Posts Tagged ‘Barnum and Bailey

18
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-18-08: William Durant

GM founder dies

William C. Durant, the founder of General Motors (GM), died in New York City at the age of 85. Economic historian Dana Thomas described Durant as a man “drunk with the gamble of America. He was obsessed with its highest article of faith–that the man who played for the steepest stakes deserved the biggest winnings.” General Motors reflected Durant’s ambitious attitude toward risk-taking in its breathtaking expansionist policies, becoming in its founder’s words “an empire of cars for every purse and purpose.” But Durant’s gambling attitude had its downside. Over a span of three years, Durant purchased Oldsmobile, Oakland (later Cadillac and Pontiac), and attempted to purchase Ford. By 1910, GM was out of cash, and Durant lost his controlling interest in the company. Durant would get back into the game by starting Chevrolet, and he would eventually regain control of GM–only to lose it a second time. Later in life, Durant attempted to start a bowling center and a supermarket; however, these ventures met with little success.

“GM founder dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Mar 2008, 01:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7318.

0037 – The Roman Senate annuls Tiberius’ will and proclaims Caligula emperor.

1190 – Crusaders killed 57 Jews in Bury St. Edmonds England.

1532 – The English parliament banned payments by English church to Rome.

1541 – Hernan de Soto observed the first recorded flood of the Mississippi River.

1766 – Britain repealed the Stamp Act.

1850 – Henry Wells & William Fargo founded American Express.

1881 – Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth opened in Madison Square Gardens.

1911 – Theodore Roosevelt opened the Roosevelt Dam in Phoenix, AZ. It was the largest dam in the U.S. at the time.

1922 – Mohandas K. Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience in India. He served only 2 years of the sentence.

1940 – Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini held a meeting at the Brenner Pass. The Italian dictator agreed to join in Germany’s war against France and Britain during the meeting.

1942 – The third military draft began in the U.S. because of World War II.

1943 – American forces took Gafsa in Tunisia.

1944 – The Russians reached the Rumanian border in the Balkans during World War II.

1945 – 1,250 U.S. bombers attack Berlin.

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was ratified.

1968 – The U.S. Congress repealed the requirement for a gold reserve.

1974 – Most of the Arab oil-producing nations ended their five-month embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan.

1981 – The U.S. disclosed that there were biological weapons tested in Texas in 1966.

1990 – The first free elections took place in East Germany.

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