November 8th: the Trent Affair, “Republican Revolution” and other events of the date
A number of important events have took place on November 8th in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1861 – The Trent Affair
The Trent Affair was a diplomatic incident that occurred in the first year of the Civil War, which almost led to another war – between the U.S. and the U.K. The crisis was sparked November 8, 1861, as the U.S. Navy vessel (USS San Jacinto, commanded by Charles Wilkes) captured two Confederate diplomats who were aboard a British Ship – RMS Trent.
The two diplomats detained were James Murray Mason and John Slidell, and their aim was to reach either Britain, or France to initiate the process of the international recognition of the Confederate States of America, and, what was even more important, to obtain financial and military support from the European superpowers of the time.
Of course, once the diplomats were captured, the U.K. protested against it desperately, threatening the U.S. with a possible declaration of war. Opposite to it, U.S. society welcomed this act and celebrated it. However when the British government strengthened its military forces in Canada, the U.S. released the Confederate diplomats to avoid a war on two fronts, and, who knows – maybe this decision saved America.
1892 – New Orleans General Strike
This incident marked one of the first times Black and White workers, despite all the racial tensions of the time, gathered together to stand for their rights and for the improvement of working conditions.
It began in November 1892, as the members of different Louisiana labor unions began to call for a general strike and held a number of meetings on this issue. Eventually, a Committee of five was formed to lead the strike. The members of this Committee included cotton workers, cotton yardmen, printers and boilers, as well as a small (at that time) car drivers union.
About 25 thousand men and women (about half of all city workers) took part in the New Orleans General Strike, paralyzing the working process all over the state. The number of labor unions of different kind that joined the strike was no less than 46. The workers asked for shorter work-days and higher salary, and eventually – achieved it. After that the strike ended.
1994 – “Republican Revolution”
This historical event might also be referred as the Revolution of '94 or the Gingrich Revolution, but this wasn’t a “revolution” of the kind we are used to. The “Republican Revolution” was a great success of the Republican Party as it achieved a major victory in the midterm election of that year.
So, how did they do it? The answer is pretty simple: instead of campaigning independently in each district, Republican candidates chose to rally behind a single national program: the message fronted by Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich – “the leader of the Revolution”.
They blamed Democratic President Bill Clinton, since, according to their opinion, he was not the New Democrat he claimed to be during his 1992 Presidential campaign, but was nothing more than a "tax and spend" liberal. The Republicans, in their turn, offered an alternative to Clinton's policies in the form of the “Contract with America” during the midterm campaign of 1994.
Eventually, the Republicans gained seats (they got 472 legislative seats in total) and the control of both the House (which they hadn’t held control over since 1952) and the Senate. By that time Republicans had only controlled 4 years of both House and Senate in the period of time between 1933 and 1995.
Thus, it was a huge victory for the Republicans and a humiliating defeat for the Democrats.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on November 8th, at least in our view.