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  • The National Herald

    T H




    Honoring the Hellenic Triumph of Liberty

    MARCH 26, 2016

    Celebrating Greek Independence


  • Greek Independence Day2 THE NATIONAL HERALD, MARCH 26, 2016

    The National Herald A weekly publication of the NATIONAL HERALD, INC. (ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ

    ΚΗΡΥΞ), reporting the news and addressing the issues of paramount interest to the Greek American community of the United States of


    Publisher-Editor Antonis H. Diamataris

    Assistant to Publisher, Advertising Veta H. Diamataris Papadopoulos Special Section Editor Constantinos E. Scaros Production Manager Chrysoula Karametros

    37-10 30th Street, LIC, NY 11101-2614 Tel: (718)784-5255 • Fax: (718)472-0510 e-mail: [email protected]

    Democritou 1 and Academias Sts, Athens, 10671, Greece Tel: • Fax:

    e-mail: [email protected]

    By Constantinos E. Scaros

    When reflecting on the Greeks’struggle for independence fromthe Ottoman Empire, thenames that most readily come to mind in delineating the Heroes of 1821 include Athanasios Diakos, Rigas Feraios, Theodoros Kololotronis, and Yannis Makriyannis, among others.

    But there are countless others who were instrumental to the cause, and among them, quite notably, several who devoted their lives – and risked them – for the cause, even as they were not of Greek origin. These he- roes serve a special place in the annals of Greek history, because they were not born into Hellenism, they willingly embraced it voluntarily.

    Not least among these unsung heroes of 1821 is Samuel Gridley Howe. Though he is most significant to Greek history for his role in the Greek War of Independence, it would be an injustice to omit his remarkable life and achievements beyond that cause.


    Howe was born in 1801 to a family of Bostonians with English roots, but the Howes were distinctively Jeffersonian De- mocratic-Republicans in the land of John Adams Federalists. The Howes were partic- ularly inspired by Jefferson’s commitment to liberty and found the spirit of indepen- dence manifested in the French Revolution appealing. Howe’s father, Joseph, in fact, refused to allow his sons to attend Harvard University, dismissing it as a “den of Feder- alists.” Accordingly, Samuel attended a rival Ivy League institution, Brown University, but then enrolled at Harvard Medical School anyway, where he earned a medical degree in 1824 at the tender age of 23. By that point, another revolution well underway – the Greek War of Independence – struck a passion within the young Howe.

    THE GREEKS’ LAFAYETTE Inspired by the English Lord George Gor-

    don Byron, who also joined the cause and died of illness in Messolonghi at the height of battle, Howe sailed for Greece and joined the Greek Army as a surgeon.

    Soon thereafter, Howe did not limit his contributions to the operating table, and his military acumen, coupled with his brav- ery, landed him an important role on the battlefield, and earned him the nickname “Lafayette of the Greek Revolution” – a com- parison to Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who fought nobly and valiantly in the American Revolutionary War, and had a close bond with Howe’s hero Jefferson, as well as with George Washing- ton and Alexander Hamilton.

    After helping the Greeks achieve their independence, Howe returned to the United States but did not abandon Greek interests. He helped to raise $60,000 in 1827 – an extraordinary amount of money at the time, the equivalent of $1.5 million today – in order to help alleviate postwar famine and suffering in Greece.

    Howe also helped to form a colony for exiles at Corinth’s isthmus, which he ac- counted in his 1828 book Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution.

    Howe then headed to Paris to continue his medical studies, and his spirit for revo- lutions leading to republican forms of gov- ernment compelled him to join the July Rev- olution of 1830, commonly known as the Second French Revolution.

    ABOLITIONISM Having embraced the revolutionary

    causes of two foreign countries, it was in- evitable that Howe would return to the United States and help his native country achieve a type of revolution of its own: the abolition of slavery.

