On July 12, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill authorizing the Medal of Honor.
On this date:
In 1543, England's King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr.
In 1690, forces led by William of Orange defeated the army of James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland.
In 1909, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing for a federal income tax, and submitted it to the states. (It was declared ratified in February 1913.)
In 1943, the World War II tank battle of Prokhorovka between German invaders and Soviet defenders took place with no clear victor.
In 1948, the Democratic national convention, which nominated President Harry S. Truman for a second term of office, opened in Philadelphia.
In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was flown by helicopter from the White House to a secret mountaintop location as part of a drill involving a mock nuclear attack on Washington.
In 1967, six days of race-related rioting erupted in Newark, N.J.; the violence claimed 26 lives.
In 1973, actor Lon Chaney Jr., 67, died in San Clemente, Calif.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter defended Supreme Court limits on government payments for poor women's abortions, saying, "There are many things in life that are not fair."
In 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale announced he'd chosen U.S. Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York to be his running-mate; Ferraro was the first woman to run for vice president on a major-party ticket.
In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis tapped Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as his running mate.
In 1993, some 200 people were killed when an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck northern Japan and triggered a tsunami. In Somalia, a mob enraged by a deadly United Nations attack on the compound of Mohamed Farrah Aidid killed an Associated Press photographer and three employees of Reuters.
Ten years ago: Wrapping up a five-day tour of Africa, President George W. Bush said he would not allow terrorists to use the continent as a base "to threaten the world." The USS Ronald Reagan, the first carrier named for a living president, was commissioned in Norfolk, Va. Jazz great Benny Carter died at age 95.
Five years ago: Former White House press secretary Tony Snow died in Washington, D.C. at age 53. Former All-Star outfielder and longtime Yankees broadcaster Bobby Murcer died in Oklahoma City at age 62. Angelina Jolie gave birth at a hospital on the French Riviera to twins Knox and Vivienne, making a family of eight with Brad Pitt.
One year ago: Vice President Joe Biden rallied support for President Barack Obama at the NAACP's convention in Houston, declaring that Republican challenger Mitt Romney's election-year agenda would hurt -- not help -- working families in the black community. A scathing report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh said the late Joe Paterno and other top Penn State officials had buried child sexual abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky more than a decade earlier to avoid bad publicity.
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