On This Day in History, August 29

In 1756, Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, invaded Saxony as a preemptive strike against the growing alliance led by his nation’s foes, France and Austria. This invasion would spark the Seven Years’ War in Europe, a war that was also fought in other parts of the globe. Prussia was allied with Britain, and together was victorious. The aspect of this war fought in North America is called the French and Indian War.

In 1786, indebted farmers in western Massachusetts rose in revolt and closed courts in what is now known as Shays’ Rebellion. Caused due to a variety of currencies between the newly independent United States and the inability of most to pay back war debts, the farmers who rose up were led by Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolution. This rebellion arguably led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia which produced the US’s current constitution.

In 1997, the company Netflix was founded as an internet-based DVD rental service. Motivated by stories concerning then fledgling Amazon and Blockbuster late rental fees, the founders went about creating the company—though only after the emergence of DVDs as a video playing format, having considered VHS tapes too expensive and delicate for their model. Since, Netflix has transitioned into a digital streaming service.

A Notable Birth

1632 – John Locke (d. 1704) was an English philosopher, associated with the Enlightenment and Liberalism. His work included ideas concerning the social contract, ideas of the self, and empiricism. His influence can be found throughout the Western world, such as in the American Declaration of Independence.

A Notable Death

2016 – Gene Wilder (b. 1933 as Jerome Silberman) was an American actor and filmmaker. He rose from stage to TV to the big screen, with some of his early major films being in Mel Brooks’ films, such as The Producers and Blazing Saddles. Other notable works of his include Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and four films with Richard Pryor.

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