February 12, 2003
A Pair Of Birthdays

David Post of the Volokh Conspiracy notes a remarkable historical coincidence:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today's the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin (and, as it happens, my son Sam). Are there two individuals from the 19th century who had more of an effect on human history (however one might choose to assess that) than Lincoln and Darwin? Can't think of any offhand (Marx and . . . ?). Or two individuals from any century who had more of an effect on human history and share a birthday?

It's even more remarkable than Post's post implies, since Darwin and Lincoln were born on the same day of the same month of the same year: February 12th, 1809. Happy 194th, Abe and Charlie! And happy whatever birthday, Sam Post.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at February 12, 2003 06:25 PM

Happy birthday to Sam!

Posted by: Anna on February 12, 2003 09:29 PM

Tragically, I think Marx pips Lincoln in the influence stakes.

Daniel Dennett calls evolution by natural selection, "the single best idea anyone has ever had." Pretty hard to top that. It's for sure that when both Marx and Lincoln are footnotes, Darwin will still be a household name.

Posted by: David Gillies on February 24, 2003 06:38 PM

Top five of the 19th century (1815-1914): Darwin, Einstein, Freud, Marx, Edison.

Posted by: John on February 27, 2003 05:48 AM

Oh, yeah. My favorite coincidence is the "deathday" of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both of whom died on July 4, 1826.

Posted by: John on February 27, 2003 05:51 AM