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A Timeline of American History



1519 Hernan Cortes goes to the middle of Mexico, defeats the forces of Aztec emperor Montezuma, and seizes the country. (Page 50)
1535 A French ship sails up the St. Lawrence carrying the French flag up to the site of Montreal. (Page 51)
1539 Hernando de Soto lands in Florida, defeats the Indians, leaves a garrison behind him, and sets on on a four year wantering of what is now the southeastern part of the United States; he went as far west as Oklahoma and Texas. (Page 51)
1565 St. Augustine, the oldest city in America, is founded by the Spaniards. (Page 45)
1604 Samuel de Champlain founds Port Royal (Annapolis) in present-day Nova Scotia. (Page 53)
1607 In April, three storm-beaten ships of Captain Christopher Newport, sending ashore men who found "fair meadows, and goodly tall trees, with such fresh waters as almost ravished" them to see. This event started European colonization of America and, in turn, the history of the United States. (Page 1)
On May 13, the ships under Christopher Newport sailed into Hampton Roads. Shortly after this, they set laid out Jamestown, which consisted of a fort, a church, a storehouse, and a row of little huts. (Page 5)
1608 The founder of New France, Samuel de Champlain, lays the foundations of Quebec, the first permanent European settlement in New France. (Page 51)
1609 The Dutch send Henry Hudson, an English mariner, to explore the river later named for him. (Page 8)
1612 John Rolfe begins to grow tobacco in Jamestown, and, because London offered myriad money for it, everyone took it up until even the market place was planted with it. (Page 5)
1616 Lord Delaware arrives as governor and repairs and enlarges Jamestown's church. (Page 19)
1619 A ship arrives from England with ninety "young maidens" who were to be given as wives to those settlers who could give a hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco to cover their transportation costs. This cargo was so joyously welcomed that others like it were soon sent over. (Page 6)
The first representive government in America, the Viginia legislature, convened on July 30 in Jamestown's church. The first legislative assembly on the continent consisted on a governor, six councilors, and two bugesses each from ten plantations. (Page 6)
In August, a Dutch ship arrived in Jamestown with Negro slaves; twenty slaves were sold to the settlers. (Page 6)
1620 The Mayflower lands on the Massachusetts coast on December 11, carrying 102 English Calvinists known simply as the "Pilgrims." (Page 6)
1622 A war between the Virginia settlers and Powhatan's tribes begins, ultimately ending in utter Indian defeat. (Page 5)
1624 Dutch fur traders establish a small settlement on Manhattan Island. (Page 8)
1628 John Endicott and a small group of associates plant the town of Salem, Massachusetts. (Page 7)
The Company of New France is formed under Richelieu's patronage, and gives energy to the colonizing venture. (Page 52)
1629 Charles I grants a charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company. Puritans, upset over the English king becoming master of the Church of England, bought up all of the stock of the company, took the charter, and sailed with it to America. (Page 10)
1630 In the spring, John Winthrop reaches Salem with 11 ships and 900 settlers, enough to found 8 new towns, including Boston. He soon established a theocracy. (Page 7)
1632 After having a tax for defense placed on them, the unrepresented citizens of Watertown, Massachusetts, refused to pay the tax "for fear of bringing themselves and posterity into bondage." (Page 14)
The Virginia legislature passes a law that, in addition to the former tax of a bushel of corn and ten pounds of tobacco, forces the citizens to give their clergy his twentieth calf, twentieth goat, and twentieth pig. (Page 19)
1634 The liberal-minded Cecilius Calvert, second Baron Baltimore, makes a settlement in Maryland; since most of the gentlemen who went there were English Catholics and most of the common folk were Protestants, Maryland became a home of religious freedom. (Page 7)
As a result of the Watertown riots, a body of town delegates convenes, taking full legislative authority over Massachusetts into its hands. (Page 14)
1635 Boston Latin School opens. (Page 31)
1636 Roger Williams, a minister of Salem who taught such radical ideas as separation of church as state, is driven into the Rhode Island wilderness; here he founds Providence, a place of perfect religious toleration. (Page 7)
Reverend Thomas Hooker moves a great part of his congregation westward in the first migration to Connecticut. (Page 7)
