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US Major Events - APUSH S2

  • The French and Indian War Begins

    The French and Indian War Begins
    The French and Indian War broke out between Britain and France in 1754, sparking a long and costly conflict between the two major powers. The war was fought to protect the interests of the American Colonies and to project English dominance into the New World. This war was significant because it plunged the British Crown deep enough into debt to inspire the harsh taxes that would be implemented on the colonists in the coming years, taxes that would seem unfair to the colonists.
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    The French & Indian War

  • Proclamation of 1763

    Proclamation of 1763
    As Britain emerged victorious from the Seven Years War, the empire found itself with an abundance of former French lands to the west of Appalachia. However, in the interests of maintaining a functioning relationship with the natives, the Proclamation of 1763 prohibited the settlement of any of the new territory. This frustrated colonists who wanted to seek opportunity out west and shaped the boundaries and politics of the 13 colonies that were still growing.
  • Townshend Acts

    Townshend Acts
    The Townshend Acts were among the first series of taxes placed on the American Colonies. The financial ramifications of the French and Indian War forced Parliament's hand in passing legislation to raise funds for war debts. Since these policies were placed exclusively on colonists, many in the colonies felt singled out in what they believed was an unfair tax system that doubly offered them no representation. These acts set the stage for American resistance and the rise of nonimportation.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    The Boston "Massacre" was a public shooting of American colonists in front of a British Customs House, killing five. British soldiers faced improvised projectiles, insults, and a growing hostile mob congregating around them until finally, shots rang out. The events of the shooting were highly publicized and shared throughout the colonies which helped accelerate anti-British sentiment, especially among the hostiles in Boston.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    The Boston Tea Party was a symbolic event in American history. It was a form of political protest against British taxes on tea at the time, inspiring the cause for an America with better and more fair treatment. This event directly resulted in the issue of the Intolerable Acts, with both in conjunction only further emboldening the American spirit and giving further cause for separation to the Patriots.
  • Coercive (Intolerable) Acts

    Coercive (Intolerable) Acts
    In response to the Boston Tea Party, The British government imposed a series of punishments on Massachusetts. These punishments included closing the port of Boston until the tea was paid, placing the government under martial law, the Quartering Act, and allowing British administrators to be tried in Britain. These acts deeply infuriated Massachusetts colonists and strengthed resentment, but they also caused the other colonies to fear what the Crown would do next and seeded the rebellion.
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    The Revolutionary War

  • Publication of "Common Sense"

    Publication of "Common Sense"
    The same year the United States declared independence, Thomas Paine published "Common Sense", a pamphlet advocating for separation. "Common Sense" came at a good time, it inspired thousands to take up arms against the British and convinced the hearts and minds of the nation that independence and liberty was the destiny for the colonies. Another effect of the book was that the royalties that accrued from its sale all went to the Continental Army and supported the war effort for the Patriot cause.
  • The Declaration of Independence is Signed

    The Declaration of Independence is Signed
    The Declaration of Independence separated the colonies from Britain officially, which sparked the Revolutionary War where Britain attempted to reassert its control over the colonies. After long years of fighting, the British were eventually defeated at the Siege of Yorktown. This is one of the single most significant events in US history because it firmly establishes the United States as a sovereign nation, and afterward it would take an entire war before Britain accepted it.
  • The Battle of Saratoga

    The Battle of Saratoga
    The Battle of Saratoga was a pivotal point in the Revolutionary War & American cause due to it resulting in a major American victory. The British forces, led by General John Burgoyne, never met up with reinforcements and were surrounded by American forces, which caused the surrender of the entire army. The victory at this battle in particular was especially notable as it was the final piece of proof American negotiators needed in order to exact foreign military assistance from the French.
  • Treaty of Paris (1783)

    Treaty of Paris (1783)
    The Treaty of Paris officially ended the Revolutionary War. Great Britain recognized American independence and ceded large amounts of land west of the Appalachians. The new nation had defeated the predominant world power and gained a lot of room to grow. This led to the first era of peace for the United States, gave it time to devise a government, and manage/settle lands out west.
  • Shay's Rebellion Rises

    Shay's Rebellion Rises
    Shay's Rebellion was farmers' and veterans' response to the poor economic conditions present in the United States following the Revolutionary War. Armed revolt was taken up against courts to prevent foreclosure on farms and veterans demanded the compensation they were promised for in the war. This event was a driving force that factored into accelerating talks of revising the Articles of Confederation, and thus the creation of the Constitution.
  • Constitutional Convention

    Constitutional Convention
    The Constitutional Convention was held by delegates from 12 states to revise the Articles of Confederation. Washington was to preside over the proceedings, although the delegates decided to do away with the Articles entirely. Forming and soon ratifying the novel Constitution, a new government was laid out for the US. The Constitution caused a government with more power over the states, the unanswered question of slavery, and on a smaller stage hesitation from foreign investors to invest capital.
  • Northwest Ordinance

