January 24: Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. Case Decided, WWII Bombing of Bangkok, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on January 24 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1916 - Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. case decided
January 24 marks another anniversary of a very important date for the U.S. judicial principles that influence the lives of millions of ordinary citizens.
Brushaber (who was a shareholder of the company) v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916), was a truly landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court upheld the validity of a tax statute called the Revenue Act of 1913, which was also known as the Tariff Act, Ch. 16, 38 Stat. 166 (October 3, 1913), enacted pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 1 of, and the Sixteenth Amendment to, the United States Constitution, allowing a federal income tax.
The Sixteenth Amendment had been ratified earlier in 1913. The Revenue Act of 1913 imposed income taxes that were not apportioned among the states according to each state's population though. Thus, Americans had to pay all the indirect taxes no matter what!
Interestingly, just 20 years before this case, prior to 1895, all income taxes had been considered indirect taxes (not required to be apportioned among the states according to the population of each state). In the controversial 1895 case of Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., however, the Court had overturned long-standing precedent and ruled that while a tax on income from labor was an excise, or indirect tax (which was not required to be apportioned), a tax on income derived from property such as interest, dividends, or rents was or should be treated as a direct tax.
1942 – Second World War: Thailand Theater: WWII bombing of Bangkok
There actually was a series of bombings over Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, during the Second World War. And Thailand wasn’t even in a state of war with the U.S. during the January 24-25, 1942 bombardments.
Moreover, it wasn’t a the state of war with the U.K., thus the Allies had no right to bomb it, even despite the fact that both the U.S. and the U.K. by that time had already declared war on Japan, and Thailand was leaning towards that country.
This actually was the second raid of January 1942 (the first happened on the 7th of January), but most importantly, the second raid forced Thailand to declare war on the Allies. That’s fair: If your capital is bombed, it’s probably high time to express your negative opinion on it!
The first raid occurred when Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft flying from Rangoon, attacked military targets in the city. The American Volunteer Group, together with seven No. 113 Squadron RAF and three No. 45 Squadron RAF Bristol Blenheim bombers, were involved in the first raid. No. 113 Squadron's planes were piloted by No. 60 Squadron's air crew. The second night raid was carried out by eight Blenheims on January 24-25 and included No. 60 Squadron RAF aircrew.
1961 - Goldsboro B-52 crash
Americans have lost their nuclear warheads way too often, as we have already reported about one such case in 1968 that happened over the territory of Greenland. Seven years before that was the Goldsboro B-52 crash.
This was an accident that occurred near Goldsboro, North Carolina, on January 24, 1961. A B-52 Stratofortress carrying two 3–4-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process. The pilot in command ordered the crew to eject at 9,000 feet. Five men successfully ejected or bailed out of the aircraft and landed safely, another ejected but did not survive the landing, and two died in the crash.
Information newly declassified in 2013 shows that one of the bombs came very close to detonating, but thankfully North Carolina is still there!
These are the most notable events in the U.S. history that occurred on January 24, at least in our view.