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This Day in History: February 4


1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.

1801 – John Marshall is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States.

1825 – The Ohio Legislature authorizes the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Miami and Erie Canal.

1846 – The first Mormon pioneers make their exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, westward towards Salt Lake Valley.

1861 – American Civil War: In Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from six break-away U.S. states meet and form the Confederate States of America.

1899 – The Philippine–American War begins with the Battle of Manila.

1941 – The United Service Organization (USO) is created to entertain American troops.

1945 – World War II: Santo Tomas Internment Camp is liberated from Japanese authority.

1945 – World War II: The Yalta Conference between the "Big Three" (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) opens at the Livadia Palace in the Crimea.

1967 – Lunar Orbiter program: Lunar Orbiter 3 lifts off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 13 on its mission to identify possible landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo spacecraft.

1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst in Berkeley, California.

1977 – A Chicago Transit Authority elevated train rear-ends another and derails, killing 11 and injuring 180, the worst accident in the agency's history.

1980 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini names Abolhassan Banisadr as president of Iran.

1996 – Major snowstorm paralyzes Midwestern United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and ties all-time record low temperature at −26 °F (−32.2 °C)

1999 – Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot dead by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race relations in the city.

2004 – Facebook, a mainstream online social networking site, is founded by Mark Zuckerberg.


1902 – Charles Lindbergh, American pilot and explorer (d. 1974)

1906 – Clyde Tombaugh, American astronomer and academic, discovered Pluto (d. 1997)

1912 – Byron Nelson, American golfer and sportscaster (d. 2006)

1913 – Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist (d. 2005)

1921 – Betty Friedan, American author and activist (d. 2006)

1947 – Dan Quayle, American sergeant, lawyer, and politician, 44th Vice President of the United States

1948 – Alice Cooper, American singer-songwriter and actor

1948 – Rod Grams, American journalist and politician (d. 2013)

1959 – Lawrence Taylor, American football player and sportscaster

1973 – Oscar De La Hoya, American boxer

1988 – Carly Patterson, American gymnast and singer


1983 – Karen Carpenter, American singer and drummer (b. 1950)

1987 – Liberace, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor (b. 1919)

1987 – Carl Rogers, American psychologist and academic (b. 1902)

2005 – Ossie Davis, American actor, director, and playwright (b. 1917)

2006 – Betty Friedan, American author and activist (b. 1921)

2013 – Essie Mae Washington-Williams, American author and educator (b. 1925)

2016 – Edgar Mitchell, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1930)

2016 – Maurice White, American singer-songwriter and producer (Earth, Wind & Fire) (b. 1941)