In 1639: French Cardinal Richelieu invented the table knife when he ordered that all knives at his table be rounded at the top.
In 1804: Napoleon became emperor of France.
In 1860: The Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln for President.
In 1866: Congress authorizes the minting of a five-cent coin, soon nicknamed the nickel.
In 1916: Congress proposed the 17th amendment, calling for the direct election of U.S. senators. Up until then, senators were chosen by state legislatures.