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This Day In Founders History – 8 October
On this day in 1869, Virginia ratified the 14th and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution. The 14th Amendment defines citizenship as “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” including former slaves, who at the time had been recently freed. It also addresses apportionment of state representatives as “counting the whole number of persons in each State,” as opposed to counting slaves as 3/5ths of a person as stated in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The 15th Amendment says “the right of citizens…to vote shall not be denied…on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
See Mike’s introduction of why the 14th Amendment was never ratified, written by historian Forrest McDonald.
In 1778 on this day, Colonel William Butler launched a retaliatory attack on Mowhawk Chief Joseph Brant’s village of Unadilla in New York. Brant, with Loyalists and Iroquois, had raided German Flatts in mid-September, destroying homes, barns, crops, and confiscating livestock. Butler was determined to retaliate. As Butler and his troops approached Unadilla, it was realized that Brant and his men had deserted the village. Butler and the Continental soldiers proceeded to burn down every building, taking with them dozens of head of horses and cattle, but leaving the village a pile of ashes.