1901 – The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops

Platt Amendment

Platt Amendment, rider appended to the U.S. Army appropriations bill of March 1901, stipulating the conditions for withdrawal of U.S. troops remaining in Cuba since the Spanish-American War and molding fundamental Cuban-U.S. relations until 1934. Formulated by the secretary of war, Elihu Root, the amendment was presented to the Senate by Sen. Orville H. Platt of Connecticut.

By its terms, Cuba would not transfer Cuban land to any power other than the United States, Cuba’s right to negotiate treaties was limited, rights to a naval base in Cuba (Guantánamo Bay) were ceded to the United States, U.S. intervention in Cuba “for the preservation of Cuban independence” was permitted, and a formal treaty detailing all the foregoing provisions was provided for. To end the U.S. occupation, Cuba incorporated the articles in its 1901 constitution. In 1902 the United States withdrew its troops, and Cuba became a republic. Although the United States intervened militarily in Cuba only twice, in 1906 and 1912, Cubans generally considered the amendment an infringement of their sovereignty. In 1934, as part of his Good Neighbor policyPres. Franklin D. Roosevelt supported abrogation of the amendment’s provisions except for U.S. rights to the naval base under Article VII:

To enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations, at certain specified points, to be agreed upon with the President of the United States.


The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

In the Library … Dr Suess

Happy Birthday ! repost

dr.suessin 1904, Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator of such beloved children’s books as “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel, who used his middle name (which was also his mother’s maiden name) as his pen name, wrote 48 books–including some for adults–that have sold well over 200 million copies and been translated into multiple languages. Dr. Seuss books are known for their whimsical rhymes and quirky characters, which have names like the Lorax and the Sneetches and live in places like Hooterville.

Geisel, who was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was editor of the school’s humor magazine, and studied at Oxford University. There he met Helen Palmer, his first wife and the person who encouraged him to become a professional illustrator. Back in America, Geisel worked as a cartoonist for a variety of magazines and in advertising.

The first children’s book that Geisel wrote and illustrated, “And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” was rejected by over two dozen publishers before making it into print in 1937. Geisel’s first bestseller, “The Cat in the Hat,” was published in 1957. The story of a mischievous cat in a tall striped hat came about after his publisher asked him to produce a book using 220 new-reader vocabulary words that could serve as an entertaining alternative to the school reading primers children found boring.

Other Dr. Seuss classics include “Yertle the Turtle,” “If I Ran the Circus,” “Fox in Socks” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”

Some Dr. Seuss books tackled serious themes. “The Butter Battle Book” (1984) was about the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “Lorax” (1971) dealt with the environment.

Many Dr. Seuss books have been adapted for television and film, including “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Horton Hears a Who!” In 1990, Geisel published a book for adults titled “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” that became a hugely popular graduation gift for high school and college students.

Geisel, who lived and worked in an old observatory in La Jolla, California, known as “The Tower,” died September 24, 1991, at age 87.

history… march 2

1807 – The U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

1836 – Texas declared its independence from Mexico and an ad interim government was formed.

1861 – The U.S. Congress created the Territory of Nevada.

1866 – Excelsior Needle Company began making sewing machine needles.

1877 – In the U.S., Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election by the U.S. Congress. Samuel J. Tilden, however, had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.

1887 – The American Trotting Association was organized in Detroit, MI.

1897 – U.S. President Cleveland vetoed legislation that would have required a literacy test for immigrants entering the country.

1899 – Mount Rainier National Park in Washington was established by the U.S. Congress.

1899 – U.S. President McKinley signed a measure that created the rank of Admiral for the U.S. Navy. The first admiral was George Dewey.

1900 – The U.S. Congress voted to give $2 million in aid to Puerto Rico.

1901 – The first telegraph company in Hawaii opened.

1901 – The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

1903 – The Martha Washington Hotel opened for business in New York City. The hotel had 416 rooms and was the first hotel exclusively for women.

