Category Archives: This Day in American History

This Day in American History: April 30, 1968 – The Musical Hair opens on Broadway

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This Day in American History: April 24, 1877 – Withdrawal of federal troops from New Orleans and the South, effectively ending Reconstruction

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This Day in American History: April 18, 1923 – Yankee Stadium officially opens

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This Day in American History: April 13, 1919 – Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned for speaking out against the draft

The draft in question was of course for WWI, which the United States entered on April 6, 1917. Debs’ speeches against the Wilson administration and the war earned the enmity of President Woodrow Wilson, who later called Debs a “traitor … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: April 10, 1606 – The Virginia Company of London is established by royal charter

The Virginia Company of London royal charter is issued by James I of England for the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.

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This Day in American History: April 9, 1865 – General Lee surrenders at Appomattax Courthouse effectively ending the Civil War

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This Day in American History: April 2, 1792 – The Coinage Act is passed by Congress

The Coinage Act or the Mint Act “created the United States dollar as the country’s standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States.” “This act established the silver dollar as the … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: March 30, 1867 – William Seward buys Alaska

U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward to you. For $7.2 million dollars Alaska was purchased from Russia. Once-upon-a-time the deal was called “Seward’s folly,” or “Seward’s icebox” or “polar bear garden” by President Andrew Johnson. The discovery of gold … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: March 27, 1794 – The U.S. Government establishes a permanent navy

There’s seems to be a bit of a disagreement on this, unless you focus on the word “permanent.” The United States Navy claims 13 October 1775 as the date of its official establishment, when the Second Continental Congress passed a … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: March 23, 1775 – Patrick Henry delivers his speech “Give me liberty, or give me death”

Patrick Henry made the speech during the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church in Richmond. The performance is credited with helping convince fellow delegates to send Virginia troops to assist Continental Army efforts in the Revolutionary War.

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This Day in American History: February 5, 1917 – Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1917

Everything old is new again. The Immigration Act of 1917 (also known as the Literacy Act and less often as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act) was the most sweeping immigration act the United States had passed until that time. It … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: December 21, 1913 – The first crossword puzzle is published

Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, the first modern crossword puzzle, was published on this date in the New York World. I love crossword puzzles. Here is the first one with just the grid. You can see the clues here. Try your luck.   … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: December 18, 1965 – The U.S. prohibits slavery

United States Secretary of State William Seward proclaims the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery throughout the USA.

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This Day in American History: November 4, 2008 – Barack Obama wins the presidency

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This Day in American History: November 2, 1983 – President Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King’s birthday, January 15.

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This Day in American History: October 30, 1938 – Orson Welles broadcasts H.G. Wells’s “War of the Worlds”

Folklore has it that the Orson Welles Halloween episode radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” caused mass panic, though others wonder how that could be given that so few listeners were tuned in.  I will say … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: October 27, 1964 – Ronald Reagan delivers his “A Time for Choosing” speech

In support of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan delivered what is considered one of the most effective political speeches ever made on behalf of another candidate. The speech, called “A Time for Choosing,” was instrumental in launching Reagan’s political career.

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This Day in American History: October 24, 1931 – The George Wasington Bridge opens to public traffic

Almost as interesting a date as September 9, 2013 when some guy in New Jersey ordered lanes closed on the bridge to show what kind of a jerk he is.

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This Day In American History: October 5, 1921 – The first radio broadcast of a World Series game

KDKA and WJZ of Newark broadcast the first World Series on the radio, with Grantland Rice and Tommy Cowan calling the games for KDKA and WJZ, respectively.  \ Just like in the movie Bull Durham the broadcasters were not actually … Continue reading

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This Day in American History: September 28, 1781 – The Battle of Yorktown Begins

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