April 15, 1861: Following the Confederate shelling of Ft. Sumter, S.C., President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to join the Union Army. 92,000 did, and the Civil War — the most devastating war in American history — was on. Lincoln quickly adapted to the role of commander-in-chief, assuming vast powers, many of which weren't granted to him by the Constitution. Supreme Court rulings declared Lincoln's wartime conduct unconstitutional. He ignored them, saying his priority was to preserve the Union.
April 15, 1861: Needing cash during the Civil War, President Lincoln signed the Revenue Act, imposing the first federal income tax. Lincoln asked for the first federal income tax — a 3 percent surcharge on income — because he recognized that Americans needed to pay for their wars.
April 15, 1865: President Abraham Lincoln died of an assassin's bullet. He was the 16th president, serving between 1861 and 1865. Lincoln — the first of four presidents to be assassinated — had been shot the night before while attending a play at Washington's Ford's Theatre. He was succeeded by Vice President Andrew Johnson.
April 15, 1986: President Ronald Reagan ordered Operation El Dorado Canyon, which limited air strikes against Libya and the government of Moammar Gadhafi.
Quote of the day
"We cannot escape history...the fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation." — Abraham Lincoln
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- 10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2014
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
Subscribe to the Week