Capitol to Capitol Trivia Archive

Jake Lestock 7/11/2018

We are always looking for interesting trivia about states, legislatures and American history. If you have some great facts, don't keep them to yourself. You can share them with us by going to this webpage. We will likely include them in a future edition of Capitol to Capitol!

Trivia from previous Capitol-to-Capitol newsletters can be found below. Sort the list by topic, or by the date/year the trivia appeared in a Capitol-to-Capitol newsletter.

Capitol to Capitol Trivia Archive
TOPIC Date Year TRIVIA
U.S. Presidency; Petitions; Death Star 12/12 2016 In response to a petition that garnered the requisite number of signatures, the White House in 2012 expressed opposition to building a "Star Wars"-style Death Star due to cost. They estimated a Death Star would cost approximately $852 quadrillion ($852,000,000,000,000,000), or roughly 13,000 times the world's GDP.
U.S. Presidents; Martin Van Buren 1/10 2017 The term "O.K." is credited to Martin Van Buren, who was raised in Kinderhook, N.Y. After he went into politics, Van Buren became known as "Old Kinderhook." Soon people were using the term O.K. referring to Van Buren and the word "okay" was derived.
U.S. Presidents; John Quincy Adams 1/23 2017 John Quincy Adams in 1825 was the first U.S. president to wear pants to an inauguration. Before that, they all wore "knee breeches."
U.S. Presidents; George Washington 1/30 2017 Due to American Public Law 94-479, by the 94th Congress, George Washington is protected from being outranked by any officer in past, present and future. Therefore, if there's a six-star general, Washington is automatically upgraded to seven.
U.S. Constitution; Constitutional Convention 1/30 2017 The sound of carriages and carts passing on cobblestone streets outside the Pennsylvania State House distracted the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, who were busy writing the Constitution. They solved the problem by hiring people to shovel dirt onto the street to muffle the noise.
U.S. Congress; Sen. James Shields 2/6 2017 Senator James Shields is the only person in United States history to serve as a U.S. senator for three different states: Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri.
U.S. Flag 2/6 2017 The flag code of the United States stipulates that if a new state is admitted to the union, a new star will be added to the flag, but not until the first Fourth of July following the state's formal admission into the union.
U.S. Presidents; Andrew Jackson 2/6 2017 President Andrew Jackson taught his parrot how to curse to the extent that the parrot had to be removed from the president's funeral because it was cursing too much.
Library of Congress 2/13 2017 You can find a top-secret FBI interrogation manual at the Library of Congress (LOC). For some odd reason, the FBI person who wrote it decided to apply for a copyright and by law, anything that is copyrighted must be made available to anyone with a LOC library card who wants to read it.
U.S. Presidents, Grover Cleveland 2/13 2017 Grover Cleveland was the only president to officially serve as an executioner (hangman). As the sheriff of Erie County, New York, he performed the role on multiple executions and earned the nickname "Buffalo Hangman."
World Governments; Ancient Rome 2/13 2017 Before each meeting of the Roman Senate, the magistrate who was to preside over the body offered a sacrifice to the Gods before he entered the Senate house. If the auspices were not favorable, or not rightly taken, the business was deferred to another day.
U.S. Constitution 2/20 2017 The U.S. Constitution contains multiple spellings errors. However, the most glaring error was committed by Alexander Hamilton. As the members of the Convention prepared to sign the document, Hamilton took up a position beside the last of the four sheets, laid out for signing, and appears to have taken charge of the process as the delegates from each state came forward to sign. In this capacity, he wrote the name of each state at the left of the growing column of signatures. When he came to the largest state delegation, headed by Benjamin Franklin, he wrote "Pensylvania." And thus the parchment reads today.
U.S. Presidents; John Tyler 2/20 2017 Two grandsons of John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States who, born less than year after George Washington was first inaugurated as president (1790), are still alive today: Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr (92) and Harrison Ruffin Tyler (88).
U.S. Presidents; George Washington 2/27 2017 George Washington had a phobia of being buried alive. After he died, he asked to "not let my body be put into the Vault in less than three days after I am dead."
The Real McCoy 2/27 2017 The term 'real McCoy' originally referred to an invention by African American inventor Elijah McCoy, who, while working for the Michigan Central Railroad, created a device that oiled moving machines. Similar devices made by other companies never worked as well, so people began asking for 'the real McCoy.'
U.S. Presidents; John F. Kennedy 2/27 2017 John F Kennedy is the only president to have passed away before both his parents.
Federal Budget; Spending 3/6 2017 The federal government spends approximately $7.4 million every minute, which is about $1.1 million more than it collects. According to the Congressional Budget Office, at the end of 2016, debt held by the public reached 77 percent of GDP, marking the highest ratio since 1950.
U.S. Presidents; Lyndon Johnson 3/6 2017 Lyndon B. Johnson was the only president to take the oath of office from a woman, Judge Sarah T. Hughes.
U.S. Holidays; Thanksgiving 3/6 2017 Established on Nov. 26, 1789, the first national “Thanksgiving Day” was originally created by George Washington as a way of “giving thanks” for the Constitution.
U.S. Congress; Rep. Jeannette Rankin 3/13 2017 The year 2017 marks the centennial of the swearing-in of the first woman to become a member of the U.S. Congress, Jeannette Rankin (R-Mont.). A pacifist and suffragist, Rankin was elected to Congress four years before the 19th Amendment gave women nationwide the right to vote. In 1914, her home state of Montana passed a law granting suffrage to women in that state, but these women could still not vote for president. In fact, 15 states allowed women to vote before the 19th Amendment's ratification in 1920. "I may be the first woman member of Congress," she observed upon her election in 1916. "But I won't be the last."
Federal Budget; National Debt 3/13 2017 The U.S. is $20 trillion in debt. If you stacked 20 trillion U.S. dollar bills one on top of the other, the height would reach to the moon and back over five times.
U.S. Presidency; First Lady 3/13 2017 First lady was used first in 1849 when President Zachary Taylor called Dolley Madison first lady at her state funeral. It gained popularity in 1877 when used in reference to Lucy Ware Webb Hayes. Most first ladies, including Jackie Kennedy, are said to have hated the label.
War of 1812 3/20 2017 When the British invaded Washington in 1814, they held a mock session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol on whether they should burn the city to the ground. Admiral Cockburn took the Speaker's Chair and sarcastically stated that "all in favor of setting fire to this harbor of Yankee democracy, say Aye!" Mockingly, the soldiers unanimously agreed.
Honorary Citizenship 3/20 2017 Congress or the president can declare someone an honorary citizen of the United States. Only eight people have ever had this status.
U.S. Congress; Rep. Leo Ryan 3/20 2017 Leo Ryan is the only member of the U.S. Congress to have ever been killed in the line of duty. He was assassinated while investigating human rights violations at Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. One of Ryan's aides, Jackie Speier, was shot five times and waited 22 hours before help arrived. She went on to become a California state senator before being elected to Congress in 2008.
Washington D.C.; Pierre L'Enfant 3/27 2017 Pierre L’Enfant, who was appointed by President George Washington to plan the country’s new “Federal City” (now Washington D.C.), understood Washington’s vision that the city’s layout was to be infused with political ideology. He therefore drew the balance of power—the executive versus the legislative, and the states versus the federal government—onto his master plan of the city. 

He connected the White House and the Capitol by Pennsylvania Avenue (named after the state where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution written) so that the executive and legislative branches were linked yet apart. At the same time, the broad avenues of the city were named after the original 13 states.
London Bridge 3/27 2017 A U.S. Customs Declaration made London Bridge the World's Largest Antique ever sold. London Bridge wasn't exactly falling down in the 1960s, but it was sinking under the weight of modern traffic. When the capital city in England decided to build another to replace it, the 1831 bridge was put up for sale and was sold to American Robert McCulloch. However, as McCulloch may not have bought the bridge if he had to pay a tariff on the sale, U.S. Customs and Border Protection declared the bridge an antique, so that the sale was tax free.
Political Terms; Lobbyist 3/27 2017 The verb ‘to lobby’ first appeared in print in the United States in the 1830′s. The term is believed to have originated in British Parliament, and referred to the lobbies outside the chambers where wheeling and dealing took place. “Lobbyist” was in common usage in Britain in the 1840′s. Jesse Sheidlower, editor-at-large for the Oxford English Dictionary, believes the term was used as early as 1640 in England to describe the lobbies that were open to constituents to interact with their representatives.
Pentagon 4/3 2017 Café Ground Zero – the deadliest hot dog stand in the world. 

Rumor has it that during the Cold War, the Russians never had any less than two missiles aimed at the hot dog stand once located at the center of the Pentagon’s courtyard. They thought this was the Pentagon’s most top secret meeting room, and the entire Pentagon was a large fortress built around it. 

Reportedly, Soviet satellite images captured groups of U.S. military officers entering and exiting the hot dog stand at about the same time every day and thus concluded that the stand was the entrance to an underground bunker. Or, as was the case, the officers just really liked hot dogs.
Washington D.C.; National Cherry Blossom Festival 4/3 2017 Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the friendship between the United States and Japan and the close relationship between the two countries.

It took the coordination of many to ensure the arrival of the cherry trees. A first batch of 2,000 trees arrived diseased in 1910, but that did not deter the parties from trying again. Key figures in the two countries, including First Lady Helen Herron Taft, ensured the success of a second attempt and more than 3,000 trees arrived in Washington in 1912. In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, the First Lady and the wife of the Japanese ambassador planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.
Pony Express 4/3 2017 On this day in 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously left St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system.
U.S. Currency; Secret Service 4/10 2017 By 1865, one-third to one-half of American money in circulation was fake. This was partly due to an old system of relying on state banks to produce money using approved designs and paper provided by the Federal Government. Although a national currency was adopted in 1863, federal dollars were as easy to counterfeit as state-produced ones. 

