Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2011-11-08
November 8: Edmund Halley

Edmund Halley (1656) It was on this date, November 8,* 1656, that British astronomer Sir Edmond Halley was born in Hagerston, Middlesex, England (now London), the son of a wealthy merchant. He was educated at Oxford and before graduating took his first astronomical field trip in 1676, to the British-controlled island of St. Helena, where […]

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2011-09-27
September 27: Paul III Fails to Reform the Church

Pope Paul III Approves the Jesuits (1540) On this date, September 27, in 1540, Pope Paul III officially approved the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – through his encyclical, Regimini militantis ecclesiae. Born Alessandro Farnese on 29 February 1468 in Rome, Paul III was pope for 15 years, from 12 October 1534 until his […]

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2011-08-30
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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2011-03-21
March 21: Jean Bapiste Joseph Fourier

After the fall of Napoleon, the Roman Catholic Church, with whom Fourier was never reconciled, saw to his persecution.

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2010-11-08
November 8: Church-State Separation + Edmund Halley

Émile Combes and Church-State Separation (1904) It was on this date, November 8, 1904, that leftist French statesman Émile Combes introduced a bill for the separation of Church and State into the legislature of France. Born Justin Louis Émile Combes in Roquecourbe in the Tarn départment, Combes at first studied for the priesthood. After becoming […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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May 15: Votes for Women

A husband could beat his wife, or sell her, take all her property and her children. Down to the 19th century, women were denied the vote because the law specified only men.



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