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Today in History for July

Jul 01

Who is featured on the first postage stamps?

July 1, 1847 — The first US postage stamps went on sale in New York today. The 5-cent stamp featured Benjamin Franklin; George Washington starred on the 10-cent stamp. Previously, letters were paid for by the receiver unless already prepaid by...

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Jul 02

What were the Intolerable Acts?

July 2, 1774 — Following the Boston Tea Party — when Massachusetts colonists tossed 342 chests of tea belonging to the British East India Company into Boston Harbor — today, Britain's House of Lords issued a series of five laws that American Patriots called the...

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Jul 04

Which three Revolutionary era presidents died on July 4?

July 4, 1826 — Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died today on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Their views on government diverged over the years, and they ran against each other in the presidential elections of 1796 and 1800. Adams...

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Jul 07

What was the first comic book published in the US?

July 7, 1802 — The first comic book, called The Wasp, is published today. Known for concealing political allegory and rhetoric, this small sheet publication was a biting commentary about President Thomas Jefferson. Indeed, it was so incendiary that it caused a court case...

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Jul 08

What American plague was cured today?

July 8, 1800 — The co-founder of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, tested the first smallpox vaccine today. His first subject was his son, Daniel, 5, whom he infected with a sample of cowpox sent by Dr. John Haygarth, England's leading expert on...

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Jul 10

What did math genius Carl Friedrich Gauss discover?

July 10, 1796 — Carl Friedrich Gauss discovered today that every positive integer is representable as a sum of at most three triangular numbers. According to Gauss: The triangular number Tn solves the "handshake problem" of counting the number of handshakes if...

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Jul 11

Who was killed in an infamous duel today?

July 11, 1804 — Former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Vice President Aaron Burr engaged in an infamous duel in Weehawken, New Jersey today, which left Hamilton mortally wounded. He died the next day. Though many considered Burr to be...

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Jul 13

What happened in NYC after the draft was issued?

July 13, 1863 — America's first draft was issued today, summoning northerners into the Union Army. Immediately after, the New York Draft Riots occurred. The uproar began as a protest of the new law, and by the end of the first day it...

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Jul 14

What was the Vesey Rebellion?

July 14, 1822 — Freed slave Denmark Vesey planned a revolt to occur today that would have involved thousands of slaves from multiple plantations. Known as the Vesey Rebellion, his plan was to gather as many as 3,000 men in and around Charleston, South Carolina, who...

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Jul 15

What famous train wreck happened today in 1864?

July 15, 1864 — The Great Shohola train wreck occurred today, killing at least 60 people on the broad gauge Erie Railroad 1-1⁄2 miles west of Shohola, PA. Aboard the 18 car train were 128 Union guards from the Veteran Reserve Corps, and 833 Confederate prisoners of war being taken from Point Lookout,...

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Jul 16

What did the Residence Act of 1790 accomplish?

July 16, 1790 — At last, the question of the location of the nation's capital was settled today when the The Residence Act of 1790 was passed. The Federal government had been located in New York City, but that decision was fiercely debated for...

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Jul 17

What was the impact of the Militia Act of 1862?

July 17, 1862 — The Militia Act of 1862 was passed today, allowing African Americans to join the Union forces and fight in the Civil War. Although this act was an important step toward freedom and equality of African Americans, the act did...

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Jul 18

What was America’s first popular patriotic song — and who penned it?

July 18, 1768 — The Liberty Song, was published today in the Boston Gazette. Written by Founding Father John Dickinson, he coined the phrase, "united we stand, divided we fall." After its initial publication, word of the song spread throughout the colonies. Who was John Dickinson? A solicitor and politician from Philadelphia...

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Jul 19

Who organized the first women’s rights convention?

July 19, 1848 — The first US women's rights convention took place in Seneca Falls, NY today. Organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (pictured) and Lucretia Mott, it is was advertised as, "a convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman." There...

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Jul 20

What is a Great Meteor procession?

July 20, 1860 — A phenomenon called the Great Meteor Procession occurred today in 1860 when a spectacular string of fireball meteors crossed the Catskill, NY sky. Visible from locations across the US, it was later captured in a painting by American landscape artist Frederic Church...

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Jul 22

What feat did Alexander Mackenzie accomplish today in history?

July 22, 1793 — Today, Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean after making the first Euro-American transcontinental journey across the United States. Mackenzie's journey preceded Lewis and Clark's journey by 10 years. Unlike Lewis and Clark, Mackenzie's pilgrimage was neither proposed by nor...

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Jul 23

Who invented the typewriter?

July 23, 1829 — Today, William Austin Burt patented the first typographer (typewriter). An American legislator, surveyor, craftsman and inventor created a rectangular wooden box that depressed a rotating lever, causing ink to be released onto a sheet of paper. The reason for the...

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Jul 24

Who founded Salt Lake City today in 1847?

July 24, 1847 — The first group of Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake Valley, Utah today. Leading the group was the president of the Latter Day Saints Church, Bringham Young (June 1, 1801 – August 29, 1877). He founded Salt...

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Jul 27

Who unveiled the first electric automobile today?

July 27, 1888 — Philip Pratt unveiled the first electric automobile today — the e-trike. Built for him by Fred M. Kimball of the Fred M. Kimball Company, the vehicle’s 10 lead-acid cells created 20 volts to a 0.5 horsepower DC...

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Jul 28

Who captured the first image of a solar eclipse?

July 28, 1851 — A total solar eclipse is first captured today in a daguerreotype photograph by Busch and Berkowski, at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg, Prussia. It showed a slight but distinct impression of the corona during the total eclipse. An eclipse occurs...

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Jul 30

Who founded the New York Yacht Club today in 1844?

July 30, 1844 — The New York Yacht Club was started today when John Cox Stevens (September 24, 1785 - June 13, 1857) invited eight friends to his yacht Gimcrack, anchored in New York Harbor. They resolved to form the NYYC and...

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Jul 31

Why did Lincoln give the “eye for an eye” order today?

July 31, 1863 — Although the concept of eye-for-an-eye punishment seems medieval now, it was in practice during the Civil War. In fact, black and white POWs were often punished or killed to even a score. Upset by this, President Lincoln issued the historic...

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