1906 – A tornado in Mississippi killed 33 and did $5 million in damage.

1907 – In Hamburg, Germany, dock workers went on strike after the end of the night shift. British strike breakers were brought in. The issue was settled on April 22, 1907.

1908 – In New York, the Committee of the Russian Republican Administration was founded.

1908 – In Paris, Gabriel Lippmann introduced three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences.

1911 – Maurice Maeterlinck’s “The Bluebird” opened in Paris.

1917 – The Russian Revolution began with Czar Nicholas II abdicating.

1917 – Citizens of Puerto Rico were granted U.S. citizenship with the enactment of the Jones Act.

1925 – State and federal highway officials developed a nationwide route-numbering system and adopted the familiar U.S. shield-shaped, numbered marker.

1929 – The U.S. Court of Customs & Patent Appeals was created by the U.S. Congress.

1933 – The motion picture King Kong had its world premiere in New York.

1939 – The Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. These first ten amendments had gone into effect 147 years before.

1946 – Ho Chi Minh was elected President of Vietnam.

1949 – The B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II landed in Fort Worth, TX. The American plane had completed the first non-stop around-the-world flight.

1962 – Wilt ‘The Stilt’ Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks 169-147. Chamberlain broke several NBA records in the game.

1969 – In Toulouse, France, the supersonic transport Concorde made its first test flight.

1974 – Postage stamps jumped from 8 to 10 cents for first-class mail.

1983 – The U.S.S.R. performed an underground nuclear test.

1984 – The first McDonald’s franchise was closed. A new location was opened across the street from the old location in Des Plaines, IL.

1985 – The U.S. government approved a screening test for AIDS that detected antibodies to the virus that allowed possibly contaminated blood to be kept out of the U.S.’s blood supply.

1986 – Corazon Aquino was sworn into office as president of the Philippines. Her first public declaration was to restore the civil rights of the citizens of her country.

1987 – The U.S. government reported that the median price for a new home had gone over $100,000 for the first time.

1989 – Representatives from the 12 European Community nations all agreed to ban all production of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) by the end of the 20th century.

1995 – Russian anti-corruption journalist Vladislav Listyev was killed by a gunman in Moscow.

1995 – Nick Leeson was arrested for his role in the collapse of Britain’s Barings Bank.

1998 – The U.N. Security Council endorsed U.N. chief Kofi Annan’s deal to open Iraq’s presidential palaces to arms inspectors.

1998 – Images from the American spacecraft Galileo indicated that the Jupiter moon Europa has a liquid ocean and a source of interior heat.

2000 – In Great Britain, Chile’s former President Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was freed from house arrest and allowed to return to Chile. Britain’s Home Secretary Jack Straw had concluded that Pinochet was mentally and physically unable to stand trial. Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland had sought the former Chilean leader on human-rights violations.

2003 – Over the Sea of Japan, there was a confrontation between four armed North Korean fighter jets and a U.S. RC-135S Cobra Ball. No shots were fired in the encounter in international airspace about 150 miles off North Korea’s coast. The U.S. Air Force announced that it would resume reconnaissance flights on March 12.

2004 – NASA announced that the Mars rover Opportunity had discovered evidence that water had existed on Mars in the past.

2011 – Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s iPad 2.

2016 – The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved sanctions on North Korea that included mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea, a ban on all sales and transfers of small arms and light weapons and expulsion of diplomats that engage in “illicit activities.” The sanctions were in reaction to the latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.

2016 – Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after 340 days in space aboard the International Space Station.


1807 – The U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

See the source image

Excerpt from “Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves”
Passed on March 2, 1807
Published in Documents of American History, edited by
Henry S. Commager, 1943


After the American Revolution ended in 1783, the matter of slavery grew more and more controversial among the states. The slave population was growing rapidly, because slave families were having children and plantation owners were importing even more slaves from Africa. The largest concentration of slaves was in the South, where large farms of tobacco, rice, and cotton required many laborers. The Northern states did not need large numbers of slaves, and some of them began to pass legislation to end slavery. In 1777, Vermont had become the first state to prohibit slavery. By 1783, other Northern states had chosen to end slavery and were gradually phasing it out.

