1. 1862: Legal Tender Act is Passed
On this day in 1862 Congress passed the legal tender act which made the use of paper currency legal. Before that only gold and silver currency was accepted. One of the main reasons this was done was to finance the incredible costly Civil War.The Confederate government had been printing money since the beginning of the war but the north had relied on old forms of currency. Once the Legal Tender Act was passed that allowed government to print $150 million in “greenbacks” even though it was not backed by actual gold or silver. Many economist predicted that would destroy the economy but it ended up as a huge success.
2. 1836: Samuel Colt gets U.S. Patent on Revolver Mechanism
Samuel Colt receives the U.S. patent for his “revolving gun” which gave him the monopoly on on manufacturing revolver guns for the next 20 years. They had such popularity that almost any revolver made was reffered to as a “colt”. The Colt Revolver had a revolving cylinder that held either five or six bullets and an innovated cocking mechanism which was much more user freindly then his previous design that had rotating barrels and far more advanced then the rotating flintlock pistol made by Elisha Collier. When Mr. Colt died in 1862 he was one of the wealthiest men in America due to the overwhelming popularity of his pistols.
3. 1964: Cassius Clay knocks out Sonny Liston
Sonny Liston was the heavyweight champion on February 24th the day before he was scheduled to fight the young newcomer Cassius Clay. Clay was a mouthy underdog that was just 22 years old, almost a decade younger than Liston. He had won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division 4 years earlier in the Rome Olympics. On this day in 1964 Liston and Clay enter the ring for a scheduled 10 round championship bout but after getting destroyed in the sixth round, Liston who was all cut up and bleeding, failed to leave his corner for the start of the 7th round which crowned the 22 yr old Cassius Clay the heavyweight champ of the world. This is the fight where the infamous line “I’m The Greatest” comes from. Clay of course changed his name to what we know as Muhammad Ali after that fight. Liston and Ali met again for a rematch in 1965 but ended in a highly controversial knockout in the first round by Ali. Many people claimed that Liston threw the fight due to fear of retaliation by the Black Muslim extremists that Ali had surrounded himself with.