In a special edition of this week in history, we celebrate one of the most important rights we have as American citizens, as well as remember the anniversary of one of the most important events in modern world history.
In the spirit of Election Day this Tuesday, we remember the anniversary of many important U.S. elections. On Nov. 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as president of the United States, causing the south to secede and resulting in the Civil War. His administration would win the war, as well as bring an end to slavery in the United States. On Nov. 8, 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president amidst the panic of the Great Depression. His presidency would implement the New DeaI and bring the U.S. into World War II. Roosevelt’s re-elections in 1940 and 1944 also occurred this week, becoming the first and only time a U.S. president served more than two terms in office. Nov. 8, 1960 saw the election of the youngest president, John F. Kennedy, who was 43, while Nov. 4, 1980 saw the election of America’s oldest president, Ronald Reagan, who was 73. Ironically, the election of George Washington, the first ever presidential election, occurred nowhere near the first Tuesday in November, instead taking place in February.
In Connecticut history, 45 years ago in 1974, Nutmeggers elected Ella Grasso as governor of Connecticut, the first female governor of the state, and the first female governor of any U.S. state to be elected without having a spouse who previously served as governor.
Over this week, we also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was torn down by German citizens beginning on Nov. 9, 1989. Quite possibly the most notorious symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was built by the East German government, a communist regime backed by the Soviet Union. First built in 1961, the 14-foot concrete wall was built around the western portion of Berlin to stop East Germans from fleeing the country. Before 1961, many Europeans living in Germany, Poland and Hungary fled to West Berlin to escape the communist regimes of their home countries. Once in West Berlin, refugees could be airlifted out of the city to live in West Germany, or any of the other capitalist countries of the West.
The Berlin Wall was built to end emigration from the Eastern Bloc, even employing soldiers to stand guard at the wall and fire on any citizens trying to escape. Despite this, over 100,000 people tried to climb over the Berlin Wall in the 28 years it stood for, with only 5,000 of them successful. On Nov. 9, the East German government agreed to take down the wall following a series of protests from the German people. The fall of the Berlin Wall is now regarded as one of the most important events of the 1980s, foreshadowing the reunification of Germany, the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Gino Giansanti is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.