U.S. History: 1877-2008

Timeline created by Brian.Sadiku
In History
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    Early American History

  • Declaration Of Independence Signed

    On July 4, 1776, the 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States.
  • Constitution Written

    members of the Constitutional Convention signed the final draft of the Constitution. Two days earlier, when a final vote was called, Edmund Randolph called for another convention to carefully review the Constitution as it stood.
  • Bill of Rights ratified

    Once the Bill of Rights was ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791, it became part of the law of the land, and there was no legal need for any further ratifications. At the time Virginia ratified, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia had not sent their approvals to Congress
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    Civil War/Reconstruction

  • Homestead Act (1862): provided 160 acres to anyone willing to settle on land in the west

    President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862. On January 1, 1863, Daniel Freeman made the first claim under the Act, which gave citizens or future citizens up to 160 acres of public land provided they live on it, improve it, and pay a small registration fee.
  • 13th Amendment: abolished slavery

    Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
  • 14th Amendment: citizenship & due process

    Fourteenth Amendment, amendment (1868) to the Constitution of the United States that granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War, including them under the umbrella phrase “all persons born or naturalized in the United States
  • Transcontinental Railroad Completed

    A transcontinental railroad or transcontinental railway is contiguous railroad track age that crosses a continental land mass and has terminals at different oceans or continental borders.
  • 15th Amendment: voting for all male citizens

    One of those rights was the right to vote, also known as suffrage or enfranchisement. African Americans had been fighting for the right to participate in the political process since before the Civil War. ... The Fifteenth Amendment would guarantee protection against racial discrimination in voting.
  • Telephone invented by Alexander

    Alexander Graham Bell was a Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. He also co-founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.
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    The Gilded Age

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    The Progressive Era (

  • Sherman Antitrust Act (1890): outlawed business monopolies

    The 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.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson: legalized segregation, established “separate but equal”

    Plessy v. Ferguson was a landmark 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine. The case stemmed from an 1892 incident in which African American train passenger Homer Plessy refused to sit in a car for blacks.
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    Imperialism

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    World War I

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    Roaring Twenties

  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

    In post-revolutionary Russia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established, comprising a confederation of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation
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    Great Depression

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    World War II

  • 1945: United Nations formed

    The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.
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    Early Cold War

  • Containment

    Containment was a United States policy using numerous strategies to prevent the spread of communism abroad. A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet Union to enlarge its communist sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, China, Korea, and Vietnam.
  • 22nd Amendment

    The amendment prohibits anyone who has been elected president twice from being elected again. Under the amendment, someone who fills an unexpired presidential term lasting more than two years is also prohibited from being elected president more than once.
  • Truman Doctrine (1947)

    The Truman Doctrine was an American foreign policy the stated purpose of which was to contain Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War. It was announced to Congress by President Harry S. ... More generally, the Truman Doctrine implied American support for other nations thought to be threatened by Soviet communism.
  • Marshall Plan (1948)

    The Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was a U.S. program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War II. It was enacted in 1948 and provided more than $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts on the continent
  • 1948: Berlin Airlift

    In response to the Soviet blockade of land routes into West Berlin, the United States begins a massive airlift of food, water, and medicine to the citizens of the besieged city. ... The Soviet action was in response to the refusal of American and British officials to allow Russia more say in the economic future of Germany.
  • 1949: NATO established

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.
  • Communism

    Truman pledged that the United States would help any nation resist communism in order to prevent its spread. His policy of containment is known as the Truman Doctrine. ... To help rebuild after the war, the United States pledged $13 billion of aid to Europe in the Marshall Plan.
  • Sweatt v. Painter: ruled the separate law school at the University of Texas failed to qualify as “separate but equal”

    In the landmark case, Sweatt v. ... Painter, The United States Supreme Court ruled that separate law school facilities could not provide a legal education equal to that available at The University of Texas Law School, one of the nation's ranking law schools.
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    Civil Rights Era

  • 1951: Rosenberg's trial

    On June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, are executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. Both refused to admit any wrongdoing and proclaimed their innocence right up to the time of their deaths, by the electric chair.
  • 1952: First H-Bomb detonated by the United States

    The world's first thermonuclear weapon test, code-named Mike, was carried out by the United States at Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands, November 1, 1952. Thermonuclear weapons, or hydrogen bombs, use the energy of a primary fission explosion to ignite a hydrogen fusion reaction.
  • 1950-1953: Korean War

    The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and insurrections in the south. The war ended unofficially on 27 July 1953 in an armistice.
  • Domino Theory

    The domino theory was a Cold War policy that suggested a communist government in one nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in neighboring states, each falling like a perfectly aligned row of dominos.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and mandated desegregation

    In Brown v. Board, the Supreme Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and outlawed segregation. The Court agreed with Thurgood Marshall and his fellow NAACP lawyers that segregated schooling violated the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of law.
  • Hernandez v. Texas: Mexican Americans and all other races provided equal protection under the 14th Amendment

    Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954), was a landmark case, "the first and only Mexican-American civil-rights case heard and decided by the United States Supreme Court during the post-World War II period." In a unanimous ruling, the court held that Mexican Americans and all other nationality groups in the United States have equal ...
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    Vietnam War

