APUSH Sem. 1 & 2 Timeline

  • George Whitefield Travels to America

    George Whitefield Travels to America
    Whitefield, an English Methodist minister, was a brilliant speaker who used raw emotional sermons to reach all classes of colonists. Attracting massive crowds, he would paint an appealing picture of God based on love, acceptance, and forgiveness. His converts, called New Lights, emphasized a personal relationship with God. Whitefield would preach a series of revivals that would become part of the Great Awakening, which would permanently alter American religious ideas and institutions.
  • French and Indian War/Seven Years' War Begins

    French and Indian War/Seven Years' War Begins
    The war was fought between British colonies against the French, each side being supported by Native American tribes. Tribes had allied with the French in hopes of keeping British expansion at bay. Triggered by both sides wanting power over North America, specifically the Ohio River Valley, Britain would win the war, providing them with enormous territorial gains in NA.Even with the British victory, disputes over subsequent frontier policy and paying the war’s expenses led to colonial discontent.
  • Albany Congress

    Albany Congress
    Occurring during the French and Indian War, delegates from the 7 colonies would meet Iroquois Chiefs with the hopes of forming an alliance against the French. The other purpose was to present the Albany Plan of Union by Ben Franklin: the colonies should pool their resources and militias and stand together as one against the French, as Americans, not individual colonies. As expected, the proposal failed, but it raised the first ideas of unity and put the future Founding Fathers into contact.
  • Passage of the Sugar Act

    Passage of the Sugar Act
    The Proclamation of 1763 a year earlier had banned settlement past the Appalachians to avoid tribal aggression, angering colonists, who moved West anyways. The French and Indian War had been costly, putting Britain in deep debt. To increase revenue Parliament passed the Sugar Act. “No taxation without representation” would be a rallying cry for protesting colonists. The Proclamation combined with economic sanctions like the Sugar and Stamp Acts increased colonial hostility toward the British.
  • Passage of the Stamp Act

    Passage of the Stamp Act
    The Stamp Act came a year after the hated Sugar Act. The Act levied duties on all paper products. Outraged, nine state assemblies would send delegates to the Stamp Act Congress, where they challenged the constitutionality of both acts on the grounds that only elected officials could create taxes. Less radical delegates petitioned the King to repeal the acts. Boycotts and violent protests broke out, led by radical patriots. It is in this civil disobedience that we see the Revolution begin.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    Colonists protested the Townshend Acts (1767) widely. Thousands of troops were sent to the colonies, especially in Boston. Conflict was abundant. On the night of the massacre, 9 British soldiers fired into a crowd of townspeople, killing 5 of them.They were later found not guilty, but the meaning of the attack was poignant, especially to independence-minded/radical colonists. The Boston Massacre would strengthen their resolve and stance. Propaganda spread by Paul Revere fanned the flames.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Parliament would pass the Tea Act earlier in 1773, lowering taxes on the East India Company. Patriots viewed this as bribery to get them to forsake "taxation without representation" and a tactic to gain colonial support for the tax already enforced. Led by the Sons of Liberty and Samuel Adams, Patriots would board 3 British ships and throw $900,000 worth of tea overboard, about 1.8 million in tax revenue. King George and Loyalists were outraged at what they saw as direct defiance of the crown.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    Britain instituted the Intolerable Acts as punishment for the Boston Tea Party. This included closing down Boston Port and dissolving colonial assemblies. Delegates from all colonies except Georgia met in Philadelphia to agree on a response. Radicals wanted to declare war and fight for independence. Conservatives wanted to try reconciliation. Reconciliation won out, so they sent the King the Olive Branch Petition asking for representation in Parliament. King George was infuriated and refused.
  • Battles of Lexington and Concord

    Battles of Lexington and Concord
    With tensions building, Patriots had started to build up weapon stashes should it come to armed rebellion against the King. The British tried to seize the caches at Concord, but intelligence fell into the hands of Paul Revere and others. Revere’s Midnight Ride warned Patriots of the incoming British as minutemen assembled at Lexington town green against Redcoats. The "shot heard 'round the world" was fired, marking the start of the American Revolution. It was politically disastrous for Britain.
  • Colonies Declare Independence

    Colonies Declare Independence
    Loyalists and anti-Revolution delegates had been soundly defeated in the Continental Congress. The Declaration of Independence would be drawn up mainly by Thomas Jefferson, emphasizing a range of Enlightenment ideas such as the equality of men ("All men are created equal") and people’s unalienable rights, as well as listing out every grievance the colonists held against King George. It was the first time in history a nation's people formally asserted their rights to choose their own government.
  • Battle of Saratoga

    Battle of Saratoga
    The British plan to cut off New England was a three-pronged campaign. British General John Burgoyne scored some victories at first by attacking quickly, but then their pace slowed as Burgoyne had his men stop, pitch tents and eat a fancy dinner. Patriots from several neighboring states would engage in a guerrilla attack against Burgoyne and his troops. The victory at Saratoga was a turning point in the war, securing financial support, alliances, and reinforcements from other countries.
  • Treaty of Alliance

    Treaty of Alliance
    US diplomats had been working since the beginning of the war to secure a deal with France, an enemy of Britain. Initially, France was hesitant, believing the war was a lost cause, but the Patriot victory at Saratoga convinced them otherwise. The treaty recognized US sovereignty and agreed that neither party would pursue a separate peace without US independence. French troops, reinforcements, supplies, and military training were crucial to the war’s outcome. The war is not won without France.
  • Battle of Yorktown