Slavery was such a controversial issue in the 1780s that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution avoided the subject as much as possible during the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. The convention began in May, but the topic of slavery did not come up until July. The convention delegates did not want to risk conflict over slavery between Northern and Southern states. They feared it might cause states to withdraw from the convention. They realized that the issue of slavery had to be handled very carefully or it could destroy the convention.

In early July, the delegates voted that the number of representatives in the lower house (House of Representatives) would be determined by each state’s population—one representative elected for every forty thousand residents. The population was to be determined by a census taken every ten years beginning in 1790. The delegates next had to determine which persons should be counted in the census.  

Northern delegates did not think slaves should be counted at all; they argued that slaves were not citizens and could not vote and therefore should not have representation in Congress. The Northern states took this position because they had very few slaves and did not want the Southern states to gain representatives by counting their large slave population. To increase their representation, Southern states wanted everyone counted, including slaves. Slaves made up about 44 percent of the population in South Carolina, 41 percent in Virginia, and about one-third of the other Southern states’ populations. On July 16, the delegates agreed to the Three-Fifths Compromise. Under this plan, each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person. Or, to put it another way, every five slaves would count as three free inhabitants.

The convention delegates adjourned between July 26 and August 6. When they returned, refreshed from their break, they confronted more-difficult matters that had earlier been set aside in a catchall category labeled “postponed matter.” Included in these issues was the question of whether the United States should continue to participate in the international slave trade. The Northern states wanted to halt the importation of slaves, and the Southern states did not. The resulting compromise, which is contained in Article 1, Section 9, of the Constitution, prevented Congress from outlawing the importation of slaves until 1808. Both sides felt they had achieved a victory. Those opposed to slavery saw a time in the future when Congress could halt the importation of slaves. Those in favor of keeping slavery assumed they would prevail in any future debates. The terms “slave” and “slavery” were not used anywhere in the Constitution. Instead, those drafting the document used “such Persons” and “other Persons” to refer to slaves (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1 and Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3).

The importation of slaves from Africa continued through the 1790s and into the next decade. Meanwhile, the Southern states began planting different crops. Farmers in Maryland and northern Virginia planted less tobacco and more wheat, a crop that required fewer field-workers. The more southerly states greatly expanded their cotton and sugarcane crops, both of which required many laborers. Maryland and northern Virginia farmers sold their excess slaves to the more southerly states.

The ban on congressional action to stop slave importation was in effect until 1808. As that year approached, President Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826; served 1801–9) began encouraging the nation to prohibit slave importation permanently. In December 1806, in his Sixth Annual Message (a written version of what is now the spoken State of the Union address), Jefferson wrote, “I congratulate you, fellow-citizens, on the approach of the period at which you may interpose [use] your authority constitutionally to withdraw the citizens of the United States from all further participation in those violations of human rights which have been so long continued on the unoffending inhabitants of Africa.” By March 1807, legislation was moving through Congress to prohibit slave importation. The legislation, titled the “Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves,” follows. It passed through Congress easily, partly because there was a surplus of slaves in Maryland and Virginia at the time, and the surplus was filling the needs of the lower South. The prohibition took effect on January 1, 1808.

Things to remember while reading excerpts from “Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves”:

  • The act prohibited slave importation into the United States. It did not prohibit slavery or slave trade within the United States.
  • Congress was careful to cover all bases with this legislation. The act prohibited bringing persons into the United States for the purposes of slavery, but it did not stop there. It also stated that any ship outfitted for slave trade would be seized. Also, under the same legislation, people would be fined for taking on board their ships individuals intended to be sold into slavery in the United States. The act also made it illegal for anyone to purchase or sell a slave that the person knew had been imported from another country after the act took effect.
  • Section 7 allowed the U.S. president to use the nation’s military ships to patrol any coastal waters where illegal slave importation was taking place. The military ships could seize any slave ships they found and bring them into U.S. ports.
  • The act successfully ended the importation of slaves into the United States.
    Excerpt from “Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves”
    An Act to prohibit the importation of Slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and eight.

