Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Today in History: February 17, House elects Thomas Jefferson president over Aaron Burr

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2024. There are 318 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 17, 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president; Burr became vice president.

On this date:

In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.

In 1864, during the Civil War, the Union ship USS Housatonic was rammed and sunk in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, by the Confederate hand-cranked submarine HL Hunley in the first naval attack of its kind; the Hunley also sank.

In 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting in Washington.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops. (The Americans secured the atoll less than a week later.)

In 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite that carried meteorological equipment.

In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed the White House with his wife, Pat, on a historic trip to China.

In 1988, Lt. Col. William Higgins, a Marine Corps officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon by Iranian-backed terrorists (he was later slain by his captors).

In 1995, Colin Ferguson was convicted of six counts of murder in the December 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings (he was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison).

In 2013, Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole, becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any Sprint Cup race.

In 2014, Jimmy Fallon made his debut as host of NBC's "Tonight Show."

In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden opened a White House summit on countering extremism and radicalization, saying the United States needed to ensure that immigrants were fully included in the fabric of American society to prevent violent ideologies from taking root at home.

In 2021, Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio host who became the voice of American conservatism, died at age 70, a year after he announced he had Stage Four lung cancer.

In 2022, Anna Shcherbakova won a stunning gold medal in women's figure skating at the Beijing Games, while Russian teammate Kamila Valieva tumbled all the way out of the medals after a mistake-filled end to her controversial Olympics.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Christina Pickles is 89. Actor Brenda Fricker is 79. Actor Becky Ann Baker is 71. Actor Rene Russo is 70. Actor Richard Karn is 68. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 62. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 61. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 61. TV personality Rene Syler is 61. Movie director Michael Bay is 60. Singer Chante Moore is 57. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 54. Actor Dominic Purcell is 54. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 54. Actor Denise Richards is 53. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 52. Actor Jerry O'Connell is 50. Country singer Bryan White is 50. Actor Kelly Carlson is 48. Actor Ashton Holmes is 46. Actor Conrad Ricamora is 45. Actor Jason Ritter is 44. TV personality Paris Hilton is 43. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 43. TV host Daphne Oz is 38. Actor Chord Overstreet is 35.