This week in history

  • On Sept. 7, 1776, America used submarine warfare for the first time in history. Ezra Lee, the pilot of the submarine christened the Turtle, attempted to attach a time bomb to the hull of the British ship named Eagle. After realizing his tools weren’t strong enough to penetrate the iron sheathing, Lee retreated. The time bomb ended up exploding nearby, harming neither warcraft. A couple of months later, the Turtle was sunk by the British during the Battle of Fort Lee.


  • For the first time on Sept. 10, 1897, there was an arrest for driving while intoxicated.  George Smith, a 25-year-old, had driven his cab into a London building after drinking while driving. While the first arrest was in 1897, drunk driving laws in the U.S. did not come into effect until New York enacted some in 1910.


  • President William McKinley became the third U.S. president to become assassinated on Sept. 6, 1901. After a lively speech at the world fair, President McKinley attended a meet and greet. As McKinley reached out his hand, 28-year-old Anarchist Leon Czolgosz fired two shots with a .32 caliber Iver Johnson revolver. President McKinley died 8 days later to a case of Gangrene brought on a severe case of blood poisoning.


  • At Attica Prison, a maximum-security prison near Buffalo, New York, Prisoners became fed up with their treatment and began rioting. Prisoners were tired of the cruel treatment they were receiving; one shower a week, one toilet roll a month, overcrowding, lack of medical care, starvation, and abuse of power all led to this four-day altercation that began on Sept. 9, 1971. This riot ended when the police fired 3,000 rounds after helicopters flew over and dropped tear gas. This action killed 49 and injured 89 prisoners and hostages alike. The Attica Prison riot is known as the worst prison riot in American history.


  • On Sept. 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford wanted to unite the nation after the Watergate scandal. To accomplish this, President Ford decided to pardon Nixon for the crimes he had committed while in office. This pardon may have united the nation, but because people widely condemned President Ford’s action.


  • On Sept. 11, 19 Militants from the terrorist group al Qaeda launched an attack that killed 2,977 Americans. The Twin Towers collapsed and the Pentagon was damaged. These attacks caused the Department of Homeland Security to be created, with the goal to prevent terror attacks, handle border security and immigration, as well as provide disaster relief and prevention.