What Happened on January 6?

  • Samuel Morse gave the first successful demonstration of the telegraph. (1838) Morse's invention revolutionized long-distance communication, and was the first step toward a convenient means of global communication. The last telegraph was sent by Western Union in 2006.

  • The US Congress certified George W. Bush as the winner of the 2000 election. (2001) The election had been plagued by recounts and talk of "hanging chads," for several months before Gore finally conceded the election.

  • Franklin Roosevelt gave his speech on the Four Freedoms. (1941) Roosevelt insisted that all people should have the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Though the speech was originally intended to move Americans towards involvement in World War II, the four freedoms played a large role in the subsequent creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • The first around-the-world trip by a commercial airplane was finished. (1942) The Pan Am Pacific Clipper flew over 30,000 miles (over 48,000 km) in four days. It had to complete the end of the trip in secrecy, since the Pearl Harbor bombing occurred while they were en route, and the captain was not sure how friendly American airspace would be.

  • Henry VIII of England married Anne of Cleves. (1540) Anne was Henry's fourth wife and was chosen for political reasons, since Henry needed an ally in Germany, Anne's homeland. Henry had seen pictures of Anne before she came to England, but was reportedly bitterly disappointed with the real Anne, whom he found fat and ugly. The marriage only lasted a few months before it was annulled and Henry married again.

  • The first Catholic mass was celebrated in the New World. (1494) Only two years after Columbus discovered the Americas, the first mass was celebrated at La Isabela, Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic). The mass was held in a small, temporary church for Columbus and his men by Fray Bernal Buil.

  • The UK recognized the People's Republic of China. (1950) Britain was one of the first countries to recognize the government of Mao Zedong, who had come to power the year before. America had sided with Chiang Kai Shek and the Republic of China (Taiwan), and refused to recognize the PRC for almost 30 years after that.

  • Joan of Arc is believed to have been born. (1412) Joan became a national icon when she led France to victory in several battles against the British in the Hundred Years War. Though she was later burned at the stake for heresy by her political rivals, Joan became one of the most beloved French saints.

  • Olympic skater candidate Nancy Kerrigan was attacked. (1994) Kerrigan was clubbed several days before the Olympic trials. When it came out that Kerrigan's rival, Tonya Harding, had set up the attack, a media frenzy ensued, though both women went on to compete in the Olympics.

  • Mother Teresa arrived in Calcutta. (1929) The famous nun worked in India until her death in 1997. She became a symbol of the power of love and compassion against all odds.

Discussion Comments


I remember learning about Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech when I was in school, and it's interested me ever since. The reason being that sometimes, I feel that we take our country, the United States of America, for granted. Also, I'll admit that I've been guilty of this too.

Also, despite the fact that the speech dates all the way back to 1941, it's still an important part of history, right?

After all, it's there's as a constant reminder that we have what a lot of people don't. Some of the things mentioned in Franklin's speech include freedom of speech, freedom to worship God in his own way, and most of all, freedom from fear.

Using one example, in many other countries, people are oppressed because of their religion, and are always afraid to speak out. Usually, it's because they'll be threatened and executed. We take many things in life for granted, but I really like how Franklin's speech reminds us of our privileges.


I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not the biggest fan of presidential elections, despite the fact that I always tend to vote so I can show my rights as a American citizen. After all, there are many people who don't have the luxury of getting to vote.

Back to what I was saying though, even though I wouldn't say that presidential elections are rigged, on the other hand, I sometimes feel that it's too much of a hassle for the vote counters to handle.

Not only are there miscounts more then often, but even more so, these errors might even be played up, in a sense that they use the miscounts and exaggerate them on the media. Just like how most things are "played up" on the news.

Does anyone else think this? Thankfully, this has been toned down in the recent years, but still, it's something interesting to think about.

The way the number of votes are accounted for need to be handled a lot better, so that there won't be so many issues. Just food for thought.


Even though I've never flown a plane before, let alone actually flying in one, I do think that it's very intriguing reading the bullet point.

After all, even in this day and age, making an around the world trip wouldn't exactly be easy, especially if there were a lot of passengers aboard, and you had to constantly watch for fuel. I still think much preparation would be required.

However, the fact that the first trip was made as far back as 1942, really shows how even with the limited technology that was present in the early to mid 1900's, many things were a lot more possible than we think.

Also, taking in the fact that it only took four days to cover 30,000 miles. With the technology that we have nowadays, who knows?

Not only would it be much easier (obviously), but I'm also assuming that it would only take half the amount of time as well.

All in all, and in my opinion, the fourth bullet point really shows the misconceptions of technology from the past. Even if it wasn't as "advanced", we were still capable of doing many things that people nowadays take for granted.

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