Timeline of United States history

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This is a timeline of United States history, comprising most legal and territorial changes and political events in the United States and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of the United States. See also timeline of United States diplomatic history, the list of U.S. states by date of statehood the list of Presidents of the United States and years in the United States.

Centuries: 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

15th century[edit source | edit]

YearDateEventReference
1492October 12Christopher Columbus landed in Guanahani.[1][2][3]
1497Italian navigator John Cabot landed in Newfoundland.[4][5][6]

16th century[edit source | edit]

YearDateEvent
1513Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama.
Spanish conquest of Yucatán: The Spaniard Juan Ponce de León defeated the state of Tlaxcala.
1520Spanish conquest of Yucatán: Spanish conquest of the Maya civilization began.
1521Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés destroyed the Aztec Empire.
1524Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the Atlantic coast of North America under French employ.
1542Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi River, strengthening Spanish claims to the interior of North America.
1565Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded St. Augustine.
1570The Iroquois Confederacy was founded.
1587English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh founded Roanoke Colony.
1590The Roanoke Colony was found deserted.

17th century[edit source | edit]

YearDateEvent
1607May 14John Smith founded the Jamestown Settlement
1614The Dutch laid claim to the territories of New Netherland.
1619Slavery was introduced to the Colony of Virginia.
1620November 11The Mayflower Compact was signed.
1625New Amsterdam was founded.
1628The Massachusetts Bay Colony founded.
1630The Winthrop Fleet arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The Manor of Rensselaerswyck was founded.
1634The Province of Maryland was founded.
Theologian Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1635The Connecticut Colony was founded by Thomas Hooker.
1636Williams founded the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Harvard College was founded.
1637The New Haven Colony was founded.
Pequot War: The war, in New England, ended.
1638The Delaware Colony was founded.
New Sweden was established.
1639The Fundamental Agreement of the New Haven Colony was signed.
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut were adopted.
1640French and Iroquois Wars: The wars escalated to full warfare.
1643The New England Confederation was created.
Kieft's War: The war, in New Netherland, began.
1644Third Anglo–Powhatan War: The war began.
1645Kieft's War: The war ended.
1646Third Anglo-Powhatan War: The war ended.
1649The Maryland Toleration Act was passed.
The execution of the English King Charles I of England marked the establishment of the Commonwealth of England.
1655Peach Tree War: The war took place.
1659Esopus Wars: The wars took place.
1660The Commonwealth of England came to an end with the restoration of King Charles II of England.
1662The Halfway Covenant was adopted
1663Charles granted a charter for a new colony, the Province of Carolina.
1664Second Anglo-Dutch War: The war began with the English conquest of New Amsterdam.
1667New Netherland was ceded to England under the Treaty of Breda (1667).
1669John Lederer of Virginia began to explore the Appalachian Mountains.
1670Charles Town was founded.
Lederer's expedition ended.
1671The Batts-Fallam expedition sponsored by Abraham Wood reached the New River.
1672The Blue Laws were enacted in Connecticut.
Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette began to explore the Illinois Country.
1673Jolliet and Marquette's expedition ended.
1674New Netherland was permanently relinquished to England under the Treaty of Westminster.
1675King Philip's War: The war, in New England, began.
1676Bacon's Rebellion: The rebellion, in Virginia, took place.
King Philip's War: The war took place.
1677The Province of Maine was absorbed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1679War between Carolina and the Westo resulted in the destruction of the Westo.
1680Pueblo Revolt: A revolt took place in Spanish New Mexico.
1682The Province of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn.
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle travelled down the Mississippi River to its mouth.
1685Charles died. He was succeeded as King of Kingdom of England by James II of England.
1686The Dominion of New England was established.
1687Yamasee Indians from Spanish Florida moved to Carolina.
1688Glorious Revolution: James was deposed in favor of William and Mary.
1689The Governor of the Dominion of New England was deposed, ending the rule of the Dominion.
King William's War: The war began.
1690Schenectady Massacre: A massacre took place.
1692Salem witch trials: Witch trials took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
1697War of the Grand Alliance: The war was ended by the Treaty of Ryswick.
1698Pensacola, Florida was established by the Spanish.
1699Biloxi was founded by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville.

18th century[edit source | edit]

YearDateEvent
1702March 8William III died and was succeeded by Anne, Queen of Great Britain.
Queen Anne's War: The war began.
East Jersey and West Jersey became Crown colonies.
1715Yamasee War: The war, in Carolina, took place.
1727June 11George I of Great Britain died and was succeeded by George II of Great Britain.
1729The proprietors of the Province of Carolina sold out to the British crown.
1732First Great Awakening: The First Great Awakening took place.
1749The Province of Georgia overturned its ban on slavery.
1752Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment took place.
1754French and Indian War: The war began.
Albany Congress: A "Union of Colonies" was proposed.
1758OctoberThe Treaty of Easton was signed.
1760September 8French and Indian War: Pierre de Rigaud, Governor of New France, signed the Articles of Capitulation of Montreal, ceding the Ohio Country and Illinois Country, and the territory of modern-day Canada, to British Field Marshal Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, ending major hostilities.
October 25George II died and was succeeded by his grandson George III of the United Kingdom.
1763Pontiac's Rebellion: The rebellion began.
February 10French and Indian War: The Treaty of Paris, under which France ceded much of its North American territory to Great Britain but surrendered Louisiana to Spain, formally ended the war.
October 7George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, establishing royal administration over the British colonies won under the Treaty of Paris and demarcating their western boundary.
1764April 5The Sugar Act, intended to raise revenues, was passed by the British Parliament.
September 1The British Parliament passed the Currency Act, which prohibited the colonies from issuing paper money.
1765March 22To help defray the cost of keeping troops in America, the British Parliament enacted the Stamp Act 1765, imposing a tax on many types of printed materials used in the colonies.
March 24The British Parliament enacted the Quartering Act, requiring the Thirteen Colonies to provide housing, food, and other provisions to British troops.
May 29Virginia's House of Burgesses adopted the Virginia Resolves, which claimed that under British law Virginians could be taxed only by an assembly to which they had elected representatives.
October 19Stamp Act Congress: A congress of delegated from nine colonies adopted the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, which petitioned Parliament and the King to repeal the Stamp Act.
1766Pontiac's Rebellion: The rebellion ended.
March 18The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act and issued the Declaratory Act, which asserted its "full power and authority to make laws and statutes... to bind the colonies and people of America... in all cases whatsoever."
May 21The Liberty Pole was erected in New York City in celebration of the repeal of the Stamp Act.
1767The British Parliament suspended the Governor and assembly of the Province of New York for failure to enforce the Quartering Act.
June 29The Townshend Acts, named for Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend, were passed by the British Parliament, placing duties on many items imported into America.
1769The British Parliament suspended the Governor and assembly of the Province of New York for failure to enforce the Quartering Act.
DecemberThe broadside To the Betrayed Inhabitants of the City and Colony of New York was published by the local Sons of Liberty.
1770January 19Battle of Golden Hill: British troops wounded several civilians and killed one.
January 28Frederick North, Lord North becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain.
March 5Boston Massacre: The massacre took place.
1771May 16Battle of Alamance: A battle took place in North Carolina ending the Regulator Movement.
1772Samuel Adams organized the Committees of Correspondence.
MayThe Watauga Association, in modern-day Tennessee, declared itself independent.
June 9Gaspée Affair: The affair took place.
1773May 10The British Parliament passed the Tea Act.
December 15The local Sons of Liberty published Association of the Sons of Liberty in New York.
December 16Boston Tea Party: The Boston Tea Party took place.
1774Franklin, then Massachusetts's agent in London, was questioned before the British Parliament.
Dunmore's War: The war took place.
Britain passed the Quebec Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts.
First Continental Congress: The Congress, to which twelve colonies sent delegates, met.
March 31Britain passed the Boston Port Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts.
May 20Britain passed the Administration of Justice Act 1774, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts.
Britain passed the Massachusetts Government Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts.
June 2Britain passed a second Quartering Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts.
September 1Powder Alarm: British General Thomas Gage secretly raided a powder magazine in Cambridge.
October 19The HMS Peggy Stewart was burned.
December 22Greenwich Tea Party: The Greenwich Tea Party took place.
1775Second Continental Congress: The Congress met.
April 19Battles of Lexington and Concord: The battles took place, beginning the American Revolutionary War.
May 9Skenesboro, New York was captured by Lieutenant Samuel Herrick.
May 10Fort Ticonderoga was captured by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys.
June 17Battle of Bunker Hill: The battle took place.
JulyThe Olive Branch Petition was sent to King George III.
December 5Henry Knox began the transport of fifty-nine captured cannon from upstate New York to Boston.
1776New Hampshire ratified the first state constitution.
Prisoners began to be taken in Wallabout Bay. see Prisoners in the American Revolutionary War.
January 10Thomas Paine published Common Sense.
January 24Knox reached Boston.
March 3Battle of Nassau: The battle began.
March 4Battle of Nassau: The battle ended.
July 2Second Continental Congress: The Congress enacted the Lee Resolution declaring independence from the British Empire.
July 4Second Continental Congress: The Congress approved the written United States Declaration of Independence.
August 27Battle of Long Island: The battle took place.
September 11Staten Island Peace Conference: The peace conference took place.
September 15Landing at Kip's Bay: The landing took place.
September 16Battle of Harlem Heights: The battle took place.
September 21Great Fire of New York (1776): The fire began.
September 22Nathan Hale was captured and executed for espionage.
Great Fire of New York (1776): The fire ended.
October 11Battle of Valcour Island: The battle took place.
October 29Battle of White Plains: The battle took place.
November 16Battle of Fort Washington: The battle took place.
November 19Battle of Fort Lee: The battle took place.
December 23Battle of Iron Works Hill: The battle began.
December 26Battle of Trenton: The battle took place.
Battle of Iron Works Hill: The battle ended.
1777Forage War: The war took place.
January 2Second Battle of Trenton: The battle took place.
January 3Battle of Princeton: The battle took place.
April 13Battle of Bound Brook: The battle took place.
May 28The Continental Army made camp at the Middlebrook encampment.
July 2The Continental Army left the Middlebrook encampment.
July 5Fort Ticonderoga was abandoned by the Continental Army due to advancing British troops placing cannon on Mount Defiance.
July 6The British retook Fort Ticonderoga.
July 7Battle of Hubbardton: The battle took place.
July 8Delegates in Vermont established the Vermont Republic and adopted the Constitution of Vermont (Vermont Republic), which abolished slavery.
July 26Battle of Short Hills: The battle took place.
August 6Battle of Oriskany: The battle took place.
August 16Battle of Bennington: The battle took place.
September 11Battle of Brandywine: The battle took place.
September 19Battles of Saratoga: The first Battle of Saratoga took place.
September 20Battle of Paoli: The battle took place.
September 26The British occupied Philadelphia.
October 4Battle of Germantown: The battle took place.
October 7Battles of Saratoga: The second battle concluded with the surrender of the British army under General John Burgoyne.
October 22Battle of Red Bank: The battle took place.
November 15Second Continental Congress: The Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation.
December 5Battle of White Marsh: The battle began.
December 8Battle of White Marsh: The battle ended.
December 11Battle of Matson's Ford: The battle took place.
December 19The Continental Army entered its winter quarters at Valley Forge
1778February 6The Treaty of Alliance was signed with France.
May 20Battle of Barren Hill: The battle took place.
JuneBritish occupation of Philadelphia ended.
June 19The Continental Army left its winter quarters at Valley Forge.
June 28Battle of Monmouth: The battle took place.
November 30The Continental Army entered winter quarters at the Middlebrook encampment.
1779June 3The Continental Army left the Middlebrook encampment.
July 16Battle of Stony Point: The battle took place.
August 19Battle of Paulus Hook: The battle took place.
DecemberThe Continental Army entered winter quarters at Morristown.
1780January 28A stockade known as Fort Nashborough was founded on the banks of the Cumberland River.
February 1Some eight thousand British forces under General Henry Clinton arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, from New York.
Second Continental Congress: New York ceded its western claims, including territory west of Lake Ontario, to the Congress.
March 14Bombardment of Fort Charlotte: After a two-week siege, Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez captured Fort Charlotte, in Mobile, from the British.
April 8Siege of Charleston: British troops under General Clinton and naval forces under Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot besiege Charleston, South Carolina.
MayThe Continental Army left Morristown.
May 6Siege of Charleston: Fort Moultrie fell to the British.
May 12Siege of Charleston: American General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered Charleston to the British. The British lost two hundred and fifty-five men while capturing a large American garrison.
May 29Battle of Waxhaws: A clash between Continental Army forces under Abraham Buford and a mainly Loyalist force led by Banastre Tarleton near Lancaster, South Carolina resulted in the destruction of the American forces.
June 6Battle of Connecticut Farms: The battle took place.
June 23Battle of Springfield (1780): An attempted British invasion of New Jersey was stopped at Connecticut Farms and Springfield, ending major fighting in the North.
September 23John André was captured, exposing the treason of Arnold.
October 7Battle of Kings Mountain: The battle took place.
1781January 17Battle of Cowpens: The battle took place.
March 1The Articles of Confederation were ratified.
March 15Battle of Guilford Court House: The battle took place.
October 19Siege of Yorktown: The British surrendered at Yorktown.
December 31The Bank of North America was chartered.
1782The British government officially, yet informally, recognized American independence.
1783The British withdraw from ports in New York and the Carolinas.
September 3American Revolutionary War: The Treaty of Paris (1783) ended the war.
1784The State of Frankland, later Franklin, seceded from North Carolina.
1785Congress refused Franklin admission to the Union.
November 28The Treaty of Hopewell was signed.
1786Shays' Rebellion: The rebellion took place.
Annapolis Convention (1786): The convention failed.
1787The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was passed.
Philadelphia Convention: A Constitutional convention took place in Philadelphia.
Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey ratified the Constitution.
1788North Carolina reconquered and dissolved the State of Franklin.
1789United States presidential election, 1789: The election took place.
The United States Constitution came into effect.
April 30First inauguration of George Washington: George Washington was inaugurated as President in New York City.
1st United States Congress: The Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789 and the Hamilton tariff.
The Jay-Gardoqui Treaty was signed.
November 21North Carolina, by a margin of 43%, became the twelfth state to ratify the Constitution.
1790May 26The Southwest Territory (a/k/a Territory South of the River Ohio) is created from North Carolina's Western frontier lands.
May 29Rhode Island, by a margin of 3%, became the thirteenth state to ratify the Constitution.
1791The United States Bill of Rights was ratified.
The First Bank of the United States was chartered.
The independent Vermont Republic was admitted to the Union as Vermont, becoming the fourteenth state.
1792Kentucky County, Virginia became the fifteenth state of Kentucky.
November 2 – December 5U.S. presidential election, 1792: Washington was reelected President. John Adams was chosen as Vice President.
1793Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.
A yellow fever outbreak occurred in Philadelphia.
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 was passed.
February 18Chisholm v. Georgia was decided.
1794Whiskey Rebellion: The rebellion took place.
Aug – NovThe Nickajack Expedition brings a close to the Chickamauga Wars.
Aug 20Battle of Fallen Timbers: The battle took place ending the Northwest Indian War with the Western Confederacy.
The first of the "Civilized" Indian Nations, the Cherokee Nation, is founded.
1795The Treaty of Greenville was signed.
The Jay Treaty was signed.
The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified
1796June 1Tennessee, formerly Southwest Territory, was admitted as the sixteenth state.
Pinckney's Treaty was signed.
The Treaty of Tripoli was signed.
November 4 – December 7U.S. presidential election, 1796: Adams was elected President. Thomas Jefferson was elected Vice President.
1797Adams was inaugurated.
XYZ Affair: The affair took place.
1798The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were issued.
1799The Charles Brockden Brown novel Edgar Huntly was published.
Fries's Rebellion: The rebellion took place.
The Logan Act was passed.
December 14Washington died.
1800The Library of Congress was founded.
October 31 – December 3U.S. presidential election, 1800: Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in votes in the Electoral College.

19th century[edit source | edit]

YearDateEvent
1801Jefferson was elected President by the House of Representatives. Burr became Vice President.
Adams appointed John Marshall as Chief Justice.
1803The Supreme Court issued a decision in Marbury v. Madison which overturned the Judiciary Act of 1789.
Louisiana Purchase: The purchase was made.
Mar 1Ohio, formerly the Northwest Territory, became the 17th state.
1804The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified.
New Jersey abolished slavery.
July 11Burr–Hamilton duel: Alexander Hamilton was fatally wounded.
Lewis and Clark set out.
November 2 – December 5U.S. presidential election, 1804: Jefferson was reelected President; George Clinton was elected Vice President.
1807The Embargo Act of 1807 was passed.
Robert Fulton invented the steamboat.
1808The slave trade was ended.
November 4 – December 7U.S. presidential election, 1808: James Madison was elected president. Clinton was reelected as Vice President.
1809Madison was inaugurated.
March 1The Non-Intercourse Act was passed.
1810The Supreme Court issued a decision in Fletcher v. Peck which overturned a state law.
1811The charter of the First Bank of the United States expired.
1812War of 1812: The war began.
Daniel Webster was elected to the United States Congress.
Louisiana became the 18th state.
U.S. presidential election, 1812: Madison was reelected President; Elbridge Gerry was elected United States Vice President.
1814August 24Burning of Washington: British troops burned Washington, D.C. but were forced back at Baltimore.
Dec 14War of 1812: The Treaty of Ghent ended the war.
1815Jan 8War of 1812: Battle of New Orleans: The battle took place before notification of the Treaty of Ghent made it to the frontier.
1816U.S. presidential election, 1816: James Monroe was elected President. Daniel D. Tompkins was elected Vice President.
The Second Bank of the United States was chartered.
Dec 11Indiana became the 19th state.
1817Monroe was inaugurated.
The Rush–Bagot Treaty was signed.
Harvard Law School was founded.
Dec 10Mississippi became the 20th state.
1818Cumberland Road opened.
Dec 3Illinois became the 21st state.
The Jackson Purchase in Kentucky was obtained.
1819Panic of 1819: The panic took place.
The Adams–Onís Treaty, which provided for the acquisition of Florida, was signed.
The decision in McCulloch v. Maryland prohibited state laws from infringing upon federal Constitutional authority.
The decision in Dartmouth College v. Woodward protected the principle of honoring contracts and charters.
Dec 14Alabama became the 22nd state.
1820The Missouri Compromise was passed.
March 15Maine became the 23rd state.
U.S. presidential election, 1820: Monroe was reelected President, Tompkins Vice President.
1821Aug 10Missouri became the 24th state.
1823The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed.
1824The decision in Gibbons v. Ogden affirmed federal over state authority in interstate commerce.
U.S. presidential election, 1824: An election was held with inconclusive results.
1825John Quincy Adams was elected President by the House of Representatives; John C. Calhoun was elected Vice President.
The Erie Canal was completed
1826July 4Former Presidents Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other on Independence Day
1828Nullification Crisis: The South Carolina Exposition and Protest was published.
Construction began on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
U.S. presidential election, 1828: Andrew Jackson was elected President. Calhoun continued as Vice President.
1829Jackson was inaugurated.
1830Second Great Awakening: A religious revival movement took place.
The Oregon Trail came into use by settlers migrating to the Pacific Northwest.
May 28The Indian Removal Act was passed.
1831A revolt led by Nat Turner occurred.
Publication of The Liberator began.
Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper.
Petticoat affair: The affair took place.
1832The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee Nation in Worcester v. State of Georgia.
Black Hawk War: The war took place.
The Tariff of 1832 was passed.
The Ordinance of Nullification was passed by South Carolina.
The Department of Indian Affairs was established.
United States presidential election, 1832: Jackson was reelected President; Martin Van Buren was elected Vice President of the United States.
Bank War: Jackson vetoed the charter renewal of the Second Bank of the United States.
Calhoun resigned the Vice Presidency.
1833The Force Bill, expanding Presidential powers, was passed.
Jackson's second inauguration was held.
1834Slavery debates took place at Lane Theological Seminary.
1835Texas Revolution: The revolution began.
Alexis De Tocqueville's Democracy in America was published.
Second Seminole War: A war began in Florida with Seminole resistance to relocation.
1836Battle of the Alamo: The battle took place.
Battle of San Jacinto: The battle took place.
Creek War of 1836: The war took place.
Samuel Colt invented the revolver.
The original "Gag Rule", a bar on discussion of antislavery petitions passed by the House, was imposed.
The Specie Circular was issued.
Jun 15Arkansas became the 25th state.
U.S. presidential election, 1836: Van Buren was elected President, Richard Mentor Johnson Vice President.
1837Van Buren was inaugurated.
The United States recognized the Republic of Texas.
Caroline Affair: The affair took place.
Jan 26Michigan became the 26th state.
Oberlin College began enrolling female students.
Panic of 1837: The panic took place.
A decision in Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge reversed a decision in Dartmouth College v. Woodward and affirmed that property rights can be overridden by public need.
1838The forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from the Southeastern United States along the Trail of Tears led to over four thousand Native American deaths.
Aroostook War: The war took place.
1840United States presidential election, 1840: An election was held.
1841William Henry Harrison became President.
John Quincy Adams argued the case United States v. The Amistad before the Supreme Court.
United States v. The Amistad was decided.
President Harrison died after only a month in office.
John Tyler became President.
1842August 9The Webster-Ashburton Treaty was signed.
Dorr Rebellion: A civil war took place in Rhode Island.
1843An attempt to impeach Tyler failed.
1844U.S. presidential election, 1844: An election was held.
The anti-suffragist Helen Kendrick Johnson was born.
1845Texas Annexation: The annexation took place.
James K. Polk became President of the United States.
Mar 3Florida became the 27th state.
Dec 28Texas became the 28th state.
1846Mexican–American War: The war began.
Dec 28Iowa became the 29th state.
The Wilmot Proviso was introduced.
1848U.S. presidential election, 1848: An election was held.
May 29Wisconsin became the 30th state.
Feb 2Mexican–American War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war.
1849Zachary Taylor became President.
California Gold Rush: The gold rush began.
1850Taylor threatened to veto the Compromise of 1850 even at the risk of civil war.
Taylor died. Millard Fillmore became President.
The Clayton–Bulwer Treaty was signed.
The Compromise of 1850 was passed.
Sep 9California became the 31st state.
1852U.S. presidential election, 1852: An election was held.
1853Franklin Pierce became President.
Commodore Matthew Perry opened Japan.
1854The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, nullifying the Missouri Compromise.
Jun 8The Gadsden Purchase was finalized.
The Ostend Manifesto was issued.
The Convention of Kanagawa was signed.
William Walker led an expedition.
1855The Farmers' High School, later Penn State University, was founded.
1856Sacking of Lawrence: The sacking of Lawrence took place.
May 24 – 25Pottawatomie Massacre: The massacre, led by John Brown, took place.
Preston Brooks beat Charles Sumner with his walking stick in the Senate chamber.
U.S. presidential election, 1856: An election was held.
1857James Buchanan became President.
A decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford declared that blacks were not citizens of the United States and could not sue.
MayUtah War: The war started.
The LeCompton Constitution was rejected in the Kansas Territory.
Panic of 1857: The panic took place.
1858The first transatlantic cable was laid.
May 11Minnesota became the 32nd state.
Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The debates were held.
The United States became party to the Treaty of Tientsin.
1859John Brown led a raid on Harper's Ferry.
Feb 14Oregon became the 33rd state.
The Comstock Lode was discovered.
1860The Pony Express was founded.
The Crittenden Compromise was reached.
Nov 6United States presidential election, 1860: Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States.
Dec 20South Carolina seceded from the Union.
1861Ten more states seceded from the Union and established the Confederate States of America.
Jan 29Kansas became the 34th state.
Jefferson Davis was elected President of the Confederacy.
American Civil War: The war began at Fort Sumter.
First Battle of Bull Run: The battle took place.
1862Battle of Hampton Roads: A naval battle between the Monitor and Merrimack took place.
The Homestead Act was passed.
The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act was passed.
General Robert E. Lee was placed in command of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Second Battle of Bull Run: The battle took place.
Battle of Antietam: The battle took place.
Aug–DecDakota War of 1862: The war was fought.
1863Battle of Gettysburg: The battle took place.
Jan 1Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the rebel states.
Siege of Vicksburg: The siege took place.
New York Draft Riots: Draft riots took place.
Jun 20Pro-Union counties which had seceded from Virginia became the 35th state, West Virginia.
1864General Ulysses S. Grant was put in command of all Union forces.
The Wade–Davis Bill was passed.
Sand Creek Massacre: The massacre took place.
Oct 31Nevada became the 36th state.
U.S. presidential election, 1864: An election was held.
Sherman's March to the Sea: The march took place.
1865Lee was made commander-in-chief of all Confederate forces.
Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital, was captured by a corps of black Union troops.
Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House.
April 15Abraham Lincoln assassination: Lincoln was assassinated; Andrew Johnson became President.
American Civil War: The war ended with the surrender of the last elements of the Confederacy.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, permanently outlawing slavery.
The Freedman's Bureau was established.
1866The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed.
The Ku Klux Klan was founded.
1867The Tenure of Office Act (1867) was enacted.
Mar 1Nebraska became the 37th state.
The Alaska Purchase (also known as "Seward's Folly"): The Alaskan territory was purchased from Russia.
1868Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: The attempted impeachment ended in an acquittal by the Senate.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, second of the Reconstruction Amendments, was ratified.
Grant was elected President.
1869The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.[7]
1870The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed.
The first graduate programs, at Yale University and Harvard, began.
The Force Acts were passed.
1871Great Chicago Fire: The fire occurred.
The Treaty of Washington, 1871 was signed with the British Empire regarding the Dominion of Canada.
1872Yellowstone National Park was created.
Crédit Mobilier scandal: The scandal took place.
The Amnesty Act was passed.
The Alabama Claims were settled.
U.S. presidential election, 1872: An election was held.
1873Panic of 1873: The panic took place.
Virginius Affair: The affair took place.
1874Red River Indian War
1875Kentucky Derby: Aristides (horse) won the first Kentucky Derby.
The Resumption Act was passed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed.
The Art Students League of New York was founded.
1876The National League of baseball was founded.
Centennial Exposition: The Exposition, in Philadelphia, was held.
A decision in Munn v. Illinois established the public regulation of utilities.
Colorado became the 38th state.
Battle of Little Bighorn: The battle took place.
Wild Bill Hickok was killed by a shot to the back of the head by Jack McCall while playing poker in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
U.S. presidential election, 1876: The election produced an unclear, result with twenty Electoral College votes disputed.
1877The Electoral Commission awarded Rutherford B. Hayes the Presidency.
Reconstruction era of the United States: The era ended.
Nez Perce War: The war took place.
1878The Bland-Allison Act was passed.
The first Morgan silver dollars were minted.
1879Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
The Knights of Labor went public.
1880The University of Southern California was founded.
The Population of the United States passed fifty million.
1881Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: A gunfight took place in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
James Garfield was inaugurated President of the United States.
Garfield was assassinated.
Chester A. Arthur was inaugurated President of the United States.
Clara Barton created the Red Cross.
The Tuskegee Institute was founded
Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
A Century of Dishonor was written by Helen Hunt Jackson.
1882The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed.
Jesse James was shot and killed by Robert Ford and Charlie Ford.
1883Buffalo Bill Cody debuted his Wild West Show.
A decision in the Civil Rights Cases legalized the doctrine of racial segregation.
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed.
The Brooklyn Bridge opened.
1885Grover Cleveland was inaugurated as President.
The Washington monument was completed.
1886Haymarket Riot: The riot took place.
The American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.
1887The United States Congress created the Interstate Commerce Commission.
The Dawes Act was passed.
The Hatch Act was passed.
1888Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy, was published.
The National Geographic Society was founded.
1889Benjamin Harrison becomes President
Nov 2North Dakota, South Dakota became the 39th and 40th states.
Nov 8Montana became the 41st state
Nov 11Washington became the 42nd state.
Johnstown flood: A flood occurred in Pennsylvania.
Jane Addams founded Hull House.
April 22Land Run of 1889: The land run began.
1890The Sherman Antitrust Act was passed.
Jacob Riis published How the Other Half Lives.
The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was passed.
The McKinley tariff was passed.
Yosemite National Park was created.
Jul 3Idaho became the 43rd state.
Jul 10Wyoming became the 44th state.
Wounded Knee Massacre: The massacre took place.
The National American Woman Suffrage Association was founded.
1891Baltimore Crisis: The crisis took place.
James Naismith invented basketball.
1892Homestead Strike: The strike took place.
General Electric was founded.
The Sierra Club was founded
1893Cleveland was inaugurated President for a second term.
Panic of 1893: The panic took place.
The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed.
1894Coxey's Army marched on Washington, D.C.
Pullman strike: The strike took place.
The Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, including an income tax, was passed.
1895Stagger Lee Shelton shot Billy Lyons.
Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company was decided, striking down part of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act.
1896A decision in Plessy v. Ferguson affirmed the legality of "separate but equal" facilities.
William Jennings Bryan delivered his Cross of Gold speech.
Gold was discovered in the Yukon's Klondike region.
Jan 4Utah became the 45th state.
1897William McKinley became President.
The Boston subway was completed.
The Dingley Act was passed.
1898The USS Maine exploded in Havana harbor.
The De Lôme Letter was published.
Spanish–American War: The Treaty of Paris (1898) ended the war.
Jul 7Republic of Hawaii was annexed.
The Newlands Resolution was passed.
The American Anti-Imperialist League was organized.
1899The Teller Amendment was passed.
American Samoa was occupied.
The Open Door Policy was announced.
1900The United States population exceeded seventy-five million. see Demographics of the United States.
The Foraker Act was passed.
The Gold Standard Act was passed.
Boxer Rebellion: The United States helped put down the rebellion.
1900 Galveston hurricane: The hurricane took place.