To address this problem, President Abraham Lincoln, in one of his last official acts as president, signed into law legislation that authorized the creation of an agency that was tasked with investigating and reducing the use of counterfeit money. Ironically, the mission of this agency, which the president created on the day he was assassinated, evolved over time to take on a more important function – to protect the president. The agency? The United States Secret Service.
U.S. Presidents; Abraham Lincoln 4/10 2017 President Abraham Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln Bedroom: When he occupied the White House, the 16th president used the current Lincoln Bedroom as his personal office. It was there that he met with Cabinet members and signed documents, including the Emancipation Proclamation.
U.S. Constitution; 27th Amendment 4/10 2017 The 27th amendment to the Constitution, which restricts the ability of Congress to raise its own pay, was ratified in 1992, more than 200 years after the first state, Maryland, approved it in December 1789.
U.S. Presidents; George Washington; Electoral College 4/24 2017 George Washington is the only U.S. president to win 100 percent of the Electoral College vote. This is mainly because organized parties weren't yet formed, and he ran unopposed. However, as the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, which required separate Electoral College votes for president and vice president, was not ratified until 1804, even though Washington won his election unanimously, he still had a runner-up, John Adams, who served as vice president during both of Washington's terms.

Before the ratification of the 12th Amendment, electors, in what is now called the Electoral College, named two choices for president. They each cast two ballots without noting a distinction between their choice for president and vice president. Washington was chosen by all the electors and therefore is considered to have been unanimously elected. Of those also named on the electors' ballots, Adams had the most votes and became vice president.
U.S. Presidents; Abraham Lincoln 4/24 2017 Lincoln is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Great Emancipator wasn’t quite WWE material, but thanks to his long limbs he was an accomplished wrestler as a young man. Defeated only once in approximately 300 matches, Lincoln reportedly talked a little smack in the ring. According to Carl Sandburg’s biography of Lincoln, Honest Abe once challenged an entire crowd of onlookers after dispatching an opponent: “I’m the big buck of this lick. If any of you want to try it, come on and whet your horns.” There were no takers. Lincoln’s grappling exploits earned him an “Outstanding American” honor in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
U.S. Presidency; The First 100 Days 4/24 2017 The first 100 days of a two-term presidency amount to about 3 percent of an eight-year span, but for decades the opening stretch of an administration has become the barometer of a commander in chief's governing power, or lack thereof.

The measurement began after Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered office amid the tumult of the Great Depression. With banks caving in and jobs vanishing, FDR set to work passing laws and establishing new government bureaus to curb the economic suffering. He swore in his entire Cabinet at once, signed 76 bills into law and began rolling out the New Deal in his first 100 days in office—a frenzy of activity that, ever since, all presidents have been matched against.
U.S. Presidency; White House Correspondents Dinner 5/1 2017 The first White House Correspondents Dinner was held in 1921 at the Arlington Hotel. The dinner, nicknamed “nerd prom”, is billed to celebrate freedom of the press and the First Amendment. It also serves to honor young and veteran journalists alike with scholarships and awards that are funded by ticket proceeds.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge became the first presidential attendee. Since then, every president has attended the dinner at least once during his term in office. This year’s was held on Saturday, April 29th. Breaking from recent tradition, President Donald Trump was the first president in 36 years to skip the event.

Until 1937, presidents weren't sworn in until March 4. As technological advances greatly reduced the times to tabulate votes, report the results and travel, such a long lame-duck period was no longer logistically necessary. As a result, the 20th Amendment, which was ratified on January 23, 1933, moved up Inauguration Day to Jan. 20 and the first meeting of the new Congress to January 3.

The 20th Amendment didn't take effect until October 1933, after the long lame-duck period once again proved problematic. With the U.S. in the throes of the Great Depression, incoming President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to wait four months to implement his New Deal while uncertainty further roiled financial markets. Jan. 20 first served as Inauguration Day in 1937 when Roosevelt was sworn in for a second term. In light of better technology, the 20th amendment moved inauguration day to noon on Jan. 20.
Aviation; College Park Airport (MD) 5/1 2017 Founded in August 1909 outside Washington D.C. by the United States Army Signal Corps, the College Park Airport in the state of Maryland is the oldest airport in the world that is still in operation. Established as the military demonstration site for the Wright Brothers, the airport originally served as the training location for two military officers to fly in the government’s first airplane, which was purchased from the Wrights. It is home to many "firsts" in aviation, including the first mile-high flight by a powered airplane, the first female passenger and the first controlled helicopter flight, and is particularly significant for the well-known aviators and aviation inventors who played a part in this field's long history.
U.S. Constitution; 18th Amendment; Prohibition 5/8 2017 When the Nebraska legislature ratified the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic liquors, on Jan. 16, 1919, the requisite number of state legislatures (three-fourths) had voted to amend the U.S. Constitution. However, the  Amendment lacked an enforcement mechanism, so Congress passed the National Prohibition Act on Oct. 10, 1919, popularly known as the Volstead Act, to do so. President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act, largely on technical grounds, but Congress overrode his veto, thus bringing on the Prohibition Era.
U.S. Presidents; Harry Truman 5/8 2017 On this day President Harry Truman had a very good reason to celebrate his 61st birthday—the end of war in Europe. On May 8, 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrated Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.

May 8th marked the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark—the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.
Washington D.C.; Watergate 5/8 2017 When most people think of "Watergate", they think of the political scandal involving the Nixon administration. But, before the scandal, and even before the hotel, the term meant something differently entirely.

In 1828, President John Quincy Adams broke ground on the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) canal, which aimed to complete the vision of George Washington of connecting the Chesapeake Bay to the Midwest. The plan was to build a canal from Georgetown on the Potomac River to Pittsburgh on the Ohio River, and on to the heartland via the Mississippi. While the final canal, which operated from 1831 to 1924, ultimately only made it as far as Cumberland, Md., its 184.5 miles began where Rock Creek empties into the Potomac River, at Milepost 0. The last lock of the canal, known as the "water gate," is where water coming downstream could empty into the Potomac.

While the Washington canal system never quite worked as planned and was made obsolete with the proliferation of railroads, the Water Gate structure itself still remains, and can be seen next to the now-infamous hotel that adopted its name.
Pet Goldfish 5/15 2017 The U.S. government had a lot to do with making the goldfish the ultimate affordable pet. The United States Commission on Fisheries received the first official import of goldfish from Japan in 1878. The commission was only seven years old then and as a publicity stunt offered free goldfish to D.C. residents. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, these fish were bred in ponds by the Washington Monument, and anyone who sent a request through a member of Congress would receive one, along with a glass globe to keep it in. At the height of this campaign, the commission was distributing 20,000 fish annually, and nearly a third of households in the District owned pet fish from the Commission.
U.S. Congress; Sen. Mitch McConnell 5/15 2017 A popular bit of trivia on Capitol Hill is that “Addison” is the first name of the current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The senator’s full name is Addison Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell Jr.
U.S. Holidays; Mother's Day 5/15 2017 Mother’s Day was actually founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. It started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease. Following the death of Ann Reeves Jarvis, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, organized the first Mother’s Day observances in 1908 to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did. It wasn’t until President Woodrow Wilson lobbied Congress in 1914 that Mother’s Day was officially set on the second Sunday of every May. In his first Mother’s Day proclamation, Wilson stated that the holiday offered a chance to “[publicly express] our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” The holiday soon became a commercial goldmine centering on gifts. This deeply disturbed Anna Jarvis, who dedicated the rest of her life to fight against it.
Smithsonian 5/22 2017

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, with 19 museums and the National Zoo. The Institution was founded in 1846 with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829). Per his wishes, the funds were given “under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

Smithsonian Facts: 154 million artifacts, works of art, and specimens in the collections

  • 145 million of which are held by the National Museum of Natural History.
  • 10 million digital records available online through the Collections Search Center.
  • 2 million library volumes held by Smithsonian Libraries.
  • 156,830 cubic feet of archival material held by Archives across the Smithsonian.
  • Only a small portion of the Smithsonian’s collections (estimated at less than 2 percent) are on display in the museums at any given time.
U.S. Presidents; Abraham Lincoln 5/22 2017 President Abraham Lincoln is the only president to have obtained a patent. Benjamin Franklin isn’t the only American political leader who demonstrated an inventive mind. After being aboard a steamboat that ran aground on low shoals and had to unload its cargo, Lincoln, who loved tinkering with machines, designed a method for keeping vessels afloat when traversing shallow waters through the use of empty metal air chambers attached to their sides. For his design, Lincoln obtained Patent No. 6,469 on May 22, 1849.
U.S. Presidents; Grover Cleveland 5/22 2017 Donald Trump was the 44th person to become United States President, but he became the 45th President because the office was held twice by Grover Cleveland (terms 1885–1889 and 1893–1897), being the 22nd and 24th President.
U.S. Holidays; Memorial Day 5/26 2017 More than 20 towns claim to be the Memorial Day holiday’s “birthplace”—but only one has federal recognition.

Boalsburg, Pa., bases its claim on an 1864 gathering of women to mourn those recently killed at Gettysburg. In Carbondale, Ill., they’re certain that they were first, thanks to an 1866 parade led, in part, by John Logan who two years later would lead the charge for an official holiday. There are even two dueling Columbus challengers (one in Mississippi, the other in Georgia) who have battled it out for Memorial Day supremacy for decades.

