Special Report

The Most Important Event in Every State's History

Source: Theo Stroomer / Getty Images

6. Colorado
> Event: Legalization of marijuana
> Year: 2012
> Location: Statewide

Nationwide support for marijuana legalization has slowly increased since the 1970s, but one of the biggest victories for cannabis advocates came in Colorado in 2012, when the state voted to legalize pot for recreational consumption for anyone over 21. Previously, states only allowed medical marijuana, but required a prescription from a doctor.

This law is in direct violation of federal laws banning marijuana, but there has so far been no federal crackdown on cannabis sales. Both Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana on election day in 2012, but Colorado was a bit quicker in drafting rules to sell it, so it gets the nod as the first state to legalize pot.


Source: Connecticuthistory.org, a program of Connecticut humanities

7. Connecticut
> Event: First colonial constitution
> Year: 1639
> Location: Hartford

About 150 years before the United States Constitution was ratified, Connecticut adopted the first colonial constitution in 1639. The document was titled “Fundamental Orders” and was written mostly by lawyer Roger Ludlow and outlined the framework of government that placed the well-being of the community above that of the individual. The document contained the notion that the basis for authority originates from the “free consent of the people.” This document paved the way for the U.S. Constitution still in use to this day, and Connecticut is still known as the “Constitution State”.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

8. Delaware
> Event: First state to join the U.S.
> Year: 1787
> Location: Statewide

Known as “The First State,” Delaware was the first of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution, making it the first member of the United States of America. While some states were somewhat skeptical of this new document, Delaware’s delegation voted to ratify it unanimously, 30-0, on Dec. 7, 1787.

Many states in the Constitutional Convention were much slower to adopt the constitution. Virginia and New York held out until 1788; North Carolina refused to sign before the Bill of Rights was introduced in 1789; and Rhode Island became the last of the 13 states to approve the Constitution in 1790.

Source: NASA

9. Florida
> Event: Launch of Apollo 11
> Year: 1969
> Location: Cape Canaveral

Neil Armstrong and Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin were the first humans to set foot on the moon, and Apollo 11 got them there. They lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral (then called Cape Kennedy) on July 16, 1969. Cape Canaveral became the site for launching rockets into space because rockets taking off from an East Coast location got a boost from the Earth’s spin. The launching facility was located near the ocean in case of accidents.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Georgia
> Event: Trail of Tears
> Year: 1831
> Location: Statewide

The forced removal of Native Americans from their homelands, known as the Trail of Tears, took place across several Southern states. However, it is particularly connected to Georgia as the state was involved in two influential court cases that set the stage for the removal.

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia affirmed that the indigenous tribes could operate as sovereign nations. However, President Andrew Jackson ignored the rulings. From 1831 to 1840, tens of thousands of Native Americans were relocated west. Thousands did not survive the trip.

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