On this day in 1882, Charles Guiteau was hanged for the assassination of President James Garfield. The president was shot just six months after his inauguration at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station.
On June 29, 1972, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, banned the death penalty. In Furman v. Georgia, the justices found the practice to constitute cruel and unusual punishment, thus violating the 8th Amendment.
On this day in 1934, Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin was born in Detroit, Mich.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is killed by an angry mob in Carthage, Ill. At the time, he was a presidential candidate for the National Reform Party.
On this day in 1945, the United Nations charter was signed in San Francisco by representative from 50 nations.
On June 25, 1990, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that it is unconstitutional for states to require, without providing other options, a minor to inform her parents before obtaining an abortion.
The Supreme Court ruled that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment on June 24, 1957. In Roth v. United States, the justices upheld the convictions of two men who sent obscene material over the mail
On this day in 1948, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was born in Pinpoint, Ga. Justice Thomas is the second African-American to serve on the nation's highest court.
On June 22, 1870, an act of Congress established the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to this, the attorney general had been a Cabinet member, but not an agency chief.
New Hampshire, by a vote of 57-47, became the ninth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1788. With nine states required for the Constitution to go into effect, New Hampshire, in a sense, activated the document.
On June 20, 1863, West Virginia, originally part of Virginia, became a state. This recognition followed Virginia’s succession from the Union.
Congress voted to prohibit slavery on June 19, 1862. The legislation reads, “That from and after the passage of this act there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now existing.”
West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller was born in New York, NY, on this day in 1937. He is the great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller.
On this day in 1972, arrests were made following a burglary at the Democratic Party Headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The scandal would eventually force the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln, who was running for the U.S. Senate, addressed the Republican State Convention in Springfield, Ill., telling the audience, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.”
On June 15, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation granting the Boy Scouts federal incorporation.
On this day in 1777, John Adams introduced a resolution before the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, declaring that the U.S. flag should have “13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a
On June 13, 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated by a member of the Ku Klux Klan, just hours after President John F. Kennedy gave a televised speech in support of civil rights.
Louisiana’s Huey Long gave the second-longest Senate filibuster on June 12, 1935. Clocking in at 15.5 hours, it was intended to force the Senate’s Democratic leadership to retain a provision requiring confirmation for the National Recovery Administration's senior employees.
On June 11, 1963, Gov. George Wallace blocked the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama, preventing African-American students from enrolling. After being confronted by federal marshals and the state National Guard, he stood aside.
Former Democratic presidential candidate and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was born on this day in 1953. His wife, Elizabeth, recently wrote a book called “Resilience,” detailing her struggle with cancer and her husband’s infidelity.
At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army famously lashed out at Sen. Joseph McCarthy, saying, "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
On this date in 1789, James Madison proposed the Bill of Rights to Congress. They eventually lead to the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
On June 7, 1965, the Supreme Court found that a Connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy.
President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Securities Act of 1933, creating the Securities and Exchange Commission.
On this day in 1968, Sen. Robert Kennedy was shot in Los Angeles. Campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, and celebrating his California primary win, he was gunned down in a hallway of the Ambassador Hotel. His death prompted the U.S. Secret Service to offer protection for presidential candidates.
On June 4, 1947, the House of Representatives passed the Taft-Hartley Act, restricting the activities and power of U.S. labor unions. Weeks later, President Harry Truman vetoed the legislation, but his veto was overridden by Congress.
On this day in 1808, Jefferson Davis was born. The statesman, senator, and president of the Confederate States of America was stripped of his citizenship after the Civil War, only to have it restored, posthumously, by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.
On June 2, 1998, California voters approved Proposition 227, requiring that all state public schools teach children in English.
President James Madison asked Congress to declare war on Great Britain on June 1, 1812. The House of Representatives passed the declaration on June 4, 79-49. The Senate followed suit two weeks later.