January 14: Ratification Day, USS Enterprise Fire, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on January 14 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1784 – American Revolutionary War: Ratification Day
Ratification Day formally ended the American Revolutionary War, when the the Treaty of Paris was formally approved on January 14, 1784, at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland by the Confederation Congress. The U.S. officially had independence, won by blood in the intense Revolutionary War. It was a great accomplishment to defeat the strongest European empire ever built.
“The Journals of the Continental Congress” reported that the Confederation Congress issued a proclamation on April 11, 1783, "Declaring the cessation of arms" against Great Britain. The preliminary articles of peace were approved by Congress on April 15, 1783, and the Treaty of Paris was ratified on January 14, 1784. Thus, it took Americans almost 9 months to issue this document.
An excerpt from the proclamation of ratification reads:
By the United States in Congress assembled, a proclamation : Whereas definitive articles of peace and friendship, between the United States of America and His Britannic Majesty, were concluded and signed at Paris, on the 3rd day of September, 1783 ... We have thought proper by these presents, to notify the premises to all the good citizens of these United States ... Given under the seal of the United States, witness His Excellency Thomas Mifflin, our president, at Annapolis, this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four.
1967 – “Human Be-In” event held in San Francisco
The “Human Be-In” event was one of the landmarks of the early period of the Era of Changes. Held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Polo Fields on January 14, 1967 and attended by more than 30,000 young people, the event was a prelude to the Summer of Love that made the Haight-Ashbury district of the city a symbol of the counterculture and introduced the word “psychedelic” to American suburbia. Such notable bands as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Blue Cheer performed at the event. Of course, there was a wealth of illegal drug use and perversion too, but conservatives could do nothing about it at the time.
The exhibition focused on the key ideas of the late 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness (with the aid of psychedelic drugs!), acceptance of illicit psychedelics use, and radical liberal political consciousness. Basically, Baby Boomers, pretty much the most decayed and rotten generation in U.S. history, did their best to demolish the America their parents had been thoroughly constructing for decades.
The “Human Be-In” also influenced the hippie movement that developed out of disaffected student communities around San Francisco State University, City College, and Berkeley and in San Francisco's beat generation poets and jazz hipsters, who also combined a search for intuitive spontaneity with a rejection of "middle-class morality.” It’s rather convenient to reject something after taking advantage of all its privileges.
1969 – USS Enterprise Fire
Disaster struck the USS Enterprise in 1969 when a major fire broke out accompanied by a series of explosions as the ship sat off the coast of the infamous Pearl Harbor.
The fire broke out after a Zuni rocket attached to an aircraft detonated, and spread following further rocket and bomb explosions which blew holes in the flight deck, allowing burning jet fuel to enter the ship's interior. The crew suffered heavy casualties, as 28 American sailors were killed and 314 injured. At least 15 aircraft were destroyed, and the total cost of aircraft replacement and shipboard repair was over $126 million, which was a huge amount of money back then.
The closely related 1967 USS Forrestal fire preceded the Enterprise fire by just 18 months, and a number of improvements in the wake of the Forrestal tragedy helped reduce the damage.
These are the most notable events in the U.S. history that occurred on January 14, at least in our view.