The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776 to debate a resolution by Richard Henry Lee that the colonies declare their independence of Britain.
The first U.S. Postage stamps were issued on July 1, 1847 in New York City.
The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1, 1863.
Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War on July 1, 1898.
On July 1, 1956, a new Georgia flag bearing the state seal and a version of the Confederate Battle Flag became effective after being adopted by the Georgia General Assembly in the 1956 Session.
The current Georgia Constitution became effective on July 1, 1983 after its approval in a referendum during the November 1982 General Election.
Georgia native Clarence Thomas was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush on July 1, 1991.
We’ll get a bunch of flag stuff out of the way today.
Former Governor Roy Barnes gave an account of the 2001 state flag debate to CNN.
As governor of Georgia, I successfully pushed for the replacement of that flag during our 2001 legislative session.
Everywhere I appeared in public after the flag change, I was greeted with protesters — almost exclusively older white men — waving Georgia’s 1956 flag and the Confederate battle emblem itself. It did not come as a surprise. My predecessor as governor, Zell Miller, had a political near-death experience running for re-election in 1994 after attempting to persuade our Legislature to replace the 1956 flag in 1993.
Many believe my effort to change the flag led to my defeat for re-election in 2002. That year, the Georgia Republican Party’s candidates, including its gubernatorial nominee, promised that if elected, they would hold a referendum that would allow Georgians to vote to bring back the state flag with the Confederate battle emblem. The tactic worked. Republicans won the governor’s office for the first time since Reconstruction.
The Republican Party in the South created its modern dominance on racial division, building a supermajority of white voters to win elections. Ironically, this strategy now gives it the chance to bring change to our region in a way that would be much more difficult for Democrats such as me.
One example here in Georgia is Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s push to reform draconian sentencing laws that we have enacted over the last several decades. A Democratic governor would no doubt be attacked as “soft on crime” and be hard-pressed to garner significant GOP support for such an effort. A Republican governor, however, can make the case as an ally to his party’s legislators and supporters about the need for such reform.