July 2016

This Day in History… July 13, 1787

Northwest Ordinance Revolutionizes Addition of New States to the Union

U.S. #795 pictures two men who played large roles in the Northwest territory – Manasseh Cutler and Rufus Putnam.

The United States passed the Northwest Ordinance on July 13, 1787 to establish a set of steps all future states would have to follow. It was ground breaking at the time and led to the organized and rapid expansion of America.

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This Day in History… July 12, 1862

Birth of U.S. Army’s Medal of Honor

U.S. #2045 pictures the Army, Air Force, and Navy/Coast Guard/Marines Medals of Honor.

The Medal of Honor was created by legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 12, 1862.

Although awards had been given for military service since 1782, the first steps in creating the Medal of Honor as we know it were taken in 1861. It was at that time that Edward D. Townsend suggested to Commanding General of the U.S. Army, Winfield Scott, to introduce a medal for individual valor.

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This Day in History… July 11, 1767

Birth of John Quincy Adams 

U.S. #811 – From the 1938 Prexies.

John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767, in the town of Braintree (present-day Quincy), Massachusetts. The son of America’s second President, John Adams, and his politically active wife, Abigail, John Quincy Adams had a privileged childhood of top-notch education and travel.

When he was just six years old, Adams watched the Battle of Bunker Hill and the burning of Charleston with his mother. He learned about the Declaration of Independence from his father’s letters to his mother while the document was still being written in Philadelphia. Between 1778 and 1782, Adams traveled with his father, who was serving as an American envoy to France and the Netherlands. During this time, he studied at the Netherlands’ oldest university, the University of Leiden.

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This Day in History… July 10, 1834

Happy Birthday James A. Whistler 

U.S. #885 – Whistler stamp from the Famous Americans series.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born on July 10, 1834, in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Whistler’s family briefly moved to Stonington, Connecticut, and later Springfield, Massachusetts, where his father found success as chief engineer for the Boston and Albany Railroad. Soon, word of his father’s engineering ingenuity spread all the way to Russia. In 1842, Tsar Nicholas I offered Whistler’s father a position engineering a railroad from St. Petersburg to Moscow.

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This Day in History… July 9, 1850

Death of President Zachary Taylor 

U.S. #179 was issued to satisfy the postal rate to foreign countries in the Universal Postal Union.

On July 9, 1850, President Zachary Taylor died just 16 months into his term.

Zachary Taylor was born in Montebello, Virginia, on November 24, 1784. The Taylors didn’t encourage their children’s education, preferring they concentrate on the farm. As a result, Zachary’s handwriting was poor and he was not a good student. Taylor developed a fondness for farming that would remain with him all his life. He was groomed to run the plantation. But Taylor also had been interested in the military since he was young, and he joined the local militia in 1806.

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This Day in History… July 8, 1776

Liberty Bell Rings for Independence 

U.S. #1518 was the first fractional coil stamp to be produced.

On July 8, 1776, the Liberty Bell was rung to announce the reading of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1751, the Colonial province of Pennsylvania paid about $300 to have a bell cast in England to mark the 50th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s constitution. This 2,000-pound bell bore the Biblical inscription “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof ” (Leviticus 25:10). The quotation refers to God’s commandment to the Israelites to celebrate their liberation from Egypt every 50 years.

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