SO, YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT

February 27th in history:

Historians believe a speech by Abraham Lincoln on this day in 1860 gave him a major boost toward the presidency. Lincoln impressed an audience with an address at the Cooper Union hall in New York City, raising his national profile.

If Lincoln had not been shot during his second term, he could have run for as many terms as he liked. There was nothing in the Constitution to stop him — until February 27th, 1951, when the 22nd Amendment was ratified. That amendment was passed after Franklin Roosevelt was elected president four times. It says a president can be elected to no more than two terms — or just one full term, if he or she took over for another president who had served less than half a term.

February 27th is the birthday of two men who have run for president: consumer advocate Ralph Nader (1934) and former Texas Governor John Connally (1917). Also, the birthday of a recent White House resident, Chelsea Clinton (1980).

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LEADERS AND BEGINNINGS

February 12th in history:

Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were both born on February 12th in the same year, 1809.

One of the states that joined the Confederacy during Lincoln’s presidency was founded as a colony on February 12th, 1733. James Oglethorpe founded Georgia as the 13th European colony in the New World.

It was a new world for women in one U.S. territory on this date in 1870: The Utah Territory gave women the vote. Women wouldn’t be granted that right nationwide for another 50 years.

LET FREEDOM RING

February 1st in history:

President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, on this date in 1865. The 2012 Steven Spielberg movie “Lincoln” mostly deals with President Lincoln’s fight to pass the amendment.

The 1939 film “Young Mr. Lincoln” was directed by John Ford, born February 1st, 1894.  Ford is best known for his Westerns, and won four Oscars for directing in his career.  He won his last directing Oscar, for “The Quiet Man,” in March of 1953…the same year he made “Mogambo,” starring Clark Gable, born on this day in 1901.  Gable won an Oscar for the comedy “It Happened One Night,” but his most famous role in a 30-year movie career was as Rhett Butler in the Civil War romance “Gone With the Wind.”

Ford also won an Oscar for the Dust Bowl drama “The Grapes of Wrath,” based on a John Steinbeck novel.  The title comes from the first verse of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which put new words to the tune “John Brown’s Body.” Julia Ward Howe’s lyrics for “Battle Hymn” first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly magazine on February 1st, 1862.

The University of Minnesota Marching Band routinely performs “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at Minnesota Gopher football games in Minneapolis.  For the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, singer Justin Timberlake was chosen to star in the halftime show, 14 years after his controversial February 1st, 2004 appearance with Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XXXVIII.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined CBS for broadcasting the brief moment where Timberlake tore part of Jackson’s costume, exposing her breast, in what became known as a “wardrobe malfunction.”

 

SIGNS OF LIBERTY

January 1st in history:

On New Year’s Day of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves that were living in Confederate states.

The people of Cuba were free from the rule of dictator Fulgencio Batista on January 1st, 1959 — only to see rebel leader Fidel Castro take over and rule for nearly 50 years. Batista fled to the Dominican Republic, taking millions of dollars with him.

Two colonists associated with the birth of the United States were born on January 1st: Silversmith Paul Revere (1735) was 40 years old when he and others rode to warn people in the Boston area that British forces were coming; and seamstress Betsy Ross (1752) was in her twenties when she proposed a design for the country’s first thirteen-star flag.

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME

December 29 in history:

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The former Republic of Texas became the 28th state in the Union on December 29th, 1845.

The U.S. has had two presidents named Johnson…one from Texas, and one from Tennessee.  Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was born on this date in 1808.  Johnson made history as the first president to be impeached, and as the vice president who rose to the Oval Office after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

A 1988 mini-series about Lincoln starred Sam Waterston as President Lincoln, and Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Todd Lincoln.  Moore, born on December 29th, 1936, is best known for her comedy roles as Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”  She and Waterston also worked together in the 1986 movie Just Between Friends, in which Ted Danson played her husband.  Danson, born on this date in 1947, has starred on the TV series “CSI,” “Becker,” “The Good Place,” and on “Cheers” as Boston bartender Sam Malone.

Boston was the home of the first YMCA founded in America.  Thomas Sullivan established that YMCA on December 29th, 1851, modeling it after a Y in England.

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SECEDE

December 20 in history:

You could say that the Civil War began on December 20th, 1860, when South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.  The election of Abraham Lincoln as president has been blamed as the crucial event which led slave-holding states to break away.  The first actual shots in the war were fired in South Carolina the following April.

Elvis Presley’s first movie role, in Love Me Tender, cast him as the only brother in a Southern family who did not fight in the Civil War.  Soon after that movie, Elvis became a soldier in real life, when he received his draft notice to join the Army on this date in 1957.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines took part in a joint invasion of Panama on December 20th, 1989.  “Operation Just Cause” removed Panama’s dictator, Manuel Noriega, from power.  The George H.W. Bush administration declared the invasion was justified as a way to protect the Panama Canal, and to protect U.S. citizens in the country against threats by Noriega.

SMOOTH TALKERS

November 19 in history:

A new national cemetery was consecrated on November 19th, 1863 at the site of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg.  The event is remembered today because of President Abraham Lincoln’s two-minute address which began “Fourscore and seven years ago…”

The late-’80s musical group Milli Vanilli is remembered today because its two front men, known as Rob and Fab, did not actually use their own voices on their debut album.  The duo announced on November 19th, 1990, that they would give back their Grammy for Best New Artist, awarded nine months earlier.

Two men whose voices and faces became familiar to talk-show fans were born on November 19th.

Comedian Dick Cavett (1936) was given a daytime talk show on ABC in 1968, eventually leading to a late-night show on that network and a series on PBS.  Cavett appeared as himself in two movies that won the Oscar for best picture:  “Annie Hall” (1977) and “Forrest Gump” (1994).

Larry King appeared as himself in many movies during the 25 years he hosted a prime-time talk show on CNN.  King was born on November 19th, 1933…making him exactly five years older than his long-time boss at CNN, Ted Turner.