegates really voted in favor of the declaration on July 2, 1776. (see Second of July?)   Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Jefferson was not the sole contributor to the Declaration of Independence.  He was part of a committee consisting of Jefferson, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin (the committee of five) whose task it was to come up with a document for the Continental Congress to approve.   They knew that the Declaration of Independence could be a historically significant document and so Adams and Franklin agreed that Jefferson was a much more gifted writer; Jefferson was thus given the job of putting their ideas to paper.   The writer of the declaration, Thomas Jefferson was reluctant. John Adams had to convince him giving him three reasons:

“You are a Virginian and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of business”

” I(Adams) am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise.”

“You can write ten times better than I can.”

Jefferson responded, “if you are decided, then I will do as well as I can.”

John Locke's Ideas Were Foundation of Declaration of Independence

The beauty of the document resides in Jefferson’s style and structure more so than the substance because the ideas in the document were not new.  The first part was a reformation of the contract theory of John Locke, a 17th Century British philosopher, which generally was that governments are created to protect the rights of life, liberty and property.  Jefferson jazzed it up by exchanging “property” with “the pursuit of happiness.”   The second part then laid out the crimes of King George in violating the “contract” with the colonies and he had therefore forfeited his claim on their loyalty.  Initially, there was a middle section that condemned King George for his introduction of slavery in the colonies, but that section was removed as it was surmised the southern colonies would never sign such a document.  Hence,  they kicked the can when it came to the slavery issue and the Congress would follow suit into the mid 19th century when it finally came to a head in the form of a bloody Civil War.

Was Adams Foot on Jefferson's Deliberate of a Matter of Expediency?

In 1817, John Trumbull painted the famous portrait of the signers of the Declaration. He hadn’t been there on July 4, 1776 but he did make sketches of many of the individuals and checked out the room so there is still some accuracy. One funny thing he did was to have John Adams stepping on Thomas Jefferson’s foot. Jefferson and Adams became fast friends but were political rivals. Both died on this date in 1826 exactly 50 years to the day of the official presentation of the Declaration of Independence. They were the only two signers of the declaration to become president. It is said that, on his deathbed, Adams said “Jefferson survives” or “Jefferson lives” not knowing that Tom had died a few hours earlier. I suppose it’s possible that Trumbull’s placement of Adams’ foot on the top of Jefferson’s was a statement of support for Adams who had been at odds over many issues with Jefferson. It just so happens that Trumbull had painted Adams’ portrait.

Trumbull Left a Few Signers Out and Added Imposters

However, I found one source that claims that the feet are merely close together and the claim of Adams stepping on his foot are unfounded.   The University of Baltimore suggests that it was merely the artist’s problem with positioning of the founding fathers and points out that later engravings had the feet repositioned.   To the right is a  montage of all of the signers that you can click on. Trumbull for some reason left 14 of the signers out of the portrait but did manage to put 5 other men in the picture that were not signers. I have yet to find out why he did that…perhaps he was making another statement or he did not know what they looked like.

And the rest they say, is history. King George though had no idea of what was happening.  Back in England, he wrote in his diary on July 4, 1776 that “nothing of importance happened today.”   Oh…the folly of Kings.  Or was it?  Some say this too is a bit of American mythology.  But, in this case, I say we go along with the idea brought forth by Maxwell Scott to Ransom Stoddard in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:  “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. ”

Weather Bottom Line:  I’ve heard two different weather people on two different stations say that the humidity will not be “that bad” on Sunday.  It may not be as bad as early last week, but it will be a bit difficult especially in comparison to what we had to conclude the week.  Temperatures will be in the low to mid 90’s through at least the middle of the week and rain chances will be slim and none.

Reagan and the Goldfish; Aaron is King
April 8, 2009

ronaldreagan

Reagan Got a New Friend

Reagan Got a New Friend

On This Date In History:  On This Date in 1981, President Ronald Reagan got a goldfish.  On March 31, Reagan had been shot by would be assassin John Hinckley, Jr.  Reagan received numerous well wishes from many Americans but one was perhaps the greatest.  Ten-year-old Barney Bullard of Albany, New York sent the president a goldfish…via the US Mail!  And you know what? It got there alive and intact in its water-filled plastic bag.  The note attached said he included “a companion, a goldfish named Ronald Reagan II.  Just feed him daily every morning and he will be fine.”  Ron the fish became known as the “first fish” and was placed in a tank affixed with the presidential seal.  Ron II lived happily in the White House for over 3 years.

