Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
August 31, 2011
August 31: Théophile Gautier

Théophile Gautier (1811) On this date, August 31, 1811, French poet and journalist Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was born in Tarbes, in the southwestern region of France. Although he was inclined to paint, he was influenced by Victor Hugo to write poetry and got a job at the Chronique de Paris with help from Honoré […]

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August 31, 2011
August 31: Hermann von Helmholtz

Hermann von Helmholtz (1821) It was on this date, August 31, 1821, that German physician and physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz was born in Potsdam, Prussia, in what is now Germany. The son of a classics teacher of small means, Hermann was persuaded to set aside his love of natural science in favor of […]

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August 30, 2011
August 30: Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David (1748) On this date, August 30, 1748, that the most important European painter of the French Revolutionary period, from 1785-1815, Jacques-Louis David, was born into the Parisian merchant class. David's father must have been both prideful and foolish, because he died in a duel when his son was 10. Educated at the Académie […]

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August 30, 2011
August 30: Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett (1930) It was on this date, August 30, 1930, that Warren Buffett, known as "the Oracle of Omaha," was born in Omaha, Nebraska. As Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett became perhaps the greatest investor of all time – reportedly worth almost $43 billion – second in wealth only to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. […]

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August 29, 2011
August 29: The Reasonableness of John Locke

"How any man who should inquire and know for himself can content himself with a faith or belief taken upon trust, is to be astonishing."

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August 28, 2011
August 28: Sturm und Drang und Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749) It was on this date, August 28, 1749, that Germany's greatest poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was born in Frankfurt am Main. Initially trained in the law, from age 16, he took to letters under the influence of his mother. He joined the rebels of the Sturm und Drang (storm […]

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August 27, 2011
August 27: Confucius

Confucius (551 BCE) It was on this date, August 27, 551 BCE, by tradition, that the Chinese teacher and philosopher K'ung fu-tzu (孔子 Pinyin Kǒng Zǐ), known popularly by his Latinized name, Confucius, was born in the state of Lu. Though fatherless from the age of three, Confucius nevertheless acquired a good education and married […]

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August 27, 2011
August 27: Georg W. F. Hegel

Georg W. F. Hegel (1770) It was on this date, August 27, 1770, that the great the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was born in Stuttgart. After studying theology at the University of Tübingen, he tutored at Bern and Frankfurt, then lectured at the University of Jena (1801-06), before becoming headmaster of a Nuremberg […]

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August 26, 2011
August 26: The Rights of Man vs. the Rights of God

Declaration of the Rights of Man (1751) It was on this date, August 26, 1789, that the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" was Approved by the National Assembly of France. The document is so obviously of benefit to a constitutional democracy, and clearly does not endorse a Christian theocracy, that […]

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August 26, 2011
August 26: Robert Walpole (1676)

Sir Robert Walpole (1676) On this date, August 26, 1676, the British statesman Sir Robert Walpole, first Earl of Orford, was born in Houghton Hall, Norfolk. Educated at Eton College and Cambridge University, he entered Parliament in 1701 at the age of 25 and rose to become one of the greatest statesmen of eighteenth century […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer




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