July 6, 1866 Benjamin Disraeli
Not sure of my favorite date in history, but July 6, 1866 is fairly significant. On that date the Earl of Beaconsfield Benjamin Disraeli succeeded Wm. Ewart Gladstone as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. From 1850 through the 1860s, Lord Derby had formed three governments. Disraeli served as the Leader of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer for all three governments.
It was during this third term as the Leader of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer that he expertly guided The Reform Act of 1867 through Parliament “marvelous parliamentary skill.” This signal act of Parliament increased the number of voters in the UK by 88 per cent.
It was this momentous victory over overwhelming odds that helped lead him to become Prime Minister in February 1868 – after serving in government since he was first elected in July 1837. After Queen Victoria gave him permission to form a government he is known to have said, “”I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole.” He went on to be one of the most influential prime ministers in English history.
The second day of the Battle of Gettysburg is one of the most significant in history. As far as an encounter that only lasted “hours,” I might rank the Battle of Cannae, August 2, 216 B.C., in the 2nd Punic War – for it effect on socio-political public policy dynamics to this very day.
But perhaps the most significant single day in history is September 9, 9 CE. That was the day of the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. That single day affects worldwide politics, governments, and public policy to this very day. I have written about it a number of times including a vignette here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/kevin-earl-dayhoff/the-hermann-monument-detmold-north-rhine-westphalia-germany/10157070454737654/
At the end of the day, the battle resulted in three entire Roman Legions, the famed Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Legions, being ambushed and totally destroyed in the swamps of the Teutoburg Forest – east of the Rhine, in what is known today as North West Germany in the German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. After the battle, their commander Publius Quintilius Varus committed suicide.
Perhaps the only worse event in the early history of the Roman Empire was the Battle of Cannae, August 2, 216 B.C., in the 2nd Punic War, at the hands of Hannibal in which 50,000 legionaries died in one day. Rivaled only by the later disasters of the Battle of Adrianople (378 CE) or Alaric’s Sack of Rome (410 CE.)