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June 17, 2014

Today in History for Tuesday, June 17, 2014

-- — Highlight in History

On June 17, 1789, during the French Revolution, the Third Estate declared itself a national assembly, and undertook to frame a constitution. (This gathering gave rise to the political terms “left wing” and “right wing,” with deputies representing commoners sitting to the left of the assembly president, and nobles sitting to the right.)

On this date

In 1397, the Treaty of Kalmar was signed, creating a union between the kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

In 1775, the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill resulted in a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses.

In 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales with pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, becoming the first woman to make the trip as a passenger.

In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which boosted U.S. tariffs to historically high levels, prompting foreign retaliation.

In 1953, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas stayed the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, originally set for the next day, the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary. (They were put to death June 19.)

In 1961, Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West while his troupe was in Paris.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon’s eventual downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic national headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate complex.

In 1987, Charles Glass, a journalist on leave from ABC News, was kidnapped in Lebanon. (Glass escaped his captors in August 1987.)

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a breakthrough arms-reduction agreement.

In 1994, after leading police on a slow-speed chase on Southern California freeways, O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. (Simpson was later acquitted in a criminal trial, but held liable in a civil trial.)

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