    Northwest Ordinance
    The Northwest Ordinance established a system for organizing and selling land in the Northwest Territory. In addition to surveying, it outlined the criteria for becoming a state, which was crucial for all future states (even outside the Northwest) to follow in order to join the union. However, because the Ordinance outlawed slavery in the region, it also added to the growing bitterness in the South toward government policy and would be a contributing factor toward the Civil War.
  • First Bank of the United States Chartered

    First Bank of the United States Chartered
    As per Hamilton's Financial Plan, The First National Bank of the US was established. The bank stored government funds collected from taxes and issued a standard paper currency. With this new currency, loans could be made out to begin growing the economy. The bank helped boost the nation's economy, and eventually laid the foundation to get even with European nations. The economic and financial reform the bank brought would lay the foundation for the capital needed for the Industrial Revolution.
  • Introduction of the Bill of Rights

    Introduction of the Bill of Rights
    In order to ratify the Constitution in three-fourths of the states, Anti-Federalists demanded concessions. Their demands culminated in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. The Anti-Federalists were fearful of the powerful federal government encroaching on individual freedoms, which hadn't been specified. The rights of the Bill of Rights extend even to this day, and protect and guarantee the individual rights, liberties, and freedoms of all citizens.
  • Invention of the Cotton Gin

    Invention of the Cotton Gin
    Slavery was on the decline in the US, a process called gradual emancipation. However, Eli Whitney's cotton gin made it 50 times more efficient to process the seeds out from cotton. Cotton could now be turned for a massive profit. This invention revolutionized the American economy, plantations in the south and textile factories to the north. Although, slavery exploded again and was desperately needed to fuel the labor-intensive drive for cotton picking.
  • The Revolution of 1800

    The Revolution of 1800
    The "Revolution of 1800" was the election of Thomas Jefferson as president over James Madison in the 1800 presidential race. This election meant that the powers of government were to change hands with a party of the a polar opposite position. Only previously accomplished in history following violence, people held their breath expecting a Federalist coup to overturn the election results. However, an unprecedented peaceful transition of power between opposing parties occurred, shocking the world.
  • Implementation of Interchangeable Parts

    Implementation of Interchangeable Parts
    Interchangeable parts was yet another invention of Eli Whitney's, which was first demonstrated with musket parts. These parts allowed for the standardization of materials and parts across products and machines. This involved a cycle where factory machines needed standard parts which needed other factories to be built. Interchangeable parts are extremely important even to this day. This design process is the very bedrock of modern manufacturing after this time and mass production techniques.
  • Marbury v. Madison

    Marbury v. Madison
    "Marbury v. Madison" was a Supreme Court case which was a lawsuit filed by William Marbury to obtain his commission as judge against Secretary of State James Madison, who refused to deliver the commission. John Marshall presided over the case as Supreme Justice, and declared that the commission was unconstitutional, and therefore void. This set an extremely important legal precedent for all time, cementing the Supreme Court's power of judicial review and strengthening the checks and balances.
  • Louisiana Purchase

    Louisiana Purchase
    Jefferson hoped to secure a more reliable and permanent access to the Mississippi River for rural farmers to the west instead of relying on a temporary treaty from Spain. One that they could just choose not to honor. Jefferson sent a messenger to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans from Napoleon. Napoleon counteroffered with the entire Louisiana Territory for around $15 million. Nearly doubling the size of the nation, the US gained land for several new states and even more natural resources.
  • Embargo Act of 1807

    Embargo Act of 1807
    Britain and France were tugging on the US to join their respective side in a war they had with the other. Britain especially was impressing American sailors and arming Native Americans. In an effort to cease these affronts to American honor, Jefferson enacted an embargo on both countries, both of which were major trade partners. This destroyed exports in the US and was extremely unpopular. However, the embargo did have the unintended effect of encouraging domestic manufacturing.
  • Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Outlawed

    Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Outlawed
    In 1808, Congress passed a law outlawing the importation of any more slaves internationally. While part of gradual emancipation, this put extreme pressure on the south following the cotton boom, and the domestic slave trade exploded. While initially contributing to the phasing out of slavery as an outdated institution, it runs directly against the business model of southern planters, only further building on the tensions of the approaching Civil War.
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    The War of 1812

  • Writing of the Star Spangled Banner

    Writing of the Star Spangled Banner
    Amidst the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" while being held captive on a British vessel. This song eventually came to become adopted by the United States as its very own national anthem, immortalizing it forever as the song and representation of what truly defines the American spirit. It's a symbolic victory song over the British during that fateful battle at Ft. McHenry. Overall, it helped create a national identity and ground Americans in their roots.
  • The Battle of New Orleans

    The Battle of New Orleans
    The Battle of New Orleans was a British invasion of New Orleans which took place soon after the Treaty of Ghent was signed. However, brilliant tactics on the part of the American general, Gen. Andrew Jackson, resulted in casualties of thousands of British soldiers to around 70 American ones. The battle was decisively won. Due to the victory, there was a surge in patriotism, and Americans increasingly saw themselves collectively as Americans instead of identifying with their state.
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    Era of Good Feeling

