Today In History...
In 1831 White House designer James Hoban died.
In 1845 German astronomer M. Hencke discovered the 5th asteroid, Astra.
In 1854 Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of Original Sin from the moment she was conceived.
In 1863 A fire in Santiago, Chile, killed 2,000.
In 1863 President Lincoln announced his plan for the Reconstruction of the South.
In 1886 The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was formed by 26 craft unions at a convention in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1931 Coaxial cable was patented.
In 1940 The first NFL championship was broadcast on the radio as the Chicago Bears beat the Washington Redskins, 73-0.
In 1941 The U.S. entered World War II as it declared war on Japan a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, "a day which will live in infamy."
In 1949 The Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.
In 1952 The first TV acknowledgment of pregnancy was made on "I Love Lucy."
In 1978 Former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir died at age 80.
In 1982 A man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up. After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer is killed by police.
In 1983 Ninth Space Shuttle Mission - Columbia 6, returned to Earth after a record 10 days in space.
In 1983 Character actor Slim Pickens died at age 64.
In 1984 A jury in Roanoke, VA, found Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt innocent of libeling the Reverend Jerry Falwell with a parody advertisement but awarded Falwell $200,000 for emotional distress. (The award was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.)
In 1986 House Democrats select majority leader Jim Wright to be the chamber's 48th speaker succeeding Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill.
In 1987 President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty under which the superpowers agreed to destroy intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
In 1987 The "intefadeh" (Arabic for uprising) by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories began.
In 1988 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev cut short his U.S. visit to return home following a killer earthquake in Armenia.
In 1989 Communist leaders in Czechoslovakia offered to surrender their control over the government and accept a minority role in a coalition Cabinet.
In 1991 Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine declared the Soviet national government dead, forming a new alliance known as the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In 1991 AIDS patient Kimberly Bergalis, who had contracted the disease from her dentist, died in Fort Pierce, Florida, at age 23.
In 1992 Americans received live TV coverage of U.S. troops landing on the beaches of Somalia as Operation Restore Hope began.
In 1993 President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law, which went into effect at the start of 1994.
In 1994 Bosnian Serbs released dozens of hostage peacekeepers but continued to detain about 300 others.
In 1995 In New York, an arsonist killed 7 workers and himself at a Harlem clothing store targeted over a racially charged lease dispute.
In 1996 The Serbian Supreme Court ruled against opposition parties who said Slobodan Milosevic had robbed them of an election victory in Belgrade.
In 1997 In a $25 billion deal, the Swiss Bank and the Union Bank of Switzerland planned to combine, forming Europe's largest and the world's second-largest bank.
In 1997 Federal hearings opened in Baltimore into the TWA Flight 800 disaster that had claimed 230 lives.
In 1998 A blackout in San Francisco cut power to nearly a million people.
In 1998 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police cannot search people and cars after ticketing for routine traffic violations.
In 2000 The Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, ordered the recount of thousands of presidential ballots.
In 2001 The U.S. Capitol reopened to tourists after a 2-month security shutdown.
In 2001 Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch won the Heisman Trophy.
In 2003 Congress approved legislation to stem the flood of unwanted junk e-mail known as "spam."
In 2003 U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow (R-SD) resigned after being convicted in the traffic death of a motorcyclist, Randy Scott.