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WHY WE VOTE WHEN WE VOTE PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR


AMERICAN PATRIOT WHY WE VOTE WHEN WE VOTE

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6 PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM

8 TIP O’NEILL THE CONGRESSMAN’S CONGRESSMAN


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AMERICAN PATRIOT

COTTON CANDY

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK IN AMERICAN HISTORY


WHY WE VOTE WHEN WE VOTE

4 AMERICAN PATRIOT


With the hotly contested mid-term elections hurtling toward us, the question arose here at American Patriot as to why we vote when we vote. Here is what we found. The Constitution (Article II Section I) provides that Congress determines the date of elections. In 1845, Congress enacted a law providing that Tuesday after the first Monday of November as the national Election Day. Why choose that day instead of 364 others? First and foremost, it is key to remember that America was an agrarian society in its first century. Congress felt that November was the most convenient month for farmers and citizens living in rural areas to get to the polls. Preparing fields and planting crops consumed the spring and summer months. But by early November, the harvest was over and yet the weather still allowed travel. Second, Tuesday was selected because there were very few polling places in 1845, and for those traveling by foot or wagon, it could mean an overnight trip. If the election were held on Monday, people would have to leave on Sunday, the Sabbath. That was philosophically and politically untenable. So Tuesday was the next natural day.

month. Congress feared interrupting this pattern and also feared that an unusually good or bad economic month might influence the vote if it were held on the 1st. That was then. But does the explanation still hold up now that we are an urban and suburban nation? The answer is that, while the premises for the decision no longer exist, there is also no pressing reason to change. School is back in session and most summer vacations are over. The closest national holiday, Thanksgiving, is still almost a month away. And it is far enough from April 15 — the politicians hope — that we have forgotten about the last tax day and haven't started worrying about the next one. So why change?

Third, the second Tuesday was chosen for a couple of reasons. One is to keep Election Which leads to one final point. Free and Day from falling on the Catholic holiday of stable elections are a terrific achievement of All Saints Day (November I) and, also, mer- American democracy and American heroism. chants were accustomed to tallying their Any day is a great day to vote. sales and expenses, and doing their booksOUT THE FAIR’S WEBSITE CHECK FOR VISITOR INFORMATION for the previous month on the first of each


PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM Philadelphians can legitimately claim that their city is the cradle of American freedom and democracy. Bostonians may squawk, but the City of Brotherly Love bases its claim as the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted, and where the principles inspiring those documents took root at least 100 years before 1776. The historic downtown, planned on a grid by founder William Penn, is filled with landmarks from the Colonial and Constitutional period.

HERE ARE A FEW OF THE MUST-SEE LOCATIONS:

THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER Located on Independence Mall, this the first museum in the world devoted to dramatically telling the story of The United States Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 exhibits. INDEPENDENCE VISITORS CENTER Visitors discover a range of services, amenities and information you need to plan your visit to the Philadelphia area including Independence National Historical Park.

The Liberty Bell Center The Liberty Bell rang many times for public announcements, including announcing the first public reading of The Declaration of Independence. The bell, which weighs about 2,000 pounds, was silenced by a crack in 1846. The Center features exhibits about this icon of freedom. 6 AMERICAN PATRIOT

CONGRESS HALL Constructed between 1787 and 1789, Congress Hall served as the U.S. Capitol, the meeting place of Congress, from 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital of the United States. The House of Representatives met on the main floor, while the Senate assembled upstairs. OLD CITY HALL The United States Supreme Court met here from 1791 until 1800 when the capital was moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Early members of the Supreme Court included John Jay and John Marshall.