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    Market Revolution

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    2nd Great Awakening

  • Waltham-Lowell System

    Waltham-Lowell System
    With textile factories beginning to open up only a few years prior, the Waltham factory is built in new England and establishes a new labor model. Young, unmarried women are cheaply employed to work in the factory and live in boarding houses nearby. The Waltham-Lowell system seeds unprecedented civil change as women now have more economic freedom more than ever. In addition to new opportunities for women, the first labor unions formed in order to protect the rights of worker.
  • Monroe Doctrine Issued

    Monroe Doctrine Issued
    The Monroe Doctrine was the first proactive and assertive piece of foreign policy. Issued by President James Monroe, it states that the US will stay out of European affairs, but promises the protection of all free western governments from European imperialism. While a bold move to contribute to US neutrality, the Monroe Doctrine was only able to be truly enforced later on when the country became a significant power. It also had the impact of setting a precedent for future expansion of the US.
  • Construction of the Erie Canal

    Construction of the Erie Canal
    Thanks to investments toward a large engineering project to connect the Great Lakes system to the Atlantic, the Erie Canal was born. Reaching over 300 miles, people and goods could move from the interior to the Altantic and reach an international market. The canal led to major economic change and profitability, and encouraged a migration toward the west. Farmers in agriculturally-focused western states could fetch better prices, and business boomed for every industry in the nation.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    Signed into law by President Andrew Jackson, the Indian Removal Act forced Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi to allow Americans to fill in the states east of the river. Natives were displaced from their homeland and stripped of their right to be recognized as sovereign nations, which would not be the last time the government would go back on its promises to indian nations. This policy caused the Trail of Tears and rooting of tribes throughout the continent.
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    The Trail of Tears

  • McCormick's Reaper is Patented

    McCormick's Reaper is Patented
    McCormick's "Reaper" is a revolutionary invention for the agricultural industry. Farmers can operate a single Reaper to harvest entire fields, significantly cutting back on labor costs. This does however cause many unskilled laborers to be out of a job. However, the reapers are made in the US and boost domestic manufacturing, as well as multiply farmers' productivity and output in order to supply a population boom reflected by the Industrial and Market Revolutions.
  • Commonwealth v. Hunt

    Commonwealth v. Hunt
    The Supreme Court case "Commonwealth v. Hunt" examined the legality of labor unions and their right to strike. Under common law, congregations or groups of "conspiracy" were not allowed, however the court ruled that unions were Constitutional and protected under law. This guaranteed the continued existence of worker's unions permanently and contributed significantly to the development of worker's rights and negotiating power with their employers.
  • First Telegraph Message Sent

    First Telegraph Message Sent
    Samuel Morse improves upon the proto-telegraph design and displays its capabilities to Congress. Telegraph lines are established along train tracks and telegraph operators send, receive, and interpret messages that come through. Communication is now the fastest it has ever been, at speeds unthinkable a generation before. The implications of the telegraph as a communications device places it as the first high-speed electronic communicator, and a model for all that come after.
  • Annexation of Texas

    Annexation of Texas
    The Republic of Texas was approved for annexation by President James K. Polk. This event brought the US into a war with Mexico and the following Mexican Cession. The addition of Texas advances the issue of slavery in the nation with the addition of a slave state, compounding political pressure onto a massive social issue. Also, it shows to what lengths American politicians will go to expand the nation's territorial boundaries. It sets a political precedent for future US imperialism.
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    Mexican-American War

  • Discovery of Gold in California

    Discovery of Gold in California
    Gold deposits were found in early 1848 around present-day Sacramento. This discovery would spur on the California Gold Rush as an estimated 300,000 prospectors from throughout the US and even other countries poured into California to strike it rich. The magnitude of this discovery introduces a new source of wealth to the American economy, draws an influx of immigrants into the country, and causes a mass migration of Americans over to California to eventually add a new state to the union.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    Engineered by Henry Clay, the Compromise of 1850 was devised to delay the nation's crumbling. It admitted California as a free state (disrupting the free-slave state balance), outlawed the slave trade in D.C., strengthened the Fugitive Slave Act, and instituted popular sovereignty for future states. This compromise allowed for the nation's continued (however hollow) peace and made progress toward emancipation by tipping the balance in favor of free states.
  • Publication of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"

    Publication of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
    Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, this novel provided insight into the plight of the everyday slave. It humanized slaves in bondage and changed perspectives people had about them, causing it to become banned in the South. This book was a large factor in the start of the Civil War and stands out primarily for fighting the common stigmas surrounding enslaved peoples and bringing the civil justice issue to light in a way that garnered national attention.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Kansas-Nebraska Act
    The Kansas-Nebraska Act doubled back on the Missouri Compromise by allowing popular sovereignty in emerging territories. This act has political ramifications that continue even into the modern day, bringing the fall of the Whig Party and the emergence of the modern Republican Party. The act heightened sectional tensions and directly led to "Bleeding Kansas" and rampant violence. It is a prime political example of modern political unrest causing rioting and voter fraud.
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    "Bleeding Kansas"

