I assume just about everyone knows that one of the most important battles of the American Civil War was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1st through 3rd 1863.
For this reason, I am not writing about it in my blog. It is the 150th anniversary of the battle and there is a website dedicated to Gettysburg. http://www.civilwar.org/
In this post, I will write about a number of other events that occurred on this date in history.
July 1, 1874
The first US Zoo opens in Philadelphia. Although the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was chartered by the City of Philadelphia many years earlier (March 1859), the Philadelphia Zoo had its grand opening delayed until July 1, 1874 due to the American Civil War. It opened with 1,000 animals and an admission price of 25 cents. For a brief time, the zoo also housed animals brought over from safari on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, which had not yet built the National Zoo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_Zoo
July 1, 1898
Theodore Roosevelt and the Battle of San Juan Hill. The charge up an obscure Cuban hill on July, 1 1898 was a pivotal point in Theodore Roosevelt’s political career. When war broke with Spain in April of that year, Roosevelt was serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He immediately quit his position and helped form a regiment of volunteers. The “Rough Riders” enlisted cowboys and college men led by Roosevelt under the command of Leonard Wood. They arrived in Cuba in time to take part in the Battle of San Juan Hill.
America’s conflict with Spain was later described as a “splendid little war” and for Theodore Roosevelt it certainly was. His combat experience consisted of one week’s campaign with one day of hard fighting. “The charge itself was great fun” he declared, and “Oh, but we had a bully fight.” His actions during the battle earned a recommendation for the Congressional Medal of Honor but politics intervened and the request was denied. The rejection crushed Roosevelt. As though in consolation, the notoriety from the charge up San Juan Hill was instrumental in propelling him to the governorship of New York in 1899. The following year Roosevelt was selected to fill the Vice Presidential spot in President McKinley’s successful run for a second term. With McKinley’s assassination in September 1901, Roosevelt became President.
In the confusion surrounding their departure from Tampa, half the members of the Rough Riders were left behind along with all their horses. The volunteers made the charge up San Juan Hill on foot. They were joined in the attack by the 10th (Negro) Cavalry. The 10th never received the glory for the charge that the Rough Riders did, but one of their commanders – Captain “Black Jack” Pershing (who later commanded American troops in World War I) – was awarded the Silver Star. http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/roughriders.htm
July 1, 1943
The United States begins collecting taxes through payroll witholdings. Beginning in 1940, the tax burden increased enormously. As the government began to mobilize for participation in a gigantic global war, its revenue demands grew apace. Federal spending burgeoned from $9 billion in fiscal year 1940 to more than $98 billion in fiscal year 1945. Although the greater part of this spending upsurge was financed by borrowing, huge increases in tax collections also took place. In 1945, 50 million individual income-tax returns were filed, and the filers owed more than $19 billion, or almost 20 times the amount that Americans had coughed up for this tax just five years earlier.
Milton Friedman was an economist at the Treasury during the early part of the war. In his 1998 memoirs, Two Lucky People, written with his wife Rose, he observed: “It was clear to all of us at the Treasury, as we set out to multiply the amount of revenue to be collected from the personal income tax, that it would be impossible to do so unless we could develop a system to collect the taxes as the income was earned, not a year later.”
The main problem connected with switching to a “pay-as-you-go” system was that when the switch was made, the taxpayers would have to pay two years’ taxes in a single year—the amount due under the old system on the previous year’s earnings and the amount due under the new system on the current year’s earnings. Apart from the vociferous complaints such double-taxation was sure to produce, many people would simply be unable to make all the payments, especially when tax obligations were being increased drastically.
The transition problem sparked a great deal of debate in the government and among the public. Perhaps the leading proposal in 1942 came from Beardsley Ruml, the treasurer of R. H. Macy & Co., who was also the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ruml proposed to “forgive” the previous year’s tax liability completely when the switch to the pay-as-you-go system was made. The Treasury objected to allowing such a great amount of “forgiveness” and proposed an alternative, less-forgiving design.
After more than a year of wrangling in the bureaucracy and in Congress, the Current Tax Payment Act was signed into law on June 9, 1943 (effective July 1, 1943). It provided for a complicated partial-forgiveness transition. As Friedman described it, the law basically “canceled . . . one year’s tax obligations of $50 or less and 75 percent of the required tax on the lower of 1942 or 1943 income, requiring the remaining 25 percent to be paid in two equal annual installments.” After the system became fully operational, employers withheld almost $8 billion for income taxes in 1944 and more than $10 billion in 1945. http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2092