Today marks the 196th anniversary of Illinois becoming a part of the United States. Not yet the Land of Lincoln—the Railsplitter had just turned nine the previous winter—Illinois forever left behind its status as part of the Northwest Territory. State fathers thoughtfully stroked their beards and looked out from the majestic capital at Kaskaskia to a glorious future. The next year, they looked out from Vandalia, and eighteen years after that from Springfield. In future years, December 3 came to mark many other world-changing historic events. For instance:

  • In 1826, future Lincoln nemesis George B. McClellan was born in Philadelphia.
  • In 1927, MGM released the first Laurel and Hardy film, the intriguingly-named Putting the Pants on Philip.
  • In 1967, cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard headed a team that successfully transplanted a heart into terminally ill grocer Louis Washkansky.
  • In 1992, an engineer sent the first text message via personal computer.

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