Only one town, however, has received the official seal of approval from the U.S. government. In 1966, 100 years after the town of Waterloo, N.Y., shuttered its businesses and took to the streets for the first of many continuous, community wide celebrations, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation, recently passed by the U.S. Congress, declaring the tiny upstate village the “official” birthplace of Memorial Day.
Federal Budget; National Debt 5/26 2017 On Jan. 8, 1835, all the big political names in Washington gathered to celebrate what President Andrew Jackson had just accomplished. A senator rose to make the big announcement: "Gentlemen ... the national debt ... is PAID."

That was the one time in U.S. history when the country was debt free. It lasted exactly one year.
Robert F. Kennedy 6/5 2017 On this day in 1968, former U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Senator, and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot three times at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, was a Palestinian who was angered at Kennedy’s support for Israel. On June 6, nearly 26 hours after the shooting, Senator Kennedy died a few blocks from the Ambassador Hotel at Good Samaritan Hospital.
U.S. Currency 6/5 2017 The phrase “Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the Cold War. This symbolized the resistance to communists, who were atheists.

In 1953, Louis Rabaut, a Democrat from Michigan, sponsored a resolution to add the words "under God" to the Pledge, but it failed. However, his fortune changed once President Dwight D. Eisenhower got involved. Recently baptized as a Presbyterian, the president heard a sermon, arguing the words "under God" from Lincoln's speech set the United States apart from others as a nation. At the time, the Cold War was gaining steam, and Eisenhower was fighting communism across the globe.

The next day, the president encouraged Charles Oakman, a Republican also from Michigan, to reintroduce the bill, which Congress passed. Eisenhower signed the bill, H.J. Res 243, into law on June 14, 1954. A story announcing the news in the Washington Post quoted him as saying the new version would add "spiritual weapons which will forever be our country's most powerful resource."
U.S. Presidency; Elections 6/5 2017 The candidate who ran the most times for office of the President of the United States was Norman Thomas. Thomas ran for the presidency on the Socialist Party ticket in six consecutive elections beginning in 1928 and was unsuccessful each time.
U.S. Presidents; Ronald Reagan 6/12 2017 On this day in 1987, in one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany. Video of the speech can be found here.
U.S. Presidents; George Washington 6/12 2017 In 1758, when George Washington ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses for the second time, he spent his entire campaign budget on 160 gallons of liquor to serve to potential voters. However, Washington was concerned that it wasn’t enough. In his note to his campaign manager on July 28, he wrote that “my only fear is that you spent with too sparing a hand.” (He went on to win handily.)

Buying votes with booze was a custom in England, as it was in Virginia, where barrels of liquor were rolled to courthouse lawns and polling places on Election Day. Not providing booze could prove costly, as Washington found out three years before. When he first ran for the House of Burgesses in 1755, he refused to engage in this practice. He went on to lose the election 271-40.

The tradition of drinking and voting continued up to the era of Prohibition. Often, people working at the polls drank, as did voters. Sometimes, the polls were located inside saloons, which made imbibing more convenient for the men who were allowed in such places. The strict control of alcohol consumption during Prohibition, at least in public places like the polls, made serving booze to voters problematic. State laws were also passed to restrict liquor sales on Election Day during Prohibition. 
U.S. Congress; Congressional Baseball Game 6/19 2017 The first Congressional Baseball Game took place in 1909. Representative John Tener of Pennsylvania, a former professional baseball player, organized the inaugural game. The Boston Daily Globe observed, “The game was brewing for weeks and the Members of the House were keyed up a high pitch of enthusiasm. Deep, dark rumors were in circulation that ‘ringers’ would be introduced, but when they lined up at 4 o’clock the nine republicans were stalwart, grand old party men, while the democrats were of the pure Jeffersonian strain.” Democrats won 26-16, for the first of six consecutive wins. Republicans won their first game in 1916.

The event has at times interrupted the work flow of Congress. In 1914, Speaker James Beauchamp ‘Champ’ Clark of Missouri became frustrated with the Congressional Baseball Game interfering with legislative business. Lacking a quorum on the House floor, Clark sent the Sergeant at Arms to the field to return the members to the House chamber. When the Sergeant at Arms arrived, rain had already canceled the game. The House eventually achieved a quorum, but adjourned without making progress on the bill because members remained preoccupied with their unfinished work on the baseball diamond.

Over the last century the Congressional Baseball Game’s popularity has contributed to its evolution into a fundraiser for Washington, DC area charities. Starting in 2017, funds will also benefit the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund and the Fraternal Order of Police as a show of our support and gratitude to the United States Capitol Police officers who put their lives on the line every day and especially during the Republican practice on June 14, 2017.

With an 11-2 win last week, the Democrats now have a one game edge over the Republicans.

Series Record: Democrats: 40-39-1      Republicans: 39-40-1
Sports; Baseball 6/19 2017 On this day in 1846, the first officially recorded, organized baseball game played under modern rules (more on that below) was played on Hoboken, New Jersey's Elysian Fields. The Knickerbocker Rules, as the rules were called, are a set of baseball rules formalized by William R. Wheaton and William H. Tucker of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845. The rules are informally known as the "New York style" of baseball, as opposed to other variants such as the "Massachusetts Game."

The Knickerbocker Rules have previously been considered to be the basis for the rules of the modern game, although this is disputed. One of the significant rules prohibited hitting the runner with the thrown ball, and instead required fielders to tag or force the runner, as is done today, and avoided a lot of the arguments and fistfights that resulted from the earlier practice.

Writing the rules didn’t help the Knickerbockers too much. The team lost to the New York Base Ball Club 23–1.
U.S. Holidays; Father's Day 6/19 2017 The first Father's Day was celebrated on this day, June 19, 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., is credited with starting Father's Day after hearing a sermon on Mother's Day. Dodd wanted to honor her father William Jackson Smart, a widower who raised six children on his own. The holiday gained traction during World War II, and in 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday of June to be Father's Day. President Richard Nixon made it a federal holiday six years later.
U.S. Presidents; George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump 6/26 2017 Presidents Donald Trump, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton were all born in different months of the summer of 1946.
U.S. States; Hawaii 6/26 2017 Hawaii is the widest state. It is composed of 132 islands, reefs and shoals that extend for more than 1,500 miles. That's equivalent to the distance from western Louisiana to San Francisco. Alaska comes in second at just 1,480 miles east to west.
U.S. Civil War; Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis 6/26 2017 One of the greatest ironies of the American Civil War is that both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were both born in Kentucky. The two men who would lead Americans in the most pivotal struggle in our history were born about 100 miles apart.
U.S. States 7/10 2017 How well can you draw all 50 states? Time Magazine created an interactive quiz that will prompt you to draw one randomly selected state at a time. Once you’re finished sketching the outline with your mouse or finger, they compare your version to the actual boundaries and give you a letter grade as feedback. The quiz can be found here.
U.S. Presidents; Abraham Lincoln 7/10 2017 When Democrat Stephen A. Douglas called Abraham Lincoln “two-faced” during an election year, Lincoln replied, “If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”
U.S. States; Wyoming 7/10 2017 On this day in 1890, Wyoming was admitted as the 44th U.S. state.
World Governments; Japan; National Diet 7/17 2017 Japan is governed by a National Diet — its bicameral legislature. In politics, a “Diet” is a formal deliberative assembly, a term principally used in a historical context to refer to the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire. Contemporarily, the term “Diet” principally refers to the Kokkai of Japan, its national legislature.
Federal Laws; National Drinking Age 7/17 2017 On this day in 1984, the national drinking age in the United States was changed from 18 to 21. The controversial bill, which did not outlaw the consumption of alcoholic beverages by those under 21 years of age, just its purchase, penalized every state that allowed persons below 21 to purchase and publicly possess alcoholic beverages by reducing its annual federal highway apportionment by 10 percent, which was eventually lowered to 8 percent in FY 2012.
White House; Air-Conditioning 7/17 2017 In 1902, engineer Willis Carrier was asked by a lithography plant in Brooklyn, N.Y., to develop a way to cool and dehumidify the plant. Using a system of “cooling coils,” he solved the problem, and without realizing it at first, invented the modern air conditioning system. It wasn’t long before everyone wanted one, including the president. As WhiteHouseHistory.org notes, “Construction of the West Wing in 1930 after extensive damage by a Christmas Eve fire in 1929 included a central air-conditioning system installed by the Carrier Engineering Company.” For more, click here.
Political Parties; Anti-Masonic Party 7/24 2017 The Anti-Masonic party is known as the first “third party” in the United States.

In September 1831, the Anti-Masonic Party held a national convention in Baltimore and nominated William Wirt as its presidential candidate for the following year. Wirt had been the U.S. attorney general and, strangely, a Mason. Running against the popular Andrew Jackson, Wirt did poorly, winning only the seven electoral votes of the state of Vermont. Their prime impact had been to drain votes away from Henry Clay. It was the first American third party, the first political party to hold a national nominating convention and the first to offer the electorate a platform of party principles.

