The Year in Law, Government and Politics

8 Jan – President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress in New York City (1790).

8 Jan – The only time in US history that the US national debt was $0.00 (1835).

16 Jan – Ivan the Terrible crowned himself the first Czar of Russia (1547).

16 Jan – The United States prohibited alcohol use throughout the nation in the 18th amendment to the Constitution (1919).

21 Jan – The National Assembly of Quebec adopted and flew the Quebec flag for the first time, inaugurating the Quebec Flag Day (1948).

29 Jan – Whig Senator Henry Clay proposed the Compromise of 1850, which admitted California as a free state, left Utah and New Mexico to popular sovereignty, limited Texas’ territorial claims, abolished the slave trade in Washington DC, and strengthened the Fugitive Slave Act, was introduced to Congress and passed in September (1850).

11 Feb – The first session of the United States Senate was opened to the public (1794).

23 Feb – A plot by the “Spencean Philanthropists”, including trade unionists and members of the London Irish community, to assassinate every British cabinet member, known as the Cato Street conspiracy, was uncovered (1820).

10 Mar – The US Congress ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican American War (1848).

12 Mar – The newly inaugurated President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the nation for the first time in what became his first of thirty “Fireside Chats” (1933).

15 Apr – Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator and US President during the Civil War, died after being shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington DC the night before (1865).

1 May – The Act of Union came into effect, uniting the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into the United Kingdom, also known as Great Britain (1707).

4 May – Margaret Thatcher became the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Great Britain (1979).

9 May – The Royal Houses of England and Portugal signed the Treaty of Windsor, the oldest diplomatic alliance in history which remains in effect (1386).

16 May – US President Andrew Johnson is acquitted by one vote in the US Senate, retaining the Presidency after being impeached by the US House of Representatives (1868).

13 Jun – Rhode Island became the first British North American colony to ban the slave trade (1774).

1 Oct – Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China (1949).

24 Nov – Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged killer of President John F. Kennedy, was murdered on live television in the basement of the Dallas police department by nightclub owner Jack Ruby (1963).

28 Nov – The Kingdom of Hawaii was recognized as an independent nation by the United Kingdom and by France.

1 Dec – Portugal proclaims King Joao IV as its ruler, ending the unity of the Iberian Peninsula (1640).

5 Dec – Former US President John Quincy Adams took his seat in the US House of Representatives, becoming the only US President to serve in the House after leaving Executive Office (1831).

5 Dec – Utah ratified the 21st amendment, becoming the 36th state to do so and ending Prohibition (1933).

7 Dec – Delaware became the first state to ratify the new US Constitution (1787).

11 Dec – With WW2 looming, King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom abdicated to marry American widow Wallace Simpson. Edward’s younger brother George became king (1936).

Leave a Reply