Mr. Harvard gives all of his library and one half of his estate to a college, which later became Harvard. (Page 31)
1637 The Pequot War is fought in New England between European settlers in the Connecticut Valley and the Pequot tribe; it ends with the complete destruction of the Pequot tribe. (Page 5)
1639 The freemen of Connecticut meet in Hartford and draw up the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the first written constitution in the Western world. (Page 14)
1646 The Cambridge Platform is established in the church-state of Massachusetts, providing that if any church congregation rebels against the synod, or the Church rules, the civil government would stop the minister's pay, discharge him, and put in his place a man who would conform. (Page 21)
1647 The Massachusetts General Court enacts the "Ye Ould Deluder Satan" law, requiring every town of fifty householders to support an elementary school and every town of one hundred householders to set up a grammar school. (Page 31)
1649 A Maryland assembly part Catholic and part Protestant passes a Toleration Act which placed Protestants and Catholics on precisely the same plane. (Page 23)
1651 Parliament passes a Navigation Act which required all colonial exports to England to be carried in English-owned and English-operated vessels. (Page 58)
1654 Like the Huron Indians, the Erie tribe suffers extermination at the hands of the Iroquois. (Page 54)
1656 Boston's library is established. (Page 44)
1662 After the Stuart Restoration, Connecticut obtains an amazingly liberal charter from the Crown; the freemen still had the power to govern themselves however they liked. (Page 15)
1663 Charles II grants a charter to eight of his favorite nobles for the vast area now embraced by both the Carolinas and Georgia. (Page 8)
Rhode Island gets a new charter; however, it is just as liberal as Connecticut's. (Page 15)
1664 The Duke of York, who had been granted Manhattan Island, a Dutch settlement, by his brother Charles II, sends three warships to New Amsterdam. Most of the Dutch settlers, sick of despotic rule, made no objection to a change of sovereignty. The British flag soon went up over the town now named New York. (Page 8)
1670 Charleston is established, and speedily becomes both the cultural and political capital of the colony. (Page 8)
1672 The iron-willed Comte de Frontenac arrives; he asserted the dominance of civil authorities over the Church, temporarily broke the strength of the Iroquois, and helped Quebec win King William's War. (Page 54)
1676 After destroying an Indian stronghold, Nathaniel Bacon goes to Williamsburg to lobby for more protection for the citizens of Virginia. When the governor tried to seize him, he fled and led Bacon's Rebellion, burning down Jamestown. However, he died of malaria and the rebellion collapsed. (Page 16)
1681 William Penn comes into control of the area that is now Pennsylvania and Delaware, and prepares to erect a model commonwealth there based on the principles of the Quakers. (Page 9)
1682 William Penn calls together an assembly, which was elected by the settlers, and allows them to enact a constitution, or "Great Charter," which vested many of the powers of government in representatives of the people. Penn accepted this scheme. (Page 11)
1690 Boston's first newspaper is established. (Page 36)
Sir William Phipps leads a fleet of 34 ships against Quebec in King William's War. (Page 54)
1691 Massachusetts becomes a royal providence; however, the Puritan legislature still kept a tight grip on the purse, even though the Crown now had the right to choose the governor. (Page 14)
1693 The second colonial college, William and Mary, is founded in Virginia primarily for the training of young ministers. (Page 20)
1706 Ben Franklin is born in Boston. (Page 44)
1731 Ben Franklin sets up the first circulating subscription library in America in Philadelphia. (Page 45)
1732 A royal charter is obtained for Georgia by James Oglethorpe as a refuge for poor debtors and other unfortunates; Georgia also functioned as an outpost against Spanish and Indian aggression. (Page 26)
1733 Parliament passes the Molasses Act, which restricted New England's trade with the West Indes to the British Isles alone; however, it was not rigidly enforced. (Page 62)
1736 46 years after Boston has its first newspaper established, the Virginia Gazette appears. (Page 36)
1737 The second William Byrd founds Richmond by breaking up an estate on the upper James and selling it in town lots. (Page 38)
1739 A German newspaper is established in Germantown. (Page 25)
1743 Franklin establishes the American Philosophical Society. (Page 45)
