On This Day
1549 – The papal conclave of 1549–50 begins.
The papal conclave of 1549–50 (November 29 – February 7), convened after the death of Pope Paul III and eventually elected Giovanni Del Monte to the papacy as Pope Julius III. It was the second-longest papal conclave of the 16th century, and (at the time) the largest papal conclave in history in terms of the number of cardinal electors. The cardinal electors (who at one point totalled fifty-one) were roughly divided between the factions of Henry II of France, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Alessandro Farnese, the cardinal-nephew of Paul III.
Noted for the extensive interference of European powers, the conclave was to determine whether and on what terms the Council of Trent would reconvene (supported by Charles V and opposed by Henry II) and the fate of the Duchies of Parma and Piacenza (claimed by both Charles V and the House of Farnese). Although the conclave nearly elected Reginald Pole, the late arrival of additional French cardinals pushed the conclave back into deadlock, and eventually Giovanni del Monte was elected Pope Julius III as a compromise candidate.
The French hoped that Julius III would be hostile to the interests of the Holy Roman Empire. Nevertheless, tensions between him and the French boiled over when he reconvened the Council of Trent in November 1550, culminating in the threat of schism in August 1551 and the brief War of Parma fought between French troops allied with Ottavio Farnese and a papal-imperial army. French prelates did not attend the 1551–1552 sessions of the Council of Trent and were slow to accept its reforms; because Henry II would not allow any French cardinals to reside in Rome, many missed the election of Pope Marcellus II, arriving in Rome just in time to elect Marcellus II’s successor Pope Paul IV after Marcellus II’s brief reign.
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Born On This Day
1799 – Amos Bronson Alcott, American philosopher and academic (d. 1888)
Amos Bronson Alcott (/ˈɔːlkət, -kɪt/; November 29, 1799 – March 4, 1888) was an American teacher, writer, philosopher, and reformer. As an educator, Alcott pioneered new ways of interacting with young students, focusing on a conversational style, and avoided traditional punishment. He hoped to perfect the human spirit and, to that end, advocated a vegan diet before the term was coined. He was also an abolitionist and an advocate for women’s rights.
Born in Wolcott, Connecticut in 1799, Alcott had only minimal formal schooling before attempting a career as a traveling salesman. Worried about how the itinerant life might have a negative impact on his soul, he turned to teaching. His innovative methods, however, were controversial, and he rarely stayed in one place very long. His most well-known teaching position was at the Temple School in Boston. His experience there was turned into two books: Records of a School and Conversations with Children on the Gospels. Alcott became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and became a major figure in transcendentalism. His writings on behalf of that movement, however, are heavily criticized for being incoherent. Based on his ideas for human perfection, Alcott founded Fruitlands, a transcendentalist experiment in community living. The project was short-lived and failed after seven months. Alcott continued to struggle financially for most of his life. Nevertheless, he continued focusing on educational projects and opened a new school at the end of his life in 1879. He died in 1888.
Alcott married Abby May in 1830 and they eventually had four surviving children, all daughters. Their second was Louisa May, who fictionalized her experience with the family in her novel Little Women in 1868.
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