Today in History: December 2

1697 – St Paul’s Cathedral, rebuilt to the design of Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of London, was consecrated.

1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what became the United States.

1766 – Swedish parliament approved the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act and implemented it as a ground law, thus being first in the world with freedom of speech.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James Monroe proclaimed American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warned European powers not to interfere in the Americas.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James K. Polk proposed that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became Emperor of the French as Napoleon III.

1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown was hanged for his October 16 raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

1865 – Alabama ratified the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, followed by North Carolina, then Georgia; U.S. slaves were legally free within two weeks.

1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.

1899 – Philippine–American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, known as the “Filipino Thermopylae”, was fought.

1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Model A as its new automobile.

1930 – Great Depression: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Herbert Hoover proposed a $150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

1939 – New York City’s LaGuardia Airport opened.

1942 – World War II: During the Manhattan Project, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

1943 – World War II: A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbor of Bari, Italy, sank numerous cargo and transport ships, including the American SS John Harvey, which was carrying a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

1949 – Gene Autry’s song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” hit the record charts.

1954 – Cold War: The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to censure Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Taiwan, was signed in Washington, D.C.

1962 – Vietnam War: After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield became the first American official to comment adversely on the war’s progress.

1967 – Jimmie Rodgers was found in his car with a fractured skull after a serious accident. He recovered from the auto accident, but his singing career ended.

1969 – Cindy Birdsong (Supremes) was kidnapped at knifepoint. She later managed to escape her captor. The kidnapper was a maintenance man that worked in the building she lived in.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

1973 – The Who and some companions were jailed overnight for $6,000 worth of destruction they imposed on a hotel room after a show.

1973 – Bob Dylan began taking ticket requests by mail. Over 658,000 tickets were sold.

1976 – Fidel Castro became President of Cuba, replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

1983 – MTV aired Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video for the first time.

1986 – Jerry Lewis checked into the Betty Ford Clinic to overcome a painkiller addition.

1986 – Annie Lennox (Eurythmics) ripped off her bra while performing in front of 10,000 fans in Birmingham, England.

1991 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Shirelles, B.J. Thomas and Gene Pitney were owed $1.2 million in unpaid royalties.

1993 – Space Shuttle program: STS-61: NASA launched the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

1995 – The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed that Ace of Base’s “The Sign” was the best-selling debut of all time, with 19 million copies sold.

2015 – San Bernardino attack: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wounded 22 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

2016 – Thirty-six people died in a fire at a converted Oakland, California, warehouse serving as an artist collective.

2020 – Cannabis was removed from the list of most dangerous drugs of the international drug control treaty by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

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