It is always interesting to write about what legally significant events occurred on this day in history. I find it particularly intriguing to attempt to juxtapose the modern state of affairs, including the political powers that be, state of international relations, weather, etc., with the events that occurred many years in the past.

Here are some of the legally significant events that occurred on August 23 throughout history:

  • 1784, a group of four counties in western North Carolina declared their independence, becoming the state of Franklin. The counties are physically located in what would eventually become Tennessee.
  • 1861 Allan Pinkerton, the head of the new secret service agency of the Federal government, places Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow under house arrest in Washington, D.C.
  • 1877 Texas Ranger John Armstrong arrests John Wesley Hardin in a Florida rail car, returning the outlaw to Texas to stand trial for murder.
  • 1904 Harold D. Weed is issued a patent for his "Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires," a non-skid tire chain to be used on automobiles in order to increase traction on roads slick with mud, snow or ice.
  • 1927 Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for murder.
  • 1939 Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact, both playing to their own political needs, and stunning the world in the process.
  • 1979 Russian ballet star Aleksandr Godunov defects to the United States after a performance in New York City, becoming the first dancer to defect from the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet.
  • 2006 Natascha Kampusch, an Austrian teenager who was kidnapped at age 10, escapes from her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, after more than eight years.

I was personally interested to learn that today was the day that Germany and the Soviet Union entered into the non-aggression pact.

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