Economic Strangle Hold Causes War Of 1812
On this day in 1812, President James Madison, tired of the toll British ships were inflicting on the United States' merchant vessels, urged congress to declare war on Great Britain. Madison had tried embargos and non-intercourse acts before to try and rebuff the British but all had failed, causing him to urge a declaration of war.
Universal Studios Established
On this day in 1912, Hollywood movie-making studio Universal was started. It was the first major studio in Hollywood, racking in billions of dollars and producing hits such as Jaws and Jurassic Park.
GM Ordered To Pay Up
On this day in 1996, General Motors is ordered to pay 150 million dollars in punitive damages because of faulty door latches. This case was seen as an example of tort law gone berserk until GM internal documents emerged stating the door latches were "substandard" and prone to failure. Also, GM was not willing to pay the 916 million dollar price for the recall and repair of these faulty door latches.
Robert Anderson Born
On this day in 1910, Robert Anderson was born. Anderson was the Secretary of Treasury during President Eisenhower's second term. From 1957 to 1961 Anderson was a contributor to Eisenhower's conservative economic policies.
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes was born today; a pioneer economist through the 1930s U.S. Depression, he argued for government lead in steering in the economy.
Securities Exchange Act Signed
On this day in 1934, with a stroke of his pen, President Roosevelt signed the Securities Exchange Act. This act was designed to set rules and regulation on the notoriously corrupt New York Stock Exchange that caused the 1929 crash. This legislation also started the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), which is responsible for monitoring the nation's brokerage houses and investment banks.
Quiz Show Makes Money And Problems For Television Networks
On this day in 1955, CBS unveiled the quiz show The $64,000 Question that took the American viewing audience by storm and caused the creation of droves of spin-offs. The success of the show that made CBS millions was short-lived; in 1958 the FCC discovered that contestants were provided answers to the questions beforehand. This scandal caused the television networks to pull their quiz shows from the air.
Nabisco Makes Cuts
Nabisco Holdings Corporation took a $406 million restructuring charge and announced it was cutting 3,100 jobs on this day in 1998. All of this stemmed from the expectation that profits in the upcoming year would be well below expectations.
Pay As You Go
On this day in 1943, President Roosevelt signed the Current Tax Payment Act, which was more widely known as the "Pay as You Go" tax. This tax allowed Americans taxpayers to withhold federal income taxes before getting paid their wages or salaries. This was a wartime act that survived into the postwar era.
Mitsubishi Settles Harassment Case
On this day, Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, Inc. paid a $34 million dollar settlement to female workers who had brought suit against the company claiming that they had been groped, and endured other forms of sexual harassment by male employees at the company's Normal, Illinois plant.
TV Guide Merges With TCI
TV Guide, the country's most widely circulated magazine, and Tele-Communications, Inc. finalized a $2 billion merger on this day.
Youngest Rockefeller Born
On this day, David Rockefeller, the youngest of John D. Rockefeller's five children was born. David, like his father became a very rich man. With degrees from prestigious institutions, including Harvard and Chicago University, he got a job at the Chase National Bank. He quickly rose through the ranks and helped bring about a merger between Chase and the Bank of Manhattan. In 1969 David was picked to be both chairman of the board and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank.
Home Owners Refinancing Act Passed
The Home Owners Refinancing Act passed through Congress on this day in 1933. The act created the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), which gave federal funds to citizens for mortgages and even repairs to their homes.
Donald Trump Born
On this day, real estate giant Donald Trump was born in New York. After gaining an MBA from Wharton School of Finance, Trump got a job with his father. From there he made some smart business decisions and was soon buying and building some of the most lavish hotels and high-rise apartments in the country. After making millions in the 1980s, Trump's luck took a turn for the worse in the 1990s, but using his vast business knowledge, Trump has begun rebuilding his empire.
Longtime Politician Dies
On this day, John Connally, a former Secretary of the Navy for LBJ, Governor of Texas, and Secretary of the Treasury for Nixon, died. Connally dodged a few bullets in his time: he was in the limo when President Kennedy was assassinated, and got through the troubled Nixon administration relatively unscathed. As Treasury Secretary Connally was involved in a bribery scandal, and also experienced trouble getting the nation through the financial woes of the 1970s. Though acquitted of charges in the bribery scandal, Connally's repution was severely damaged. He tried an unsuccessful run for President, then made some bad business decisions before fading into relative obscurity.
Keyboard Case Thrown Out
Compaq and their keyboard subsidiary, Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), came out the victors when a jury threw out a lawsuit filed against them. The case was filed on behalf of nine people who claimed that they developed repetitive stress injuries from using DEC's keyboards. The injured customers sought $10 million in damages.
