1846 in the United States
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Events from the year 1846 in the United States. In this year, the United States declares war on Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War.
- President: James K. Polk (D-Tennessee)
- Vice President: George M. Dallas (D-Pennsylvania)
- Chief Justice: Roger B. Taney (Maryland)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: John Wesley Davis (D-Indiana)
- Congress: 29th
- January 4 – The United States House of Representatives votes to stop sharing the Oregon Territory with the United Kingdom.
- January 30 – The City of Milwaukee is incorporated in Wisconsin, merging Juneautown, Kilbourntown and Walker's Point following the Milwaukee Bridge War of 1845. Solomon Juneau is elected first mayor.
- February 11 – Many Mormons begin their migration west from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Great Salt Lake, led by Brigham Young.
- February 18 – In Austin, Texas, the newly formed Texas state government is officially installed.
- February 27 – The Liberty Bell is cracked while being rung for George Washington's birthday.
- April 26 – Mexican–American War: Open conflict begins over border disputes of Texas' boundaries.
- May 9 – Mexican–American War – Battle of Palo Alto: Zachary Taylor defeats a Mexican force north of the Rio Grande at Palo Alto, Texas in the first major battle of the war.
- May 14 – Mexican–American War: The United States declares war on Mexico.
- May 23 – The Associated Press is founded in New York City.
- June 19 – Mexican–American War: The California Republic declares independence from Mexico.
- June 15 – Bear Flag Revolt: American settlers in Sonoma, California start a rebellion against Mexico and proclaim the California Republic.
- June 16 – The Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
- June 20 – The first officially recorded baseball game using modern rules developed by Alexander Cartwright is played in Hoboken, New Jersey.
- July 8 – Battle of Monterey: Acting on instructions from Washington, D.C., Commodore John Drake Sloat orders his troops to occupy Monterey and Yerba Buena thus beginning the United States annexation of California.
- August 11 – Establishment of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C..
- November 31 – The Donner Party becomes snowbound.
- December 29 – Iowa is admitted as the 29th U.S. state (see History of Iowa).
- The portion of the District of Columbia that was ceded by Virginia in 1789 is re-ceded to it.
- Elias Howe patents the sewing machine.
- Stevens Linen Works business established in Dudley, Massachusetts.
- Grinnell College, then called Iou University, is founded in Grinnell, Iowa Territory.
- Mexican–American War (1846–1848)
- January 9 – Verner Clarges, silent film actor (died 1911)
- January 26 – Benjamin Franklin Keith, vaudeville theatre owner (died 1914)
- January 27 – Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., founder of the Kentucky Derby (died 1899)
- February 2 – Francis Marion Smith, borax magnate (died 1931)
- February 21 – James Timberlake, lawman (died 1891)
- February 26 – William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, frontiersman, later showman (died 1917)
- March 4 – Franklin J. Drake, admiral (died 1929)
- March 15 – James D. Moffat, 3rd president of Washington & Jefferson College (died 1916)
- April 13 – Lucius E. Johnson, railroad executive (died 1921)
- April 14 – Henry Overholser, businessman (died 1915)
- May 18 – Anna Morton, Second Lady of the United States as wife of Levi P. Morton (died 1918)
- May 22 – Rita Cetina Gutiérrez, teacher, poet and activist (died 1908)
- June 8 – Lucien Baker, U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1895 till 1901 (died 1907)
- June 11 – William Louis Marshall, general, engineer (died 1920)
- June 13 – Rose Cleveland, Acting First Lady of the United States (died 1918 in Italy)
- June 30 – Frances Margaret Milne, author and librarian
- July 5 – Christian Reid (pen name of Frances Christine Fisher Tiernan), author (died 1920)
- July 26 – Texas Jack Omohundro, frontier scout, actor and cowboy (died 1880)
- August 2 – Abram J. Buckles, soldier and jurist (died 1915)
- August 5 – Louise Manning Hodgkins, educator, author and editor (died 1935)
- August 15 – Albert J. Hopkins, U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1903 to 1909 (died 1922)
- August 18 – Robley Dunglison Evans, admiral (died 1912)
- August 23 – Alexander Milne Calder, sculptor (died 1923)
- August 25 – John Thornton, U.S. Senator from Louisiana from 1910 to 1915 (died 1917)
- September 4 – Daniel Burnham, architect and urban designer (died 1912)
- September 7 – John Porter Merrell, admiral (died 1916)
- September 14 – George B. Selden, patent lawyer and inventor (died 1922)
- September 25 – Watson Heston, cartoonist (died 1905)
- October 6 – George Westinghouse, entrepreneur, engineer (died 1914)
- October 26 – Lewis Boss, astronomer (died 1912)
- November 25 – Carrie Nation, temperance advocate (died 1911)
- December 1 – William Henry Holmes, anthropologist, archaeologist, geologist and museum director (died 1933)
Full date unknown
- Neil Burgess, comedian (died 1910)
- John Denny, buffalo soldier and Medal of Honor recipient (died 1901)
- Pugsey Hurley, British-born burglar, river pirate and underworld figure in New York City
- Peter Remondino, Italian-born physician, author, first president of the San Diego Board of Health, and co-founder of San Diego’s first private hospital (died 1926)
- Mary Foot Seymour, businesswoman and writer (died 1893)
- Thomas Shaw, buffalo soldier and Medal of Honor recipient (died 1895)
- Thomas Wakeman, founder of the first Sioux Indian YMCA (died 1886)
- James E. Ware, architect, originator of the "dumbbell plan" for New York City tenements (died 1918)
- January 5 – Alfred Thomas Agate, artist, painter, and miniaturist (born 1812)
- March 24 – William Lee D. Ewing, U.S. Senator from Illinois in 1834 (born 1795)
- May 10 – Jane Irwin Harrison, Acting First Lady of the United States (born 1804)
- May 13 – Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton, poet (born 1759)
- August 11 – John Caspar Wild, landscape painter and lithographer (born 1804 in Switzerland)
- August 15 – Samuel Humphreys, naval architect (born 1778)
- September 4 – James Alexander, Jr., U.S. Representative from Ohio from 1837 to 1839 (born 1789)
- September 15 – Jacques Dupré, Louisiana State Representative, State Senator and Governor (born 1773)
- September 16 – Samuel A. Foote, 28th Governor of Connecticut from 1834 to 1835, U.S. Senator from Connecticut from 1827 to 1833 (born 1780)
- October 3 – Benjamin Waterhouse, physician (born 1754)
- November 13 – William Findlay, 4th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1817 to 1820, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1821 to 1827 (born 1768)
- December 30 – Alexander Barrow, U.S. Senator from Louisiana from 1841 to 1846 (born 1801)
- DeVoto, Bernard Augustine (1960). The year of decision, 1846. With an introductory essay by Catherine Drinker Bowen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. OCLC 3963759.