Ben Franklin turns 300, twiceBreaking News
This little-known ripple in American history was a result of the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, part of an ongoing struggle to realign the days with Earth's orbit.
Because it takes just a bit more than 365 days for the Earth to rotate around the Sun, calendars eventually shift out of line with the seasons unless adjustments are made.
The Julian system, introduced by the Romans in 46 B.C., was advanced for its day but still added 11 minutes every year.
When Britain and its American colonies reluctantly adopted the new system in 1752, a jump of eleven days was necessary to correct the imbalance. By legal decree, at midnight on the night of Sept. 2, the clock ticked forward and it became Sept. 14.
Anyone living at the time of the skip had to adjust their thinking as well as their birth dates. To avoid confusion, dates were referred to as "Old Style" or "New Style," as Franklin does writing about an uncle in his autobiography of 1771: "He died in 1702, Jan. 6, old style, just 4 years to a day before I was born."
Officials throughout the British Empire were also forced to quell taxpayers' fears that they would have to fork over money for days that never existed.
A common story, which Poole denounces as mostly folklore, goes that some people believed their lives were actually being shortened and rioted to get their eleven days back.
comments powered by Disqus
- Hillary Clinton’s 3 debate performances left the Trump campaign in ruins
- Now Austria Says It Will Likely Redesign Hitler's House, Not Tear It Down
- Some looted Idlib National Museum artifacts resurface, fate of others a mystery amidst ‘thriving black market trade’
- Is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau constitutional?
- Poll: Millennials desperately need to bone up on the history of communism
- Does the 'Father' of the 1948 Ethnic Cleansing Narrative Really Want to Recant His Words?
- Max Boot wants to know “what the hell happened to my Republican Party?"
- Conservative historians against Trump sign a petition warning he'd be dangerous
- Benjamin H. Irvin Named OAH Executive Editor
- Historian Diana Ramey Berry praises effort to return the skull of Nat Turner to his family