First woman nominated to the US Supreme Court
President Ronald Reagan nominates
El Paso born Sandra Day O'Connor,
51, an Arizona court of appeals judge, to the US Supreme Court.
Known as a moderate conservative, O'Connor is to replace retiring
justice Stewart Potter, a Dwight D. Eisenhower appointee. O’Connor’s
Senate confirmation hearings would begin later in the summer
in the US Capitol.
On September 21, the Senate unanimously
approved her appointment, and on September 25, she was sworn
in by Chief Justice Warren E. Berger as the first female Supreme
Court justice in US history. After ruling conservatively during
the 1980s, O'Connor emerged in the 1990s as the leading figure
of a centrist bloc of justices.
President Ronald Reagan nominates
Sandra Day O'Connor, an Arizona court of appeals judge, to be
the first woman Supreme Court justice in US history. On September
21, the Senate unanimously approved her appointment to the nation's
highest court, and on September 25 she was sworn in by Chief
Justice Warren Burger. Sandra Day was born in El Paso, Texas,
in 1930. She grew up on her family's cattle ranch in southeastern
Arizona and attended Stanford University, where she studied
economics. A legal dispute over her family's ranch stirred her
interest in law, and in 1950 she enrolled in Stanford Law School.
She took just two years to receive her law degree and was ranked
near the top of her class. Upon graduation, she married John
Jay O'Connor III, a classmate. Because she was a woman, no law
firm she applied to would hire her for a suitable position,
so she turned to the public sector and found work as a deputy
county attorney for San Mateo, California. In 1953, her husband
was drafted into the US Army as a judge, and the O'Connors lived
for three years in West Germany, with Sandra working as a civilian
lawyer for the army. In 1957, they returned to the United States
and settled down in Phoenix, Arizona, where they had three children
in the six years that followed. During this time, O'Connor started
a private law firm with a partner and became involved in numerous
volunteer activities. In 1965, she became an assistant attorney
general for Arizona and in 1969 was appointed to the Arizona
State Senate to occupy a vacant seat. Subsequently elected and
reelected to the seat, she became the first woman in the United
States to hold the position of majority leader in a state senate.
In 1974, she was elected a superior court judge in Maricopa
County and in 1979 was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals
by Governor Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat. Two years later, on July
7, 1981, President Reagan nominated her to the Supreme Court
to fill the seat of retiring justice Stewart Potter, an Eisenhower
appointee. In his 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan had promised
to appoint a woman to the high court at one of his earliest
opportunities, and he chose O'Connor out of a group of some
two dozen male and female candidates to be his first appointee
to the high court. O'Connor, known as a moderate conservative,
faced opposition from anti-abortion groups who criticized her
judicial defense of legalized abortion on several occasions.
Liberals celebrated the appointment of a woman to the Supreme
Court but were critical of some of her views. Nevertheless,
at the end of her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill, the
Senate voted unanimously to endorse her nomination. On 25 September
1981, she was sworn in as the 102nd justice--and first woman
justice--in Supreme Court history. Initially regarded as a member
of the court's conservative faction, she later emerged from
William Rehnquist's shadow (chief justice from 1986) as a moderate
and pragmatic conservative. On social issues, she often votes
with liberal justices, and in several cases she has upheld abortion
rights. She is known for her dispassionate and carefully researched
opinions on the bench and is regarded as a prominent justice
because of her tendency to moderate the sharply divided Supreme
1978 Solomon Islands gains independence from Britain (National
Solar-powered plane crosses Channel and then some.
The world's first solar-powered
aircraft, the Solar Challenger, designed by Paul MacCready,
55, flies from the Pointoise Cormeilles airport, near Paris,
to the Manston Royal Air Force Base, in Kent, Eng., a distance
of 258 km, in 5 hr 23 min at an average speed of about 48 km/h
and a cruising altitude of 3350 m. The pilot is Stephen Ptacek,
weighing 55 kg. The plane, powered by 16'128 solar cells connected
to two electric motors, weighs 95 kg and has a wingspan of 14.3
A human-powered MacCready plane,
the Gossamer Albatross, had made a 37 km crossing of the English
Channel on June 12, 1979.
|1976 Female cadets enrolled
at West Point
For the first time in history,
women are enrolled into the United States Military Academy at
West Point, New York. On May 28, 1980, sixty-two of these female
cadets would graduated and be commissioned as second lieutenants.
The US Military Academy, the
first military school in America, was originally founded as
a school for the US Corps of Engineers on March 16, 1802.
Located on the high west bank of the Hudson River, West Point
was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the
Hudson River Valley from British attack. In 1780, Patriot General
Benedict Arnold, the commander in charge of the fort, agreed
to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for six thousand
pounds. However, the plot was uncovered before it fell into
British hands, and Arnold fled to British protection.
