February 1, 1809

Embargo Act Struggle

Jefferson settles issues of trade with Britain and France in order to avoid conflict with the warring countries and to protect American merchant interests.

February 2, 1932

RFC Gets Up And Running

As part of FDR's "New Deal" the Reconstruction Finance Corporation is created to give loans to banks and other financial institutions in an effort to start bring the economy out of the Depression.

February 3, 1913

Income Tax Becomes Effective

The sixteenth amendment to the constitution, which authorizes a federal income tax, was ratified; this was pushed through in part because of tariff reform.

February 4, 1964

Poll Tax Ban

The 24th amendment to the constitution was passed, outlawing the poll tax, a piece of legislation intended to oppress the voting rights of African American and poor voters.

February 5, 1953

Steel Still Strong

Riding the success from increased production of WWII the American Steel industry continues producing at record levels. On this day in 1953 the industry reports that, in the past year, as a whole, they produced 117,500,000 short tons of steel.

February 6, 1919

Seattle Gets Going Again

A five day strike involving around 60,000 Seattle union laborers, which basically shutdown the city, comes to a long awaited end.

February 7, 1870

Courts Ruling Ruffles Feathers

The Supreme Court ruling in Hepburn v. Griswold makes the Legal Tender Act illegal, as a result the U.S. is not able to repay debts created before 1962 with money that was created under the Act. This problem makes Pres. Grant very angry so he uses his executive powers to overrule the Supreme Court once again making the Legal Tender Act legal.

February 8, 1934

Ex-IM Bank Opens

As another "New Deal" program the Export-Import Bank is approved by Congress on this day. Its purpose is to breathe life back into the U.S.'s export business.

February 9, 1922

Your Sins Forgiven

With huge debts owed to the United States after WWI by countries such as England, France, and Italy Congress gets together and rounds the number off to $11.5 billion dollars to be paid over sixty-two years, at two percent interest. Years later even this plan would turn out to be unrealistic.

February 10, 1997

CBS Goes To Nashville

On this day CBS's parent company finalizes the purchase of the The Nasville Network and Country Music Television for a reported $1.5 billion in stock.

February 11, 1903

Expedition Act Passed

As the brain child of President Teddy Roosevelt the Act was designed to fast-track anti-trust suits that were filed in U.S. circuit courts. Among the biggest successes of this act was the eventual break up of Standard Oil.

February 12, 1880

Well Known UMWA Leader Born

On this date John L. Lewis was born. Lewis' claim to fame comes as the leader of the influential United Mine Workers Association (UMWA). Rising from the ranks of the Illinois coal mines he started on his forty year struggle for workers' rights.

February 13, 1990

Junk Bonds Junk The Company

Drexel Burnham Lambert Group files for bankruptcy after their investment in junk bonds finally catches up with them when the economy makes a turn for the worse and a government investigation results in a $650 million fine.

February 14, 1903

Commerce And Labor Department Born

On this day in 1903 Congress approved the creation of the Department of Commerce and Labor. It was the idea of President Theodore Roosevelt and would be headed by the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The main task of the department was to regulate the operations of large companies and monitor their trade practices.

February 15, 1836

Bank Of U.S. Part Deux

Former chief of the Federalized Bank of U.S. gets a charter from the state of Pennsylvania to start the bank for a second time under private ownership. It will eventually shut down for a second and final time in 1841.

February 16, 1938

Agricultural Adjustment Act, Revised

After a first such bill was deemed unconstitutional Congress got to work on another bill designed to bring relief to U.S. farmers. What they got was the Agricultural Adjustment Act.

February 17, 1997

Massey Calls It Quits

CompuServe chief Robert Massey submitted his resignation on this day in 1997. Bad business decisions resulted in falling stock prices, financial problems, and the eventual resignation.

February 18, 1873

Scandal Over The Iron Horse

Credit Mobilier, a construction company started by Massachusetts Representative Oakes Ames, was implicated in bribing Union Pacific officials to get a large railroad building contract. When he did get the contract he then charged the government $100 million, double what the job actually cost. Ames was eventually figured out and censured by the House of Representatives after being indicted on bribery charges.

February 19, 1997

Newspaper Strike Comes To An End

The Detroit News and "Detroit Free Press" and six unions end a nineteen-month strike. The papers also agreed to give 2,000 striking workers jobs back, but not necessarily their old jobs. This sparks a whole other controversy involving the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

February 20, 1893

Philadelphia And Reading Railroad Hits The Skids

On this day the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad goes into receivership with debts of $125 million. This was the years' biggest hit to the railroad industry in a year where seventy-four companies went bankrupt. It was also a taste of what was to come financially for the nation as a whole.

February 21, 1946

Inflaton Watchdog Created

Pres. Harry Truman created the Office of Economic Stabiliztion (OES) on this day in 1946. The office was designed to watch prices and try to keep inflation down as the nation shifted from a war-time economy to a peace-time economy.

February 22, 1879

Original Five-And-Dime Opens

Frank Winfield Woolworth opens the Great 5 Cents Store in Utica, New York on this day in 1879. This store soon fails but Woolworth finds success using the same concept in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, selling nothing for over a dime. In 1912 Woolworth's stores became known as F. W. Woolworth. With the rise of stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and K-mart Woolworth's stores eventually closed in 1997.

February 23, 1743

Banking Baron Born

On this day in 1743, Mayer Amschel Rothschild is born in Frankfurt, Germany. Mayer and his five sons living around Europe started building the family reputation in banking. The family used things like the French Revolution and other problems in Europe for financial gain.

February 24, 1869

Morrill Tariff Act Passed

The Act, sponsored by Congressman Justin Morrill, raised import duties to around 47%. The Act ultimately protected industrialists and lined their pockets.

February 25, 1913

Income Tax Is Passed

On this day in 1913 the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment effectively cleared the way for the creation of the income tax.

February 26, 1885

Congress: Says One Thing, Does Another

After earlier allowing employers to have foreign workers admitted to the country to work for them Congress passes the Contract Labor Law. This law cracks down on employers who use immigrant labor, it is designed to help the rise of industry and westward expansion.

February 27, 1932

Glass-Steagall Act Passed

The Glass-Steagall Act was passed in response to the shortages in gold, because people were stockpiling it to get through the Depression. Foreign governments were also pulling out of the gold standard. The Glass-Steagall Act was designed to give more power to the Federal Reserve Board, allowing them to extend credit, and let them release some of the governments gold to businesses.

February 28, 1878

Silver Makes Way Into United States Currency

On this day in 1878 congress passed the Bland-Allison Act. This bill called for silver coinage in limited doses.

February 29, 1944

Black Market = Good Money

The Office of Price Administration announced on this day that over $1 billion had been made on the American black market in 1943 alone. Profits would only increase as rationing continued throughout WWII.