This Week in History

PHOTO: President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks during one of his fireside chats, Washington DC, 1937.
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Does this week seem like any other week? Think again. Check out some of the most important political events that happened this week in history.

PHOTO: President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks during one of his fireside chats, Washington DC, 1937.
Underwood Archives/Getty Images
March 11

1861: The Confederate States of America officially separated from the Union by adopting the Confederate constitution. Delegates from South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas gathered in Montgomery, Alabama to approve it. Though it repeated much of the wording used in the Constitution of the United States, the Confederate constitution more closely resembled the Articles of Confederation by giving states expansive powers.

1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act as a way to help Great Britain fight against Germany in World War II. The U.S. stayed out of the fighting until the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. The Lend-Lease Act gave U.S. allies money and resources they could use in the struggle against the Nazis. By the time the war ended five years later, more than $50 billion in weapons and funding had been provided to 44 countries.

1942: Under orders from President Roosevelt, General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippine Island of Corregidor after months trying to defend it from a Japanese takeover. Although General MacArthur departed, more than 90,000 U.S. and Filipino troops were left behind. MacArthur famously said, "I shall return," vowing to recapture the Philippines. He came back to the Philippines in 1944. About one third of the soldiers originally left behind had survived.

PHOTO: While President Bill Clinton looks on, Janet Reno takes the oath as attorney general during a ceremony at the White House in Washington on March 12, 1993.
Barry Thumma/AP Photo
March 12

1933: President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his first "fireside chat" radio address eight days after his first inauguration. The address was broadcast nationally from the White House. During his first broadcast, the President spoke about banking and his decision to close the nation's banks in order to prevent panic withdrawals. The U.S. was struggling through the Great Depression with unemployment estimated between 25 and 30 percent.

1947: On this day, President Truman spoke to a joint session of Congress and asked that the U.S. help in the fight against communist domination in Greece and Turkey. It was an important escalation of the Cold War.

1993: Janet Reno was sworn in by President Bill Clinton as the first female Attorney General of the United States.

PHOTO: An engraving showing the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in the Senate March 13, 1868.
Getty Images
March 13

1868: The first impeachment trial of an American president began, with President Andrew Johnson accused of violating the Tenure of Office Act. It was supposed to prevent the president from removing federal officials and Cabinet members without the consent of the Senate.

After a divisive struggle with the Senate, Johnson appointed General Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of War in place of Edwin M. Stanton. In response, the House of Representatives initiated a formal impeachment trial. The President was eventually judged not guilty and remained in office.

1942: The U.S. Army began training dogs for military use in its K-9 Corps program.

PHOTO: Tourists visit the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy October 28, 2010 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
March 14

1950: The Federal Bureau of Investigation debuted its "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list. The list began as an effort to publicize dangerous fugitives and help get them behind bars.

1967: President John F. Kennedy's body was moved to its permanent gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. The President's original plot, after he was assassinated in 1963, was located close to the final burial site. An eternal flame burns there in his memory.

1969: President Nixon said that troop withdrawals from Vietnam are unlikely despite secret talks with advisers. Withdrawals began some months later in the fall of 1969.

PHOTO: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., March 15, 1965, to outline his proposals for voting rights for all citizens.
AP Photo
March 15

1767: President Andrew Jackson was born in the backwoods between North and South Carolina.

1860: Maine entered the Union as the 23rd state. The designation of Maine as a free state was agreed upon by Southern states in exchange for Missouri's status as a slave state.

1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson urged Congress to pass legislation to guarantee equal voting rights for all. The law that followed was a high moment of the American Civil Rights movement.

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