On Sept. 24, Pres. George W. Bush got right to the point in a national address: "Our entire economy is in danger." He was rallying support for a $700 billion bailout plan called the Paulson Package, which ultimately failed to garner much approval. After a couple of all-nighters, Congressional leaders revealed their own bill: the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. But this bill fell flat by a vote of 228 to 205 against it in the House. The Senate jazzed it up once again, and the bill at last passed by a margin of 263 to 171. Why so much contention? And how exactly was the $700 billion in the bailout plan allocated to be spent? The bailout marks the most significant instance of government interference in the economy since the legislation made under the Great Depression. The money was originally meant to buy up bad loans from mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, but recent news suggests that some funds should be spent to shore up banks. In November, talk of an automotive industry bailout made headlines, and on Dec. 1, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the United States is officially in a recession.
So those are 10 of many memorable moments from 2008 that'll be recorded in the annals of history. From an overdue apology to generations of Aborigine children and a massively flailing global economy to new insights about one of the world's oldest mysteries, the year has been packed with news-making events.
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The 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I offers up a second chance to learn from our mistakes. HowStuffWorks looks at what we need to know.