In 1774, the first Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia.
In 1793, the Reign of Terror began during the French Revolution as the National Convention instituted harsh measures to repress counter-revolutionary activities.
In 1836, Sam Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas.
In 1864, voters in Louisiana approved a new state constitution abolishing slavery.
In 1913, fire devastated Hot Springs, Arkansas, destroying some 60 blocks.
In 1939, four days after war had broken out in Europe, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation declaring U.S. neutrality in the conflict.
In 1957, the novel “On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac, was first published by Viking Press.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed legislation making aircraft hijackings a federal crime.
In 1972, the Palestinian group Black September attacked the Israeli Olympic delegation at the Munich Games; 11 Israelis, five guerrillas and a police officer were killed in the resulting siege.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford escaped an attempt on his life by Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a disciple of Charles Manson, in Sacramento, California.
In 1984, the space shuttle Discovery ended its inaugural flight as it landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
In 1997, breaking the royal reticence over the death of Princess Diana, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II delivered a televised address in which she called her former daughter-in-law “a remarkable person.” Mother Teresa died in Calcutta, India, at age 87; conductor Sir Georg Solti died in France at age 84.
Ten years ago: Hurricane Frances struck Florida’s central-eastern coast with heavy rain, submerging entire roadways and tearing off rooftops before entering the Gulf of Mexico. Grief-stricken Russians began burying victims of a terror attack on a school in Beslan that left more than 330 people dead.
Five years ago: Top finance officials from rich and developing countries agreed during a meeting in London to curb hefty bankers’ bonuses and maintain stimulus measures such as extra government spending and low interest rates to boost the global economy.
One year ago: President Barack Obama, in St. Petersburg for a G-20 summit, pressed fellow world leaders to support a U.S. strike on Syria; however, he encountered opposition from Russia, China and even the European Union, who said it was too soon for military action.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul A. Volcker is 87. Comedian-actor Bob Newhart is 85. Actress-singer Carol Lawrence is 82. Actor William Devane is 75. Actor George Lazenby is 75. Actress Raquel Welch is 74. Movie director Werner Herzog is 72. Singer Al Stewart is 69. Actor-director Dennis Dugan is 68. College Football Hall of Famer Jerry LeVias is 68. Singer Loudon Wainwright III is 68. “Cathy” cartoonist Cathy Guisewite (GYZ’-wyt) is 64. Actor Michael Keaton is 63. Country musician Jamie Oldaker (The Tractors) is 63. Actress Debbie Turner-Larson (Film: Marta in “The Sound of Music”) is 58. Actress Kristian Alfonso is 51. Rhythm-and-blues singer Terry Ellis is 51. Rock musician Brad Wilk is 46. TV personality Dweezil Zappa is 45. Actress Rose McGowan is 41. Actress Carice Van Houten (TV: “Game of Thrones”) is 38. Actor Andrew Ducote is 28. Actress Kat Graham is 28. Olympic gold medal figure skater Kim Yu-na is 24. Actor Skandar Keynes is 23.