25 Years Ago
May 26, 1978 America’s first legal casino outside Nevada opens in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
50 Years Ago
April 1, 1953 Congress establishes the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. On April 11 Oveta Culp Hobby is sworn in as the department’s first Secretary.
April 24–25, 1953 Wayne Morse of Oregon filibusters in the U.S. Senate for 22 hours and 26 minutes in an unsuccessful attempt to block a bill that would return control of offshore oil reserves to the states.
100 Years Ago
May 1, 1903 New Hampshire ends 48 years of statewide prohibition by allowing liquor to be sold by licensed dealers.
May 23, 1903 Wisconsin becomes the first state to institute direct primary elections. By 1948 all states will have done so.
175 Years Ago
April 21, 1828 Noah Webster publishes his American Dictionary of the English Language .
May 19, 1828 President John Quincy Adams signs the protectionist “Tariff of Abominations,” which will infuriate the South nearly to the point of secession.
200 Years Ago
May 2, 1803 In Paris, James Monroe and Robert Livingston sign the Louisiana Purchase treaty, doubling the nation’s size.
May 23, 1803 Commodore Edward Preble is given command of a squadron that will sail to the Mediterranean to battle the pirates of Tripoli.
225 Years Ago
April 23, 1778 The Continental sloop Ranger , commanded by Capt. John Paul Jones, captures two British cargo ships, raids the fort at Whitehaven, England, and then burns a ship in the harbor. The next day it forces the surrender of the HMS Drake .
May 4, 1778 The Continental Congress ratifies a treaty of alliance with France.