Around 1834, the Anti-Masonic Party began a rapid disintegration with some of its members helping to establish the new Whig Party and others migrating to the Demsocratic Party.
Internet Commerce 7/24 2017 According to Internet Retailer, online sales grew by 15.1 percent in 2016 and now accounts for 11.7 percent of total retail sales.
Washington D.C.; Height of Buildings Act (1899, 1910) 7/24 2017 In 1899, the 55th Congress passed the Height of Buildings Act, which restricted buildings in Washington D.C. to be no higher than 110 feet. In 1910, the 61st Congress enacted a new height restriction law, the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, which limited building heights to 130 feet, or the width of the right-of-way of the street or avenue on which a building fronts, whichever is shorter. The current policy of the 1910 Height Act has been in place with only small modifications for over 100 years.
U.S. Presidency; Elections 7/31 2017 On July 28, Democratic U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland became the first prominent elected official to announce his candidacy for president in 2020. According to Five Thirty Eight, in the past 45 years, there’s no record of any serious candidates announcing that they’re running for president this early. In the 2016 cycle, Ted Cruz was the first to declare among Democrats and Republicans. He did so on March 23, 2015 — that was 315 days before the Iowa caucuses.
U.S. Comptroller General 7/31 2017 The longest terms of office in the U.S. government, aside from judges, are the comptroller general and the assistant comptroller general. They hold office for 15 years. The current comptroller general is Eugene Louis Dodaro, who assumed his post Dec. 22, 2010.
U.S. Presidents; James Garfield 7/31 2017 President James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other … at the same time.
Alexander Hamilton 8/21 2017 In 1801, after witnessing a speech denouncing his father, 19-year-old Philip confronted the New York lawyer who gave the speech and demanded a retraction. When the lawyer refused, a duel was set for Nov. 20 at the dueling grounds in Weehawken, New Jersey. The lawyer left unscathed, but Philip died the following day. Three years later on the same dueling grounds, Philip’s father, Alexander Hamilton, suffered the identical fate as his son and was shot and mortally wounded by Vice President Aaron Burr in one of the most famous duels in American history.
U.S. States; Hawaii 8/21 2017 On this day, in 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state. The president also issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: five six-star rows and four five-star rows. The new flag became official July 4, 1960. Aloha!
U.S. Capitol; Security 8/28 2017 After 9/11, bollards—sturdy, short, vertical posts—were installed on Capitol Hill that reportedly can stop “an eight-ton truck barreling into them at 50 mph.” Each costing $7,500 to install, the 7,000 Capitol bollards run along a roughly 29,000-foot, 5.5-mile perimeter protecting the U.S. Capitol, the Senate and House office buildings, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the three buildings of the Library of Congress.
Martin Luther King, Jr. 8/28 2017 On this day in 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream Speech”—one of the most famous speeches in American history. The address, which became a defining moment of the civil rights movement, was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to over 250,000 people who had traveled to the nation’s capital for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
U.S. Presidency; Signing Statements 8/28 2017 Since as far back as the Monroe administration, but with much more consistency from President John Kennedy forward, presidents have issued Signing Statements when they sign bills into law, including constitutional challenges to various sections. Presidents are often saying that if push comes to shove during implementation of the law, the administration will side with its own view of the Constitution. Critics of signing statements, like the American Bar Association, argue that presidents are ignoring the intent of Congress and should simply veto the bill if it is constitutionally problematic.
U.S. States; Wisconsin 9/5 2017 The Wisconsin State Capitol, which is the third capitol building in Madison, turned 100 this year. While the building was completed in 1917, due to World War I, its dedication was delayed for 48 years until 1965. Read more information about the events scheduled this year to celebrate the Capitol Centennial.—Courtesy of NCSL Vice President, Speaker Robin Vos (Wis.)
World Governments; Elections; Germany 9/5 2017 On Sept. 24, Germans will head to the polls for their quadrennial elections to cast votes for their country’s legislative body, known as the Bundestag. On election day, Germans cast two votes: one for a candidate and one for a political party. The party vote exists to guarantee that the Bundestag reflects the party preferences of the overall electorate, but that also means that the number of members of the legislature may change after each election to ensure party proportionality. For more about the Bundestag and the upcoming election, visit this article from FiveThirtyEight.
U.S. States; Nevada, Elections 9/5 2017 Nevada is the only state in which a voter can choose "None of the Above" as his or her choice in an election for statewide office.—Courtesy of Mike Morton, Senior Deputy Legislative Counsel, Nevada Legislature
U.S. States; Kentucky 9/11 2017 Since the early 1800s, Kentucky had a problem with dueling. In fact, Henry Clay, who served in Congress from the state, fought in (and won) two duels. So, when the state’s constitution was ratified in 1891, it included a provision that to this day requires every legislator, public officer and member of the bar to take an oath stating that, among other things, “[I] have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this state nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.”—Courtesy of NCSL Staff Chair Chuck Truesdell, Kentucky Legislative Research Commission
Sept. 11, 2001 9/11 2017 On this day in 1941, ground was broken for the construction of the Pentagon. On Sept. 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the building's construction began, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the western side of the building. #NeverForget
U.S. Supreme Court; Cass Gilbert 9/11 2017 The architect of the U.S. Supreme Court building, Cass Gilbert, was one of America’s first celebrity architects. In addition to designing the Woolworth Building in New York City, which held the title as world’s tallest building for almost two decades, Gilbert also designed the Minnesota State Capitol, the Arkansas State Capitol and the West Virginia State Capitol. 
U.S. Presidents; Ulysses S. Grant 9/18 2017 A sitting U.S. president was once arrested for excessive speeding in Washington DC. While driving his horse and buggy at a speed of what the arresting officer, William West, thought was excessive, the officer reportedly told President Ulysses S. Grant that “I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the nation’s chief executive, but my duty is plain, sir: I shall have to place you under arrest!”
U.S. Congress; Sen. Margaret Chase Smith 9/18 2017 On Sept. 13, 1948, Margaret Chase Smith was elected as the first female senator of Maine, which made her the first woman to serve in both the United States House of Representatives and Senate. Smith was re–elected to the Senate three more times by comfortable majorities and is the longest serving Republican female senator.
U.S. Capitol; Freemasons 9/18 2017 On this day in 1793, President George Washington, along with eight other Freemasons dressed in masonic regalia, laid the first cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building.
Noah Webster 9/25 2017 Noah Webster, America’s first dictionary author, believed that having an Americanized version of English was the first step to truly asserting independence as a nation. “Now is the time and this the country in which we may expect success in attempting changes to language, science and government. Let us then seize the present moment and establish a national language as well as a national government,” wrote Webster. His 1806 dictionary was the first American dictionary but his 1828 version, which completely changed how dictionaries were formatted, is his most lasting work. You can browse the 1828 dictionary’s entries online.
Little Rock Nine 9/25 2017 Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine, the first nine black school children to attend the Little Rock Central High School after desegregation. On Sept. 25, 1957, the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, which was sent by President Dwight Eisenhower after an angry mob had gathered outside the school days earlier in protest, escorted the teens for their first full day of classes. Former President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address this morning during a ceremony at the high school.
World Governments; South Sudan; Passports 9/25 2017 The birth of South Sudan, which gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, owes a lot to America. Perhaps as a sign of gratitude, its national coat of arms (chosen in a public competition) looks rather like the great seal. And its new passports, blue and eagle-crested, closely resemble America's travel document. Those who decry such imitation should study history. Benjamin Franklin based the new American passport, in those days just a single sheet of paper, on the French one. For more, check out this article from the Economist.
Federal Laws; Electronic Freedom of Information Act 10/2 2017 On this day in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments (E-FOIA), which required executive branch agencies to make certain types of records, created on or after Nov. 1, 1996, to be made available electronically. The amendments also required agencies to provide electronic reading rooms for citizens to use and extended the response time to FOIA requests from 10 days to 20 business days. 
U.S. Congress, Rep. Michael Myers, Abscam 10/2 2017 On this day in 1980, Pennsylvania Congressman Michael Myers became the first member of either chamber of Congress to be expelled since the Civil War for his involvement in the Abscam scandal. As part of the public corruption investigation, Myers was videotaped accepting a $50,000 bribe from undercover FBI Agents. 
U.S. Supreme Courts; Justice Thurgood Marshall 10/2 2017 On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Beer; Russia 10/2 2017 Russia did not consider beer, or any beverage that contained less than 10 percent alcohol, to be alcoholic until 2011. They previously classified it as a soft drink. The new restrictions were signed off by then President Dmitry Medvedev as part of an attempt to counter alcohol abuse, which he earlier called a "national calamity".
Federal Laws; The Coinage Act of 1792 10/2 2017 The Coinage Act of 1792 established the U.S. Mint, created the dollar as the nation’s standard unit of money, and regulated the country’s coinage. Specifically, the law specified that $10, $5 and $2.50 coins (known as eagles, half-eagles and quarter-eagles) were to be made of their face value in gold, while dollar, half-dollar, quarter-dollar, dime and half-dime coins were to be made of their value in silver. (Cent and half-cent coins were made of cheaper copper.) But criminals soon found that they could make a good profit by filing shavings from the sides of gold and silver coins and selling the precious metals. It did not take long for the U.S. Mint to begin adding ridges to the coins’ edges, a process called “reeding,” in order to make it impossible to shave them down without the result being obvious. As a side benefit, the reeded edges also made coin design more intricate and counterfeiting more difficult.
Roger Williams; Rhode Island 10/9 2017 On this day in 1635, Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a religious dissident after he spoke out against punishments for religious offenses and giving away Native American land. In addition to founding Rhode Island, the Puritan minister is remembered for advocating for a principle that remains contentious to this day—separation of church and state.
Federal Lands; Insular areas of the U.S. 10/9 2017 An “insular area” of the United States is an area that is neither a part of one of the 50 U.S. states nor the U.S. federal district of Washington, D.C. The word "insular" comes from the Latin word insula ("island") because they were once administered by the War Department's Bureau of Insular Affairs, now the Office of Insular Affairs at the Department of the Interior. Congress has extended citizenship rights by birth to all inhabited territories except American Samoa, whose citizens are U.S. nationals by place of birth, or are U.S. citizens by parentage. The people of American Samoa may vote and run for office in any U.S. jurisdiction in which they are residents, and they become naturalized U.S. citizens after residing in a state for three months.
U.S. Elections; Thomas Jefferson, James Callender 10/9 2017 During the 1800 presidential campaign, one of the nastier elections in American history, Democratic-Republican Vice President Thomas Jefferson secretly hired a writer named James Callender to attack his opponent, Federalist incumbent President John Adams, in print. Callender called Adams a “hermaphroditical character” who neither had the “force of a man” or the “gentleness of a woman.” Callender was later jailed for nine months for insurrection under the Alien and Sedition Acts, which gave the Democratic-Republicans a convenient martyr.
Coffee 10/16 2017 In the Western Hemisphere, coffee was considered “the Devil’s Drink” until a pope “baptized” it in the 16th century. Coffee quickly spread throughout the Muslim world in the 9th century when Islamic clerics learned how to cultivate the plant. However, when the drink made its way to Christians in Europe, who had been at war with Muslim countries for centuries, it was not exactly received with open arms. However, after Pope Clement VIII was brought a steaming cup of java and he took a sip, legend has it that he said: “This devil’s drink is delicious. We should cheat the devil by baptizing it.” The beverage has flourished in the Western Hemisphere ever since.
Sports; Basketball 10/16 2017 Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891 to provide a creative and healthy indoor “athletic distraction” for a rowdy class of students during the brutal New England winter. It is believed that Naismith drew up the rules of his new game of basketball in about an hour. Most of these rules still apply today.
Walt Disney 10/16 2017 On this day in 1923, The Walt Disney Company was founded by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney.
U.S. Presidents; Martin Van Buren 10/23 2017 Martin Van Buren is the only U.S. president to learn English as their second language. Van Buren was born on Dec. 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New York (about 20 miles south of Albany), to parents who were fifth generation Dutch. As a result, the Dutch language, which had prevailed for many generations in that part of New York state along the Hudson River, was the first language learned by the future president, who, perhaps ironically, was also the first president to be born a citizen of the United States and not a British subject.
Colonel Sanders 10/23 2017 In a nod to Colonel Sanders’ World Famous recipe, KFC, the Louisville, Ky., based chicken restaurant chain, only follows 11 people on Twitter - the five “Spice” Girls and six men named “Herb.” 
Federal Budget; National Debt 10/23 2017 On this day in 1981, the U.S. national debt crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time. When Ronald Reagan took office in January of that year, the gross domestic debt, as a percentage of the nation’s annual income, had reached its lowest point since 1931: 32.5 percent. However, ever since, the national debt has soared and it now exceeds $20 trillion.
U.S. Capitol; Holidays; Halloween 10/30 2017 In 1862, the military briefly converted the U.S. Capitol into a hospital for wounded Union soldiers. More than 1,000 cots were placed in Statuary Hall before patients were removed later that year. According to legend, at least one soldier never left the building. Over the years, staffers have claimed they have seen the shadow of a soldier among the statues. Other creepy legends about the U.S. Capitol Building from the Architect of the Capitol can be read here. Happy Halloween! 
U.S. Presidency; Secret Service 10/30 2017 Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to have full-time Secret Service protection. With its origin dating back to the end of the Civil War, the Secret Service was originally founded to combat the then-widespread counterfeiting of U.S. currency. In 1901, the agency was asked to begin its protective mission after the assassination of President William McKinley – the third sitting U.S. president to be assassinated. Today, the Secret Service proudly continues to protect both national leaders and visiting foreign dignitaries while helping to secure the nation’s financial infrastructure through financial and cybercrime investigations.
Sports; Baseball; Jackie Robinson 10/30 2017 On this day in 1945, Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers) to break the baseball color line.
U.S. Congress; Speaker Theodore Pomeroy 11/6 2017 To date, 54 individuals have served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Theodore M. Pomeroy of New York has the distinction of serving the shortest term of any of them—only one day. On Mar. 3, 1869, the closing day of the 40th Congress (1867–1869), Pomeroy’s colleagues elected the four-term congressman as speaker as a sign of respect.
U.S. Presidents; Gerald Ford 11/6 2017 President Gerald Ford’s birth name was Leslie Lynch King Jr. Ford was born on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Neb. His parents, Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer King, separated soon after his birth and after they divorced his mother moved with her son to Grand Rapids, Michigan. There she met and married a local paint salesman, Gerald Rudolph Ford, and they began calling her son Gerald R. Ford Jr. (though his name wouldn’t be legally changed until 1935).

