Milestones: Monday, November 6, 2023
INTERNATIONAL — THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON NOV. 6, 1962, ADOPTED A RESOLUTION CONDEMNING South Africa’s racist apartheid policies and calling on all its members to end economic and military relations with the country. Apartheid (from the Afrikaans word for “apartness), which lasted from 1948 to 1993, was government-mandated racial segregation against the non-white majority of South Africans. Apartheid required Black South Africans to live in segregated areas, disqualified and cut them off from political and economic opportunities. They were also forbidden from being present in white-only neighborhoods. The white, minority population wielded most of that nation’s wealth, land and power.
As some nations refused to cut off ties altogether with South Africa, it took decades of demonstrations and resistance to dismantle the apartheid laws, but many were repealed in 1990. President F.W. de Klerk, elected President during the height of the program, finally repealed the remaining apartheid laws in 1991 and expressed his commitment to writing a new constitution.
NATION’S FIRST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT — A MEMBER OF A NEW POLITICAL PARTY NAMED THE REPUBLICANS was elected as the 16th President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln, who had come to prominence in a series of debates with pro-slavery candidate Stephen Douglas, when Lincoln was campaigning for one of Illinois’ Senate seats, beat the other three candidates with only 40% of the vote. Those candidates were Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Douglas, a Northern Democrat and U.S. senator representing Illinois. Formerly a Whig, Lincoln became the first Republican to be elected President. During the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, as the public meetings became known, the two men argued over the right to own slaves. Lincoln argued against the spread of slavery, but Douglas argued that each territory that the U.S. acquired should have the right to decide autonomously whether it entered as a free or slave state.
Although Lincoln lost the debates, they brought him and the young Republican Party national attention; and two years later, in 1860, he won its Presidential nomination, as well as that year’s election.
FIRST SITTING PRESIDENT TO TRAVEL ABROAD — PRESIDENT TEDDY ROOSEVELT ON NOV. 6, 1906, became the first sitting US President to embark on a diplomatic tour outside of the continental United States. The 17-day trip to Panama and Puerto Rico had the purpose of asserting and securing U.S. influence over Central American politics, and to follow up on the progress in construction of the Panama Canal, which had undergone setbacks. President Roosevelt, who had previously served as Secretary of the Navy in his predecessor, William McKinley’s first term as President; McKinley was re-elected in 1900 with Roosevelt as his vice president but was then assassinated. He understood the importance of securing American interests in international waters. After visiting Panama, Roosevelt visited Puerto Rico, which had become a U.S. protectorate two years prior, after the Spanish-American War.
Roosevelt thus became the first president to make an international state visit while in office. Previous presidents had done so in other capacities before or after their terms in the nation’s highest office.
CONFEDERATES UNANIMOUS ON THEIR LEADER — JEFFERSON DAVIS WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA ON NOVEMBER 6, 1861. His election was largely pro forma, and he faced no opposition, as the Southern states that seceded had basically already decided to do so the previous year, after Lincoln’s election. The Confederate States, convening in Montgomery, Alabama in February 1861, elected Jefferson to a six-year term according to their new constitution. Davis remained their president until the Confederacy was dissolved in May 1865.
Interestingly, both the Union (United States) President and Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, had been born in Kentucky.
NEIGHBORHOOD — RUTGERS BEAT PRINCETON in the first college football game, which was played on Nov. 6, 1869, with about 100 fans watching. At the time, football more resembled rugby than the present-day sport. In fact, the teams used a soccer ball. The prize, apparently, was an old, Revolutionary War cannon. John W. Herbert of Rutgers, who had played in that first game, told a newspaper in 1930, “For years each had striven for possession of an old Revolutionary cannon, making night forays and lugging it back and forth time and again.”
The rivalry between the two colleges existed both on and off the ballfield. During a baseball game three years earlier, in 1866, Princeton had hit Rutgers right out of the ballfield; and Rutgers was eager to settle the score. They agreed to a series of 10 games; Rutgers won six of those games to Princeton’s four.
See previous milestones, here.
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