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October 1 ( ):
- 1851 – A fugitive slave was rescued from arrest in Syracuse, New York, but thanks to jury nullification, only one of 26 indictments led to a conviction.
- 1987 – Florida liberalized its concealed carry laws, becoming the first state in decades to set up a "shall-issue" system, in which a permit is issued automatically once an individual passes a background check.
October 2 ():
- 1968 – Days before the 1968 Summer Olympics, civilian protesters in Mexico City were shot and killed by Mexican military.
October 3 ():
- 1913 – US President Woodrow Wilson signed the Revenue Act of 1913, lowering tariffs but reinstituting the income tax following passage of the 16th amendment.
- 1965 – US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, replacing the immigration quota system based on national origin with a system emphasizing relationships with current US citizens.
- 2008 – US President George W. Bush signed the Emergency Economic Stablization Act of 2008, thereby bailing out a number of struggling corporations considered "too big to fail."
October 4 ():
October 5 ():
- 1947 – President Harry Truman, in the very first presidential address from the White House to be televised, asks Americans to cut back on their use of grain in order to help starving Europeans.
- 1986 - The Iran-Contra scandal is made public, ending in 11 members of the Reagan administration being convicted of various crimes.
October 7 ():
- 1913 – Henry Ford's entire Highland Park, Michigan automobile factory is run on a continuously moving assembly line, dropping the necessary time to build one "Model T" from 12-1/2 hours to 93 minutes in one year. This allowed him to achieve his dream of producing an automobile everyone could afford.
- 1949 - East Germany comes into existence.
- 2001 - The US-led attack on Afghanistan begins.
October 9 ():
- 1974 – F. A. Hayek won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his work on business cycle theory.
October 10 ():
- 1798 – Matthew Lyon, a Vermont congressman, was convicted of violating the Sedition Act for criticizing President John Adams.
- 1957 – Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the book she considered her magnum opus, was released.
- 1973 – Ludwig von Mises, one of the founders of the Austrian School of Economics, died.
October 12 ():
- 1998 – The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed by the US Congress, and was signed into law two weeks later by President Clinton.
October 19 ():
- 1987 – On Black Monday, stock markets around the world crashed, including a 500 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
October 20 ():
- 1774 – The First Continental Congress adopted the Continental Association, a voluntary boycott of Great Britain.
- 1803 – The US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, 24–7.
October 24 ():
- 1945 – The United Nations came into existence, with five permanent Security Council members: France, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union.
October 25 ():
- 1983 – The United States invaded Grenada amid opposition from the United Nations, resulting in over 400 Grenadian and Cuban casualties.
October 26 ():
- 2001 – President George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act, giving law enforcement and the federal government greater power to violate civil liberties.
October 27 ():
- 1787 – Alexander Hamilton released the first issue of The Federalist, defending the Constitution and the nationalist viewpoint during the ratification debate.
October 28 ():
October 29 ():
- 1929 – On Black Tuesday, the Dow fell more than 11% for the second straight day, closing at 230.07 for a two-day decline of 71.15 points.
October 30 ():
- 1840 – William Graham Sumner, American classical liberal academic, was born.
- 1995 – 49.4% of votes cast in a Quebec referendum supported secession from Canada.