On This Day in:
1787 – New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S.
1796 – The 'Monitor,' of Baltimore, MD, was published as the first Sunday newspaper.
1862 – The first orthopedic hospital was organized in New York City. It was called the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled.
1865 – U.S. Secretary of State William Seward issued a statement verifying the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution. The amendment abolished slavery with the declaration: 'Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.'
1898 – A new automobile speed record was set at 39 mph.
1903 – The Panama Canal Zone was acquired 'in perpetuity' by the U.S. for an annual rent.
1912 – The discovery of the Piltdown Man in East Sussex was announced. It was proved to be a hoax in 1953.
1915 – U.S. President Wilson, widowed the year before, married Edith Bolling Galt at her Washington home.
1916 – During World War I, after 10 months of fighting the French defeated the Germans in the Battle of Verdun.
1917 – The Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Senate and then officially proposed the states.
1935 – A $1 silver certificate was issued for the first time in the U.S.
1936 – Su-Lin, the first giant panda to come to the U.S. from China, arrived in San Francisco, CA. The bear was sold to the Brookfield Zoo for $8,750.
1940 – Adolf Hitler signed a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Operation 'Barbarossa' was launched in June 1941.
1944 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also stated that undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.
1950 – NATO foreign ministers approved plans to defend Western Europe, including the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary.
1953 – WPTZ, in Philadelphia, PA, presented a Felso commercial, it was the first color telecast seen on a local station.
1956 – 'To Tell the Truth' debuted on CBS-TV.
1956 – Japan was admitted to the United Nations.
1957 – The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania went online. It was the first nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States. It was taken out of service in 1982.
1963 – Ron Clarke set a world record when he ran six miles in 28 minutes and 15.6 seconds.
1965 – Kenneth LeBel jumped 17 barrels on ice skates.
1969 – Britain's Parliament abolished the death penalty for murder.
1970 – Divorce became legal in Italy.
1972 – The United States began the heaviest bombing of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The attack ended 12 days later.
1973 – The IRA launched its Christmas bombing campaign in London.
1979 – The sound barrier was broken on land for the first time by Stanley Barrett when he drove at 739.6 mph.
1983 – Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers) scored his 100th point in the 34th game of the season.
1984 – Christopher Guest and Jamie Lee Curtis were married.
1987 – Ivan F. Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street's biggest insider-trading scandal. He only served about two years of the sentence.
1996 – Despite a U.N. truce, factional fighting in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, broke out in which at least 300 fighters and civilians were killed.
1998 – The U.S. House of Representatives began the debate on the four articles of impeachment concerning U.S. President Bill Clinton. It was only the second time in U.S. history that process had begun.
“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
— Matthew 2:11 (ESV)