News Displays: 10th Amendment Is Ratified, Friday, 12/15Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check the news postings on Learning at the Library, where you can delve into history.
December 15, 1791 marks the day when the Bill of Rights became law, for Virginia became the last state to ratify and make the first ten amendments part of the U.S. Constitution. The 10th amendment, in particular, stipulated, "Rights not given to the federal government or prohibited the state governments by the Constitution, are reserved to the States… or to the people". This clause expresses the principle of federalism and states' rights; in other words, the federal government possesses the powers delegated to it by the Constitution, with all remaining powers reserved for the states or people.
The first manned mission to the moon, Apollo 8 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on December 21, 1968. Frank Borman, James Lovell, Jr., and William Anders were the first astronauts to enter orbit around the moon -- not just once, but ten times -- sending images of the Earth and moon back to the United States. Apollo 8 landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on December 27, having left lunar orbit on Christmas Day, 1968. This journey paved the way for Apollo 11, the first manned mission to walk on the moon; astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin set foot there on July 20, 1969.
On December 4, 1952, a high pressure mass descended on Thames River Valley, causing residents to burn extra fuel to offset sudden cold temperatures. Air pollution, namely smoke, soot, and carbon dioxide from industries, cars, and consumers, then caused extremely heavy smog to spread over hundreds of miles. Within a few days, it was so thick and dark that disaster ensued; it is estimated that as many as twelve thousand people were killed, either by inhalation, or as a result of vehicular or other accidents. As a result the British government discouraged the use of coal in homes and set rules to better control air pollution.