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January 2017




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Jan. 21st, 2017

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Presidential parents: Garfield and Wilson

Two of the longest lived Presidential parents died on January 21.

In 1888, Eliza Ballou Garfield (mother of President James A. Garfield) died. Born on September 21, 1801, she was the second mother to outlive her President-son. She lived 86 years 123 days, and ranks #8 on the list of longest-lived Presidential mothers.

In 1903, Joseph Ruggles Wilson (father of President Woodrow Wilson) died. He was born on February 28, 1822, and died at the age of 80 years 327 days, ranking him eighth on the list of longest-lived Presidential fathers.

Jan. 20th, 2017

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President Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump is now the 45th President of the United States of America.
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Inauguration Day

The 20th of January (in the years immediately following elections) has been Inauguration Day since the adoption of the 20th Amendment in 1933 (which changed it from March 4th), during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first term.

Presidents inaugurated on this day in history include:

32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for his second, third, and fourth terms, in 1937, 1941, and 1945.

33rd President Harry S Truman for his second term in 1949.

34th President Dwight David Eisenhower in 1953 and 1957.

35th President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1961.

36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson for his second term in 1965.

37th President Richard Milhous Nixon in 1969 and 1973.

39th President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter in 1977.

40th President Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1981 and 1985.

41st President George H.W. Bush in 1989.

42nd President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton in 1993 and 1997.

43rd President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005.

44th President Barack Obama in 2009 and 2013.

Today, at noon, Donald J. Trump joins that list, as the 45th President of the United States.

Jan. 19th, 2017

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Supreme Court: William O. Douglas

On this date in 1980, William O. Douglas died. Born on October 16, 1898. He was Franklin Roosevelt's fourth appointee to the Supreme Court, and took his seat on April 17, 1939, at the age of 40 years 183 days. He was the fifth youngest Justice to serve on the Court. Douglas retired on November 12, 1975, making him the longest-serving Justice.

Jan. 18th, 2017

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President John Tyler

On this date in 1862, President John Tyler died. Born March 29, 1790, he represented Virginia in the House of Representatives from 1816 to 1821. After retiring from the House, he served as Governor of Virginia from 1825 to 1827, and then represented the state in the Senate from 1827 to 1836. In 1840, Tyler was elected the 10th Vice President of the United States, and after a scant 31 days in office, succeeded to the Presidency upon William Henry Harrison's death. It was Tyler's insistence, as the first to succeed to the office, that his assumption of power meant he was actually the President, rather than merely the acting President. After his Presidency, Tyler chaired the Virginia Peace Convention, which tried to avert the Civil War, but seeing that no compromise was possible, declared his allegiance to the Confederacy. He was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives in 1861, but died before he could take office.

Jan. 17th, 2017

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President Rutherford Hayes

On this date in 1893, nearly twelve years after keeping his promise to not run for a second term as President, Rutherford Birchard Hayes died at the age of 70, of complications from a heart attack.

Born in Delaware, Ohio, on October 4, 1822, Hayes was named for his father, who had died 10 weeks before the future President was born (Hayes was the second of three posthumous Presidents). Hayes represented Ohio in the House of Representatives, and was Governor of Ohio for three terms.

In 1876, Hayes won the Republican nomination for President. Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, but the electoral vote was unclear, and it wasn't until February 1877 that the bipartisan Electoral Commission awarded all 20 disputed electoral votes to Hayes. As President, he ended Reconstruction, and attempted to reform the Civil Service.

Fellow Ohioan James Garfield was elected to succeed Hayes, and consulted with Hayes on appointments. In his retirement, Hayes was an advocate for educational charities, and served on the Board of Trustees for Ohio State University. His wife, Lucy, died in 1889.
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First Lady Michelle Obama

Happy 53rd Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama!
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Presidential wedding anniversary: the Jacksons

On this date in 1794, for the second time, Andrew Jackson married Rachel Donelson Robards. Originally married to Lewis Robards in 1784, Rachel thought she had been divorced in 1790. But when Robards heard of Rachel's marriage to Jackson in August 1791, he finally sued for divorce, on the grounds of adultery. The divorce was issued in September 1793, and the Jacksons remarried a few months later. That seemed to put the issue to rest, until Andrew ran for President in 1828, when his opponents again brought it up. Though the theoretical adultery did not cost Jackson the election, it did cost Rachel her health and peace of mind. She died in December 1828, after Jackson won, but before he was inaugurated.
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Cabinet: Bancroft, Dobbin, and Katzenbach

On this date in 1814, James Cochran Dobbin was born. He was the 22nd Secretary of the Navy (1853-57), and died five months after leaving office, on August 4, 1857, at the age of 43 years 199 days. He is number five on the list of shortest-lived Cabinet Secretaries.

On this date in 1891, George Bancroft died. He was born in 1800, and was the 17th Secretary of the Navy (March 11, 1845-September 9, 1846). Following his Cabinet service, he was Ambassador to England (1846-49) and Ambassador to Berlin (1867-74). His retirement from the Cabinet, which lasted 44 years, 130 days, is the second longest on record.

On this date in 1922, Nicholas Katzenbach was born. He was the 65th Attorney General, serving from January 28, 1965 to November 28, 1966 (he had previously been Deputy and acting Attorney General). He broke Bancroft's record for time retired from the Cabinet on April 7, 2011, and died May 8, 2012, setting the record at 45 years, 161 days.

Jan. 16th, 2017

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Vice President John C. Breckinridge

On this date in 1821, John Cabell Breckinridge was born near Lexington, Kentucky. On March 4, 1851, at the age of 30, he took his seat as a member of the House of Representatives, representing Kentucky's eighth district. He served two terms in the House, choosing to not run for re-election in 1854. In 1856, James Buchanan chose him to run for Vice President, and on March 4, 1857 -- less than two months after his 36th birthday -- he took office as the 14th Vice President of the United States. He was, and remains, the youngest Vice President ever. He served the one term with Buchanan, and then ran unsuccessfully for President in 1860 (he was nominated by the Southern faction of a divided Democratic Party, and Abraham Lincoln won the election as the first Republican President). That same election, however, Breckinridge was elected to the Senate representing Kentucky. Breckinridge served in the Senate from March 4, 1861, until he was expelled (for supporting the South) on December 4 of that year. He then served as a General in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was later appointed the Confederacy's fifth Secretary of War, serving from February 6 to May 10, 1865. Fearing he'd be charged with treason, he fled the country, returning only after a grant of amnesty in 1869. Breckinridge died relatively young, in 1875.

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