President Franklin Roosevelt began 100 days of legislation leading to the New Deal. (1933) Roosevelt submitted the Emergency Banking Act on this day, the first of many New Deal policies that would be passed in the next 100 days. Among the reforms were the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the repeal of Prohibition, and the National Recovery Administration.
The Supreme Court ruled on the Amistad mutiny. (1841) The Amistad mutiny consisted of a group of slaves overthrowing the slave ship that was transporting them to America. The case gained widespread attention, and the slaves were eventually acquitted and freed on the grounds that they had been illegally imprisoned to begin with.
Barbie™ had her debut. (1959) Debuting at the American Toy Fair in New York City, Barbie™ was the first doll with adult features to be mass-produced in the US. She was actually based on a racier doll, named Lilli, that was sold as a gag gift in adult stores in Germany. Since her debut, over 800 million Barbie™ and Barbie™ friends dolls have been sold.
Pancho Villa attacked New Mexico. (1916) Villa led nearly 500 raiders to attack Columbus, New Mexico, which led President Wilson to authorize an American force of 6,000 soldiers to retaliate. The soldiers spent almost a year trying to find Villa, and were eventually called off when the U.S. entered World War I. Villa was assassinated by a fellow Mexican some years later.
The last emperor of China became a puppet emperor for the Japanese. (1932) The last emperor of China, Puyi, was named the Emperor of the Japanese pseudo-state of Manchukuo on this day. He kept the title until the end of World War II, and was then imprisoned for war crimes by the Communists until 1959.
Svetlana Stalin defected to the West. (1967) Svetlana was Joseph Stalin's daughter, though she had not been on good terms with him since he dissolved her marriage to a Jewish man and sent him to a gulag. Her defection was one of a series of high-profile defections throughout the Cold War.
Edward R. Murrow criticized Senator McCarthy on See It Now. (1954) The show was extremely controversial, but it resonated with many in America. McCarthy's popularity was waning, and the Republican Party had also begun leveling heavy criticism at him in congressional meetings. He was censured later that year by the Senate, and died three years later.
Napoleon married Josephine. (1796) Josephine was Napoleon's first wife, and thus the first Empress of France. When she failed to bear him any children, he divorced her, but Josephine was still important in European monarchy because of her children and grandchildren from a previous marriage, many of whom went on to become European leaders.
Two ironclad ships clashed in the Civil War. (1862) The "Battle of the Ironclads" was the first of its kind in history. Both ships took shots at each other for four hours, but neither could penetrate the other's hull. Eventually, the Confederate CSS Virginia hit the pilot tower of the Union USS Monitor, temporarily blinding the captain and allowing the Virginia to escape.
The first Adopt a Highway sign went up. (1985) The first "Adopt a Highway" program was started on Texas' Route 69 as a program from the local Department of Transportation. Since that time, the program has spread throughout all of America and even to other countries, including Japan and New Zealand.