    Battle of Yorktown
    Yorktown was the decisive engagement of the Revolution. British General Cornwallis planned to let Washington push him back to well-fortified Yorktown, where the British could spend the winter in comfort while Washington’s troops suffered. Washington, however, knew the French Navy had already defeated the British Navy, and Cornwallis was surrounded on both land and sea. Cornwallis was forced to surrender, which would forecast the end of British rule in the colonies and the birth of a new nation.
  • Treaty of Paris

    Treaty of Paris
    After the defeat at Yorktown, Britain, France, and the US began to negotiate a treaty. The treaty came almost 2 years after Yorktown because France and Spain hoped to acquire other territory from Britain. American diplomats secured favorable terms in 1783. The Treaty of Paris officially ended the Revolution and formally recognized the US as an independent nation from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and north to British Canada.The US and France also signed a perpetual alliance of friendship.
  • Shays Rebellion

    Shays Rebellion
    Shays Rebellion was led by Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War veteran. He was not paid for his service, and his farm went into foreclosure; many other farmers were in the same boat. Increased taxes were also an issue. Shays and his men burned down courthouses to prevent foreclosure. With no standing army, the government couldn’t do anything, and a private army had to be raised by the wealthy to put it down. The rebellion exposed the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation established in 1777.
  • Constitution Ratified

    Constitution Ratified
    Ratification was a battle between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Scared by Shays’ Rebellion, Federalists like Washington wanted a strong federalist government to put down future uprisings. Anti-Federalists feared a strong central government would devolve in tyranny. They were placated by the Bill of Rights, which established a list of protections for each citizen. The Constitution created an ideal balance between federal government and state governments, and still governs the US today.
  • Washington's Inauguration

    Washington's Inauguration
    General Washington retired as a war hero leading the Continental Army to victory, but the new federal government, needing a unifying figure and to establish trust, persuaded Washington to become the first US president. He would establish the court system and set many presidential customs like the Cabinet and two-term presidency as well as important precedents, setting the office's future roles and powers. Washington despised the party system and did not identify, but followed Federalist policy.
  • Cotton Gin Patented

    Cotton Gin Patented
    Eli Whitney’s cotton gin made the process of separating cotton from its seeds much more efficient and the growing of cotton much more profitable. The machine made the cotton industry of the South explode, driving up demand for slaves in the process. The South would get rich off of King Cotton, but millions of slaves were left to suffer as the invention had a direct role in maintaining slavery as an institution. It helped strengthen America’s economy and also revolutionized the textile industry.
  • Alien and Sedition Acts

    Alien and Sedition Acts
    Passed by John Adams, the Alien Act gave the president power to deport any alien considered dangerous. The Sedition Act made it illegal to publish materials critical of the president or Congress. They were set to maintain Federalist power in an attempt to restrict those who opposed Adams and the Federalists. The Acts proved Jefferson right that a federal government could be “weaponized” against the people, and the question of states’ rights to nullify unfair laws wasn’t completely resolved.
  • Thomas Jefferson's Election

    Thomas Jefferson's Election
    Jefferson’s victory in the election of 1800 brought an end to the Federalist Era and ushered in the Jeffersonian Era. Adams stepped aside without conflict, making it the first transition from one political party to another in US history. It proved America was capable of having peaceful and democratic transitions of power and political/cultural change could occur without violence or bloodshed. Jefferson’s victory and resulting change in political ideology is known as the “Revolution of 1800”.
  • Marbury v Madison

    Marbury v Madison
    As Jefferson took power, Adams filled federal courts with loyal federalists. Jefferson tells Madison, his secretary of state, to withhold 4 undelivered commissions. Marbury sued to get his job, taking the case to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall sides with Madison based on the fact they found part of the Judiciary Acts unconstitutional and thus void. In doing so, it established judicial review, or the power to declare a law unconstitutional, enhancing the system of checks and balances.
  • Louisiana Purchase

    Louisiana Purchase
    As Washington’s Pinckney Treaty was not a permanent solution to US control of the Mississippi, Jefferson was offered the Louisiana Territory by France for 15 million, a bargain. Jefferson, a strict constructionist, wrestled with the choice. He ultimately made the purchase, acquiring 828,000 acres of land and securing the Mississippi. The purchase doubled the size of the US and expanded the nation westward. To explore the vast new territory, Jefferson would order the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • War Declared on Britain

    War Declared on Britain
    With Britain at conflict with France, they were adamant that the US not trade with the latter. The British Navy would kidnap US sailors and force them into its own service, called impressment. They would take entire ships and their cargos, impeding American ability to trade. Britain had also armed Indians, which Americans interpreted as an act of aggression. Congress declared war, and victory in the “Second War for Independence'' or War of 1812 would be key to the survival of the young US.
  • Treaty of Ghent

    Treaty of Ghent
    In 1814, Britain was ready for peace after two years of fighting.Terms weren’t favorable for either side, and basically retained the conditions and boundaries prior to the war. However, the effect in America was much deeper. People began identifying more as Americans and less as members of their state.Victories like the Battle of New Orleans caused a sense of nationalism to sweep the nation.It also represented the increasing respect for America on the world stage, who was now at the adult table.
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    With regional tensions mounting, when Missouri applied to enter the Union as a slave state, Congress debated whether or not slavery should be allowed to spread west of the Mississippi. Henry Clay had a compromise: To preserve the balance of slave and free states, Maine would enter as a free state and Missouri would enter as a slave state. States north of the 20th parallel aside from Missouri would be free and those south of it would be slave. The compromise held off the issue for 3 more decades.
  • "Monroe Doctrine" Declared

