President: Lyndon B. Johnson (D–Texas) (until January 20), Richard Nixon (R–California) (starting January 20)
Vice President: Hubert Humphrey (D–Minnesota) (until January 20), Spiro Agnew (R–Maryland) (starting January 20)
Chief Justice: Earl Warren (California) (until June 23), Warren E. Burger (Minnesota) (starting June 23)
Speaker of the House of Representatives: John William McCormack (D–Massachusetts)
Senate Majority Leader: Mike Mansfield (D–Montana)
Congress: 90th (until January 3), 91st (starting January 3)
January 1 – Ohio State defeats USC in the Rose Bowl to win the national title for the 1968 season.
January 9 – In Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Institution displays the art of Winslow Homer for 6 weeks.
January 12 – Super Bowl III: The New York Jets of the American Football League defeat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts of the National Football League 16–7.
January 13 – Elvis Presley steps into American Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, recording "Long Black Limousine" thus beginning the recording of what becomes his landmark comeback sessions for the albums "From Elvis In Memphis" and "Back in Memphis." The sessions yield the popular and critically acclaimed singles "Suspicious Minds", "In the Ghetto" and "Kentucky Rain."
January 14 – An explosion aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise near Hawaii kills 27 and injures 314.
January 16 – Ten paintings are defaced in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
January 20 – Richard M. Nixon succeeds Lyndon B. Johnson as the 37th President of the United States.
January 27 – The modern-day powerhouse of the Hetch Hetchy Project at Moccasin, California, rated at 100,000 kVA, is completed and placed in operation. On February 7, the original is removed from service.
January 28 – 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill: A blowout on Union Oil's Platform A in the Dos Cuadras Offshore Oil Field spills 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil into a channel and onto the beaches of Santa Barbara County in Southern California; on February 5 the oil spill closes Santa Barbara's harbor. The incident inspires Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to organize the first Earth Day in 1970.
February 8 – The last issue of The Saturday Evening Post in its original form hits magazine stands after 147 years.
February 9 – The Boeing 747 makes its maiden flight, from Paine Field at Everett, Washington.
February 17 – Aquanaut Berry L. Cannon dies of carbon dioxide poisoning while attempting to repair the SEALAB III habitat off San Clemente Island, California.
The Mariner 6 Mars probe is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the First Amendment applies to public schools.
In a Los Angeles court, Sirhan Sirhan admits that he killed presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.
Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 9 (James McDivitt, David Scott, Rusty Schweickart) to test the lunar module.
March 10 – In Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. (he later retracts his guilty plea).
March 13 – Apollo program: Apollo 9 returns safely to Earth after testing the Lunar Module.
March 28 – Former United States General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower dies after a long illness in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C..
April – A grassroots movement of Berkeley community members seizes an empty lot owned by the University of California to begin the formation of "People's Park."
April 9 – The Harvard University Administration Building is seized by close to 300 students, mostly members of the Students for a Democratic Society. Before the takeover ends, 45 are injured and 184 arrested.
May 10 – Zip to Zap, a harbinger of the Woodstock Concert, ends with the dispersal and eviction of youth and young adults at Zap, North Dakota by the National Guard.
May 15 – A teenager known as 'Robert R.' dies in St. Louis, Missouri, of a baffling medical condition. In 1984 it will be identified as the first confirmed case of HIV/AIDS in North America.
May 18 – Apollo program: Apollo 10 (Tom Stafford, Gene Cernan, John Young) is launched, on the full dress-rehearsal for the Moon landing.
May 20 – United States National Guard helicopters spray skin-stinging powder on anti-war protesters in California.
May 22 – Apollo program: Apollo 10's lunar module flies to within 15,400 m of the Moon's surface.
May 26 – Apollo program: Apollo 10 returns to Earth, after a successful 8-day test of all the components needed for the upcoming first manned Moon landing.
June 3 – Melbourne-Evans collision: The Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21) (Melbourne) collides with the U.S. destroyer Frank E. Evans in the South China Sea; 74 U.S. sailors are killed.
June 8 – U.S. President Richard Nixon and South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu meet at Midway Island. Nixon announces that 25,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn by September.
June 18–22 – The National Convention of the Students for a Democratic Society, held in Chicago, collapses, and the Weatherman faction seizes control of the SDS National Office. Thereafter, any activity run from the National Office or bearing the name of SDS is Weatherman-controlled.
June 23 – Warren E. Burger is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States by retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren.
June 28 – The Stonewall riots in New York City mark the start of the modern gay rights movement in the U.S.
July 8 – Vietnam War: The very first U.S. troop withdrawals are made.
July 14 – The $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills are officially removed from circulation.
July 16 – Apollo program: Apollo 11 (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins) lifts off toward the first human landing on the Moon.
July 17 – The New York Times publicly takes back the ridicule of the rocket scientist Robert H. Goddard published on 13 January 1920 that spaceflight is impossible.
July 18 – Chappaquiddick incident – Edward M. Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Mary Jo Kopechne, a former campaign aide to his brother, dies in the early morning hours of July 19 in the submerged car.
July 20–21 – Apollo program: The Lunar Module Eagle lands on the lunar surface. The world watches in awe as Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps on the Moon.
July 24 – Apollo program: Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins return safely to Earth after the first landing on the Moon.
July 25 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard Nixon declares the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the United States now expects its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense. This starts the "Vietnamization" of the war.
July 30 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon makes an unscheduled visit to South Vietnam, meeting with President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu and U.S. military commanders.
