This Week in History

PHOTO: Portrait of George Washington.
Getty Images

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

PHOTO: Portrait of George Washington.
Getty Images
March 4

1793: George Washington delivered his second inaugural address after he was unanimously elected by the Electoral College to serve a second term as president of the United States. Washington was inaugurated in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia with John Adams as vice president. His inaugural address read:

"I am again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its chief magistrate. When the occasion proper for it shall arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the confidence which has been reposed in me by the people of united America.

Previous to the execution of any official act of the president, the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be found during my administration of the government I have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony."

1987: President Reagan addressed the nation during a televised speech from the Oval Office regarding the Iran arms and contra aid controversy.

During his address, Reagan acknowledged that talks with Iran had turned into an arms for hostages negotiation, admitting that "what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages."

2008: Arizona Sen. John McCain clinched the presidential nomination from Mike Huckabee and became the Republican Party's candidate for president.

PHOTO: U.S. President Harry S. Truman (1884 - 1972) introduces his guest speaker, British statesman Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), at Westminster College Fulton, Missouri. Churchill went on to make his famous 'Iron Curtain' speech, March 5, 1946.
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
March 5

1770: A pre-Revolutionary incident known as the Boston Massacre occurred on this day. Five anti-British rioters were killed when a mob of American colonists gathered at the Customs House in Boston to protest occupation by the British, who were sent to Boston two years earlier to enforce controversial taxation measures passed by a British parliament without American representation.

1868: The Senate was organized into a Court of Impeachment to decide charges against President Andrew Johnson.

1946: Winston Churchill delivered one of his most famous orations during the Cold War period: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent," he declared. With the speech, Churchill coined the phrase "the Iron Curtain," which stuck as a Western description of the USSR and its satellite countries for years to come.

PHOTO: President Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865) making his inaugural speech during his second inauguration on March 4, 1865.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images
March 6

1857: The Supreme Court issued its decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. The decision, which was delivered by Chief Justice Roger Taney, declared that slaves were not to be considered U.S. citizens and thereby were not eligible to sue in federal courts.

1865: Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural ball was held on this day, two days after his swearing in. The ball was held at the Patent Office Building in Washington, D.C., which is now the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. Four thousand people attended.

1902: Congress enacted legislation to create a permanent Census Office within the Department of the Interior, officially forming the U.S. Census Bureau.

PHOTO: American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968) and his wife Coretta Scott King lead a black voting rights third march from Selma, Ala., to the state capital in Montgomery, March 30, 1965.
William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images
March 7

1936: Adolf Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact by sending German military forces into the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone along the Rhine River in western Germany.

1965: State troopers armed with shotguns, tear gas grenades and shotguns attacked 525 civil rights demonstrators taking part in a march between Selma and Montgomery Alabama. The demonstrators intended to promote black voter registration and to protest the killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young black man murdered by a state trooper during a march in a nearby city.

1977: President Jimmy Carter welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin to the United States for the first time. "I'd like to say first of all that I am very deeply grateful to welcome back to our country an old friend of mine and a long-time friend of the United States, Prime Minister Rabin from Israel," Carter said.

The meeting of the two leaders ultimately led to the Camp David peace talks between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Rabin's replacement, Menachem Begin, the following year.

PHOTO: President Ronald Reagan addressing the National Association of Evangelicals in a speech calling the Soviet Union an evil empire, March 8, 1983.
Diana Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
March 8

1983: President Reagan delivered an address to a meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Fla., in which he called communism "the focus of evil in the modern world." The speech, which quickly became known as his "evil empire" speech, came when the House Foreign Affairs Committee called for a freeze of all U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals.

1948: The Supreme Court decided McCollum v. Board of Education, landmark legislation that ruled that religious instruction in public schools violated the U.S. Constitution, supporting the constitution's division between church and state.

1965: More than 3,500 U.S. Marines landed near Da Nang in South Vietnam. These troops, which were the first U.S. troops to arrive in Vietnam, were deployed to secure the U.S. airbase.

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