US Government Timeline

  • The Declaration of Independence

    Independence Day, also known as "the Fourth of July," celebrates our Declaration of Independence from the British Empire in 1776.
  • Lee Resolution

    The Lee Resolution, also known as the resolution of independence, was an act of the Second Continental Congress declaring the Thirteen Colonies to be independent of the British Empire.
  • Articles of Confederation

    The Articles of Confederation served as the first constitution, declaring that the confederacy of the former 13 colonies would be called “The United States of America.”
  • The Alliance Treaty with France

    The Treaty of Alliance created a military alliance against Great Britain, stipulating American independence as a condition of peace
  • The US constitution

    Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the U.S. Constitution is the world's longest surviving written charter of government.
  • The Federalist papers

    "Written in favour of the New Constitution" (in 1787 and 1788), the Federalist Papers explores how the American government might operate.
  • 1st Amendment

    1st Amendment
    The first amendments gives us the right to freedom of speech, religion, and to peaceably assemble
  • 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment
    Gave us the right to bear arms
  • 3rd Amendment

    3rd Amendment
    Said that at no time would a soldier be placed in a house without consent of the owner
  • 4th Amendment

    4th Amendment
    Gave us the rights to be secure person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • 5th Amendment

    5th Amendment
    Right to due process
  • 6th Amendment

    6th Amendment
    The right to a speedy and public trial
  • 7th Amendment

    7th Amendment
    Gave the right to trial by jury
  • 8th Amendment

    8th Amendment
    The right to no cruel or unusual punishments
  • 9th Amendment

    9th Amendment
    The right that if something is not in the constitution does not mean its not your right
  • The Bill of Rights

    The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights which guarantee essential rights and liberties, were ratified in 1791.
  • 10th Amendment

    10th Amendment
    emphasizes that the inclusion of a bill of rights does not change the fundamental character of the national government.
  • 11th Amendment

    11th Amendment
    prohibits the federal courts from hearing certain lawsuits against states
  • Maybury Vs. Madison

    Maybury Vs. Madison
    This decision gave the Court the ability to strike down laws on the grounds that they are unconstitutional (a power called judicial review).
  • 12th Amendment

    12th Amendment
    each elector must cast distinct votes for president and vice president, instead of two votes for president
  • McCulloch vs. Maryland

    McCulloch vs. Maryland
    The McCulloch decision established two important principles for constitutional law that continue today: implied powers and federal supremacy.
  • Gibbons v. Ogden

    Gibbons v. Ogden
    The impact of Gibbons is still felt today as it gives the federal government a much-broader base to regulate economic transactions.
  • Dred Scott vs. Sandford

    The Dred Scott case became a central issue in the debate surrounding the expansion of slavery and further fueled the flames leading to the Civil War.
  • 13th Amendment

    13th Amendment
    abolished slavery
  • 14th Amendement

    14th Amendement
    Guaranteed everyone had equal protection of rights
  • 15th amendment

    15th amendment
    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
  • 16th Amendment

    16th Amendment
    allows the federal government to levy an income tax from all Americans
  • 17th amendment

    17th amendment
    Allowed voters to cast direct votes for U.S senators
  • 18th Amendment

    18th Amendment
    Banned the sell and drinking of alcohol
  • Schenck v. United States

    The Schenck decision is best known for creating the "clear and present danger" test meaning that speech could be restricted if it presented a clear and present danger. The decision was also the first to explain the metaphor of falsely yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Schenck was later modified by Brandenburg v. Ohio, which said that speech could be restricted if it would provoke an "imminent lawless action."
  • 19th Amendment

    19th Amendment
    the right to vote no matter what sex you are
  • 20th Amendment

    20th Amendment
    designed to remove the excessively long period of time a defeated president or member of Congress would continue to serve after his or her failed bid for reelection.
  • 21st Amendment

    21st Amendment
    Repealed the 18th amendment so people could drink alcohol
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    The Brown decision is heralded as a landmark decision in Supreme Court history, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) which had created the "separate but equal" doctrine.
  • 22nd Amendment

    22nd Amendment
    Stated the president can only be in office for two terms.
  • 23rd Amendment

    23rd Amendment
    Gave the residents of Washington DC the right to vote
  • Gideon v. Wainwright

    Along with the right to assistance for state criminal defendants, the Gideon decision had the effect of expanding public defender systems across the country.
  • 24th Amendment

    24th Amendment
    Got rid of the poll tax
  • Miranda v. Arizona

    The now famous "Miranda warnings" are required before any police custodial interrogation can begin if any of the evidence obtained during the interrogation is going to be used during a trial; the Court has limited and narrowed these warnings over the years.
  • 25th Amendment

    25th Amendment
    Came with a plan incase a president died or left office
  • Tinker v. Des Moines

    Tinker has become the central case for any challenges to school-based First Amendment rights.
  • 26th Amendment

    26th Amendment
    The right of citizens in the US 18 and older cannot be denied the right to vote
  • Roe v. Wade

    Roe has become a center-piece in the battle over abortion-rights, both in the public and in front of the Court.
  • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

    he decision started a line of cases in which the Court upheld affirmative action programs. In 2003, such academic affirmative action programs were again directly challenged in Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger.
  • 27th Amendment

    27th Amendment
    Prohibits any increase and decrease of salary for people in congress