This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
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May 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 229 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1868, the U.S. Senate votes against impeaching President Andrew Johnson and acquits him of committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
In February 1868, the House of Representatives charged Johnson with 11 articles of impeachment for vague “high crimes and misdemeanors.” (For comparison, in 1998, President Bill Clinton was charged with two articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice during an investigation into his inappropriate sexual behavior in the White House Oval Office. In 1974, Nixon faced three charges for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.) The main issue in Johnson’s trial was his staunch resistance to implementing Congress’ Civil War Reconstruction policies. The War Department was the federal agency responsible for carrying out Reconstruction programs in the war-ravaged southern states and when Johnson fired the agency’s head, Edwin Stanton, Congress retaliated with calls for his impeachment.
Of the 11 counts, several went to the core of the conflict between Johnson and Congress. The House charged Johnson with illegally removing the secretary of war from office and for violating several Reconstruction Acts. The House also accused the president of hurling slanderous “inflammatory and scandalous harangues” against Congressional members. On February 24, the House passed all 11 articles of impeachment and the process moved into a Senate trial.
218 – Julia Maesa, aunt of the assassinated Caracalla, is banished to her home in Syria by the self-proclaimed emperor Macrinus and declares her 14-year old grandson Elagabalus, emperor of Rome.
1204 – Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders is crowned as the first Emperor of the Latin Empire.
1527 – The Florentines drive out the Medici for a second time and Florence re-establishes itself as a republic.
1532 – Sir Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor of England.
1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England.
1770 – 14-year old Marie Antoinette marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste who later becomes king of France.
1771 – The Battle of Alamance, a pre-American Revolutionary War battle between local militia and a group of rebels called The “Regulators”, occurs in present-day Alamance County, North Carolina.
1777 – Lachlan McIntosh and Button Gwinnett shoot each other during a duel near Savannah, Georgia. Gwinnett, a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence, dies three days later.
1811 – Peninsular War: The allies Spain, Portugal and Britain, defeat the French at the Battle of Albuera.
1815 – The Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, officially names the town of Blackheath in the upper Blue Mountains.
1822 – Greek War of Independence: The Turks capture the Greek town of Souli.
1836 – Edgar Allan Poe marries his 13-year-old cousin Virginia.
1843 – The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri.
1866 – The U.S. Congress eliminates the half dime coin and replaces it with the five cent piece, or nickel.
1866 – Charles Elmer Hires invents root beer.
1868 – President Andrew Johnson is acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the United States Senate.
1910 – The United States Congress authorizes the creation of the United States Bureau of Mines.
1914 – The first ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final is played. Brooklyn Field Club defeats Brooklyn Celtic 2-1.
1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government an imprisonable offense.
1919 – A naval Curtiss aircraft NC-4 commanded by Albert Cushing Read leaves Trepassey, Newfoundland, for Lisbon via the Azores on the first transatlantic flight.
1920 – In Rome, Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc as a saint.
1929 – In Hollywood, California, the first Academy Awards are handed out.
1943 – Holocaust: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends.
1948 – Chaim Weizmann is elected the first President of Israel.
1951 – The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights begin between Idlewild Airport (now John F Kennedy International Airport) in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London, operated by El Al Israel Airlines.
1960 – Nikita Khrushchev demands an apology from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower for U-2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union thus ending a Big Four summit in Paris.
1960 – Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser, at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.
1965 – The Campbell Soup Company introduces SpaghettiOs under its Franco-American brand.
1966 – The Communist Party of China issues the ‘May 16 Notice’, marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.
1969 – Venera program: Venera 5, a Soviet spaceprobe, lands on Venus.
1974 – Josip Broz Tito is re-elected president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This time he is elected for life.
1975 – India annexes Sikkim after the mountain state holds a referendum in which the popular vote is in favour of merging with India.
1975 – Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
1983 – Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement rebels against the Sudanese government.
1986 – The Seville Statement on Violence is adopted by an international meeting of scientists, convened by the Spanish National Commission for UNESCO, in Seville, Spain.
1988 – A report by United States’ Surgeon General C. Everett Koop states that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.
1991 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland addressed a joint session of the United States Congress. She is the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.
1992 – STS-49: Space Shuttle Endeavour lands safely after a successful maiden voyage.
2003 – In Casablanca, Morocco, 33 civilians are killed and more than 100 people are injured in the Casablanca terrorist attacks.
2004 – The Day of Mourning at Bykivnia forest, just outside of Kiev, Ukraine. Here during 1930s and early 1940s communist bolsheviks executed over 100,000 Ukrainian civilians.
2005 – Kuwait permits women’s suffrage in a 35-23 National Assembly vote.
* Christian Feast Day:
Aaron (Coptic Church)
Abda and Abdjesus, and companions:
Abdas of Susa
Brendan the Navigator (Roman Catholic Church)
Honoratus of Amiens
John of Nepomuk
Margaret of Cortona
Peregrine of Auxerre
Ubald (see Saint Ubaldo Day)
May 16 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Mass Graves Day (Iraq)
* Middlesex Day (Middlesex)
* National Day, declared by Salva Kiir Mayardit. (Southern Sudan)
* Teachers’ Day (Malaysia)