William Wilberforce

188 years ago today, on July 26, 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act passed its third reading in the House of Commons, ensuring the end of slavery in the British Empire. It was authored by William Wilberforce.

August 24 marks the birthday of British statesman and England’s greatest abolitionist William Wilberforce. He was a man well known to the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution and became not just a politician, philanthropist, and abolitionist, but also a writer of such popularity (in his own day) as C.S. Lewis was in the 20th century. As I mentioned in my first article on…


While the modern Olympic Games go back to 1896, the ancient Olympic Games reach back as far as 776 B.C. and beyond. While historians hang the beginning on that date, it seems the Games had been going on for several centuries before the 8th century B.C. Held originally in Olympia, Greece — a sister city of my town of Colorado Springs, the home of the U.S. Olympic Training Center — the games were dedicated to Zeus, father of the Olympian gods, and the site was one of the most important religious centers in Greece.

The ancient Games were more religious…


Fifty-two years ago today, at 3:17 Eastern Time, July 20, 1969, the first human stepped out of the Apollo 11 lunar module onto the moon. With the immortal words of the 38-year-old Neil Armstrong:

“That’s one small step for (a) man,
one giant leap for mankind.”

…the first man in history began an excursion on the moon that lasted over two and a half hours.

Five hundred million people watched it on television. Everyone I knew watched it.

Moon Landing: The Mission

Eight years previously, in May of 1961, President John F. …


Each year on July 14, Bastille Day is celebrated to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille in Paris on this date in 1789, an important date in the French Revolution. Also known as French National Day, it features feasting, fireworks, public dancing, and an address by the French President.


Today is National French Fry Day. While no one knows who began this celebration, placing in on July 13 is significant in that the important French holiday is the next day, July 14, for Bastille Day.

History of French Fries

Some French people might call the delectable potato confection Belgian Fries, and there is evidence that they may have originated there.

One story is that the phrase “French Fried Potatoes” first appeared in English in 1856 in the cookbook Cookery for Maids of All Work by E. Warren.

Another story, which is more likely, is that they were first called “French Fries” by American…


On July 10, 1509, in Noyon, France, was born Jean Cauvin, known to us as John Calvin. Of all the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, none were more significant in forming biblical theology or ecclesiastic thought than this one man. Calvin’s teaching and tradition penetrated more of the world than any of the other Protestant traditions.

He would most influence the worldview of Western Europe, the UK, and the Americas up until the 20th-century. His organization of the church government in Geneva would influence the church polity of Presbyterianism. His theology would influence the Congregational (Puritan) as well as German…


In this, the last of our articles on the Founding Fathers, we look at James Madison. He has correctly been called “the Father of the Constitution,” and one might think that the Constitution became active on July 5, 1776, but this is not how it happened.

The American Constitution didn’t go into effect until almost a decade and a half after the Declaration of Independence. How did this philosopher, diplomat, and Founding Father influence this?

James Madison’s Youth

James Madison was born on March 16, 1751, into a distinguished planter family in Virginia, as had George Washington and Thomas Jefferson before him. As…


Alexander Hamilton has gained new popularity recently, in large part due to the 2015 Broadway musical “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Birth of Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton was born in Charlestown, Nevis, in the Caribbean, out of wedlock to Rachel Faucette, of British & French Huguenot descent. She had been married to and had a son with Johann Michael Lavien when she fell in love with the Scottish James Hamilton. She left her husband and their son and moved in with James Hamilton, where she lived with him in Nevis and on St. Croix. Alexander took his natural father’s surname.

Though he owned his paternity of…


We know this polymath as a writer, publisher, printer, merchant, scientist, moral philosopher, international diplomat, and inventor.

Musically he invented the glass harmonica, but he also invented the Franklin stove and started the first lending library and fire brigade in Philadelphia.

He did experiments in electricity and developed the lightning rod. He was considered:

America’s best scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical, though not most profound, political thinkers. — Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Ben Franklin in America

Born on January 17, 1706 *, in Boston, he was one of the earliest…


Before John Adams became the first Vice President of the United States under George Washington, second President of the United States, the first resident of the White House, and writer of the Massachusetts State Constitution he had a role during the Revolutionary War period as one of the creators of the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams and the Committee of Five

He was on the Committee of Five and was at the age of 40 more senior than the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson, but realized that Jefferson was the more eloquent writer.

Bill Petro

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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