Today in History: Dec. 2

“To be a king is to inherit old ideas and genealogy. I don’t want to descend from anyone.”—Napoleon Bonaparte

On this date in 1804, Napoleon was crowned (or crowned himself) Emperor Napoleon 1 of France, because he did not want to be merely king.

The crown was one that had been designed for him, as the crown worn by the King of France was destroyed during the French Revolution. As Pope Pius VII brought it forward, he took the crown from the pope’s hands and placed it on his head himself, in order to forestall any potential papal claim over his throne. In November, French voters had approved Napoleon’s new constitution, which named him emperor, by a 99.93% to 0.07% margin.

Napoleon then crowned his wife, Joséphine, empress.

A portion of Jacques-Louis David’s huge (20 feet tall by 32 feet long!) 1808 painting of the moment in which Napoleon crowned himself is at top.

* * * *
Enron filed for bankruptcy 15 year ago today.

* * * *
Until the election of 1848, American voters cast their ballots throughout the month of November in election years.

The Presidential elections that concluded on December 2 are: the election of 1812, in which James Madison was re-elected; the election of 1824, in which John Quincy Adams was elected to his one term; 1828, in which Andrew Jackson defeated Adams; and 1840, in which William Henry Harrison defeated President Martin Van Buren.

* * * *
La Guardia Airport began operations on this date in 1939.

* * * *
Boeing gave the public its first view of its new plane, the 747, in a transcontinental flight(Seattle to New York City) on this date in 1969. Two weeks later, the first 747 was delivered to Pan Am, and the plane was certified by the FAA at the end of the year. According to Boeing, the company has built and delivered 1527 of the various 747 models (there have been 21 models) between 1969 and November 2016.

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Philip Larkin died on this date in 1985. Desi Arnaz died 30 years ago today. Aaron Copland died on this date in 1990. Robertson Davies died 21 years ago today; a quote from him: “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” Ron Santo died six years ago today.

* * * *
Adolph Green was born in 1914 on this date. Maria Callas was born on this date in 1923. “È Strano …” from La Traviata:

Jonathan Frid was born on this date in 1924. Julie Harris was born on this date in 1925. Gianni Versace was born 70 years ago today.

* * * *
Edwin Meese is 85. Senator Harry Reid is 77 today. Cathy Lee Crosby is 72. Penelope Spheeris is 71. T. Coraghessan Boyle is 68. Stone Phillips is 62. Ann Patchett is 53. Rena Sofer is 48. Monica Seles is 43. Jason Collins is 38. Britney Spears is 35.

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One comment

  1. Julie · December 2, 2016

    Thanks for the Maria Callas clip. It brought pleasant childhood memories to my Friday morning.


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