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Moments in Time




 

 

• On Feb. 3, 1780, in one of the most famous crimes of post-Revolution America, 20-year-old boarder Barnett Davenport commits a mass murder, killing a family of five at their home in rural Connecticut. Until then, crime was viewed as sinners losing their way. But Davenport’s crime caused people to perceive criminals as evil and alien to the rest of society.

• On Feb. 2, 1812, Russians establish Fort Ross on the coast north of San Francisco as a source of growing food. The effort was not successful. American John Sutter bought Fort Ross in 1841 with an unsecured $30,000 note that he never paid.

• On Feb. 1, 1917, Germany returns to the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic as it prepares to attack any and all ships. Two days later, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany. Just hours after that, the American liner Housatonic was sunk by a German U-boat.

• On Feb. 4, 1922, the Ford Motor Company acquires the failing luxury automaker Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million. Ford’s son Edsel eventually helped to convince his father to drop his famous rule: “You can have any color, as long as it’s black.”

• On Feb. 5, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt announces a controversial plan to expand the Supreme Court to as many as 15 judges. Critics charged that Roosevelt was trying to neutralize Supreme Court justices hostile to his New Deal. By 1942, all but two of the justices were his appointees.

• On Jan. 30, 1948, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, is assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic. Known as Mahatma, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements, especially Martin Luther King Jr.

• On Jan. 31, 1950, U.S. President Harry Truman publicly announces his decision to support the development of the hydrogen bomb. In 1952, the United States successfully detonated “ Mike” in the Pacific Marshall Islands. The 10.4-megaton thermonuclear device instantly vaporized an entire island. ©2012 King Features Synd.


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