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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 3 April 2013

Sweden flagOn this day in 1783, Sweden officially recognized the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Benjamin Franklin was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Sweden, although he was already serving as Minister Plenipotentiary to France. In Paris, Franklin was approached by the Swedish minister to France suggesting they enter into a treaty. Franklin informed Congress and they approved the negotiations to begin. The treaty was signed on this day in 1783 and ratified by both countries and made official just under a year later. 1

Alexander Majors - Pony ExpressIn 1860 on this day, the Pony Express between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California began. William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors were in the freight business and came up with the idea of the Pony Express. In two months’ time, they had assembled 156 stations, 120 riders, 400 horses and hundreds of employees. Majors gave each of the riders a Bible and required an oath be taken: “While I am in the employ of A. Majors, I agree not to use profane language, not to get drunk, not to gamble, not to treat animals cruelly and not to do anything else that is incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman. And I agree, if I William Bradford Waddell - Pony Expressviolate any of the above conditions, to accept my discharge without any pay for my services.” The Pony Express ran each week in each direction, averaging 10 days, 250 miles a day. In the mere 19 months the Pony Express existed, only one rider was killed by Indians and one bag of mail was lost, with the riders covering 650,000 miles by horseback. The business was short-lived and a financial failure for the three men, but it lives on as a piece of Americana. 2

On this day in 1962, California ratified the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. In 1947, Illinois and Oregon both ratified the 22nd Amendment. New Jersey ratified the 26th Amendment on this day in 1971, and Arizona ratified the 27th Amendment in 1985. 3

 

1 “A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, By Country, Since 1776: Sweden,” history.state.gov/countries/sweden
2 “The Pony Express,” The City of St. Joseph, Missouri, www.ci.st-joseph.mo.us/history/ponyexpress.cfm
3 “Ratification of Constitutional Amendments,” usconstitution.net/constamrat.html#gsc.tab=0

 

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