1980 in the United States
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Events from the year 1980 in the United States.
- President: Jimmy Carter (D-Georgia)
- Vice President: Walter Mondale (D-Minnesota)
- Chief Justice: Warren E. Burger (Minnesota)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Tip O'Neill (D-Massachusetts)
- Senate Majority Leader: Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)
- Congress: 96th
- January 1 – The comic strip The Far Side debuts in newspapers.
- January – The United States enters a minor recession spawned by the 1979 oil crisis; the unemployment rate rises to 6.3%.
- January 4 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaims a grain embargo against the USSR with the support of the European Commission.
- January 6 – Global Positioning System time epoch begins at 00:00 UTC.
- January 7 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs legislation approving $1.5 billion in loan guarantees to bail out the Chrysler Corporation.
- January 20 – Super Bowl XIV: The Pittsburgh Steelers become the first NFL franchise to win four Super Bowls, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31–19 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
- January 24
- The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad is ordered liquidated due to bankruptcy and debt owed to creditors.
- The 5.8 Mw Livermore earthquake shakes the East Bay area of California with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). This first event in a doublet earthquake is followed two days later by a 5.4 Mw shock. Total financial losses from the events is $11.5 million.
- January 27 – Canadian Caper: Six United States diplomats, posing as Canadians, manage to escape from Tehran, Iran as they board a flight to Zürich, Switzerland.
- February 2–3 – The New Mexico State Penitentiary Riot takes place; 33 inmates are killed and more than 100 inmates injured.
- February 2 – Abscam: FBI personnel target members of the Congress of the United States in a sting operation.
- February 13 – The XIII Winter Olympics open in Lake Placid, New York.
- February 22 – The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the medal round of the Winter Olympics, in the Miracle on Ice.
- March 1 – The Voyager 1 probe confirms the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn.
- March 21
- March 22 – The Georgia Guidestones are erected in Elbert County, Georgia.
- March 27 – The Silver Thursday market crash occurs.
- March 31 – Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad operates its final train.
- April 1 – New York City's Transport Works Union Local 100 goes on strike, which continues for 11 days.
- April 7 – The United States severs diplomatic relations with Iran and imposes economic sanctions, following the taking of American hostages on November 4, 1979.
- April 15 – A mass exodus of Cubans to the United States known as the Mariel boatlift begins. It ends on October 31 by agreement between the two countries.
- April 21 – Rosie Ruiz wins the Boston Marathon, but is later exposed as a fraud and stripped of her award.
- April 24–25 – Operation Eagle Claw, a commando mission in Iran to rescue American embassy hostages, is aborted after mechanical problems ground the rescue helicopters. Eight United States troops are killed in a mid-air collision during the failed operation.
- April 24 – Pennsylvania Lottery Scandal: the Pennsylvania Lottery is rigged by six men including the host of the live TV drawing, Nick Perry.
- May 3 – Cari Lightner, a 13-year-old girl, is killed by a drunk driver in Fair Oaks, California. Her mother, Candy, forms the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
- May 7 – Paul Geidel, convicted of second-degree murder in 1911, is released from prison in Beacon, New York, after 68 years and 245 days (the longest-ever time served by an inmate).
- May 9
- James Alexander George Smith "Jags" McCartney, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ first Chief Minister, is killed in a plane crash over New Jersey.
- In Florida, the Liberian freighter Summit Venture hits the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, sending 35 people (most of whom were in a bus) to a watery death as a 1,400-foot section of the bridge collapses.
- May 11 – Mobster Henry Hill is arrested for drug possession.
- May 16 – The Department of Education begins operations.
- May 17 – A Miami, Florida court acquits four white police officers of killing Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, provoking three days of race riots.
- May 18 – Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
- May 21 – The Empire Strikes Back is released.
- May 22 – Pac-Man, the best-selling arcade game of all time, is released.
- May 24
- May 25 – Indianapolis 500: Johnny Rutherford wins for a third time in car owner Jim Hall's revolutionary ground effect Chaparral car; the victory is Hall's second as an owner.
- May 29 – Vernon Jordan is shot and critically injured in an assassination attempt in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Joseph Paul Franklin (the first major news story for CNN).
- June – The 1980 recession ends.
- June 1 – The Cable News Network (CNN) is officially launched.
- June 3
- U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy wins several primaries, including California, on 'Super Tuesday', but not enough to overtake President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Party nomination.
- A series of deadly tornadoes strikes Grand Island, Nebraska, causing over US$300 million in damage, killing five people and injuring over 250.
- June 9 – In Los Angeles, comedian Richard Pryor is badly burned trying to freebase cocaine.
- June 10 – A Unabomber bomb injures United Airlines president Percy Wood in Lake Forest, Illinois.
- June 20 – Augusta AVA becomes the first federally recognized American Viticultural Area.
- June 23–September 6 – The 1980 United States heat wave claims 1,700 lives.
- June 27 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs Proclamation 4771, requiring 19 and 20-year-old males to register for a peacetime military draft, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
- July – The unemployment rate peaks at 7.8%, the highest in four years.
- July 15 – A severe and destructive thunderstorm strikes four counties in western Wisconsin, including the city of Eau Claire. It causes over US$250 million in damage, and one person is killed.
