This Day in History: June 16

A photo of Lincoln’s speech at his second inauguration day

I Feel an Apology is Necessary…

Here I go again, neglecting my responsibilities. I’m sorry loyal readers, I got so swept up in yesterday’s Draft and NBA talk that I completely disrespected this column in the process, and for that I shame myself. I forgot my priorities, and when that happens I must make amends, so here goes.

1. 1858–> Lincoln’s House Divided Speech


A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

One of the greatest orators that America or the world has ever seen, Lincoln gave this famous speech in  and after accepting the Republican Party of Illinois’ Senate nomination. This was the same year and campaign that led to the famed Lincoln-Douglas Debates between Abe and Illinois Democrat Stephen Douglas over the Senate seat that Douglas held. Although it was unsuccessful, this campaign and speech not only set up honest Abe for a presidential run in 1860, but it also was pretty radical at the time. Lincoln talked about the federal government’s power in stopping slavery and, more important to Lincoln, preserving the Union. This idea/image of federal power had not been in the mainstream up to that point, so it rattled many people- a big tenet of early American political values was that government not be too powerful (checks and balances, term limits, the exit from under the thumb of a monarch, etc.). Especially after the civil war, Lincoln demonstrated that the US government not only had teeth, but would use them when necessary. Thanks Abe!


2. 1884–> First Roller Coaster in America Opens

June 16, 133 years ago, thrill seekers met their modern match. LaMarcus Thompson, a businessman and inventor, opened his Switchback Railway opened what would become known as the first roll roller coaster in the United States. The ride, which traveled at about 6 miles per hour and cost one whole nickel to ride, was an instant success and fueled a roller coaster craze before the turn of the century. We thank you greatly for your service, Mr. Thompson!

3. 1963–> Woman Goes to Space for the First Time

A little bit of herstory here, today marks the first time a woman traveled into space! Valentina Tereshkova, a cosmonaut from the Soviet Union, broke through the Earth’s atmosphere aboard the Vostok 6. Valentina was given the Order of Lenin and Hero of the Soviet Union awards for her work on this mission, and has also inspired many many many other women to get into the field of aerospace engineering and aeronautics. Thank you Valentina!!

4. Tupac Graces the World with his Presence

Today marks what would have been the 46th birthday of Tupac Amaru Shakur. In honor of his birthday the biopic on him, All Eyez on Me, will be released today, which to me seems like it has been a long time coming. But regardless, we here at basementbanter extend an enormous thank you and happy birthday to the man, the myth, the legend, Tupac Shakur. Some fun facts about Shakur to top off the morning history:

  • Tupac was actually born Lesane Parish Crooks
  • His parents were both members of the Black Panther Party, and his mother was actually let go on about 100 charges of conspiracy against NY landmarks and the government a month or so before he was born
  • He was a prominent figure in the West Coast Hip Hop scene, but was born in East Harlem NY
  • For people familiar with the hip hop group Digital Underground, Pac got his start with them as a break dancer
  • He was super into Sun Tzu, reading Art of War while serving his prison sentence

Welp, that’ll do it for today, but be sure to check back here later today for another installment of Countdown to Draft Day with Tasty Spoon!! Happy Friday people!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *