President: Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas)
Vice President: Al Gore (D-Tennessee)
Chief Justice: William Rehnquist (Wisconsin)
Speaker of the House of Representatives: Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia)
Senate Majority Leader: Bob Dole (R-Kansas) (until June 12), Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) (starting June 12)
January 7 – One of the worst blizzards in American history hits the eastern states, killing more than 150 people. Philadelphia receives a record 30.7 inches of snowfall, New York City's public schools close for the first time in 18 years and the federal government in Washington, D.C. is closed for days.
January 19 – The North Cape oil spill occurs as an engine fire forces the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. The North Cape barge is pulled along with it and leaks 820,000 gallons of home heating oil.
Whitewater scandal: U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton testifies before a grand jury.
Millionaire philanthropist John Eleuthère du Pont shoots dead his protégé, Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz, at Foxcatcher Farm.
January 28 – Super Bowl XXX: The Dallas Cowboys become the first NFL franchise to win 3 Super Bowls in a span of 4 seasons, as they defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. It is the Cowboys' 5th Super Bowl championship.
February 15 – The U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece comes under mortar fire.
February 17 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Garry Kasparov beats "Deep Blue" in a second chess match.
February 24 – Cuban fighter jets shoot down 2 American aircraft belonging to the Cuban exile group, Brothers to the Rescue. Cuban officials assert that they invaded Cuban airspace.
February 29 – In Lumberton, North Carolina, Daniel Green is convicted of the murder of James Jordan, the father of basketball star Michael Jordan.
March 8 – The People's Republic of China begins surface-to-surface missile testing and military exercises off Taiwanese coastal areas. The United States government condemns the act as provocation, and the Taiwanese government warns of retaliation.
March 19 – In Los Angeles, California, Lyle and Erik Menendez are found guilty of first-degree murder for the shotgun killing of their parents.
An 81-day-long standoff begins between antigovernment Freemen and federal officers in Jordan, Montana.
The 68th Academy Awards, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California with Braveheart winning Best Picture.
A Boeing 737 military jet crashes into a mountain north of Dubrovnik, Croatia. All 35 people on board die, including United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown (see 1996 Croatia USAF CT-43 crash).
Suspected "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski is arrested at his Montana cabin.
April 9 – President Bill Clinton signs the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, granting the U.S. president line-item veto power. The Supreme Court of the United States later finds this law unconstitutional.
April 11 – Jessica Dubroff, 7, is killed in a plane crash in Cheyenne, Wyoming while attempting to set a record as the youngest person to pilot an airplane across the United States.
April 16 – The NBA's 1995–1996 Chicago Bulls, with Michael Jordan's lead, go on to set a new NBA record for the most wins in a season, achieving their 70th win.
May 8 – The Keck II telescope is dedicated in Hawaii.
May 11 – After takeoff from Miami, Florida, a fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592, causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 on board.
May 20 – Gay rights – Romer v. Evans: The Supreme Court of the United States rules against a law that prevents any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of homosexuals.
May 30 – The Hoover Institution releases an optimistic report that global warming will probably reduce mortality in the United States and provide Americans with valuable benefits.
June – Iraq disarmament crisis: As Iraq continues to refuse inspectors access to a number of sites, the U.S. fails in its attempt to build support for military action against Iraq in the UN Security Council.
June 10 – The Colorado Avalanche wins their first Stanley Cup in their first season based out of Denver, Colorado, defeating the Florida Panthers 4 games to none. Avalanche captain Joe Sakic wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
June 12 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a panel of federal judges blocks a law against indecency on the internet. The panel says that the 1996 Communications Decency Act would infringe upon the free speech rights of adults.
June 13 – An 81-day standoff between the Montana Freemen and FBI agents ends with their surrender in Montana.
June 16 – The Chicago Bulls win their fourth NBA Championship by defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the best-of-7 series 4 games to 2.
June 20 – The last fourth generation Chevrolet Corvette rolls off the assembly line at the GM Assembly Plant in Bowling Green Kentucky.
June 25 – The Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia kills 19 U.S. servicemen and one Saudi local.
July 12 – Hurricane Bertha makes landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 storm, causing $270 million in damage to the United States and its possessions and many indirect deaths.
July 17 – Paris and Rome-bound TWA Flight 800 (Boeing 747) explodes off the coast of Long Island, New York, killing all 230 on board.
July 19 – The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, begin.
July 27 – The Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics kills 2 and injures 111.
July 29 – The child protection portion of the Communications Decency Act (1996) is struck down as too broad by a U.S. federal court.