- July 16 – Former California Governor and actor Ronald Reagan is nominated for U.S. President, at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. Influenced by the Religious Right, the convention also drops its long standing support for the Equal Rights Amendment, dismaying moderate Republicans.
- August 10 – Hurricane Allen, after becoming a Category 5 storm and the strongest hurricane of the season, hits southeastern Texas as a Category 3.
- August 14
- August 26–27 – Harvey's Resort Hotel bombing in Stateline, Nevada, part of an extortion plot.
- September 5 – William Reeves joins The Graphics Group.
- September 18–19 – 1980 Damascus Titan missile explosion: Liquid fuel in an LGM-25C Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile explodes at a missile launch facility north of Damascus, Arkansas.
- September 19 – The Robert Redford-directed film Ordinary People, based on the novel by Judith Guest, premieres. Redford's directorial debut later wins him his first Oscar, and wins three other Academy Awards, and five Golden Globe awards.
- September 29 – The Washington Post publishes Janet Cooke's story of Jimmy, an 8-year-old heroin addict (later proven to be fabricated).
- September 30 – Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel and Xerox introduce the DIX standard for Ethernet, which is the first implementation outside of Xerox, and the first to support 10 Mbit/s speeds.
- October 9 – Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera premieres on London's West End.
- October 14 – The Staggers Rail Act is enacted, deregulating American railroads.
- October 15 – James Hoskins forces his way into WCPO's television studio in Cincinnati, holding nine employees hostage for several hours before releasing them and taking his own life.
- October 21 – World Series: The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals, 4 games to 2, to win their first World Series Title.
- October 28 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate in Cleveland, Ohio. Reagan's genial, witty performance causes him to overtake Carter in the polls.
- November 4 – 1980 United States presidential election: Republican challenger and former Governor Ronald Reagan of California defeats incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter, exactly one year after the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis.
- November 8 – The 7.3 Mw Eureka earthquake shook the North Coast of California with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong), causing six injuries and $2–2.75 million in losses.
- November 10 – November 12 – Voyager program: The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn, when it flies within 77,000 miles of the planet's cloud-tops and sends the first high resolution images of the world back to scientists on Earth.
- November 20 – A Texaco oil rig breaks through to a mine under Lake Peigneur.
- November 21
- December 8
- December 11 – CERCLA is enacted by the U.S. Congress.
- December 14 – Four people are murdered and four others are injured by two armed robbers at Bob's Big Boy on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, in what is one of the city's most brutal crimes ever.
- December 26 – Richard Chase, the "Vampire of Sacramento," kills himself by overdose on San Quentin prison death row.
- January 3 – Mary Wineberg, sprinter
- January 5 – Bennie Joppru, American football player
- January 7 – Ivan Moody, singer-songwriter, producer, and actor
- January 16 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright and composer
- January 17 – Zooey Deschanel, actress and musician
- January 22
- January 24 – Rocky Boiman, American football player and sportscaster
- January 29 – Jason James Richter, actor
- February 11 – Matthew Lawrence, actor
- February 12 – Christina Ricci, actress
- February 21 – Justin Roiland, actor, animator, writer, producer and director
- February 25 – Chris & Christy Knowings, twin actors
- March 2 – Edmund McMillen, video game designer
- March 7 – Laura Prepon, actress, director, and author
- March 26 – Son Ho-young, singer in g.o.d
- April 20 – Chris Duffy, baseball player
- May 2 – Ellie Kemper, actress and comedian
- May 11 – Kulap Vilaysack, actress, comedian and writer
- May 22 – Sharice Davids, politician, lawyer and mixed martial artist
- June 17 – Venus Williams, tennis player
- June 23 – Melissa Rauch, actress and comedian
- July 7
- July 10 – James Rolfe, Youtuber/critic
- July 18 – Kristen Bell, actress
- July 21 – Justin Griffith, American football player
- August 16 – Ryan Hanigan, baseball player
- August 26
- September 3 – Caleb Miller, American football player
- September 9 – Michelle Williams, actress
- September 13 – Ben Savage, actor
- September 30
- November 12 – Trent Acid, wrestler (d. 2010)
- November 15 – Ace Young, singer-songwriter and actor
- November 21 – Tim Lambesis, musician
- November 25 – Nick Swisher, baseball player
- November 30 – Shane Victorino, baseball player
- December 3 – Jenna Dewan, actress and dancer
- December 21 – Royce Ring, baseball player
- December 30 – Eliza Dushku, actress and model
- January 1 – Frank Wykoff, relay sprinter (b. 1909)
- February 1 – Jack Bailey, television host (Queen for a Day) (b. 1907)
- February 20 – Alice Longworth Roosevelt, youngest daughter of Thedore Roosevelt (age 96)
- June 1 – Rube Marquard, baseball player and manager (b. 1886)
- August 14
- October 28 – Leon Janney, actor (b. 1917)
- November 7 – Steve McQueen, actor (b. 1930)
- November 29 – Dorothy Day, journalist and social activist (b. 1897)
- December 4 – Stanisława Walasiewicz (Stella Walsh), track and field athlete, born in Poland (b. 1911)
- December 8 – John Lennon, British musician, singer, songwriter, and murder victim, died in New York City (b. 1940)
- December 26 – Richard Chase, serial killer (b. 1950)
- 1980 in American television
- List of American films of 1980
- Timeline of United States history (1970–1989)
- Media related to 1980 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons