Friday, October 28, 2011

Falling on a sword

October 23rd
On this day in 43 B.C. Marcus Junius Brutus commits suicide after his defeat at the second battle of Philippi.  Brutus was the leading conspirator in the murder of Julius Caesar two years prior and had joined forces with Cassius to try and restore the republic. He thought he would be treated as a hero, but instead the deceitful act plunged Rome into another civil war. He and the troops that were loyal to the republic started a series of battles against Caesars heir, Octavian, and Mark Antony. Cassius had killed himself at an earlier battle and once he was defeated, Brutus decided to kill himself rather than face the shame of being taken prisoner.

On this day in 1921 the body of the American soldier chosen to be the "Unknown soldier" from WWI was taken from France and placed on a boat to the United States. The symbolic choice of having one body represent all those lost in the field of battle is one that instills pride in many who choose to fight for their country, and especially for those who lost loved ones in battle and never got closure.

On this day in 1855 the start of "Bleeding Kansas" occurred when rival governments take claim to the government of the state of Kansas after a controversial election. President Franklin Pierce decided the best way to decide if the territory of Kansas should be a slave or free state was to leave it up to those who lived there. Seems simple enough, but this was a very heated decision, and many settlers moved in to try and sway their side towards victory. To complicate matters "border ruffians" from Missouri decided to vote anti-slavery, even though they weren't citizens of Kansas. Violence would become common place in the coming months as those from both sides would intimidate rivals into leaving Kansas.

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