August 4 – Vietnam War: At the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, U.S. representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy begin secret peace negotiations. They eventually fail since both sides cannot agree to any terms.
August 5 – Mariner program: Mariner 7 makes its closest fly-by of Mars (3,524 kilometers).
August 9 – Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder Sharon Tate, (who was 8 months pregnant), and her friends: Folgers coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring at Roman Polanski's home in Los Angeles. Also killed was Steven Parent, leaving from a visit to the Polanskis' caretaker. More than 100 stab wounds are found on the victims, except for Parent, who had been shot almost as soon as the Manson Family entered the property.
August 10 – The Manson Family kills Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, wealthy Los Angeles business people.
August 15–18 – The Woodstock Festival is held in upstate New York, featuring some of the top rock musicians of the era.
August 17 – Category 5 Hurricane Camille, the most powerful tropical cyclonic system at landfall in history, hits the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage (1969 dollars).
August 20 – Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is established in Florissant, Colorado, USA
September 2 – The first automatic teller machine in the United States is installed in Rockville Centre, New York.
September 5 – My Lai Massacre: Lieutenant William Calley is charged with 6 counts of premeditated murder, for the deaths of 109 Vietnamese civilians in My Lai.
September 6 – Children's TV series H.R. Pufnstuf begins its run on NBC.
September 9 – Allegheny Airlines Flight 853 DC-9 collides in flight with a Piper PA-28, and crashes near Fairland, Indiana USA.
September 20 – The very last Warner Bros. cartoon of the original theatrical Looney Tunes series is released: Injun Trouble.
September 23 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid directed by George Roy Hill, written by William Goldman, and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford opens to limited release in the U.S.
September 24 – The Chicago Eight trial begins in Chicago, Illinois.
September 26 – The Brady Bunch premieres on ABC.
October 2 – A 1.2 megaton thermonuclear device is tested at Amchitka Island, Alaska. This test is code-named Project Milrow, the 11th test of the Operation Mandrel 1969–1970 underground nuclear test series. This test is known as a "calibration shot" to test if the island is fit for larger underground nuclear detonations.
October 9–12 – Days of Rage: In Chicago, the United States National Guard is called in to control demonstrations involving the radical Weathermen, in connection with the "Chicago Eight" Trial.
October 15 – Vietnam War: Hundreds of thousands of people take part in antiwar demonstrations across the United States.
October 16 – The "miracle" New York Mets win the World Series, beating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 1.
October 17– Fourteen black athletes are kicked off the University of Wyoming football team for wearing black armbands into their coach's office.
October 31 – Wal-Mart incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
November 3 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon addresses the nation on television and radio, asking the "silent majority" to join him in solidarity with the Vietnam War effort, and to support his policies. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew denounces the President's critics as 'an effete corps of impudent snobs' and 'nattering nabobs of negativism'.
November 12 – Vietnam War – My Lai Massacre: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the My Lai story.
November 14 – Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 12 (Pete Conrad, Richard Gordon, Alan Bean), the second manned mission to the Moon.
Cold War: The Soviet submarine K-19 collides with the American submarine USS Gato in the Barents Sea.
Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 250,000–500,000 protesters stage a peaceful demonstration against the war, including a symbolic "March Against Death".
Dave Thomas opens his first restaurant in a former steakhouse on a cold, snowy Saturday in downtown Columbus, Ohio. He names the chain Wendy's after his 8-year-old daughter Melinda Lou (nicknamed Wendy by her siblings).
November 17 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, to begin the SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.
November 19 – Apollo program: Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean land at Oceanus Procellarum ("Ocean of Storms"), becoming the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon.
November 20 – Vietnam War: The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) publishes explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Sato agree in Washington, D.C. to the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972. Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. retains rights to military bases on the island, but they must be nuclear-free.
The United States Senate votes down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement Haynsworth, the first such rejection since 1930.
November 24 – Apollo program: The Apollo 12 spacecraft splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to the Moon.
November 25 – John Lennon returns his MBE medal to protest the British government's support of the U.S. war in Vietnam.
December 1 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States is held since World War II (on January 4, 1970, the New York Times will run a long article, "Statisticians Charge Draft Lottery Was Not Random").
December 2 – The Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes its debut. It carries 191 people, most of them reporters and photographers, from Seattle to New York City.
December 4 – Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are shot dead in their sleep during a raid by 14 Chicago police officers.
December 6 – The Altamont Free Concert is held at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. Hosted by the Rolling Stones, it is an attempt at a "Woodstock West" and is best known for the uproar of violence that occurred. It is viewed by many as the "end of the sixties."
December 12 – The Piazza Fontana bombing in Italy (Strage di Piazza Fontana) takes place. A U.S. Navy officer and C.I.A. agent called David Carrett is later investigated for possible involvement.
The first Gap store opens, in San Francisco.
Reported as being the year the first strain of the AIDS virus (HIV) migrated to the United States via Haiti.
A grassroots movement of Berkeley community members seizes an empty lot owned by the University of California to begin the formation of "People's Park."
The notorious weather station of Mount Washington, New Hampshire records the heaviest calendar year precipitation in the US east of the Cascades with 130.14 inches (3,305.6 mm), beating the previous record of Rosman, North Carolina by 0.54 inches (13.7 mm).
Cold War (1945–1991)
Space Race (1957–1975)
Vietnam War, U.S. involvement (1962–1973)
Détente (c. 1969–1979)
1969 in the United States Wikipedia
Events from the year 1969 in the United States.