August – The Unemployment Rate drops to 5.1%, the lowest since March 1989, which saw the lowest rate of the previous business cycle.
August 1 – Michael Johnson wins the 200m finals of 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta in a world-record time of 19.32 seconds.
August 6 – NASA announces that the Allan Hills 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, contains evidence of primitive life-forms.
August 15 – Bob Dole is nominated for President of the United States, and Jack Kemp for Vice President, at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California.
August 16 – Binti Jua, a gorilla, saves a three-year-old boy who fell into the 20 foot (6.1 m) deep gorilla enclosure at Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, Illinois.
August 19 – The invasive species Asian long-horned beetle is found in New York.
August 23 – Osama bin Laden writes "The Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places," a call for the removal of American military forces from Saudi Arabia.
August 26 – Bill Clinton signs welfare reform into law.
August 29 - Tiger Woods makes his professional PGA Tour debut at the Greater Milwaukee Open, 4 days after winning his 3rd consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship
August 29 – U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore are renominated at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
August 31 – The Big 12 Conference is inaugurated with a football game between Kansas State University and Texas Tech University in Manhattan, Kansas.
Iraq disarmament crisis: As Iraq continues to refuse inspectors access to a number of sites, the U.S. fails in its attempt to build support for military action against Iraq in the UN Security Council.
The U.S. launches Operation Desert Strike against Iraq in reaction to the attack on Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
September 5 – Hurricane Fran makes landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115 mph, just weeks prior to the landfall of Hurricane Bertha near the same location. It caused $3.2 billion in damages and claimed a total of 27 lives.
September 13 – Tupac Shakur dies after being shot on September 7 after attending the Mike Tyson – Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand Las Vegas in Paradise, Nevada.
September 14 – USA wins the inaugural 1996 World Cup of Hockey by defeating Canada.
September 24 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the United Nations.
October 2 – The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments are signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton.
October 14 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average gains 40.62 to close at 6,010.00, the Dow's first close above 6,000.
October 23 – The O. J. Simpson civil trial begins in Santa Monica, California.
October 26 – The New York Yankees defeat the Atlanta Braves to win their first World Series in 18 years.
November 5 – U.S. presidential election, 1996: Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton defeats Republican challenger Bob Dole to win his second term. This election had the lowest voter turnout since 1924.
November 7 – NASA launches the Mars Global Surveyor.
November 15 – State Street in Chicago is re-opened to pedestrian traffic.
November 16 – Mother Teresa receives honorary U.S. citizenship.
November 19 – STS-80: Space Shuttle Columbia conducts the longest mission of the Space Shuttle program.
November 21 – A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store and office building in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 33.
An ice storm strikes the U.S., killing 26 directly, hundreds more from accidents. A powerful windstorm blasts Florida; winds gust to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h).
The U.S. stock market, especially the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gains at an incredibly fast pace following the 1996 Presidential election. It gains 10 days in a row during the month.
November 26 – The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas is imploded to make way for the Venetian Hotel.
December 2 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments.
December 6 – The General Motors EV1, the first production electric car of the modern era is launched and becomes available for lease.
December 20 – Steve Jobs' company NeXT is bought by Apple Computer, the company co-founded by Jobs.
December 25 – JonBenét Ramsey, 6, is murdered in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colorado.
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway is merged with the Burlington Northern Railroad to form the BNSF Railway, making it one of the largest railroad mergers in U.S. history.
The Hacienda in Las Vegas is imploded to make way for the Mandalay Bay.
Laurel Mountain, Oregon receives 204.04 inches (5,182.6 mm) of rainfall equivalent during the year, the most ever recorded for a calendar year in the contiguous United States.
Iraqi no-fly zones (1991–2003)
Dot-com bubble (c. 1995–c. 2000)
January 5 – Lincoln Kirstein, director and producer (b. 1907)
February 13 – Martin Balsam, actor, died in Rome, Italy (b. 1919)
Cordelia E. Cook, soldier and nurse (b. 1919)
Kay Rhodes, bridge player (b. 1910)
G. David Schine, soldier and businessman (b. 1927)
July 1 – Margaux Hemingway, fashion model, actress, and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway (b. 1954)
July 6 – Kathy Ahern, American golfer (b. 1949)
September 13 – Tupac Shakur, rapper and murder victim (b. 1971)
September 15 – Ottis Toole, murderer (b. 1947)
September 17 – Spiro T. Agnew, 39th Vice President of the United States, in post from 1969 to 1973 (b. 1918)
December 20 – Carl Sagan, cosmologist (born 1934)
1996 in the United States Wikipedia
Events from the year 1996 in the United States.