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Today in history: May 20
In 1995, President Clinton banned car traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House
While car traffic isn't allowed in front of the White House, people on the pedestrian mall regularly demonstrate about various causes.
While car traffic isn't allowed in front of the White House, people on the pedestrian mall regularly demonstrate about various causes. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

May 20

On this day. 1862: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, giving 160 acres of land to family farmers ("homesteaders"). It was the first of a series of U.S. laws that gave an applicant ownership of land (called a "homestead") at little or no cost. The Homestead Acts were at first proposed as an expression of the "Free Soil" policy of Northerners who wanted individual farmers to own and operate their own farms — in contrast to Southern slave-owners who used slaves to operate farms.

On this day. 1995: In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, President Clinton said that traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House would be banned. The Secret Service feared a truck bomb, like the one used to destroy the Murrah federal building, could be detonated in front of the White House. Today, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue is a pedestrian mall.

Quote of the day

"Wherever there is interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done." -James Madison


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