  • Dred Scott Case

    Dred Scott Case
    The Supreme Court ruled that African Americans and slaves were not citizens of the US, and therefore were afforded no rights or liberties under the Constitution. It also revoked the right of states to outlaw slavery entirely within their borders, angering the North further. All things considered, this Supreme Court further divided the country and shocked those striving for civil reform, building support for the pendulum of power to swing back to the side of emancipation.
  • Election of Abraham Lincoln

    Election of Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln's election brought immediate political instability within the nation. In response to his election, the southern states seceded one by one to form their own nation that would pursue solely southern interests. This election was the nail in the coffin that split the United States and directly caused the events sparking the Civil War.
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    Civil War

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    Lincoln Administration

  • The Battle of Antietam

    The Battle of Antietam
    The Battle of Antietam was the single bloodiest day/battle in American history. It holds significance as a battle in the Civil War partly because of the massive loss of American lives. However, the Battle of Antietam served as one of the turning points in the war, providing Lincoln with the base to issue his Emancipation Proclamation. Additionally, the Union victory spoiled the Confederate campaign into Maryland which secured DC and turned Robert E. Lee back to the South.
  • Homestead Act

    Homestead Act
    The Homestead Act is a federal land grant policy that was in effect for a large part of American history. It granted 160 acres of land to all homesteaders who staked a claim on the frontier and agreed to stay there for 5 years while improving the land. This policy was damaging concerning US-Native relations but provided an immense opportunity to prospective non-landowners. This government incentive was incredibly effective in enticing early westward expansion.
  • Morrill Land Grant Act

    Morrill Land Grant Act
    The Morill Land Grant Act enacted by Lincoln set aside public land in individual states for the purpose of creating public colleges and universities. This law has effected us all too much today, serving as the starting point from which several modern universities were established. Ultimately, this act successfully accomplished its goal of providing access to educational institutions to the general public. All to better educate US citizens and open up skilled vocational opportunities.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most well-known pieces of US civil rights legislation. By declaring all slaves to be free in the South, President Lincoln additionally made the Civil War a moral crusade bent on eliminating the practice on human bondage. While not comprehensive emancipation, this policy adjusted the focus of the war and consequently shut out possible foreign influences. Additionally, it set the stage for civil reform in the post-war era.
  • Siege of Vicksburg

    Siege of Vicksburg
    The Siege of Vicksburg was one of if not the decisive battle leading to the Union victory. General Grant captured the strategically vital city of Vicksburg which effectively divided the Confederacy in half by granting the Union Navy control of the Mississippi. The capture would also propel Grant to fame as a Civil War hero, an act that would secure his presidential campaign. Overall, this battle was a signal of doom to the Confederacy and a sign that the US would remain unified after all.
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  • Surrender at Appomattox

    Surrender at Appomattox
    The surrender of General Robert E. Lee, head commander of all Confederate forces, at Appomattox Courthouse, marked the official end of the Civil War. This event left the Union as the clear "winner" of the war and meant that the United States would remain united moving forward. It was a conclusion to the bloody struggle to keep the nation together. However, reassuming control over the southern states created an opportunity for social issues but also meant freedom for former slaves.
  • 13th Amendment Ratified

    13th Amendment Ratified
    The 13th Amendment was an absolute abolishment of slavery on a Constitutional level. All slaves became free people who could now make lives for themselves and earn a living. Former slaves would now have to be treated as unalienable freedmen under the law and could live from then on without fear of being captured and possessed. While exploitable holes remained that led to many freedmen being treated as second-class citizens, the 13th Amendment opened opportunities for them like nothing before.
  • Civil Rights Act

    Civil Rights Act
    The Civil Rights Act (1866) created a foundation for the easy acquisition of American citizenship. Most persons born within the United States would automatically receive US citizenship, which also had the effect of protecting the status of former slaves following the Civil War. This law also extends further to protect said legal status by declaring that all citizens are equally protected under the law. It is a radically progressive step for civil rights that sets an important precedent.
  • Reconstruction Act

    Reconstruction Act
    The Reconstruction Act began the healing process and readmittance of southern states after the Civil War. It laid out the terms for readmittance, forced the South to accept the abolishment of slavery, and divided the former Confederacy into 5 military districts. The military would be sent in to oversee Reconstruction efforts and ensure that the South would comply. Also, the military presence established by the Reconstruction Act aimed to protect the rights of newly freed African Americans.
  • 14th Amendment Ratified

    14th Amendment Ratified
    Building on the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the 14th Amendment extends further liberties to Americans. It defines all people born within the US to be US citizens, most especially "all" people, as the Civil Rights Act of 1866 discluded immigrants. The amendment also prevents states from infringing on the privileges of all citizens and non-citizens without the due process of law. This amendment was a significant social/civil victory for all minority groups, immigrants, and non-citizens.
  • Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad

    Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad
    The completion of the transcontinental railroad revolutionized travel across the United States. This engineering feat allowed for overland travel to become faster, cheaper, and safer than ever before. The flow of goods, people, and information became exponentially more efficient. Westward expansion was more viable than any other point in previous history upon completion of the railroad; flocks of people migrated West to find a new life as the country began filling out the frontier.
  • Yellowstone National Park Designated