    "Monroe Doctrine" Declared
    President James Monroe, in a speech to Congress, outlined American foreign policy toward the Western Hemisphere. Monroe warned European nations not to interfere in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere and with new countries in Latin America. This included further colonization, military intervention, or other influences. Any breach of the Doctrine would be seen as a threat to the US. A foundation piece of American foreign policy, the Monroe Doctrine helped assert the US as a leader of the West.
  • Andrew Jackson Elected

    Andrew Jackson Elected
    Jackson fared well at the polls as states began to extend the franchise to all white men regardless of property. Jackson was a War of 1812 hero, his crowning moment his victory in New Orleans. His policies emphasized the role of the common man, with opponents accusing him of catering to “King Mob” and seizing too much power. Jackson led the first modern political campaign, introduced the spoils system, transitioned to the Second Party System, and strengthened the power of the executive branch.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    Jackson’s aggressive Indian removal policy led to the creation of Native American reserves on land west of the Mississippi. However, native resistance such as the Cherokee led to the forced removal of tribes. The Act led to tragedies like the Trail of Tears, where Natives were forced off of their land into unfamiliar territory. It was devastating for the indigenous population and their way of life and changed how the government dealt with Natives inside state borders,and opened lands for whites.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion

    Nat Turner's Rebellion
    Nat Turner was a slave that led a rebellion against slave owners killing 55 men, women, and children. Turner was hanged, but planters were deeply disturbed. Virginia considered a gradual emancipation law, but chose to impose additional restrictions and even harsher penalties on the education, movement, and assembly of slaves. Pro-slavery attitudes were hardened and the idea that planters would end slavery willingly was dead. The rebellion increased tension between North and South as well.
  • Battle of the Alamo

    Battle of the Alamo
    After Mexico adopted a new constitution with stricter immigration rules, angering many American settlers in Texas, a Texas War Party formed to fight for an independent Republic of Texas. Mexican president Santa Anna led his troops to put down a rebellion at the Alamo fort, where no Texan soldiers survived. “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying and inspiring war cry in the quest for Texan independence, which was attained on April 21, 1836. Texas would be annexed by the US in 1845.
  • "Manifest Destiny" Coined

    "Manifest Destiny" Coined
    Manifest Destiny was coined by John O’Sullivan and was used to describe the cultural belief that America was destined by God to expand from coast to coast. Many Americans believed that expansion was necessary and it was their duty to spread democracy, to conquer and prosper. Beliefs of divine right drove Westward Expansion. Texan Independence, the Oregon Trail, and the California Gold Rush would be justified with the term. As new states were added to the US, the issue of slavery intensified.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo

    Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo
    The Mexican-American War had begun in 1846 over a border dispute between Texas and Mexico. President Polk, in a speech, convinced Congress to go to war with Mexico, where US forces captured Mexico City and forced Mexico to sign a treaty.The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ended the war and recognized Texas as a part of the US and that its border was the Rio Grande. It also forced the Mexican Cession, where Mexico ceded 55% of its territory to the US, beginning a debate over slavery in the new lands.
  • Seneca Falls Convention

    Seneca Falls Convention
    Hosted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, two prominent women’s rights activists, 68 women and 32 men attended the convention in Seneca Falls, NY. They agreed upon a Declaration of Sentiments, outlining the goals of the movement. They sought to end the idea of women being naturally inferior to men and give them greater freedoms, including more job opportunities and the right to vote. It was a landmark event for the women’s rights movement, essentially launching and solidifying it.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    With California ready to enter the Union as a free state, Southerners feared it would disrupt the delicate regional balance. Under high tensions, Senator Henry Clay proposed a compromise: 1) California would be a free state 2) Slave trade would be abolished in DC 3) Strict fugitive slave laws enacted nationwide 4) New territories applying for statehood would decide to be free or slave via popular sovereignty. Secession had been temporarily avoided but increased tensions along sectional lines.
  • Bleeding Kansas

    Bleeding Kansas
    As Kansas was set to vote on slavery, droves of pro-slavery men from Missouri entered the state and stole the election. Fraud was obvious, but Congress did not redo the election; Kansas would be a slave state. Violent skirmishes broke out between abolitionists and pro-slavery “border ruffians”. Most dramatically, John Brown killed 5 pro-slavery men in the Pottawatomie Massacre. Tensions over slavery had reached a head nationwide as the events in Kansas would be a key precursor to the Civil War.
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford

    Dred Scott v. Sanford
    Dred Scott, a slave that had moved with his owner to a free state, sued for his freedom on the grounds that his master had no right to keep him in bondage. A decade later, the case made it to the Supreme Court, who ruled against Scott. A devastating blow to the abolitionist movement, it ruled that slaves were not American citizens and could not sue in federal court, declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, and stated Congress had no authority to ban slavery from a federal territory.
  • Abraham Lincoln Elected

    Abraham Lincoln Elected
    Lincoln, an Illinois abolitionist and Republican, made preserving the Union at all costs the focus of his presidency, not emancipation. The Lincoln-Douglas debates seemed to confirm Southern fears that Lincoln would come after their slaves, and his election was a breaking point for an already unstable nation. The South no longer felt that they had a voice in politics and feared Lincoln’s anti-slavery policies.South Carolina would secede first from the Union, with other southern states following.
  • Battle of Fort Sumter

