This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Ronald Reagan
July 25-31, 2022
1775 – Maryland issues currency depicting King George III trampling the Magna Carta.
1861 – Congress passes the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution stating that “the present deplorable civil war” . . . “is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression” but is to be “fought to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union.” Sponsored by Representative John Crittenden of Kentucky and Senator (and future president) Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, the purpose was to limit the goals of the war.
1946 – Micheline Bernardini models the first bikini at a Paris fashion show. Mechanical engineer Louis Réard and fashion designer Jacques Heim invented the bikini using 30-square-inches of cloth. Réard named the bombshell swimsuit after the Bikini Atoll where the U.S. tests atomic bombs.
1990 – Roseanne Barr slaughters the National Anthem at San Diego Padre’s baseball game. Billboard ranked Barr’s performance as the second worst public singing of the National Anthem ever. The worst was Kat DeLuna’s performance at a 2008 Dallas Cowboys game. Watch Barr express regret for her performance in an interview.
1997 – Autumn Jackson is found guilty of trying to extort $40 million from Bill Cosby. Jackson served 14 months of a 26-month sentence for extortion, conspiracy, and crossing state lines to commit a crime. She claimed to be Cosby’s child. Jackson is now 47 years old.
2010 – WikiLeaks releases to the public more than 90,000 internal reports involving the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan from 2004-2010. WikiLeaks was founded in 2006 by Julian Assange, who sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in June 2012. He left in 2019 and was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail in England for violating terms of his bail. He still faces multiple charges in several countries for espionage and sexual assault. Assange is now 51 years old.
1775 – Benjamin Franklin becomes the first U.S. Postmaster General.
1878 – The American West outlaw and poet calling himself “Black Bart” (Charles E. Boles) commits his first of 28 robberies when he steals the safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. No one was ever killed in the robberies and some of the empty safe boxes were left with taunting poems inside. He was captured and convicted in 1883 and sentenced to 6 years in jail. He was released from jail early and in 1888 he disappeared.
1908 – U.S. Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).
1947 – President Harry Truman signs the National Security Act, establishing the Central Intelligence Agency.
1964 – Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa is convicted of fraud and conspiracy and sentenced to prison. The case against Hoffa and organized crime was pursued by Attorney General Robert Kennedy. In 1971, President Nixon commuted Hoffa’s sentence to time served. Hoffa disappeared in 1975 and his body was never found.
1990 – President H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act passed by Congress. The law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all places open to the general public.
2005 – The Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-114) launches as NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003. There were a total of 135 Space Shuttle missions, ending in July of 2011.
1775 – Benjamin Rush begins his service as the first Surgeon General of the Continental Army. Vice Admiral Jerome Adams is the current Surgeon General.
1789 – President Washington signs legislation establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs (now called the State Department). Representative and future president James Madison of New York introduced the bill.
1804 – The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, directing the Electors to vote for a President and a Vice President. Prior to the amendment, the candidate with the most Electoral votes became president and the candidate with second most votes became vice president. In 1801, the Electoral vote ended in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Jefferson was elected president over Burr on the 36th ballot in the House of Representatives after being swayed by Alexander Hamilton. Vice President Burr killed Hamilton in a duel on July 11, 1804.
1909 – Orville Wright sets a record for the longest airplane flight. He tested the first Army airplane at Fort Myer, Virginia, and kept it in the air for 1 hour 12 minutes and 40 seconds. Watch a silent video of the historic flight.
1953 – The Armistice is signed ending the Korean War. Over 50,000 Americans and millions of Koreans and Chinese were killed during the three-year-long war. The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, on this day in 1995.
1965 – President Johnson signs the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act that requires cigarette makers print health warnings on all cigarette packages about the effects of smoking.
1987 – The first salvaging of the Titanic wreckage begins. Robert Ballard located the wreckage in 1985. The mini-submarine Nautile dove 2.5 miles below the ocean’s surface to retrieve objects not seen since the 1912 sinking. Watch a National Geographic video on the 100th anniversary of the sinking.
1995 – The Korean War Memorial is dedicated in Washington, DC.
2017 – Amazon founder Jeff Bezos becomes the world’s richest person ($91.4 billion) for half a day when he briefly overtakes Bill Gates. Elon Musk became the world’s richest person in 2022 with a net worth of $219 billion.
1900 – Louis Lassing of New Haven, Connecticut, says his diner is the first to put a hamburger on a bun. (He is one of many who makes this claim.)
1932 – Two unemployed WWI veterans are killed in a scuffle with police in Washington, DC, during the “Bonus March.” President Hoover called in federal troops when thousands of “Bonus Marchers” demand the government cash in their bonuses early. The clash with the troops was led by General Douglass MacArthur and supported by Major George S. Patton. Watch a video by Historic Films.
