Today In History...
In 1816 James Monroe of Virginia is elected the 5th U.S. president defeating Federalist Rufus King.
In 1839 The Whig party holds its first National Convention in Harrisburg, PA, and nominates William Henry Harrison for president.
In 1875 William Marcy Tweed, the "Boss" of New York City's Tammany Hall political organization, escaped from jail and fled the country.
In 1918 President Wilson is the first chief executive to travel outside the U.S. while in office, when he attends the Versailles Peace Conference in France.
In 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, created during the depression to generate and provide jobs.
In 1942 U.S. bombers strike the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II.
In 1945 The Senate approves U.S. participation in the United Nations.
In 1958 Two pilots in a single-engine Cessna 172 begin the world's longest flight, staying aloft over Las Vegas for 64 days, 22.3 hours.
In 1965 Gemini VII is launched with Air Force Lt. Colonel Frank Borman and Navy Commander James A. Lovell.
In 1978 Dianne Feinstein becomes San Francisco's first female mayor.
In 1979 The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves a resolution demanding that Iran free its American hostages.
In 1979 President Carter announces his candidacy for re-election.
In 1980 The bodies of four American churchwomen slain in El Salvador two days earlier are unearthed. (Five national guardsmen are later convicted of murdering the nuns.)
In 1980 A United Nation's report estimates one third of the world's population is illiterate and India is the most uneducated.
In 1982 New York City set a December high temperature record at 72 degrees.
In 1982 President Reagan returns home from a 4-nation Latin American tour.
In 1984 Four armed men seize a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and force it to land in Tehran. American passenger Charles Hegna is killed.
In 1985 President Reagan names Admiral John Poindexter to replace National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane.
In 1986 Both the House and Senate appoint committees to look into the Iran-Contra affair.
In 1989 President Bush briefs NATO leaders in Brussels, Belgium, on the just-concluded Malta summit with Soviet President Gorbachev.
In 1990 Iraq promises to release 3,300 Soviet citizens it was holding.
In 1991 Journalist Terry Anderson, the longest held of the Western hostages in Lebanon, is released after nearly seven years in captivity.
In 1991 Patricia Bowman testifies at William Kennedy Smith's trial in West Palm Beach that Smith had raped her the previous Easter weekend.
In 1991 Pan American World Airways ceases operations.
In 1994 U.S. House Speaker-to-be Newt Gingrich charged in an NBC interview that as many as one-quarter of the White House staff had used illegal drugs.
In 1994 Bosnian Serbs release 53 of some 400 UN peacekeepers held as insurance against further NATO air strikes.
In 1995 The first NATO troops land in the Balkans to begin setting up a peace mission that will involved 20,000 American soldiers.
In 1996 The Mars Pathfinder lifts off and speeds toward Mars on a 310 million mile trip to explore the planet's surface.
In 1997 The UN Security Council agrees to a six-month extension of Iraq's oil-for-food program.
In 1998 The Space shuttle Endeavour and a crew of six blast off on a mission to begin assembling the first international space station.
In 1999 NASA scientists continue to wait in vain for a signal from the Mars Polar Lander. (It's believed the $165 million NASA probe was destroyed after it plunged toward the Red Planet.)
In 2000 PepsiCo agrees to pay $13.4 billion to acquire Quaker Oats, maker of Gatorade, and Cap'n Crunch & Life cereals.
In 2000 A Florida state judge refuses to overturn George W. Bush's certified victory in Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court set aside a ruling that had allowed manual recounts.
In 2001 Israel fires three missiles which hit near Yasser Arafat's office as the Palestinian leader worked inside.
In 2001 The Olympic flame begins a 46-state, 2-month journey from Atlanta, host city of the 1996 Summer Games, to the opening ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.