Updated:
Original:
Year
1811
Month Day
January 02

First censuring of a U.S. senator

Senator Timothy Pickering, a Federalist from Massachusetts, becomes the first senator to be censured when the Senate approves a censure motion against him by a vote of 20 to seven. Pickering was accused of violating congressional law by publicly revealing secret documents communicated by the president to the Senate.

During the Revolutionary War, Pickering served as General George Washington’s adjutant general and in 1791 was appointed postmaster general by President Washington. In 1795, he briefly served as Washington’s secretary of war before being appointed secretary of state in 1795. He retained his post under the administration of President John Adams but was dismissed in 1800, when Adams, a moderate Federalist, learned that he had been plotting with Alexander Hamilton to steer the United States into war with revolutionary France. Returning to Massachusetts, he was elected a U.S. senator, but resigned after he was censured for revealing to the public secret foreign policy documents sent by the president to Congress. An outspoken opponent of the War of 1812, Pickering was elected as a representative from Massachusetts in 1813 and served two terms before retiring from politics.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Georgia enters the Union

Georgia votes to ratify the U.S. Constitution, becoming the fourth state in the modern United States. Named after King George II, Georgia was first settled by Europeans in 1733, when a group of British debtors led by English philanthropist James E. Oglethorpe traveled up the ...read more

Russian fleet surrenders at Port Arthur

During the Russo-Japanese War, Port Arthur, the Russian naval base in China, falls to Japanese naval forces under Admiral Heihachiro Togo. It was the first in a series of defeats that by June turned the tide of the imperial conflict irrevocably against Russia. In February 1904, ...read more

Reconquest of Spain

The kingdom of Granada falls to the Christian forces of King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I, and the Moors lose their last foothold in Spain. Located at the confluence of the Darro and Genil rivers in southern Spain, the city of Granada was a Moorish fortress that rose to ...read more

U.S.-Russia detente ends

On this day in 1980, in a strong reaction to the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter asks the Senate to postpone action on the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty and recalls the U.S. ambassador to Moscow. These actions sent a message that the age of ...read more

The Yorkshire Ripper is apprehended

The so-called Yorkshire Ripper is finally caught by British police, ending one of the largest manhunts in history. For five years, investigators had pursued every lead in an effort to stop the serial killer who terrorized Northern England, but the end came out of pure ...read more

Congress publishes the Tory Act

The Continental Congress publishes the “Tory Act” resolution on this day in 1776, which describes how colonies should handle those Americans who remain loyal to the British and King George. The act called on colonial committees to indoctrinate those “honest and well-meaning, ...read more