This Week in History: Nov. 6 - 11

Franklin D. Roosevelt reviews the Pacific Fleet from aboard the USS Houston. San Francisco Bay, July 14, 1938.  On Nov. 7, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt won his fourth consecutive presidential election.  (FDR Presidential Library & Museum/Flickr Creative Commons) 

Franklin D. Roosevelt reviews the Pacific Fleet from aboard the USS Houston. San Francisco Bay, July 14, 1938.  On Nov. 7, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt won his fourth consecutive presidential election.  (FDR Presidential Library & Museum/Flickr Creative Commons) 

Over the coming days we will celebrate the anniversaries of several critically important American and global events. Here is a quick rundown of this week in history.

On Nov. 6, 1962, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the actions of the South African Apartheid government. Leaders in South Africa had faced intense criticism over the racist actions by the governing body, but this marked the first major collective step towards global condemnation of apartheid. This all-white government was able to impose racist laws affecting nearly every aspect of South African life, even though the majority of the population was non-white. Despite outrage from both inside and outside South Africa, apartheid law remained in effect until 1994, when a new South African Constitution was ratified and Nelson Mandela was elected the new president of the country. Mandela had spent 27 years in jail from 1962 until his release in 1990. He had been charged with conspiracy to overthrow the apartheid government with the African National Congress and as a leader of a guerilla militia group. He would serve as president until 1999, setting the standard for all future South African leaders.

On Nov. 7, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt won his fourth consecutive presidential election. He was the first person to ever serve more than two terms, a precedent that had been started by George Washington. Roosevelt won his first election in 1932 and successfully led the country through the Great Depression. He enacted program after program to stimulate the American economy, but it would take the entire social mobilization of the country during World War II to fully recover from the economic hardship. At the end of his second term, Roosevelt believed that a change of leadership on the cusp of one the most important periods of American history would be detrimental to the country and he decided to run again. His decision to seek a fourth term was based on seeing America through to the end of the war. Tragically, Roosevelt passed away suddenly on April 12, 1945, leaving Vice President Harry Truman as the new president. There was an entire generation of Americans that had only ever known one president, and Roosevelt is consistently regarded as one of the best leaders this country had.

On Nov 8, 1805, the Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean after over a year of exploration. When Thomas Jefferson signed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, he ordered Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to form an expedition to study the new area. The Corps began its trip on May 14, 1804 and after leaving St. Louis, the westernmost American settlement at the time, were officially in uncharted territory. Their duty was to observe and gather as much information as possible about the area and inform Jefferson on the new part of the country, specifically what economic advantages the land would provide.

And lastly, on Nov. 10, 1871, Henry Morton Stanley found David Livingstone in central Africa. Livingstone was a borderline mythical hero in English society, and he disappeared into the Congo on a missionary trip. After years without contact, Stanley was dispatched by the New York Herald to find Livingstone. Stanley found him in the town Ujiji, located in Tanzania, and uttered the now famous words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Livingstone would never return to England and he died and was buried in Africa in 1873. There has been continual speculation as to whether or not Stanley actually said his famous line, but regardless, it still makes for a great story.


Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at seamus.mckeever@uconn.edu.