1748 Princeton is established. (Page 43)
1754 King's College, now Columbia University, is established in New York. (Page 43)
Ben Franklin represents Pennsylvania at the first intercolonial gathering, the Albany Congress, which drafted a proposal to unify the provinces. (Page 45)
1755 The College of Philadelphia, which Franklin did so much to set up, is established. (Page 43)
Braddock is routed by the French and Indians in 1755 as he was nearing Pittsburg; however, Forbes soon captured that strategic position. (Page 56)
1759 Wolfe scales the high cliffs of Quebec at night and brought the French and Indians to battle on the Plains of Abraham; he succeeded in capturing Quebec even though he died, and Quebec's capture decided the war. (Page 56)
1763 Treaty to end the French and Indian War is signed. Because of it, England takes all of Canada from France and all of Florida from Spain. Louisiana passed from French to Spanish sovereignty. (Page 56)
England proclaims that all English settlements must stop at the crest of the Appalachians in order to prevent exacerbation of the Indians. (Page 65)
1764 Parliament passes a Sugar Act that was a virtual re-enactment of the Molasses Act of 1733 except it was enforcable; the export tax from Great Britain to the colonies was raised from 2.5% to 5% and the colonies were forbidden to make paper money legal tender for debts. (Page 62)
1765 Parliament passes a tax on stamps in the colonies to cover the cost of maintaining ten thousand soldiers in North America. (Page 66)
1767 The Townshend Act of 1767 imposes duties on tea, paper, glass, and painters' colors, causing Boston to boycot the articles on which British taxes had been laid; the boycotting ended in 1770 when Parliament repealed all the Townshend duties save that of tea. (Page 71)
1769 Daniel Boone, a North Carolinian of Devon Stock, passes through the Appalachian wall and into Kentucky via the Cumberland Gap. (Page 42)
California proper is occupied by a force of Spanish soldiers; along with the soldiers came Franciscan missionaries under Junipero Serra, who helped found San Diego and Monterey. (Page 51)
1770 The Boston Massacre occurs. (Page 74)
1773 The Virginia Burgesses appoints the first of a system of intercolonial committees which rapidly overspread the entire continent. (Page 72)
On December 16, Sam Adams leads 50 men onto British ships dressed as Indians and burst open 343 chests of tea in the Boston Tea Party. (Page 75)
1774 On September 5, the first Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia with every colony except Georgia represented. (Page 73)
1775 On April 18, Gage in Boston sends a column of eight hundred men in motion, starting the Revolutionary War. (Page 77)
The second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia on May 10, organized the troops about Boston into the "American continental army," and appointed George Washington to take command of the army. (Page 77)
From June 16-17, the Battle of Bunker Hill occurs, and the small number of American casualties boosted the confidence of the American forces. (Page 78)
1776 In March, the patriots take control of Boston. (Page 80)
George Washington's armies begin to rally under a distinctive American flag. (Page 84)
The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, is proclaimed on July 4, 1776. (Page 84)
1777 The turning point of the war occurs on October 17 at Saratoga when Burgoyne's troops lay down their arms. (Page 88)
1778 On February 6, France and the United States sign a treaty of alliance after France heard about Saratoga. (Page 89)
Captain Cook discovers the Sandwich Islands, current-day Hawaii. (Page 192)
1779 Tithes are abolished forever by Jefferson and his friends. (Page 94)
1781 Washington cornered a British army on land, while Admiral de Grasse, a French ally, prevent British reinforcements from landing by sea; as a result, Lord Cornwallis surrendered the British Army, bringing the Revolutionary War to an end. (Page 90)
In March, the Articles of Confederation, or "league of friendship," was established. (Page 96)
1783 The treaty that ended the Revolutionary War is signed. (Page 90)
1784 Independent-minded pioneers organize the short-lived "State of Franklin" in eastern Tennessee. (Page 175)
1785 Thomas Jefferson succeeds in abolishing primogeniture, the idea where an estate owner would bequeath all of his estate to his eldest son.(Page 93)
1786 Shay's Rebellion, an agrarian revolt against conditions that had become untolerable, occurs. (Page 100)
1787 America had an enduring federal system established by the Constitution of 1787, which first met on the second Monday in May. (Page 60)
