Griffin Paul Jackson

September 18: Battle of Chicka-what?

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2012 at 1:00 am


Brought to you by The Civil War Trust

July 13: Go West, Young Man

In Politics on July 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

The events of this day in 1787 prove the importance of planning ahead. It was on July 13 of that year, only a few years after the birth of the United States of America, that the Second Continental Congress approved the Northwest Ordinance, a document chartered in preparation for dealing with westward expansion.

The Ordinance permitted the creation of between three and five states within the Northwest Territory, an area that would ultimately be split into the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Each new territory would be granted representation in Congress once it reached five thousand free, male, of-age inhabitants. The territories were not actually granted statehood or a state constitution until it reached a population of 60,000, so they kind of got the shaft there. However, the Ordinance did propel education in the territories. It also banned slavery.

Not only were state boundaries drawn up as a result of the Northwest Ordinance, it also gave us townships, which were six-mile by six-mile squares measured by government surveyors. The townships were then split into smaller 640-acre plots, which could be sold to settlers. Though the Ordinance was drawn up and accepted in 1787, the first territory in the Northwest Territories to be granted statehood (Ohio) didn’t receive it until 1803. Wisconsin, the last of the five to enter the Union, didn’t receive statehood until 1848, more than sixty years after the Ordinance passed.

July 12: Money, Money, Money

In Politics on July 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm

If you thought you were strapped for cash, just look at what American workers were making in 1933. On this day in that year, the very first minimum wage law was passed. It was included in the National Industrial Recovery Act, which sought to boost the US economy as it tried to escape the Great Depression. The law established the minimum wage at $0.25 cents.

Check out this infographic from 2010.

Minimum Wage in the US

Today, $0.25 cents seems absurd. Still, the law was declared unconstitutional two years later and a federal minimum wage was altogether abolished, not to be established again until 1938. The evolution of minimum wage shows that it’s not quite keeping pace with the rising cost of living. The minimum wage reached $1.00 in 1956. It didn’t reach $2.00 until 1974. It didn’t pass $5.00 until the late 1990s, and it stayed fairly static through the 2000s, until a sudden and dramatic lift that boosted the current minimum wage to $7.25.

Of course, individual states are not always bound to the federally-established minimum wage. Wyoming’s minimum wage is hovering about $5.00 while Washington’s is over $9.00. Looks like we’re all moving to Washington.