Be it enacted, That from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, it shall not be lawful to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro,mulatto, or person of colour as a slave, or to be held to service or labour.

Sec. 2. That no citizen or citizens of the United States, or any other person, shall, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eight, for himself, or themselves, or any other person whatsoever … build, fit, equip, load or otherwise prepare any ship or vessel, in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, nor shall cause any ship or vessel to sail from any port or place within the same, for the purpose of procuring any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, to be transported to any port or place whatsoever, within the jurisdiction of the United States, to be held, sold, or disposed of as slaves, or to be held to service or labour: and if any ship or vessel shall be so fitted out for the purpose aforesaid, or shall be caused to sail so as aforesaid, every such ship or vessel, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, shall be forfeited to the United States, and shall be liable to be seized, prosecuted, and condemned in any of the circuit courts or district courts for the district where the said ship or vessel may be found or seized. …

Sec. 4. If any citizen or citizens of the United States, or any person resident within the jurisdiction of the same, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, take on board, receive or transport from any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or from any other foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, in any ship or vessel, for the purpose of selling them in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States as slaves, or to be held to service or labour, or shall be in any ways aiding or abetting therein, such citizen or citizens, or person, shall severally forfeit and pay five thousand dollars. …

Sec. 6. That if any person or persons whatsoever, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, purchase or sell any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, for a slave, or to be held to service or labour, who shall have been imported, or brought from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, or from the dominions of any foreign state, immediately adjoining to the United States, into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, after the last day of December, one thousand eight hundred and seven, knowing at the time of such purchase or sale, such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, was so brought within the jurisdiction of the United States, as aforesaid, such purchaser and seller shall severally forfeit and pay for every negro, mulatto, or person of colour, so purchased or sold as aforesaid, eight hundred dollars. …

Sec. 7. That if any ship or vessel shall be found, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, in any river, port, bay, or harbor, or on the high seas, within the jurisdictional limits of the United States, or hovering on the coast thereof, having on board any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, for the purpose of selling them as slaves, or with intent to land the same, in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, contrary to the prohibition of this act, every such ship or vessel, together with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods or effects which shall be found on board the same, shall be forfeited to the use of the United States, and may be seized, prosecuted, and condemned, in any court of the United States, having jurisdiction thereof. And it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, and he is hereby authorized, should he deem it expedient, to cause any of the armed vessels of the United States to be manned and employed to cruise on any part of the coast of the United States, or territories thereof, where he may judge attempts will be made to violate the provisions of this act, and to instruct and direct the commanders of armed vessels of the United States, to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United States all such ships or vessels, and moreover to seize, take, or bring into any port of the U.S. all ships or vessel of the U.S., wheresoever found on the high seas,contravening the provisions of this act. …

What happened next …

Though slaves could no longer be legally imported into the United States, the slave population continued to grow rapidly through natural population growth. By 1810, there were approximately 1.2 million slaves in the United States, up from nine hundred thousand in 1800; by 1820, the slave population had reached 1.5 million. In 1810, 40 percent of slaves still lived in Maryland and Virginia, but the shift of the slave population to areas farther south continued. Further, two states situated on the western frontier, Kentucky and Tennessee, had roughly seventy-five thousand slaves by 1810. Most had been moved from Maryland and Virginia. The purchase of Louisiana from France in 1803, which was already a slavery area under Spain’s control, resulted in increased slavery for the United States in the lower Mississippi River. As new Western territories sought statehood through the 1820s, slavery would become a major social and political issue in America, eventually leading to the bloody Civil War (1861–65).