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History Trivia and Comment: January 4

January 4, 2007

On this day in . . .

1865, “The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opened its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City.” [Source: LOC’s Today In History]

Does anything symbolize or characterize post-Civil War America to the present more than the Stock Exchange? Perhaps the automobile? So much of our decade-by-decade history since the Civil War has been determined by the flow of capital and the fortunes of business: the 1870s, 1880s, 1920s, 1930s, 1950s, 1980s, and 1990s. The LOC site has some great pictures of the Market and Wall Street.

1896, “Everett McKinley Dirksen, Republican leader of the Senate from 1959-1969, was born.” [Source: NYT]

Since hearing that Dirksen shared a television show on politics with the recently departed Gerald Ford, I’ve become more curious about this man whose name adorns a federal building here in Chicago.

1994, “The 104th Congress convened, the first entirely under Republican control since the Eisenhower era; Newt Gingrich was elected speaker of the House.” [Source: NYT]

In sharp contrast to today, when Dennis Hastert turned over the gavel to Nancy Pelosi after a dozen or so years of Republican control. As an historian, it’s continually intriguing to watch how the American people tolerate things in cycles.

1999, “Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of Minnesota.” [Source: NYT]

I still can’t get over my amazement that a former “professional” wrestler came to be governor of a state with such a proud tradition of dedicated, professional politicians like Minnesota. – TL

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