Smoot-Hawley Tariff Signed
On this day, President Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. The Tariff raised duties on imports greatly in an effort to preserve the market for American-made goods. As a result of the tariff, many foreign nations reacted by passing their own high-price tariffs, which made the financial woes of the U.S. that much worse.
Disney Enters The Internet
On this day in 1998 the Disney Co. bought 43% of stock into Infoseek Corp. to gain ground in the fledgling Internet Industry. After the overhaul was complete infoseek.com was replaced by newer graphics, and a catchier name, Go.com. This marked the first time an Internet portal company yielded profit.
The Silver Purchase Act
On this day in 1934, the United States Congress passed the Silver Purchase Act. This bill nationalized silver stocks and charged the President to increase the Treasury's silver supply. This was viewed as a major victory for the long-suffering silver industry.
Trans-Alaskan Pipeline Begins To Flow
On this day in 1977, oil began to flow for the first time down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The 799 miles of pipe stretch from Prudhoe Bay in northern Alaska to the ice-free port of Valdez in southern Alaska. In 1968 oil was discovered and in 1972 drilling was authorized by the Department of Interior. After the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 plans for construction of the pipeline were fast-tracked. Construction took three years and cost 8 billion dollars. The oil produced accounts for 15% of the United States' oil production.
The Molly Maguires
On this day in 1877, ten members of the violent labor activist group the "Molly Maguires" were hung for murder. The "Molly Maguires" formed to help coal miners gain more money and better working conditions. Their tactics included intimidation and murder. The Pinkerton Detective Agency successfully infiltrated the group and gathered enough evidence to put many on trial. After the executions the "Molly Maguires" swiftly disbanded. Although the "Molly Maguires" were unsuccessful they did bring the plight of coal workers front and center in American media.
America's First Currency Note
On this day in 1775 the Continental Congress issued a paper currency later dubbed the "Continental." This currency was put in place to help the colonies finance their revolution against Great Britain. This new currency never really inspired the faith of the populous and quickly lost what little value it had to begin with. George Washington noted, "A wagonload of currency will hardly purchase a wagonload of provisions." By the end of the war the new currency had left the new nation with a sizable war debt and a shaken faith in paper currency. It was not until the dawn of the Civil War that new notes were issued.
Pacific Fur Opens For Business
On this day in 1810, Fur industry entrepreneur John Jacob Astor established the Pacific Fur Company. The creation of this company only strengthened Astor's hold on the Fur industry. This new company expanded Astor's empire from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean.
AT&T Back In The Homes
On this day in 1998 AT&T moves back into the local phone line business. After 10 days of negotiations AT&T purchases the ailing Tele-Communications, Inc. for a reported $48 billion. This merger came ten years after AT&T was forced to relinquish its huge monopoly on local phone lines to regional suppliers. It also gave AT&T clout in the booming Internet industry.
Gompers Once More
On this day in 1921 Samuel Gompers served his fortieth term as president of the AFL (American Federation of Labor), he held this position until his death in 1924. The AFL was a one of the leading labor unions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Amp First To Furlough
On this day in 1998 ailing electric giant AMP Inc made 22,000 of its employees take mandatory furloughs instead of downsizing. These furloughs consisted either of a week of sans-pay or a week long "holiday." This was seen as the first in a new era where companies could increase their bottom dollar without downsizing.
The IWW Created
On this day in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was created Chicago. This labor union included such names as Eugene Debs and William D. Haywood. The goal of the union was to bring together all the workers of the world and, once strong enough, to bring down the capitalist system in one fell strike. It never became as large as its leaders had hoped, and despite a few victories it became the target of government officials, business leaders, and the more conservative labor unions.
Keynes Predicts Great Depression
On this day in 1919, famous economist John Maynard Keynes left Versailles Peace Conference in France in protest of the Treaty. Keynes predicted that the penalties imposed on the Germany for World War One would not only cripple the country economically, but would in turn lead to economic and political repercussions throughout the world. These predictions held true when the world plunged into an economic depression in the late 1920s.
The Hepburn Act
On this day in 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt signed into law the Hepburn Act, giving the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) the authority to set maximum rates for railroads. This was the first government regulatory commission ever created and led the way for other regulatory commissions in industries such as food processing and meat processing.
RFC Closes For Good
On this day in 1957 the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) was closed. The RFC was the brainchild of President Hoover and was enacted in 1931. Its purpose was to prop up the private sector of the economy to help revitalize economic growth. It truly flourished under President Roosevelt's terms, helping businesses during the Great Depression and World War Two. By the early 1950s the RFC was riddled with corruption causing the Eisenhower administration to cut its duties as a lender. It lasted another four years until its close on this day 1957.