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May 1 ( ):
May 2 ():
May 3 ():
- 1469 – Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian and political author, was born
- 1802 – Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city
May 4 ():
- 1776 – Rhode Island declared its independence from Great Britain, two months before the Declaration of Independence.
May 5 ():
- 1818 – Karl Marx, opponent of capitalism and author of The Communist Manifesto, was born.
- 2011 – Jose Guerena, a Marine with no criminal record, was shot to death by a SWAT team in his home.
May 6 ():
- 1863 – Clement Vallandigham's trial in a military court began, following his arrest for maligning President Abraham Lincoln and criticizing the American Civil War.
May 7 ():
May 8 ():
May 9 ():
- 1950 – Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, which according to him was indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. This proposal, known as the "Schuman declaration", is considered by some people to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.
May 10 ():
- 1773 – The British Parliament, in the midst of the Crisis of 1772, passed the Tea Act, thereby expanding the monopoly of the East India Company over all British colonies.
May 12 ():
- 1933 – The Agricultural Adjustment Act is enacted, reducing agricultural production by paying farmers to reduce crop area.
May 13 ():
- 1888 – Under pressure from trade partners, Brazil completely abolished slavery without significant violence, despite having imported over three million slaves during its history.
May 14 ():
May 15 ():
- 1846 – Great Britain's Parliament voted to repeal the tariffs on grain known as the Corn Laws.
- 1939 – The Supreme Court ruled that a heavy tax on the ownership of a short-barreled shotgun was not a violation of the 2nd amendment.
May 16 ():
- 1966 – The Communist Party of China issues the "May 16 Notice", marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.
- 1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government an imprisonable offense.
May 17 ():
May 18 ():
- 1917 – The US Congress passed the Selective Service Act, imposing conscription after few men volunteer to fight in World War I.
May 19 ():
- 1828 – The Tariff of 1828, or "Tariff of Abominations," was enacted, establishing the highest tariffs in US history.
- 1986 – The Firearm Owners Protection Act was enacted with the Hughes Amendment intact, which prohibited the entrance of automatic firearms into the civilian market.
May 20 ():
May 21 ():
May 22 ():
- 1964 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the goals of his Great Society social reforms to bring an "end to poverty and racial injustice" in America.
May 23 ():
- 1861 – Virginia citizens voted to confirm secession from the United States following Abraham Lincoln's call to raise troops to preserve the Union.
May 24 ():
- 1844 – Samuel Morse made the first transmission via telegraph, from Washington, DC to Baltimore, Maryland.
May 25 ():
- 1624 – The English Parliament passed the first modern patent law, entitled the Statute of Monopolies.
May 26 ():
- 1938 – The House Committee on Un-American Activities was established in the United States to investigate alleged instances of disloyalty and subversion.
May 27 ():
- 1935 – The US Supreme Court declared the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States.
May 28 ():
- 1830 – US President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the removal of Indian tribes to areas west of the Mississippi River.
May 29 ():
- 1765 – By a 20–19 vote, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed five resolves in opposition to the Stamp Act.
- 1911 – The Sullivan Act was enacted in New York, requiring a permit for possession or carrying of any concealable gun.
May 30 ():
- 1854 – Byron Paine completed his argument before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, contending that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was unconstitutional.