What Happened on February 19?

  • The US Marines landed on Iwo Jima. (1945) The battle of Iwo Jima was one of the most important engagements in either theater of World War II. It lasted for about a month, and although the Allied forces eventually won, it was a costly victory in terms of both men and supplies.

  • The survivors of the Donner Party were rescued. (1847) The Donner Party are most known for turning to cannibalism when they were stranded by a snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada. When rescuers reached them on this day, they were shocked to see how emaciated and emotionally disturbed the survivors were. Only 48 out of the 87 members of the Donner Party survived.

  • The Chicago Seven were sentenced. (1970) The Chicago Seven were a group of antiwar activists who had been arrested for inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The trial was a media circus, and the defendants used it as a platform to broadcast their views on Nixon, the Vietnam War, and American society in general. The Seven were sentenced to five years in prison as well as a fine, but the sentence was overturned on appeal.

  • The temporary insanity defense was used for the first time. (1859) Daniel Edgar Sickles, a New York politician, was acquitted of murdering his wife's lover — incidentally the son of Francis Scott Key — by reason of temporary insanity. Sickles was popular in high society circles, and was lauded as a hero for killing Key after he got out of jail.

  • The practice of serfdom was abolished in Russia. (1861) The practice of serfdom had hit its high peak in the Middle Ages, but still persisted in areas of Europe until the 1800s. In 1857, Russia recorded 23 million serfs, almost 40 percent of the population.

  • Aaron Burr was arrested for treason. (1807) Burr was a very prominent politician, and almost became the President of the United States when he tied in the electoral college with Thomas Jefferson. He was arrested for trying to form an independent republic in modern day Louisiana and Texas after his political career went south when he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

  • Roosevelt signed executive order 9066. (1942) This order paved the way for the forcible relocation of Japanese Americans in internment camps. The order was not rescinded until 1976, though the internment camps were shut down in the 1940s.

  • The phonograph was patented. (1878) Thomas Edison made a splash when he patented the phonograph by bringing it into the patent office and playing a recording on the machine that asked if the patent officers liked it. Officials were shocked to hear the machine "speak," and Edison was immediately granted his patent.

  • The first literature censorship board was made in the US. (1953) Georgia approved a censorship board in the US on this day to monitor potentially obscene books and magazines. It was the first state-sponsored censorship board in the US.

  • Deng Xiaoping died. (1997) Deng was a major figure both in Chinese politics and history, and is known for his innovative economic reforms, along with getting Hong Kong returned to China from Britain.

Discussion Comments


Within my exercise group in Arlington, Texas there is a thin old man who was on Iwo Jima. Assuming that at his age that he was not computer literate, I printed off the lengthy Wikipedia listing on Iwo, and presented it to him. I suggested that he might want to give it to his grandchildren to show them what their granddad did in the "big war".

He thanked me -- repeatedly -- for the copy!


@Viranty- Censorship is a funny thing. It's something that you either approve of or you don't. While I do feel that it can be a little strict at times, it's not hard to see why they're cracking down and books and the like. Have you seen some of those magazines in this day and age? Some of that stuff has incredibly racy material.


In relation to the first literature censorship, why are there still many obscene books and magazines around today?


Thomas Edison was a great inventor. Isn't it funny how though he made several fantastic inventions, others would mock and/or discourage him? He certainly proved them wrong. Despite what they said about him, his creations are now used in everyday life, and are part of a new norm. He really shows us that even when the odds seem stacked against us, we should keep following our dreams. Never let anyone slow you down.

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