On This Day in History: January 7

What happened today in history? January 7 saw the first balloon trip across the Channel, among other events.

1785: First Men to Cross the English Channel by Air

On January 7, Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the English Channel by air, becoming the first men George Washingtonto do so. They travelled in a gas balloon, and nearly crashed along the way. They had to throw out many of their supplies to avoid crashing, so they could land on French soil. There had been a race to be the first to cross the English Channel. Blanchard and Jeffries may have been beaten, but Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier and his co-pilot had been killed by a fire in their attempt to cross earlier in the month.

1789: The First Presidential Elections in America

America had its first presidential elections on this day in history. Only white men with property could vote, and they were allowed to choose their state electors. President George Washington became the first elected president, sworn into office three months later. The Electoral College system was used, just like it is now.

1864: Death of Caleb Blood Smith

On this day in history Caleb Blood Smith died. He was the U.S. Secretary of the Interior between 1861 and 1862 (due to his enthusiastic support of Abraham Lincoln) and helped to keep a strong relationship with the Native Americans during the American Civil War. Unfortunately for Smith, most of the cabinet disliked him and his decisions and he was overworked considerably throughout his term. His death was sudden, while working at the federal courthouse as his position as a district judge in Indianapolis.

1999: The Start of Bill Clinton’s Impeachment Trial

The first day of the President Clinton’s impeachment trial officially started today in history. Clinton was charged with obstructing justice and lying under oath during the Monica Lewinsky affair scandal. He was only the second president to face an impeachment trial, the first being Andrew Johnson in 1868. Five weeks after the start of the trial, Clinton was removed from office but eventually acquitted of both indictments.

Famous Birthdays on January 7

Thomas of Woodstock, son of Edward III of England–1355

Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced the Gregorian calendar–1502

American Revolutionary War hero Israel Putnam—1718

King Joseph Bonaparte of Naples–1768

13th U.S. President Millard Fillmore—1800

Ann Ruthledge–1813

Addams Family creator Charles Addams—1912

Jack Greene—1930

Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark—1939

U.S. Senator Rand Paul–1963

Con Air actor Nicholas Cage–1964

Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond–1977

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton–1985

Actor Max Morrow–1991

Sources:

 

Featured image from Deposit Photos

Birthdays from HistoryNet.com and OnThisDay.com

Image of George Washington in the public domain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington#/media/File:General_George_Washington_at_Trenton_by_John_Trumbull.jpeg)


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