The Dred Scott ruling was made. (1857) The US Supreme Court issued a ruling that a slave, Dred Scott, could not sue to gain his freedom even if his master took him into a "free" state. The decision was extremely influential in shaping legislation about slavery, and deeply undermined the platform of the Republican Party, led by Abraham Lincoln.
Bayer patented aspirin. (1899) Friedrich Bayer and Co. patented the now popular painkiller in Berlin on this day. The main ingredient of aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, had been used since ancient times, though Bayer's company was the first to offer it in a convenient and stable pill form. It quickly gained popularity, and at one time was the most used painkiller in the world.
The Rosenberg trial began. (1951) Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with selling nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. Though there was little direct evidence, the Rosenbergs were convicted and eventually executed.
The Zapruder film was shown on TV for the first time. (1975) The Zapruder film was a home movie taken of the Kennedy assassination. Considered too graphic to be shown originally, it was first shown on network TV on this day on the show Good Night America, where it shocked viewers and led to a renewed investigation into the assassination.
The periodic table was first presented in public. (1869) Dmitri Mendeleev presented the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society, and predicted the addition of three more elements in the near future. Mendeleev's predictions were right, and he is credited with writing the first periodic table.
The first dental college opened. (1840) The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery opened on this day after being chartered by the Maryland General Assembly. It was the first place to offer the DDS certification that all American dentists now have.
Walter Cronkite signed off from the news for the last time. (1981) Cronkite was a pillar of the news industry, and a fixture in many American homes. He presented the CBS Evening News for 19 years, and covered historical events like the Nuremberg Trials, the first moon landing, the assassination of Kennedy, and the Watergate scandal.
The White House confirmed that it was sending Marines to Vietnam. (1965) A government announcement confirmed that two battalions of Marines were sent to Da Nang to work at the air base there. It was the beginning of more than ten years of US involvement in Vietnam.
The Missouri Compromise was signed into law. (1850) The compromise was a turning point in American history, since it determined that all states added below a certain latitude would be "slave" states, while those above would be "free" states. It was put together to try to hold the already fragile union together for a few more years, but fell apart with the Civil War.
Michelangelo was born. (1475) Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the foremost Renaissance artists, was born in the small village of Caprese on this day. He revolutionized Western painting and sculpture, and is known for his sculpture David, Pieta, and his mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, among other things.