Today in history: The federal income tax is born

Probably not the happiest day in American history

President Abraham Lincoln
(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Aug. 5, 1861: Needing cash to finance the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Revenue Act — imposing the first federal income tax. Lincoln and Congress agreed that all incomes over $800 would be taxed at a 3 percent rate. Lincoln knew that taxes would be unpopular. But he recognized that America needed to pay for its wars.

Aug. 5, 1963: President John F. Kennedy signed a treaty with Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, space, and underwater.

Aug. 5, 1974: President Richard Nixon admitted withholding information on the Watergate break-in. He resigned four days later.

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Aug. 5, 1981: President Ronald Reagan fired 11,359 striking air traffic controllers, saying they were violating federal law.

Quote of the Day

"Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar." -Abraham Lincoln

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