    Battle of Fort Sumter
    The first battle of the Civil War started when Lincoln sent a convoy to resupply Fort Sumter, near Charleston, SC. The first shots of the war were fired when Confederate troops bombarded the fort, forcing a Union surrender. The battle marked the official beginning of the Civil War along with its first casualties. With the Union loss, more southern states joined the Confederacy including Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, prompting Lincoln to call for volunteer soldiers from the Union.
  • Homestead Act Passed

    Homestead Act Passed
    Northeastern cities were becoming overcrowded by the 1860s, and land in rural areas was becoming more expensive. Vast territory in the West was lying economically unproductive. To accelerate settlement of the West, the Homestead Act offered 160 acres of free land in the West to any head of household who wanted to claim it, as long as they lived there for 5 years and were productive. Land equals opportunity, and a wide range of people were attracted to settle the West, spurring economic growth.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    Lincoln seized the Union victory at Antietam, the bloodiest day in US history, as a politically savvy time to announce the Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation freed all slaves in the South, but slavery was allowed to remain in border states and Confederate areas occupied by Union soldiers. The Emancipation Proclamation changed the aim of the war from preserving the Union to also being a fight for freedom for slaves, in the process dissuading European countries from helping the South.
  • Siege of Vicksburg

    Siege of Vicksburg
    Vicksburg, the last Confederate fort on the Mississippi, was of high strategic importance to the Confederacy. General Grant led a month-long siege, forcing its surrender. By the end, the Union had assumed complete control of the Mississippi, completing the Anaconda Plan and splitting the South in 2, cutting off western Confederate states from vital supplies and troops. 30,000 Confederate troops were captured, and Lincoln would promote Grant. The North finally had someone to match Robert E. Lee.
  • Battle of Gettysburg & Gettysburg Address

    Battle of Gettysburg & Gettysburg Address
    Fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the battle was a crushing defeat for the Confederacy. The Confederates lost 28,000 men, more than a third of Robert E. Lee’s army. Considered the turning point of the war, the Union victory prevented the Confederacy’s last full-scale invasion of the North. The battle led to the Gettysburg Address in which Lincoln redefined the Civil War as a struggle for freedom and democracy. From Gettysburg the Union would gather momentum that led to their eventual victory.
  • Lee's Surrender at Appomattox

    Lee's Surrender at Appomattox
    With Lee’s army crippled after Gettyburg, Grant viciously pursued him in the Final Virginia Campaign. Desperately low on supplies, Lee rushes toward Appomattox Courthouse, a Confederate storehouse. Grant’s troops diverged to slow Lee down while others marched ahead. When Lee arrived at Appomattox, he was left surrounded and forced to surrender. Confederate troops were paroled and allowed to return home. It was the end of the Civil War, and Lincoln’s plan to preserve the Union had succeeded.
  • President Lincoln Assassinated

    President Lincoln Assassinated
    Lincoln easily won the election of 1864 despite fears that he wouldn’t. He immediately began devising strategies for post-war Reconstruction, including the 10% plan. Radical Republicans proposed a harsher plan, but during negotiations Lincoln was assassinated by Confederate fanatic John Wilkes Booth. His death dramatically changed the Reconstruction Era as plans were thrown into disarray. Lincoln’s successor Andrew Johnson, a southerner, would not live up to Lincoln’s quality of leadership.
  • Reconstruction Act of 1867 Passed

    Reconstruction Act of 1867 Passed
    Engineered by Radical Republicans, a Reconstruction plan was made, dividing the former Confederacy into 5 military districts each overseen by a Union general. States had to disenfranchise ex-Confederates, give freedmen the right to vote, and pass the 14th Amendment before being allowed back in the Union. Johnson would veto, but Congress was able to override it. Further conflict with Johnson would lead to his impeachment in 1868. A plan for punishing the South and lifting up freedmen had emerged.
  • Transcontinental Railroad Completed

    Transcontinental Railroad Completed
    Congress provided funding for a transcontinental railroad in 1862, hiring 2 competing companies: Central Pacific, which started in Sacramento and built East, and Union Pacific, which started in Omaha and built West. They were given a parcel of land for every mile completed, causing towns to pop up along the railroad. When it was completed in 1869, the US was capable of convenient trade with both Europe and Asia. It facilitated Westward Expansion but also escalated conflict with Native Americans.
  • 15th Amendment Ratified

    15th Amendment Ratified
    After passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865 that ended slavery, Congress recognized the importance of securing civil rights for freedmen. First, the 14th Amendment was passed, granting slaves full citizenship; however, worries arose that it wouldn’t offer enough protection against Southern Black Codes. The 15th Amendment was passed to protect citizens’ rights to vote, regardless of race.It’s fatal flaw was making no provisions regarding poll taxes and literacy tests, foreshadowing Jim Crow laws.
  • Battle of The Little Bighorn

    Battle of The Little Bighorn
    Due to the discovery of gold, the US gov. violated a treaty with the Lakota Sioux that had ensured their land rights to the Black Hills. Soldiers tried to force the tribe onto reservations, but they fought back. Under the leadership of Chief Sitting Bull, Indians killed General Custer and his 259 soldiers down to the last man. While it was a glorious victory for the tribe, whites used “Custer’s Last Stand” as an example of Native savagery and increased efforts to force Natives onto reservations.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act (S2)

    Chinese Exclusion Act (S2)
    The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first federal law to restrict immigration based on nationality and race. It prohibited Chinese immigrants from coming to the United States and denied citizenship to those already living in the country. The act had significant impacts on Chinese Americans, who faced discrimination, prejudice, and limited job opportunities. The law was not repealed until 1943, and its legacy has had lasting effects on Asian American communities in the U.S.
  • Dawes Severalty Act

