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This Week in History


Patrick Henry: America’s Greatest Orator

America’s greatest orator was born on May 29, 1736. I’m referring to Patrick Henry, whose “give me liberty or give me death” speech to the Virginia House of Burgess marked an important turning point in our battle for independence. Here’s how Paul Johnson, one of America’s greatest historians, describes the moment in his book, A […]

The Birth Of Wall Street

What would become the New York Stock Exchange was born 218 years ago this week. On May 17, 1792, 21 stock brokers and representatives of three firms met under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street and signed what became known as “the Buttonwood Agreement” to regularize the buying and selling of public shares. Members […]

The Incomparable Irving Berlin

It was 122 years ago this week that America’s most prolific composer and lyricist was born. Israel Isidore Beilin—who became much better known as Irving Berlin—was born in Mogilev, Russia, (in what is now Belarus) on May 11, 1888. The future composer was 5 years old when his parents moved to New York City. After […]

The History Of Cinco de Mayo

Before you head out to enjoy a margarita or two (or maybe a cerveza) to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I thought you might be interested in knowing a little background about this popular holiday. It was on May 5, 1862, when a badly outnumbered and under-supplied Mexican army, under the leadership of General Ignacio […]

The Storied History Of May 1

“May Day!” “May Day!” The first day in May has been a warning, a celebration and a cause for alarm for more than two centuries. May 1 has been a time of international socialist solidarity ever since Communists seized power in their first country. Although Karl Marx was sure that his “workers of the world” […]

Communists and the United Nations

On April 25, 1945, 45 countries convened in San Francisco for the founding conference of the United Nations (U.N.). The general secretary of the meeting was none other than the notorious Soviet espionage agent, Alger Hiss. He had been picked personally for the post by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was promptly approved by FDR’s […]

A Tax-Day Poem

This is Tax Week, as every wage earner in America is all too aware. As you contemplate how much you pay the government for the privilege of living in this wonderful country, you might amuse yourself by repeating the following. (Sorry, I don’t know who the author is. If you do, please tell me.) Tax […]

America’s Greatest Generals, Lee And MacArthur

In one of those coincidences that history seems to love, the two greatest generals the United States has produced—Robert E. Lee and Douglas MacArthur—both came to the end of their long and distinguished careers this week… separated by almost a century. On April 9, 1865, the not-so Civil War ended at Appomattox, Va., as Confederate […]

The Remarkable Pony Express

The “help wanted” ad in the newspaper didn’t mince words: “Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.” Through this and similar advertisements, several hundred riders were recruited for a remarkable venture that began 150 years ago this week. On April 3, 1860, the […]

Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine

On March 26, 1953, Dr. Jonas Salk made a momentous announcement: He had invented a vaccine that would prevent a child from catching one of the most feared contagions at the time, poliomyelitis.

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