There was plenty of political news on this day in history. In 1825 there was a contested US Presidential election where neither candidate got a majority of the electoral votes and so the decision was thrown into the House of Representatives, per the Constitutional provisions. John Quincy Adams was chosen as President. The losing candidate, Andrew Jackson, alleged fraud, but unlike a more recent candidate did not try to storm the House to change the vote – he just waited until 1828 to get his revenge and defeat the incumbent Adams in the next election. And then he went on to win a second term, the ultimate revenge against the one-term Adams.
In 1849 Italy declared the Roman Republic restored and in 1861 Jefferson Davis was chosen as the President of the short-lived Confederacy. In 1870 Civil War hero turned President Ulysses Grant signed a joint resolution elevating the Dept of Agriculture (where my Grandpa Wright later worked as a chemist) to a cabinet-level agency.
Protests abounded. In 1907 the Mud March – the first large procession by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies happened in London. In 1932, a year before the US, Finland abolished Prohibition by a 70% approval rate national referendum. And in 1950 the Second Red Scare began, featuring the always nasty Senator Joseph McCarthy, accusing the US State Department of being filled with communists. Fortunately, it would only last 4 years and McCarthy would end up disgraced, but it ruined a lot of lives and careers.
But there was good news. The Davis Cup (tennis ) was established in 1900; the game of volleyball was invented in 1895, and later in 1971 the first Negro League baseball player was elected to the US Baseball Hall of Fame – famed pitcher Satchel Page.
The great American Revolutionary pamphleteer (American Crisis, Common Sense) Thomas Paine burst onto the world stage in 1737. The American journalist Roger Mudd started looking for a microphone and camera in 1929. And the great mellow Carole King started singing and reaching for that piano in 1942, stretching across some tapestry.
Three future civil servants for the US were born on this date, with decidedly different outcomes. William Henry Harrison (1773) our 9th US President was destined to become a soldier and also our shortest serving President – getting sick and dying after foolishly standing out in the rain for the longest Inaugural Address in 1881. Samuel Tilden (1814) was involved in one of the craziest Presidential elections (5 states submitting 2 sets of electoral votes) – and lost to Rutherford B Hayes in the bicentennial -1876- election. And Dean Rusk (1909) went on to become the second-longest serving Secretary of State, under JFK and LBJ.
The world said farewell to the great writer Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment) in 1881 and one of a series of short-termed (2 years) Russian leaders – Yuri Andropov in 1984. two musical icons ceased their music on this date – Percy Faith (and his orchestra) in 1976, And Bill Haley (of the group the Comets from the 60s) in 1981.
And for all you car drivers out there when it’s raining let’s give a shot out to Robert Kearns the American engineer who invented the windshield wipers and drove his last in 2005.
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