On This Day in History, August 5

In 1861, the United States government levied the first income tax as a means to finance the Union cause in the Civil War. This tax was part of the Revenue Act of 1861, which also modified tariffs and property taxes. The income tax levied was for three percent on all income equal to and exceeding $800. Inability to enforce this tax led to being repealed and later replacement, including establishment of the IRS and implementation of a progressive tax scale.

In 1926, Hungarian-born illusionist Harry Houdini performed one of his last and greatest feats, spending an hour and a half within a sealed tank submerged under water before his escape. It would be one of his final escapes, passing away on Halloween that year.

In 1962, South African political activist Nelson Mandela was arrested by the police near the city of Howick. His arrest would lead to his decades in prison after a year leading up to his trial. It was revealed years later that Nelson Mandela’s arrest was caused by the CIA, who was concerned about his association with communists in the midst of the Cold War.

A Notable Birth

1827 – Deodoro da Fonseca (d. 1892) was a Brazilian military officer and politician. He was involved with a military coup over the imperial family, and was elected president due to troubles with his critics. He would eventually resign from his post.

A Notable Death

1991 – Soichiro Honda (b. 1906) was a Japanese engineer and industrialist. He is best known for founding Honda, a major automobile manufacture, following the Second World War. His company began with producing motorcycles.

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