PHILOSOPHICAL HALL The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 as a home for thinkers about nature, machines, industry and governance. It was founded through the outgrowth of an idea fostered by Benjamin Franklin, and continues as the oldest learned society in the country. FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES Congress and President Washington chartered the bank in 1791 under the direction of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Architecturally, the building won wide acclaim upon its completion in 1797, and is an early example of Classical monumental design. CARPENTERS’ HALL Built in 1770, the First Continental Congress met to draw up a Declaration of Rights and Grievances and an appeal to King George III. This was in response to the Colonies’ outrage towards the British Parliament over punishing Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. During the Revolutionary War, Carpenters’ Hall served as a hospital and an arsenal for American forces. CHRIST CHURCH Often called the “Nation’s Church,” this Episcopalian church has been an active parish since 1695, and the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, Benjamin Rush and George Washington worshipped there. It is also where the American Episcopal Church was born. The steeple was the tallest structure in the Colonies for 83 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA

Independence Hall Independence Hall was built in 1732 as the Pennsylvania State House. The Second Continental Congress met here, the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, and the Constitutional Convention met to draft, debate and then sign The United States Constitution in 1787.

Betsy Ross House A row home built in 1740 has been restored to about the year 1777, and it commemorates Betsy Ross' legend and history. Ross was commissioned by George Washington to create the first American Flag. The descendants of Ross have passed her story down from generation to generation. AMERICAN PATRIOT 7


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TIP O’NEILL THE CONGRESSMAN'S CONGRESSMAN

8 AMERICAN PATRIOT


In one of the more polarizing Congressional elections in modern times, either Nancy Pelosi will continue as Speaker of the House or John Boehner will take her place. Neither has the reputation for reaching across the aisle and having friends in both parties as did political legend and Speaker extraordinaire Tip O’Neill. O’Neill served as Speaker from 1977-1987 and was best described by political rival Bob Dole as “the Congressman's Congressman.” The son of a bricklayer, O'Neill went to Catholic schools right on up through Boston College. A natural politician, he was elected to the State Legislature at the age of 21, and was Speaker of the state house by 1949. In 1952 he succeeded as the Congressman in John F. Kennedy’s old district when Kennedy moved to the Senate. O’Neill was part of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, but tempermentally was more a pragmatist and political fixer, rather than an ideologue. Consistently voting liberal — but getting along with everyone and compromising where he need to — he rose to speaker by 1977. O’Neill held this powerful post for the next ten years, longer than anyone. His tenure was marked by support of what he saw as the interests of the cities, the working people, the poor, the needy, the unemployed and the sick. “All politics is local,” he often said. A big, loud, charismatic and shrewd politician, he displayed effective leadership in a decade of political upheaval and became a good-natured counterpoint to

the increasingly conservative presidential politics of Ronald Reagan. During his leadership, the House adopted a new code of ethics, placed limits on outside income and introduced television coverage of its sessions. In the superheated take-no-prisoners politics of today, O’Neill is perhaps best remembered as a guy who got things done with a smile. Another former Speaker of the House, Thomas S. Foley, called Mr. O’Neill “the model of what a representative and a leader of the American people should be.” He mingled easily with Republicans and was able to cut deals and reach compromises in an atmosphere of trust. Robert Michel, Republican House minority leader in the mid-1990s, said of O’Neill at his death in 1994: “Partisanship was put aside, and we could be the best of friends.” Bob Dole, then head of the Senate, said that O’Neill “certainly will go down in history as one of the great political leaders of our time.”

BOSTON COLLEGE’S PERMANENT EXHIBIT OF THE SPEAKER’S LIFE

AMERICAN PATRIOT 9

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CONGRESSIONAL

MEDAL OF HONOR When Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor late last year, he became the most recent in a line of roughly 3,400 winners of this highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force. It is bestowed on a member of the armed forces who distinguishes him or herself “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.� Members of all branches of the military are eligible to receive the medal, and each service has a unique design with the exception of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, which both use the Navy's medal.

