On September 26, 1786, protestors shut down the court in Springfield, Massachusetts, beginning a military standoff and ushering in Shays’ Rebellion. This anti-tax revolt spurred a dramatic reaction on the part of the day’s politicians, including their attempts to reform the Articles of Confederation and to figure out better ways than high state taxes to pay off Revolutionary War debts. These efforts directly led to the adoption of a new Constitution.
Three years later, to the day, Thomas Jefferson was appointed the first United States Secretary of State, John Jay (pictured) was appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States, Samuel Osgood was appointed the first United States Postmaster General, and Edmund Randolph was appointed the first United States Attorney General — all under the new Constitution.
In 1960 on this date, John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon engaged in the first televised presidential campaign debates.