Ford had a close relationship with his stepfather, despite learning at 13 that he was not his biological father. When he was 17, Ford met Leslie L. King for the first time; he later spoke bitterly of the encounter (King had neglected to pay his court-ordered child support) and said he had never truly forgiven his father.
U.S. Presidents; Abraham Lincoln; Jefferson Davis 11/6 2017 On this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic Party, becoming the first Republican to win the presidency. By the time of Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded, and the Confederate States of America had been formally established. Coincidentally, also on this day, in 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected president of the Confederate States of America. He ran without opposition, and the election simply confirmed the decision that had been made by the Confederate Congress earlier in the year.
Benjamin Franklin 11/13 2017 On this day in 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend, his famous line, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The words were actually just the second half of a sentence he’d written in a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy. It was shortly after the United States Constitution had been ratified, and his entire sentence was this: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency, but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
U.S. Elections 11/13 2017 In 1845, Congress decided that voting day would be the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which was after the fall harvest and before harsh winter conditions made travel too difficult. In the 1800's, most citizens worked as farmers  and lived far from their polling place and many traveled at least a day to vote. Weekends were impractical, since most people spent Sundays in church, and Wednesday was market day for farmers.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 11/13 2017 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits of individuals are at their lowest level in more than a decade. But for two people in the United States, their chance of being audited is 100 percent every year—the U.S. president and vice president. According to the IRS, the practice of doing a "mandatory examination" of the presidential and vice-presidential tax returns has been in the Internal Revenue Manual since the Watergate era.
Federal Laws; Income Tax; 16th Amendment 11/27 2017 Congress passed a national income tax in 1894, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Company. The court said it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state, in violation of Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution. After the Pollock decision, two forces, Populists and Prohibitionists, joined together to get Congress and at least 36 states to make the income tax legal via the 16th Amendment. Populists thought more people, especially those with higher incomes, should pay taxes. Prohibitionists realized the  income  tax was needed to replace lost taxes on alcohol sales.
U.S. Holidays; Thanksgiving; Abraham Lincoln 11/27 2017 In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. 

Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
U.S. Presidents; Andrew Jackson 11/27 2017 Andrew Jackson’s inauguration party was so wild that Jackson snuck out of the White House and spent the night at a hotel. Finally, servants dragged tubs of punch out on the lawn to lure out the crowds.
U.S. Presidents; John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush, Donald Trump 12/4 2017 Five U.S. presidents have been elected without winning the popular vote: John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888), George W. Bush (2000), and Donald Trump (2016). However, John Quincy Adams is the only president to have lost both the popular vote and the electoral vote. As no candidate had received the majority of electoral votes in the election of 1824, the House of Representatives ultimately voted Adams into the White House, despite the fact that his main opponent in the election, future president Andrew Jackson, beat him in both the popular vote and in the electoral college.
Washington D.C. 12/4 2017 On July 16, 1790, Congress authorized a federal district, now called Washington, D.C., along the Potomac River as part of a grand compromise reached by three Founding Fathers at a Manhattan dinner party. The deal reached by James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton allowed the southern part of the new nation to host the capital, in exchange for legislation mandating the assumption of all of the states' debts by the federal government. The debt-assumption deal, the brainchild of Treasury Secretary Hamilton, established a foundation for stable trading conditions that powered the fledgling nation’s financial system.
U.S. Constitution; Origination Clause 12/4 2017 The Origination Clause in the U.S. Constitution requires that “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” It is generally accepted that the goal of the Origination Clause was to grant the power to tax to the chamber directly elected by the people. 

However, Senate rules place no general limits on the Senate’s power to amend, so the Senate may amend a House bill containing revenues with any other type of revenue provisions. For instance, in the 111th Congress, the Senate amended a House bill that provided tax credits to servicemembers, and inserted in the bill language overhauling the health care system including a number of revenue provisions, which ultimately became the Affordable Care Act.
NASA; Apollo Space Program 12/11 2017 On this day in 1972, Apollo 17 became the sixth and last Apollo mission to land on the moon.
World War 2 12/11 2017 On this day in 1941, Germany and Italy declare war on the United States, following the Americans' declaration of war on the Empire of Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States, in turn, declared war on them.
U.S. States; Indiana 12/11 2017 On this day in 1816, Indiana became the 19th U.S. state.
U.S. Presidents; Benjamin Harrison; Christmas  12/11 2017 President Benjamin Harrison placed the first Christmas tree in the White House in the second floor Oval Room (then used as a family parlor and library) in 1889. It was decorated with candles, toys, and other ornaments designed to impress the Harrison grandchildren.
U.S. Presidents; Calvin Coolidge 12/11 2017 President Calvin Coolidge was known for his quiet demeanor, which earned him the nickname "Silent Cal." In fact, he refused to use the telephone for presidential business while in office. A man of few words, he once said, "If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called on to repeat it." In general, Coolidge didn’t like telephones and refused to even answer them. However, he did enjoy practical jokes, such as buzzing for his bodyguards and then hiding under his desk.
U.S. Holidays; Christmas 12/18 2017 Christmas wasn’t always festive in the United States. In fact, the Puritan settlers banned the holiday from 1659 to 1681, partly because of theology and partly because of the rowdy celebrations that marked the holiday in the 1600s, and celebrating it could cost you a fine of as much as five shillings. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas after they reinvented the holiday and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia. And, since 1870, Dec. 25 has been a federal holiday in the United States. 
Sports; Football 12/18 2017 On this day in 1932, The Chicago Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans in the first NFL Championship Game.

