1759 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.
1805 – The Michigan Territory is created.
1861 – Alabama secedes from the United States.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Arkansas Post: General John McClernand and Admiral David Dixon Porter capture the Arkansas River for the Union.
1863 – American Civil War: CSS Alabama encounters and sinks the USS Hatteras off Galveston Lighthouse in Texas.
1908 – Grand Canyon National Monument is created.
1912 – Immigrant textile works in Lawrence, Massachusetts, go on strike when wages are reduced in response to a mandated shortening of the work week.
1927 – Louis B. Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announces the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at a banquet in Los Angeles, California.
1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
1942 – World War II: The Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur.
1942 – World War II: The Japanese attack Tarakan in Borneo, Netherlands Indies (Battle of Tarakan)
1943 – World War II: The United States and United Kingdom give up territorial rights in China.
1943 – Italian-American anarchist Carlo Tresca is assassinated in New York City.
1949 – The first "networked" television broadcasts took place as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes on the air connecting the east coast and mid-west programming.
1949 – A three-day snowfall begins in Los Angeles, California. Accumulations range from a trace near the coast to almost a foot in the San Fernando Valley.
1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
1973 – Major League Baseball owners vote in approval of the American League adopting the designated hitter position.
1996 – Space Shuttle program: STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.
2003 – Illinois Governor George Ryan commutes the death sentences of 167 prisoners on Illinois's death row based on the Jon Burge scandal.
1755 – Alexander Hamilton, Nevisian-American general, economist and politician, 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury (d. 1804)
1760 – Oliver Wolcott Jr., American lawyer and politician, 2nd United States Secretary of the Treasury, 24th Governor of Connecticut (d. 1833)
1807 – Ezra Cornell, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Western Union and Cornell University (d. 1874)
1825 – Bayard Taylor, American poet, author, and critic (d. 1878)
1850 – Joseph Charles Arthur, American pathologist and mycologist (d. 1942)
1870 – Alexander Stirling Calder, American sculptor and educator (d. 1945)
1885 – Alice Paul, American activist (d. 1977)
1905 – Clyde Kluckhohn, American anthropologist and theorist (d. 1960)
1923 – Carroll Shelby, American race car driver, engineer, and businessman, founded Carroll Shelby International (d. 2012)
1925 – Grant Tinker, American television producer, co-founded MTM Enterprises
1928 – David L. Wolper, American director and producer (d. 2010)
1942 – Clarence Clemons, American saxophonist and actor (E Street Band) (d. 2011)
1843 – Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and songwriter (b. 1779)
1931 – James Milton Carroll, American pastor, historian, and author (b. 1852)
1957 – Rose Sutro, American pianist (b. 1870)
1965 – Wally Pipp, American baseball player (b. 1893)
1988 – Pappy Boyington, American colonel and pilot, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1912)
2007 – Robert Anton Wilson, American psychologist, author, poet, and playwright (b. 1932)
2008 – Carl Karcher, American businessman, co-founded Carl's Jr. (b. 1917)
2011 – David Nelson, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1936)
2013 – Aaron Swartz, American computer programmer and activist (b. 1986)
2015 – Vernon Benjamin Mountcastle, American neuroscientist and academic (b. 1918)
2016 – Monte Irvin, American baseball player (b. 1919)
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