In 1816, the first savings bank in the United States, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, opened for business.
In 1823, President James Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October.
In 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.
In 1954, the U.S. Senate passed, 67-22, a resolution condemning Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., saying he had “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”
In 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first full-scale commercial nuclear facility in the U.S., began operations. (The reactor ceased operating in 1982.)
In 1969, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet got its first public preview as 191 people, most of them reporters and photographers, flew from Seattle to New York City.
In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors under its first director, William D. Ruckelshaus.
In 1980, four American churchwomen were raped and murdered in El Salvador. (Five national guardsmen were convicted in the killings.)
In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.
In 1990, composer Aaron Copland died in North Tarrytown, New York, at age 90. Actor Bob Cummings died in Woodland Hills, California, at age 80.
In 1993, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot to death by security forces in Medellin.
In 2009, a day after President Barack Obama announced plans to deploy 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan, leading congressional Democrats said they had serious misgivings but would not try to stop the deployments. Republicans said they supported the force increase even as they questioned Obama’s July 2011 deadline to start bringing troops home. Tiger Woods issued a statement saying he’d let his family down with “transgressions” that he regretted “with all of my heart,” and that he would deal with his personal life behind closed doors.
In 2014, Israel’s divided government fell apart as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired two rebellious Cabinet ministers and called for a new election more than two years ahead of schedule. Islamic militants killed 36 quarry workers in northern Kenya who they believed were non-Muslims.
In 2015, a couple loyal to Islamic State opened fire at a holiday banquet for public employees in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 people and wounding 21 others before dying in a shootout with police.