ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today in History -- November 24

1632 – Philosopher Baruch Spinoza is born at Amsterdam in the Dutch Republic. He will turn down numerous academic appointments to keep his job as a lens grinder, even though that job didn’t promise him tenure.

1642 – On a voyage for the Dutch East India Co., Abel Tasman’s crew become the first known Europeans to spy Van Diemen's Land (later renamed Tasmania) in Australia.

1835 – The Texas Provincial Government authorizes the creation of the oldest law enforcement agency in North America, the Texas Rangers. Their original badges were hammered out of Mexican peso coins.

1859 – Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.  He didn't have tenure, either.

1877 – Future lawyer, judge, Senate Majority Leader, and Vice President Alben William Barkley is born at Graves County, Kentucky.

 1916 – Hiram Stevens Maxim—inventor of the first practical portable machine gun—dies at London. Hillaire Belloc would later comment on the gun’s effect on colonialism:

                            Never fear the Hottentot.
                            Whatever happens we have got
                            The Maxim gun, and they have not.

1963 – In the first shooting death to be broadcast live on national television, bar owner Jack Ruby kills Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters.  Viz:



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Actually the royal Newfoundland Constablary is considerably older than the texas Ragers having been established in 1729 (as opposed to 1835). See their website at:

Posted by: Doug Surtees | Nov 25, 2010 11:20:34 AM

The RNC traces its origins back to the first constable in Newfoundland, but the force itself I think was created in its current form in 1871.

There were constables in New Amsterdam in the 17th century (which could be viewed as the origins of the NYPD) and law enforcement officers in Spanish America long before that, but the Rangers are, I think, the oldest group in its current form.

Posted by: Frank Snyder | Nov 26, 2010 9:50:11 AM

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