What Happened on July 10 in American History?

by oaeen
The Admission of Wyoming as the 44th State

American history is rich with events that have shaped the nation’s identity, governance, culture, and global standing. Among these, the date July 10 stands out with its unique contributions to the historical tapestry. This article explores several pivotal moments that occurred on this day, examining their contexts, implications, and lasting impacts on American history.

See also: What Happened on July 9 in American History?

1. The Inauguration of President Millard Fillmore (1850)

On July 10, 1850, Millard Fillmore was inaugurated as the 13th President of the United States following the death of President Zachary Taylor. Fillmore’s presidency came at a time of significant political and social upheaval, as the nation grappled with issues related to slavery, territorial expansion, and sectional tensions.

Fillmore’s most notable accomplishment as president was his support for the Compromise of 1850, a series of legislative measures aimed at resolving the contentious debate over the expansion of slavery into newly acquired territories. The compromise included the admission of California as a free state, the establishment of territorial governments in Utah and New Mexico with the question of slavery to be decided by popular sovereignty, and the enactment of a stricter Fugitive Slave Law.

While the Compromise of 1850 temporarily eased tensions between the North and South, it ultimately failed to address the underlying issues that would lead to the Civil War a decade later. Fillmore’s support for the Fugitive Slave Law, in particular, drew significant criticism from abolitionists and heightened sectional animosities.

Fillmore’s presidency is often viewed as a transitional period in American history, marked by attempts to find a middle ground in the face of growing divisions. His efforts to maintain national unity and address the complex issues of his time continue to be studied and debated by historians.

2. The Birth of Nikola Tesla (1856)

Nikola Tesla, one of the most influential inventors and engineers in history, was born on July 10, 1856, in Smiljan, Croatia, then part of the Austrian Empire. Tesla’s contributions to the fields of electricity and magnetism have had a lasting impact on modern technology and industrial development.

Tesla immigrated to the United States in 1884 and worked with Thomas Edison before establishing his own laboratories and companies. He is best known for his work on alternating current (AC) electrical systems, which became the standard for electrical power transmission and distribution worldwide. Tesla’s inventions, including the Tesla coil, the induction motor, and wireless communication technologies, have revolutionized the way electricity is generated and used.

Tesla’s innovative ideas and visionary thinking have earned him a place among the greatest inventors of all time. His contributions to the development of modern electrical systems have had a profound impact on industries ranging from telecommunications to manufacturing.

Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks during his career, Tesla’s legacy continues to inspire scientists, engineers, and innovators. His birthday, July 10, is celebrated as Tesla Day in recognition of his groundbreaking achievements and enduring influence on the world of technology.

3. The Admission of South Carolina to the Confederacy (1861)

On July 10, 1861, South Carolina was formally admitted to the Confederate States of America. This event occurred shortly after the state seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, becoming the first state to do so. South Carolina’s secession was a pivotal moment in the lead-up to the Civil War, signaling the deep divisions within the nation over the issue of slavery.

The admission of South Carolina to the Confederacy marked the beginning of a series of secessions by Southern states, which ultimately led to the formation of the Confederate States of America. This new entity, composed of eleven Southern states, sought to establish a separate nation where slavery would be protected and expanded.

The secession of South Carolina and its admission to the Confederacy had profound consequences for the United States. It set the stage for the outbreak of the Civil War, a conflict that would claim over 600,000 lives and fundamentally reshape the nation. The war resulted in the abolition of slavery, the preservation of the Union, and significant changes to the political, social, and economic landscape of the country.

The legacy of South Carolina’s secession and its role in the Confederacy continues to be a topic of study and reflection, as it highlights the deep-seated conflicts and challenges that have shaped American history.

4. The Admission of Wyoming as the 44th State (1890)

On July 10, 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union as the 44th state. This event marked a significant milestone in the westward expansion of the United States and reflected the nation’s growing reach across the continent. Wyoming’s admission came after a long period of territorial governance and development, during which it played a crucial role in the country’s mining and cattle industries.

One of the most notable aspects of Wyoming’s history is its pioneering role in women’s suffrage. In 1869, the Wyoming Territory became the first jurisdiction in the United States to grant women the right to vote, long before the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. This progressive stance on women’s rights was a significant factor in the territory’s push for statehood and remains a proud part of its legacy.

Wyoming’s entry into the Union also highlighted the importance of the region’s natural resources and its strategic significance for the nation’s economic development. The state’s rich deposits of coal, oil, and other minerals have played a vital role in the U.S. economy, while its vast landscapes have become synonymous with the American West.

5. The Scopes “Monkey” Trial Begins (1925)

On July 10, 1925, the Scopes “Monkey” Trial began in Dayton, Tennessee. This landmark legal case pitted science against religion in a highly publicized battle over the teaching of evolution in public schools. The trial centered around John T. Scopes, a high school teacher who was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of human evolution in state-funded schools.

