11
Feb
09

On This Day, February 11: Lincoln

February 11, 1861

Lincoln leaves Springfield

President-elect Abraham Lincoln leaves home in Springfield, Illinois, as he embarks on his journey to Washington.

On a cold, rainy morning, Lincoln boarded a two-car private train loaded with his family’s belongings, which he himself had packed and bound. Mary Lincoln was in St. Louis on a shopping trip, and she joined him later in Indiana. It was a somber occasion. Lincoln was leaving his home and heading into the maw of national crisis. Since he had been elected, seven states of the lower South had seceded from the Union. Lincoln knew that his actions upon entering office would likely lead to civil war. He spoke to the crowd before departing: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being…I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail…To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

A bystander reported that the president-elect’s “breast heaved with emotion and he could scarcely command his feelings.” Indeed, Lincoln’s words were prophetic–a funeral train carried him back to Springfield just over four years later.

“Lincoln leaves Springfield.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Feb 2009, 10:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2103.

On This Day

1752 – The Pennsylvania Hospital opened as the very first hospital in America.

1812 – The term “gerrymandering” had its beginning when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, signed a redistricting law that favored his party.

1937 – General Motors agreed to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union, thereby ending the current sit-down strike against them.

1943 – General Dwight David Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe.

1945 – During World War II, the Yalta Agreement was signed by U.S. President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

1960 – Jack Paar walked off while live on the air on the “Tonight Show” with four minutes left. He did this in response to censors cutting out a joke from the show the night before.

1990 – Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

1993 – Janet Reno was appointed to the position of attorney general by U.S. President Clinton. She was the first female to hold the position.

2000 – Great Britain suspended self-rule in Northern Ireland after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) failed to begin decommissioning (disarming) by a February deadline.

 

February 11, 1951

Hornet stings Big Three

Marshall Teague drove a Hudson Hornet to victory on the beach oval of the 160-mile Daytona Grand National at Daytona Beach, Florida, beginning Hudson’s extraordinary run on the NASCAR circuit. In 1948, Hudson introduced the revolutionary “step-down” chassis design that is still used in most cars today. Until Hudson’s innovation all car drivers had stepped up into the driver’s seats. The “step-down” design gave the Hornet a lower center of gravity and, consequently, better handling. Fitted with a bigger engine in 1951, the Hudson Hornet became a dominant force on the NASCAR circuit. For the first time a car not manufactured by the Big Three was winning big. Excited by the publicity generated by their success on the track, Hudson executives began directly backing their racing teams, providing the team cars with everything they needed to make their cars faster. The Big Three, fearing that losses on the track would translate into losses on the salesroom floor, hurried to back their own cars. Thus was born the system of industry-backed racing that has become such a prominent marketing tool today. The Hudson Hornet would contend for nearly every NASCAR race between 1951 and 1955, when rule changes led to an emphasis on horsepower over handling.

“Hornet stings Big Three.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Feb 2009, 10:40 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7232.

February 11, 1958

Tragedy at Daytona

On this day the racer Marshall Teague died at age 37 after attempting to raise the closed-course speed record at Daytona.

“Tragedy at Daytona.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Feb 2009, 10:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=7233.

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