    Yellowstone National Park Designated
    Yellowstone National Park was designated to preserve some of the natural beauty and charm of America that was being quickly exploited by settlers. Its status as a National Park meant that it would not be affected by the Homestead Act or any general mining statutes. It was meant to preserve land for future generations, generate tourism revenue, and lessen environmental concerns. The park captured the American imagination, and its beauty was another persuasive factor in westward expansion.
  • Invention of the Telephone

    Invention of the Telephone
    Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, revolutionizing communication by enabling people to speak with each other over long distances. His patent for the telephone marked the beginning of the telecommunications industry and telephone wires would soon become a common sight along the American landscape. There was widespread adoption of the technology which fundamentally changed how people interacted and communicated around the world, serving as a springboard for radio and future phones.
  • Pendleton Act

    Pendleton Act
    The Pendleton Act mandated government positions to be awarded to individuals based on merit and not political affiliation. Previously, the "spoils system" guaranteed that loyal supporters of the president or partisan allies would be ensured a cushy government position for their service. The Pendleton Act squashed this undemocratic bipartisan system and put an important precedent into place. Into the country's future and beyond, officials would be expected to earn their positions with fairness.
  • American Federation of Labor Founded

    American Federation of Labor Founded
    The founding of the AFL marked a significant beginning in a unified labor union front. Bringing together blue and white-collar workers, the AFL would go on to fight for a host of worker benefits. It would go on to solidify better conditions, higher wages, collective bargaining rights, and shorter workdays in critical demand during the early days of unions. In its future endeavors, it was instrumental in codifying many of these rights for millions of workers.
  • Publication of "How the Other Half Lives"

    Publication of "How the Other Half Lives"
    Published by Jacob Riis, "How the Other Half Lives" was an early photojournalism work portraying the horrors of tenement housing. It revealed the squalid conditions of cramped housing in the slums where those in poverty often worked for very little money. Garnering even attention from Teddy Roosevelt, the book spearheaded social justice reform for the poor and immigrants. It inspired a fundamental shift in urban planning and public opinion, while also serving as an early example of muckraking.
  • Founding of the National American Woman Suffrage Association

    Founding of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
    NAWSA (National American Woman Suffrage Association) was crucial in the fight for women's suffrage in the United States. It unified the civil focus of women in a way that had suffered under the temperance movement. It also organized and advocated for what would be the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. Additionally, it was the largest suffrage organization in the United States and would leverage rights for women by assisting and getting women to act in both world wars.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    Plessy v. Ferguson was a monumental setback in the civil rights scene. This major case ruled that segregation laws did not violate the US Constitution as long as the facilities for each race were "separate but equal". Namely, it was declared that such laws would not violate the equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, institutionalizing racism within American society for generations. Segregation is a subject that would be later challenged by the Double V Campaign and Harlem Renaissance.
  • US Victory in the Spanish-American War

    US Victory in the Spanish-American War
    The aftermath of the Spanish-American war opened the Western Hemisphere up to American imperialism. Signing the treaty alone gave the US Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Phillippines (with Hawaii also annexed). After dominating a European nation at war, American global ambition would balloon and establish a military and economic presence throughout the world from banana republics to Guantanamo Bay. This marked the beginning of US interventionism and the elevation to the status of a world power.
  • Founding of the Food & Drug Administration

    Founding of the Food & Drug Administration
    The FDA was established by Teddy Roosevelt to oversee the sale and manufacture of food and drugs in interstate commerce. It is a federal agency that is incredibly key today, testing everything from medicines to liquors. The creation of the agency represented a policy shift toward prioritizing consumer protections. It also battles public health issues and utilizes rigorous oversight and regulation to hold corporations accountable for their products.
  • Founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

    Founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
    The NAACP was founded to play an active role in advancing civil rights and combating racial discrimination in the United States. It has since played a pivotal role in landmark legal cases, advocacy for equality, and mobilizing grassroots movements to address systemic racism and promote social justice. Its efforts would fight back against racial oppression and discrimination brought on by Jim Crow. The culmination of its efforts directly contributed to the Civil Rights Movement decades later.
  • Standard Oil Decision

    Standard Oil Decision
    The Standard Oil decision, heavily influenced by trust-buster Teddy Roosevelt, shifted government policy to anti-"Big Business". To protect oil prices for consumers, Standard Oil was broken into 34 companies to disallow the monopoly to proliferate. This decision contrasts traditional "laissez-faire" economics with a direct government reorganization of private property. This marks the height of the US government's trust-busting crusade, as well as the beginning of heavy federal interventions.
  • Creation of the Federal Reserve

    Creation of the Federal Reserve
    The creation of the Federal Reserve aimed to stabilize the US economy by providing a new central bank. In response to the bank runs of the panic of 1907, the Federal Reserve had the authority to manage monetary policy, regulate banks, and act as a lender of last resort during financial crises. Its goals include maintaining full employment, stabilizing prices, and promoting sustainable economic growth. It is another example of federal intervention in the economy but for the service of the people.
  • Completion of the Panama Canal

