This Day in History: Aaron Burr Shoots Alexander Hamilton; Babe Ruth Debuts; MLK Given Presidential Medal of Freedom

7/11 also means free slurpees!

Babe Ruth
New York Times Co./Getty Images

July 11 is one of the busiest days in U.S. history, with landmark moments ranging from sports to literature to politics, even free slurpees!

Vice President Burr shoots Alexander Hamilton (1804)
Over 200 years ago, on July 11, 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr, who served beside Thomas Jefferson, and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton met in New Jersey - an unfortunately violent ordeal.

The duel was a proxy-fight between the Democratic-Republican party, the party of Burr and Jefferson, and Hamilton's Federalist party, but also had underlying personal storylines between the two politicians.

Hamilton died from a gunshot wound he sustained during the incident; Burr was indicted for murder, but was never tried. All charges against him were dropped or resulted in acquittal.

Hamilton, a notable journalist - as well as politician - of his day, had a history of opposition toward Burr, who was originally considered a presidential candidate and later as a New York gubernatorial candidate.

Burr was never again elected to office; he was arrested for treason in 1807, but acquitted then as well.

Tijuana, MX founded (1889)
On the same day, 85 years later, Tijuana, Mexico was founded – the metropolitan partner-city of San Diego.  

The border has been one of the busiest economic centers established since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, known for its tourism, military and biotech industries.

Tijuana is one of the busiest border cities in the world. It is nicknamed the gateway to Mexico.

Babe Ruth makes MLB debut (1914)
On July 11, 1914, Babe Ruth went 0-2 against the Cleveland Naps in his Major League debut.

Ruth was successful, however. He won the game 4-3 – Ruth was the starting pitcher.

Ruth had some off-the-field success that day as well – meeting Helen Woodford, a waitress he later married.

Most fans know Ruth for his feats with the Yankees – hitting 714 home runs, batting over .340 and winning four World Series titles with the club – but his time with the Red Sox was also highly successful.

Ruth won three World Series titles with the Red Sox before leaving them team with the “Curse of the Bambino,” which refers to the nearly 90-year World Series drought the Red Sox suffered after letting Babe Ruth join the New York Yankees, their biggest rival.

Ruth is in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, leading the league in home runs twice while with the club. Sox fans are left to wonder what might have been had they held on to one of baseball’s greatest players.

To Kill a Mocking Bird first published (1960)
In 1960 literary history was made – To Kill a Mocking Bird was first published.

To Kill a Mocking Bird, written by Harper Lee, chronicles the events of Lee’s childhood – a fiction tale of her hometown – in Monroe, Alabama.

The Pulitzer Prize winning novel, now common academic reading, tells a story of rape and racism in 1930s America.

Harper Lee, who’s only other published book is Go Set a Watchman, died in February of 2016.

A big day for space and technology (1962)
Telstar 1 and 2 were experimental communications satellites – the first was sent into the atmosphere on July, 10, 1962, transmitting television pictures to Pleumeur-Bodou a day later.

This was the first live transatlantic feed in world history.

Telstar 2, a nearly identical satellite, launched almost a year later in May of 1963. Both still orbit the world today, though neither are operational.

President Carter gives Presidential Medal of Freedom to MLK (1977)
Just 15 years later, on this day in 1977, President of the Unites States Jimmy Carter awarded the highest civilian award an American can receive to two notable doctors.

Carter awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Dr. Jonas E. Salk and Dr. Martin Luther King.

Dr. Salk developed a vaccination for polio; Dr. King was an American civil rights legend.

President Carter called Dr. King “the conscience of his generation.”

King, who died almost a decade prior, was represented by his wife, Coretta Scott King.

During Dr. Salk’s acceptance address, he said “without the freedom from oppression and from disease, the pursuit of happiness has little meaning,” a sentiment undoubtedly shared by Martin Luther King Jr.

United States first space station destroyed re-enteering (1979)
The United States’ first space station, Skylab, orbited earth from May 1973 to July 11, 1979.

The station was destroyed upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere after suffering damage during launch. NASA was able to use Skylab to confirm coronal holes in the Sun and take thousands of photos of earth.

The station re-entered a day before initially planned. Debris landed in Western Australia. NASA was fined, which was later paid for by donations on their behalf.

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