In 1812, the growing threat of
another war with Great Britain resulted in congressional action
to expand the US Military Academy's facilities and increase
the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the academy was reorganized
by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer--later known as the "father
of West Point"--and the school became one of the nation's finest
sources of civil engineers.
During the Mexican-American War,
West Point graduates filled the leading ranks of the victorious
US forces, and with the outbreak of the Civil War, former
West Point classmates regrettably lined up against each other
in the defense of their native states. In 1870, the first African-American
cadet was admitted into the US Military Academy, and in 1976,
the first female cadets. The academy is now under the general
direction and supervision of the department of the US Army,
and has an enrollment of about 4300 students.
24 years later, military
women are still complaining about harassment (in all parts of
the US Armed Forces). See above (year 2000)
1969 Canada's House of Commons gives final approval to a measure
making the French language equal to English throughout the national government.
| 1969 First US troops withdrawn
from South Vietnam
A battalion of the US 9th Infantry
Division leaves Saigon in the initial withdrawal of US troops.
The 814 soldiers were the first of 25,000 troops that were withdrawn
in the first stage of the US disengagement from the war. There
would be 14 more increments in the withdrawal, but the last
US troops did not leave until after the Paris Peace Accords
were signed in January 1973.
1960 USSR shoots down a US aircraft over Barents sea
|1964 New US ambassador arrives
Gen. Maxwell Taylor, the new
US ambassador to South Vietnam, arrives in Saigon. As a military
man with considerable experience in Vietnam, he was viewed by
the South Vietnamese government, the US military establishment,
and the Johnson administration as the ideal individual to coordinate
and invigorate the war effort. Presumably because of his arrival,
a bomb was thrown at the US Embassy and two grenades exploded
elsewhere in Saigon; no one was injured and only slight damage
1958 US President Eisenhower signs Alaska statehood bill
|1955 China announces it will
provide aid to Hanoi
Officials in China and Hanoi
announce that Beijing will extend 800 million yuan (about $200
million) in economic aid to Hanoi. This announcement followed
a trip to Beijing by Ho Chi Minh and his ministers of finance,
industry, agriculture, education and health. On July 18, the
Soviet Union announced that it would grant Hanoi 400 million
rubles (about $100 million) in economic aid. This aid from fellow
communist nations helped sustain North Vietnam in its war against
the South Vietnamese and their American allies until 1975, when
they defeated the South Vietnamese forces and reunified the
1946 Italian-American educator, Mother
Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) becomes the first American citizen
to be declared a saint by the Catholic Church. She arrived in the USin
1889, and was naturalized in 1909.
Edsel team formed
The Ford Motor Company forms
a styling team to take on the project of designing an entirely
new car that will later be named the Edsel. The decision comes
as Ford enjoys its greatest historical success in the 1950s.
The 1954 Thunderbird had outsold its Chevy counterpart, the
Corvette, and the consumer demand for automobiles, in all price
brackets, was steadily increasing. In exuberant Ford plants
signs that had once read "Beat Chevrolet" were changed to a
more ambitious tune: "Beat GM."
[photo: 1958 Edsel Citation >]
The Ford Motor Company consisted of four brand names: Ford,
Mercury, Lincoln, and Continental, listed from lowest to highest
in price range. Ford executives believed that there was a gap
in the marketplace between the Mercury and the Lincoln, where
a new car would compete against GM’s Oldsmobile and Buick lines.
In the middle of the 1950s Americans seemed to have an insatiable
hunger for high horse-powered, heavily styled cars, with lots
of chrome and many accessories. So Ford planned to fill the
public’s appetite with a suitable answer. The company spared
no expense in the development of its new car, even going so
far as to employ famous American poet Marianne Moore to supply
possibilities for its name. After an extensive name search and
no satisfactory result, somebody suggested that the car be named
after Henry Ford II’s father, Edsel. Ford balked at the suggestion
initially but later relented on the grounds that his father
deserved a tribute, and he urged the car’s designers to live
up to his father’s name. Edsel had always had a knack for design,
even if his business sense hadn’t always lived up to his father’s
The Edsel project was launched
with great fanfare and vigorous advertising. During the years
between the car’s conception and its production, the American
economy took a downturn. By the time the Edsel was released
in 1957, the high end of the car market had once again contracted.
Public reaction to the car’s exaggerated styling was tepid at
best, with particular objections aimed at the Edsel’s awkward
looking "horse collar" grill. Sales for the car started slowly
Newly appointed company vice-president
Robert McNamara was charged with the task of salvaging the operation.
Had McNamara held the position years earlier, historians point
out, the Edsel project may never have been taken on as McNamara
strongly believed Ford should concentrate on the economy car
market. McNamara attempted to improve the car’s construction
and appearance, but when the attempt failed he was forced to
halt production of the car at a disastrous loss of $250 million.