The Northwest Ordinance, which opened the region north of the Ohio to settlement, occured. (Page 103)
1789 A federal union is established between the states, as Washington is elected President and begins his term on April 30. (Page 96)
1790 The first national census occurs. (Page 176)
1793 Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin. (Page 160)
1801 Jefferson becomes President. (Page 133)
1803 Louisiana Purchase is done by Jefferson. (Page 136)
Jefferson sends Lewis and Clark clear to the Pacific. (Page 184)
1804 On a July morning, Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton in a duel. (Page 137)
1807 Robert Fulton designs a steamship on the Hudson. (Page 136)
1811 The building of Cumberland Gap begins. (Page 182)
1812 War of 1812 occurs, not to ended until the Treaty of Ghent in 1814. (Page 140)
1817 James Madison leaves the presidency, and James Monroe takes his place. (Page 158)
The indomitable New Yorker De Witt Clinton begins work on the Erie Canal, a pathway from the Hudson and Atlantic to the Great Lakes, and it is completed in 1825. (Page 182)
1819 Under the leadership of Henry Clay, the Missouri Compromise occurs, and slavery is forever abolished above the parallel 36º 30'. (Page 161)
John Quincy Adams pushes the Spanish into a treaty that resulted in Spain ceding Florida to the United States. (Page 163)
1821 Monroe is re-elected by every electoral vote except one, as political parties were not too strong at this time. (Page 158)
1823 In Monroe's annual speech to Congress, he states the outline for the Monroe Doctrine, which had two main ideas: noncolonialization (Europe shouldn't make new colonies in the Western Hemisphere) and nonintervention (Europe shouldn't interfere in the affairs of New World nations in such a way as to threaten their independence. (Page 158)
1824 Even though Jackson won the popular vote, no man had a majority of the electoral college, and the House chose John Quincy Adams to be President. (Page 162)
1828 Andrew Jackson is elected President. (Page 164)
1830 The Book of Mormon was published, as remarkably translated from Hebrew by Joseph Smith, a man who didn't even finish high school. (Page 188)
1831 Nat Turner's Rebellion, an insurrection of sixty or seventy Virginia slaves, occurs. (Page 161)
1835 John Marshall, celebrated Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, dies. (Page 144)
The American settlers in Texas raise in revolt against Mexico and, after a number of battles, win their independence. (Page 189)
1836 Jackson establishes the ten-hour workday. (Page 168)
Arkansas achieves statehood. (Page 181)
1837 John Deere introduces his steel-faced plows to the world. (Page 316)
1840 William Henry Harrison is elected President by the liberal Whigs. (Page 170)
1841 The first emigrant train to Oregon winds its way through the wild country and into Oregon. (Page 186)
1844 James K. Polk is elected President. (Page 190)
1845 Texas achieves statehood. (Page 190)
1846 Iowa is admitted to the Union as a state. (Page 181)
The Mexican War breaks out as a result of conflict over the border of Texas. (Page 190)
1847 Cyrus McCormick establishes his reaper factory and begins turning out machines in the young prairie town of Chicago. (Page 316)
1848 Wisconsin, the last state east of the Mississippi, is admitted to the Union. (Page 181)
The Mexican War ends, and as a result the United States absorbs California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. (Page 192)
In the election of this year, the powerful anti-slavery Free-Soil party emerges, with Martin Van Buren as its candidate for President; however, Zachary Taylor, the last Whig, becomes President. (Page 199)
1849 Minnesota Territory is organized. (Page 181)
1850 California, fresh out of the Gold Rush of `49, becomes a state. (Page 192)
The Compromise of 1850 occurs, and, as a result California is admitted as a free state and a more efficient machinery for returning fugitive slaves to their owners is made. (Page 200)
1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, appears in book form. (Page 201)
1854 Commodore Perry institues his "Open-door policy" in Japan. (Page 194)
1856 The Western Union Company is organized to exploit the telegraph. (Page 258)
1857 The Dred Scott case, where the Supreme Court stated that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from the territories, occurs. (Page 207)
1859 Oregon becomes a state. (Page 187)
Darwin publishes his Origin of Species. (Page 375)
1860 The Democratic Party splits, and, as a result, Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln becomes President. (Page 210)
