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Today in history: October 4
Happy birthday, Rutherford B. Hayes!
Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio.
Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio. (Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)

Oct. 4, 1822: Rutherford B. Hayes was born. He was the 19th president, serving between 1877 and 1881.

Oct. 4, 1957: The Soviets beat the U.S. into space with the first satellite — Sputnik — causing Americans to worry that they were falling behind rivals in science and technology. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson warned that the Soviets would bomb America from space. The stock market fell 10 percent in two weeks. But President Eisenhower, a five-star general, thought Sputnik's military significance was vastly overstated. He thought the satellite's real threat was its potential to scare Americans. He placed Sputnik within the broader context of the Cold War, predicting a half-century struggle that America's economic strength would eventually win.

Eisenhower's immediate response: a crash program in defense, science, and technology programs. He urged students to study foreign languages.

Quote of the Day

"Nothing brings out the lower traits of human nature like office seeking." — Rutherford Hayes

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