    Completion of the Panama Canal
    The Panama Canal symbolized U.S. technological prowess and economic power globally. Contemporarily seen as a major foreign policy victory, it linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans together. Merchant ships could easily sail through the detour instead of going all the way around the cape of South America to reach the West Coast/Asia. Though an economic and symbolic boon, the canal was a point of contention in Panama, being a significant imposition of American imperialism and expansion.
  • The United States Enters World War I

    The United States Enters World War I
    The US entered WWI primarily due to unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany, the sinking of American ships, and the Zimmermann Telegram, which revealed German plans to ally with Mexico against the US. Additionally, sympathy for Allied nations and economic ties fueled public sentiment for intervention. These pressures ended American isolationism permanently, and the US would struggle to remain neutral in future conflicts. The US's military might would shape the outcome of the new world order.
  • 18th Amendment

    18th Amendment
    The 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. This began Prohibition, marked by widespread illegal production and distribution of alcohol, increased crime, and ultimately, its repeal in 1933. Defining the era and flapper imagery of the "Roaring 20s", Prohibition was a massive failure in the United States. Though well-meaning, this failed attempt at social reform encouraged crime and the romanticization of organized crime.
  • National Origins Act

    National Origins Act
    The National Origins Act was a xenophobic piece of legislation. It limited the number of immigrants allowed into the country based on two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. This flagrant anti-immigrant sentiment was a product of the American people, who viewed Asians especially as taking up American jobs. By disproportionately excluding possible Asian citizens, it reinforced future racial motives for Japanese internment.
  • Black Tuesday

    Black Tuesday
    Black Tuesday was when the stock market finally crashed after the extravagance of the 20s, marking the beginning of the Great Depression. Billions of dollars in stock value were lost, leading to widespread panic and economic devastation. Banks collapsed, businesses failed, and unemployment soared, triggering a decade-long economic downturn with profound social and political consequences. All of which were caused by buying on margin, credit, lavish spending, and unprecedented growth.
  • Smoot-Hawley Tariff

    Smoot-Hawley Tariff
    An economic blunder by Herbert Hoover, the tariff aimed to protect American businesses and farmers during the Great Depression. However, it sparked international retaliation, worsening global economic conditions and contributing to a decline in international trade. Many economists argue that it exacerbated the Great Depression by deepening economic isolationism and prolonging recovery efforts. Ultimately, it highlighted the dangers of protectionist trade policies during times of economic crisis.
  • Indian Reorganization Act

    Indian Reorganization Act
    Enacted long after the introduction of the reservation system, the law attempted to reverse the detrimental policies of assimilation and land allotment imposed on Native American tribes. It encouraged tribal self-governance and also promoted tribal constitutions and economic development initiatives, recognizing the cultural and sovereign rights of Native American communities. It marked a significant shift towards recognizing and supporting tribal autonomy and self-determination.
  • Social Security Act

    Social Security Act
    The Social Security Act established a system of old-age benefits, unemployment insurance, and aid to dependent children and disadvantaged groups. It aimed to provide a safety net for vulnerable populations during times of economic hardship and in old age. This landmark legislation fundamentally transformed social welfare in the United States, creating a bone fide "welfare state". It remains one of the most debated and impactful pieces of social welfare legislation in American history.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act

    Fair Labor Standards Act
    The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed to establish minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting workers in the private and public sectors. It aimed to address the exploitation of labor during the Great Depression and promote fair wages and working conditions. The law is a positive force for interstate commerce. It remains a cornerstone of labor law in the United States, ensuring basic protections for workers across various industries, even today.
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    World War II

  • Executive Order 8802

    Executive Order 8802
    Executive Order 8802, signed by FDR, prohibited employment discrimination based on race, color, creed, or national origin by federal agencies. It was issued in response to pressure from civil rights leaders and to address racial discrimination in defense industries during World War II. EO 8802 marked a significant milestone in the civil rights movement, although its impact was limited. Nonetheless, it laid the groundwork for future civil rights efforts to combat discrimination in the workplace.
  • Attack on Pearl Harbor

    Attack on Pearl Harbor
    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a "day that will live in infamy". The Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States naval base in Hawaii. The attack inflicted significant damage to the Pacific Fleet, destroying numerous ships and aircraft. It propelled the United States into World War II, bringing it into conflict with Japan and its Axis allies. The event marked a turning point in American history and shaped the course of the war in its entirety.
  • Executive Order 9066

    Executive Order 9066
    Executive Order 9066 (FDR) authorized the forced relocation and internment of thousands of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States during World War II. This order was issued in response to perceived national security concerns following the attack on Pearl Harbor and widespread anti-Japanese sentiment. It led to the unjust incarceration of innocent individuals, many of whom lost their homes and businesses. It is now widely condemned as a massive civil policy mistake.
  • D-Day

    D-Day was the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, during World War II. It still is the largest amphibious assault in history, with Allied forces landing on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of France from Hitler. The operation required meticulous planning and coordination, and despite facing heavy German resistance, the Allies ultimately secured a crucial foothold on the continent. D-Day marked a significant turning point in the war, leading to the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.
  • Servicemen's Readjustment Act

