Today in 1896 the territory of Utah was admitted into the Union as the 45th state.
Today in 1965, in his State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson proposed to Congress a list of legislation needed to achieve his plan for a Great Society. On the heels of John F. Kennedy’s death, Americans had elected Johnson, his vice president, to the presidency by the largest popular vote in the nation’s history. Johnson used this mandate to push for improvements he believed would better Americans’ quality of life.
Under Johnson, Congress enacted legislation of civil rights, health care, education and the environment and the creation of Medicare/Medicaid, Head Start, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the White House Conference on Natural Beauty. Johnson also signed the National Foundation of the Arts and Humanities Act, out of which emerged the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through the Economic Opportunity Act, Johnson fought a War on Poverty. In addition, Johnson stepped up research and legislation regarding air and water-pollution control measures. As president, the ongoing technology race with the Soviet Union continued the program of space exploration begun by Kennedy.
Though many of Johnson’s programs remain in place today, his legacy of a Great Society has been largely overshadowed by his decision to involve greater numbers of American soldiers in the Vietnam War.
Today in 1944 U.S. aircraft began dropping supplies to guerrilla forces throughout Western Europe, demonstrating the U.S. believed guerrillas were a vital support to the formal armies of the Allies in their battle against the Axis powers.
Virtually every country that experienced Axis invasion raised a guerrilla force; they were especially effective and numerous in Italy, France, China, Greece, the Philippines, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union. Also referred to as a “partisan force,” a guerrilla army is defined roughly as a member of a small-scale “irregular” fighting force that relies on the limited and quick engagements of a conventional fighting force.
The Allies realized that guerrilla activity was essential to ending the war and supported the patriots with airdrops. The American support was critical, because guerrillas fought admirably in difficult conditions. Tens of thousands of guerillas died in the course of the war, but were never awarded the formal recognition given the “official” fighting forces, despite the enormous risks and sacrifices.
Today in 1974 President Richard Nixon rejected subpoenas from the Senate Watergate Committee seeking audio tapes and related documents.
Rest in peace Elizabeth Ann Seton, first American Catholic Saint, who died today in 1821 at Emmitsburg, Maryland. She was age 46.
Seaton was born in August 28, 1774 at New York City. She was beatified on March 17, 1963 by Pope John XXIII and canonized September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.