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This Day in U.S. History: March 18

Events

1766 – American Revolution: The British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act.

1850 – American Express is founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo.

1865 – American Civil War: The Congress of the Confederate States adjourns for the last time.

1871 – Declaration of the Paris Commune; President of the French Republic, Adolphe Thiers, orders the evacuation of Paris.

1874 – Hawaii signs a treaty with the United States granting exclusive trade rights.

1925 – The Tri-State Tornado hits the Midwestern states of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, killing 695 people.

1937 – The New London School explosion in New London, Texas, kills 300 people, mostly children.

1940 – World War II: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass in the Alps and agree to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.

1942 – The War Relocation Authority is established in the United States to take Japanese Americans into custody.

1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law allowing for Hawaiian statehood, which would become official on August 21.

1968 – Gold standard: The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency.

1969 – The United States begins secretly bombing the Sihanouk Trail in Cambodia, used by communist forces to infiltrate South Vietnam.

1970 – The U.S. postal strike of 1970 begins, one of the largest wildcat strikes in U.S. history.

1974 – Most OPEC nations end a five-month oil embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan.

1990 – In the largest art theft in US history, 12 paintings, collectively worth around $300 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Births

1782 – John C. Calhoun, American lawyer and politician, 7th Vice President of the United States (d. 1850)

1798 – Francis Lieber, German-American jurist and philosopher (d. 1872)

1837 – Grover Cleveland, American lawyer and politician, 22nd President of the United States (d. 1908)

1877 – Edgar Cayce, American mystic and psychic (d. 1945)

1909 – Ernest Gallo, American businessman, co-founded the E & J Gallo Winery (d. 2007)

1922 – Fred Shuttlesworth, American activist, co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (d. 2011)

1926 – Peter Graves, American actor and director (d. 2010)

1927 – George Plimpton, American journalist and actor (d. 2003)

1932 – John Updike, American author, poet, and critic (d. 2009)

1964 – Bonnie Blair, American speed skater

1970 – Queen Latifah, American rapper, producer, and actress

Deaths

1845 – Johnny Appleseed, American gardener and missionary (b. 1774)

1947 – William C. Durant, American businessman, co-founded General Motors and Chevrolet (b. 1861)