Thursday, January 8, 2009

On January 8

On this day in ...
... 1918, before a joint session of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson outlined what, in his view, were the "terms upon which Germany may obtain peace" and thus bring World War I to an end. The New York Times' story on the speech is instructive: though it does discuss some of the terms, it devotes much space to the internal political response. It thus evinces little recognition that this Fourteen Points speech would become a foundational document of 20th century developments respecting foreign policy, international organizations like the League of Nations, and concepts such as self-determination. (credit for shorthand draft of Wilson's speech)
... 1975, Ella Grasso was sworn in as Governor of Connecticut, making her the 1st woman to serve as the chief executive of a U.S. state who had been elected on her own, without having succeeded her husband into office. She'd been born Ella Tambussi in 1919, the daughter of Italian immigrants. Following marriage to her husband, Thomas Grasso, with whom she's depicted entering her inaugural ball, and the birth of their 2 children, she was a state legislator before becoming governor. Grasso was mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential candidate in 1976, but never did become a national politician. She died in 1981, a couple months after she had resigned following a diagnosis of cancer. (credit for S. Robert Pugliese photo, Hartford Collection, Hartford Public Library)

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