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U.S. Government Timeline

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Manga carta

    Manga carta
    Magna Carta Libertatum, commonly called Magna Carta, is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.
  • Jamestown house of burgesses

    Jamestown house of burgesses
    House of Burgesses, representative assembly in colonial Virginia, which was an outgrowth of the first elective governing body in a British overseas possession, the General Assembly of Virginia. The General Assembly was established by Gov. George Yeardley at Jamestown on July 30, 1619.
  • when the pilgrims left England

    when the pilgrims left England
    The Pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom. It's fair to say that the Pilgrims left England to find religious freedom, but that wasn't the primary motive that propelled them to North America. Remember that the Pilgrims went first to Holland, settling eventually in the city of Leiden.
  • Petition of right

    Petition of right
    Petition of right, legal petition asserting a right against the English crown, the most notable example being the Petition of Right of 1628, which Parliament sent to Charles I complaining of a series of breaches of law. The term also referred to the procedure (abolished in 1947) by which a subject could sue the crown.
  • The English Bill of Rights

    The English Bill of Rights
    The English Bill of Rights created a constitutional monarchy in England, meaning the king or queen acts as head of state but his or her powers are limited by law. Under this system, the monarchy couldn't rule without the consent of Parliament, and the people were given individual rights.
  • French and Indian War

    French and Indian War
    The 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
    The American Revolution was an epic political and military struggle waged between 1765 and 1783 when 13 of Britain's North American colonies rejected its imperial rule. ... With the assistance of France, the American colonies were able to defeat the British, achieve independence and form the United States of America.
  • The Declaration of Independence

    The Declaration of Independence
    The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was approved after much debate by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, and sent to the states for ratification.
  • The US Constitution

    The US Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government.
  • the fourth amendment of the US constitution

    the fourth amendment of the US constitution
    The Constitution, through the Fourth Amendment, protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment, however, is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law.
  • Bill of Rights

    Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights is the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. ... It guarantees civil rights and liberties to the individual—like freedom of speech, press, and religion. It sets rules for due process of law and reserves all powers not delegated to the Federal Government to the people or the States.
  • Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. It was ratified on December 15, 1791, along with nine other articles of the Bill of Rights.
  • First Amendment to the United States Constitution

    First Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, or that would prohibit the free exercise of religion
  • Third Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Third Amendment to the United States Constitution
    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.
  • Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions. It was ratified in 1791 as part of the United States Bill of Rights.
  • Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
  • Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses criminal procedure and other aspects of the Constitution. It was ratified, along with nine other articles, in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights.
  • the seventh amendment of the US constitution

    the seventh amendment of the US constitution
    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.
  • Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses rights, retained by the people, that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. It is part of the Bill of Rights.
  • the tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    the tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    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.
  • Louisiana Purchase

    Louisiana Purchase
    The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the territory of Louisiana by the United States from Napoleonic France in 1803. In return for fifteen million dollars, or approximately eighteen dollars per square mile, the United States nominally acquired a total of 828,000 sq mi.
  • Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, the country's greatest moral, cultural, constitutional, and political crisis.
  • McCulloch v. Maryland

    McCulloch v. Maryland
    McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316, was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that defined the scope of the U.S. Congress's legislative power and how it relates to the powers of American state legislatures.
  • Gibbons v. Ogden

    Gibbons v. Ogden
    Gibbons v. Ogden
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393, was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in which the Court held that the United States Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship
  • Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.
  • Civil Rights Cases

    Civil Rights Cases
    The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3, were a group of five landmark cases in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments did not empower Congress to outlaw racial discrimination by private individuals.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, was a landmark decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court that codified the constitutional doctrine for racial segregation laws. In the eyes of the court as long as the segregated facilities were equal in quality, African-Americans could be served separately from the white population.
  • Lochner v. New York

    Lochner v. New York
    Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court which held that limits to working time violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision has been effectively overturned. A New York State law limited bakery employees' working hours to 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week.
  • West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish

