This day in history

Friday, Dec. 7, is the 342d day of 2012. There are 24 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Eli Wallach is 97. Linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky is 84. Actress Ellen Burstyn is 80. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is 75. Journalist Carole Simpson is 72. Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench is 65. Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 63. Senator Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) is 60. Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird is 56. Singer/celebrity judge Sara Bareilles (‘‘The Sing-off”) is 33.

In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the US Constitution.


In 1796, electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the United States.

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In 1808, electors chose James Madison to be the fourth president.

In 1836, Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth president.

In 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii ; it claimed some 2,400 American lives.

In 1946, fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta; the blaze killed 119 people.


In 1972, Apollo 17, America’s last moon mission to date, was launched from Cape Canaveral.