1861 In February, delegates from 7 states meet in Montgomery, Alabama, and form the Confederate States of America; on April 12, the Southern guns opened on Fort Sumter. (Page 215)
1862 In March, the Union's Monitor defeat's the Confederate ironclad Merrimac. (Page 220)
Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, thereby deterring Britain from aiding the Confederacy. (Page 225)
The Morrill Land-Grant College Act of this year provides an endowment for agricultural and industrial colleges out of the public domain. (Page 319)
1863 On July 4, after a 6-week siege, Grant's army takes Vicksburg. (Page 222)
1864 Sherman's "March to the Sea" occurs, and on December 22 he presents the seaport of Savannah to President Lincoln as a "Christmas present." (Page 225)
1865 Robert E. Lee surrenders his army at Appomattox on April 9. (Page 225)
On April 14, Lincoln is murdered. (Page 228)
1866 The Fourteenth Amendment, which made clear that the Negro was a citizen, is adopted. (Page 231)
1867 Nebraska is admitted to statehood. (Page 250)
Under pressure from America, the French backdown on the establishment of a satellite in Mexico. (Page 357)
Alaska is purchased. (Page 358)
1868 The Radicals come within one vote of impeaching Andrew Johnson. (Page 230)
1869 The Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet at Promontory Point, Utah, joining America by a continuous railroad. (Page 300)
The headquarters of the Granges moves to the Middle West, and spreads like wildfire during the bad harvests in the 1870's. (Page 325)
The first great international tribunal of modern times meets at Geneva. (Page 359)
1871 By this year, all of the Southern states had been admitted back into the Union. (Page 252)
1873 The typewriter is placed on the market. (Page 260)
1874 The plains farmer have their first experience with a grasshopper plague. (Page 322)
1876 In this year's election, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes becomes President after a promise that he would withdraw all Federal troops from the South and make other concessions to the Southerners. (Page 234)
1882 The Anaconda Mine opens in Montana, turning Montana into a battlefield in the "war of the copper kings." (Page 258)
The Standard Oil Company emerges as the first great trust. (Page 269)
1885 The Noble Order of the Knights of Labor resorts to strikes, causing their membership to increase by leaps and bounds. (Page 284)
1887 The electrolytic process makes aluminum commercially available. (Page 258)
Congress issues an Interstate Commerce Act designed to protect the public from unjust and unreasonable charges and also to protect the railroads from the evil results of rate wars. (Page 274)
The United States gains the right to use Pearl Harbor as a naval station. (Page 358)
1889 Oklahoma is thrown open to settlement after Indian rights were purchased. (Page 307)
Jane Addams founds Hull House, a "settlement house" designed to help the needy, in Chicago's West Side. (Page 343)
The first Pan-American Conference is held in Washington, D.C. (Page 359)
1890 The Sherman Antitrust Act is passed, outlawing all contracts, combinations, or conspiracties in restraint of trade, and all monopolies. (Page 276)
1892 The boll weevil crosses the Rio Grande and enters America, progressing about 50 miles a year until it had infested the entire cotton kingdom. (Page 322)
1896 The campaign of this year is hardly fought, as the nation was in an uproar after a 3-year depression; in the end, William McKinley and the Republicans won out over Bryan and the farmers of the West and South. (Page 334)
1898 The American battleship Maine is blwon up in Havana harbor, triggering the Spanish-American War to begin on May 1, 1898. (Page 357)
1900 McKinley is re-elected President. (Page 366)
1901 United States Steel Corporation is organized. (Page 267)
McKinley is shot by an anarchist, and Theodore Roosevelt becomes President. (Page 352)
1902 Congress authorized Roosevelt to buy up the rights of the old French canal-digging company in Panama and begin digging the great ditch (Page 370)
1906 Pure-food and drug legislation is placed on the statute books. (Page 354)
1907 Oklahoma becomes a state. (Page 308)
1908 Theodore Roosevelt chooses William Howard Taft, the only President that also served on the Supreme Court, to "continue his policies"; Taft defeats Bryan in the election. (Page 355)
1909 Delaware becomes the first state to pass a child labor law. (Page 291)
1912 In this year's election, Woodrow Wilson wins, in part due to the support of Bryan. (Page 357)
1914 For issues dealing with the start of World War I, Congress passes a prohibition law that is eventually written into the Federal Constitution. (Page 345)
