Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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There are 2 entries for this date: Porfirio Diaz and James Fenimore Cooper
Porfirio Diaz

Porfirio Diaz

On this date in 1830, Jose de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz, who became Mexico's long-lived 19th century president, was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, one of seven children in a Mixtec Indian family. Educated at a Catholic Mexican seminary and intended for the Church by his family, Diaz renounced Catholicism and church corruption by age 16. Diaz became an attorney and early leader of anti-cleric progressives. He became a celebrated fighter and general in the War of Reform to overthrow dictator Santa Anna, and next led the fight against the French invasion of Mexico by emperor Maximilian in the 1860s. He served as president of Mexico from 1877 to 1880. He was so popular that a law forbidding second terms was revoked so that he could run again. He was president from 1884 to 1910. While some view him as a tyrant and others hail him as a hero, history agrees that under his autocratic rule, Mexico saw peace and improved prosperity. A rationalist who believed in the scientific method, Diaz built railroads, roads and telegraph lines. When he announced in 1909 that he wanted to restore democratic rule, but was fraudulently re-elected, it spurred a revolution, and Diaz fled the country into exile. D. 1915.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper

On this date in 1789, James Cooper (later known as James Fenimore Cooper) was born in Burlington, N.J. He briefly attended Yale College, and in 1808 joined the U.S. Navy. Cooper is best known for writing The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 (1826), an extremely popular novel focusing on the involvement of the Mohicans, a Native American tribe, in the French and Indian War. The novel was made into films in 1920, 1932, 1936, 1963 and 1992, as well as TV series in 1977, 1975 and 1987. It was also adapted into a BBC radio series in 1995, and an opera in 1976. The Last of the Mohicans was the second book in Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales series, which included four other novels. Cooper wrote over 50 more books in various genres, including The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea (1824), the nonfiction The Chronicles of Cooperstown (1838), and American war novel The Spy (1821). He married Susan Augusta DeLancey in 1811, and the couple had seven children. D. 1851

“Ignorance and superstition ever bear a close and mathematical relation to each other.”

—James Fenimore Cooper, quoted in Closures: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases, 2008 and Superstitions: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases, 2008.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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