On this day in 1776 the Declaration of Independence is read publicly for the first time in Philadelphia, and the Liberty Bell is rung in celebration. There has been much debate about when the famous crack occurred, but the bell became famous for ringing in the freedom of the new nation.
On this day in 1853 Commodore Mathew Perry sailed his fleet of ships into Tokyo Bay to start trade negotiations with Japan. Japan had been a closed country to trade for many hundreds of years when it created an exclusive trade clause with the Dutch. Commodore Perry set out with the intent to get their collective finger in the Japanese pie, as it were. Because of his tactics he was able to secure rights for the United States to trade in Japan and have a foothold in the far east.
On this day in 1889 the Wall Street Journal is published for the first time. The financial goings on in New York had become important enough by the end of the 19th century to affect the global economy, and the publication of this newspaper just showed how the day to day trends in the stock market were very important.
On this day in 1896 William Jennings Bryan gave his Cross of Gold speech in Chicago. Bryan was the leader of a Democratic Party movement to change from the gold standard to the silver standard. This would have increased inflation at a time of relative stability and deflation, and would have increased revenue for farmers.
On this day in 1932 the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level at 41.22 during the great depression. It would take a world war to completely pull the US out of the depression, but things could only go up from here.
On this day in 1947 reports of a UFO crash near the small New Mexico town of Rosswell reached newspapers. The entire city has cashed in on this phenomena ever since. Why are aliens so interested in desert areas. Why don't they ever abduct Eskimos? It was a government aircraft in the midst of the cold war. Deal with it.