20th century[edit source | edit]

YearDateEventReference
1901September 14William McKinley (the 25th President) was assassinated.[8]
September 14Theodore Roosevelt becomes the 26th President of the United States.[9]
November 18The Hay–Pauncefote Treaty was signed.[10]
1902January 1The first Rose Bowl Game The first Rose Bowl was played between the University of Michigan and Stanford University.[11]
February 19The Elkins Act was signed into law.[12]
The Drago Doctrine was announced.[13]
June 17The Newlands Reclamation Act was signed into law.[14]
1903January 22The Hay–Herrán Treaty was passed.[15]
June 16The Ford Motor Company was formed.[16]
February 14The Department of Commerce and Labor was created.[17]
October 1The first World Series was played between the Boston Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates.[18]
November 18The Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed.[19]
December 1The movie The Great Train Robbery opened.[20]
December 17The Wright brothers made their first powered flight in the Wright Flyer.[21]
1904The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine was issued.[22]
May 4The Panama Canal Zone was acquired by the United States from France for $40 million.[23]
November 8President Theodore Roosevelt was reelected to a second term, defeating New York Appeals Court Judge Alton B. Parker.[24]
1905July 11–14Niagara Falls conference: The conference took place.[25]
September 5The Treaty of Portsmouth, negotiated by President Theodore Roosevelt, was signed, ending the Russo-Japanese War .[26]
1906March 13Women's suffrage and civil rights activist Susan B. Anthony died.[27]
April 18The 1906 San Francisco earthquake occurred killing over 3,400 people and destroying 80% of San Francisco; being the deadliest earthquake in American history.[28][29][30]
June 29The Hepburn Act was signed into law.[31]
June 30The Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act were signed; establishing the FDA.[32][33]
December 10President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese war; becoming the first statesman to win a Nobel Prize.[34]
1907February 26The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907 was signed.[35]
November 17Oklahoma was admitted to the Union.[36]
December 6Monongah Mining Disaster: A coal mine exploded in Monongah, West Virginia, killing at least 361.[37]
1908May 30The Aldrich–Vreeland Act was signed into law.[38]
July 26The Federal Bureau of Investigation was established.[39]
October 1The Ford Model T appeared on the market.[16]
November 3U.S. Secretary of War William Howard Taft was elected President, defeating former Representative William Jennings Bryan.[40]
November 30The Root–Takahira Agreement was reached.[41]
1909William Howard Taft implemented Dollar Diplomacy.[42]
February 12The NAACP was founded by W. E. B. Du Bois.[43]
April 7Robert Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole.[44]
August 2The first redesigned Lincoln Penny was released to the public.[45]
1910February 8The Boy Scouts of America was chartered.[46]
June 18The Mann–Elkins Act was signed into law.[47]
The Mann Act was signed into law.[48]
August 6The Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act was signed into law.[49]
1911May 15Standard Oil Company v. United States: The Supreme Court of the United States found Standard Oil guilty of monopolizing the petroleum industry; subsequently dividing Standard Oil into several geographically separate firms.[50]
May 30Indianapolis 500: The first Indianapolis 500 was staged and won by Ray Harroun.[51]
1912January 6New Mexico was admitted to the Union, becoming the 47th.[52]
February 14Arizona was admitted to the Union, becoming the 48th state.[52]
March 12Girl Scouts of the USA was started by Juliette Gordon Low.[53]
April 14–15The RMS Titanic crashed into an iceberg in the northern Atlantic Ocean, sinking the ship entirely less than three hours the initial collision, killing over 1,500 of the 2,224 passengers aboard.[54][55][56]
October 14Former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot, but not killed, while campaigning for President as the candidate of the progressive Bull Moose Party.[57]
November 5New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson defeated incumbent President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt and union leader Eugene V. Debs in the 1912 Presidential election.[58]
1913February 13The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing an income tax, was ratified.[59]
February 17The Armory Show opened in New York City, introducing American and European modern art to the American public.[60]
May 31The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing direct election of Senators, was ratified.[61]
June 15After mass civilian casualties in the Battle of Bud Bagsak, the Moro's surrendered their rebellion, ending the Philippine–American War.[62]
October 4The Underwood Tariff was signed into law.[63]
December 1Henry Ford developed the modern assembly line.[64]
December 23The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law; establishing the Federal Reserve System.[65]
1914April 20Ludlow Massacre: The camps of striking coal miners were attacked by the Colorado National Guard; killing 25, including 11 children.[66]
July 28World War I: Austria-Hungary invaded the Kingdom of Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; triggering the start of World War I.[67]
May 9Mother's Day was established as a national holiday.[68]
September 26The Federal Trade Commission was established.[69]
October 15The Clayton Antitrust Act was signed into law.[70]
1915February 8The controversial movie The Birth of a Nation opened in Los Angeles, becoming the largest grossing moving at the time.[71]
May 7The RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German torpedo, killing 1,198 passengers; partially contributing to the U.S.'s later involvement in WWI.[72]
1916November 7Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the United States Congress.[73]
The Adamson Railway Labor Act was signed into law.
July 17The Federal Farm Loan Act was signed into law.[74]
August 29The Jones Act (Philippines) was signed into law.[75]
November 7President Woodrow Wilson was reelected to a second term, defeating Associated Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes of New York.[76]
1917March 31The United States acquired the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25,000,000.[77]
March 1The Zimmermann telegram was published, helping shift public opinion in favor of U.S. involvement in WWI.[78]
April 6The United States declared war on Germany, beginning the U.S.'s involvement in World War I.[79]
June 15The Espionage Act was signed into law.[80]
November 2The Lansing–Ishii Agreement was signed.[81]
First Red Scare: The scare, marked by a widespread fear of Bolshevism and anarchism, began.[82][83][84]
1918January 8World War I: President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, which assured citizens that the war was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe, was issued.[85]
May 16The Sedition Act of 1918 was signed into law; forbidding the "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" against the United States government during a time of war.[80][86]
1919Red Summer: Heightened racial scrutinization of African-Americans during the Red Scare prompted mass racial riots among Whites in Bisbee, Arizona, Longview, Texas, Washington D.C., Chicago, Knoxville, Omaha, and Elaine, Arkansas.[87]
Inflation from the Post–World War I recession lead to the strike of 4 million workers; prompting the Boston Police Strike, Seattle General Strike, Steel Strike of 1919 and Coal Strike of 1919.[82]
June 28World War I: The Treaty of Versailles ended the war.[88]
October 2The Black Sox Scandal, involving the fixing of the 1919 World Series, occurred.[89]
October 28President Woodrow Wilson's veto of the Volstead Act was overridden by the Senate, establishing the Eighteenth Amendment.[90]
November 19The United States Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations, becoming the first time in U.S. history the Senate rejected a peace treaty.[91]
1920January 17The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing prohibition in the United States, was ratified.[92]
May 5Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested.[93]
The first radio broadcasts were made, in Pittsburgh and Detroit.[94]
August 18The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was ratified.[95]
September 16Wall Street Bombing: Wall Street, the financial district of the United States, was bombed, killing 38 people.[96]
November 2Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding was elected President, defeating Ohio Governor James M. Cox.[97]
1921May 19The Emergency Quota Act was signed into law.[98]
May 31–June 1The Tulsa Race Riot occurred; resulting in the deaths of up to 300 African-Americans, and leaving more than 8,000 homeless.[99]
November 12The first meeting of the Washington Disarmament Conference of 1921 was held.[100]
1922September 21The Fordney–McCumber Tariff was signed into law.[101]
1923August 2President Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco; with Vice President Calvin Coolidge succeeded him, being sworn in the next day.[102][103]
Teapot Dome scandal: The scandal took place.
1924May 10J. Edgar Hoover was appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation.[104]
May 26The Immigration Act Basic Law was signed into law.[105]
November 4President Calvin Coolidge was reelected to a second term, defeating former Solicitor General John W. Davis and Senator Robert M. La Follette.[106]
1925July 21Scopes Trial: High school teacher John T. Scopes was found guilty of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, for teaching human evolution in the classroom.[107]
November 4Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected Governor of Wyoming, becoming the first woman elected governor of a U.S. State.[108]
November 28WSM first broadcast the Grand Ole Opry.[109]
1926November 15The broadcast network NBC was founded.[110]
1927January 27The radio network Columbia Broadcasting System (later CBS) was founded.[111]
May 18Bath School disaster: Andrew Kehoe detonated over 500 pounds of dynamite and incendiary pyrotol which he planted in an elementary school in Bath Township, Michigan, where he later detonated the first ever car bomb in the U.S. in a suicide attack at the scene of the bombing; killing a total of 44 people and being the deadliest mass murder at a school in U.S. History.[112][113]
May 21Charles Lindbergh made the first trans-Atlantic flight.[114]
August 23Sacco and Vanzetti were executed.[115]
October 6The Jazz Singer, the first motion picture with sound, was released.[116]
1928August 27The Kellogg–Briand Pact was signed.[117]
November 6U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was elected President, defeating New York Governor Al Smith.[118]
November 18Disney's animated feature Steamboat Willie, featuring Mickey Mouse, opened.[119]
1929February 14The St. Valentine's Day Massacre became one of the most infamous slaying between rival gangs of the Prohibition era; resulting in the deaths of 7.[120]
October 29Wall Street Crash of 1929: The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted a record 68 points.[121]
November 7The Museum of Modern Art opened to the public in New York City.[122]
February 20American Samoa officially became a United States territory.[123]
1930June 17The Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act was signed into law.[124]
1931May 1The Empire State Building opened in New York City.[125]
1932January 7The Stimson Doctrine was published.[126]
January 22The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was established.[127]