Since the NFL's first season in 1920, the league title had been awarded to the team with the best regular season record based on winning percentage. In 1932, the Spartans and the Bears tied for first place with 6-1 records. So, for the first time in NFL history, a one-game playoff was held to determine the league champion. Because of snowfall and sub-zero wind chill in Chicago, the game was moved indoors and played at the three-year-old Chicago Stadium on a reduced-size field that measured only 80 yards long and was 30 feet narrower than a normal field.
Washington D.C. 12/18 2017 Washington, D.C., is obviously named, in part, for the first president of the United States. But what are the origins of the “District of Columbia”?

In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which not only selected the site of the nation’s capital, it gave the president the authority to appoint three commissioners to oversee the federal city’s development. In September 1791, the commissioners named the new city in honor of Washington and dubbed the district in which it was located the Territory of Columbia. The name Columbia, derived from explorer Christopher Columbus, was used during the American Revolution era as a patriotic reference for the United States. In 1871, the Territory of Columbia officially was renamed District of Columbia.
U.S. Congress; Senate; Sen. Tina Smith 1/8 2018 When Tina Smith, Minnesota’s former Lieutenant Governor, was sworn in last week to replace Senator Al Franken, who resigned the day before among sexual harassment allegations, she became the 22nd woman currently serving in the U.S. Senate, an all-time record.  
NASA 1/8 2018 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) past, present and future are all on symbolic display in an epic logo designed to celebrate its 60th birthday in 2018. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed NASA’s founding legislation, the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act, on July 29, 1958. According to a Jan. 3 release, NASA considers its birthday to be Oct. 1, the day the agency opened for business.
U.S. Presidents; George Washington 1/8 2018 On this day, in 1790, George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address in New York City.
Federal Budget; National Debt 1/8 2018 On this day in 1835, the national debt of the United States was zero for the first and only time. It lasted exactly one year. 
Elections; Voting; African Americans, District of Columbia 1/8 2018 On this day in 1867, Congress overrode President Andrew Johnson’s veto of a bill granting all adult male citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote, and the bill became law. It was the first law in American history that granted African-American men the right to vote. 
Internet Commerce 1/15 2018 According to Internet Retailer, internet sales will account for 17 percent of all retail sales by 2022, up from a projected 12.9 percent in 2017. Approximately 16 million Americans work in the retail sector, which represents 10 percent of the nation’s working population. The online sales growth contributed to a record 7,000 brick-and-mortar store closings in 2017, which in turn contributed to a loss of 36,000 jobs in the sector. 
Martin Luther King, Jr.; Star Trek 1/15 2018 Martin Luther King’s favorite television show was “Star Trek” and it was the only show he allowed his children to stay up late to watch. King believed the show was one of the only examples of equality on American television. This was intentional, as the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, envisioned a better future in which the contemporary strife of the times had been overcome. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1/15 2018 Martin Luther King’s birth name was Michael Luther King, Jr. His father, whose given name was Martin King, chose the name Martin Luther for himself and for his five-year old son after he visited the region of eastern Germany where Martin Luther, the Father of the Reformation, was born, lived and worked.
U.S. Flag 1/22 2018 Robert "Bob" Heft was the designer of the current American 50-star flag. Heft designed the 50-star American Flag in 1958 as a class project in his junior-year high-school history class in Lancaster, Ohio. His teacher gave him a “B-” for the project, but agreed that if the flag design was accepted by Congress, he would reconsider the grade. After enlisting the aid of his congressman to support his flag design, Heft's design was ultimately chosen and adopted by presidential proclamation in 1959. According to Heft, his teacher honored their agreement and changed his grade to an “A” for the project.
U.S. Congress; Speaker; Sam Rayburn 1/22 2018 Samuel Rayburn of Texas is the longest-serving speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rayburn served as speaker for a total of 17 years, two months, and two days.
U.S. Supreme Court; Roe v. Wade 1/22 2018 On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all 50 states.
Sports; Super Bowl; Commercials; Apple 1/22 2018 On this day in 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII.
Secretary of State; Madeleine Albright  1/22 2018 On this day in 1997, the U.S. Senate confirmed Madeleine Albright as the first female secretary of state.
Government Shutdown 1/22 2018 On this day in 2018, the federal government reopened after a three-day lapse in funding.
Tomato Trial; Salem, New Jersey 1/29 2018 On Sept. 25, 1820, Salem, New Jersey, held a “trial” against… tomatoes.

In the 19th century, the public in Europe and the United States believed that tomatoes were poisonous. To dispel this myth, Colonel Robert Johnston announced that he would eat an entire bag of them outside the courthouse in Salem. Hundreds of people reportedly came to the courthouse to watch him die, and a band played a funeral march while Johnston ate. Not dying after consumption, public opinion of tomatoes changed, which paved the way for them to flourish as a staple of American cuisine. 
U.S. Presidency; State of the Union 1/29 2018 While the State of the Union address is now commonplace in modern American politics, the idea of a president personally delivering a speech in Congress was considered unthinkable for nearly half of the nation’s history. In 1913, just a month into his presidency, President Woodrow Wilson changed that when he became the first president since John Adams to deliver a speech in the halls of Congress. Eight months later, he returned to Capitol Hill to give a State of the Union address, which has more-or-less been followed ever since. Wilson believed that the framers of the Constitution had made a mistake in delineating such a strong separation of powers among the three branches of government. Read more from the Washington Post.
U.S. States; Kansas 1/29 2018 On this Day, Jan. 29, in 1861, Kansas was admitted as the 34th U.S. state.
Automobile; Karl Benz 1/29 2018 On this day in 1886, Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.
U.S. Congress; Sen. Charles Curtis; Native Americans 1/29 2018 On this day in 1907, Charles Curtis of Kansas became the first U.S. Senator with Native American ancestry. Curtis, a Republican, also went on to become the 31st Vice President of the United States, where he became the first person with acknowledged non-European ancestry to reach either of the highest offices in the Executive Branch. 
U.S. Congress; Senate; Candy Desk 2/5 2018 The U.S. Senate is steeped in tradition. Some, however, are more light-hearted than others. Once such tradition began in 1965 with the so-called “Candy Desk”. Senator George Murphy (R) of California originated the practice of keeping a supply of candy in his desk for the enjoyment of fellow senators. In every Congress since, a candy desk has been located in the back row of the Republican side of the chamber. The desk's current occupant is Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (R).
Federal Lands 2/5 2018 The federal government owns roughly 640 million acres, about 28 percent, of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States. However, the amount and percentage of federally owned land in each state varies widely as federal land ownership is generally concentrated in the West. For instance, the federal government owns 0.3 percent of land in the states of Connecticut and Iowa, while it owns 79.6 percent of land in Nevada. Moreover, 61.3 percent of Alaska is federally owned and 46.4 percent of the 11 coterminous western states is federally owned. By contrast, the federal government owns 4.2 percent of lands in the other states.
Berlin Wall 2/5 2018 As of today, the Berlin Wall has now been down for as long as it stood dividing its city, with 10,316 days having elapsed since the barrier was pulled down by the German capital’s inhabitants. The guarded concrete wall was a flashpoint between East and West throughout the Cold War and stood for more than 28 years. 
Mardi Gras 2/12 2018 The first North American Mardi Gras was celebrated in Alabama (sorry, Louisiana).

French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville arrived in what is now modern-day Mobile, Ala., on Fat Tuesday, 1699. He named the location Point du Mardi Gras and threw a little party. In the years that followed, French travelers would come to the spot explicitly for Fat Tuesday celebrations. To this day, Mobile claims to hold the oldest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country. Visit this Town and Country Magazine article or more facts about Mardi Gras.
Sports; Winter Olympics 2/12 2018 Confused of the order of the parade of nations during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics?

As is true at every Olympics, the teams enter the stadium alphabetically, according to the alphabet of the host country. Additionally, Greece, the host of the ancient Olympics as well as the host of the first modern games, always enters first and the host nation marches in last.
Same-Sex Marriage 2/12 2018 On this day, in 2004, the city of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom. (The licenses were later nullified.)
U.S. Presidency; Line-Item Veto 2/12 2018 On this day in 1998, a U.S. federal judge declared that the presidential line-item veto was unconstitutional.
Washington D.C.; Lincoln Memorial 2/12 2018 On this day in 1915, in Washington, D.C., the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was put into place on the 16th president’s birthday.
Sept. 11, 2001 2/26 2018 Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the first terror attack on the World Trade Center. The attack, which killed six people and injured more than a thousand others, involved Islamic terrorists who blew up a 1,200 pound bomb in an underground parking garage in an attempt to collapse the twin towers. 
U.S. Congress; African Americans 2/26 2018 Since 1870, when Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Representative Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first African Americans to serve in Congress, a total of 153 African Americans have served as U.S. Representatives, Delegates, or Senators.
Federal Laws; National Currency Act (1863) 2/26 2018 On Feb. 25, 1863, 155 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the National Currency Act (later called the “National Bank Act”), which was the first attempt to establish a central bank following the failures of the First and Second Banks of the United States. The law aim to address the hodge-podge of local banks, local money, and conflicting regulatory standards that existed before the Civil War. The act allowed for the creation of national banks, planned for a national currency, and gave the federal government the ability to sell war bonds and securities.
U.S. Presidency; Inauguration 3/5 2018 Until the adoption of the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1933, U.S. presidents where inaugurated on March 4. However, the first president, George Washington, was not inaugurated until April 30. Although Congress had scheduled the first inauguration for March 4, 1789, they were unable to count the electoral ballots as early as anticipated.
U.S. Presidency; Inauguration 3/5 2018 Before the 20th Amendment, presidential inaugurations were typically held on March 4. However, when the March 4 fell on a Sunday, as it did in 1821, 1849, 1877, and 1917, the ceremonies were held on March 5.

