Government Timeline

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    Was the first document to put into writing the principle that the king and his government was not above the law.
  • French and Indian War

    French and Indian War
    Pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by Native American allies.
  • American Revolution

    American Revolution
    Was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783.
  • New Nation

    New Nation
    As a result of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, the new nation controlled all of North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River between Canada and Florida. Canada, to the north, remained British territory.
  • 6th Amendment

    6th Amendment
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
  • 1st Amendment

    1st Amendment
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
  • 3rd Amendment

    3rd Amendment
    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
  • 3rd Amendment

    3rd Amendment
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • 5th Amendment

    5th Amendment
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property.
  • 7th Amendment

    7th Amendment
    In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
  • 8th Amendment

    8th Amendment
    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  • 9th Amendment

    9th Amendment
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • 10th Amendment

    10th Amendment
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
  • 11th Amendment

    11th Amendment
    The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
  • George Washington delivers the first "State of the Union Address"

    George Washington delivers the first "State of the Union Address"
    Was given on Friday, January 8, 1790, by President George Washington. It was given in New York City in the Senate Chamber of Federal Hall. It was the first annual address given by a president of the United States of America.
  • Vermont was the 14th State Admitted to the Union

    Vermont was the 14th State Admitted to the Union
    was an unrecognized independent state in New England that existed from January 15, 1777, to March 4, 1791, when it was admitted into the United States as the State of Vermont.
  • US Presidential Succession Act Passed

    US Presidential Succession Act Passed
    An Act To provide for the performance of the duties of the office of President in case of the removal, resignation, death, or inability both of the President and Vice President.
  • George Washington's Second Inaugural Address

    George Washington's Second Inaugural Address
    Was held in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday, March 4, 1793.
  • 1st Session of US Senate Opens To The Public

    1st Session of US Senate Opens To The Public
    Eight of the twenty-two new senators overcame difficult late winter travel conditions to reach the nation's temporary capital in New York City, to open business for the new United States Senate.
  • John Rutledge Becomes 2nd Chief Justice Of The US Supreme Court

    John Rutledge Becomes 2nd Chief Justice Of The US Supreme Court
    On July 16, 1795, Rutledge gave a highly controversial speech denouncing the Jay Treaty with Great Britain.
  • US Congress Refuses To Accept 1st Petition From African American

    US Congress Refuses To Accept 1st Petition From African American
    Congress refused to act on the petition, but scholars have long recognized the importance of this petition in the history of black resistance and antislavery.
  • New York State Abolishes Slavery

    New York State Abolishes Slavery
    When the Gradual Emancipation law was passed in 1799 it did not apply to persons enslaved at the time, but gradually emancipated children of enslaved mothers born after the enactment of the law.
  • New Jersey Abolishes Slavery

    New Jersey Abolishes Slavery
    But despite our current reputation as a progressive state, the sad record reveals slavery existed in New Jersey from the 17th century until it was abolished in 1804.
  • US Congress Passes the Embargo Act

    US Congress Passes the Embargo Act
    U.S. Pres. Thomas Jefferson's nonviolent resistance to British and French molestation of U.S. merchant ships carrying, or suspected of carrying, war materials and other cargoes to European belligerents during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • James Madison is sworn in as fourth president of the United States

    James Madison is sworn in as fourth president of the United States
    He acknowledged that the United States was a country with a great deal of issues and difficulties, and the pressure of that hit him hard.
  • War Of 1812

    War Of 1812
    Was a conflict fought between the United States and its Indigenous allies, and Great Britain, its dependent colonies in North America, Indigenous allies and Spain.
  • British Troops March Into Washington And Set Fire To US Capitol

    British Troops March Into Washington And Set Fire To US Capitol
    Invading British troops marched into Washington and set fire to the U.S. Capitol, the President's Mansion, and other local landmarks.
  • US Supreme Court Affirms Its Right To Review State Court Decisions

    US Supreme Court Affirms Its Right To Review State Court Decisions
    In a second appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the 1789 Judiciary Act, writing that the Supreme Court could review state court decisions regarding federal law. ... Justice Story, then, wrote the decision that held that Article III implicitly states that the Supreme Court has the right to review decisions of a state court.
  • US Congress Approves 1st Pensions For Government Service

    US Congress Approves 1st Pensions For Government Service
    the First Congress of the United States passed an act which provided that invalid pensions previously paid by the States, pursuant to resolutions of' the Continental Congress, should be continued and paid for 1 year by the newly established Federal Government.
  • The Missouri Compromise Becomes Law

    Was passed in 1820 admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state.
  • John Adams Suggests Establishment Of a National Observatory

    Suggested that John Quincy Adams was a proponent of the hollow earth theory who approved a proposed expedition to the planet’s center.
  • Andrew Jackson Signs The Indian Removal Act

    Was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders.
  • Nat Turner Leads Uprising Against Slavery

    Was an enslaved man who led a rebellion of enslaved people on August 21, 1831. His action set off a massacre of up to 200 Black people and a new wave of oppressive legislation prohibiting the education, movement, and assembly of enslaved people.
  • Andrew Jackson Vetoed Legislation To Re-charter the 2nd Bank Of The United States