    West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
    West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379, was a decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of state minimum wage legislation. West Coast Hotel v. Parrish was a landmark case that overturned Lochner v. New York and allowed for the establishment of a minimum wage in Washington State. The United States Supreme Court ruled that private employers had to accept a minimum wage for employees as established by the State of Washington.
  • Korematsu v. United States

    Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214, was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court to uphold the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast Military Area during World War II.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that U.S. state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality.
  • Mapp v. Ohio

    Mapp v. Ohio
    Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the exclusionary rule, which prevents prosecutors from using evidence in court that was obtained
  • Engel v. Vitale

    Engel v. Vitale
    Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in public schools, due to violation of the First Amendment.
  • Gideon v. Wainwright

    Gideon v. Wainwright
    Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, is a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court unanimously held that in criminal cases states are required under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to provide an attorney to defendants who are unable to afford their own attorneys.
  • New York Times Co. v. Sullivan

    New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
    New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the freedom of speech protections in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restrict the ability of American public officials to sue for defamation.
  • Miranda v. Arizona

    Miranda v. Arizona
    Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restricts prosecutors from using a person's
  • Miranda v. Arizona

    Miranda v. Arizona
    Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restricts prosecutors from using a person's
  • Loving v. Virginia

    Loving v. Virginia
    Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, was a landmark civil rights decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

    Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District
    Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503, was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that defined First Amendment rights of students in U.S. public schools.
  • United States v. United States District Court

    United States v. United States District Court
    United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297, also known as the Keith case, was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision that upheld, in a unanimous 8-0 ruling, the requirements of the Fourth Amendment in cases of domestic surveillance targeting a domestic threat.
  • Roe v. Wade

    Roe v. Wade
    Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
  • United States v Nixon

    United States v Nixon
    the decision was important to the late stages of the Watergate scandal, when there was an ongoing impeachment process against Richard Nixon. United States v. Nixon is considered a crucial precedent limiting the power of any U.S. president to claim executive privilege.
  • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

    Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy.
  • Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments. This amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the United States Bill of Rights.
  • Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

    Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier
    Hazelwood School District et al. v. Kuhlmeier et al., 484 U.S. 260, was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that held that public school curricular student newspapers that have
  • Texas v. Johnson

    Texas v. Johnson
    Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag, which at the time were enforced in 48 of the 50 states.
  • Planned Parenthood v. Casey

    Planned Parenthood v. Casey
    Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, was a landmark United States Supreme Court case regarding abortion.
  • Lawrence v. Texas

    Lawrence v. Texas
    Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that sanctions of criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy are unconstitutional.
  • District of Columbia v. Heller

    District of Columbia v. Heller
    District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual's right to keep
  • Citizens United v. FEC

    Citizens United v. FEC
    the court issued a 5–4 decision in favor of Citizens United that struck down the BCRA's restrictions on independent expenditures from corporate treasures as violations of the First Amendment.
  • Strict scrutiny

    Strict scrutiny
    In U.S. constitutional law, when a court finds that a law infringes a fundamental constitutional right, it may apply the strict scrutiny standard to nevertheless hold the law or policy constitutionally
  • Obergefell v. Hodges

    Obergefell v. Hodges
    Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644, is a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • Bostock v. Clayton County

    Bostock v. Clayton County
    Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. ___, was a landmark United States Supreme Court civil rights case in which the Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination because they are gay or transgender.
  • Torres v. Madrid

    Torres v. Madrid
    Torres v. Madrid was a United States Supreme Court case based on what constitutes a "seizure" in the context of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, in the immediate case, in the situation where law enforcement had attempted to use physical force to stop a suspect but failed to do so.
  • Carson v. Makin

    Carson v. Makin
    Carson v. Makin is a pending United States Supreme Court case related to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is a follow-up to Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.
  • Jones v. Mississippi

    Jones v. Mississippi
    Jones v. Mississippi, 593 U.S. ___, was a United States Supreme Court case regarding the imposition of life sentences for juveniles.
  • Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

    Fulton v. City of Philadelphia
    Fulton v. City of Philadelphia was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with litigation over discrimination of local regulations based on the Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause of First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

    Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
    The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, and originally in the house as the INVEST in America Act, is a bill introduced in the 117th Congress.