May 1, 1794

Unions Are Born

On this date in 1794, a group of shoemakers got together to battle for better wages and working conditions. Their first meeting was in Philadelphia and they called themselves the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers.

May 2, 1985

Wall Street Corruption Uncovered

Brokerage giant E.F. Hutton & Co., through its attorneys entered a guilty plea to charges that it carried out a large check writing scam. The firm had gotten large sums of money from numerous bank accounts without paying any interest expenses. In all E.F Hutton had written $4 billion worth of checks between 1980 and 1982. E.F. Hutton agreed to pay $10 million in fines and restitution to the banks.

May 3, 1933

Ross Tabbed To Run The Mint

Nellie Taylor Ross was named head of the U.S. Mint on this date in 1933. She became the first woman ever to hold the position. Later she would go on to become the nation's first female governor.

May 4, 1932

Capone Goes To The "Big House"

Chicago Mob boss Al Capone was sentenced to eleven years in jail and made to pay $80,000 in fines. The reason for the jail time and fines wasn't connected to his mob ties, but was because he had failed to pay his taxes.

May 5, 1933

Woodin Named Fifty-First Treasury Secretary

William Woodin was named the fifty-first Secretary of Treasury on this day in 1933. Woodin was credited for helping President Roosevelt during the now famous "Banking Holiday" that temporarily shut down banks across the country. This "Holiday" was done to help stabilize the economy by stemming the public's frantic drive to pull their money out of banks.

May 6, 1935

WPA Creates 8.5 Million Jobs During Great Depression

The Works Program Administration (WPA) started work on this day in 1935. It was credited for creating 8.5 million public jobs for the ailing United States Economy. Jobs included construction of parks, post offices, schools, and other public structures. In 1943 the WPA was permanently closed because of the United States' war effort.

May 7, 1998

New Automotive Giant Emerges

On this day in 1998 American automotive giant Chrysler signed a 38 billion dollar deal with German automotive company Daimler-Benz AG. The new company created was called DaimlerChysler and was equipped with many tools to perform on the global market by providing consumers with mid-priced cars to high-end Mercedes automobiles. Though, this merger was not without its critics. Many believed it would only usher in monopolistic control on the global auto market.

May 8, 1914

Paramount Pictures Formed

On this day in 1914, Hollywood film producing studio Paramount Pictures was formed. Paramount is credited with such blockbuster hits as The Godfather (1972), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Top Gun (1986). This studio was one of many companies that formed a multi-billion dollar industry centered in Hollywood.

May 9, 1977

Social Security Gets A Boost

On this day in 1977, President Jimmy Carter proposed legislation to make sure Social Security would stay secure. The proposed legislation called for a .5% increase in taxes to extend the life of Social Security. After being revised in Congress, the bill was passed in the winter of 1977.

May 10, 1837

The Panic Of 1837

On this day in 1837, a financial panic started because of President Andrew Jackson's actions to end the Second Bank of the United States (SBUS). The SBUS acted as a storehouse for federal funds and in its absence the smaller banks had trouble producing liquidity. In New York City the riots started by this panic had to be quelled by the militia. This panic gripped the United States for seven long years.

May 11, 1894

The Pullman Car Strike

On this day in 1894 workers for the Pullman Palace Car Company went on strike to protest wage reduction. This strike received national attention and drew famous names such as Eugene Debs and Samuel Gompers to sympathize with the workers' plight. However, the Pullman company had support from state and federal troops. The strike reached its climax in July when gunfights between troops and strikers left 34 men dead. Afterwards the violence in the strike died out, leaving the strikers jobless.

May 12, 1902

Coal Miner's Stike

On this day in history in 1902, John Mitchell organized a strike of over 140,000 coal miners protesting a coal company's strong-arm tactics requiring workers to live on land owned by the company and buy products made by the company. This strike caused the demand for coal to climb causing civil unrest. This spurred President Teddy Roosevelt to intercede, forcing the coal companies to negotiate with the workers.

May 13, 1980

Union Leader Appointed To Board Of Directors

On this day in 1980 Douglas Fraser was appointed to the board of directors for the Chrysler Automotive Company. Fraser became the first union representative to ever sit on a board of directors for any American company.

May 14, 1884

The Origins Of Trust Busting

On this day in 1884 the first convention was held for the newly formed Anti-Monopoly Party. This party opposed actions of big business at the time. Such actions included dominating product markets by crushing any attempts for competition. Though the party failed to get their nominee (General Benjamin Butler) into the oval office and eventually foundered its views helped influence the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890.