1915 The Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat. (Page 394)
1916 Wilson is re-elected because he "kept America out of the war." (Page 396)
1917 Congress writes a literacy test into the immigration laws. (Page 296)
On Good Friday, April 6, the United States enters WWI. (Page 396)
1918 In January, Wilson issues his Fourteen Points. (Page 399)
On the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh month of 1918, World War I ends. (Page 399)
1920 In March, the Senate rejects the covenant of the League of Nations, pushing America into a state of isolationism. (Page 402)
1928 Hoover, a Republican, easily wins this years election, carrying every state except a few in the southeast. (Page 409)
1929 In October, the US stock market crashes, ushering in the Great Depression. (Page 414)
1931 Japan invades Manchuria, setting up the puppet state of Manchukuo. (Page 427)
1932 As a result of the Depression occurring under his tenure, Hoover's bid for re-election fails miserably and FDR, Democrat, becomes President. (Page 409)
1933 Prohibition is repealed! (Page 345)
On March 4, when the depression was at its lowest ebb, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President. (Page 420)
1935 The Supreme Court destroys the NRA, the National Recovery Administration. (Page 421)
The Wagner Act of this year gives labor more power, mainly by giving people the right to set up their own unions. (Page 424)
At the insistence of FDR, Congress enacts a series of Social Security Acts. (Page 425)
1936 FDR is re-elected by every electoral vote besides 8. (Page 422)
1938 The Fair Labor Standards Act of this year capped off hours, set a minimum for wages, and outlawed child labor in industries engaged in interstate labor. (Page 424)
The Anschluss occurs. (Page 429)
1939 The Hatch Act of this year struck at the corruption and extravagance of political parties. (Page 425)
On September 3, after Hitler's invasion of Poland, Britain and France declare war on Germany. (Page 430)
The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact is signed, forming an alliance between Germany and Russia. (Page 475)
1940 FDR is re-elected for an unprecedented third term. (Page 432)
Peacetime conscription is enacted to prepare for the possibility of World War II. (Page 438)
1941 On Sunday, December 7, Japan attacks American outposts in Hawaii (Pearl Harbor), Guam, Midway, Wake, and the Phillipines. (Page 434)
1942 In May, the Battle of the Coral Sea occurs, stopping the Japanese advance towards Australia; this was the first naval battle where surface ships did not engage a single shot. (Page 444)
The turning point in the Pacific War, the Battle of Midway, occurs from June 4th through the 6th (Page 444)
The air attack on Germany begins on May 30 with a thousand-bomber raid on the great industrial city of Cologne. (Page 454)
1943 In February, the Japanese evacutate Guadalcanal after losing the 6 month battle named for the canal. (Page 445)
On May 13, the Allies finish their conquest of North Africa after Rommel's forces surrender at Cape Bon. (Page 451)
1944 On June 5, D-day, the Anglo-American invasion of Normandy, Operation Overlord, occurs. (Page 456)
On December 15, the German's last offensive, the Battle of the Bulge, begins. (Page 460)
In this year's elections, FDR is re-elected for an unprecedented fourth term. (Page 461)
1945 On April 12, FDR suffers a cerebral hemmorrhage and dies. (Page 461)
As a result of FDR's death, Harry Truman becomes President. (Page 469)
On April 25, the UN meets for the first time in San Francisco. (Page 470)
On February 19, the Marines storm Iwo Jima, and by June they have conquered both it and Okinawa. (Page 465)
On May 7, the German army surrenders unconditionally. (Page 461)
On August 6, a lone B-29 drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima that is followed up by, on August 9, another atomic bomb being dropped, this time on Nagasaki. (Page 467)
In August, Japan admits defeat, and on September 2, on the decks of the U.S.S. Missouri, sign an unconditional surrender. (Page 467)
In September, Truman proproses the Fair Deal, which was basically a continuation of New Deal policies, trying to maintain the old New Deal alliance of labor and farmers. (Page 472)
1946 In a speech in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill speaks of the Iron Curtain being built between Eastern and Western Europe. (Page 475)
Congress passes the McMahon Atomic Energy Act, establishing an Atomic Energy Commission made up of five men that was to oversee the many applications of atomic power. (Page 479)