March 23The Norris–La Guardia Act was signed into law.[128]
MayThe Bonus Army protests began in Washington, D.C.[129]
May 20Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean.[130]
November 8New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeated incumbent President Herbert Hoover in the 1932 Presidential election.[131]
1933January 23The Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution, moving the beginning and end of the terms of elected federal officials to January 20, was ratified.[132]
February 15Giuseppe Zangara assassinated Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak in an attempt on President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt's life.[133]
March 4President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins United States Secretary of Labor; being the first time in U.S. History that a woman was appointed to a cabinet level position.[134]
New Deal: The Agricultural Adjustment Act, Civil Works Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, Farm Credit Administration, Home Owners Loan Corporation, Tennessee Valley Authority, Public Works Administration, National Industrial Recovery Act were all established or brought into force.[135]
December 5The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, ending prohibition, was ratified.[136]
1934Dust Bowl: The Dust Bowl, characterized by severe drought and heat waves in the Great Plains, began.[137]
March 24The Tydings–McDuffie Act was signed into law, establishing the Philippine Commonwealth.[138]
June 6The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was established.[139]
June 12The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act was signed into law.[140]
June 16The Glass–Steagall Act was signed into law.[141]
June 18The Indian Reorganization Act was signed into law.[142]
June 22John Dillinger was killed.[143]
June 28The Federal Housing Administration was established.[144]
1935March 22The FBI was established, with J. Edgar Hoover as its first director.[145]
April 8The Works Progress Administration was established.[146]
May 14The Social Security Act was signed into law; establishing the Social Security Administration.[147]
August 9The Motor Carrier Act was signed into law.[148]
May 27Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States: The Supreme Court ruled that the National Industrial Recovery Act, a central piece of President Roosevelt's New Deal program, was unconstitutional.[149]
July 5The National Labor Relations Act was signed into law.[150]
August 9The Motor Carrier Act was signed into law.[148]
August 30The Revenue Act of 1935 was signed into law.[151]
August 31The Neutrality Act of 1935 was signed into law.[152]
September 10Louisiana Senator Huey Long was assassinated.[153]
November 9The Congress of Industrial Organizations was founded.[154]
1936January 6United States v. Butler: The Supreme Court ruled that the processing taxes instituted under the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act was unconstitutional.[155]
March 25The Second London Naval Treaty was signed.[156]
June 19The Robinson-Patman Act was signed into law.[157]
November 3President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected to a second term, defeating Kansas Governor Alf Landon.[158]
1937May 1The Neutrality Act of 1937 was signed into law.[159]
May 6Hindenburg disaster: The LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire, crashing at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey after departing from Frankfurt, Germany; killing thirty-five passengers and one ground crewman.[160]
May 27The Golden Gate Bridge opened in San Francisco.[161]
December 12Panay incident: A Japanese attack was made on the United States Navy gunboat USS Panay while it was anchored in the Yangtze River outside of Nanjing; killing three Americans.[162]
1938June 25The Fair Labor Standards Act was signed into law; establishing a federal minimum wage.[163]
October 30Orson Welles performed a broadcast of The War of the Worlds.[164]
1939February 4Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the first full length animated film.[165]
Oldsmobile introduced the first automatic transmission.[166]
August 2The Hatch Act, aimed at corrupt political practices, was signed into law, preventing federal civil servants from campaigning.[167]
September 1Invasion of Poland (1939): Nazi Germany invaded Poland.[168]
September 21In response to the Poland Campaign, President Roosevelt requested a cash and carry policy to replace the Neutrality Acts.[169]
1940June 29The Smith Act was signed into law.[170]
The cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry debuted.[171][172]
July 20Billboard publishes its first music popularity chart.[173]
September 16The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, reinstating the U.S. military draft, was signed into law.[174]
November 5President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected to a third term, defeating corporate lawyer Wendell Willkie of Indiana.[175]
1941February 23American Nuclear chemist Glenn T. Seaborg, with fellow U.C. Berkeley researchers, discovered the chemical element plutonium.[176][177][178]
March 11World War II: Lend-Lease, which supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, France and other Allied nations with vast amounts of war material, began.[179]
June 25President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, prohibiting racial discrimination in the defense industry.[180]
August 14World War II: The Atlantic Charter was drafted by Britain and the United States to serve as a blueprint for the postwar world.[181]
December 7Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Empire of Japan declares war on the United States and Britain, attacking the U.S. Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Sinking six U.S. ships, including the USS Arizona, and destroying 188 aircraft, the attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in the deaths of 2,402 Americans, leaving 1,247 wounded.[182]
December 8The United States declares war on the Empire of Japan, beginning the U.S. entry into World War II.[183]
December 11The United States declares war on Germany, after Germany and Italy declared war with United States.[184]
1942The Congress of Racial Equality was established.[185]
January 20The Office of Price Administration was established.[186]
February 9Automobile production in the United States for private consumers is halted by the War Production Board.[187]
February 19Japanese American internment: Internment and seizure of property began, per Executive Order 9066 issued by President Roosevelt.[188]
April 9The U.S. surrenders to Japan in the Battle of Bataan, beginning the three year occupation of the Commonwealth of the Philippines by Japanese forces.[189]
April 11President Roosevelt signed Executive order 8734; establishing the Office of Price Administration.[190]
April 18Pacific Theater of Operations: The Doolittle Raid begins the first U.S. bombing of Japanese archipelago.[191]
June 3The Aleutian Islands Campaign begins in the Japanese occupation of Alaska Territory.[192]
June 4-7The Battle of Midway was fought.[193]
August 7The Guadalcanal Campaign begins in the Solomon Islands.[194]
August 13The Manhattan Project, leading to the development of the first atomic bomb, began.[195]
October 21The Revenue Act of 1942 was signed into law.[196]
November 28The Cocoanut Grove fire, the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. History, killed 492 people in Boston.[197]
1943January 14-24The Casablanca Conference was held.[198]
March 31The Broadway musical Oklahoma! opened.[199]
June 20-22The Detroit Race Riot occurred; resulting in the deaths of 34 Whites and African-Americans and leaving 670 injured.[200][201]
September 8Armistice of Cassibile: General Dwight Eisenhower publicly announces the surrender of Italy to the Allied Powers; with Italy later declaring war on Germany one month later.[202][203][204]
November 22-26The Cairo Conference was held.[205]
November 28The Tehran Conference: was held between the "Big Three" Allied leaders of WWII.[206]
1944August 21The Dumbarton Oaks Conference began, starting the first talks between world leaders on the establishment of the United Nations.[207]
June 22The G.I. Bill was signed into law.[208]
Normandy Landings: The landings took place.
United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference: Delegates from 44 nations met to discuss a new post-WWII monetary policy.[209]
Battle of the Bulge: The battle took place.
November 7U.S. presidential election, 1944: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected to a fourth term, defeating New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey.[210]
1945Yalta Conference: A conference was held.
Battle of Okinawa: The battle took place.
United Nations Conference on International Organization: The United Nations was established.
Nationwide labor strikes were held due to inflation.
April 12Roosevelt died; Harry S. Truman becomes the 33rd President.
End of World War II in Europe: Germany surrendered.
Potsdam Conference: The conference was held.
Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The United Nations was founded, replacing the League of Nations.
Nuremberg Trials: The trials began.
Automobile production in the United States for private consumers resumed.
Benjamin Spock's The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care was published.
The Employment Act was signed into law.
The United States Atomic Energy Act of 1946 was signed into law.
The President's Committee on Civil Rights was established.
The Philippines regained independence from the United States.
1947The Presidential Succession Act was signed into law.
The Taft Hartley Act was passed.
Roswell UFO incident: The incident took place.
The National Security Act of 1947 was passed.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was signed.
The Marshall Plan came into force.
The Polaroid camera was invented.
The Truman Doctrine was declared, establishing "the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
The Federal Employee Loyalty Program was instituted.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.
Studebaker introduce a post-war automobile model.
Jackson Pollock begins painting his most famous series of paintings in Easthampton, New York.
1948Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle, debuted on telebision.
Berlin Blockade: The blockade took place.
U.S. presidential election, 1948: Truman was reelected.
Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces.
The Selective Service Act of 1948 was passed.
The Organization of American States was established.
Alger Hiss was tried.
1949The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed.
In China, Communists under Mao Zedong forced the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek to retreat to Taiwan.
The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb.
The Department of War became the Department of Defense.
Germany was divided into East Germany and West Germany.
Truman introduced the unsuccessful Fair Deal.
Nuremberg Trials: The trials ended.
1950Senator Joseph McCarthy came to power.
The McCarran Internal Security Act was passed.
Korean War: The war began.
The comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz, was first published.
NBC first aired Broadway Open House a late-night comedy, variety, talk show.
Truman assassination attempt: Two Puerto Rican nationals attempted to assassinate Truman while he stayed at Blair House.
1951The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing term limits for President, was ratified.
The Mutual Security Act was passed.
April 11Harry S. Truman fires General Douglas MacArthur for his comments about using nuclear weapons on China.
