On this day. 1801: Under President Jefferson's orders, the U.S. went to war against the Barbary coast states of North Africa. Pirates from what are today Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria captured merchant ships and held crews for ransom. For years, the U.S. paid. Earlier, a Muslim envoy told Jefferson that it was wrong for the U.S. not to acknowledge Muhammad — thus America had sinned, he told the president. The envoy told Jefferson that because the U.S. was a sinner nation, "it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave" it. The Muslim envoy didn't know of U.S. admiration of Muhammad, whose thoughts are cited as Constitutional precedent. John Adams praised him, and if you visit the Supreme Court, you'll see a frieze bearing an image of Muhammad; justices see it each day.
On this day. 1963: President John F. Kennedy said the U.S. would stop atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons if other nations would. Kennedy's call for a ban on the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons led to a treaty two months later between the U.S., Soviet Union and Great Britain.
On this day. 1963: President Kennedy signed a bill prohibiting wage discrimination against women.
Quote of the day
"Prosperity cannot be restored by raids upon the public Treasury." -Herbert Hoover
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