To this day the Edsel remains the biggest failure in American
car history, "a monumental disaster created for tomorrow’s markets
created by yesterday’s statistical inputs." However, history
has treated the Edsel more kindly, and its looks are now considered
to be an attractive example of 1950s flair.
to sterilize Jews at Auschwitz
Heinrich Himmler, in league with
three others, including a physician, decides to begin experimenting
on women in the Auschwitz
concentration camps and to investigate extending this experimentation
on males. Himmler, architect of Hitler's program to exterminate
Europe's Jewish population, convenes a conference in Berlin
to discuss the prospects for using concentration camp prisoners
as objects of medical experiments. The other attendees are the
head of the Concentration Camp Inspectorate, SS General Richard
Glueks; hospital chief, SS Major-General Gebhardt; and one of
Germany's leading gynecologists, Professor Karl Clauberg. The
result of the conference is that a major program of medical
experimentation on Jewish women at Auschwitz is agreed upon.
These experiments were to be
carried out in such a way as to ensure that the prisoners were
not aware of what was being done to them. (The experimentation
would take the form of sterilization via massive doses of radiation
or uterine injections.) It was also decided to consult with
an X-ray specialist about the prospects of using X rays to castrate
men and demonstrating this on male Jewish prisoners. Adolf Hitler
endorsed this plan on the condition that it remained top secret.
Himmler would propose such a conference or endorse such
a program should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with
his resume. As head of the Waffen-Schutzstaffel ("Armed Black
Shirts"), the SS,
the military arm of the Nazi Party, and assistant chief of the
(Geheime Staatspolizei = “Secret State
Police”) ), Himmler was able over time to consolidate his control
over all police forces of the Reich. This power grab would prove
highly effective in carrying out the Fuhrer's Final Solution.
It was Himmler who organized the creation of death camps throughout
Eastern Europe and the creation of a pool of slave laborers.
1937 Japanese and Chinese troops clash, which will become WW
|1941 US forces occupy Iceland
During World War II, the neutral
United States moved closer to war with Germany when US forces
landed on Iceland to take over its garrisoning from the British.
From thereon, the US Navy took over the responsibility of
protecting convoys in the nearby sea routes from attack by German
submarines. With Iceland now under US protection, the Royal
Navy had a freer hand to concentrate their warships in a defense
of their embattled Mediterranean positions. The US military
operation came less than a month after, when President Franklin
D. Roosevelt froze all German and Italian assets in the United
States and expelled the countries' diplomats in response to
the German torpedoing of the American destroyer Robin Moor.
With the occupation of Iceland, much of the North Atlantic was
now in the American sphere, and US warships patrolled the
area and notified London of all enemy activity they encountered.
1930 Construction begins on Boulder
Dam, later renamed Hoover Dam.
White Fleet leaves SF Bay
|1914 Tuesday : in the aftermath of the June
28 assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of
Austria-Hungary and of his wife, Sophia:
The Austro-Hungarian Ministerial Council meets to consider
the implications of the 'blank check'. Some sort of action
will be taken against Serbia. Hungarian Prime Minister Tisza
voices reservations on these plans.
1905 53ºC, Parker Ariz (state record)
1904 Fermez les écoles religieuses! Toutes les congrégations
religieuses, y compris celles qui jusque-là étaient autorisées, se voient
interdire de dispenser un enseignement. La promulgation de cette loi
entraînera la fermeture de 2400 écoles.
1898 US President McKinley signs resolution of annexation of
1863 Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana continues
attacks the gold
The Presidential campaign of
1896 was, in many ways, a battle over money. As was expected,
the Republican campaign, led by the party's presidential nominee,
Ohio governor William
McKinley, centered on maintaining the gold standard. On
the other side of the fence, the Democrats took a cue from the
Populist party and latched on to the free coinage of silver
as one of their guiding issues.
While the Democrat's decision
to support silver shocked a number of political observers, their
nominee for the Oval Office proved to be even more surprising.
The Democrats had already settled on their issue, but the summer
of 1896 found them without a clear candidate for the Oval Office.
That all changed at the party's national convention in Chicago
on July 7 when William
Jennings Bryan, then just a young scribe from Nebraska,
stepped to speak before the Democrat's 20'000 delegates. An
ardent supporter of the silver movement, Bryan seized the reins
of the party by railing against the Republican's and their "demand
for a gold standard."
During his speech, Bryan laid
down his now famous vow against gold and the Republicans: "You
shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns,
you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." These indelible
words sent the delegates into frenzy and effectively sealed
Bryan's unlikely nomination as the Democrat's candidate for
President. Alas, Bryan's fiery oratory proved to be no match
for McKinley's fat coffers: backed by the money and influence
of the nation's business leaders, the Republicans were able
to lavish roughly $7 million on their campaign. Bryan, on the
other hand, spent a scant $300'000 and ultimately lost his bid
for the White House.