Hank Holding Up No. 715

Hank Holding Up No. 715

On April 8, 1974 Henry Aaron saw a 1-0 pitch from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing that was too good to pass up.  “The Hammer”  deposited the pitch over the 385 foot sign in left field at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium for his 715th homerun of his career, passing legendary Babe Ruth.  The ball was caught by Atlanta relief pitcher Tom House in the bullpen.  House promptly returned the ball  and Aaron struck  the famous pose you see above.  The Braves won the game 7-4 with Ron Reed getting the win and Buzz Capra the save.  But the day belonged to one of the most humble, yet proud athletes of the era.  Aaron was not flashy.  He never hit 50 homeruns in a season.  He was just consistent for a long time. He is still at or near the top of many of  the biggest batting records.  He did a commercial for Brut aftershave once in which he said “On the field, I let my bat to do the talking.  Off the field, I let my Brut do the talking.”  He was and is very classy. When Barry Bonds was chasing his home run record, Aaron was supportive at first saying he chose to believe Bonds.  Then the tide turned and Hank seemed to not believe him anymore but he never said so.  He declined to come stadiums to be on site when Bonds broke his record.  He simply said that he was busy and too old to be going from stadium to stadium.  Then, he did record a video that was played at the stadium, congratulating Barry Bonds in spite of the mounting evidence against Bonds.  As usual, Aaron said nothing but his actions spoke volumes.  In my book, “The Hammer” is still the homerun king. 

Thursday Threat Not So Great

Thursday Threat Not So Great

Weather Bottom Line:  As expected, we are coming out of the bucket and Wednesday is a lovely day.  Thursday, the big storm starts coming out of the west and ejects a lead shortwave.  The bulk of the severe weather should be to our South though some leftover t’storms may come through our area late Thursday into early Friday.  But the best chance will be a second event on Friday afternoon.  The SPC has come on board with this scenario and has included our area in the slight risk for Friday through Friday night.  The 6Z GFS is again very bullish with a CAPE of 1531, LI -7.3, Total Totals 63, SWEAT 510 and SHOW -5.  These indices are not nearly as aggressive on the ETA.  My guess is that we will probably be in between with strong storms possible and high winds and hail being the biggest threat.  If the GFS is correct, then we’d see some isolated tornadoes but, so far, the GFS has been consistently overly aggressive in its solutions.  The main storm deposits most of its energy way south of us and I see no indication of anything on Monday other than rain and a few t’storms,at this time.

Friday Chance More Enticing

Friday Chance More Enticing

   DAY 3 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0228 AM CDT WED APR 08 2009
  
   VALID 101200Z – 111200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER A LARGE PART OF THE OH/TN
   VLYS SWWD INTO THE DEEP SOUTH…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   MID-LVL WAVE LOCATED OVER THE MID/LWR MS VLY EARLY FRIDAY WILL
   DAMPEN OVER THE APLCN MOUNTAINS FRIDAY NIGHT AS THE NEXT IN A SERIES
   OF UPR SYSTEMS DIGS INTO SRN CA/DESERT SW.  SFC LOW ATTENDANT WITH
   THE LEAD TROUGH WILL MOVE ALONG THE OH RVR FROM SRN IL TO SRN OH BY
   00Z SATURDAY BEFORE REDEVELOPING EAST OF THE VA MOUNTAINS BY
   SATURDAY MORNING.  TRAILING THE LOW…A CDFNT WILL MOVE SEWD INTO
   THE CAROLINAS BY SATURDAY MORNING…BUT BEGIN TO STALL OVER DIXIE
   AND SERN TX. 
  
   …OH/TN VLYS AND THE DEEP SOUTH…
   AT LEAST ISOLD SVR TSTMS WILL BE POSSIBLE EARLY IN THE PD ACROSS
   PARTS OF THE MID-SOUTH AND LWR MS VLY…ALONG/AHEAD OF THE SFC
   LOW/CDFNT.  THIS ACTIVITY SHOULD BEGIN TO WEAKEN AND MOVE ENE DURING
   THE MORNING.  PRE-FRONTAL PCPN-INDUCED MOISTENING AND STRONG LLVL
   MOISTURE TRANSPORT WILL LIKELY DESTABILIZE A LARGE REGION AHEAD OF
   THE ADVANCING UPR SYSTEM DURING THE AFTN.  SFC-BASED TSTMS SHOULD
   INITIATE BY MID-AFTN…ESPECIALLY ALONG THE TRACK OF THE STRONGEST
   HEIGHT FALLS…NAMELY FROM ALONG THE OH RVR SWD INTO THE TN VLY.
   THOUGH THE MID-LVL SYSTEM WILL BE WEAKENING WITH TIME…PRESENCE OF
   MODEST WLY MID-LEVEL FLOW ATOP 30 KTS OF WSW H85 FLOW WILL PRODUCE
   SUFFICIENT SHEAR FOR ORGANIZED STORMS WITH LARGE HAIL…DMGG WINDS
   AND PERHAPS TORNADOES.  THESE STORMS WILL MOVE QUICKLY ENE TO THE
   CNTRL APLCNS OVERNIGHT…POSSIBLY AS SMALL-SCALE LEWPS/BOWS GIVING
   AT LEAST ISOLD SVR WIND PROSPECTS TO THE E OF THE MOUNTAINS INTO SRN
   VA.
  
