Today in 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
Today in 1808, James Madison was elected the 4th President of the United States, while George Clinton was elected Vice-President.
Today in 1877,inventor Thomas Edison demonstrated his hand-cranked phonograph for the first time – to the editors of "Scientific American."
Today in 1909, inventor Leo Baekeland patented Bakelite, the first thermo-setting plastic, thus sparking the birth of the plastics industry.
Today in 1917, the United States became the 13th country to declare war on Austria-Hungary during World War I.
Today in 1939, Lou Gehrig was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Today in 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii with 353 planes – killing 2404 people.
Today in 1963, instant replay was used for the first time. The occasion? An Army-Navy football game.
Today in 1972, Apollo 17 – the United States’ final manned lunar landing mission – launched.
Today in 1982, Charles Brooks, Jr. became the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the US. The execution occurred in Texas, which is the national leader in executions.
Today in 1993, a shooter murdered six people and injured 19 others on the Long Island Rail Road in Nassau County, New York. Calling the gunman a “selfish, self-righteous coward,” Judge Donald E. Belfi delivered a sentence of 315 years and eight months to life, meaning his current earliest possible parole date is August 6th, 2309.
Today in 1994, Howard Stern talked a man out of committing suicide live on the air. Emilio Bonilla called into the show while from the George Washington Bridge saying he was about to jump. Stern kept him on the air – and other listeners stopped on the bridge to help – until the authorities arrived at the scene.
Today in 1995, the American space probe Galileo began orbiting Jupiter.
Today in 1999, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against the Napster file-sharing client Sean Parker, on charges of copyright infringement. It’s been referred to as “The Day Napster Died” – though it was only temporary. The technology was later purchased by Roxio, and now (after being purchased by Rhapsody), has a brand new – legal – lease on life.
Today in 2005, Rigoberto Alpizar, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 924, claimed to have a bomb…and was shot and killed by a team of US federal air marshals at Miami International Airport.
Today in 2015, “Time” magazine readers named Bernie Sanders their “Person of the Year.”
Today in 2015, then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States.
Today in 2017, former US gymnastics physician Larry Nasser was sentenced to 60 years on child pornography charges. Then in January 2018, Nasser found himself at the business end of a sentence of 40 to 175 years in prison for the seven counts of criminal sexual conduct he plead guilty to. This, after 150 young women testified about his prolific sex abuse that continued for decades.
Today in 2018, court filings by federal prosecutors and Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Michael Cohen appeared to implicate President Donald Trump on campaign fraud and Russian dealings. Trump has consistently denied any such involvement.
Today in 2020, Breaking, the competitive form of breakdancing, was confirmed as an Olympic sport for the Paris 2024 games.
Today in 2020, Coca-Cola was named the world's No. 1 plastic polluter, in Break Free From Plastic's annual brand audit. While Pepsi and Nestle were on the list at second and third, respectively, Coca-Cola was worse that than the two of them combined.
Today in 2020, Bob Dylan sold his entire songwriting catalog of more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for over $300-million. The move was widely seen as the one that tipped the balance and led to any number of legendary artists following suit.