Unions Become Legit
A contract was inked on this day in 1937 between Congress of Industrial Organizations chief John L. Lewis and U.S. Steel President Myron Taylor. This contract was the culmination of a successful strike led by plant workers. This contract legitimized labor unions in the world of corporate America.
Feds Protect Interstate Trade
The supreme court decided to overrule New York's authorization of a steamboat monopoly, protecting the federal government's power to regular interstate trade.
Salary Grab Act
Congress passed a bill that doubled the salaries of legislators, the President and Supreme Court Justices; the bill was eventually repealed at the demand of the public.
U.S. Enacts Embargo Against The British
President James Madison enacted an embargo halting trade with the British with hopes of ending attacks against US merchant ships. Tensions with Britian eventually boiled over into the War of 1812.
FDR's Bank Holiday
On his second day in office FDR declared a bank holiday that would close all the nation's banks for four days, allowing them to rejuvenate from the frenzy of withdrawals during the depression.
Rail Union Protest
Nine thousand workers with the Knights of Labor protested for two months against the Southwestern Railroad company and its chief, Jay Gould.
White Collar Criminal Sentenced
Steven Hoffenberg, former chief of Towers Financial Corp., was ordered to serve 20 years and pay $460 million for restitution for his crime of conning investors out of $500 million.
Reagan's Millionaire Boom
The IRS reported this day that the number of millionaires in the nation had doubled from 1980 as a result of Reagan's fiscal policy.
Emergency Banking Act
On this day in 1933, new president Franklin Roosevelt ended the first hectic week of his famed "first 100 days" by submitting the Emergency Banking Act to Congress.
Trustbusters Take On Northern Securities
Attorney General Philander Knox joined President Theodore Roosevelt in his battle against "Big Business," and filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the Northern Securities Company, owned by J.P. Morgan.
Roosevelt Signs The Lend-lease Law
This law allowed the U.S. to supply the Allies with the money and military equipment necessary to combat the advancing Germans. Overall, the U.S. sent $50.6 billion in aide to its allies, serving as what Roosevelt called "The Great Arsenal for Democracy."
Dow Welcomes Newcomers
On this day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average welcomed the Boeing Company and the Coca-Cola Co. into its elite ranks.
UAW GM Agree To End Strike
175,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union agreed to go back to work after General Motors offered an increase in wages. However, nationwide price increases and subsequent inflation soon wiped out any gains made by the workers.
Congress Approves Sale Of War Bonds
One the eve of the War of 1812 with Britain, President James Madison was struggling to round up the necessary resources for a war. So Congress, at the urging of the president, approved the very first war bond, for some eleven million dollars.
U.S. Begins Anti-Counterfeiting Campaign
The campaign, called "Know Your Money," was created to raise awareness about legal currency and warn of the increasing problems with counterfeiting activities, which were undoubtedly spurred by the looming depression.
FTC Begins Operations
President Woodrow Wilson devised the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with intentions to establish global, open trade. In addition to its considerable economic impact, the FTC also marked an increase in power for the executive branch of government.
U.S. Issues First
Despite their governmental approval, the paper money called "greenbacks" stirred up quite the controversy. The greenbacks were not, as had been the standard, directly backed by gold, causing many conservatives to question its legitimacy.
Cap Cities Communications Acquires ABC
After months of negotiations, Capital Cities Communications completed a deal to acquire the American Broadcasting Co. (ABC). At the time, the deal was on the biggest corporate mergers in U.S. History.
IBM Ends Failed PCjr Project
Introduced in 1983, the PCjr was IBM's first attempt to tap into the new home computer market. The project however, was a flop. IBM sold only 240,000 PCjr units before it pulled them from the market on this day in 1985.
The Economy Act
On this day in 1933, Roosevelt continued his aggressive first month in office, signing the Economy Act into law. Another strike against the Depression, the Economy Act slashed the salaries of federal employees in the name of preserving the nation's fiscal resources. It forced veterans to forgo part of their war benefits in the name of the economy. Along with these austerity measures, the Economy Act also forced the federal government to shuffle various agencies in hopes of maximizing their cost efficiency.
Tucker Unveils A Dud
On this day in 1950, Preston Tucker introduced his prototype car that had received tremendous hype and public attention. Though the car had many supporters, Tucker defaulted on the deadline and only 51 cars were built. Tucker stated that his failure was a result of a conspiracy orchestrated by the "Big Three" car manufacturers already in place in the American car market.
British Pass Stamp Act
The British Empire passed a bill on this day in 1765 that laid seeds for the rebellion of one of its most profitable colonies, America. The bill was the Stamp Act, and it was passed as an easy way to scrounge up money for British troops to be stationed in the colonies. This act enraged the colonists and many protests were staged. The Stamp Act was later repealed but the damage was already done and the seeds of rebellion were sowed.
The U.S. Mint Implements New Technology
The U.S. Mint, in keeping up with the latest technology, began using a steam-powered press to make coins.
Nation's Worst Oil Spill
The nation's biggest oil spill occurred when the giant Exxon Valdez supertanker hit a reef, causing it to leak 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound.
Tragic Fire In New York City Garment Factory
New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist Company, like most garment factories of the early 1900s, lacked many basic safety features. When a fire broke out within the factory, 146 people, mostly young immigrant women, died in the ensuing blaze. Public outcry following the fire led to governmental protections of workers' health and safety.
First Motion Picture
On this day in Rochester, New York, the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company created the first motion picture film for commercial purposes.
Luxury Is Born
On this day in 1863, Sir Henry Royce, the innovator of automotive luxury is born. Royce was a successful engineer and set up Royce Ltd. in the mid 1880s. It was not until 1904 that Royce unveiled his first luxury automobile. Royce's first line of automobiles caught the eye of motor dealer C.S. Rolls. Rolls quickly bought up the first line of Royce automobiles and after two years the two merged into Rolls-Royce Ltd.
Patent Awarded For Washing Machine
On this day in 1797, Nathaniel Briggs was awarded a patent for his invention, the first washing machine.
Commodities Market Introduced For Power Supplies
The New York Mercantile Exchange introduced a commodities market for power supplies, a market many feared would be extremely unpredictable.
When Secretary of State William H. Seward agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for seven million dollars, he was widely mocked for purchasing such a barren icebox. "Seward's Folly" however, looked less foolish when gold was discovered there in the late 1890s.
Van Buren Enacts The 10-Hour Workday
Despite the persisting economic panic, President Martin Van Buren acted to help the "common man," creating a 10-hour workday for Federal employees.