Japanese Peace Treaty Conference: The conference was broadcast live on television in San Francisco.
The newsmagazine and documentary series See It Now, hosted by Edward R. Murrow, began to be broadcast.
1952The Today Show, hosted by Dave Garroway, debuted on NBC.
The ANZUS Treaty entered into force.
The McCarran–Walter Act was passed.
United States presidential election, 1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected.
1953January 20Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the 34th President of the United States.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.
An armistice was reached in Korea.
Operation Ajax: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi returned to power in CIA-orchestrated coup.
1954Tournament of Roses Parade: The tournament was televised nationally in color.
McCarthy was discredited in the Army-McCarthy hearings.
Operation PBSUCCESS: The CIA organized the overthrow of Guatemala's democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway Act, authorizing the construction of the system of locks, canals and channels that permit ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, was approved.
In its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students, and denying black children equal educational opportunities, were unconstitutional.
The United States became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
Geneva Conference (1954): A conference was held where the United States attempted to find a way to unify Korea and restore peace in Indochina.
Eisenhower sent the United States Navy to respond to a siege laid by China against Quemoy and the Matsu Islands.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high of 382.74.
NBC debuted The Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen.
1955Ray Kroc opened a McDonald's fast food restaurant.
Montgomery Bus Boycott: Rosa Parks incited the boycott.
The AFL and the CIO merged into America's largest labor union.
The Warsaw Pact was signed, establishing a mutual defense arrangement subscribed to by eight Communist states in Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union.
Disneyland opened at Anaheim, California.
Jonas Salk developed a polio vaccine.
The rock and roll hit "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets topped the Billboard magazine pop charts.
Actor James Dean was killed in a highway collision on his way to a racetrack in Salinas, California.
1956The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, which would provide for the construction of 41,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System over a 20-year period, was passed.
Hungarian Revolution of 1956: The United States refused to support the revolution.
Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Marilyn Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller.
Jackson Pollock died in a car crash in Springs, New York.
United States presidential election, 1956: Dwight D. Eisenhower was reelected.
1957The Eisenhower Doctrine, wherein a country could request American economic assistance or military aid if threatened by outside armed aggression, was proclaimed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957, primarily a voting rights bill, was passed.
Space race: The Soviet Union launched Sputnik.
The Shippingport Atomic Power Station went into service.
Schools were desegregated in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1958The National Defense Education Act was passed.
NASA was formed.
Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit.
1959The NBC western Bonanza was first broadcast in color.
Cuban Revolution: The revolution took place.
The Landrum-Griffin Act, which regulated labor unions' internal affairs and their officials' relationships with employers, became law.
Hawaii was admitted to the Union, becoming the 50th state.
1960U-2 incident: A CIA U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over Soviet airspace.
Greensboro sit-ins: Sit-ins, sparked by the refusal of four African American college students to move from a segregated lunch counter, took place..
The Civil Rights Act of 1960, establishing federal inspection of local voter registration polls and penalties for those attempting to obstruct the right to vote, was passed.
The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam was formed.
United States presidential election, 1960: John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States.
1961The United States broke diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Dwight D. Eisenhower gives a farewell address which warned of the "military–industrial complex".
January 20John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th President of the United States.
The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted electors to the District of Columbia, was ratified.
The Peace Corps was established.
The Alliance for Progress was founded.
Bay of Pigs Invasion: The invasion took place.
Alan Shepard piloted the Freedom 7 capsule to become the first American in space.
A United States embargo against Cuba came into force.
Berlin Crisis of 1961: The crisis took place.
Vietnam War: The war began with the landing of nine hundred military advisors in Saigon.
OPEC was formed.
1962The Trade Expansion Act was passed.
John Glenn orbited the Earth.
Cuban missile crisis A nuclear confrontation took place between the United States and the Soviet Union.
A decision was reached in Baker v. Carr which enabled federal courts to intervene in and to decide reapportionment cases.
A decision in Engel v. Vitale determined that it was unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and require its recitation in public schools.
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was founded.
Marilyn Monroe died of an apparent overdose from acute barbiturate poisoning at age thirty-six.
1963Bob Dylan and Columbia Records released his second studio album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.
The Atomic Test Ban Treaty was signed.
March on Washington: Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the "I have a dream" speech.
Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique was published.
November 22President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas; Lyndon B. Johnson became President.
1964February 7British Invasion: The Beatles arrived in the United States.
Tonkin Gulf incident: The incident occurred.
The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax, was ratified.
Johnson proposed the Great Society, a set of social reforms aimed at the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
The Economic Opportunity Act was passed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing both segregation and major forms of discrimination against blacks and women, was passed.
Riots occurred in the Panama Canal Zone.
United States presidential election, 1964
1965Vietnam War: Johnson escalated United States military involvement in the war.
March Against the Vietnam War: SDS and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led the first of several anti-war marches in Washington, D.C., with about twenty-five thousand protesters.
The Immigration Act of 1965 was passed.
The Voting Rights Act was passed.
Medicaid and Medicare were established.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 was passed.
February 21Malcolm X, an African-American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist, was assassinated in Harlem, New York.
Watts Riot: Riots began in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles which would last six days.
1966The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was established.
The Department of Transportation was created
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed.
A decision in Miranda v. Arizona established "Miranda rights" for suspects.
The feminist group the National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed.
NBC, CBS and the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) introduce full color lineups to their prime-time schedules.
Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to go to war.[211]
1967Super Bowl I: In the first Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35–10.
1967 Detroit riot: A race riot occurred.
Summer of Love: The Summer of Love took place..
The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing succession to the Presidency and procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, was ratified.
American Samoa became self-governing under a new Constitution.
January 3Jack Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism, secondary to bronchogenic carcinoma, at Parkland Hospital, where Oswald had died and where President Kennedy had been pronounced dead after his assassination.
1968King was assassinated.
Tet Offensive: The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam launched an offensive.
The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed.
Shirley Chisholm was elected to Congress.
1968 Chicago riots: Police clashed with anti-war protesters in Chicago.
The United States signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
June 4Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated while leaving The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Sirhan Sirhan.
United States presidential election, 1968: Richard Nixon was elected President.
1969Nixon was inaugurated as President.
Vietnamization: Vietnamization began.
Stonewall riots: Riots took place in New York City which would mark the start of the modern gay rights movement in the United States.
Chappaquiddick incident: Senator Edward M. Kennedy drove off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.
Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
Woodstock Festival: A music and culture festival took place in White Lake, New York.
Warren E. Burger was appointed Chief Justice of the United States, replacing Earl Warren.
The United States bombed North Vietnamese positions in Cambodia and Laos.
Sesame Street premiered on National Educational Television.
1970Kent State shootings: Shootings occurred during student protests which grew violent.
The first Earth Day was observed.
The Environmental Protection Agency was created.
American Top 40, hosted by radio personality Casey Kasem, which featured a weekly countdown, premiered.
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) began operations, succeeding National Educational Television (NET).
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was signed into law.
1971Nixon Shock: Nixon ended the United States gold standard.
A ban on radio and television cigarette advertisements went into effect.
The landmark situation comedy All in the Family premiered on CBS.
The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, allowing eighteen-year-olds to vote, was ratified.
In New York Times Co. v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the Pentagon Papers may be published, rejecting government injunctions as unconstitutional prior restraint.
19721972 Nixon visit to China: Nixon visited China, marking the beginning of normalized relations between the two nations.
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed with the Soviet Union.
Watergate scandal: Five men were arrested for the burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.
U.S. presidential election, 1972: Nixon was reelected.
Apollo 17: A manned mission was taken to the Moon.
1973Vietnam War: The Paris Peace Accords ended direct United States involvement in the war.
In a ruling in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court overturned state laws against abortion.
The United States Senate Watergate Committee began to hold hearings.
The space station Skylab was launched.
Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in disgrace as part of a plea bargain and was replaced by Congressman Gerald Ford of Michigan under the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Watergate scandal: Nixon fired three Attorneys General over the disposition of secret tapes and the actions of the Special Prosecutor.
1973 oil crisis: A crisis, wherein gasoline prices skyrocketed in response to reduced supply of gasoline and heating oil, began.
1974Super Outbreak: An outbreak of tornadoes hit thirteen states and killed 315 people.
Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves broke Babe Ruth's home run record by hitting his 715th career home run.
Watergate scandal: The House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Nixon.
Richard Nixon resigned. Gerald Ford succeeded him as President.
Watergate scandal: Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed against the United States while President, believing it to be in the "best interests of the country"
Restrictions were removed on holding private gold within the United States.
1973 oil crisis: The crisis ended.
1975The construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System began.
Fall of Saigon: Saigon fell.
Bill Gates founded Microsoft.
Apollo–Soyuz Test Project: A United States Apollo and Soviet Soyuz spacecraft docked in orbit.
Ford survived an assassination attempt.
The television series Wheel of Fortune and Saturday Night Live premiered on NBC.
Sony's Betamax, a home video recording unit, became commercially available.
1976The Copyright Act of 1976 was passed, leading to sweeping changes in United States copyright law.
United States Bicentennial: Americans celebrated the United States bicentennial.
U.S. presidential election, 1976: Jimmy Carter of Georgia defeated Ford.
1977Carter was inaugurated as President.
A home personal computer, the Commodore PET, was released for retail sale.
January 23The television miniseries Roots aired on ABC.
New York City blackout of 1977: A twenty-five hour blackout, resulting in looting and other disorder, took place.
August 16Elvis Presley died at his home in Graceland.
The video game console Atari 2600 went into production.
1978Volkswagen opened a plant in the United States.
The Camp David Accords (1978) were signed by Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt at Camp David.
The Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment Act was signed into law, adjusting the government's economic goals to include full employment, growth in production, price stability, and balance of trade and budget.
The Senate voted to turn the Panama Canal over to Panamanian control on December 31, 1999
November 27Harvey Milk was assassinated by Dan White in San Francisco.
1979A nuclear accident took place at Three Mile Island.
Iran hostage crisis: The crisis began.
American Airlines Flight 191: A flight crashed after takeoff from O'Hare International Airport, killing all 271 aboard and two on the ground.
Facing bankruptcy, Chrysler received government loan guarantees on the request of CEO Lee Iacocca to help revive the company.
1980The Refugee Act, which reformed United States immigration law and admitted refugees on a systematic basis for humanitarian reasons, was passed.
May 181980 eruption of Mount St. Helens: The eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington killed fifty-seven.
U.S. presidential election, 1980: Ronald Reagan Is elected President.
Summer Olympics: The United States boycotted the Olympics, which were held in Moscow.
December 8John Lennon was assassinated.
1981Ronald Reagan becames President.
March 30John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Reagan.
The Kemp-Roth Tax Cut was passed.
MTV, a 24-hour cable network dedicated to airing music videos, was launched.
Hyatt Regency walkway collapse: A hotel walkway collapsed in Kansas City, Missouri, killing 114 and injuring over two hundred.
The Space Shuttle Columbia was launched.
Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court.
Murder of Adam Walsh: 7-year-old Adam Walsh was murdered.
1983241 Marines were killed by suicide bomb in Lebanon.
The United States invaded Grenada.
Chrysler unveiled two minivans, the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, to the public.
1984Summer Olympics: Most of the Eastern Bloc boycotted the Olympics, held in Los Angeles.
U.S. presidential election, 1984 Reagan was reelected.
Crack was first introduced into the Los Angeles area.
60 Minutes and 20/20 began to raise awareness of child sexual abuse by pedophiles.
1985Bernhard Goetz was indicted in New York on charges of attempted murder after shooting four young men he claimed were intent on mugging him.
WrestleMania (1985): WrestleMania debuted.
Live Aid: A concert raised world awareness of famine in Third World countries.
Farm Aid: Country music singer Willie Nelson organized a concert to raise money for family farmers facing financial crisis.
The Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable and Nintendo Entertainment System were released to the public.
1986Iran–Contra affair: A scandal broke.
The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger killed all seven aboard, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was passed.
The Gramm–Rudman–Hollings Balanced Budget Act was passed.
The Marshall Islands became independent.
The Fox Broadcasting Company, which offered nightly programming, was launched.
1987Jim Bakker was embroiled in scandal.
During a visit to Berlin, President Reagan challenged Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall", referring to the Berlin Wall.
Black Monday (1987): The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23% in a single session.
America's Cup: Dennis Conner, onboard "Stars & Stripes", returned the Cup to the United States.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. by Reagan and Gorbachev.
1988Carrollton bus collision: A drunk driver crashed into a church bus near Carrollton, Kentucky, killing twenty-seven.
Yellowstone fires of 1988: Fires took place.
Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois added lights for night games.
The Space Shuttle Discovery was launched.
U.S. presidential election, 1988: Vice President George H. W. Bush was elected.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty went into effect.
1989Bush was inaugurated as President.
TIME and Warner Communications announced plans for a merger.
Exxon Valdez oil spill: An oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound.
Actress Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered by an obsessed fan.
Hurricane Hugo: A hurricane struck the East Coast, causing $7 billion in damage.
Loma Prieta earthquake: An earthquake killed sixty-three in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Bush declared a "War on Drugs."
The animated comedy The Simpsons debuted.
Cold War: Bush and Gorbachev released statements indicating that the war may be coming to an end.
1990The Hubble Space Telescope was launched during a mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Gulf War: Iraq invaded Kuwait.
1991Gulf War: A war was waged in the Middle East, by a United Nations-authorized coalition force from thirty-four nations led by Britain and the United States, against Iraq.
Supreme Court candidate Clarence Thomas and former aide Anita Hill were interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding sexual harassment allegations by Hill.
Cold War: The Soviet Union dissolved, ending the war.
19921992 Los Angeles riots: Riots in Los Angeles, spurred by the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the beating of Rodney King, took place which resulted in over fifty deaths and $1 billion in damage.
The Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting changes to Congressmen's salaries from taking effect until after an election of Representatives, was ratified.
United States presidential election, 1992 Bill Clinton defeated Bush.
Hurricane Andrew: A Category 5 hurricane killed sixty-five people and caused $26 billion in damage to Florida and other areas of the Gulf Coast.
1993A truck Bomb exploded in the parking garage under the World Trade Center in New York City, killing six people and injuring thousands.
A standoff and fire in Waco, Texas involving the Branch Davidians resulted in the deaths of seventy-six people including their leader, David Koresh.
1993 Storm of the Century: A storm struck the Eastern Seaboard, bringing blizzard conditions and severe weather which killed three hundred people and caused $6 billion in damage.
Great Flood of 1993: Massive flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers killed fifty people and devastated the Midwest with $15 billion in damage.
President Clinton signed the Don't ask, don't tell policy into law, prohibiting openly gay or bisexual people from serving in the military.
1994The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect.
1994 Northridge earthquake: An earthquake killed seventy-two and injured nine thousand in the Los Angeles area and caused $20 billion in damage.
1995United States elections, 1994: Republicans gained control of both the House and Senate.
March 31Murder of Selena: Tejano music star Selena was shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas by the president of her fan club.
April 19Oklahoma City bombing: A bombing killed 168 and wounded eight hundred.
October 3Retired professional football player O. J. Simpson was acquitted of two charges of first-degree murder in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.
1995 Chicago heat wave: A heat wave killed 750 in Chicago.
United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996: A budget crisis caused the federal government to shut down.
1996North American blizzard of 1996: A snowstorm along the East Coast killed 150 people and caused $3 billion in damage.
TWA Flight 800: A flight exploded off Long Island killing all 230 aboard.
Khobar Towers bombing: A bombing left nineteen American servicemen dead in Saudi Arabia.
Centennial Olympic Park bombing: A bombing in Atlanta killed one and injured 111.
U.S. presidential election, 1996: Clinton was reelected.
United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996: The shutdown ended.
1997Clinton allowed student funding for any research on human cloning.
Sparked by a global economic crisis scare, the Dow Jones Industrial Average followed world markets and plummeted 554.26, or 7.18%, to 7,161.15.
Des Moines, Iowa resident Bobbi McCaughey gave birth to live septuplets.
1998Former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones accuses Clinton of sexual harassment.
Lewinsky scandal: Clinton was accused of having a sexual relationship with 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.
1998 U.S. embassy bombings: 224 were killed in bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.
Gay college student Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered near the University of Wyoming.
1999Dennis Hastert of Illinois becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10,006.78.
April 20Two teenage students murdered 13 other students and teachers at Columbine High School.
1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak: A violent tornado outbreak in Oklahoma killed fifty people and produced a tornado which caused $1 billion in damage.
EgyptAir Flight 990: The first officer deliberately crashed a plane south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, killing 217.
Along with the rest of the world, the United States prepared for the possible effects of the Y2K bug in computers, which was feared destined to cause computers to become inoperable and wreak havoc.
2000USS Cole bombing: The USS Cole was bombed in Yemeni waters, killing seventeen United States Navy sailors.

21st century[edit source | edit]

YearDateEventReference
2001January 20First inauguration of George W. Bush: George W. Bush was inaugurated the forty-third President of the United States.[212]
May 24Democrats gained narrow control of Senate with the defection of James Jeffords from the Republican Party.[213]
June 7The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 was signed into law by President George W. Bush.[214]
September 11September 11 terrorist attacks: Nineteen terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing nearly three thousand people and injuring over six thousand.[215]
September 182001 Anthrax attacks: Anthrax attacks killed five and infected seventeen more through the mail system.[216]
October 7War in Afghanistan (2001–present): The United States launched an invasion of Afghanistan.[217]
October 26The USA PATRIOT Act, increasing law enforcement agencies' ability to conduct searches in cases of suspected terrorism, was signed into law.[218]
November 12American Airlines Flight 587: A flight crashed in Queens, New York, killing 265.[219]
2002June 13The United States officially withdraws from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.[220]
January 8The No Child Left Behind Act education reform bill was signed into law.[221]
October 2–22Beltway sniper attacks: Ten people were killed and three were injured in attacks around the Washington, D.C. area.[222]
November 25The United States Department of Homeland Security was created.[223]
2003January 3Republicans regained narrow control of the Senate.[224]
February 1Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.[225]
February 172003 E2 nightclub stampede: A nightclub stampede in Chicago, Illinois killed twenty-one.[226]
February 20The Station nightclub fire: A fire caused by pyrotechnics at a nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island killed 100 people and injured over 230.[227]
March 19Invasion of Iraq: The United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq.[228]
December 13Capture of Saddam Hussein: In Iraq, deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured by United States special forces.[229]
2004February 4The social networking website Facebook was launched.[230]
June 5Death of Ronald Reagan: Former President Ronald Reagan died from complications resulting from Alzheimer's disease.[231]
2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Four deadly and damaging hurricanes impacted Florida, killing a combined one hundred people in the United States and producing over $50 billion in damage.[232]
November 2U.S. presidential election, 2004; President George W. Bush was reelected.[233]
2005January 20Second inauguration of George W. Bush: George W. Bush was inaugurated to his second term.[234]
August 23–30Hurricane Katrina: A hurricane devastated the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coastlines killing at least 1,836 people and causing $81 billion in damage.[235]
2006November 7The Democratic Party regained control of both houses of Congress and gained control of a majority of state governorships.[236][237][238]
2007January 3Democrat Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.[239]
January 10Iraq War troop surge of 2007: George W. Bush ordered the substantial increase of the number of United States troops in Iraq.[240]
April 16Virginia Tech massacre: A South Korean student shot and killed thirty-two other students and professors before killing himself.[241]
August 1The I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed, killing thirteen people.[242]
DecemberLate-2000s recession: A recession began.[243][244][245]
2008February 5–62008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak: An outbreak of tornadoes killed over sixty people and produced $1 billion in damage across Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama.[246]
February 14Northern Illinois University shooting: A student killed five and injured twenty-one before killing himself.[247]
September 1–14Hurricane Ike: A hurricane killed 100 people along the Texas coast, producing $31 billion in damage and contributing to rising oil prices.[248]
July 11Oil prices in the United States hit a record $147 per barrel.[249]
Global financial crisis in September 2008: The stock market crashed.[250][251][252]
November 4U.S. presidential election, 2008: Barack Obama was elected the forty-fourth President of the United States.[253]
2009January 20Inauguration of Barack Obama: Obama was inaugurated the forty-fourth President of the United States.[254]
February 17President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion economic stimulus package.[255]
Tea Party protests: The first of a series of protests, focusing on smaller government, fiscal responsibility, individual freedoms and conservative views of the Constitution, were conducted across the country.[256]
June 25Death of Michael Jackson: Pop icon Michael Jackson died.[257]
November 5Fort Hood shooting: Nidal Malik Hasan killed twelve servicemen and injured thirty-one.[258]
2010January 272010 State of the Union Address: Obama addressed fiscal policy and financial regulation in a speech before Congress.[259]
February 23The United States Navy lifted its ban on women in submarines.[260]
March 23The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama.[261]
April 20Deepwater Horizon oil spill: The BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and spilling 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf over an 87 day period; being the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.[262]
July 21The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law, reforming and expanding federal regulations of the financial sector.[263]
November 2United States Senate elections, 2010: The Republican Party gained five seats, to forty-seven, reducing the Democratic presence in the Senate to fifty-one. Two seats remained in the hands of independents.[264]
United States House of Representatives elections, 2010: The Republican Party gained sixty-two seats, giving them an absolute majority of 242 in the House and reducing the Democratic presence to 193.[265]
November 28United States diplomatic cables leak: WikiLeaks began to release classified diplomatic documents to the international press.[266]
December 22The Senate ratified the New START treaty.[267]
December 22The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 was signed into law, ending the Don't ask, don't tell policy regarding homosexuals in the United States Armed Forces.[268]
2011January 82011 Tucson shooting: A gunman targeting Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords critically injured Giffords and killed six others, including federal judge John Roll, in Tucson, Arizona.[269]
January 252011 State of the Union Address: Obama addressed the need to find government efficiencies and improve the national infrastructure in a speech before Congress.[270]
March 19Operation Odyssey Dawn: The United States began air and cruise missile attacks against Libya.[271]
May 2Death of Osama bin Laden: Al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden was killed by United States forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.[272]
August 2United States debt-ceiling crisis: The Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed into law, increasing the legal limit on federal government debt in order to prevent default and establishing the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.[273]
August 5United States federal government credit-rating downgrade, 2011: The credit-rating arm of Standard & Poor's reduced the rating of United States federal government debt from AAA to AA+.[274]
August 62011 Chinook shootdown in Afghanistan: A rocket-propelled grenade attack in Maidan Wardak Province, Afghanistan killed thirty United States military personnel and eight Afghans.[275]
August 8August 2011 stock markets fall: Major United States stock market indices dropped in value by some two and a half trillion dollars.[276]
September 17The populist Occupy Wall Street protest movement made camp in Zuccotti Park in New York City.[277]
September 30Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in Ma'rib Governorate, Yemen by a United States drone strike.[278]
October 20Death of Muammar Gaddafi: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and shot to death by NTC forces.[279]
November 262011 NATO attack in Pakistan: NATO forces killed twenty-four Pakistani soldiers in Salala, Pakistan.[280]
December 18Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq: The last United States troops withdrew from Iraq under the terms of the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement.[281]
2013January 20Barack Obama is inaugurated for his second term as president.[282]

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