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
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 10 things you need to know today: July 24, 2014
- Deficit scolds are the most crazed ideologues in America
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- A scientific fact-check of 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
Subscribe to the Week