In 1877, March 4 fell on a Sunday, so on March 3, 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes became the first president to take the oath of office in the White House during a private ceremony. Hayes’ also took the oath in a public ceremony on March 5.

On March 4, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson became the first person to break precedent and take the oath of office on Sunday, which was also the first time that the oath was taken privately in the President's Room at the Capitol.

Also, Inauguration day has only fallen on a Sunday three times since the passage of the 20th Amendment. In all three instances, the presidents were sworn in during a private ceremony on Sunday, followed by a public ceremony on Monday.
State Attorney General 3/12 2018 The attorney general is popularly elected in most every state (43). However, the chief law enforcement officer is selected by secret ballot by the state legislature in Maine, by the state Supreme Court in Tennessee, and by the governor in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Wyoming.
Homeland Security; Tom Ridge 3/12 2018 On this day in 2002U.S. Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge unveiled a color-coded system for terror warnings.
U.S. Attorney General; Janet Reno 3/12 2018 On this day in 1993, Janet Reno was sworn in as the first female U.S. attorney general.
Secret Service; Richard Nixon 3/12 2018 On this day in 1985, former U.S. President Richard M. Nixon announced that he planned to drop Secret Service protection and hire his own bodyguards in an effort to lower the deficit by $3 million.
Fireside Chats; Franklin D. Roosevelt 3/12 2018 On this day in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This was also the first of his "fireside chats."
Federal Laws; Prohibition 3/19 2018 Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only states to reject the ratification of the 18th Amendment, which effectively established the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. The 18th Amendment was repealed after 13 years of prohibition by the 21st Amendment, which is unique among the 27 amendments because it is the only one to repeal a prior amendment. Also, it is only amendment to have been ratified by state ratifying conventions rather than state legislatures.
C-SPAN 3/19 2018 On this day in 1979, the United States House of Representatives began broadcasting its day-to-day business via the cable television network C-SPAN.
Gambling; Nevada 3/19 2018 On this day in 1931, Nevada legalized gambling. The supporters of Assembly Bill 98 (Chapter 99, Statutes of Nevada 1931) were victorious as it was passed by the Legislature (Senate vote: 13 to 3; Assembly vote: 24 to 1) and signed by Governor Fred B. Balzar on March 19, 1931. Nevada would never be the same.
Time Zones 3/19 2018 1918, Congress established time zones and approved Daylight Saving time, S.1854, Public, No. 106.
Bank Holiday; Franklin D. Roosevelt 3/19 2018 Thirty-six hours after his inauguration on March 4, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a "bank holiday," which closed all U.S. banks and froze all financial transactions for a week to stem bank runs during the financial crisis of the Great Depression. Following the bank holiday, on March 9, Congress introduced, passed, and the president signed the Emergency Banking Relief Act, which allowed banks to reopen as soon as examiners had found them to be financially secure. Within three days, 5,000 banks had been given permission to be re-opened.
Sports; Baseball 3/26 2018 Baseball season begins this week on Thursday, which will be the first time since 1968 that all 30 teams begin play on the same day.    
Sports; Baseball; William Howard Taft; Harry Truman 3/26 2018 On Opening Day of the 1910 baseball season, William Howard Taft became the first president to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Since then, every president besides Jimmy Carter has thrown at least one ceremonial first ball for Opening Day, the All-Star Game, or the World Series.

Harry Truman was the only president to throw out left-handed and right-handed first pitches on Opening Day. He showcased his ambidextrous talents on April 18, 1950.
Sports; Baseball 3/26 2018 Only once in history has each player on a professional baseball team finished a game with the same batting average with which they started.

That team was the 1940 Chicago White Sox, who entered and exited their April 16 game against the Cleveland Indians with a batting average of .000.

The reason? On April 16, 1940, Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller threw the first and only Opening Day no-hitter in history.
U.S. Presidency; First Ladies 4/09 2018

On April 20, 1933, Amelia Earhart broke up a White House dinner party when she invited Eleanor Roosevelt to go on a flight to Baltimore and back.

Dressed in their evening clothes, the two abandoned their dinner guests and went to Hoover Field in Arlington, Va., the first airport to open in the area, and climbed aboard an Eastern Air Transport twin-engine Curtis Condor. Earhart, dressed in a white silk gown and wearing white kid gloves, was at the controls of the plane for most of the flight. Roosevelt, who had just received her student pilot's license, was by Earhart's side. "I'd love to do it myself. I make no bones about it," Roosevelt told The Sun. "It does mark an epoch, doesn't it, when a girl in an evening dress and slippers can pilot a plane at night."

Vocabulary; Fiscal 4/09 2018 The term “earmark” derives from the practice of tagging or removing the ears of livestock—“earmarking”—to indicate ownership. 
Transportation; New Jersey 4/09 2018 New Jersey’s official state animal is the horse for good reason. The state has more horses per square mile than any other state. New Jersey has more than 4,000 horse farms and is home to the U.S. Equestrian Team.
U.S. Senate; Pregnancy 4/16 2018

Until last Monday, no U.S. senator had ever given birth while in office. That changed on April 9 when Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) gave birth to her second child, a baby girl.

It’s familiar territory for Illinois’ junior senator. In 2013, while serving in the House, Duckworth became the 10th woman to give birth while serving in Congress.   

U.S. Presidency; Foreign Trade 4/16 2018 President John F. Kennedy ordered more than 1,000 Cuban cigars for personal use just hours before he made them illegal. Kennedy askedhis press secretary and fellow cigar smoker Pierre Salinger to obtain “1,000 Petit Upmanns” on Feb. 6, 1962, so he could have them in his hands before they were deemed contraband. The next morning, as soon as he learned that 1,200 Cuban cigars had been bought for him, he signed the decree to ban all of the communist state's products from the U.S.
Holidays; Taxation 4/16 2018

Every year since 1955, taxes have been due on April 15 ... with exceptions. Like the last two years. And this year, when taxes are due on April 17.

Why? This year, April 15 fell on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day fell on a Monday. Emancipation Day is a holiday unique to Washington, D.C., that is celebrated on April 16, the date in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the District. Since Emancipation Day is a legal holiday in D.C., which means the IRS offices are closed, it has the same effect on taxes as a national legal holiday.

U.S. Presidency; Gambling 4/23 2018

Richard Nixon was so good at pokerthat most of his first campaign for the House of Representatives was funded by poker winnings from his time in the U.S. Navy.

Journalism; International 4/23 2018

On April 18, 1930, the BBC reported, "There is no news." Instead they played piano music.

