1777 – American Revolutionary War: American forces under the command of George Washington repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek near Trenton, New Jersey.
1788 – Georgia becomes the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1791 – Big Bottom massacre in the Ohio Country, marking the beginning of the Northwest Indian War.
1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River (a.k.a. Battle of Murfreesboro) resumes in central Tennessee after a day's respite, resulting in a significant Union victory.
1900 – American statesman and diplomat John Hay announces the Open Door Policy to promote trade with China.
1920 – The second Palmer Raid takes place with another 6,000 suspected communists and anarchists arrested and held without trial. These raids take place in several U.S. cities.
1935 – Bruno Hauptmann goes on trial for the murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh.
1942 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) convicts 33 members of a German spy ring headed by Fritz Joubert Duquesne in the largest espionage case in United States history—the Duquesne Spy Ring.
1942 – World War II: Manila, Philippines is captured by Japanese forces.
1945 – World War II: Nuremberg, Germany (in German, Nürnberg) is severely bombed by Allied forces.
1959 – Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, is launched by the Soviet Union.
1963 – Vietnam War: The Viet Cong wins its first major victory in the Battle of Ap Bac.
1967 – Ronald Reagan sworn in as Governor of California
1974 – United States President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo.
1999 – A brutal snowstorm smashes into the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches (359 mm) of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches (487 mm) in Chicago, where temperatures plunge to -13 °F (-25 °C); 68 deaths are reported.
2006 – An explosion in a coal mine in Sago, West Virginia traps and kills 12 miners, while leaving one miner in critical condition.
2013 – Barack Obama signs the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
1836 – Queen Emma of Hawaii (d. 1885)
1857 – M. Carey Thomas, American educator and activist (d. 1935)
1909 – Barry Goldwater, American general and politician (d. 1998)
1920 – Isaac Asimov, Russian-American chemist, author, and academic (d. 1992)
1936 – Roger Miller, American singer-songwriter and actor (d. 1992)
1947 – Jack Hanna, American zoologist and author
1986 – Trombone Shorty, American trumpet player and composer
1849 – Micanopy, American tribal chief (b. 1780)
1904 – James Longstreet, American general and diplomat (b. 1821)
1974 – Tex Ritter, American actor (b. 1905)
1990 – Alan Hale, Jr., American film and television actor (b. 1921)
2001 – William P. Rogers, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 55th United States Secretary of State (b. 1913)
2014 – Jay Traynor, American singer-songwriter (The Mystics and Jay and the Americans) (b. 1943)
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