This Day in History: Dec. 7

1787: Delaware is the first state to ratify the Constitution: Delaware, also known as the most exciting state in the Union, has always been that exciting, because they were the first to ratify the Constitution of the United States. This has led to their official nickname, “The First State,” and other states followed its lead, with Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia being the next to join.

1869: Jesse James robs his first bank: Jesse James is one of the most famous outlaws in U.S. History. He was born in Clay County, MO, and his family sided with the Confederacy. He and his brother Frank participated in their first known bank robbery in Gallatin, MO. However, there are other alleged robberies that they may have been a part of prior to this. James shot the cashier, who he falsely believed to be the man responsible for killing their Civil War Associate, Bloody Bill Anderson. He and his gang were on the run for decades, committing a string of murders and robberies. James was eventually murdered by one of his own gang members, Robert Ford, in 1882, to collect a reward.

1941: Pearl Harbor: World War II was in full swing in Europe by 1941. The United States had not gotten involved, and the Japanese Empire, aligned with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, was conquering much of the Far East and Pacific. Tensions with the United States had been high, and president Roosevelt moved the Naval fleet to Pearl Harbor to Hawaii from San Diego. Japan had its eyes on oil reserves in Dutch Indochina, and to quell U.S. involvement, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, in which well over 2,000 U.S. citizens died, including Loras’ own Fr. Aloysius Schmidt. The U.S. declared war on Japan, and within days, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the United States, forcing the U.S. into a two theatre war.

1949: Republic of China moves capital from Nanjing to Taipei: What is the legitimate government of China? This question is at the heart of why the Republic of China moved its capital to Taipei in 1949. After World War II, aggression in China turned to war between the communists and the nationalists. The communist party won under the leadership of Mao Zedong, and the nationalists, who had previously been in control of China’s government, fled to the island of Taiwan and established a capital at Taipei. Now, mainland China, under the control of the Communist Party, is known as the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan’s official name is the Republic of China. Both nations claim to be the legitimate government of China. This has led to something called the “One China Policy” in which the respective countries only have diplomatic relations with other countries that do not recognize the other. Will the real China please stand up?

1972: Apollo 17: Mankind made its first trip to the moon in 1969, but the United States NASA Apollo program was far from finished. On this day in 1972, Apollo 17 launched, and it was the first night launch in NASA history. It was also the last time any humans walked on the moon, which is really disappointing, because we were supposed to have gone to Mars by now. The Apollo 17 mission is also known to have taken the famous Blue Marble photograph of the Earth. Take that, flat-earthers.

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