    Servicemen's Readjustment Act
    The GI Bill provided a range of benefits to returning World War II veterans, including education, training, and housing assistance. The GI Bill transformed American society by expanding access to higher education and homeownership, contributing to the post-war economic boom. Its legacy endures as one of the most successful government programs in American history, shaping the lives of millions of veterans and their families while fueling economic growth and prosperity.
  • Conclusion of the Bretton Woods Conference

    Conclusion of the Bretton Woods Conference
    International delegates established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to promote economic stability and development. The conference also led to the adoption of the Bretton Woods system, which pegged international currencies to the U.S. dollar and established the dollar as the world's primary reserve currency. This system bolstered American economic dominance and provided a framework for international trade and finance for decades to come.
  • Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima

    Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima
    Dropped by the United States, the bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy," devastated the city of Hiroshima, instantly killing tens of thousands of people and causing widespread destruction. It marked the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare and led to Japan's surrender just days later, effectively ending the war in the Pacific. The event remains one of the most controversial and consequential in human history, raising profound ethical and moral questions about the use of nuclear weapons.
  • Founding of the United Nations

    Founding of the United Nations
    The United Nations (UN) was founded in the aftermath of World War II. It was established to promote international cooperation, maintain peace and security, and address global challenges. The UN Charter, signed by 51 countries, outlined principles of sovereignty, human rights, and collective security, providing a framework for international diplomacy and cooperation. The founding of the UN represented a step up from the League of Nations and sought to establish a cooperative new world order.
  • Period: to

    Cold War Era

  • Truman Doctrine Issued

    Truman Doctrine Issued
    Presented in a speech by President Truman, the Truman Doctrine represented a pivotal shift in American foreign policy. The US shed its isolationism and projected its newfound superpower status onto the world stage to "contain" the spread of communism. With the express purpose of sending aid to struggles against communism in Greece and Turkey, the Doctrine's long-lasting impact was the tone it set for domestic politics, military spending, and interventions in the Cold War and beyond.
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    Officially the European Recovery Act, this program was a landmark economic initiative proposed by George Marshall. The plan aimed to assist in rebuilding the economies that had crumbled in war-torn Europe following WWII. It provided financial assistance and resources to rebuild infrastructure, industry, and agriculture. It had the effect of stabilizing Europe, fostering economic interdependence, and bolstering democratic institutions. These placed the US solidly as the world economic leader.
  • Creation of NATO

    Creation of NATO
    NATO was formed by a collective group of member-states as a peacetime military alliance, with the main goal of mutual protection against the Soviet Bloc. The organization solidified the US commitment to the defense of its capitalist European allies and proved a useful tool in the policy of communist containment. It was a deterrent against Soviet, and now Russian, aggression against the European international community and remains a vital foreign policy security institution to this day.
  • Start of the Korean War

    Start of the Korean War
    The invasion force of the Soviet-backed North Korean People's Army against South Korea began the extended conflict known as the Korean War. The US involved itself in this war to uphold communist containment efforts in Southeast Asia. This was a significant American foreign policy stepping stone, proving the US was willing to support governments resisting communist takeover. The beginning of this war gave way to the rise of McCarthyism and fears over communist infiltration or sabotage.
  • Period: to

    Civil Rights Movement

  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Decision

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Decision
    Brown v. Board of Education declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional, effectively overturning the doctrine of "separate but equal" established by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The ruling marked a pivotal victory in the Civil Rights Movement. Brown v. Board of Education stood and remains as a symbol of progress which inspired subsequent legal and social advancements in civil rights.
  • National Interstate and Defense Highways Act

    National Interstate and Defense Highways Act
    Authorized the construction of the Interstate Highway System, a vast network of roads spanning the nation. This infrastructure project not only facilitated interstate travel but also spurred economic growth, suburbanization, and the development of the automotive industry. The Interstate Highway System revolutionized transportation in the United States, reshaping commerce, commuting patterns, and the cultural landscape. It doubly served as an emergency evacuation network in the event of MAD.
  • National Defense Education Act

    National Defense Education Act
    A response to Cold War challenges, the NDEA aimed to strengthen education in science, mathematics, and foreign languages to bolster national security and technological competitiveness. It provided funding for education initiatives, including student loans, fellowships, and grants, which helped to cultivate a highly skilled workforce and advance scientific research. Its impact extended beyond academia, shaping the trajectory of American innovation, technological advancements, and economic growth.
  • Publication of "Silent Spring"

    Publication of "Silent Spring"
    "Silent Spring," written by Rachel Carson, is a seminal work in American environmental history. The book exposed the dangers of widespread pesticide use and its impact on ecosystems and human health. "Silent Spring" sparked public awareness and outrage, leading to increased scrutiny of chemical pesticides, and ultimately played a major role in environmental consciousness, inspiring regulatory reforms, grassroots activism, and a shift in public attitudes towards conservation and sustainability.
  • Resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis
    The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union highlighted the dangers of nuclear proliferation. The crisis's end was a diplomatic resolution, but its impact was profound, leading to increased nuclear arms control efforts, improved communication between the superpowers, and an early nudge towards détente. The crisis underscored the importance of diplomacy and crisis management in averting catastrophic conflict.
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

