Happy Birthday Hawaii!
On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state to join the United States of America. Hawaii’s journey to becoming a state had started five months prior when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Admission Act on March 18, 1959.
This cover is from a brochure compiled by the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii that outlines student support for Hawaiian statehood. It features reasons for statehood from students, staff, and a number of American public figures. It was included as part of a statehood petition sent by University of Hawaii students to Representative Hugh Peterson (D-GA), then chairman of the House Committee on Territories.
The brochure is titled “Hawaii: 49th State” because Alaska had not yet entered the union.
-From the Eisenhower Library
Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President-Designate
President Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller, the former Governor of New York, as his Vice President on August 20, 1974.
Selecting a Vice President had been one of President Ford’s main priorities after taking office. He requested recommendations from the members of his Cabinet and Congressional leaders. By the end of his first week as President he had narrowed his choice down to five candidates, and after careful deliberation he asked Rockefeller to take the position.
After announcing the nomination President Ford introduced Rockefeller for a brief press conference. “I think he will make a great teammate,” he said. “I think he will be good for the country, I think he will be good for the world, and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Vice President-designate Rockefeller fielded questions about why he accepted a job he had previously turned down during other administrations and the confirmation process. Although he didn’t know what his specific duties would be yet he stated, “I am deeply honored and should I be confirmed by the Congress, will look forward to the privilege and honor of serving the President of the United States and, as I said in the other room, through him all of the people of this great country.”
After four months of extended hearings Rockefeller was confirmed and sworn in as the 41st Vice President of the United States on December 19, 1974, becoming the second person to fill the office under the 25th Amendment.
Images: President Ford and Nelson A. Rockefeller in the Oval Office as the President prepares his message to Congress nominating Rockefeller as Vice President, 8/20/1974; Message of President Gerald R. Ford nominating Nelson A. Rockefeller to be Vice President of the United States, 08/20/1974, from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
LBJ signs the Economic Opportunity Act, 50 years ago today.
"Today for the first time in all the history of the human race, a great nation is able to make and is willing to make a commitment to eradicate poverty among its people."
-President Lyndon B. Johnson
The Act was designed to provide education, job training, health and employment counseling, and neighborhood improvements. Programs included Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Legal Services, Upward Bound, and Head Start.
Photo: LBJ visits a Job Corps Center. 11/8/65.
-from the LBJ Library
On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act.
Later that day, the Washington Post proclaimed that the Social Security Act was the “New Deal’s Most Important Act…Its importance cannot be exaggerated …because this legislation eventually will affect the lives of every man, woman, and child in the country.”
This poster was distributed from November 1936- July 1937 during the initial issuance of Social Security numbers through U.S. post offices and with the help of labor unions.
September 16, 1924 - August 12, 2014
Today, we honor the singular Lauren Bacall, who died yesterday at the age of 89. She was involved in one of the most infamous incidents of Harry S. Truman’s Vice-Presidency.
On February 10, 1945, Mr. Truman attended a stage show for servicemen at the Washington Press Club canteen, and sat down to play the piano. During his performance, someone boosted Ms. Bacall onto the top of the piano, and she sat there seductively while Mr. Truman played and photographers snapped away. Mrs. Truman was not amused.
A Good Marriage, Not a Honeymoon
President Ford returned to the House Chamber where he had served as a Representative of Michigan for 25 years on August 12, 1974, to make his first address to a Joint Session of Congress.
In this speech he set out his vision for Executive-Congressional relations. He expected that Congress would be a working partner and constructive critic so together they could find solutions to the difficult issues the nation faced. “I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage,” he said.
Although President Ford felt the State of the Union was excellent he knew the state of the economy was not. Declaring inflation “domestic enemy number one,” he called for Congress to reactive the Cost of Living Council and announced plans for a domestic summit meeting on the economy. He also appealed to voters in the upcoming November election to support those candidates ”who consistently vote for tough decisions to cut the cost of Government, restrain Federal spending and bring inflation under control.”
Shifting his focus to international affairs, President Ford stated his intention to continue the foreign policy developed during the Nixon administration. “There will be no change of course, no relaxation of vigilance, no abandonment of the helm of our Ship of State as the watch changes,” he affirmed. “We stand by our commitments and we will live up to our responsibilities, in our formal alliances, in our friendships, and in our improving relations with potential adversaries.”
Read the full text of President Ford’s remarks.