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March 23, 2014

Today in History for Sunday, March 23, 2014

-- — Highlight in History

On March 23, 1914, the first installment of “The Perils of Pauline,” the legendary silent film serial starring Pearl White, premiered at theaters in the greater New York City area, including movie houses in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

On this date

In 1775, Patrick Henry delivered an address to the Virginia Provincial Convention in which he is said to have declared, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

In 1806, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, began their journey back east.

In 1919, Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.

In 1933, the German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.

In 1942, the first Japanese-Americans evacuated by the U.S. Army during World War II arrived at the internment camp in Manzanar, Calif.

In 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic.

In 1964, actor Peter Lorre, 59, died in Los Angeles.

In 1973, before sentencing a group of Watergate break-in defendants, Chief United State District Judge John J. Sirica read aloud a letter to him from James W. McCord Jr. which said there had been “political pressure” to “plead guilty and remain silent.”

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan first proposed developing technology to intercept incoming enemy missiles — an idea that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. Dr. Barney Clark, recipient of a Jarvik permanent artificial heart, died at the University of Utah Medical Center after 112 days with the device.

In 1994, Aeroflot Flight 593, an Airbus A310, crashed in Siberia with the loss of all 75 people on board; it turned out the teenage son of a pilot who was allowed to sit at the controls accidentally disengaged the autopilot, causing the jetliner to plunge to the ground. Luis Donaldo Colosio, Mexico’s leading presidential candidate, was assassinated during a rally in Tijuana. Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe’s National Hockey League career record with his 802nd goal.

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a $938 billion health care overhaul, declaring “a new season in America.”

In 2011, Academy Award-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor died in Los Angeles at age 79.

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