This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
January 7 is the seventh day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 358 days remaining until the end of the year (359 in leap years).
On this day in 1789, the first US presidential election is held. The United States presidential election of 1789 was the first presidential election in the United States of America. The election took place following the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788. In this election, George Washington was elected for the first of his two terms as President of the United States, and John Adams became the first Vice President of the United States.
Before this election, the United States had no chief executive. Under the previous system-the Articles of Confederation-the national government was headed by the Confederation Congress, which had a ceremonial presiding officer and several executive departments, but no independent executive branch.
In this election, the enormously popular Washington essentially ran unopposed. The only real issue to be decided was who would be chosen as vice president. Under the system then in place, each elector cast two votes; if a person received a vote from a majority of the electors, that person became president, and the runner-up became vice president. All 69 electors cast one vote each for Washington. Their other votes were divided among eleven other candidates; John Adams received the most, becoming vice president. The Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, would change this procedure, requiring each elector to cast distinct votes for president and vice president.
In the absence of conventions, there was no formal nomination process. The framers of the Constitution had presumed that Washington would be the first president, and once he agreed to come out of retirement to accept the office, there was no opposition to him. Individual states chose their electors, who voted all together for Washington when they met.
Electors used their second vote to cast a scattering of votes, many voting for someone besides Adams with Alexander Hamilton less out of opposition to him than to prevent Adams from matching Washington’s total.
Only ten states out of the original thirteen cast electoral votes in this election. North Carolina and Rhode Island were ineligible to participate as they had not yet ratified the United States Constitution. New York failed to appoint its allotment of eight electors because of a deadlock in the state legislature.
1325 – Alfonso IV becomes King of Portugal.
1558 – France takes Calais, the last continental possession of England.
1598 – Boris Godunov becomes Tsar of Russia.
1608 – Fire destroys Jamestown, Virginia.
1610 – Galileo Galilei observes three of the four largest moons of Jupiter for the first time. He named them, and in turn the four are called the Galilean moons. Ganymede not discovered by him until January 13.
1782 – The first American commercial bank, the Bank of North America, opens.
1785 – Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a gas balloon.
1797 – The modern Italian flag is first used.
1835 – HMS Beagle drops anchor off the Chonos Archipelago.
1894 – W.K. Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film.
1904 – The distress signal “CQD” is established only to be replaced two years later by “SOS”.
1919 – Montenegrin guerrilla fighters rebel against the planned annexation of Montenegro by Serbia, but fail.
1920 – The New York State Assembly refuses to seat five duly elected Socialist assemblymen.
1922 – Dail Eireann ratifies the
Anglo-Irish Treaty by a 64-57 vote.
1927 – The first transatlantic telephone service is established – from New York City to London.
1931 – Guy Menzies flies the first solo non-stop trans-Tasman flight (from Australia to New Zealand) in 11 hours and 45 minutes, crash-landing on New Zealand’s west coast.
1935 – Benito Mussolini and French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval sign the Franco-Italian Agreement.
1942 – World War II: The siege of the Bataan Peninsula begins.
1945 – World War II: British General Bernard Montgomery holds a press conference in which he claims credit for victory in the Battle of the Bulge.
1948 – Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Thomas Mantell crashes while in pursuit of a supposed UFO.
1950 – A fire at the Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Iowa, kills 41 people.
1952 – President Harry Truman announces that the United States has developed the hydrogen bomb.
1954 – Georgetown-IBM experiment: the first public demonstration of a machine translation system, is held in New York at the head office of IBM.
1959 – The United States recognizes the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
1960 – The Polaris missile is test launched.
1968 – Surveyor Program: Surveyor 7, the last spacecraft in the Surveyor series, lifts off from launch complex 36A, Cape Canaveral.
1972 – Iberia Airlines Caravelle 6-R crashes into Mont San Jose on approach to Ibiza Airport killing all 104 on board.
1973 – Mark Essex fatally shoots 10 people and wounds 13 others at Howard Johnson’s Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana before being shot to death by police officers.
1979 – Third Indochina War – Cambodian-Vietnamese War: Phnom Penh falls to the advancing Vietnamese troops, driving out Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
1980 – President Jimmy Carter authorizes legislation giving $1.5 billion in loans to bail out the Chrysler Corporation.
1984 – Brunei becomes the sixth member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
1985 – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launches Sakigake, Japan’s first interplanetary spacecraft and the first deep space probe to be launched by any country other than the United States or the Soviet Union.
1990 – The interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to the public because of safety concerns.
1991 – Roger Lafontant, former leader of the Tonton Macoutes in Haiti under Francois Duvalier, attempts a coup d’etat, which ends in his arrest.
1993 – The Fourth Republic of Ghana is inaugurated with Jerry Rawlings as President.
1999 – The Senate trial in the impeachment of U.S. President Bill Clinton begins. He had been impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19.
Christian Feast Day:
Christmas (Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches using the Julian Calendar)
Distaff Day (medieval Europe)
Festival of Seven Herbs or Nanakusa no sekku (Japan)
Tricolour day or Festa del Tricolore (Italy)
Victory from Genocide Day (Cambodia)