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1787 Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia reached a critical day in the proceedings, which threatened to break up over the question of representation of states in the proposed national government.
Days earlier, Georgia delegate Abraham Baldwin had played a pivotal role in arriving at a compromise where one house would be based on population and the other on equality of the states.
The crucial July 16 debate ended with the compromise passing by a 5-4 vote. Interestingly, Georgia joined Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina in opposing the compromise. Massachusetts' four delegates split evenly. But, North Carolina, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland voted in favor of what would become known as the "Great Compromise." A subsequent motion on July 17 to reconsider the vote failed to receive a second, so the July 16 vote stood.
1790 Meeting in New York City, which was then the nation's capital, Congress passed "An Act for Establishing the Temporary and Permanent Seat of the Government of the United States" (more commonly known as the "Residence Act"). The act provided that a district of territory not more than ten square miles be located on the eastern side of the Potomac River between the mouths of the Eastern Branch and Connogochegue rivers, to serve as the permanent capital of the United States.The legislation provided for a commission appointed by the president to survey the district and provide for construction of suitable government buildings for the federal government, as approved by the president, not later than the first Monday in December 1800. In the meantime, beginning in December 1790, Philadelphia would serve as the temporary national capital. On Jan. 24, 1791, President Washington announced the selection of what would become known as the District of Columbia at the confluence of the Potomac and Eastern Branch rivers. Later that year, Congress named the district in honor of President Washington. On Sept. 18, 1973, President Washington presided over ceremonies dedicating the cornerstone of the new U.S. Capitol. The north wing of the Capitol was completed seven years later, and Congress held its first session in the partially completed building on Nov. 17, 1800.
1828 Georgia politician William Few died in Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, New York.
In 1973, Few's body was returned to Georgia, where he was re-interred on the grounds of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Augusta, with a marble monument marking his grave site.
1851 Mildred Lewis Rutherford was born in Athens, Georgia. Niece of T.R.R. Cobb, she attended the Lucy Cobb Institute, a school for girls founded by Cobb in 1859. Age age 29, she returned to the institute as president, principal, and teacher. Never marrying, "Miss Millie" devoted the next 40 years of her life to giving young ladies a proper and "genteel" education.
Rutherford developed a second passion – vindicating the cause for which the Confederacy fought and telling the "truths" of history – about which she wrote a book by that title in 1920.
One of her cardinal truths was that the War Between the States (as she insisted it must be called) was fought not over slavery but interference with states rights. As she explained, "slavery happened to be one of the state rights most interfered with."
Rutherford became historian-general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and was active in forty-nine different historic, patriotic, and other women's organizations. A dynamic speaker, she went on a crusade across the nation giving speeches to women's groups in 45 of the 48 states in the nation with titles such as "The Wrongs of History Righted" and "The Civilization of the Old South" Often for her speeches, she dressed in an antebellum-type dress she bought in Paris and powdered her hair.
Rutherford died on Aug. 15, 1928, in Athens and was buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery.
1914 Six months after retiring as president of the Coca-Cola Co., Asa Candler made a formal offer to give $1,000,000 to create a new Methodist university in the East. [Click here for more on Asa Candler and his gift.]
The offer – known as the "Million Dollar Letter" – came in a letter to his brother, Methodist bishop Warren Candler. Bishop Candler revealed the offer at a meeting of the church's Educational Commission in Atlanta. Commission members immediately voted to accept the donation, chose Atlanta as the site, and named Bishop Candler as the first chancellor of what would become Emory University. The movement for a new Methodist university came after a March 1914 Tennessee court decision that Vanderbilt University was under the control of its board of Trustees – not the Methodist Church.
1963 Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson broke Sam Rayburn's record of service in Congress of 48 years, 8 months, and 12 days.
Elected Nov. 3, 1914, Vinson would be reelected for 26 consecutive terms.
At the time of his retirement in January 1965, the Georgia Representative had served 50
years and two months in Congress, a record that would last 3 decades until
surpassed by Rep. Jamie Whitten of Mississippi on Jan. 6, 1992. Today, Carl Vinson ranks sixth in terms of continuous service in Congress, following Daniel Inouye, Jamie Whitten, John Dingell, Carl Hayden, and Robert Byrd (who has served over 57 years). Click here for the complete list of longest serving members of Congress.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1735 In this day's proceedings of the Georgia Trustees, the Earl of Egmont recorded their decision to send a variety of new colonists as well as servants to Georgia:
Source: Robert G. McPherson, The Journal of The Earl of Egmont: Abstract of the Trustees Proceedings for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962), pp. 98-99.
1865 From her home in Washington, Georgia, Eliza Frances Andrews recorded a sad parting of friends on this day, and commented how it was analogous to the passing of another way of life:
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 334-335.
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