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Historical Glossary

There are 87 entries in this glossary.
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Wabash, St Louis and Pacific Railroad Company v. Illinois

In 1886 the Supreme Court invalidated an Ill. law forbidding higher rates for railroad freight hauled for short distances than for long trips; it held (6–3) that Ill. had infringed Congress's exclusive power to regulate rates charged in interstate commerce. The decision reversed the Court's interpretation in the Granger cases; in combination with  Chicago, Milwaukee and St Paul Railroad Company v. Minnesota and Reagan v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company, it enabled railroad and warehouse corporations to challenge unfavorable decisions by state regulatory commissions in federal courts, which often ruled that state regulation violated their property rights.

Wade–Davis Bill

In 1864 Representative Henry Davis and Senator Benjamin Wade co-sponsored a plan to replace Abraham Lincoln's program for the Reconstruction of Confederate states. The Wade–Davis Bill would have: (1) delayed any state's reconstruction until Confederate resistance had ended and a majority of white citizens had sworn unequivocal allegiance to the US; (2) required Senate confirmation for provisional governors appointed over such states; and (3) insisted that southern states ratify new state constitutions that disavowed secession, ended slavery, disfranchised CSA leaders, and repudiated the CSA war debt. The bill disqualified few ex-rebels from political activity and did not demand suffrage for freedmen. After Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill on 4 July, its outraged sponsors issued the Wade–Davis Manifesto.

Wagner–Steagall Act

(1 September 1937)Because the National Housing Act (1934) had failed to fund any substantial public housing projects, Congress created the US Housing Authority (USHA); it provided $500,000,000 for use as loans to fund up to 90 percent of expenses in building homes for low-income families. The law marked the start of the federal government's commitment to eliminate substandard housing. By January 1941, the USHA had approved loans for 511 low-rent apartment complexes with 161,162 units. During World War II, the agency planned and financed new housing around military bases.

Wake Island

On 4 July 1898, in the Spanish-American War, US troops en route to the Philippines seized Wake. The US annexed the uninhabited island of three square miles in 1899 and formally occupied it in 1900. It became a refueling and repair station for the navy and commercial airlines. The Japanese captured it in the battle of Wake Island and surrendered it on 4 September 1945. The navy administered Wake until 1962, the Departments of Interior and Transportation from then to June 1972, and the Air Force thereafter.

Wake Island, battle of

On 11 December 1941, Major James Devereux's 388 US marines repulsed Rear Admiral Sadamichi Kajioka's Japanese task force (9 cruisers and destroyers, 4 transports) by sinking 2 destroyers and damaging 7 other ships. After 11 days of heavy bombardment, 800 Japanese overran the defenders on 23 December.