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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Today in History: July 6

1785: The new United States of America selects the dollar (Spanish for thaler) as its monetary unit.  Unlike the Spanish version, which was conventionally divided into eight bits ("pieces of eight" in Pirate-speak), the American is the world's first decimal currency, although the older usage will remain in such phrases as "two bits" to mean the equivalent of a quarter-dollar.

1854: The first convention of the new Republican Party convenes at Jackson, Michigan.  In head-to-head Presidential elections, the new party will go 23-15 against the rival Democrats, 7-3 since 1968.

1923: Russia, Transcaucasia, Ukraine and Belarus sign the Treaty of Union that officially creates the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

1944: The tragic Hartford (Conn.) Circus Fire breaks out, killing 168 people, mostly women and children.  One result of the fire will be that staple of Business Associations casebooks, Ringling v. Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows.

1946: George Walker Bush is born at New Haven, Connecticut, a little over a month before William Jefferson Clinton comes into the world.

1964: United Artists releases the first Beatles film, A Hard Day's Night.  The studio had insisted on shooting in in cheap black and white and in only 16 weeks, because it was convinced Beatlemania would end by the time students went back to school in the fall.

1974: Twelve folks show up at the Janet Wallace Auditorium of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, for the first live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.

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