Americans celebrated as South Africa's white government voted itself out of existence and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela assumed the presidency. Sadly, the good news was tempered by reports from Rwanda that 100,000 had died in a bloody civil war and reports of escalating violence between Muslims and Serbs in Bosnia.
The U.S. population exceeded 265,000,000.
The agenda announced in President Clinton's State Of The Union Address — including national health insurance, gun control and federal drug treatment programs — caused a bitter backlash among conservatives. Increasingly vocal Republicans — from radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh to Representative Newt Gingrich — launched media-blitz attacks on Clinton's social reform, effectively killing federally-guaranteed health care. Conservative media pundits intensified their denouncements of Clinton's alleged financial and personal misconduct. Offering a "Contract With America" to restore conservativism to the federal government, Republicans gained control of the House and Senate, under the leadership of Gingrich and Senator Bob Dole.
Breathtaking photos of forming galaxies were relayed to Earth by the Hubble telescope.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died of cancer.
Actor and former football great O.J. Simpson failed to appear in court on charges of brutally murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Millions watched live TV coverage as Simpson's white Ford Bronco, driven by friend Al Cowlings, led police on a "slow speed chase" through Los Angeles County. Simpson was taken into custody at the journey's end — Simpson's Brentwood estate. Simpson vehemently denied committing the murders.
A major league baseball strike over the issue of salary caps caused cancelation of the World Series. There was plenty of Texas pride as Dallas took the Super Bowl and Houston won the NBA Playoffs.
Self-annointed "King of Pop" Michael Jackson — wearing a bandage on his nose — married Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie, in the Dominican Republic. Jackson said "why not?" instead of "I do" in the brief civil ceremony.
At age 47, George Foreman regained the world heavyweight title by defeating 27-year-old Michael Moorer.
Photographer and animal rights activist Linda McCartney toured the U.S. to promote her line of vegetarian frozen foods. Ex-Beatle and husband Paul made surprise appearances from the reporters' section at several of her press conferences.
Pulp Fiction — directed by Quentin Tarantino — took highest honors at the Cannes Film Festival.
Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead from a self-inflected gunshot wound in the apartment over the garage of his Seattle home.
As alternative rock and urban hip-hop clashed on the pop music charts, hundreds of U.S. radio stations switched to "Modern Rock" or "Adult Alternative Album" formats. Others adjusted from mainstream pop to "Urban Contemporary," highlighting rhythm and blues and rap.
Acts as diverse as Cypress Hill, Metallica, Sheryl Crow, CSN, Salt-N-Peppa, Bob Dylan and the Cranberries performed at Woodstock '94, marking the 25th anniversary of the original event.