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This Week in History | 5/17/2020 – 5/23/2020

17 May 1733 –Under the Molasses Act, England places high tariffs on rum and molasses imported into the American colonies. This act only increased tensions between the colonies and British rule. Partly because, where’s the rum? Molasses is a key ingredient to rum, a popular and widespread spirit in the American colonies. 

18 May 1917 – The US passes the Selective Service Act after tensions with Germany rose and the USA entered WW1 with a small Army. The original Act required all men aged 18-35 to register for potential service in the Military. Due to efforts to increase patriotism in America during this time only 350,000 men dodged the draft. This draft differed from the one during the Civil War because men were not allowed to substitute their service, meaning they could not hire a substitute or have someone else serve in their place.

23 May 1967 – US Representative James J Howard reads a letter, from a Marine in Vietnam, to the House of Representatives. The letter claimed that nearly all the deaths during the Battle for Hill 881 were a result of the newly adopted M16 rifle jamming. The letter would spark public outcry and controversy about the rifle. A investigation was launched that found false claims about the rifle when issued, such as being self cleaning, and issues in production and ammunition. Forward assists were added to the rifles and bolt carriers would now be chrome plated, to fight corrosion and other issues with the bolts become dirty during use. The other major issue found was a change in ammunition to what the rifle was created to use and what was issued with the rifle. The change in the powder led to increased fowling, which increased failures during use. The controversy from the initial issue of the M16 rifle still exists to this day, with many believing the rifle to still be unreliable.

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