October 6: A Civil & High-Profile Presidential Debate in Hartford

  The national spotlight landed on Hartford, Connecticut on the evening of October 6, 1996, as presidential candidates Bob Dole and Bill Clinton held the first presidential debate of the campaign season at the Bushnell Theater.  Thanks in part to the influence of Connecticut senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman, the city of Hartford won…

October 5: A Revolt Against the State Income Tax

  One of the largest protests in Connecticut history took place on this day in 1991, as tens of thousands of Connecticans gathered on the lawn of the State Capitol in Hartford to call for the repeal of the brand-new state income tax. 1991 was a tumultuous year in state politics; during the summer, legislators…

September 9: Connecticut’s Two Brother Governors

  When Phineas Chapman Lounsbury of Ridgefield, Connecticut won the Republican party nomination for governor on September 9, 1886, it marked the beginning of a short-lived but unique political dynasty. Phineas would go on to win the governor’s race later that year and serve a single term as Connecticut’s 53rd governor before retiring from political…

August 26: Connecticut Finally Gets A Constitution.

  Today in 1818, delegates to the state’s Constitutional Convention gathered at the State House in Hartford for the first time, charged with the formidable task of restructuring Connecticut state government by creating the state’s first formally written constitution. Writing a new constitution was no small task, given the social, cultural, and political upheaval Connecticut…

August 11: First Forester and Founding Father of Conservation Gifford Pinchot

  The next time you hear someone talking about the sustainable use of our environmental resources, you might want to give thanks to forester and founding father of the modern conservation movement Gifford Pinchot (pronounced “pin-show”), who was born in Simsbury today in 1865. Son of a wealthy merchant family, Pinchot’s passionate early interest in…

July 16: The “Connecticut Compromise” Saves the U.S. Constitution

  Today in 1787, the vision of a new federal government for the fledgling United States of America was saved from the scrap heap of history as the delegates to the Constitutional Convention narrowly voted to adopt a key provision known as the Connecticut Compromise (or, alternately, the Great Compromise). For weeks, delegates had been…

July 5: New Haven Builds A New State Capitol Building.

  From 1701 through 1878, the Colony (and later State) of Connecticut had not one, but two capital cities: Hartford and New Haven. During these 177 years of of shared governance, each co-capital built a series of State Houses to host the Connecticut General Assembly, which would meet in Hartford and New Haven on alternating…

June 30: Middletown’s Dean Acheson Awarded Presidential Medal of Merit

  On June 30, 1947, President Harry Truman awarded Dean Acheson the Medal for Merit, a special honor given to civilians for “exceptionally meritorious conduct” in service of the Allied powers during World War II. The Medal for Merit was awarded for a period of ten years, from 1942 – 1952, and during that time…

June 23: Eminent Domain Redefined in New London

  On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London, a case that redefined — and vastly expanded — the permissible boundaries of eminent domain in the United States. In the year 2000, the New London Development Corporation, acting under the city’s authority, moved to seize over 100 privately-held…

June 21: Governor John Rowland Resigns

  “I acknowledge that my poor judgment brought us here,” said John Rowland to a sea of reporters, standing on the back lawn of the Connecticut Governor’s Mansion in Hartford. The date was June 21, 2004, and Rowland was announcing his resignation amid a federal corruption investigation and impeachment inquiry. His Lieutenant Governor, M. Jodi…

June 13: The Censure of Senator Thomas Dodd

  Today in 1967, the U.S. Senate took up a motion to censure Connecticut Senator Thomas J. Dodd, stemming from accusations of using funds from his reelection campaign for personal use.  Dodd was only one of six people formally censured by the Senate in the 20th century, and the first since Joseph McCarthy in 1954….

June 4: Connecticut Passes the Nation’s First “Lemon Law”

  On this day in 1982, in response to an increasing number of consumer complaints concerning the purchase of defective new automobiles (colloquially known as “lemons”), the Connecticut legislature passed the nation’s first “Lemon Law.” Introduced by freshman representative John J. Woodcock III of South Windsor, the law was loosely modeled on a set of…