Major Events in American History

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta established that the King was not above the law and allowed a poweful parliament to rule. It is considered the founding document of England and therefore, America.
  • Jamestown settled

    Jamestown settled
    England wanted a permanent foothold in North America. Captain John Smith settled in Jamestown, Virginia to make a quick profit from gold mining.
  • Mayflower Compact written

    Mayflower Compact written
    102 pilgrams rode on a British ship called the Mayflower from Plymouth, England to Cape Cod in America. 41 male passengers signed this agreement that would set up a government in Plymouth colony there.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    This was a major English document that prohibited the king from infringing on certain liberties. It also stated that taxes could only be levied by Parliament. It established writ of habeas corpus.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    It reinstated the Declaration of Right which invited King William III and Queen Mary II to become joint soverigns of England. It listed certain rights of the people, rights thought of by John Locke, such as the right to have arms for defense. It set out certain requirements for the King and Queen to consent the people.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    The French and Indian Wars left England the dominant power over North America. To ease the strain this put on the colonies, the English propsed a plan of union. This was proposed by Benjamin Franklin and stated that each colonial legislature elected delegates to an American continental assembly.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    A new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of paper they used. It was considered a direct attempt by England to raise money in the colonies. It was Parliament's first serious attempt to assert governmental authority over the colonies.
  • Boston Masacre

    Boston Masacre
    On this day, five colonists were killed by British regulars. There were tensions in the American colonies that had been growing since Royal troops first appeared in Massachusetts to enforce the heavy tax burden imposed by the Townshend Acts.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Parliament had recently put extra taxes on imported items from America, such as tea. On this day and in protest of the high taxes, almost 100 patriots dressed up as Native Americans and threw the taxed tea into the Boston harbor.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    This was a series of five laws sponsored by British Prime Minister Lord North in response to the Boston Tea Party. They were the harshest acts passed by Parliament. One act closed the port of Boston until the price of the dumped tea was recovered.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    It sought to right the wrongs that had been inflicted on the colonies.Delegates from the 13 colonies gathered in Philadelphia and formally declared that colonists should have the same rights as Englishmen.
  • American Reolution begins

    American Reolution begins
    General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from England to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the Americans. He ordered British troops to march against the Patriot arsenal at Concord and capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    Delegates from the 13 colonies met again in Philadelphia in response to the battles of Lexington and Concord. John Hancock presided over the meeting. It encouraged the colonies to adopt new republican governments. Some wanted to declare America independent immediately; some wanted to avoid war at all costs. Congress established a Continental army and appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. It summarized the philosophy of self-evident truths, set forth a list of grievances against the King, and declared America's independence from England.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    It was the United States' first constitution. It stated that each of the states retained their "sovereignty, freedom and independence." Instead of setting up executive and judicial branches, there was a committee of delegates composed of representatives from each state, who made up Congress. The Congress was responsible for conducting foreign affairs, declaring war or peace, maintaining an army and navy, and other functions.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    Debt-ridden farmers, struck by the economic depression that followed the American Revolution, petitioned the state senate to issue paper money and to stop foreclosure of mortgages on their property. Under the leadership of Daniel Shays and others, they marched for Worcester where they closed down the commonwealth's supreme court, then turned west to Springfield where they broke into the jail to free imprisoned debtors.
  • Constitutional/Philadelphia Convention

    Constitutional/Philadelphia Convention
    For four months, 55 delegates from the several states met to strengthen the Articles of Confederation and frame the U.S. Constitution. All of the states were represented except for Rhode Island, which declined to attend. Representation and slavery were two top issues.
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    For this, Roger Sherman addressed the nettlesome issues of representation and slavery. It said the Senate would have would have equal representation and the House of Representatives would be subject to proportional representation.