1863 first military draft by US (exemptions cost $100)
1861 Skirmish at Laurel Hill, Virginia (now West Virginia)
Carson's campaign against the Amerindians
Lt. Colonel Christopher "Kit"
Carson leaves Santa Fe with his troops, beginning his campaign
against the Indians of New Mexico and Arizona. A famed mountain
man before the Civil War, Carson was responsible for waging
a destructive war against the Navajo that resulted in their
removal from the Four Corners area to southeastern New Mexico.
Carson was perhaps the most famous trapper and guide in the
West. He traveled with the expeditions of John C. Fremont in
the 1840s, leading Fremont through the Great Basin. Fremont's
flattering portrayal of Carson made the mountain man a hero
when the reports were published and widely read in the east.
Later, Carson guided Stephen Watts Kearney to New Mexico during
the Mexican-American War. In the 1850s he became the Indian
agent for New Mexico, a position he left in 1861 to accept a
commission as lieutenant colonel in the 1st New Mexico Volunteers.
Although Carson's unit saw action in the New Mexico battles
of 1862, he was most famous for his campaign against the Indians.
Despite his reputation for being sympathetic and accommodating
to tribes such as the Mescaleros, Kiowas, and Navajo, Carson
waged a brutal campaign against the Navajo in 1863. When bands
of Navajo refused to accept confinement on reservations, Carson
terrorized the Navajo lands--burning crops, destroying villages,
and slaughtering livestock. Carson rounded up some 8000 Navajo
and marched them across New Mexico for imprisonment on the Bosque
Redondo, over 500 km from their homes, where they remained for
the duration of the war.
1846 US annexation of California is proclaimed at Monterey
after the surrender of a Mexican garrison.
|1853 Ouverture commerciale du
L'amiral Perry commandant une
escadre des États Unis débarque au Japon. Un traité de commerce
sera signé. Il ouvrira le Japon aux américains et aux occidentaux.
Jusqu'au milieu du XIX ème siècle, les étrangers n'avaient pu
prendre pied au Japon, sauf rares exceptions. C'était à cette
époque un petit pays dont le nom "Hih-Pen" signifie "l'Empire
du Soleil Levant".
1838 Central American federation is dissolved.
of Senator Blount
For the first time in US history,
the House of Representatives exercised its constitutional power
of impeachment, and voted to charge Senator
Blount of Tennessee, 48, with "a high misdemeanor, entirely
inconsistent with his public duty and trust as a Senator."
In 1790, President George Washington
had appointed Blount, who had fought in the American Revolution,
as governor of the "Territory South of the River Ohio," now
known as Tennessee. Although he was a successful territorial
governor, personal financial problems led him to enter into
a conspiracy with British officers to enlist frontiersmen and
Cherokee Indians to assist the British in conquering parts of
Spanish Florida and Louisiana. Before the conspiracy was uncovered,
Blount presided over the Tennessee Constitutional Convention,
and in 1796 became the state's first US senator.
However, in 1797, the plot was
revealed, and on July 7, the House of Representatives votes
to impeach Senator Blount. The next day, the Senate votes by
a two-thirds majority to expel him from its ranks, and on December
17, 1798, exercises its "sole power to try all impeachments,"
as granted by the Constitution, and initiates a Senate trial
As vice president of the United
States, Thomas Jefferson was president of the Senate and thus
presided over the impeachment trial proceedings. After two months,
Jefferson and the Senate decided to dismiss the charges against
Blount, determining that the Senate had no jurisdiction over
its own members beyond its constitutional right to expel members
by a two-thirds majority vote. By the time of the dismissal,
Blount had already been elected as a senator to the Tennessee
state legislature, where he was appointed speaker and served
as such until his death on March 21, 1800. The constitutional
conundrum of conducting a trial of an impeached senator has
not yet been resolved.
1789 In Paris, a company of Swiss mercenary soldiers arrives at
the Bastille to bolster its garrison of 82 soldiers, at the request of
Bernard-Jordan de Launay, the military governor of the Bastille, who
feared that his fortress would be a target for the revolutionaries. There
were severe food shortages in France that year, and popular resentment
against the rule of King Louis XVI was turning to fury. In June, the
Third Estate, which represented commoners and the lower clergy, had declared
itself the National Assembly and called for the drafting of a constitution.
Initially seeming to yield, Louis legalized the National Assembly but
then surrounded Paris with troops and dismissed Jacques Necker, a popular
minister of state who had supported reforms. In response, mobs began
rioting in Paris at the instigation of revolutionary leaders.
1768 Firm of Johann Buddenbrook founded, in Thomas Mann's 1900
1668 Isaac Newton receives MA from Trinity College, Cambridge