February 24, 1836
SIEGE OF THE ALAMO BEGINS IN TEXAS
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, whose forces number several thousand & surround less than 200 Texan rebels within the compound of an old abandoned Spanish mission at San Antonio de Bexar, demanded its’ commander, Colonel William B. Travis, to surrender today.
Travis, assisted by Jim Bowie, commander of volunteers, answered the demand with a cannon shot.
Congressman David Crockett, accompanied by some of his “Tennessee volunteers”, is also at the Alamo.*
*This begins what will be a 13 day siege culminating in a final assault on March 6, 1836. All Texans inside the walls of the Alamo are either killed in the battle or put to the sword thereafter.
February 24, 1803
SUPREME COURT HANDS DOWN RULING IN MARBURY
Chief Justice John Marshall has announced the high court’s decision in the landmark case Marbury v. Madison.
The majority ruling is that President Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he permitted his Secretary of State, James Madison, to prevent William Marbury from receiving his commission as Justice of the Peace in Washington, D.C.
The court, also ruled, however, that it has no jurisdiction in the case & that the Judiciary Act of 1789 which allows it jurisdiction is unconstitutional.
This marks the 1st time the high court has ruled a federal law does not meet the test of the United States Constitution & is therefore invalid. The decision firmly establishes the principle of judicial review.
February 24, 1868
ANDREW JOHNSON IS IMPEACHED
The House of Representatives voted 11 articles of impeachment today against President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee.
9 of the 11 articles relate to Johnson’s violation of the Tenure of Office Act by the removal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a radical, who like many members of congress oppose Johnson’s reconstruction policies which they consider to be too lenient.
Andrew Johnson becomes the 1st President in history to be impeached or charged with “high crimes & misdemeanors.”*
*The Senate impeachment trial, lasting from March 13 to March 26, 1868, ends with Johnson’s acquittal. He will complete his term which began with the death of President Lincoln.
February 24, 1917
GERMAN TELEGRAM INTERCEPTED BY BRITISH
US ambassador to Great Britain, Walter H. Page, announced today he was presented with a copy of a coded message from German foreign secretary, Arthur Zimmerman to German ambassador to Mexico, Count Johann von Bernstoft.
The “Zimmerman telegram”, deciphered by British intelligence, says the German government is prepared to see that Mexico will regain her lost territories of Texas, New Mexico & Arizona if there is war between the US & Germany & Mexico takes Germany’s side.
Page sent a copy of the “note” to President Woodrow Wilson.*
*The Zimmerman telegram will prove to be one of key events which will lead to a declaration of war by the United States on Germany in April 1917.
February 24, 1938
MGM BUYS MOVIE RIGHTS TO “WIZARD”
“Variety” announced today that MGM has purchased the motion picture rights to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The magazine also says that the studio has cast 16 year old Judy Garland in the lead role of Dorothy Gale.*
*The Wizard of Oz (1939) ranks 6th as one of the 100 greatest movies of all time. It pioneered the use of “technicolor” & is known for its signature song, sung by Garland, “Over the Rainbow”.
February 24, 1961
JFK OUTLINES ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM
President Kennedy presented today in a message to congress a program on natural resources emphasizing solution to potential water problems including comprehensive river basin development, stream pollution control & saline water conversion.
February 24, 2008
CASTRO RETIRES AS PRESIDENT OF CUBA
Fidel Castro retired today as President of Cuba. He has occupied this position for nearly 50 years.