    Dawes Severalty Act
    Passed in 1887, the Dawes Act was supposed to protect Native American property rights. It offered 160 acres of land to each Native American family, or 80 acres to single Native men, who would farm it. However, it was a disaster, responsible for the loss of 90 million acres of Native land. This was due to grant lands being taken from reservations and the seizing of “surplus” acres from tribes. The Act abolished tribal-self governance and sped up forced assimilation of Natives into white culture.
  • Hull House Opens (S2)

    Hull House Opens (S2)
    Hull House was a settlement house founded in Chicago in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. It provided social and educational opportunities for immigrants and the working class, offering daycare, job training, and medical care. Hull House played a significant role in the Progressive Era, advocating for social and political reforms, including child labor laws and women's suffrage. It inspired the creation of settlement houses across the country and helped to shape modern social work.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    Wounded Knee Massacre
    The Ghost Dance Movement combined traditional Native beliefs with Christianity, with Natives believing that a proper lifestyle and ceremonial dances would restore the days before white settlement. It was a unifying movement for Natives and deemed dangerous and thus outlawed. Lakotas were practicing the dance on the Pine Ridge Reservation when the US Army attacked them, slaughtering an estimated 150-300 innocent people.The massacre marked the definitive end of Indian resistance to white settlers.
  • Plessy v Ferguson (S2)

    Plessy v Ferguson (S2)
    Plessy v. Ferguson was a SCOTUS case that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation laws. It established the "separate but equal" doctrine, which permitted racial segregation in public facilities as long as the separate accommodations were considered equal. This decision legalized segregation and reinforced the Jim Crow system of racial discrimination for decades in the US until 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education), contributing to the struggle for civil rights in the 20th century.
  • Spanish-American War

    Spanish-American War
    The Spanish-American War was a conflict between the US and Spain in 1898, primarily fought in the Philippines and Cuba. The war was sparked by the sinking of the USS Maine and US desire to help Cuba gain independence from Spain. The US emerged victorious, gaining territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The war helped establish the US as a global power and marked the end of the Spanish colonial empire, while also leading to ongoing debates about American imperialism.
  • McKinley Assassinated; Roosevelt Becomes President

    McKinley Assassinated; Roosevelt Becomes President
    Following McKinley’s assassination, Teddy Roosevelt would be thrust into the presidency. Serving from 1901-1909, he was known for his “Square Deal” policies, which balanced the interests of businesses, consumers, and labor. Roosevelt’s progressive policies, including trust-busting, conservationism, and regulation of industry, shaped American politics and society.Teddy would establish the presidency as a powerful institution and expand American influence abroad, such as building the Panama Canal.
  • "The Jungle" Published

    "The Jungle" Published
    Muckrakers were investigative journalists who exposed corruption & social problems (early 20th century). Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle" & Lincoln Steffens' "Shame of the Cities" highlighted corruption in urban politics. These books spurred reforms and increased awareness of the need for government transparency/accountability. The muckrakers' work contributed to the Progressive Era's social & political reforms, leading to significant changes in labor laws, public health, and women's suffrage.
  • NAACP Founded

    NAACP Founded
    Civil rights for Black Americans were grim, but there was also the constant threat of lynching and other targeted violence. 1908 saw a brutal race riot in Springfield, IL, in which a mob of 5,000 attacked the city's Black residents. Progressive leaders, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells, came together to decide a strong response. This resulted in the foundation of the NAACP, which became a vital part of the civil rights movement throughout the twentieth century.
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

    Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
    The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire occurred when a fire broke out in a New York City garment factory, killing 146 workers (mostly immigrant women).The tragedy exposed the unsafe working conditions and lack of labor protections for workers, leading to increased efforts to improve workplace safety and workers' rights. The event also helped galvanize the labor movement and inspired changes in labor laws and regulations.New York created a factory commission to enforce 56 new labor safety laws in response.
  • Ford's Assembly Line

    Ford's Assembly Line
    Henry Ford’s assembly line was a new manufacturing process using a conveyor belt to move a product through stages of production. This allowed for standardized and efficient production of the Ford Model T, making it affordable for the average American.The assembly line led to increased productivity, reduced costs, and higher wages for workers. It became a model for mass production and influenced the development of the modern manufacturing industry while giving America a massive industrial output.
  • Great Migration Starts

    Great Migration Starts
    The Great Migration was the movement of millions of African Americans from the South to the North (about 1916-1970). It was driven by factors such as economic opportunity, escaping racial discrimination and violence, and seeking better living conditions. This mass migration had a profound impact on the social, cultural, and political landscape of the United States, leading to the growth of urban Black communities, changes in labor markets, and increased political mobilization for civil rights.
  • US Declares War on Germany

    US Declares War on Germany
    President Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war in response to unrestricted German submarine warfare (which sank the Lusitania, 1915) and the Zimmerman telegram. The entry of the US into WWI helped to tip the balance of the war in favor of the Allies, leading to Germany's defeat. The war had a significant impact on the US, including increased government power and authority, a shift in foreign policy towards internationalism, and economic growth through increased industrial production.
  • Treaty of Versailles Signed

    Treaty of Versailles Signed
    The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty signed between the Allies (Congress never approved the Treaty) and Germany to end WWI. The treaty imposed heavy penalties and reparations on Germany, including the loss of territories, disarmament, and payment of war damages. The treaty's impact on Germany led to economic instability, political unrest, and the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Its brutal terms set the stage for WWII and contributed to the breakdown of the international order.
  • Prohibition Begins

