On This Day in History: March 13

March 13 is a sad day for those in Dunblane, as it is the anniversary of the deaths of 16 students and a teacher in a massacre. Here are events and birthdays from today in history.

1865: Black Troops Allowed into the Confederate Army

The decision wasn’t made lightly, but on this day in history black soldiers were allowed to fight in the Confederate Army. The Confederates needed more men, since the Union troops were much larger. The only option was allow the black men to fight for them, even though the Confederates didn’t want to do it. Arming the men meant that they Andrew Johnsonwould become free men. They couldn’t make them return to plantations afterwards, and slavery was the foundation of the Southern States. Arguments against allowing black men to fight included losing their slaves and the theory of slavery being wrong. While Confederate General Robert E. Lee wanted freedom to be a condition of the black soldiers joining, the bill that came in on this day never stipulated that condition. The movement was too late and did nothing to help the Confederate cause.

1868: Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial Starts

The first ever American president went through an impeachment trial, and it started on this day in history. President Andrew Johnson had been accused of violating the Tenure of Office Act the year earlier. Johnson had been elected as Abraham Lincoln’s vice president in 1864 and became president after his assassination a year later. The Republicans had not liked his policies, and rather than his lenient Reconstitution policy, the chose to pass their own radical one. They later passed the Tenure of Office Act, which meant that he could not remove federal office holders, including Cabinet members, despite his veto. He attempted to switch Edwin M. Stanton for General Ulysses S. Grant in 1867, but Grant handed the position back shortly after. Johnson removed Stanton completely in the February the next year, but he refused to leave. The House of Representatives decided Johnson had acted unconstitutionally, and the impeachment trial went ahead.

1970: Teens Vote in the First Election

Teenagers were given the first chance to vote today in history, during the Bridgwater by-election. Until now, the voting age was 21 but was reduced to 18. It was also the first time the ballot papers had the party names, as well as candidate names, and the polling stations remained open until 10pm. The Conservative Party won in the by-election, with Tom King becoming the new MP for Bridgwater. Party leader Edward Heath believed this was a sign the electorate had lost faith in the Labour Party.

1996: The Dunblane Massacre

It is the 20th anniversary of one of Britain’s most heartbreaking tragedies in recent history. Thomas Hamilton burst through the doors of Dunblane Primary School and into the gymnasium, before firing upon the children and staff in Louis of Valoisthe room. He killed 16 primary school-aged children and one teacher, before killing himself. There was another adult and 12 children injured. The village of 9,000 people were shocked and saddened by the news and it led to stricter gun control in Britain. It was the worst shooting in Britain since 1987.

Famous Birthdays on March 13

Louis of Valois, Duke of Orleans–1372

Pope Innocent XII—1615

Oxygen discoverer Joseph Priestly—1733

Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II–1741

Former Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey—1764

Former First Lady Abigail Powers Fillmore—1798

Photographer Albert William Stevens—1886

Letter from Paris writer Janet Flanner—1892

Peter and the Starcatchers author Ridley Pearson—1953

Good Luck Charlie actress Leigh-Allyn Baker—1972

British journalist Peaches Geldof—1989

Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition contestant Jordyn Jones—2000


Birthdays from HistoryNet.com, OnThisDay.com and FamousBirthdays.com

Featured image from Deposit Photos

Image of Andrew Johnson in the public domain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Johnson#/media/File:President_Andrew_Johnson.jpg

Louis of Valois: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_I,_Duke_of_Orl%C3%A9ans#/media/File:LouisOrlean_ChristinaPisan.jpg

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