In 1787, Daniel Shays led a rebellion in Massachusetts. The rebellion came about as a result of economic pressure. European investors were demanding their payments in gold and silver; in return, the bankers were trying to get all the money that they could out of farmers and ordinary people. When the people did not have the gold that the bankers demanded, their homes and other properties were seized. Some veterans, which had been poorly paid during the Revolutionary War, had even been thrown into debtor's prison. The rebellion was eventually put down, with the rebels on the losing end. As a result of this rebellion, people began to see that a stronger government was needed, and the Constitutional Convention was held that scrapped the Articles of Confederation (then in effect) and created the Constitution that we currently have.
In 1858, Queen Victoria's daughter, also named Victoria, married Friedrich of Prussia. Mendelssohn's Wedding March was played as a recessional. After it was played in this wedding, it became a popular wedding tune, and is still played in many traditional weddings today. This is not the "Here comes the bride" song played at the beginning of the ceremony; this is the song generally played at the end.
On this day in 1919, the League of Nations, originally conceived by President Woodrow Wilson, was founded. The only thing was, that the United States didn't join the League of Nations. While working on the Treaty of Versailles in France, Woodrow Wilson caught the Spanish Influenza, which killed millions of people in 1918 and affected even more people's brains. In 1919, Wilson suffered from strokes. As a result, he wasn't able to make the case to the US for joining, and the people generally weren't in favor of it anyway. 42 nations did join initially, but only 23 of them stayed members until the body was dissolved in 1946. The League would eventually be replaced by the United Nations, which the US did join.
The first modern Olympics began in 1896 in Greece. At the time, both winter and summer events were covered at the same time. The Olympics in the early days could last a long time in order to incorporate the winter events: for example, the 1908 London Olympics lasted from April 27th until October 23rd. On this day in 1924, the first Winter Olympics opened in Chamonix, France, although at the time it was called the "International Winter Sports Week". These Olympics included 16 events. The Winter Olympics have been expanded considerably. In the Sochi Olympics in Russia in 2014, there will be 98 events.
On this day in 1971, Charles Manson and three of his "Family" members were found guilty of murdering several people, including actress Sharon Tate in 1969. All four of them were sentenced to death. Manson is still alive today because of an act of fate: the death penalty was abolished in California for a short period of time, and his sentence was reduced automatically to life in prison. As of January 25, 2012, he remains in prison, and will probably never get out alive.
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