History, Holidays & Observances – November 24

A look at some of the history, observances & holidays on November 24

Holidays & Observances on November 24

The Feast of Flora and Maria, two women of ninth-century Cordoba who were executed by Muslim authorities for their Christian faith.  Flora, whose father was Muslim, was thus considered Muslim by Sharia law.  She was charged with apostasy when she refused to give up her Christian faith and “return” to Islam.  Maria was charged with blasphemy when she denounced Islam and embraced Christianity.  Both women were beaten, threatened with being forced into prostitution, then ultimately executed by Muslim authorities.  Though it may seem a long time has passed since ninth century Cordoba, the reality is that charges of apostasy and blasphemy are regularly used in the Muslim world through this day to justify executions and other punishments, to keep Muslims in line, to prevent dissent from orthodoxy, and to punish non-Muslims who criticize Islam.

Major Events on November 24

1832 – South Carolina causes the Nullification Crisis.

Do states have a right to nullify those federal laws they do not like?   The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution’s Article VI would seem to answer that argument when it states, that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”  But that did not stop South Carolina from claiming that, under the doctrine of “state’s rights,” state legislatures could nullify within their borders any federal law they deemed unconstitutional.

This “states rights” issue did not first arise in context of slavery.  Rather, it came about because of a general economic downturn for the nation in the 1820’s, coupled with tariffs the federal government voted to impose on European manufactured goods in order to protect domestic manufacturing.  The tariffs inured to the benefit of the Northern States, with their manufacturing based economies, and fell most heavily upon the Southern States that had agrarian economies and who were the greatest importers of European manufactured goods.

This became a defining issue in South Carolina politics of the 1820’s.  South Carolina finally tossed down the gauntlet on the issue and passed, on this date, the Ordinance of Nullification, declaring the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void within the borders of the state.  President Andrew Jackson, whose sympathies on the issue of the unfairness of the tariffs lay with the South, none-the-less responded with a Proclamation to the People of South Carolina, setting forth the legal and practical arguments against the Ordinance, arguments that Jackson summarized thusly:

I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which It was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.

The battle lines were clearly drawn.  South Carolina prepared for war.  Congress of 1833 passed the Force Bill, authorizing President Jackson to use military action against South Carolina in order to enforce compliance with federal law.  But then both sides backed away from the Rubicon.  Congress passed a Compromise Tariff of 1833 that was acceptable to the politicians of South Carolina, and South Carolina’s legislature voided its Ordinance.

That ended the nullification crisis as to tariffs, but the nullification issue would come back to the fore with a vengeance in the 1850’s over issues directly related to slavery.  Then there would be no backing away from the Rubicon.

The Democrats of the 1830’s lacked the subtlety of modern progressives.  State legislatures nullifying a federal law is and always will be a bridge too far.  But if you go through ideologically compromised progressive judges, they can effectively nullify any federal law they choose.  We’ve seen it often enough — lawfare used against the Trump administration with nationwide injunctions set by district courts, sometimes in cases where they do not even cite to controlling law — that it almost seems the normal.  But it is not.  Indeed, to quote Jackson, it is “inconsistent with every principle on which” the Constitution is “founded.”

1859 – Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.

Origin of Species is probably the most influential academic book of the past two centuries.  Darwin’s thesis was simple enough to be understood by non-scientists. To state it in a sentence:  “Individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce and leave their heritable traits to future generations, which, over time, produces the process of natural selection.  His now accepted theory has had profound effect in the sciences and, at the time of publication, caused great controversy in philosophy, politics and religion that still very much echo to this day,


2013 – The Iran Deal:  Joint Plan of Action.

Iran was and is the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism and most destabilizing source of influence in the Middle East.  Motivated by an apocalyptic version of Islam, hatred of Israel and of the U.S., the mad mullah’s of Iran are every bit as bloodthirsty, triumphalist and expansionist as Hitler of the 30’s.  So it came as a surprise in 2013 to learn that Obama, despite explicitly campaigning in 2008 and 2012 on a promise of never allowing Iran to become a nuclear armed nation, reversed course following his election to a second term.  The march to the “Iran Deal,” to put Iran on a glide path to a nuclear arsenal while helping their economy, officially began this day in 2013 when Iran inked a “Joint Plan of Action” with the U.S. led “P5+1” nations to ease sanctions on Iran as they negotiated the terms of the “Iran Deal.”

Notable Events on November 24

380 – Theodosius I, the Roman Emperor who adopted Christianity as the state religion of Rome and who was the last emperor to rule over both the Eastern and the Western halves of the Roman Empire, makes his formal entry into Constantinople to conduct peace negotiations with the Visigoths.

1835 – The Texas Provincial Government authorizes the creation of a horse-mounted police force called the Texas Rangers..

1917 – In Milwaukee, nine members of the Milwaukee Police Department are killed by a bomb, the most deaths in a single event in U.S. police history until the September 11 attacks in 2001.  Ironically, the police were not the intended targets.  A person found the bomb in a passageway at an Italian Evangelical Church and brought it to police head quarters to be examined.

1932 – In Washington, D.C., the FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (better known as the FBI Crime Lab) officially opens.  The lab has not been without controversy and scandal.


Born on November 24

1729 – Alexander Suvorov, Russian field marshal and one of the great battlefield commanders of the 18th century.

1868 – Scott Joplin, the pianist and composer whose ragtime and jazz music defined an era.

1925 – William F. Buckley, Jr., was, more than any single person, responsible for the modern conservative movement in America.  In the 1950’s, when Buckley had reached maturity and progressives where marching unimpeded through our national politics, Buckley saw as his mission in to “stand athwart history and yell ‘Stop!'”  He founded the National Review in 1955 and shaped the philosophy of the Conservative movement thereafter.


Died on November 24

1572 – John Knox, the Scottish pastor and theologian who, after meeting John Calvin in Switzerland, led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland and established the Presbyterian Church.

1991 – Freddie Mercury, one of the great voices of the 20th century, he was lead vocalist of Queen.  Dead today in 1991, one of the many entertainers of the era who died all too young, in his case succumbing to AIDS.