  • Arms Race/Space Race

    The Space Race was an informal 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), to achieve firsts in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the ballistic missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations following World War II.
  • 1955: Jonas Salk invents the Polio Vaccine

    The first polio vaccine, known as inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or Salk vaccine, was developed in the early 1950s by American physician Jonas Salk. This vaccine contains killed virus and is given by injection. The large-scale use of IPV began in February 1954, when it was administered to American schoolchildren
  • 1957: USSR launches Sputnik

    the Soviet Union launched the earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik I. The successful launch came as a shock to experts and citizens in the United States, who had hoped that the United States would accomplish this scientific advancement first.
  • 1957: Little Rock Nine integrated into an all-white school in Little Rock, AK

    During the summer of 1957, the Little Rock Nine enrolled at Little Rock Central High School, which until then had been all white. The students' effort to enroll was supported by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which had declared segregated schooling to be unconstitutional.
  • 1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba

    On April 17, 1961, 1,400 Cuban exiles launched what became a botched invasion at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba. In 1959, Fidel Castro came to power in an armed revolt that overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
  • 1961: Berlin Wall built to prevent people from leaving communist East Berlin

    The Berlin Wall was a barrier that divided Germany from 1961 to 1989, aimed at preventing East Germans from fleeing to stop economically disastrous migration of workers.
  • 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis

    The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962, the Caribbean Crisis, or the Missile Scare, was a 1 month, 4 days confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union
  • 24th Amendment: Abolishes the poll tax

    On this date in 1962, the House passed the 24th Amendment, outlawing the poll tax as a voting requirement in federal elections, by a vote of 295 to 86. At the time, five states maintained poll taxes which disproportionately affected African-American voters: Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas.
  • 1963: Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” at the March on Washington

    Martin Luther King Jr. delivers the 'I Have a Dream' speech at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963.
  • 1963: John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, TX

    Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, U.S. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dallas, Texas, while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964)

    begins undeclared war in Vietnam
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Made discrimination based on race, religion, or national origin in public places illegal and required employers to hire on an equal opportunity basis
  • 1965: Medicare and Medicaid established

    On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Social Security Act Amendments, popularly known as the Medicare bill. It established Medicare, a health insurance program for the elderly, and Medicaid, a health insurance program for the poor.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965: Eliminated literacy tests for voters

    This act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. ... It outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.
  • 1971: Pentagon Papers leaked

    The Pentagon Papers, officially titled "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force", was commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967. In June of 1971, small portions of the report were leaked to the press and widely distributed.
  • 1968: Tet Offensive

    In late January, 1968, during the lunar new year (or “Tet”) holiday, North Vietnamese and communist Viet Cong forces launched a coordinated attack against a number of targets in South Vietnam. ... The Tet Offensive played an important role in weakening U.S. public support for the war in Vietnam.
  • 1968: Martin Luther King is assassinated

    Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American, Baptist minister, and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1968: prohibited discrimination in the sale or rental of housing

    The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin or sex. ... The Fair Housing Act stands as the final great legislative achievement of the civil rights er
  • Tinker v. Des Moines

    defined the First Amendment rights for students in the United States Public Schools
  • 1969: First Man on the Moon

    On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the moon. He and Aldrin walked around for three hours. They did experiments.Jan 16, 2008
  • 1970: Kent State University shooting

    The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre and the Kent State massacre, were the killings of four and wounding of nine other unarmed Kent State University students by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970 in Kent, Ohio, 40 miles south of Cleveland
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    End of the Cold War

  • 26th Amendment

    moved the voting age from 21 years old to 18 years old
  • Title IX: protects people from discrimination based on gender in education programs

    Title IX states that: ... “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
  • War Powers Act (1973)

    Law limited the President’s right to send troops to battle without Congressional approval
  • 1974: Watergate Scandal, which leads to Nixon’s Resignation

    The House Judiciary Committee then approved articles of impeachment against Nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. With his complicity in the cover-up made public and his political support completely eroded, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974.
  • 1975: Fall of Saigon, marks the end of the Vietnam War

    The Fall of Saigon, also known as the Liberation of Saigon, was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong on 30 April 1975.
  • 1978: Camp David Accords

    The Camp David Accords were a pair of political agreements signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on 17 September 1978, following twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David, the country retreat of the President of the United States in Maryland.
  • 1979-1981: Iran Hostage Crisis

    On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages. ... The students set their hostages free on January 21, 1981, 444 days after the crisis began and just hours after President Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address.
  • 1979: Three Mile Island Disaster

    The Three Mile Island Unit 2 reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down on March 28, 1979. This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, although its small radioactive releases had no detectable health effects on plant workers or the public.
  • 1985-1987: Iran Contra Affair

    The Iran–Contra affair, popularized in Iran as the McFarlane affair, the Iran–Contra scandal, or simply Iran–Contra, was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration
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    1990s-21st Century

  • 1955-1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Parks’ arrest

    The Montgomery bus boycott was a political and a social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. It was a seminal event in the civil rights movement in the United States