What Happened on July 8?

  • The Declaration of Independence was read for the first time in public, and the Liberty Bell was rung. (1776) The Liberty Bell, which was hung in June 1753, was rung only for special events and to bring together the the Pennsylvania Assembly. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence is considered its most famous tolling. The Declaration was adopted on July 4, but returned from the printer on July 8. It was read by Colonel John Nixon in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was also publicly read on this day in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey. By July 9th, a German translation had been published.

  • The last electric chair execution in Florida took place. (1999) Allen Lee Davis' execution drew particular attention because his nose bled during the execution and he was burned on his leg, groin and head. The US Supreme Court ruled death by electric chair was cruel and unusual punishment in 2008, ending the practice, which by then was only used in Nebraska. The chair originated in the US and only was used in one other country — the Philippines. The first execution by the chair took place in 1890.

  • The first edition of the Wall Street Journal was published. (1889) The newspaper has won 33 Pulitzer Prizes and is the largest newspaper in the US today.

  • Paris threw its 2,000th birthday party. (1951) The city traces back to 250 B.C., actually, to a Gallic tribe called Parisii. In 987 A.D., the city was named the capital of France.

  • The first recorded tornado in the United States stuck Cambridge, Massachusetts, killing one servant. (1680) Strong whirling wind gusts that may or may not have been tornadoes had previously been reported, but this one had many witnesses. Reports described trees being ripped from the ground and a roof being ripped from a barn. One man, a servant named John Robbins, was killed due to broken bones and bruising. The first photo recording of a tornado dates back to August 28, 1884 to a tornado in South Dakota.

  • The stock market hit bottom during the Great Depression, at 41.22. (1932) Before the Great Depression, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit a high of 381.17 on September 3, 1929 — a high which would not be reached again until 1954. The Dow's lowest point was during the Panic of 1896 when it hit bottom at 28.48.

  • The first female recruits enlisted in the United States Air Force. (1948) The Air Force program, Women in the Air Force (WAF), was limited to 4,000 women, 300 of which could be officers. They were mostly assigned to medical and clerical duties and were not allowed to be pilots, though the US Army had made an exception in April 1943, graduating its first class of female pilots to help during wartime.

  • 15,000 starving Christian soldiers marched around Jerusalem in the First Crusade. (1099) The march marked the beginning of the end of the military crusade by Western Christians to take back control of the Holy Lands from Muslim control. The city was taken on July 15.

  • Mobster and notorious conman Soapy Smith was murdered. (1898) Smith, a crime boss in Skagway, Alaska, was murdered by Frank Reid, a city engineer and member of a vigilante group that had become increasingly annoyed with Smith's crimes and cons. Reid shot Smith dead, but also was wounded in the fight and died 12 days later.

  • John D. Rockefeller was born. (1839) Rockefeller was the founder of the Standard Oil Co. and became what is believed to be the richest man in US history. He was the first person in the world to amass a personal fortune equal to $1 billion US Dollars, which he did on September 29, 1916. His fortune equaled about 1.5% of US economy at that time. He also was a noted philanthropist and gave more than $500 million US Dollars to charity in his lifetime.

Discussion Comments


In reference to the second to last bullet point, though I have never heard of this crime boss before, its' really interesting to see how mobsters work. Though they seem less prominent in this day and age, I wonder if mobsters and conmen are as prominent as they used to be.


@Hazali - This is just my opinion, but I don't feel that prison executions should be ruled out, especially depending on how they're executed in the first place.

For example, I can definitely see where you're coming from with the electric chair. It's a rather painful process, it goes on for a while, and there might be mishaps that lead to the prisoner(s) catching on fire. It's certainly happened in the past.

On the other hand, if you're being put to sleep via lethal injection, it's a relatively painless procedure. Obviously, no one wants to be executed on the spot, but the less painful it is, the better.


In relation to the second bullet point, I do find the electric chair to be a rather cruel and unusual punishment, and I'm glad that it was ruled out in the U.S. However, regardless, it really leads me to the question - Should prison executions be completely ruled out?

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