1722 Samuel Adams was born.
1825 The first locomotive to haul a passenger train was operated by George Stephenson in England.
1840 Thomas Nast was born. (See November 7th entry.)
It’s Samuel Adams’ birthday. He was a firebrand in his time: the leader of the Stamp Act resistance and a prime instigator of the Boston Tea Party. John Adams’ second cousin from Boston was born in 1722. And one thing is certain. When Sam Adams spoke, things happened. Everyone should definitely bear in mind Sam Adams’ injunction: “Let us contemplate our forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter.”
Every time you see the Democratic donkey or the Republican elephant, you are viewing the inspiration of the great political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, who flourished at the turn of the century. This was the day Thomas Nast was bom, in 1840, in Germany. His family emigrated to America when he was six years old. Nast’s creations—like The Tammany Tiger and Boss Tweed cartoons—did a great deal to harden public opinion against the corrupt Tammany Ring that controlled New York City politics during the late nineteenth century. Nast knew the power of images and used that power to tell stories that needed to be told to those who didn’t necessarily understand the same language.
When, on this day in 1825, the first locomotive to haul a passenger train was operated by George Stephenson in England, there was more than passengers and cargo on board. The industrial future was there—perched atop the billowing stack—never once looking back at the agrarian past which was quickly enveloped by the thick coal smoke.