This Day in History

US President Lincoln Signs Homestead Act into Law (1862)
The Homestead Act was a federal law that sought to shape the American West by populating it with farmers. The act provided for the transfer of 160 acres of unoccupied public land to each homesteader at $1.25 an acre after six months of residence or for a nominal fee after five years. However, the generous law became subject to fraud and corporate abuse. The settlers did not fare much better, given the harsh land and arid conditions out West. Who was the last person to take advantage of the law? Discuss

Anne Boleyn Beheaded for Adultery (1536)
Boleyn was the second queen consort of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. Anne's marriage to Henry was a key part of the English Reformation. Henry had divorced his first wife to marry Anne, whom he hoped would produce a male heir. When she did not, she was brought to trial on charges of adultery and incest. Under great pressure, a court headed by her uncle—the Duke of Norfolk—condemned her, and she was beheaded. According to one account, what did her executioner do before beheading her?

Plessy v. Ferguson: "Separate but Equal" Ruled Constitutional (1896)
In this case, the US Supreme Court upheld a Louisiana statute mandating racially segregated railroad cars, ruling that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment dealt with political and not social equality. This provided constitutional sanction for the adoption of the Jim Crow laws. Justice Henry Billings Brown wrote the majority opinion, stating that "separate but equal" laws did not imply one race's inferiority to another. What prompted Homer Plessy to serve as the case's plaintiff?

Quote of the Day

Arthur Conan Doyle
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius. Discuss

Nathaniel Hawthorne
What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self!

Aesop
Abstain and enjoy.