Congress establishes Post Office, appoints Ben Franklin (1775)
On July 26, 1775, the Second Continental Congress made Benjamin Franklin the first Postmaster General.
His salary as Postmaster General was $1,000 per year, according to the United States Postal Service - Franklin was in charge of of mail from "Massachusetts to Georgia."
Franklin, a future contributor to the Declaration of Independence, was a respected statesman of his time.
He served as a United States Minister to France and Sweden, and the President of Pennsylvania.
Franklin was also an accomplished author, inventor and journalist, as well. He is still a central figure in United States history.
New York ratifies the Constitution (1788)
Over six months after Pennsylvania ratified the Constitution, New York became the 11th state do so – on July 26, 1788.
New York, now the fourth most populous state, has long been a cultural and economic beacon for the United States. The New York City-centered metropolitan area is the most economically productive metro area in the world, by GMP standards.
The city is iconic worldwide for the restlessness of Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. It is also by far the largest metro area in the country, and top 10 in the world.
Liberia declares independence (1847)
A young man from Virginia declared the West African country of Liberia an independent country on July 26, 1847 – that man was an African American named Joseph Jenkins Roberts.
Roberts, a child of freed-slaves, immigrated to Liberia in 1829.
He opened his own business before entering politics – identifying as a Republican.
He swerved twice as Liberia’s president and worked as a general and diplomat in between.
His birthday - March 15 – is still a national holiday in Liberia; and Liberia’s main airport is named after him.
Roberts died just after the end of his second presidential tenure, on February 24, 1876. He was 66 years old.
Attorney General Bonaparte founds FBI (1908)
On July 26, 1908, the Bureau of Investigation (the BOI) was established – its purpose was to serve as a domestic intelligence and security service for the United States, ring any bells?
Founded by Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte, a descendent of the French Emperor Napoleon, it was reformed into the FBI in 1935, by J. Edgar Hoover.
Director Hoover, who led the BOI from 1924-1935, then served as director of the FBI until 1972 – a 48 year tenure likely never to be matched (the 10-year term limit was implemented after his tenure).
The FBI’s headquarters is still named after him, but not without contention. Hoover is known to have violated civil liberties in an effort to achieve security, so his reputation is contested.
The BOI turned FBI is still considered the chief domestic law enforcement agency of the United States.
Winston Churchill resigns (1945)
On July 26, 1945, just months after Germany had surrendered in Europe; Japan still waging war in Asia, Winston Churchill resigned after the opposition-British Labour Party took control of Parliament.
Churchill, one of the few world leaders to take a moral opposition to vocally disagree with Hitler on moral grounds prior to the war, has a complicated reputation in European history. He is considered neither a strong military strategist nor politician, but served twice as Prime Minister – once again in the early 1950s, after previously resigning.
“Bumbling, impulsive, bombastic, and frequently drunk,” Sage Stossel of The Atlantic Magazine said of Churchill, though many consider Churchill to be a statesman and unifying force during the terribly violent Second World War.
“If we can stand up to (Hitler), all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands,” said then-Prime Minister Churchill, in the British House of Commons (6/18/1940). “If we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for will sink into the abyss of a new dark age.”
Truman creates the CIA (1947)
On July 26, 1947 President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act into law, creating the Central Intelligence Agency – the United States’ chief foreign intelligence agency.
The act also merged the Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment; created the Department of the Air Force; and most notably created the first peacetime, non-military, foreign intelligence agency.
The CIA has played important roles in major geopolitical affairs, such as the Cold War, the Korean War, and most wars with American involvement in the Middle East.
The most notable CIA controversies have stemmed from domestic wiretapping of American citizens - often in relation to “suspected communists” in the 1960s, regardless of truth – and human rights concerns.
The agency is one of the top intelligence agencies in the world, serving as a major part of the United States large intelligence force.
Apollo 15 takes flight (1971)
On July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 took off for the moon.
One of the last manned-lunar landings, Apollo 15 was a two day mission on earth’s orbiter.
The crew reportedly collected over 100 pounds of lunar surface material for NASA research.
The crew returned to Earth on August 7.
President George H. W. Bush signs the ADA (1990)
Exactly 19 years later, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the shining moments of his brief presidency.
The elder Bush, Vice President under Ronald Reagan, signed the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, changing American infrastructure policy forever.
What seems like commonplace today was an extensive overhaul of American public accommodations.
Despite foreign policy difficulties arisen from the Gulf War and humanitarian crisis in Somalia, the ADA was a great change in American domestic policy, improving access for people with disabilities throughout the nation.
Wall Street suffers major losses (2007)
On July 26, 2007, the United States stock market took one of its biggest hits prior to the ‘Great Recession.’
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped over 300 points, showing signs of struggling specifically in the housing sector, according to CNNMoney.
What was then an ominous sign of things to come is now an obvious a prelude to the market crash of December 2007.
That recession is considered to be worst financial period since the Great Depression.
It took nearly five years for the stock market to return to the levels of 2007 – reaching the lowest point in February of 2009.
The Dodd-Frank Act was passed to stabilize the market a year later.
Hillary Clinton becomes first female nominee of major party (2016)
One year ago today, Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee of a major American political party.
Clinton, a former Secretary of State, ran for President in 2008 and 2012.
Wife of former-President Bill Clinton, Hillary holds a Yale Law Degree and served as a Senator for the state of New York from 2001-2009.
Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million, but lost the Electoral College by several states despite being a safe bet to win in most national polls.
Clinton lost several Obama-won states that turned the election to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s favor.
Clinton, known as a moderate democrat, was scored as a very liberal candidate during her time in the United States Senate, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.
She is still one of the most recognizable women in politics today.