Today In History...

In 1783 Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier publicly demonstrate their hot-air balloon in a 10-minute flight over Annonay, France.
In 1794 Congress passes the Neutrality Act, which prohibited Americans from enlisting in the service of a foreign power. The act also banned the fitting out of foreign armed vessels in U.S. ports.
In 1849 Denmark becomes a constitutional monarchy.
In 1884 Civil War hero General William T. Sherman refuses the Republican presidential nomination with the words, "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected."
In 1888 The Democratic national convention in St. Louis nominates President Cleveland for a second term. (He loses to Benjamin Harrison, but was elected president again in 1892.)
In 1917 10 million American men begin registration for the draft in World War I.
In 1933 The United States goes off of the gold standard.
In 1940 The first synthetic rubber tire is exhibited Akron, Ohio.
In 1940 The Germans begin the Battle Of France during World War II.
In 1947 During a speech at Harvard University, Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlines "The Marshall Plan," a program of aid for Europe.
In 1950 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the University of Texas Law School and the University of Oklahoma were guilty of racial discrimination.
In 1967 The Six-Day War begins in the Middle East. Israel, convinced an Arab attack was imminet, raids Egyptian military targets. Syria, Jordon and Iraq then entered the fray.
In 1967 Richard Speck is sentenced to death in the electric chair.
In 1968 Senator Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after claiming victory in California's Democratic presidential primary. Gunman Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was immediately arrested.
In 1975 Egypt reopens the Suez Canal to international shipping, eight years after it was closed because of the 1967 war with Israel.
In 1976 11 people are killed when the Teton Dam in Idaho bursts.
In 1980 Soyuz T-2 carries 2 cosmonauts to the Salyut 6 space station.
In 1980 The movie "Urban Cowboy" starring John Travolta opens nationwide.
In 1983 "Cats" wins the Best Musical and "Torch Song Trilogy" is recognized as the Best Play at the 37th Annual Tony Awards.
In 1985 The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passes a package of economic sanctions against South Africa.
In 1986 A federal jury in Baltimore convict Ronald W. Pelton of selling secrets to the Soviet Union. (Pelton was sentenced to three life prison terms plus 10 years.)
In 1987 President Reagan, in Venice for an upcoming economic summit, calls for an end to government agriculture subsidies by the year 2000.
In 1988 Clarence Pendleton, chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, dies at age 57.
In 1988 "The Phantom of the Opera" wins seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. "M. Butterfly" wins Best Play.
In 1989 The prime interest rate, after climbing for a year, is reduced by a half-point to eleven percent.
In 1989 In one of the most remembered images of China's crushed pro-democracy movement, a lone man stood defiantly in front of a line of tanks in Beijing until friends pulled him out of the way.
In 1990 Authorities in Oakland County, MI, move to prevent Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a retired pathologist, from continuing to make available a suicide device that Janet Adkins, an Oregon woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, used a day earlier to take her own life.
In 1991 Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev delivers his delayed Nobel Peace lecture in Oslo, Norway, warning that Western failure to provide economic aid could dash hopes for peaceful new world order.
In 1992 The government announces the nation's unemployment rate had jumped to 7.5 percent the month before, the highest level in 8 years.
In 1993 In Texas, Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison wins the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen.
In 1994 An earthquake with the magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale strikes East Java, killing at least 264 Indonesian villagers.
In 1994 President Clinton heads across the English Channel aboard the USS George Washington, en route to the 50th anniversary commemoration of D-Day in Normandy.
In 1995 Hurricane Allison hits the Gulf Coast with 75 mph winds, swamping streets and spinning off tornadoes, but causing no major damage.
In 1996 Nearly 1,000 people are ordered from homes and a prison farm is evacuated as Alaskan forest fire triples in size.
In 1996 Joseph Waldholtz, the ex-husband of U.S. Rep. Enid Greene (R-UT) pleads guilty to providing his wife false information for her taxes.
In 1997 Frank Smith, a former Attica inmate tortured in the deadliest U.S. prison riot, is awarded $4 million in damages.
In 1997 Harold J. Nicholson, the highest-ranking CIA officer ever caught spying against his own country, is sentenced to 23 years in prison for selling defense secrets to Russia after the Cold War.
In 1998 A strike at General Motors parts factory near Detroit closes five assembly plants and idles workers nationwide for seven weeks.
In 1998 Volkswagen AG wins approval to buy Rolls-Royce for $700 million, outbidding BMW's $554 million offer.
In 1999 Steffi Graf wins her sixth French Open tennis title, beating top-ranked Martina Hingis.
In 1999 Pope John Paul II begins a 13-day pilgrimage to his native Poland.
In 2000 President Clinton visits the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, the last stop in his weeklong European tour.
In 2000 Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis pleads guilty to a misdemeanor under an agreement that dropped murder charges in the stabbing deaths of two men outside a Super Bowl party in Atlanta.
In 2001 Senate Republicans spent their last full day in power before turning control over to Democrats, after Vermont Senator James Jeffords left the GOP and became an independent.
In 2001 Tropical storm Allison makes land fall in Houston, TX, area causing $5.5 billion damages.
In 2004 Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. president dies at age 93, after a long twilight struggle with Alzheimer's disease.
In 2004 The U.S.S. Jimmy Carter, the most advanced nuclear submarine in the U.S. Navy, was christened at a shipyard in Groton, CT.


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