    March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
    The March on Washington was organized by civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr., bringing together over 250,000 people to demand civil and economic rights for African Americans. The march culminated in King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, which galvanized support for the movement and racial justice. The March on Washington demonstrated the power of nonviolent protest and solidarity of social justice, leaving a lasting impact on American society and the fight for equality.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 stands as a monumental piece of legislation in American history, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Its passage marked a crucial milestone in the struggle for civil rights, dismantling segregation and opening doors to equal opportunities for millions of Americans. It fundamentally reshaped American society, fostering greater inclusion while setting a precedent for future legislative efforts aimed at promoting equality.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    This Congressional resolution gave President Lyndon B Johnson generous authority to increase US military involvement in Vietnam. This marked the real beginning of active engagement and escalation of the Vietnam War and ensuing conflicts. Granting the president the ability to pursue military action without a formal declaration of war from Congress represented the increasing centralization of executive power in war and foreign policy. Ultimately affecting public opinion and anti-war sentiment.
  • Period: to

    Vietnam War

  • Medicare is Signed into Law

    Medicare is Signed into Law
    Medicare provides access to healthcare for millions of elderly and disabled individuals. It is a government-run health insurance program that represented a significant expansion of the social welfare state and addressed longstanding gaps in healthcare coverage for the vulnerable sections of the population. Its implementation led to increased healthcare access, improved health outcomes, and greater financial security for older Americans, establishing health insurance as a fundamental right.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    The Voting Rights Act aimed to overcome legal barriers that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote, particularly in the South. It outlawed discriminatory voting practices like literacy tests and poll taxes. The act also empowered marginalized communities, leading to increased political participation and representation. Its significance lies in the legacy it has established of strengthening democratic principles and ensuring a political voice for all citizens.
  • First Stonewall Riot

    First Stonewall Riot
    Sparked by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular LGBTQ+ establishment, the riot(s) symbolized resistance against police harassment and societal discrimination. The Stonewall Riots kickstarted the formation of LGBTQ+ organizations, the emergence of Pride marches, and the demand for legal protections and civil rights. Their contributions lie in their role as a turning point in LGBTQ+ history, rallying the minority community to fight for equality, visibility, and acceptance in the US.
  • Founding of the Environmental Protection Agency

    Founding of the Environmental Protection Agency
    The EPA is tasked with safeguarding human health and the environment by enforcing regulations and researching environmental issues. The EPA notably plays a role as the primary federal agency responsible for addressing environmental challenges such as air and water pollution, hazardous waste, and climate change. Its regulations and initiatives have led to cleaner air and water, improved public health, and the preservation of natural resources, influenced by Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring".
  • Title IX

    Title IX
    Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX has opened doors for women and girls by ensuring equal access to educational opportunities, including admissions, scholarships, and women's sports. Overall, Title IX has been instrumental in breaking down barriers and promoting equality between the sexes. Being the fruit of a multi-generational struggle, Title IX represented a significant victory and milestone for women's rights.
  • Nixon Visits China

    Nixon Visits China
    Nixon's historic visit to China shocked the world amid the Cold War, yet Nixon's anti-communist reputation shielded him from accusations. The visit led to the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, ending decades of isolation and hostility. Nixon's diplomatic breakthrough laid the groundwork for increased economic cooperation and paved the way for strategic realignment amid the Sino-Soviet Split, leveraging more cooperation from the Soviet Union to play nice.
  • Watergate Scandal Break-In

    Watergate Scandal Break-In
    The Watergate scandal revealed widespread corruption and abuse of power within the highest levels of government, ultimately leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. The scandal shattered public trust in government institutions and forever changed the relationship between the American people and their leaders. It also prompted reforms in campaign laws, government transparency, and checks on executive power, leaving a lasting legacy on American politics and governance.
  • Roe v. Wade

    Roe v. Wade
    Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, establishing women's right to choose abortion within certain parameters, based on the constitutional right to privacy. Its significance extends beyond reproductive rights and has sparked intense debates on morality, religion, and individual freedoms. Even today it continues to influence legal precedent, women's rights advocacy, and cultural attitudes toward reproductive health and autonomy in the United States.
  • Paris Peace Accords

    Paris Peace Accords
    The Paris Peace Accords marked the end of direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The agreement aimed to achieve a ceasefire in Vietnam but it was unsuccessful in achieving lasting peace. Nevertheless, the Accords signified the conclusion of a deeply divisive and costly conflict. The withdrawal of American troops and the subsequent collapse of South Vietnam led to profound shifts in public sentiment toward the federal government and a yearning for a return to law, order, and stability.
  • Conclusion of the Iranian Revolution

    Conclusion of the Iranian Revolution
    The Iranian Revolution marked the overthrow of the US-backed monarchy in Iran and the establishment of an Islamic fundamentalist republic. It strained Iran-US relations and led to the Iran Hostage Crisis, where over 50 US embassy workers were detained for over 400 days. This event also caused an oil embargo on the United States, worsening the existing economic "stagflation". This foreign policy embarrassment shifted US international focus toward the Middle East and energy security.