1933 – Lucille Lipps, a Western Union operator in New York City, delivers the first singing telegram. It was delivered to Rudy Vallee on his birthday.
1945 – The Senate ratifies the United Nation charter. Bill Langer (R-ND) and Henrik Shipstead ((R-MN) were the only senators who voted against the charter.
1982 – San Francisco, California, becomes the first city in the U.S. to ban private ownership of handguns. A state court concluded that under California law such decisions were reserved to the state legislature and can’t be made by individual cities.
1998 – Monica Lewinsky receives blanket immunity from prosecution to testify before a grand jury about her relationship with President Bill Clinton. She gave her deposition to the Senate in February 1999. Clinton was impeached by the House for perjury and obstruction of justice in December 1998, but he was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999. Lewinsky is now 49 years old and Clinton is 75.
2017 – The late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) casts the deciding vote against repealing Obamacare.
1858 – The Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Harris Treaty) is signed between the U.S. and Japan opening Japanese ports to trade.
1920 – The first of three JL-6 aircraft leave New York for San Francisco on the inaugural transcontinental airmail flight. Former WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker was one of the passengers.
1928 – Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” (Mickey Mouse) is released. Watch the primitive cartoon.
1945 – After delivering the Atomic Bomb across the Pacific, the USS Indianapolis is torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine. Since the mission was secret, the ship was not reported missing. Survivors were accidentally found four days later and rescued. Only 317 of the 1,196 men on board survived in the shark-infested sea, and only two of them are still living.
1957 – Jack Paar begins hosting the “Tonight” show on NBC-TV. The name of the show was changed to “The Jack Paar Show.” Paar was the host for five years. Steve Allen was the original host (1953-1957). Then came Johnny Carson (1962-1992), Jay Leno (1992-2009 and 2010-2014), Conan O’Brien (2009-2010), and the current host since 2014, Jimmy Fallon.
1958 – President Eisenhower signs into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA).
1988 – The last Playboy Club in the U.S. (in Lansing, Michigan) closes. The first Playboy Club was opened by Hugh Hefner in 1960. Hefner died in 2017 at age 91.
1998 – The United Auto Workers union end a 54-day strike against General Motors. The strike causes $2.8 billion in lost revenues.
1619 – The first representative assembly in America convenes in Jamestown, Virginia as the House of Burgesses.
1839 – Slaves take over the slave ship Amistad after 60 days at sea and are arrested in New York. The district court judge ruled that the slaves were free men, and ordered them released from prison. He also ordered that the U.S. government transport them back to Africa. The Supreme Court upheld the decision in 1841.
1932 – Walt Disney’s “Flowers and Trees” premiers. It was the first Academy Award winning cartoon and first cartoon short to use Technicolor. Watch the video, which includes sound.
1942 – President FDR signs the bill creating the U.S. Women’s Naval Reserve, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).
1956 – The phrase “In God We Trust” is adopted as the U.S. national motto.
1965 – President Johnson signs into law Social Security Act that establishes Medicare and Medicaid. It went into effect the following year.
1998 – A group of Ohio machine-shop workers (who call themselves the Lucky 13) win the $295.7 million Powerball jackpot. It was the largest-ever American lottery to date. The largest single lottery jackpot in U.S. history was Powerball in 2018 at $1.536 billion. A Powerball jackpot in 2016, $1.568 billion, had three winners from three states.
2014 – The European Union and the U.S. extend sanctions on Russia to include banks, energy, and defense firms. Moscow denied the allegation that Russia was arming rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
1792 – The cornerstone is laid for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, the first United States government building.
1928 – MGM’s mascot Leo the Lion roars on film for the first time. The lion, whose name was Jackie, introduced MGM’s first talking picture, “White Shadows in the South Seas.” There have been seven “Leos”: Slats (1917-1928); Jackie (1928-1956); George (1956-1957); and Leo (1957-present). Three other lions were also used in cartoons and movies: Telly (1928-1932); Coffee (1932-1935); and Tanner (1934-1956). Hear Leo (aka Jackie) roar and watch the movie’s intro.
1953 – The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) is created during the Eisenhower administration. President Harding proposed a department of education and welfare in 1923. HEW was a cabinet-level department until 1979, when it was separated into different departments.
1971 – Astronauts ride in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV). Watch the lunar ride.
1987 – Rockwell International is awarded a contract to build a fifth space shuttle, the Endeavor, to replace the Challenger, which exploded on launch in 1986. The Endeavor flew 25 missions from 1992 to 2011.
1991 – The U.S. Senate votes to allow women to fly combat aircraft. Air Force Colonel Martha McSally was the first woman to fly a combat mission after the 43-year ban was lifted. She was a U.S. Representative and Senator (R-AZ).
2014 – The U.S. agrees to resupply arms to Israel – including rocket launchers, mortar rounds, and grenades – despite condemnation of civilian casualties in Gaza.
Image from: npca.org