1765 The British House of Lords passed the Stamp Act. (See March 18th and March 22nd entries.)
1841 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was born.
1950 The U. S.S. R. declared that they had built an atomic bomb.
1962 Arnold Schuster was killed in Brooklyn.
1979 President Jimmy Carter went on a Middle East peace mission. (See January 7th entry.)
It is Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s birthday. born on this date in 1841, Holmes was the son of a New England doctor who was also a famous literary figure. Oliver Junior chose to walk a different path. He became an attorney. As a U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Holmes was famous for the brilliance of his dissents and for the power of his judgments. Like his noted father, he was a prolific writer. Like his father, he was long-lived. He served on the Supreme Court for over three decades. He resigned when he was well past ninety. In 1919, Holmes wrote a phrase that is as true today as it was then: “The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”
Not too many people today recognize the name of Arnold Schuster. But on this date in 1952, this law-abiding citizen recognized the legendary bank robber Willie Sutton; told the police; and was later shot and killed in Brooklyn, New York. Shuster’s murder was never solved, and it discouraged many other law-abiding citizens from turning criminals in to the police.
As a nation, Americans don’t take declarations of any kind lightly. When Great Britain’s House of Lords imposed the Stamp Act on this day in 1765, Americans spoke out by boycotting all imported British goods including sugar and tea. This first direct tax placed on the fledgling colonies was supposed to pay for military defense during the French and Indian War. But Americans cried out that taxation without representation was tyranny. In 1950, the U. S.S. R. declared that they had built an atomic bomb, and once again, Americans did not take the declaration lightly. The U. S. military built more atomic weapons to balance the power between these two mighty nations.
Sometimes, the actions of one individual can inspire many to find a reasonable resolution to their problems. On this day in 1979, President Jimmy Carter began a Middle East peace mission. This simple act of diplomacy eventually led to the signing of the first Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, ending the long-running conflict between the two nations.