Today In History...
In 1681 England's King Charles II grants a charter to William Penn for an area of land that later becomes Pennsylvania.
In 1789 The first Federal Congress, meeting in New York, declares the U.S. Constitution to be in effect.
In 1791 Vermont becomes the 14th U.S. state.
In 1793 The shortest inauguration speech (133 words) is given by George Washington, who is sworn in for his second term.
In 1801 Thomas Jefferson is the first president inaugurated in Washington DC.
In 1826 The first railroad in the U.S. is chartered as the Granite Railway in Quincy, MA.
In 1829 An unruly crowd mobbed the White House during the inaugural reception for President Jackson.
In 1837 The Illinois state legislature grants a city charter to Chicago.
In 1841 The longest inauguration speech is given by William Henry Harrison (8443 words).
In 1861 Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as president of the United States.
In 1861 The Confederacy adopts the "Stars and Bars" flag design.
In 1863 The territory of Idaho is established.
In 1891 Congress passes the International Copyright Act.
In 1893 Grover Cleveland is inaugurated for his second non-consecutive term as president.
In 1902 The American Automobile Association is founded in Chicago, IL.
In 1906 John McAllister Schofield, a Union general in the Civil War and one-time commanding general of the Army, dies at age 74.
In 1917 Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana takes her seat as a member of Congress, the first woman to be elected to the House.
In 1925 President Coolidge's inauguration is broadcast live on 21 radio stations coast-to-coast.
In 1930 Greta Garbo's first talkie, "Anna Christie," premieres.
In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt is inaugurated as president; he pledged to lead the country out of the Great Depression, proclaiming, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
In 1933 Frances Perkins become the first woman appointed to the president's cabinet, when she is appointed U.S. Secretary of Labor.
In 1943 "Mrs. Miniver" wins six Academy Wards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Greer Garson. James Cagney wins Best Actor for "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" wins Best Song.
In 1952 Actor Ronald Reagan and actress Nancy Davis are married.
In 1954 J.E. Wilkins is the first appointed black sub-cabinet member.
In 1959 Pioneer IV makes the first U.S. lunar flyby.
In 1960 Actress Lucille Ball files for divorce from Desi Arnaz.
In 1968 "The Dick Cavett Show," debuts on ABC-TV.
In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. announces plans for Poor People's Campaign.
In 1968 Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 5 is launched.
In 1971 Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau marries Margaret Sinclair.
In 1974 People Magazine hits the newsstands for the first time. Actress Mia Farrow was on the cover.
In 1977 More that 1,500 are killed when a 7.5 earthquake shakes southern and eastern Europe.
In 1978 Chicago Daily News, founded in 1875, publishes its last issue.
In 1979 U.S. Voyager I photos reveals Jupiter's rings.
In 1983 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the nation's civilian unemployment rate the month before was 10.4 percent.
In 1985 The Environmental Protection Agency orders the nation's refiners to take 91 percent of the lead out of gasoline.
In 1986 Austrian leader and former U.N. Secretary, General Kurt Waldheim is accused of hiding his alleged Nazi past.
In 1987 President Ronald Reagan admits he "made a mistake" in the Iran/Contra affair.
In 1988 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the nation's civilian unemployment rate had dropped the previous month to 5.7 percent.
In 1989 Eastern Airlines machinists go on strike and are joined by pilots and flight attendants, all but paralyzing the carrier's operations.
In 1990 Voters in the Soviet republics of Russia, Byelorussia and the Ukraine participate in local and legislative elections, resulting in notable gains for reformists and nationalists.
In 1991 Iraq releases 10 allied prisoners of war (a second group was freed the following day).
In 1992 Another round of Middle East peace negotiations ends in Washington with Israel rejecting a plan for Palestinian elections on the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
In 1993 Authorities announce the arrest of Mohammad Salameh, a suspect in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. Salameh was later convicted of playing a key role.
In 1994 Actor John Candy dies of heart failure at age 43.
In 1994 Four defendants in World Trade Center bombing trial are found guilty on all charges.
In 1994 Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell announces he would not seek re-election.
In 1996 A suicide bomber blows himself up outside Tel Aviv shopping center, killing 13 and wounding more than 100.
In 1997 President Clinton surveys tornado destruction in his home state of Arkansas and also declared Ohio and Kentucky disaster areas because of floods.
In 1997 Calling creation of life "a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science," President Clinton barred federal spending on human cloning.
In 1997 A $115 million settlement from Texaco for race discrimination is accepted by all of the company's 1,342 black employees.
In 1998 The U.S. Supreme Court says federal law bans on-the-job sexual harassment even when both parties are the same sex.
In 2001 President George W. Bush dedicates a $4 billion aircraft carrier in honor of former President Reagan.
In 2001 Former presidential candidate Harold E. Stassen dies at age 93.
In 2002 Seven American soldiers are killed, 11 wounded, in Afghanistan at in Operation Anaconda against remnant Taliban and al-Qaida forces.
In 2003 The Army's oldest armored division, "Old Ironsides," got orders to head for the Persian Gulf in the war against Iraq.