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April 8, 2014

Today in History for Tuesday, April 8, 2014

-- — Highlight in History

On April 8, 1864, the United States Senate passed, 38-6, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery. (The House of Representatives passed it in Jan. 1865; the amendment was ratified and adopted in Dec. 1865.)

On this date

In 1904, Longacre Square in Manhattan was renamed Times Square after The New York Times.

In 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for popular election of United States senators (as opposed to appointment by state legislatures), was ratified. President Woodrow Wilson became the first chief executive since John Adams to address Congress in person as he asked lawmakers to enact tariff reform. The Republic of China’s first parliament convened.

In 1946, the League of Nations assembled in Geneva for its final session.

In 1952, President Harry S. Truman seized the American steel industry to avert a nationwide strike. (The Supreme Court later ruled that Truman had overstepped his authority, opening the way for a seven-week strike by steelworkers.)

In 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715th career home run in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.

Ten years ago

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice told the September 11 commission “there was no silver bullet” that could have prevented the deadly terror attacks. Iraqi insurgents released a videotape of three Japanese captives, threatening to burn them alive if Japan did not withdraw its troops from Iraq. Fred Olivi, who copiloted the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, died in Lemont, Ill., at age 82.

Five years ago

Somali pirates hijacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama; although the crew was able to retake the cargo ship, the captain, Richard Phillips, was taken captive by the raiders and held aboard a lifeboat. (Phillips was rescued four days later by Navy SEAL snipers who shot three of the pirates dead.) A Russian spacecraft carrying a crew of three, including U.S. billionaire space tourist Charles Simonyi, landed safely in Kazakhstan. David “Pop” Winans Sr., patriarch of the award-winning Winans gospel music family, died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 74.

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