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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Today in History: July 28

1540: Lawyer and Lord Chancellor Thomas Cromwell learns the hard way that Henry VIII is as rough on subordinates as on wives, when he is beheaded on Tower Hill.  Henry deliberately chooses an inexperienced executioner, so it takes three whacks to finish the job.

1794: Another bad day for lawyers involved in politics, as Maximilien Robespierre goes to the guillotine in front of a cheering mob in Paris.

1804: Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach is born at Landshut in Bavaria.  In 1839 he will announce, perhaps prematurely, that “Christianity has in fact long vanished not only from the reason but from the life of mankind.”

1821: Peru declares its independence from Spain.

1866: The Metric Act makes use of the metric system legal in the United States, providing that “no contract or dealing . . . shall be deemed invalid or liable to objection because the weights or measures expressed or referred to therein are weights or measures of the metric system.”

1868: The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, forbidding states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to denying “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.”

1902: Philosopher Karl Raimund Popper is born at Vienna in Austria-Hungary.  His thesis, that the distinction between science and non-science is that the former can be falsified, underlies much of modern thought.

1907: Earl Silas Tupper, the inventor of Tupperware, is born at Berlin, New Hampshire.  He’ll turn to plastics after his first venture, a landscaping and nursery business, is bankrupted by the Depression.

1932: President Hoover orders federal troops to disperse the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans who descended on Washington asking for more money.  When they will return after President Roosevelt takes office, he sends his wife Eleanor instead of troops, but they still don't get anything.

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