    He helped found the antislavery news- paper the Boston Daily Commonwealth, and the Howes’ home in Boston was a safe house of the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape the South and flee to a new life in the North.

    During the Civil War, Howe, now in his sixties, was called upon to put his medical skills to great use once again. He traveled throughout the United States and to Canada to check the physical condition of slaves that were emancipated by executive order, Pres- ident Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (slavery had not officially been abolished yet – that would come via the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified in 1865.

    Howe was also instrumental in helping escaped slaves reunite with other family members who had also escaped.

    A CALL FOR TAXATION The federal income tax in the United

    States was not officially established until the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified in 1913, 37 years after Howe’s death. Until that point, the government ran on tariffs and special taxes collected during wartime.

    But in 1865, immediately following the Civil War, Howe called for a progressive tax system in America (what is in place now), understanding that the wealthy would be opposed to it, but citing it as necessary for reconstruction of the nation.

    Howe’s humanitarian efforts also ex- tended to helping individuals afflicted with blindness and mental challenges.

    ERA OF GOOD FEELING The “Era of Good Feeling” was a decade

    in American history between 1815 and 1825, which coincided with the presidency of James Monroe – the only president to be (re)elected unopposed, other than Wash-

    Greek Independence Measured in Days, Years, and Centuries By Constantinos E. Scaros

    This special insert is here just in time for March 25, the official date on which Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire, is celebrated.

    But there is less historical accuracy and significance about the date than there is about the notion of eleftheria – liberty.

    March 25, 1821 is the widely accepted date of independence, particularly because on that day the flames of revolution were furiously fanned, and it also happens to be a day of primary importance in the Greek Orthodox faith – the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (i.e., when the Archangel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to give birth to the Son of God).

    But sparks that ignited the revolution started long before that, and so 1821 in some respects is not even the historically accurate year of origin – and in fact, Greece’s new government was not officially established until 1832, under the auspices of the Great Powers via the Treaty of London.

    And even then, Greece was still subject to a monarchy, one that did not officially end until 1974.

    Generally, so much of the glory of history is lost on adherence to exact statistics, such as dates, which centuries ago could not be confirmed as easily as they are today. Not to mention, such obsession with memorization of facts and figures – an excruciatingly dull and ultimately futile exercise – is what has led many a primary and secondary school student to develop an intense aversion to history, rather than an appreciation for it.

    Accordingly, we hope that in this edition, even as the dates, facts, and figures in question are the best historically available, the attention will be on the essence of the pieces: how a proud nation of people rose up from the bonds of slavery and proclaimed their independence, and how they have struggled, but endured, before, during, and since the Greek War of Independence.

    Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe: An Unsung Hero of 1821

    Samuel Gridley Howe, an American-born and educated doctor who in the operat- ing room and on the battlefield, helped the Greeks gain their independence.

    Continued on page 6

  • Greek Independence DayTHE NATIONAL HERALD, MARCH 26, 2016 3


    Happy and Joyous Independence Day

  • TNH Staff

    There are many “beginnings” to the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, the most prevalent being March 25, 1821. But just as there are many beginnings to independence – an- other being the formal issuance of the Greek Declaration of Inde- pendence in January 1822 – there is the important notion that while Greece gained its freedom from Ottoman oppression, it did not relieve itself of subjection to a monarchy.

    There were, in fact, seven kings of Greece between 1832 and 1974, the year in which the Kingdom of Greece effectively ended. They were:

    OTTO 1 (1832-1862): Born a Bavarian prince in Austria in 1815, Otto ascended to the Greek throne in 1832 as a result of the Convention of London, established by the Great Powers (Britain, France, and Russia). He ruled as an absolute monarch until the people de-

    manded a Constitution, though there was constant uproar alleg- ing that he manipulated election results through fraud.

    Otto was able to hold power, despite incessant interference from the Great Powers, by ap- peasing them and playing their conflicting foes against one an- other. But when Britain pre- vented Greece from intervening again