World History 1789 Part 1
About the history of the world in 1789, the racehorse Eclipse dies, Washington elected first President, Louis XVI convenes a meeting at Versailles.
TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978
Feb. 27 Eclipse, perhaps the most famous racehorse in history, died. Born in England during the sun's eclipse of 1764 and bred by the Duke of Cumberland, his descendants today comprise the vast majority of the Thoroughbred breed. Horses that ran against him were rated 100-to-1 long shots. In one race at York, carrying 168 lb., Eclipse ran 4 mi. in 8 min. flat. (Secretariat's record-setting dash at Belmont of only 1 1/2 mi. was run in 2 min., 24 sec.; he was carrying 126 lb.) At Eclipse's death all England mourned. A hoof was set in gold and preserved for posterity.
Mar. 4 On the day designated by the Second Continental Congress for the new U.S. Congress to meet in New York the temporary capital, only 8 senators out of 22 and 13 representatives out of 59 had arrived, a state of affairs due in part to indifference and in part to impassable roads. By Apr. 6 a quorum was on hand. The electoral votes were counted, and Washington's election to the presidency was announced. John Adams, with the second-highest number of votes, won the vice-presidency. Washington was sent for; his journey to New York from Mount Vernon, one long ovation, took eight days.
May 5 Summoned by Louis XVI for the first time in 175 years, the French representative assembly, called the States-General, met at Versailles to deal with the government's desperate financial crisis. Traditionally the three "estates," or classes--clergy, nobility, and common people--had equal numbers of representatives and each cast a bloc vote, with the upper classes (clergy and nobility) dominating. This time, acceding to pressure for reform in a move he would later regret, Louis doubled the number of representatives allotted to the commoners. Numerically equal to the combined representation of the clergy and nobility, the commoners took over the meeting, declaring themselves the National Constituent Assembly. Ignoring the king's instructions and protests, the National Assembly proceeded to write a new French constitution. By June 27 the king was forced to recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly and its egalitarian voting procedure.
June The first public railway, with horse-drawn trains, was opened at Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, by civil engineer William Jessop. By 1802 Jessop had opened the Surrey Iron Railway, first public railway in London, a freight train using up to 15 horse-drawn wagons. According to an observer, the "horses" were actually " a miserable team of lean mules or donkeys."
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