    Prohibition Begins
    Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol in the US from 1920 to 1933. Its goal was to reduce crime/corruption, and improve public health and morality. However, it led to an increase in organized crime, speakeasies, and illegal alcohol production and sales. It also caused significant economic losses, decreased tax revenue, and undermined respect for the law. Ultimately, it was repealed due to its failure to achieve its intended goals.
  • 19th Amendment Ratified

    19th Amendment Ratified
    The 19th Amendment granted women (only white) the right to vote in the US. Before this, women were barred from participating in elections and were often discriminated against in other areas of public life. WWI had sparked a change in the way women were perceived, as women had made great contributions to the war effort. The amendment had a profound impact on American democracy, empowering women to have a say in who represented them and giving them a platform to advocate for their rights.
  • National Origins Act Enabled

    National Origins Act Enabled
    This Act restricted immigration to the US, establishing quotas based on national origin, favoring Northern and Western European countries while severely limiting immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe and Asia. The Act was a result of nativist sentiment and aimed to preserve the "racial purity" of the country. It had a significant impact on the demographics of the US, contributing to a decline in diversity and limiting opportunities for immigrants. It was eventually repealed in 1965.
  • Rise of Automobiles and the Radio

    Rise of Automobiles and the Radio
    The rise of automobiles and the radio occurred in the early 20th century. The invention of the automobile allowed for greater mobility and accessibility, revolutionizing transportation and commerce. The radio enabled the dissemination of news, entertainment, and culture to millions, transforming communication and shaping public opinion. Together, these technologies facilitated unprecedented social and economic changes, spurring urbanization, consumerism, and the growth of mass media.
  • Stock Market Crashes

    Stock Market Crashes
    The Stock Market Crash of 1929, “Black Tuesday”, occurred when stock prices suddenly collapsed, leading to widespread panic and the start of the Great Depression. It was caused in part by a combination of speculative buying, overproduction, and excessive credit.The crash wiped out billions of dollars in wealth, resulting in widespread poverty, unemployment, and bank failures.It highlighted the need for government intervention and regulation in financial markets to prevent future economic crises.
  • Dust Bowl Begins

    Dust Bowl Begins
    The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms and soil erosion in the Great Plains region of the US during the 1930s. Lasting 6 years and wreaking economic and environmental havoc, it was caused by a combination of drought, poor farming practices, and high winds. The resulting dust storms led to agricultural and ecological damage, displacement of people, and significant economic and social impacts. The event highlighted the importance of sustainable land use and soil conservation practices.
  • Bonus Army March on Washington

    Bonus Army March on Washington
    With the Great Depression entering its second year, veterans began to demand government action as their situations got worse. Soldiers from WWI were promised pensions, or bonuses, to be paid around 1940. As the economic hardship set in, veterans marched to Washington to demand immediate payment. Hoover ordered the military to force them out, resulting in a violent confrontation. Hoover’s reputation took a further hit with the severe public backlash and contributed to his loss to FDR in 1932.
  • FDR Elected President

    FDR Elected President
    FDR’s election in 1932 marked a turning point in American history. The country was in the grip of the Great Depression, and FDR promised a New Deal for the American people. His policies included government intervention in the economy, social welfare programs, and infrastructure projects. Roosevelt's leadership and reforms provided relief to millions of Americans and restored confidence in the government. His legacy continues to shape American politics and the role of government in the economy.
  • FDR's First Hundred Days End

    FDR's First Hundred Days End
    During FDR's 100 Days (first 100 days of FDR’s administration, March to June 1933) FDR implemented a series of aggressive measures to combat the Depression, including massive New Deal legislatures. Some of the programs created included the Civilian Conservation Corps, the NIRA, and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. FDR stuck to his promise of speedy action, although reactions to the New Deal were mixed. His actions set a precedent for presidential action during times of crisis.
  • Social Security Act

    Social Security Act
    The Social Security Act, signed into law by FDR, created a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to retired workers and their families, as well as to the disabled/unemployed. The act also established the framework for the modern welfare state and has since become a cornerstone of the American social safety net. This act helped alleviate poverty and provided a sense of security to millions of Americans, significantly improving the quality of life for many vulnerable populations.
  • Executive Order 8802

    Executive Order 8802
    Facing pressure from black labor groups, FDR signed Executive Order 8802 in 1941, which prohibited racial discrimination in the defense industry. It established the Fair Employment Practices Committee to investigate and remedy complaints of discrimination. The landmark action helped advance the civil rights movement by providing opportunities for blacks/other minorities in the workforce. This unprecedented support encouraged the growing membership of civil rights groups like the NAACP and CORE.
  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

    Bombing of Pearl Harbor
    Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack led to the entry of the United States into World War II and had a significant impact on the outcome of the war. It resulted in the loss of 2,403 American lives, the destruction of 188 aircraft and 4 battleships, and sparked a wave of patriotic fervor and determination in the American public to defeat the Axis powers.
  • FDR's Date of Infamy Speech

    FDR's Date of Infamy Speech
    On December 8, 1941, FDR addressed Congress and the nation in a speech, officially declaring war on Japan. He declared that the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan the previous day was a "date which will live in infamy", rallying Americans to join the fight. The speech galvanized the American people and Congress into supporting the country's entry into WWII. It also marked a turning point in American foreign policy, shifting from neutrality to active participation in global conflicts.
  • Japanese Internment Begins

