January 1, 1863 – The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the states rebelling against the Union. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/
January 3, 1959 – Alaska was admitted as the 49th U.S. state with a land mass that is more than twice as large as Texas.
January 4, 1790 – President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address. http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/ref/blfirstsou.htm
January 5, 1972 – President Richard Nixon signed a bill approving $5.5 billion over six years to build and test the NASA space shuttle.
January 8, 1815 – The Battle of New Orleans occurred as General Andrew Jackson and American troops inflicted over 2,000 casualties against the British. Both sides were unaware that peace had been declared two weeks earlier ending the War of 1812.
January 10, 1878 – An Amendment granting women the right to vote was introduced in Congress by California Senator A.A. Sargent. The amendment passed in 1920.
January 20, 1981 – Ronald Reagan became oldest president of the United States at 69 to take office. He broke his own record with his reelection on Nov. 6, 1984 at age 73
January 21, 1954 – The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, was launched at Groton, Connecticut. http://www.ussnautilus.org/nautilus/
January 23, 1968 – American Navy ship USS Pueblo was seized by North Koreans in the Sea of Japan amid claims the ship was spying. The ship was confiscated and its crew held in captivity until December. http://www.usspueblo.org/Pueblo_Incident/January_23.html
January 27, 1973 – U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended as North Vietnamese and American representatives signed an agreement in Paris. The U.S. agreed thus ending the longest war in American history. Over 58,000 Americans had been killed, 300,000 wounded and 2,500 declared missing.