On this day for the United States
January • February • March • April • May • June • July • August • September • October • November • December
- 1841 - The Supreme Court of the United States rules in the Amistad case, concerning captive Africans who seized control of the slave-trading ship carrying them: the court rules that they had been taken into slavery illegally.
- 1847 - Mexican–American War: United States forces under General Winfield Scott invade Mexico near Vera Cruz.
- 1856 - Sigma Alpha Epsilon is founded in the Johnston Mansion House on the University of Alabama.
- 1862 - American Civil War: The first battle between two ironclad warships, a five-hour battle near Hampton Roads, Virginia between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, results in a draw.
- 1910 - The Westmoreland County coal strike, involving 15,000 coal miners represented by the United Mine Workers, begins.
- 1916 - Pancho Villa leads 1,500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17.
- 1932 - The first Ford Flathead engine leaves the assembly line at Ford Motor Company.
- 1933 - Great Depression: The U.S. Congress begins its first 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to Congress.
- 1945 - World War II: Bombing of Tokyo - American B-29 bombers attack Tokyo, Japan with incendiary bombs. The resulting firestorm kills over 100,000 people.
- 1954 - McCarthyism: CBS television broadcasts the See It Now episode, "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy," produced by Edward R. Murrow.
- 1959 - The Barbie doll debuts.
- 1967 - Joseph Stalin's daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva defects to the United States.
- 1975 - Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System begins.
- 1984 - The Competitive Enterprise Institute in founded in Washington, D.C.
- 1986 - United States Navy divers find the largely intact but heavily-damaged crew compartment of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The bodies of all seven astronauts were still inside.
- 1990 - Dr. Antonia Novello is sworn in as Surgeon General of the United States, becoming the first female and Hispanic American to serve in that position.
- 1993 - Rodney King testifies at the federal trial of four Los Angeles police officers accused of violating King's civil rights when they beat him during an arrest.
- 2007 - The US Justice Department releases an internal audit that found that the FBI had acted illegally in its use of the USA Patriot Act, to secretly obtain personal information about US citizens.