Internet History; Youtube

4/23

2018 On this day in 2005, the first ever YouTube video, titled "Me at the zoo, was published by user "jawed."
U.S. Industry; Coca-Cola 4/23 2018 On this day in 1985, Coca-Cola changed its formula and released New Coke. The response was overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula was back on the market in less than three months.
U.S. Presidency; Military 4/23 2018 On this day in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an act creating the U.S. Army Reserve.
Sports; Baseball 4/23 2018 On this day in 1914, the first Major League Baseball game was played at Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park, in Chicago.
U.S. Presidency; Facilities 4/23 2018 On this day in 1789, President George Washington moved into Franklin House, New York. It was the first executive mansion, located on 3 Cherry St., New York.
  4/23 2018 On this day in 1635, the first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, was founded in Boston.
U.S. Presidency; Accension 4/30 2018 Daniel Webster, who ran for president and lost three times, declined the vice presidency twice, thinking it a worthless office. Both presidents who offered it later died in office, meaning that if he had accepted, he would’ve become president after all.
Religion; Catholicism  4/30 2018 Subsidiarity is an organizing principle created by the Roman Catholic Church stating that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Catholic teachings argue that subsidiarity is an ethic to apply even to political governance. Essentially stating that political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority. Subsidiarity is perhaps presently best known as a general principle of European Union law, stating “the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at a central level or at regional and local level.”
U.S. History; Louisiana Purchase 4/30 2018 On this date in 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was signed: The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.
U.S. History; Louisiana 4/30 2018 On this date in 1812, the Territory of Orleans became the 18th U.S. state under the name Louisiana.
U.S. History; Hawaii 4/30 2018 On this date in 1900, the Hawaiian Organic Act was enacted by Congress to establish Hawaii as a territory of the United States and to provide a Constitution and government for the territory, with Sanford B. Dole as governor.
Terminology; Commonwealths 5/14 2018 Four states—Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—call themselves commonwealths. The distinction between a commonwealth and a state is in name only as there is no difference in their relationship to the nation as a whole. So why are they called commonwealths? Mostly because of the preference of their founders. For example, in Massachusetts, the term commonwealth was preferred by a number of political writers in the years leading up to 1780, when the Massachusetts constitution officially designated the state as such. The preference is believed to have existed perhaps because there was "some anti-monarchial sentiment in using the word commonwealth."
Sports; Baseball 5/14 2018 Just in time for the MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., this summer, the Library of Congress will feature an exhibition about the origins and history of baseball. The handwritten “Laws of Base Ball,” which historians have called the “Magna Carta” of the game after they were decided at a convention in 1857, will be among the artifacts featured in the new exhibition “Baseball Americana” opening June 29 at the Library of Congress. The exhibition will explore baseball’s past and present and how the game has forged a sense of community for players and fans across the country.
Architecture; Diversity 5/14 2018 From Acomo Pueblo in New Mexico, whose 250 structures have been continuously inhabited since the 12th century, to the White Horse Tavern, a bar in Newport, Rhode Island, that opened its doors in 1673, America's buildings are as historic as they are diverse.  
U.S. History; Vexilology 5/21 2018 The Daughters of the American Revolution pushed New Mexico to design a contemporary and unique flag in 1920. A contest to design the new state flag was won by archaeologist Harry Mera of Santa Fe, who wanted to highlight the state's Native American Pueblo and Nuevo México Hispano roots. The flag features the sacred symbol of the sun for the Zia, a Native American tribe from New Mexico. Four is a sacred number that symbolizes the Circle of Life: the four directions, the four times of day, the four stages of life, and the four seasons. The circle binds the four elements of four together.
Vexilology; New Mexico 5/21 2018 The New Mexico flag is only one of four U.S. state flags not to contain the color blue—the other three are Alabama, California and Maryland.
Political Parties; Democratic 5/21 2018 On this date in 1832, in the U.S., the Democratic Party held its first national convention.
U.S. History; Red Cross 5/21 2018 On this date in 1881, the American Red Cross was established by Clara Barton in Washington, D.C.
  5/21 2018 On this date in 1927, Charles Lindbergh touched down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Maritime Terminology; Idioms 5/21 2018 The term “feeling blue” originated at sea. If a deep water sailing ship lost its captain or one of its officers during its voyage, it would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along its hull while returning home. Now, the term means to feel sad.
Supreme Court; Facilities 6/11 2018 The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) functioned at various different locations before it actually got its permanent address. Initially, the court met in New York City in the Merchants Exchange Building before it moved to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in 1790. In 1800, the court was moved to Washington, D.C, along with the federal government, but still did not have a building of its own, and therefore met inside the U.S. Capitol. It wasn’t until 1935 that the Supreme Court got its own building, right across from the Capitol, where it has been ever since.  
Terminology; Civil War 6/11 2018 Now a synonym for “due date” or “time limit,” the word “deadline” was originally used much more literally.  During the Civil War, prisoners in the Andersonville Confederate Prison were confined within a stockade that was approximately 15 feet high, of roughly hewn pine logs, about 8 inches in diameter, inserted 5 feet into the ground, enclosing an area of 540 by 260 yards. A railing around the inside of the stockade, and about 20 feet from it, constituted the “deadline,” beyond which the prisoners were not allowed to pass or were at risk of being shot.
Sports; Nascar 6/11 2018 Technically a state driver’s license is not required to compete in NASCAR. In fact, multiple professional racers have had their licenses suspended but have still been able to compete. Kyle Busch had his license suspended for driving 128 mph on a 45 mph street, but was still allowed to race. Back in 2004, Scott Wimmer failed a breathalyzer test, but still competed in the Daytona 500 and other races.
U.S. Presidency; Facilities  6/11 2018 Camp David, located about 60 miles north of Washington, D.C., in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain Park, has served as a retreat for U.S. presidents since the early 1940s. Formally called Naval Support Facility Thurmont, the compound originally was referred to as Shangri-La by Franklin Roosevelt, the first chief executive to visit. In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower renamed the retreat Camp David, after his grandson. His reason: Shangri-la was "just a little too fancy for a Kansas farm boy."
Numismatics; Quarters 6/11 2018 On Feb. 7, 2018, the United States Mint joined the National Park Service to celebrate the release of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program coin honoring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. The coin is the first of five America the Beautiful quarters to be issued in 2018, and the 41st release in the series.
U.S. History; Continental Congress 6/11 2018 On this date in 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston to a committee to draft a declaration of independence.
U.S. Military; Female Generals 6/11 2018 On this date in 1970, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington officially receive their ranks as U.S. Army Generals, becoming the first women to do so.
Supreme Court; U.S. Flag 6/11 2018 On this date in 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that would prohibit the desecration of the American flag.
Measurements; Time 6/18 2018 A moment is an actual measure of time that lasts about 90 seconds. The unit of measurement dates back to 1398, when John of Trevisa wrote that there are 40 moments in an hour. Over the past 600 years, the meaning of the word changed, and is now defined as “a very brief period of time,” but if we want to go off the original meaning, it’s 90 seconds 
U.S. Presidency; Ulysses S. Grant 6/18 2018 Ulysses S. Grant was a gifted writer. After leaving the presidency, Grant became ill and was financially destitute. His memoirs, written as he was dying from throat cancer, show a clear, concise style, and his autobiography, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, is considered among the best, if not the best, written by a president.
Police; Los Angeles; Female Officers 6/18 2018 Alice Stebbins Wells was the first American-born female police officer in the United States, hired in 1910 in Los Angeles. Previously a minister in Kansas, Wells joined the Los Angeles Police Department after petitioning the mayor, police commissioner and the Los Angeles city council to better aid other women and children who were victims of crime. Wells went on to become the founder and first president of the International Association of Police Women, and traveled America and Canada to promote female officers.
World History; Athenians 6/25 2018 Soon after their victory over the Persians at the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., the Athenians began the practice of ostracism, a form of election designed to curb the power of any rising tyrant. Once a year the people would meet and take a vote to determine if anyone was becoming too powerful and was able to establish a tyranny. If a simple majority voted yes, they met again two months later. At this second meeting, if at least 6,000 votes were cast, the man with the most votes lost and was exiled for 10 years.
U.S. Industry; Boeing 6/25 2018 Spanning 98.3 acres, Boeing’s final assembly factory in Everett, Wash., is the world’s largest building by volume. Seventy-five football fields could fit inside the building and the Boeing Everett campus is big enough to encompass Disneyland with 12 acres left over for parking. More than 30,000 people work at Boeing Everett, which has its own fire department, security team, day care center and fitness center.
U.S. Military; Seal Team Six 6/25 2018 SEAL Team Six, a special forces counter-terrorist unit, was formed in October 1980 after the failed mission to end the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. Although it was just the third Navy SEAL team, Richard Marcinko, the unit’s first commander, named it SEAL Team Six to confuse Soviet Intelligence as to the number of actual SEAL teams in existence. 
U.S. History; American Legends 7/9 2018 Johnny Appleseed was a real man, but his apples weren’t meant to be eaten. Beginning in 1792, the Ohio Company of Associates made a deal with potential settlers of the West: anyone willing to form a permanent homestead on the frontier would be granted 100 acres of land if they planted 50 apple trees and 20 peach trees in three years. Given the difficulty of planting orchards, John Chapman “Johnny Appleseed” advanced ahead of the settlers, cultivated orchards and then sold them when the settlers arrived. Given that apple cider provided those on the frontier with a safe, stable source of drink, most of the apples from the trees planted by Chapman ultimately became cider.
U.S. Government; Central Intelligence Agency 7/9 2018 “Store Number 1” is the official name of the Starbucks in CIA headquarters. The coffee shop, affectionately known as “Stealthy Starbucks,” looks like most every other Starbucks and is one of the busiest in the country. However, you won’t find names on cups or any rewards cards here. Given the secrecy and security of the building, officials fear that names and the data stored on award cards could jeopardize national security as well as the safety of agents. 
Industry; Play-Doh 7/9 2018 Play-Doh was originally wallpaper cleaner. In the late 1920s, Cleo McVicker, an employee of the Cincinnati-based Kutol Products soap company, negotiated a contract with Kroger grocery stores to manufacture ready-made wallpaper cleaner that could remove coal residue from wallpaper. Although they had never made wallpaper cleaner before, Cleo and her brother Noah developed a non-toxic, malleable clay-like compound made from water, salt and flour. The product kept the company afloat and successful for another 20 years. It wasn’t until 1955, when wallpaper cleaner sales began to plummet, that a relative of the McVickers’, a school teacher, first used the product as a play object. The rest, as they say, is history.
Supreme Court; Nominees 7/16 2018

Since the establishment of the Supreme Court in 1789, presidents have submitted 162 nominations for the court. Of the 162, the Senate confirmed 125, though seven have declined to serve.

Our first president, George Washington, nominated 11 justices to the Supreme Court, the most of any president. President William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson and Jimmy Carter are the only presidents not to nominate a confirmed Supreme Court Justice.

Birth Rate; Baby Booms 7/16 2018

The euphoria and excitement of major sporting events, such as the World Cup, is believed to lead to sharp increases of births in the host country as well as the winning nation. In 2006, German hospitals reported a sharp rise in births nine months after the country hosted the World Cup and finished third. The same thing happened in Iceland nine months after their historic win against England at the 2016 Euro Cup.

In Washington, D.C., a similar baby boom may have occurred in 2013 as a result of the 17-day shutdown of the federal government.

Memorials; Korean War 7/23 2018 On July 27, 1995, the presidents of the United States and the Republic of Korea dedicated the Korean War Veterans Memorial, located on the National Mall, on the 42nd anniversary of the war's end. The memorial consists of an open triangle filled with 19 stainless-steel figures representing the 4 U.S. military branches who look as if they are on patrol. Surrounding the soldiers is a wall filled with etchings made from war-related photographs. Another wall lists 22 members of the United Nations that contributed troops or medical support to the Korean War effort.
Food; Ice Cream Cones 7/23 2018 On July 23, 1904, according to some accounts, Charles E. Menches conceived the idea of filling a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream and thereby invented the ice cream cone. However, he is one of several claimants to that honor. Interestingly, these individuals have in common the fact that they all made or sold confections at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. It is from the time of the Fair that the edible “cornucopia,” a cone made from a rolled waffle, vaulted into popularity in the United States.”
Film Industry; Trailers 7/23 2018 Movie “trailers” got their name because they were originally shown after the main attraction. It wasn’t until the late 1930s that theaters began showing trailers before the feature film.