This Week in History

PHOTO: Persian soldiers chase rioters during civil unrest in Tehran, Aug. 1953.
AFP/Getty Images

Spanning political dynasties, White House legends and military coups, this week in history was action-packed across centuries. Take a look back at some of the most memorable events that happened on this week's famous dates.

PHOTO: Persian soldiers chase rioters during civil unrest in Tehran, Aug. 1953.
AFP/Getty Images
Aug. 19

1953: Iranian Military Coup Overthrows Government The Iranian military overthrew the government of Premier Mohammed Mosaddeq on this day in history. Aided by the United States government, the coup reinstated the Shah of Iran as the leader of the country, and solidified Iran as a U.S. Cold War ally throughout his rule.

According to British and U.S. intelligence officials at the time, had Mosaddeq remained in power, his alleged communist leanings would have aligned Iran with the Soviet Union, which would have then threatened the power of the two Western nations in the Middle East. Adding fuel to the fire, Mosaddeq threatened British business interests with his vehement opposition to British oil companies' operating Iranian oil fields, which he demanded to be nationalized.

After a British attempt to uproot the leader turned out to be unsuccessful, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated street protests to overthrow Mosaddeq and place the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in power.

Once in power, the Shah turned over 40 percent of the Iranian oil fields to U.S. companies. Mosaddeq was imprisoned and died under house arrest in 1967.

PHOTO: Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States.
Universal History Archive/Getty Images
Aug. 20

1833: President Benjamin Harrison Is Born The future 23rd president of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, was born Aug. 20, 1833, in North Bend, Ohio.

Harrison was born into a political family whose legacy stretched from the colonial era into the Oval Office. Harrison's great-grandfather, who was also named Benjamin, served as the governor of colonial Virginia and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Continuing the family's political involvement, Harrison's father served as a Representative for Ohio, and his grandfather William Henry Harrison was a U.S. senator for the state of Indiana before becoming the ninth president of the United States.

Harrison served as an Army general in the Civil War and later emulated his grandfather by becoming a senator for Indiana, and beating Grover Cleveland in the 1888 presidential election. Harrison's presidential legacy is widely regarded to be successful, marked by the implementation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which set the tone for government intervention on big business monopolies.

PHOTO: Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.
Getty Images
Aug. 21

1959: Hawaii Becomes 50th State On this day in 1959, President Eisenhower signed a proclamation that admitted Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state.

American traders and missionaries greatly influenced the socio-political atmosphere of the island leading into its statehood admission. One of the major changes included the implementation of a constitutional monarchy that stripped the Hawaiian monarchs of most their power.

Hawaii was officially annexed by the United States in 1898, despite worries expressed by southern Congress members regarding the incorporation of non-white citizens into the U.S. population. The annexation ultimately passed and Hawaii was set to serve as a critical national defense base for the country.

PHOTO: A trash receptacle set ablaze by demonstrators stops traffic on a street near the Miami Beach Convention Hall, Aug. 23, 1972, as Republican National Convention delegates were trying to assemble for their final session.
AP Photo
Aug. 22

1972: Demonstrators Disrupt Republican National Convention At the height of the Vietnam War, protesters harassed delegates at the Republican National Convention in Miami Aug. 22, 1972.

The crowds drew more than 3,000 anti-war activists who donned intimidating masks and made their presence known for the duration of the convention. Hundreds of the protesters were arrested and many were injured as a result of police-control tactics.

Inside the meeting hall, Republicans nominated President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew for re-election. First lady Pat Nixon also set future convention standards when she became the first first lady in more than 25 years to address the party at a national convention. All Republican first ladies followed suit at future conventions.

PHOTO: Dorothy Dolley Madison was the wife of James Madison, the 4th President of the United States of America.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Aug. 23

1814: Dolley Madison Saves Art From British On this day in 1814, Madison became famous for saving a portrait of George Washington from British looters during the War of 1812.

According to the White House Historical Society, Madison chose to leave behind her family's personal belongings so that she could save a full-length portrait of the country's first president, which British troops were sure to deface. To get the painting down from the wall, Madison ordered the frame to be broken and the canvas be taken out. The painting was then transferred to two aides who kept it safe throughout the war.

Although the British did not ruin the painting, they did loot, trash and burn down the White House. Madison and her husband, President James Madison, were unable to move back into the White House for the rest of his term.

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