Friday, November 02, 2007

November 2, 1795 & 1865:

James K. Polk's and Warren G. Harding's Birthdays

November 2 offers a rich vein of dead presidential anniversaries. James K. Polk was born this day in 1795, and 70 years later, Warren G. Harding was. Both were the unexpected nominees of their parties in their respective election years, 1844 and 1920. The results of the 1844 election were the first ones ever transmitted by telegraph; the results of the 1920 election were the first one ever broadcast by radio (it was Harding's 55th birthday). Winning the West proved to be the focal point of the Polk administration; a place in the West called Teapot Dome set the tone for the posthumous reputation of Warren Harding and his administration.

In 1783, George Washington gave his farewell address to the Army, near Princeton, NJ.

On November 2, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed the statehood bills for North and South Dakota, one after the other. In which order? Harrison said he didn't look.

On November 2, 1983, Ronald Reagan signed a bill making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday, starting in 1986.

Under the the standardization of presidential election dates, a scheme that Congress passed and President Polk signed in 1845, November 2 is the first possible date of the general election; November 8 is the last. Elections were held on November 2 in 1852, 1880, 1920, 1948, 1976 and 2004 thus far, resulting in the election or re-election (respectively) of Pierce, Garfield, Harding, Truman, Carter and G.W. Bush.

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