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LEFT TO RIGHT: The Army, Navy, and Air Force Medals of Honor

The first formal system for rewarding acts of individual gallantry by American soldiers was established by George Washington in 1782 as the Badge of Military Merit. This fell into disuse until a similar award for individual bravery was again instituted in 1847, after the outbreak of the Mexican War. Early in the Civil War, a medal for individual valor was proposed to Generalin-Chief of the Army Winfield Scott. But Scott felt medals smacked of European affectation and killed the idea. The medal found support in the Navy, however, where it was felt recognition of personal courage was needed. A provision for a Navy medal of valor was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Shortly after this, a resolution similar in wording was introduced on behalf of the Army. Signed into law soon thereafter, the measure provided for awarding a medal of

honor “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier like qualities, during the present insurrection.� Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration in 1863. Since the beginning of World War II, the medal has been awarded for extreme bravery beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy. Arising from these criteria, approximately 60 percent of the medals earned during and after World War II have been awarded posthumously. In all, 3,467 medals have been awarded to 3,448 different people. Nineteen men were double recipients, most by the Army followed by the Navy and the Marines. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE MEDAL OF HONOR

AMERICAN PATRIOT 11


AMERICA’S FUN FOODS

COTTON CANDY

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Cotton candy is associated in the minds of many Americans with circuses, amusement parks, the ballpark, summer days. Swirly, sticky, sweet – the essence of childhood. The story of cotton candy goes back as early

patented a slightly different cotton candy ma-

as the 1400’s, when European chefs spun

chine a year later and teamed up with the

elegant desserts out of sugar for nobility an

Ringling Bros. Circus, where it is still served

others who could afford it. The candy was

today. In these machines, sugar and coloring

formed into golden webs, eggs, bird’s nests,

is heated in a small, spinning container, which

castles and other fanciful creations. Easter

sits a large metal drum. The spinner has tiny

eggs were a particular favorite among Euro-

holes, which send the liquid sugar flying out

peans. Up until the late 1800’s, spinning sugar

in strands. Once the strands come in contact

was a difficult undertaking. Loafsugar, made

with the air, they become solid and forms

of cane or beets was used, as granulated sugar

threads on the sides of the bowl. In 1949, a

wasn’t invented until after World War One.

spring-based machine was introduced, which

Sugar, water and other ingredients were boiled

sped up the candy making process. More im-

in large pots until reaching the correct temper-

provements came in the 1970’s, when new

ature and consistency. Cooks were advised to

machines came online with high volume ca-

use only the best cane sugar and to use copper

pabilities. These machines produce a long

bowls for best results. When the melted con-

continuous mass of cotton candy, which is

coction was ready, the confectioner had a few

sliced, into rectangles. It can now be found in

brief moments to pull it from the bowl with a

stores packed in plastic bags. Special sugars

fork or whisk and then fling the hot mixture

have also been introduced that create longer

through the air. The strands would quickly

strands to give the candy greater texture.

cool and solidify in the air. Burns and blisters were common, as was failure.

These days the most popular color for cotton candy is pink, followed by blue. Other colors

Enter American inventiveness. Several Amer-

are occasionally seen. Plain sugar is the best

ican inventors are credited with cooking up the

seller, but flavors such as bubble gum are

first modern cotton candy machines. The first

increasingly available. Cotton candy has a long

patent was given to John C. Wharton and

and international ancestry, but Americans have

William Morris for their 1897 machine. The

taken it to our hearts. We’ve even created a

two partners debuted their new ‘fairy floss’ at

holiday — National Cotton Candy Day — that

the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 where it was

is celebrated each year in early December.

a success. Another American, Thomas Patton AMERICAN PATRIOT 13


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“In America, anybody can be president. That's one of the risks you take.” — ADLAI STEVENSON, 1900-1965 Famous for his intellect and dry humor, Stevenson was twice Democratic presidential candidate and was twice defeated soundly, in 1952 and 1956, by Dwight Eisenhower. CLICK HERE TO HEAR ADLAI STEVENSON’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN SPEECH

14 AMERICAN PATRIOT


THIS WEEK IN

AMERICAN HISTORY 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis burst on the scene when the U.S. discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba at the height of the Cold War. President John F. Kennedy took an aggressive approach, quarantining the island and staring down Soviet head Nikita Khruschev. It ended well, but for several days the world was on the brink of nuclear war between the two reigning superpowers. AMERICAN PATRIOT 15


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