    Japanese Internment Begins
    Executive Order 9066 was a US presidential order signed in 1942 during WWII, authorizing the forced relocation and internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans, mostly US citizens. The order was based on unfounded fears of Japanese espionage and sabotage, resulting in the loss of property, businesses, and civil liberties of Japanese Americans, as well as perpetuating racism and discrimination. It has been widely criticized as a violation of human rights and constitutional principles.
  • D-Day Invasion

    D-Day Invasion
    D-Day, also known as the Normandy landings, was a massive Allied invasion of German-occupied France on June 6, 1944, during WWII. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history (over 150,000 troops & 5,000 ships/landing craft). While casualties were extremely heavy, the operation successfully established a foothold in Europe, leading to the liberation of France and eventually the defeat of Nazi Germany. D-Day was a crucial turning point in the war, forcing Germany to fight on two fronts.
  • GI Bill

    GI Bill
    The GI Bill (Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944) provided educational and housing benefits to millions of returning WWII vets. The act paid for veterans' college or trade school education, gave low-interest business loans and mortgages, and provided them with free healthcare in VA hospitals. It enabled many to obtain college degrees, start businesses, and buy homes. The GI Bill helped to stimulate economic growth (post-war economic boom) and create a large middle class in the post-war period.
  • Atomic Bombs Dropped

    Atomic Bombs Dropped
    In August 1945, Truman gave authorization for atomic bombs to be dropped on the cities of Hiroshima (Aug 6) and Nagasaki (Aug 9). The decision was made with fears that Japanese leaders would never surrender unless national ruin struck their country in mind. The bombs killed over 200,000 people, and shortly after on Sept 2 Japan surrendered unconditionally, lifting the US out of war and ending WWII. The bombings were controversial (ethical concerns) and sparked a global nuclear arms race.
  • Potsdam Conference

    Potsdam Conference
    The Potsdam Conference was a meeting of Allied leaders (Truman, Stalin, Churchill/Attlee) held in Germany in July-August 1945 to discuss post-WWII reorganization of Europe. In the Potsdam Agreement, the leaders decided in the process of reconstruction and demilitarization, Germany would be split into 4 occupation zones, with the USSR gaining control of eastern Germany and the Allies the west.The conference created the conditions for Cold War tensions and set the stage for the creation of the UN.
  • Truman Doctrine Proposed

    Truman Doctrine Proposed
    The Truman Doctrine was a US foreign policy announced in 1947 by President Truman. In a speech to Congress, Truman laid out the principles of his doctrine: the strategy of containing communism's impact by assisting any country threatened by communist uprisings with military and financial aid. This marked a departure from isolationist policies to global interventionism, and helped contain the spread of Soviet influence in Europe. The doctrine would guide foreign policy throughout the Cold War.
  • Marshall Plan Takes Effect

    Marshall Plan Takes Effect
    The Marshall Plan was a US-sponsored program to rebuild Western Europe after WWII, providing $13 billion in aid to 16 countries. US officials feared post-war Europe, full of strife and economic hardship, would turn to communism to provide relief. The Marshall Plan helped to modernize industries, stimulate trade, and stabilize economies, reducing poverty and political unrest (helped prevent spread of communism). It stabilized Europe and it's success helped establish the US as a global leader.
  • NATO Founded

    NATO Founded
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 by the US, Canada, and several Western European nations as a military alliance to deter Soviet aggression and provide a security umbrella for Western Europe (seen with Article 5). NATO played a key role in maintaining the peace/stability of Europe during the Cold War. By 1960, most Western Bloc countries had joined, and in retaliation, the Eastern Bloc formed the Warsaw Pact in response. It was a further sign of Cold War division.
  • McCarthy and the Red Scare

    McCarthy and the Red Scare
    In his notorious Wheeling Speech in 1950, Senator McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 communists working in the State Department, prompting widespread hysteria and national security concerns. With the Cold War well on its way, a second Red Scare gripped America, a period of political repression and paranoia about communism in the US. During the scare institutions like HUAC deprived accused communists of due process. "McCarthyism" was a big violation of civil liberties and freedom of speech.
  • US Enters Korean War

    US Enters Korean War
    After WWII, Korea was split into North and South, and the US would enter the Korean War in 1950 after communist NK invaded capitalist SK. Following its strategy of containment, US troops were sent in under General MacArthur in what became a proxy war against the Soviet Union. By 1953 a tenuous peace agreement was set, placing the Korean border at the 38th parallel, ending the war and establishing a DMZ. The war heightened Cold War tensions and increased US military involvement in Asia.
  • Brown v Board of Education

    Brown v Board of Education
    When the NAACP & Thurgood Marshall took Linda Brown’s case to the SCOTUS, the court declared in a landmark decision that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This overturned the "separate but equal" doctrine established in Plessy v Ferguson in 1896. The decision had a huge impact on American society, leading to desegregation of schools and later, other public spaces. It paved the way for the civil rights movement and challenged the legal basis for racial discrimination in the US.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Montgomery Bus Boycott
    The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a civil rights protest (1955-56) against racial segregation on public buses in Alabama. The boycott was sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks, a black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white man. The boycott lasted over a year and was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement, inspiring further nonviolent protests. It resulted in the desegregation of public buses, brought attention to racial inequality in the US, and propelled MLK to national prominence.
  • Eisenhower Interstate Highway Act

