Historical Political Events for January 16

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Year Event
1786 The Virginia Legislature adopted the Ordinance of Religious Freedom, which guaranteed that no man would be forced to attend or support any church. This mandate later became the model for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1878 Leading Samoan chiefs signed the treaty of friendship and commerce with the United States, which secured the harbor of Pago Pago as a coaling and naval station. On Jan. 16, 1891, the U.S. Government purchased "The Goat Island area from natives....for the sum of $214.29." {pdf} On Jan. 16, 1903, each matai who signed the Deed of Cession of Tutuila received a watch, a medal and a diploma from President Theodore Roosevelt.
1883 The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act is passed by Congress. It provides for competitive examination for positions in the Federal Government and establishes the Civil Service Commission. It is an attempt to end the "Spoils" system.
1893 Hawaiian annexationists overthrow Queen Liliukoalani with support from U.S. Envoy to Hawaii, John Leavitt Stevens. Armed marines from the U.S.S. Boston are landed January 16 to "protect" U.S. interests, the queen abdicates under duress January 17 after reigning less than 2 years.
1920 The eighteenth amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting alcohol, was ratified by the thirty-sixth state on January 16, 1919, and became effective on this date.
1979 "Our Shah" that the CIA installed in Iran, beset by many public riots, etc. finally gave it up on this date and went into exile. AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI returns from his exile 2 weeks later and takes charge. [Why those Iranians are so mad at us, I cannot understand. . .]
1996 The Trenton Times reports that Pennsylvania Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. reported yesterday to the federal prison camp at Duluth, Minn., to begin serving a 14-month term. [If you can't trust the Attorney General, who can you trust? You got it!]
1998 The news media reports that President Suharto and his six children of Indonesia have an estimated net worth of $40 billion, equal to about half the country's gross domestic product.
and . . .
Quote of
the Day
Here commences a new dominion acquired with a title by divine right. Ships are sent with the first opportunity, the natives driven out or destroyed, their princes tortured to discover their gold, a free licence given to all acts of inhumanity and lust, the earth reeking with the blood of its inhabitants: and this execrable crew of butchers employed in so pious an expedition is a modern colony sent to convert and civilize an idolatrous and barbarous people.
    — Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Gulliver's Travels
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