May 15, 1882

A Closer Look At Tariffs

On this day in 1882 President Chester Arthur formed a high-level commission to examine the merits of the protective tariffs the United States imposed on foreign goods. The commission employed many proponents of higher tariffs like John L. Hayes, secretary of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers. The commission's findings were in favor of high protective tariffs on imported goods.

May 16, 1886

The Birth Of The Nickel

On this day in 1886 congress voted to discontinue the use of the half-dime as currency. In its place the five-cent piece was introduced. The five-cent piece is better known as the "nickel." The nickel is still used as American currency today.

May 17, 1792

The Roots Of Wall Street

On this day in 1792, twenty-four traders met under a buttonwood tree in lower Manhattan to work out rules and regulations for the speculative market. The modest two-sentence agreement gave birth to the New York Stock Exchange. Today the New York Stock Exchange is the largest forum for the trading of stock and bonds in the world.

May 18, 1908

In God We Trust Required For Some Coins

On this day in 1908 congress passed a law requiring certain coins to bare the phrase "In God We Trust." Though the motto was required for coins in 1908, its origins date back to the United States Civil War.

May 19, 1828

The Tariff Of Abominations

On this day in 1828 President John Quincy Adams signed a tariff heavily taxing wool imports. Opposition was strong, coming mainly from the Andrew Jackson supporters. In 1932 tariff rates were rolled back but many states were unwilling to sign for nothing less than complete nullification. A huge congressional battle seemed eminent until Henry Clay introduced a "compromise tariff" that satisfied both the wool manufacturers and the wool producers. Even with the compromise the tariff became known as the "Tariff of Abomination."

May 20, 1985

Stock Markets Breaks 1,300 Mark

On this day in 1985 the New York Stock Exchange broke 1300 for the first time ever. The Dow gained 19.54 points to close at 1304.88.

May 21, 1898

Armand Hammer Born

On this day, entrepreneur and millionaire Dr. Armand Hammer was born in New York. After making money early in life Hammer traveled to Russia and helped famine victims, during his time there he befriended Vladimir Lenin and went into business becoming Russia's leading pencil producer. On his return to the U.S. he got into the whiskey business, and later got even richer when, Occidental, a struggling oil company he had invested in finally struck it rich. Hammer died in 1990.

May 22, 1824

Protectionist Tariff Passed

After much debate and politicking Congressman Henry Clay was able to get his proposed tariff through the House of Representatives on this day. Clay told House members that the tariff would strengthen the country's fiscal and social well-being by reducing their dependence on foreign goods.

May 23, 1946

Rail Workers Strike

On this day, the Railroad Trainmen and Locomotive Brotherhoods started a strike to improve wages after their return from WWII. Because the nation was still heavily dependent on railways for transportation of goods the strike was short-lived and the workers got their wage increase.

May 24, 1915

Pan-American Conference Convenes

On this day in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of the Treasury, William G. McAdoo, led the meeting of the Pan-American Conference in Washington D.C.. The goal of the conference was to promote more foreign trade and investment by the United States, in an effort to make them a leader on the world economic stage.

May 25, 1805

Police End Cordwainer Strike

On this day, a strike by a group of Philadelphia cordwainers (or shoemakers) was abruptly ended when local police intervened under orders from a local judge. The courts were urged to intervene by the strikers' employer; this event marked the first time an employer sought help from the courts to end a strike.

May 26, 1994

President Clinton Renews Trade With China

President Clinton announced a renewal of trade with China, which had been suspended for alleged human rights violations. Clinton stated that he would no longer link China's trading status with its past human rights record.

May 27, 1935

Supreme Court Throws Out Nira

In yet another blow to President Roosevelt's New Deal agenda, the Supreme Court held the National Industry Recovery Act to be unconstitutional. Undeterred, Roosevelt soon launched another round of legislation, what he called the Second New Deal.

May 28, 2003

President G.W. Bush Signs Huge Tax-Cutting Bill

On this day, President Bush signed a bill into law that called for $350 billion in tax cuts over a ten-year period. Bush announced that he was "adding fuel to an economic recovery."

May 29, 1932

'Bonus Army' Arrives In Washington

Hit hard by the depression, thousands of desolate, unemployed veterans, given the name the "Bonus Army," arrived in Washington to demand their cash bonuses thirteen years before they were scheduled to receive them. They were not given any compensation, and eventually forced to disperse by the National Guard.

May 30, 1908

Aldrich-Vreeland Currency Act Passed

On this day in 1908, conservative legislator Senator Nelson Aldrich's Currency Act passed. The Currency Act was designed as a boon to struggling banks. This granted banks the authority to issue currency that was pegged to commercial notes and government bonds.

May 31, 1977

Alaskan Pipeline Completed

After three years of construction, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline was finally completed and ready for use.