Saturday, March 9

Today in US Political History - March 9th

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Today in US Political History

On March 9th

1781 - Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez, commander of the Spanish forces in North America, turns his attention to the British-occupied city of Pensacola, Florida. General Galvez and a Spanish naval force of more than 40 ships and 3,500 men landed at Santa Rosa Island and begin a two-month siege of British occupying forces that becomes known as the Battle of Pensacola.

1799 - The U.S. Congress contracted with Simeon North, of Berlin, CT, for 500 horse pistols at the price of $6.50 each. The total order was for $3,250. This contract earned Simeon North the title of “the first official pistol maker of the U.S.”

1820 - The U.S. Congress passed the Land Act that paved the way for westward expansion of North America. 

1847 - US forces under General Winfield Scott invaded Mexico (Mexican-American War) 3 miles south of Vera Cruz. Encountering almost no resistance from the Mexicans massed in the fortified city of Vera Cruz, by nightfall the last of Scott's 10,000 men came ashore without the loss of a single life. It was the largest amphibious landing in U.S. history until WW II.

1862 - During the U.S. Civil War, the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (Merrimac) fought to a draw during their first encounter. The battle raged for five-hours near Hampton Roads, Virginia. 

1863 - General Ulysses Grant was appointed commander-in-chief of the Union forces by President Lincoln.

1907 - The state of Indiana enacted the nation’s 1st involuntary sterilization law based on eugenics. 1909 a new governor, Thomas Marshall, soon put a stop to the process by threatening the funding of institutions that used the law and it was struck down in 1921 by the Indiana Supreme Court. The sterilization law was struck down by the state supreme court due to violations to the Fourteenth Amendment. A new law was passed in 1927 that cleared any potential interpretation of the law from violating the fourteenth amendment  and was on the books until 1974, though most sterilizations had already stopped by this time. 

1916 - Francisco "Pancho" Villa led 1,500 horsemen on a nighttime attack on Columbus, New Mexico17 Americans were killed as the town was looted and the town center burned. President Woodrow Wilson responded by ordering General John "Black Jack" Pershing to "pursue and disperse" the bandits. Wilson eventually sent out 10,000  troops and personnel. It was the first military expedition to use mechanized vehicles

1933 - The U.S. Congress was called in to a special session and began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation. 

1933 - The Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933 was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The measure, which called for a four-day mandatory shutdown of U.S. banks for inspections before they could be reopened, sought to re-instill investor confidence and stability in the banking system.

1942 - Construction of the Alaska Highway began.

1945 - During World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Tokyo Japan.

1953 - Decision made in U.S. vs. Reynolds. This was a landmark ruling that formally established the government's "National Security" privilege, a privilege that has enabled federal agencies to conceal conduct, withhold documents and block civil litigation. In this case the Air Force refused to turn over documents from the flight citing national security privilege. The Supreme Court upheld the Air Force’s right to claim the privilege. The government can assert privileges against discovery on the basis of national security if the privilege claim is appropriate under the circumstances. The ruling has provided a fundamental basis for much of the response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including the USA Patriot Act and the handling of terrorist suspects.

1964 - The US Supreme Court, in its New York Times v. Sullivan decision, ruled that public officials who charged libel could not recover damages for defamatory statements related to their official duties unless they proved actual malice on the part of the news organization.

1968 - General William Westmoreland asked for 206,000 more troops in Vietnam.

1975 - Work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline. It is anticipated that by 2015 the daily oil throughput on the Alaskan Pipeline will approach 500,000 barrels per day.

1989 - The Senate rejected President Bush's nomination of John Tower to be defense secretary by a vote of 53-47. 

1989 - Eastern Airlines filed for bankruptcy.

1990 - Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as the US surgeon general, becoming the first woman and the first Hispanic to hold the job. 

2000 - John McCain suspended his Presidential campaign, conceding the Republican nomination to George W. Bush.

2001 - The DJIA fell 213.63 to 10,644, while the Nasdaq fell almost 116 to close at 2052 as Intel and Cisco announced thousands of job cuts.

2003 - In Venezuela Pres. Hugo Chavez claimed an international campaign involving the US was trying to discredit his government and he warned other countries not to be fooled by the so-called smear tactics.

2006 - President Bush signed a somewhat weakened patriot Act into law, a day before parts of it were due to expire.

2006 - The US Commerce Dept. reported that the US trade gap for January had widened to a record $68.51 billion.

2007 - President Bush heralded a new ethanol agreement with Brazil as a way to boost alternative fuels production across the Americas. One roadblock in the Bush-Silva ethanol talks is a .54 cent tariff the United States has imposed on every gallon of ethanol imported from Brazil. Bush said it's not up for discussion.

2007 - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller acknowledged the FBI improperly used the Patriot Act to secretly obtain personal information about Americans; they apologized and vowed to prevent further illegal intrusions.

2007 - A US appeals court overturned a District of Columbia handgun ban.

2009 - President Barack Obama signed an executive order reversing the US government’s ban on funding stem-cell research today and pledge to “use sound, scientific practice and evidence, instead of dogma” to guide federal policy. Executive Order13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells

2010 - Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel and pledged Washington's full commitment to Israel's security and a renewal of Middle East peace talks after a 14-month hiatus. Biden assured Israel of Washington's commitment to its security and preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons. 

2011 - President Barack Obama nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next US ambassador to China, replacing Jon Huntsman

2011 - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a ban on the death penalty and commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates to life without parole. The signing of the law makes Illinois the 16th state to ban capitol punishment.

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