The penultimate day of Julius Caesar’s month has seen some remarkable events with time. In glory etched some of them, some in gore. While some are enduring odes to the spirit of humanity, others are incriminating testimonies to the notion that we are a damned lot. Like a few of them marked the end of an era, some incidents heralded a new beginning. On the one hand, if there were revolutionary advancements, there were also regressive outrages. There were acts of courage and nobility, counterbalanced by acts of coward and malice. In a sense, that’s what history is all about: an account of a species struggling to claw its way through the darkness to light, often faltering, yet finding the heart to persist. In this chronicle for Today in history on July 30, we come across bloody racial riots, genocides, disasters, and coups. Still, as always, there are silver linings – there are counterpoints of goodness and hope. We come across human rights, eventually winning over blind faith in Ireland, a small island nation gaining its rightful independence from the power-hungry colonists. A corrupt head of state brought to his knees by a society that has not lost its moral compass; pioneers breaching frontiers hitherto unexplored.
Let’s discuss a few major historical events in Today’s history i.e., July 30
1619: First legislative assembly in America convenes in Jamestown
In Jamestown, Virginia, the first elected legislative assembly in the New World—the House of Burgesses—convenes in the town’s church choir.
Earlier that year, the London Company, which had established the Jamestown settlement 12 years before, directed Virginia Governor Sir George Yeardley to summon a “General Assembly” elected by the settlers, with every free adult male voting. Twenty-two representatives were chosen from the 11 Jamestown boroughs, and Master John Pory appointed as the assembly’s speaker. On July 30, the House of Burgesses (an English word for “citizens”) convened for the first time. Its first law, which, like all its laws, London Company would have to approve, at least three shillings per pound of tobacco are needed to sell. Other laws passed during its first six-day session included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, and idleness, and a measure that made mandatory Sabbath observance.
The creation of the House of Burgesses, along with other progressive measures, made Sir George Yeardley exceptionally popular among the colonists, and he served for two terms as Governor of Virginia.
1956: “In God, We Trust” Becomes the Official Motto of the US
On this day in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law a bill declaring “In God, We Trust” to become the Nation’s official motto. Under the legislation, Congress further mandated that on every domination of United States paper currency printed the phrase(in capital letters).
It serves as a replacement and, in few cases, an alternative to an earlier unofficial Latin motto of E Pluribus Unum (“Out of Many One”), adopted when the Second Confederation Congress created the Great Seal of the United States in the year 1782.
The motto first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864, during the Civil War, when religious sentiment reached a peak, according to the historical association of the U.S. Treasury. At a Flag Day speech in the year 1954, Eisenhower discussed why he had wanted to include “under God” in the Allegiance Pledge: “In this way, we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and coming future; in this way, we must constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in the time of peace and war.”
Rep. Charles Edward Bennett (D-Fla.) cited the Cold War when he introduced the bill in the House, saying: “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom of our nation, we should continually look for ways to strengthen the foundations of our nation’s freedom.”