Sept. 19 - 22: This week in history

The Battle of Saratoga took place, "The Hobbit" was published, and President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary order stating he would free all slaves in the Confederate States this week in history.  (Bart/Flickr Creative Commons)

The Battle of Saratoga took place, "The Hobbit" was published, and President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary order stating he would free all slaves in the Confederate States this week in history.  (Bart/Flickr Creative Commons)

American and world history were shaped greatly by the events that took place over these coming days. Here is a quick rundown of some of the more important moments in this week in history.

On Sept. 19, 1777, the first Battle of Saratoga took place in upstate New York during the Revolutionary War. The British forces were led by general John Burgoyne against the Continental Army, led by general Horatio Gates. Burgoyne’s forces would be surrounded by militia and would eventually surrender on Oct. 17.

This was incredibly pivotal for the American cause as it would lead France to officially lend their support to the Revolution. Previously, they had been providing arms and ammunition to the small army, but this impressive defeat of an esteemed British officer would convince them to send troops and ships as well. The French Navy would be responsible for preventing general Cornwallis from retreating from the battle of Yorktown, culminating in the official end of the war.

On Sept. 21, 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien's book “The Hobbit” was first published. Receiving universal positive reviews, “The Hobbit” would be hailed as one of the greatest children’s books of all time. It would go on to produce record sales and would act as a prelude to Tolkien’s more famous and expansive work, “The Lord of the Rings.”

Featuring many of the same places and characters as “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings” would build upon the original story with a darker and more serious tone. Interest in the series would increase again in 2001 with the release of the first film of a trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.

On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary order stating he would free all slaves in the Confederate States that were still in rebellion against the Union by Jan. 1, 1863. True to his word, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in the middle of the Civil War. It declared all slaves in areas of open rebellion free and allowed recently freed able-bodied men to join the Union forces and fight.

The Proclamation did not free any slaves in the Union states and slavery would still have to be officially abolished by the 13th Amendment. The Civil War would come to a close on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant.


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