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History's Happenings for August 27

Battle of Brooklyn

(Stay tuned for a write-up on this event.
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Krakatoa Explodes

On the night of August 26-27, 1883, in the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history, the volcanic island of Krakatau near Indonesia erupted with such violent fury that at least one explosion could be heard 3,000 miles away.

The island itself was destroyed, losing two of its 18 square miles in the eruption, and tidal waves over a hundred feet high wiped out 36,000 lives along the coasts of Java and Sumatra. Dust ejected into the atmosphere colored sunrises and sunsets all over the world for three years.

After another, smaller eruption in 1927, the island was evacuated and remains uninhabited.

First Oil Well In U. S.

On this date in 1859 E. L. Drake brought in the first American oil well, in Titusville, PA., making this town about 120 miles north of Pittsburgh the oil capital of the U.S.

A year later, Oil City, PA was founded about 18 miles north of Titusville. Both towns quickly grew as a home not only for oil production and refining, but for the heavy industry that supports it.

Oil refining in Titusville continued into the 1950's.

Congress Tries to Sneak Through Income Tax

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Birth of President Lyndon B. Johnson

The thirty-sixth president of the United States was born on August 27, 1908, on his father's ranch near Stonewall, Texas.

Trained as a teacher, he taught briefly in his native state before taking a job in Washington where he would live for all but two years until the end of his presidency.

An ardent supporter of FDR's New Deal, LBJ was elected to Congress as a Democrat from Texas in 1937. Subsequently reelected, Johnson became the first member of Congress to volunteer for service in World War II.

Elected to the Senate in 1948, he became Senate majority leader in 1955, backed by Texas oil money and his own hard work. His own presidential bid failed, Johnson accepted the vice-presidential offer from John Kennedy in 1960, and provided the southern presence and hard campaigning JFK needed to narrowly win the presidency against Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

Following Kennedy's tragic assassination in LBJ's own state in November, 1963, Johnson pledged to carry on Kennedy's program. Typically powerful congressmen who succeed to the presidency have an easy time passing legislation. Johnson's notables included the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Opportunity Act, both of which reflected the Kennedy legacy.

Elected in the largest plurality in history in 1964, having painted opponent Barry Goldwater as a war-monger, Johnson almost immediately broke his own campaign pledge not to send troops to Vietnam. The massive buildup that attended his administration, the parade of bodies, and the obvious stalemate that indicated no end -- certainly no hope of success -- to the bloodshed, led to riots in the streets of America and an unraveling of his presidency.

President Johnson's "Great Society" programs, while well-intentioned on the surface, led to almost incomprehensible domestic spending levels -- not all during his watch, but in subsequent administrations when poor or deliberately hasty early estimates of costs, and inevitable expansion in the face of political pressure caused the predictable explosion of benefits.

The nation was more deeply divided than during the Civil War, without the nicety of two clearly defined geographical segments.

Faced with a situation which kept him virtually imprisoned in the White House, LBJ announced in March, 1968 that he would not seek a second term -- in effect resigning the presidency. He retired to his Texas ranch and stayed out of politics until his death on January 22, 1973.

Birth of Mother Teresa

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Albania, Mother Mary Teresa became a Sister of the Order of Our Lady of Loreto in Ireland in 1928.

In 1950 she founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India and, in 1952, the Nirmal Hriday Home for Dying Destitutes, where she and other dedicated servants of the Lord helped the poor and afflicted of the city.

Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979. She died in 1997, leaving a better world behind.

European Pact Outlaws War

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U.S. Troops Invade Japan -- Peacefully

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