...president Harry s. truman didn't have a middle name.
My name is Elliott L. Watson. My middle initial is L. and it stands for Lowther. The 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, had a middle initial and it was S. This middle initial stood for...S. Yes, S. By rights, there should be a second full stop (period) after those two S’s because not only do they come at the end of two separate sentences, they are also mandated by the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual to come with their own full stop (period). Confused? Just wait.
When Harry Truman was born he was to be given, like many of us, a middle name. His grandfather on his mother’s side was called Solomon Young; his grandfather on his father’s side was called Anderson Shipp Truman. Young Harry’s parents knew they would name him after one or the other but couldn’t decide immediately after his birth and, as a result, merely wrote his middle initial as ‘S’ on the register until a decision could be made. That decision was never forthcoming. Consequently, the future president went through life with a middle initial but no middle name.
Harry Truman was adamant that his middle initial be followed by a full stop (period), despite it not being short for anything. Whenever he signed his name - from boyhood to manhood - he deliberately and clearly nailed a full stop (period) to the space directly after his middle initial. The only exceptions to this were when he signed his name using a single stroke of the pen. Because of Truman's emphatic punctuation, and for reasons of consistency, the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual decided that all governmental documenting of President Truman’s middle initial must carry the S followed by full stop (period).
What’s in a name? In Harry S. Truman’s case, nothing. Apparently.
Dr. Elliott L. Watson
...that slavery in england wasn't abolished by wilberforce et al
If one thinks of those who led to the abolition of slavery in Britain, inevitably one thinks of Wilberforce, Prince, Equiano and Sharpe. After all, that is what I and countless others were taught at school. Their role in bringing about the ending of the abhorrent trade in human beings in legislation of 1807 and 1833 is rightly remembered as crucial. However, a detail that is easy to miss in this story is that there was no slavery in Britain itself, it was limited to the British Empire.
Slavery in England had been abolished way back in 1102 by the Statute of Westminster, overseen by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm. The capture and forced labour of men and women as slaves was a common feature throughout Europe in the eleventh century. Under the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons this was a trade in which England played an active part. However, in the 1102 Statute of Winchester a law was passed which included the provision
“let no one hereafter presume to engage in that nefarious trade in which hitherto in England men were usually sold like brute animals”
As is always the case in History, things are not as black as white as one might wish. After 1102 many people with in England remained unfree. They were forced to carry out unpaid labour services on their lord’s land, and were unable to leave without his permission, for which they were given the name of ‘villeins’. However, they could no longer be uprooted, shipped to far flung corners of the continent and sold to the highest bidder, as many of their fellow human beings would be over the next 700 years. For that there was reason for an Englishman to be grateful in 1102.
Co-Editor, Conal Smith
...THAT YOUR ENGLISH MEDIEVAL ANCESTORS WOULD MOST LIKELY HAVE BEEN TRAINED IN THE USE OF THE LONGBOW. bY LAW.
The ‘bow and arrow’ has etched itself into English folklore. The legend of ‘Robin Hood’ and his trials and tribulations in Nottinghamshire’s ‘Sherwood Forest’ is a testament to that! Indeed, the English Army won some key battles in medieval history - such as Falkirk in 1298 and Agincourt in 1415 - due largely to their proficiency, skill and experience with the longbow. However, did you know that if you have English ancestry dating back to this period, then it is highly likely that you have ancestors who used the longbow, even if they didn’t fight in any battles during this period?
This is because English men during Medieval times were compelled to use the longbow - by law. In 1285, archery targets were set up in every English town by King Edward I as part of the 1285 ‘Statute of Winchester’. To take this a step further, King Edward III mandated in 1363 that archery practice was mandatory on every feast day, Sunday and holiday for adult men. Therefore, by law, every English man able to do so had to take part:
… every man ... if he be able-bodied, shall, upon holidays, make use, in his games, of bows and arrows... and so learn and practise archery.
The reason for this is clear. The longbow had largely transformed the nature of warfare by this point in time. English Kings wanted (and needed!) to be able to call upon a reservoir of talented longbowmen from across the realm during times of War, which were pretty frequent during the Hundred Years' War, 1337 to 1453. Therefore, even if your English ancestors were fortunate enough to escape the horrors of the medieval battlefield, it is highly unlikely that they managed to elude the use of the longbow.
...that the Titanic was one of three near-identical ships built by the White Star Line.