The Phillipines gain freedom from the United States on July 4, and America begins to supply materials and money for reconstruction. (Page 491)
On December 2, America and Britain merge their German sectors, creating "Bizonia." (Page 476)
1947 On July 26, Truman signs an act creating a new Department of Defense, with James Forrestal as its head. (Page 477)
Britain has to remove its troops from Greece, prompting Truman to announce the Truman Doctrine, that nations striving to maintain their independence against armed totalitarian minorities, would receive American aid. (Page 480)
During a speech at Harvard on June 5, Secretary of State Marshall announces the foundations of the Marshall Plan, or the European Recovery Program. (Page 482)
At a meeting of European nations at Paris, 16 European nations adopt a co-operative plan of reconstruction. (Page 482)
1948 After the seizure of Czechoslovakia, Truman signs the Economic Co-operation Act on April 3, authorizing over 6 billion dollars for the first year. (Page 483)
On May 15, the Republic of Israel is proclaimed. (Page 481)
In the election of this year, Truman upsets Thomas Dewey, while Strom Thurmond carried Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama. (Page 501)
1949 On April 4, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is born with a total of 12 members. (Page 487)
In August, West Germany conducts elections and sees the moderate Konrad Adenauer ascend to power. (Page 485)
In September, the U.S.S.R. successfully tests an atomic bomb. (Page 485)
An Economic Stabilization Program, much like the ECA in Europe, is established in Japan. (Page 493)
1950 In January, America refuses to use its sea and air power to aid the Nationalists in Formosa. (Page 491)
Congress passes a Housing Act, setting aside money to clear slums and erect low-cost housing. (Page 502)
The McCarran-Nixon bill is passed over Truman's veto, excluding Communists from jobs related to national defense and providing for their arrest during a war. (Page 505)
On June 26, the Communists invade South Korea, starting the Korean War. (Page 506)
1951 Turkey and Greece are admitted to NATO. (Page 489)
The Twenty-second Ammendment, preventing a President from serving more than 2 terms, is passed. (Page 497)
1952 On November 1, the Americans successfully test the world's first hydrogen bomb, burning out the island on which it was planted. (Page 518)
In this year's election, Eisenhower solidly defeats Stevenson in the first American campaign to use televison and public-relation firms on a large scale. (Page 518)
1953 On June 27, a truce is signed and the Korean War ends. (Page 517)
Earl Warren ascends to the Chief-Justiceship of the Supreme Court, causing the Court to take a more activist role, especially in civil rights. (Page 554)
1954 A conference of 19 nations meets at Geneva to discuss the Korean and Indo-China problems, with its only major accomplishing being the placement of the northern half of Indo-China in the hands of Ho Chi Minh. (Page 525)
America and Canada form a partnership to build the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes seaway. (Page 527)
1955 On September 24, Eisenhower suffers a heart attack, but recovers rapidly. (Page 530)
On October 29, after Nasser threatened war against Israel, an Israeli army invades Egyptian territory. (Page 531)
African Americans begin boycotting public buses in Montgomery, Alabama, because the bus lines segregated races. (Page 533)
1956 Eisenhower is re-elected, carrying 41 states. (Page 531)
1957 The Eisenhower Doctrine is born when Eisenhower pledges to secure and protect the territorial integrity of any nations requesting aid against armed aggression from the Communists. (Page 533)
A new bill creates a Commission on Civil Rights and an Assistant Attorney General in charge on a Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice. (Page 534)
1958 Fidel Castro succeeds in ousting the cruel tyrant Fulgencio Batista from Cuba. (Page 558)
A CIA-inspired revolt topples the neutralistic regime in Laos. (Page 565)
1959 In March, Hawaii becomes the fiftieth state of America. (Page 541)
1960 The NAACP boycotts retail stores that practice segregation at their lunch counters. (Page 533)
In the election of this year, the youngest President ever, John F. Kennedy, defeats Richard Nixon and becomes the first Catholic ever to serve as American President. (Page 545)
The Act of Bogatá authorizes a grant of half of a billion dollars to subsidize social, economic, and educational progress in Latin America. (Page 557)
1961 The Interstate Commerce Commission requires equal and unsegregated facilities in all terminal stations. (Page 536)
