January 21, 1793 — Louis XVI of France is executed

The last king of France was not even a king at the time of his execution. He had been arrested the previous August and stripped of all his titles and styles when the monarchy was abolished a month later – his name at the time of his death, according to the newly formed French republic, was Citoyen Louis Capet. Louis faced his beheading bravely, and spoke to the onlookers, forgiving those who called for his execution.

The tragedy of it all is that Louis had been one of the greatest reformers in the history of the French monarchy, and had repeatedly instituted (or attempted to institute) policies that would help the common people of France. However, his reforms were repeatedly blocked by a nobility jealous of its privileges – especially those reforms that would have harmed them financially. The reforms they did allow through often proved economically disastrous – Louis and his advisers were poor economists. As king, the ultimate responsibility rested with Louis, and as a man, he paid the ultimate price for it.

Execution of Louis XVI.jpg
By Isidore Stanislas Helman – Bibliothèque nationale de France, Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

History Is Made By Stupid People — The Arrogant Worms

June 25, 1876 — Custer is defeated and killed at Little Big Horn

General George Armstrong Custer went into battle at Little Big Horn under a number of false impressions.

He was under the impression that he would be facing no more than 800 Native Americans, rather than more than twice that number – Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse had recruited assiduously, knowing that a battle was coming. He was under the impression that his major challenge would be preventing the escape of the enemy forces, rather than defeating them. And finally, he was under the impression, based on these assumptions, that the force under the command of his subordinate Major Reno would be far more effective in battle than it proved.

But with Reno’s forces isolated and routed, Custer’s forces were outnumbered and surrendered. More than 200 men in Custer’s army, including Custer himself, were killed.

Charles Marion Russell - The Custer Fight (1903).jpg
By Charles Marion Russell – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division
under the digital ID cph.3g07160.
This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

Custer — Johnny Cash
General Custer — Swan
Jim Bridger — Johnny Horton
Little Big Horn — Running Wild
I Love America — Alice Cooper
Custer Had It Coming — Redbone
The Punch Line — The Minutemen
Custer Song — Buffy Sainte-Marie
Custer Died A-Runnin’ — David Wilkie
I Ain’t Marching Anymore — Phil Ochs
Some Fool Made A Soldier Of Me — The Kingston Trio
Please Mister Custer, I Don’t Wanna Go — Larry Verne
History is Made By Stupid People — The Arrogant Worms