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Thursday, February 3, 2005

Today in history—February 3

1468: The man who did more to disseminate knowledge than any teacher in history, printer Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg, dies at Mainz.

1488: Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese sailor seeking a trade route around Africa to break the Turkish monopoly on Eastern trade, lands after rounding what he calls the Cape of Storms (later "Cape of Good Hope"), the first European navigator to do so.

1787: Shays’ Rebellion—a rising of farmers plagued by debt and taxes—is crushed at Petersham, Massachusetts. The uprising gives impetus to clamor for a new federal constitution.

1811: Horace Greeley—one of only two newspaper publishers to be nominated for President of the United States—is born at Amherst, New Hampshire.

1862: Future U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Clark McReynolds is born at Elkton, Kentucky.

1870: The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified. It guarantees the right to vote.

1909: French philosopher Simone Weil is born in Paris.

1913: The Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified. This one allows the Federal government to collect income taxes.

1916: The Canadian Parliament building burns to the ground.  This time it is not done by invading Americans.

1924: Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the man who proved that being President is harder than being a college professor, dies in Washington, D.C.

1959: The music dies for a generation as a plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper crashes eight miles from Clear Lake, Iowa; the event is the subject of Don McLean’s American Pie.

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