The Scopes Trial attracted national attention and featured two of the most prominent legal figures of the time: William Jennings Bryan, a three-time presidential candidate and staunch opponent of evolution, and Clarence Darrow, a famous defense attorney and advocate for civil liberties. The trial became a focal point for the debate between modern scientific understanding and traditional religious beliefs.

Although Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, the trial had a lasting impact on American society. It highlighted the tensions between science and religion, and it underscored the importance of academic freedom and the separation of church and state. The Scopes Trial remains a pivotal moment in the history of American education and legal thought, symbolizing the ongoing struggle between progressive and conservative forces in the country.

6. The Release of the First Rock and Roll Song to Top Billboard’s Charts (1955)

On July 10, 1955, Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” became the first rock and roll song to top the Billboard charts. This event marked a significant milestone in the history of American music and culture, signaling the emergence of rock and roll as a dominant force in popular music.

“Rock Around the Clock” was initially released in 1954 but gained widespread popularity after it was featured in the 1955 film “Blackboard Jungle.” The song’s success

helped to bring rock and roll into the mainstream and paved the way for the rise of other iconic artists such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard.

The rise of rock and roll had a profound impact on American culture, challenging traditional norms and values and providing a voice for the emerging youth culture of the 1950s and 1960s. It influenced fashion, attitudes, and social behavior, and it played a crucial role in the cultural and social revolutions of the era.

The success of “Rock Around the Clock” and the subsequent popularity of rock and roll music marked the beginning of a new era in American popular culture, one that continues to shape and influence music and society today.

7. The Launch of Telstar 1 (1962)

On July 10, 1962, Telstar 1, the world’s first active communications satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This event marked a significant milestone in the history of telecommunications and space exploration, paving the way for the global communication systems we rely on today.

Telstar 1 was a joint project between AT&T, NASA, and Bell Telephone Laboratories, and its successful launch demonstrated the potential of satellite technology to revolutionize communication. The satellite was capable of relaying television broadcasts, telephone calls, and data signals across the Atlantic Ocean, linking North America and Europe in real-time for the first time.

The launch of Telstar 1 had a profound impact on the development of global communication networks, leading to the proliferation of satellite technology and the eventual creation of the internet. It also underscored the importance of international collaboration in the advancement of science and technology.

The success of Telstar 1 paved the way for subsequent generations of communication satellites, transforming the way people around the world connect and share information. Its legacy continues to influence the field of telecommunications and remains a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration.

8. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Signed into Law (1964)

While not directly on July 10, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation that profoundly impacted American society and governance. Signed into law on July 2, 1964, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the act aimed to end segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the result of years of struggle and activism by civil rights leaders and organizations who sought to challenge the systemic racism and inequality that permeated American society. The act addressed issues such as unequal access to education, public facilities, and voting rights, and it represented a significant step forward in the fight for racial justice and equality.

The passage of the Civil Rights Act had far-reaching implications for American society. It paved the way for subsequent civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and it laid the foundation for ongoing efforts to combat discrimination and promote social justice.

The legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 continues to be felt today, as the nation continues to grapple with issues of racial inequality and discrimination. It serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and activism in the pursuit of justice and equality for all.

9. The Apollo 11 Mission Announced (1969)

On July 10, 1969, NASA held a press conference to announce the upcoming Apollo 11 mission, which would become one of the most significant achievements in human history. The mission, which aimed to land the first humans on the moon and return them safely to Earth, represented the culmination of years of research, development, and dedication.

The Apollo 11 mission, led by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, successfully launched on July 16, 1969, and landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon, while Collins orbited above in the command module. Armstrong’s iconic words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” captured the significance of the moment and the achievement of a long-held human dream.

The announcement of the Apollo 11 mission marked a pivotal moment in the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, showcasing American technological prowess and innovation. It also inspired a sense of wonder and possibility, demonstrating the potential for human exploration and discovery beyond Earth.

The success of the Apollo 11 mission had a lasting impact on science, technology, and society, paving the way for future space exploration and inspiring generations of scientists, engineers, and dreamers. It remains a symbol of human achievement and the power of curiosity and determination.


July 10 holds a special place in American history, marked by events that have shaped the nation’s identity, governance, culture, and technological advancements. From the admission of Wyoming as a state and the beginning of the Scopes Trial to the launch of Telstar 1 and the announcement of the Apollo 11 mission, these events reflect the dynamic and evolving nature of American society.

The stories of individuals such as Nikola Tesla and Millard Fillmore, as well as the experiences of landmark events like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the founding of the United States Patent Office, highlight the diverse and complex narratives that make up American history. Each event, in its own way, has contributed to the broader tapestry of the nation, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to influence contemporary America.

As we reflect on the events of July 10 in American history, we are reminded of the resilience, innovation, and commitment to progress that characterize the American spirit. These qualities have helped to shape a vibrant and diverse nation, ready to face the challenges and opportunities of the future.

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