   FARTHER S…LARGER SCALE SUPPORT BEGINS TO WEAKEN THROUGH THE
   AFTN…BUT PERSISTENT LLVL MOISTURE FLUX AND RELATIVELY COOL
   TEMPERATURES ALOFT WILL FAVOR ISOLD-WDLY SCTD TSTMS ALONG THE
   TRAILING PORTION OF THE CDFNT FROM MIDDLE TN SWWD INTO LA.  SRN
   FRINGES OF STRONGER MID-LVL FLOW WILL EXIST ACROSS THE REGION AND
   CONTINUAL FEED OF STEEP LAPSE RATES FROM THE WEST WILL CONTRIBUTE TO
   ORGANIZED STORMS WITH LARGE HAIL…DMGG WINDS AND A TORNADO OR TWO.
   THIS ACTIVITY WILL ADVANCE QUICKLY ENE TOWARD PARTS OF THE CAROLINAS
   OVERNIGHT.  IT IS UNCLEAR HOW QUICKLY THE LLVLS WILL MOISTEN THAT
   FAR NE…BUT THERE WILL BE AT LEAST AN ISOLD THREAT OF SVR STORMS.
  
   …CSTL TX…
   TAIL-END OF THE FRONT AND SEABREEZE WILL LIKELY BE IMPETUS FOR ISOLD
   TSTMS AS CAP IS BREACHED ALONG THE SERN TX CST ON FRIDAY AFTN/EARLY
   EVE.  ROUGHLY 40-45 KTS OF VERTICAL SHEAR AND H5-H7 LAPSE RATES OF
   7.5-8 DEG C PER KM WILL RESULT IN VIGOROUS UPDRAFTS/ROTATION WITH
   LARGE HAIL THE MOST LIKELY THREAT.
  
   ..RACY.. 04/08/2009

alphainventions

“Big Red”; “Tear Down This Wall”; Big Storms
June 12, 2008

The humidity will begin to return on Thursday and temperatures should climb to the low to mid 90’s.  There will be a bit of a weakness in the atmosphere Thursday afternoon, mainly to the east and southeast, and it will conspire with the heating to kick off a few t’storms, mainly from Louisville and points to the east and southeast.  Strong storms lining up ahead of a cold front in the plains just exploded Wednesday night.  At least 30 tornado reports came in with one going through a boy scout camp in western Iowa that killed 4 scouts and sent dozens to the hospital.  That front will approach our area and scattered t’storms will break out across the area, especially the western and northern parts of the viewing area.  The boundary moves through Friday night.  The storms should be weakening somewhat but the severe threat may be marginal and we can’t rule out some rough stuff Friday night.  Showers should exit the region by late Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, some data suggests that the heaviest rainfall will be in parts of Southern Indiana that doesn’t need any rain.  The map above is the SPC Outlook for Friday from Wednesday.

If you missed it, on the previous post there is a slide show of flooding in Southern Indiana.

On This Date In History: “Big Red” fared much better than Big Brown at the Belmont.  Man O’War was known as “Big Red”, most likely for his physical features.  He skipped the Derby because his trainer thought it was too gruelling a race for so early in the season.  So, he ran the Preakness and blew away the field.  When the Belmont came about, there wasn’t much of a field to blow away.  There was only one other horse.  Guess he scared away the competition.  Donnaconna wasn’t much of a competitor so Man O’War’s biggest competitor was the clock.  On This Date in 1920 Man’O War got it done.  The world record for a mile and three furlongs (2:16.8), was held by the horse Dean Swift of Liverpool, England who made his dash in 1908. The American record of 2:17.4 was held by Sir Barton who dominated the field at the 1919 Belmont.   Man O’ War sliced over two seconds off both records, running the race in 2:14.2. Donnaconna finished the race a full 1/16 of a mile behind the winner or about 20 lengths.  Since the trainer of Big Brown blamed the jockey, I wonder if “Big Red’s” trainer gave the jockey all of the credit.  Doubtful.   Though not a triple crown winner, Man O’War won 20 of 21 races before retiring to chase the ladies.

On this date in 1987, President Reagan gave his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!” speech at the Berlin Wall.  It’s interesting but the world press at the time either generally ignored it or gave Reagan great criticism.  It didn’t get famous until the wall did come down a few years later.  Apparently, it wasn’t some cheap slogan. Reagan for years had hated the wall and all he thought it stood for..or against..depending on your point of view.  Many in his administration didn’t want him to use the line.  But, he wanted it in and so it stayed in.  Here is a lengthy and rather academic link to an article that is really good.  It was written by Steven Hayward  who is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an Adjunct Fellow of the Ashbrook Center.  It’s really fascinating reading, if you want to find out some of the background behind the speech, Reagan’s ideas and a comparison between he and Winston Churchill.

The Lion At the Gate by Steven Hayward