What Happened on May 10?

  • The Supreme Court ruled that a tomato is a vegetable. (1893) The court declared in Nix v. Hedden that although tomatoes were botanically fruit, they should be legally considered vegetables. The case came up because at the time there was a tax on imported vegetables, but not imported fruit, leading farmers to contest the definition.

  • Rutherford B. Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House. (1877) The number to the phone was "1", and it was more for show than anything else. It was not until 1929 that the president actually had a phone in the Oval Office, and it wasn't until the 1990s that the president had a private line — before that, anyone could listen in on the president by picking up an extension in the White House.

  • The Transcontinental Railroad was completed. (1869) The ceremonial last spike was driven into the railroad on this day, creating the first convenient means of cross-country travel in the US.

  • Victoria Woodhall became the first American female presidential nominee. (1872) Woodhall was a well-known suffragist, and war nominated by the Equal Rights Party. The government refused to allow her to run, since some contemporary politicians considered her not officially a citizen, since she was a woman.

  • FBI agent Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life in jail for selling secrets. (2002) Hanssen had worked as a double agent for over 22 years, and had made almost $1.5 million US Dollars (USD) in cash and diamonds selling secrets to the USSR.

  • J. Edgar Hoover became the acting director of the FBI. (1924) Hoover oversaw the FBI for almost 50 years, and used his control to amass huge files on anyone with suspected anti-American sympathies, including many powerful figures. He had spies throughout the government and the country, to such a degree that new laws were placed regulating the head of the FBI's powers after his death.

  • Winston Churchill became prime minister. (1940) Churchill had fallen out of favor for his aggressive foreign policies, but quickly became a national icon when Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium, and his predictions were proven to be correct. He became the prime minister on this day after Neville Chamberlain resigned.

  • American colonists captured Fort Ticonderoga. (1775) Though it wasn't a huge military victory, it was very important in terms of blocking communication between the northern and southern parts of the British Army, and is considered a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

  • Louis XVI became the king of France. (1774) He and his wife, Marie Antoinette, eventually became hated as symbols of aristocratic repression of the poor, and were eventually executed during the French Revolution. He was the only king of France to ever be executed.

  • The National Gallery in London opened to the public. (1824) Though it later became one of the premier galleries in the world, when it opened the National Gallery was labeled a "national embarrassment" since it was so small and shabby.

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