    Andrew Jackson vetoed the bill re-chartering the Second Bank in July 1832 by arguing that in the form presented to him it was incompatible with “justice,” “sound policy” and the Constitution. ... The charter was bad policy for several technical reasons.
  • John C. Calhoun Becomes 1st Vice President To Resign

    John C. Calhoun becomes the first vice president in U.S. history to resign the office. ... In 1828, he was again elected vice president while Andrew Jackson won the presidency.
  • Britain Abolishes Slave Trade

    Legislation was finally passed in both the Commons and the Lords which brought an end to Britain's involvement in the trade. It was now against the law for any British ship or British subject to trade in enslaved people.
  • Treaty Of New Echota

    Was a treaty signed on December 29, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia, by officials of the United States government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political faction, the Treaty Party.
  • William Henry Harrison Elected 9th President Of The US

    Was an American military officer and politician who served as the ninth president of the United States for 31 days in 1841, becoming the first president to die in office and the shortest-serving U.S. president in history.
  • The Presidential Election Day Act Of 1845

    The Presidential Election Day Act of 1845 only applied to Presidential elections. In 1872, Congress extended the law to apply to elections for members of the House of Representatives. Coverage was extended to Senate elections by the 17th Amendment, which provided for the direct election of Senators in 1914.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    A pair of federal laws that allowed for the capture and return of runaway enslaved people within the territory of the United States. ... The Fugitive Slave Acts were among the most controversial laws of the early 19th century.
  • Homestead Act

    The Homestead Act of 1860 in the United States would have made land available for 25 cents per acre. This act was passed by the United States Congress, but was ultimately vetoed by President James Buchanan.
  • Enforcement Act Of 1870-71

    These acts were specifically designed to protect African Americans' right to vote, to hold office, to serve on juries, and to receive equal protection of laws. The three bills passed by Congress were the Enforcement Act of 1870, the Enforcement Act of 1871, and the Ku Klux Klan Act.
  • Civil Rights Act Of 1875

    Guaranteed African Americans equal treatment in public transportation and public accommodations and service on juries. The U.S. Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional in the Civil Rights Cases (1883).
  • Sherman Anti-Trust Act

    was the first Federal act that outlawed monopolistic business practices. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first measure passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts. ... Several states had passed similar laws, but they were limited to intrastate businesses.
  • Immigration Act Of 1907

    Allowed the president to make an agreement with Japan to limit the number of Japanese immigrants. The law also barred the feebleminded, those with physical or mental defects, those suffering from tuberculosis, children under 16 without parents, and women entering for "immoral purposes."
  • 18th Amendment

    Established the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. The amendment was proposed by Congress on December 18, 1917, and was ratified by the requisite number of states on January 16, 1919.
  • Judiciary Act Of 1925

    Carried the reforms farther, greatly limiting obligatory jurisdiction (which required the Supreme Court to review a case) and expanding the classes of cases that the court could accept.
  • Tariff Act Of 1930

    Was a law that implemented protectionist trade policies in the United States.The act raised US tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods.
  • Social Security Act

    A law enacted by the 74th United States Congress and signed into law by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The law created the Social Security program as well as insurance against unemployment. The law was part of Roosevelt's New Deal domestic program.
  • Smith Act Of 1940

    U.S. federal law passed in 1940 that made it a criminal offense to advocate the violent overthrow of the government or to organize or be a member of any group or society devoted to such advocacy.
  • Employment Act Of 1946

    Created the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), a three-member board that advises the president on economic policy; required the president to submit a report to Congress within ten days of the submission of the federal budget that forecasts the future state of the economy.
  • Civil Rights Act Of 1960

    Was intended to strengthen voting rights and expand the enforcement powers of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. It included provisions for federal inspection of local voter registration rolls and authorized court-appointed referees to help African Americans register and vote.
  • Voting Rights Act Of 1965

    Aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Legislative Reorganization Act Of 1970

    was an act of the United States Congress to "improve the operation of the legislative branch of the Federal Government, and for other purposes." The act focused mainly on the rules that governed congressional committee procedures, decreasing the power of the chair and empowering minority members, and on making House and Senate processes more transparent.
  • United States Revenue Act Of 1971

    Reinstated the investment tax credit, repealed the 7% automobile excise tax, and increased the minimum standard deduction from $1,000 to $1,300. ... The 1971 Revenue Act helped establish the system of presidential public funding used in the United States.
  • Education Amendments Of 1972

    Was U.S. legislation enacted June 23, 1972. It is best known for its Title IX, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions receiving federal aid. It also modified government programs providing financial aid to students by directing monies directly to students without the participation of intermediary financial institutions.
  • Privacy Act Of 1974

    A United States federal law, establishes a Code of Fair Information Practice that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies.
  • Copyright Act Of 1976

    a United States copyright law and remains the primary basis of copyright law in the United States, as amended by several later enacted copyright provisions.