July 1, 1862: President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act, calling for the completion of the transcontinental railroad; it was completed on May 10, 1869. The government issued bonds to pay for the railroad; President Lincoln knew the investment would stimulate the U.S. economy and facilitate development of the western U.S.
July 1, 1863: President Lincoln knew that America's future was very much in doubt on this day, as the pivotal battle of the Civil War began — Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg lasted three days and produced the greatest number of casualties of the entire Civil War: 46,286 dead, wounded, or missing. Many historians call the Battle of Gettysburg the turning point of the Civil War, when Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North was stopped. The Civil War killed some 618,000 Americans in four years — about 2 percent of the nation's population.
July 1, 1980: President Carter signed a bill that provided two acres of land for the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.
Quote of the Day
"The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just." —Abraham Lincoln
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- How to be the star of a cocktail party where you don't know anyone
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Peter Thiel, and the not-so-secret secret of innovative success
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
Subscribe to the Week