1884 in the United States
Events from the year 1884 in the United States.
- President: Chester A. Arthur (R-New York)
- Vice President: vacant
- Chief Justice: Morrison Waite (Ohio)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: John G. Carlisle (D-Kentucky)
- Congress: 48th
- March 27–29 – Cincinnati riots of 1884.
- May 1 – The eight-hour workday is first proclaimed by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions in the United States. May 1, called May Day or Labour Day, is now a holiday recognized in almost every industrialized country.
- May 17 – Alaska becomes a United States territory.
- June – Switchback Railway, one of the earliest roller coasters, was built at Coney Island.
- June 13 – LaMarcus Adna Thompson opens the "Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway" at Coney Island, New York City.
- August 5 – The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor.
- August 10 – An earthquake measuring 5.5 Mfa (based on the felt area) affected a very large portion of the eastern United States. The shock had a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). Chimneys were toppled in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Property damage was severe in Jamaica and Amityville in New York.
- August 28 – The first recorded photo of a tornado is taken by F.N. Robinson in Howard, South Dakota.
- September 5 – Staten Island Academy is founded.
- October – International Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C. fixes the Greenwich meridian as the world's prime meridian.
- October 6 – The United States Naval War College is established in Newport, Rhode Island.
- November 4 – United States presidential election, 1884: Democratic Governor of New York Grover Cleveland defeats Republican James G. Blaine in a very close contest to win the first of his non-consecutive terms.
- December 1 – American Old West: Near Frisco, New Mexico, deputy sheriff Elfego Baca holds off a gang of 80 Texan cowboys who want to kill him for arresting cowboy Charles McCarthy (the cowboys were terrorizing the area's Hispanos and Baca was working against them).
- December 6 – The Washington Monument is completed.
- December 16 – The World Cotton Centennial World's Fair opens in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Mark Twain writes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- Helen Hunt Jackson completes and publishes Ramona.
- The water hyacinth is introduced in the U.S. and quickly becomes an invasive species.
- In the “rain year” from July 1883 to June 1884, Los Angeles and San Diego receive their heaviest rainfall since instrumental records began, with Los Angeles receiving 38.18 inches (969.8 mm) and San Diego 25.97 inches (659.6 mm).
- American Historical Association established.
- January 1 – Edwin C. Johnson, U.S. Senator from Colorado from 1955 to 1957 (died 1970)
- January 12 –
- January 26 – Roy Chapman Andrews, adventurer and naturalist (died 1960)
- February 15 – Alfred Carlton Gilbert, inventor, athlete, magician, and businessman (died 1961)
- February 18 –
- March 10 – Stuart Holmes, actor and sculptor (died 1971)
- March 11 – Sheridan Downey, U.S. Senator from California from 1939 to 1950 (died 1961)
- March 21 – George D. Birkhoff, mathematician (died 1944)
- March 22 – Arthur H. Vandenberg, U.S. Senator from Michigan from 1928 to 1951 (died 1951)
- March 31 – James P. Pope, U.S. Senator from Idaho from 1933 to 1939 (died 1966)
- April 1 – George A. Wilson, U.S. Senator from Iowa from 1943 to 1949 (died 1953)
- April 17 – Leo Frank, factory superintendent and convicted murderer (died 1915)
- May 8 – Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States from 1945 to 1953, 34th Vice President of the United States from January to April 1945 (died 1972)
- May 26 – Charles Winninger, stage and film actor (died 1969)
- June 21 – Garrett L. Withers, U.S. Senator from Kentucky from 1949 to 1950 (died 1953)
- June 22 – James Rector, Olympic athlete (died 1949)
- August 9 – John S. McCain Sr., U.S. Navy admiral (died 1945)
- October 9 – Martin Johnson, adventurer and filmmaker (died 1937)
- October 11 – Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945 (died 1962)
- December 2 – Ruth Draper, actress and monologist (died 1956)
- 14 February
- 13 March – Leland Stanford Jr., son of Governor Leland Stanford of California, in whose memory Stanford University is founded (born 1868)
- 21 March – Ezra Abbot, Bible scholar (born 1819)
- 23 March – Henry C. Lord, railroad executive (born 1824)
- 31 March – Frederick Leypoldt, bibliographer (born 1835 in Germany)
- 3 May – Truman Smith, U.S. Senator from Connecticut from 1849 to 1854 (born 1791)
- 6 May – Judah P. Benjamin, United States Senator from Louisiana from 1853 till 1861, 1st Confederate States Attorney General, 2nd Confederate States Secretary of War, 3rd Confederate States Secretary of State, died in Paris, France (born 1811)
- 13 May – Cyrus McCormick, inventor (born 1809)
- 8 June – Henry Clay Work, composer (born 1832)
- 12 June – Frank Pidgeon, baseball pitcher (born 1825)
- 1 July – Allan Pinkerton, detective (born 1819)
- 10 July – Paul Morphy, chess player (born 1837)
- 15 July – Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, educator and author (born 1793)
- 23 August – LeRoy Pope Walker, 1st Confederate States Secretary of War (born 1817)
- 2 September – Henry B. Anthony, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island from 1859 to 1884 (born 1815)
- 26 September – John W. Garrett, banker, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and philanthropist (born 1820)
- 6 November – William Wells Brown, African American writer (born 1814)
- Wendel Bollman, civil engineer (born 1814)
- Stover, C.W.; Coffman, J.L. (1993), Seismicity of the United States, 1568–1989 (Revised), U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, pp. 314–316
- Los Angeles and San Diego rainfall
- Media related to 1884 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons