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History's Happenings for September 19

President Garfield Dies; Arthur President

Having been shot by an assassin on July 2nd, 1881, President James A. Garfield died today after only six months in office. Vice President Chester A. Arthur succeeded to the presidency.

Garfield's was the second assassination of a U.S. President, Lincoln's having been the first sixteen years earlier.

The assassin in Garfield's case was a disappointed patronage-seeker, someone who felt that his support for, or ties to supporters of the President should entitle him to a cushy government job. In the wake of the patronage scandals of the era, and Garfield's assassination, the Civil Service Act was passed in 1883, insulating both government employees and the jobs they held from the vagaries of political patronage.

Continentals Victorious at Saratoga

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Compromise of 1850 Passed

In a series of bills passed in late 1850 and championed chiefly by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, Congress sought a compromise on the inflammatory issue of slavery in the expanding United States.

Mainly addressing territory acquired following the Mexican War, concessions were made to both pro-slave and abolitionist interests. Among the varied legislation, one bill admitted California to the Union as a free state, and banned slavery in the District of Columbia. Another created the territories of New Mexico (now New Mexico and Arizona) and Utah as open to both slave and non-slave settlements. A new Runaway Slave Act was passed which protected the rights of Southern slaveowners. And Texas, a slave state, was compensated in the amount of $10 million for claims on territories outside of her final borders.

The new Compromise took the place of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, but did not dampen the hostility between supporters of slavery and abolitionists.

Mickey Mouse Born

Walt Disney's new character -- eventually to become Mickey Mouse -- became a star in the film Steamboat Willie, on this day in 1928.

Besides giving birth to the renowned rodent, Steamboat Willie was the first cartoon with an accompanying musical soundtrack.

Disney's foray into the new wave of motion pictures was only a year behind the first major film of any kind to feature synchronized sound, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson.

"Lord Haw-Haw" Sentenced to Death by Brits

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Khrushchev Barred from Disneyland

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