2012 is history and 2013 begins. Several high profile, and a few low profile, anniversaries occur this year. 2013 marks the anniversary of treaty signings, explorations, and several major events in American history. The following are some of those anniversaries.
Five years ago: Barack Obama rode a cult of personality and a tidal wave of economic fears into the White House. He promised “hope and change” and ran one of the more positive campaigns in history. In the end, he won the election despite providing few specifics about his plans or a resume worthy of the presidency.
Ten years ago: President Bush initiated an invasion of Iraq. Intelligence sources claimed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Hussein played into this belief with his behavior. His regime fell quickly, but elements later launched an insurgency.
Twenty-five years ago: Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland killing all 259 aboard and 11 on the ground. Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi ordered the bombing in retaliation for a U.S. attack in 1986. Libya later paid restitution to the victims’ families.
Fifty years ago: Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. The murder shocked the nation and led to a cottage industry peddling conspiracy theories. In the end, people could not believe someone as small as Oswald could murder an American president.
75 years ago: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler promised to restore German honor and reunite German peoples. In 1938, he annexed Austria into the Third Reich. The annexation marked one of Hitler’s first moves en route to World War II. He also gobbled up the Sudetenland and occupied the Ruhr. In 1939, he began agitating against Poland, which led to war.
100 years ago: The Supreme Court ruled the income tax unconstitutional. This interfered with progressive desires to expand government. In response, they managed to pass the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution legalizing the income tax. Originally, the amendment was aimed at the rich. The politicians did not plan to strike the middle class or poor. Over time, the original intent was lost and greedy politicians redefined rich.
150 years ago: Union forces repelled a Confederate invasion of the North at Gettysburg. The three day struggle saved the Union and marked a turning point in the Civil War. Following the battle, the South struggled to field soldiers while the North tapped into a vast population reserve, which included African Americans. Around 50,000 people died in the battle.
250 years ago: Britain and France battled for control of the world over the course of a century. Britain emerged victorious after the Battle of Quebec. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended the Seven Years War and obliterated France’s overseas empire. At the same time, it marked the height of the First British Empire. Shortly thereafter, the American colonies began agitating for independence.
300 years ago: The Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succession. The conflict minimally touched the American colonies, but represented the second in a series of major conflicts between England and France. The treaty led to a 30-year cold war between the parties which led to a hot war in 1743.
400 years ago: The Jamestown settlement nearly collapsed. However, the colonists discovered tobacco and transformed their near failure into a major economic success. In 1613, Jamestown shipped its first tobacco to Britain. The next year, the colony began to prosper. Virginia established the first elected government in the new world six years after the first shipment.
500 years ago: Ponce de Leon discovered Florida. Originally, he believed the peninsula an island. However, he later realized his mistake. The explorer landed in the future state making him the first known European to visit. According to legend, de Leon searched for the Fountain of Youth. In reality, he was searching for gold.