On today’s date, JANUARY 12, in the year….
Jack London, was born in San Francisco. The hard-driving author of novels of adventure in the wilderness of America was born as the illegitimate son of a man who abandoned his family. Early on London struggled to make a living as a cannery worker, a sailor, an oyster pirate, and a fish patroller. He also spent time as a hobo, riding trains. as one of many who were unemployed in the economic crisis of 1893. But he resolved to better himself through education, finishing a high school equivalency course in one year, and enrolling at the University of California for a year, during which he read voraciously. But he dropped out in 1897 to join the great gold rush in the Klondike Mountains of Alaska. It was here that London found the sort of powerful characters and motivations which formed the basis of his novels “The Call of the Wild” (1900) which made him famous, “The Sea Wolf'” (1903) which featured the violent and dangerous character of “Captain Wolf Larsen” and also “White Fang” (1906). London, who was all of his life a heavy drinker died (possibly a suicide) on November 22, 1916.
Ophelia Wyatt Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, becomes the first woman to be freely elected to the U.S. Senate. Caraway, was appointed to the Senate two months earlier to fill the seat left by the death of her late husband, Thaddeus Horatio Caraway. With the support of Huey Long, a powerful democratic senator from Louisiana (who as seen as a possible rival to Franklin Delano Roosevelt), Caraway (known as “Hattie”) was elected to the seat. In 1938, she was reelected. After failing to win renomination in 1944, she was appointed to the Federal Employees Compensation Commission by President Franklin Roosevelt. Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia had been the first woman to sit in the U.S. Senate when she was appointed to fill a vacancy in 1922, but did not run for election to the seat.
United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, addressing a dinner in his honor at the Council of Foreign Relations said that the United States would protect her allies through a policy of “deterrent of massive retaliatory power.” This announcement coming as it did in the midst of Cold War, and the early days of nuclear weapons, made it clear that the Eisenhower administration had decided to rely on America’s nuclear arsenal as a means of deterring communist aggression around the world. This made clear the new emphasis on a pro-active approach to foreign policy by Eisenhower (as opposed to the reactive approach which Ike felt that Truman had followed), and Ike’s belief that the nuclear option was the most cost effective way to deal with military challenges around the world.