Issues & Insights

Think Jan. 6 Was A Big Deal? Here Are 30 Far More Significant Events On That Day In History

The rest of the nation may have moved on, but Democrats are determined to squeeze the events of a year ago for every ounce of political juice they can from the events that happened at the U.S. Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants to mark the day as “an observance of reflection, remembrance, and recommitment.” President Joe Biden plans to speak on the Capitol steps. The press is providing saturation coverage.

Not only does the public not care, but polls show that voters are currently more inclined to vote for Donald Trump – the supposed instigator of the “insurrection” – than Biden.

They know the only reason Democrats want to keep the focus on Jan. 6 is because they think it will help them politically. Never Trumpers want to keep Jan. 6 alive because they hope it will keep him from ever holding elective office again.

Yes, the attack on the Capitol building was outrageously stupid, and we’re all in favor of those who broke the law being punished. But in our view, there have been many other events that also happened to take place throughout history on Jan. 6 that are far more deserving of presidential speeches, prayer vigils, remembrances and the like.

And so, without further ado, here is our list. (Feel free to use the comments section below to suggest any that we might have overlooked.)

1017: Cnut the Great crowned King of England in London by Lyfing, archbishop of Canterbury.

1412: Joan of Arc is born.

1494: The first mass in the New World is celebrated at La Isabela, Hispaniola.

1540: King Henry VIII of England married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

1580: Capt. John Smith of Jamestown and Pocahantas fame is born.

1649: The English Rump Parliament votes to put Charles I on trial for treason and other “high crimes.”

1759: George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis.

1836: Author Harriet Beecher weds educator Calvin Ellis Stowe in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1838: Samuel Morse demonstrates the telegraph machine for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey.

1861: Maryland Gov. Thomas Hicks announces his opposition to the state’s possible secession from the Union.

1912: New Mexico is admitted to the U.S. as the nation’s 47th state.

1912: Danny Thomas is born in Deerfield, Michigan.

1912: Geophysicist and meteorologist Alfred Wegener presents his controversial theory of continental drift in a lecture at the Geological Association.

1914: Stock brokerage firm of Merrill Lynch founded.

1929: Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta to begin her ministry with India’s poorest.

1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks Congress to support the Lend-lease Bill to help supply the Allies.

1942: Roosevelt authorizes the largest military buildup in the history of the United States a month after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

1957: Elvis Presley makes his seventh and final appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

1963: “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” with Marlin Perkins begins on NBC.

1967: “Milton Berle Show” last airs on ABC-TV.

1973: “Schoolhouse Rock” premieres on ABC-TV with Multiplication Rock.

1975: “Wheel of Fortune” premieres on NBC hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

1979: The Village People’s “Y.M.C.A” becomes the United Kingdom’s No. 1 single. At its peak it sold more than 150,000 copies a day.

1987: The 100th U.S. Congress convenes.

1987: University of California astronomers witness the birth of a galaxy that contains 1 billion stars.

1994: Dow-Jones hits record 3803.88.

1994: Olympic hopeful Nancy Kerrigan was injured by an attack set up by the husband of rival skater Tonya Harding.

2001: Congress certifies George W. Bush as the winner of the 2000 election (after the congressional black caucus attempts an insurrection by trying to block the counting of Florida’s electoral votes).

2013: The NHL reaches an agreement to end a 113-day lockout.

2021: More than 50 pro-democracy activists rounded up and arrested in Hong Kong.

That last item on the list is particularly noteworthy in the current context.

Ask yourself how many people wringing their hands today about the future of democracy are even aware that there was an actual suppression of democracy going on that very same day?

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

Correction: We had the year wrong for Morse’s telegraph demonstration. It’s fixed in the above.

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Samuel Morse first demonstrated his telegraph on Jan. 11 1838, not Jan. 6, 1938, By 1938, Morse had been dead for 56 years.

  • January 6th is the Church’s traditional celebration of Epiphany — the Magis’ visit to the newborn Christ child.

  • Donald Trump was defeated for reelection as president in 2020 and, insulated in a cocoon of hubris, immense self-regard and megalomania, instigated an attempt to betray our democracy by usurping the pro-forma tabulation of Electoral College votes that signified the Democratic victory. The attack on the Capitol that day by supporters of the former president was nothing less than an assault on our government. It is profoundly disturbing that so few Republican officeholders will publicly acknowledge the bid to subvert long established electoral procedures, especially as no proof of irregularities sufficient to overturn the presidential tally has come forth. It is as if fear of Donald Trump in Republican circles has replaced love of country and respect for democracy.

    • On Jan. 6, 2022, a liberal brainwashed democrat posted the most illogical and ridiculous post concerning PRESIDENT DONALD J TRUMP! The entire post should go down as the most idiotic utterance in democrat infamy! Every word posted was a LIE, including all the “the’s” and “and’s”! It was pure rubbish, and it was pure democrat induced delusion of the TRUTH! He is not to be scorned – no, he is to be PITIED! He is nothing more than the average illiterate democrat – not illiterate in reading and writing – but illiterate in LIFE! He’s easy to recognize in public as he’ll be the one alone in his car, window rolled down, yelling at people, and all the time wearing a mask! He is to be pitied because he is indeed PITIFUL!! Pray for a democrat for they know not what they do – they only do as they are TOLD!

  • Interesting note on Henry VIII in 1540! It wasn’t until several years later that he married the widow next door and became HER EIGTH husband! Then he OFFICIALLY became Henry the 8th! But no, that’s not true! In fact, it was HENERY the EIGTH! Everyone confuses Henry III the King with HENERY who couldn’t manage to keep a wife! Amazing what can be learned on Al Gore’s internet!

  • Why did Nancy Pelosi and DC Mayor Bowser refuse the 10,000 to 20,000 thousand National Guard troops that President Trump offered to send to protect the Capitol that day on Jan 6th? Because they already had their insurrectionist in place to make sure that it was anything but a peaceful protest. The National Guard troops would have foiled their plans.

  • I’m not at all convinced that the protesters who were invited in to the Capitol Building by Capitol Police constituted a “riot”. The film and commentary I saw indicated that they walked around, obeying the red velvet ropes peacefully looking at the building. (What riot?)

  • With any luck, Jan 6th in future years will be significant as well. It would be a GREAT day for donald trump to report to Federal prison! It would be a GREAT day for Fox News to go bankrupt after paying restitution to Dominion Systems. It would be a great day for Hannity to file for unemployment.

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