On April 17, Cuban refugees, aided by American ships, attempt an invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs; it failed. (Page 560)
1963 In January, Kennedy announces that the Cuban missile crisis is over. (Page 560)
The African-American "March on Washington" occurs in mid-summer. (Page 552)
On August 5, a treaty ending all above-ground nuclear tests is signed by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. (Page 562)
On Friday, November 22, President Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. (Page 574)
1964 A Civil Rights Act is passed that outlawed discrimination in all kinds of public facilities. (Page 553)
Lyndon B. Johnson is elected President on his own accord, defeating the reactionary Barry Goldwater. (Page 577)
1965 Because of widespread ghetto riots and civil rights workers such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress enacts a Voting Rights Act. (Page 581)
1967 Martin Luther King, Jr., leads a march on Washington that linked the anti-war and civil rights crusades. (Page 582)
1968 Martin Luther King, Jr., is shot down in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, and Robert Kennedy is assassinated in June. (Page 582)
Richard Nixon defeats Democrat Hubert Humphrey in this year's election. (Page 583)
1970 The President launches American forces in an invasion of neutral Cambodia. (Page 568)
A Water Quality Improvement Act and a Clean Air Act are passed. (Page 586)
1971 On January 5, the Cooper-Church amendment is passes prohibiting American combat troops in Cambodia after June 30. (Page 568)
1972 Nixon is re-elected, and he begins to impound money appropriated by Congress for social problems. (Page 587)
On June 17, the Watergate burglars are apprehended. (Page 591)
The first SALT treaty is signed. (Page 611)
1973 In January, North and South Vietnam agree to a peace accord. (Page 569)
On July 24, the Supreme Court, in United States vs. Nixon, unanimously order Nixon to give up 64 tapes and documents. (Page 592)
On December 6, Nixon replaces Agnew with Gerald Ford. (Page 594)
1974 On August 8, Nixon resigns, determined to get out of Dodge before he would be impeached. (Page 594)
1975 On April 30, the North Vietnamese and their southern allies entered Saigon. (Page 570)
In May, Cambodia seizes the American freighter Mayaguez, prompting America to sanction an air-land rescue attack. (Page 599)
1976 Jimmy Carter defeats Gerald Ford narrowly in this year's election, becoming the first President from the "Deep South" since Zachary Taylor. (Page 601)
1978 On September 17, President Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Begin of Israel leave Camp David after they both agreed with the Camp David Accords, agreements that promised peace. (Page 616)
1979 Carter proclaims full diplomatic recognition of the People's Republic of China. (Page 611)
After signing SALT II with President Leonid Brezhnev in Paris, the Senate refuses to ratify it. (Page 612)
A treaty designed to give control of the Panama Canal to Panama passes by the margin of a single vote. (Page 614)
1980 Carter forbids Americans from participating in the Olympics of this year, which were to be held in Moscow. (Page 617)
Ronald Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter in a landslide. (Page 620)
1981 Reagan is shot in the chest on March 30 by John W. Hinckley. (Page 622)
In April, Reagan yields to the farm belt, lifting a grain embargo against the USSR. (Page 634)
1984 Reagan is re-elected, defeating Democratic candidate Walter Mondale. (Page 628)
1986 The Iranian side of the transactions of the Iran-Contra Affair are published on November 3. (Page 641)
1987 On October 19, the stock market drops 508 points, wiping out more than five hundred million dollars in the market value of listed stocks (22.6%), the worst single day in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. (Page 626)
In December, Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty; as a result, the US was to destroy 358 nuclear missiles and the USSR, 573. (Page 635)
1988 George Bush defeats Michael Dukakis in the election. (Page 643)
1989 The fall of Communism begins in most of the world, save for China. (Page 650)
1990 On August 2nd, Iraq invades Kuwait. (Page 652)
The unification of Germany becomes official on October 3. (Page 651)
1991 On January 17th, Operation Desert Storm begins, and on March 2nd, Iraq accepts all of the allied terms for a permanent cease-fire, including rescinding the annexation of Kuwait, accepting liability for war damages, and agreeing to return all prisoners of war; remarkably, Saddam Hussein managed to stay in power. (Page 653)