    Eisenhower Interstate Highway Act
    The Eisenhower Interstate Highway Act (signed in 1956), authorized the construction of a massive interstate highway system in the US. It was done in part to enhance national defense. It led to the creation of over 41,000 miles of highways and had a profound impact on American society, enabling the growth of suburbs, facilitating the movement of goods and people, and transforming the economy. It also had negative impacts, including contributing to urban sprawl/decay and environmental degradation.
  • Freedom Rides

    Freedom Rides
    Organized by CORE, the Freedom Rides were a series of bus rides throughout the South to challenge/test the non-enforcement of desegregation legislation. Riders, including Black and white activists, faced violent opposition from white supremacists, but their actions ultimately led to the desegregation of interstate travel and inspired further civil rights activism. The Rides brought attention to the ongoing struggle for racial equality in the US and were a key moment in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    With the USSR secretly placing nuclear missiles in Cuba, a significant threat was posed to the US. A political and military standoff between the US and USSR ensued, but JFK was able to reach a deal where the USSR would agree to remove the missiles in exchange for the removal of US missiles from Turkey and a promise to not invade Cuba. The crisis highlighted the danger of nuclear war and led to improved communication/diplomacy between the US and USSR, even as Cold War tensions continued to rise.
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    The March on Washington was a peaceful civil rights demonstration where over 250,000 people gathered at the National Mall in Washington DC to advocate for equal rights and an end to segregation. It culminated in MLK’s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which called for racial equality and justice. The march helped push the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law and helped to raise national awareness for the Civil Rights Movement & of the struggle for racial equality.
  • JFK Assassinated

    JFK Assassinated
    JFK would be assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald while visiting Dallas. JFK's death shocked the nation and launched LBJ immediately into the presidency. The assassination compounded the feeling of turbulence in the 1960s, which saw the civil rights movement, the start of war in Vietnam, Cold War tensions, and the assassination of MLK and Robert Kennedy. JFK’s assassination ended an era of hope known as the "Camelot" years & ushered in the beginning of a period of political turmoil/social unrest.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 Signed

    Civil Rights Act of 1964 Signed
    JFK had long promised a civil rights bill, but he was killed before it became a reality. LBJ finished the job for him in 1964. The Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in public accommodations, employment, and education. The Act had a significant impact on American society, helping to dismantle the legal framework of racial segregation and opening up opportunities for minorities. It was a major achievement of the civil rights movement.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 Signed

    Voting Rights Act of 1965 Signed
    The SCLC organized a march on Selma, Alabama, to push for greater voting rights protections and protest the murder of an activist. They were met with tear gas from law enforcement, a scene that the entire country saw on television. A few months later, the VRA was passed to prevent racial discrimination in voting. It banned literacy tests and sent in election officials to register voters in counties where less than 50% were registered. It had a significant impact in dismantling Jim-Crow era laws.
  • Watergate Begins

    Watergate Begins
    Watergate was a political scandal in the US during the early 1970s. With Nixon facing reelection, members of his administration were caught breaking into the DNC's headquarters in the Watergate complex to spy on and sabotage the Democratic Party’s campaign. Watergate exposed corruption and abuse of power in the highest levels of government, leading to increased distrust of politicians and a push for transparency & accountability in government, as well as increased scrutiny of political leaders.
  • Nixon Withdraws Aid from Vietnam

    Nixon Withdraws Aid from Vietnam
    President Nixon’s decision to withdraw American military aid from South Vietnam came after years of controversy & criticism of the war effort, and it marked the beginning of the end of almost 20 years of US involvement in the conflict. The ongoing Paris Peace Accords factored into the decision. Without US aid, the South Vietnamese government and military were unable to withstand the North Vietnamese offensive that ultimately led to the fall of Saigon in 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War.
  • Roe v Wade

    Roe v Wade
    In one of the most controversial SCOTUS decisions of all time, abortion was legalized nationwide as the court ruled that women had a constitutional right to abortion without undue government interference. For women's lib activists, it was a major victory for feminism and women's rights to reproductive healthcare; for conservatives, especially Christians, it was a state sanctioning of murder. Abortion would galvanize politics for the decades to come, and it continues to be a wedge issue today.
  • Nixon Resigns

    Nixon Resigns
    Facing pressure for Watergate, when the informant "Deepthroat" came forward, Nixon denied any wrongdoing and refused to release the unedited tapes. In 1974, the Supreme Court ordered them to be released, revealing the full extent of Nixon's involvement.A week later, Nixon resigned the office, humiliated and desperate to avoid an impeachment. Nixon's resignation marked the 1st and only time in US history that a president has resigned from office, pushing vice pres Gerald Ford into the presidency.
  • Camp David Accords

    Camp David Accords
    The Camp David Accords were signed in 1978 between Egypt & Israel, following negotiations mediated by US President Carter. The agreement established a framework for peace in the Middle East and led to Egypt becoming the first Arab state to recognize Israel. The Accords also resulted in Israel withdrawing from the Sinai Peninsula. The impact of the agreement was significant, as it marked a major breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli conflict and set a precedent for peaceful negotiations in the region.
  • Reagan Elected President

    Reagan Elected President
    Reagan’s landslide victory over incumbent Carter ushered in an era of conservative politics known as the “Reagan Revolution”. His presidency is remembered for his conservative policies, including tax cuts, deregulation, and a strong national defense. His leadership was credited with helping to end stagflation and revive the US economy, as well ending the Cold War. His policies, dubbed Reganomics, helped spur economic growth but also widened the income gap. Reagan was re-elected in 1984.