1. The first college founded in America north of Mexico was founded by French Jesuits in Quebec in 1635. Harvard was the first college founded in the British colonies the following year.
2. The first written constitution in the Americas was the Fundamental Orders, written for the Connecticut Colony at its founding in 1639. This document is considered the first written constitution not only in America, but the world as well.
3. There were two firsts in the category for magazine. Two Philadelphia-based political periodicals, both published in February 1741, share the honor. One was the American Magazine or A Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies published by Andrew Bradford. The other was the General Magazine and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations published by Benjamin Franklin. They both folded within the first year.
4. The first cookbook published in the United States was from 1796. It was called American Cookery by Amelia Simmons and was published under the pen name An American Orphan. There were four editions of the cookbook between 1796 and 1808.
5. The first U.S. federal prison was established in Auburn, New York in 1821. The Auburn Method used in subsequent prisons began there. Inmates were required to work silently in groups. When they weren’t working inmates were confined to their cells and were required to be silent so as to meditate on their crimes.
6. The first U.S. warship to make it around the world was a sloop named the Vincennes between the years 1829 and 1931. President Andrew Jackson used this action as a show of force to protect American commerce in the Pacific.
7. The first American steam railroad to carry passengers and freight was the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It began in 1830 and was powered by the Tom Thumb locomotive built by Peter Cooper.
8. The first U.S. president photographed while in office was James K. Polk in 1849.
9. The first Socialist elected to the U.S. Congress was Wisconsin’s Victor Berger elected in 1911.
10. The first movie to be shown in the White House was D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation during the administration of Woodrow Wilson.
11. The first person to receive a Social Security check was Ida May Fuller in 1940. The check was for a grand total of $22.54.
12. Walter F. Mondale and Robert Dole took part in the first vice presidential debate in the 1976 presidential election between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
13. The first atomic powered submarine launched from Groton, Connecticut in 1954. It was named the Nautilus.
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