Today in History….December 2

On this day in . . .

1777, Philadelphia housewife and nurse Lydia Darragh single-handedly saves the lives of General George Washington and his Continental Army when she overhears the British planning a surprise attack on Washington’s army for the following day

1804, at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years

1805, the Battle of Austerlitz: French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeat a joint Russo-Austrian force

1823, US President James Monroe delivers a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts

1845, President James K. Polk announces to Congress that the United States should aggressively expand into the West

1867, at Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States

1908, child Emperor Pu Yi ascends the Chinese throne at the age of two

1920, following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated peace treaty is concluded. It is known as the Treaty of Alexandropol

1927, following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Model A as its new automobile

1930, during the Great Depression: President Herbert Hoover goes before the United States Congress and asks for a US$150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy  

1942. the Manhattan Project: A team led by Enrico Fermi initiates the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction  

1947, riots break out in Jerusalem in response to the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan

1954, the United States Senate votes 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.” ALSO: The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and the Republic of China, is signed in Washington, DC.

1956, the Granma yacht reaches the shores of Cuba’s Oriente province and Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution 

1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first full-scale commercial nuclear facility in the U.S., began operations. (The reactor ceased operating in 1982.)

1961, in a nationally-broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism 

1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device

1988, Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state

1990, a coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl wins the first free all-German elections since 1932

2001, practitioners of that “religion of peace” praised Allah before setting off a bomb aboard a civilian bus in Haifa. Fifteen Israelis were killed. This, a day after two other  practitioners of that “religion of peace” killed 11 bystanders in Jerusalem. ALSO: In one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, Enron filed for Chapter 11 protection

2003, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that after knocking, police don’t have to wait longer than 20 seconds before breaking into the home of a drug suspect 

2009, a day after President Barack Obama announced plans to deploy 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan, leading congressional Democrats said they had serious misgivings but would not try to stop the deployments while Republicans said they supported the force increase even as they questioned Obama’s July 2011 deadline to start bringing troops home. The skeptics were ultimately proven wrong

2010, the House voted, 333-79, to censure Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., for financial and fundraising misconduct; it was only the 23rd time that the House had invoked its most serious punishment short of expulsion 

2012, in the aftermath of a murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, NBC’s Bob Costas delivered a “Sunday Night Football” halftime commentary supporting gun control. ALSO: Hundreds of concrete slabs, each weighing more than a ton, fell from the roof of a highway tunnel west of Tokyo, crushing vehicles below and killing nine people 

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