Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 21, 2010, a bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, vastly increased the power of big business and labor unions to influence government decisions by freeing them to spend their millions directly to sway elections for president and Congress.
On this date:
In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.
In 1910, the Great Paris Flood began as the rain-swollen Seine River burst its banks, sending water into the French capital.
In 1915, the first Kiwanis Club, dedicated to community service, was founded in Detroit.
In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.
In 1942, pinball machines were banned in New York City after a court ruled they were gambling devices that relied on chance rather than skill (the ban was lifted in 1976).
In 1950, former State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being part of a Communist spy ring, was found guilty in New York of lying to a grand jury. (Hiss, who proclaimed his innocence, served less than four years in prison.)
In 1976, British Airways and Air France inaugurated scheduled passenger service on the supersonic Concorde jet.
In 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.
In 2003, the Census Bureau announced that Hispanics had surpassed blacks as America’s largest minority group.
In 2013, a day after being inaugurated for a second term in a private ceremony, President Barack Obama took a public oath, summoning a divided nation to act with “passion and dedication” to broaden equality and prosperity at home, nurture democracy around the world and combat global warming.
In 2017, a day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, more than 1 million people rallied at women’s marches in the nation’s capital and cities around the world to send the new president an emphatic message that they wouldn’t let his agenda go unchallenged.
In 2020, the U.S. reported its first known case of the new virus circulating in China, saying a Washington state resident who had returned the previous week from the outbreak’s epicenter was hospitalized near Seattle.
In 2021, on his first full day in office, President Joe Biden signed 10 executive orders aimed at combating the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2022, the FBI said Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of slain cross-country traveler Gabby Petito, had admitted to killing her in a notebook discovered near his body in a Florida swamp.