Thread: History of USA
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Old Sunday, July 15, 2007
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1850–1899

1850

President Taylor dies (July 9) and is succeeded by his vice president, Millard Fillmore.

The continuing debate whether territory gained in the Mexican War should be open to slavery is decided in the Compromise of 1850: California is admitted as a free state, Utah and New Mexico territories are left to be decided by popular sovereignty, and the slave trade in Washington, DC, is prohibited. It also establishes a much stricter fugitive slave law, than the original, passed in 1793


1852

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. It becomes one of the most influential works to stir anti-slavery sentiments.


1853

Franklin Pierce is inaugurated as the 14th president (March 4). Gadsden Purchase treaty is signed; U.S. acquires border territory from Mexico for $10 million (Dec. 30).


1854

Congress passes the Kansas-Nebraska Act, establishing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska (May 30). The legislation repeals the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and renews tensions between anti- and proslavery factions.


1857

James Buchanan is inaugurated as the 15th president (March 4). Dred Scott v. Sanford: Landmark Supreme Court decision holds that Congress does not have the right to ban slavery in states and, furthermore, that slaves are not citizens.


1858

Abraham Lincoln comes to national attention in a series of seven debates with Sen. Stephen A. Douglas during Illinois state election campaign (Aug.–Oct.).


1859

Abolitionist John Brown and 21 followers capture federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va. (now W. Va.), in an attempt to spark a slave revolt (Oct. 16).


1860

Abraham Lincoln is elected president (Nov. 6). South Carolina secedes from the Union (Dec. 20).


1861

Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana secede (Jan.). Confederate States of America is established (Feb. 8). Jefferson Davis is elected president of the Confederacy (Feb. 9). Texas secedes (March 2). Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th president (March 4).


1861–1865

Civil War: Conflict between the North (the Union) and the South (the Confederacy) over the expansion of slavery into western states. Confederates attack Ft. Sumter in Charleston, S.C., marking the start of the war (April 12, 1861). Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee secede (April–June). Emancipation Proclamation is issued, freeing slaves in the Confederate states (Jan. 1, 1863). Battle of Gettysburg is fought (July 1–3). President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address (Nov. 19). Gen. William T. Sherman captures Atlanta (Sept. 2, 1864). Lincoln's second inauguration (March 4, 1865). Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captures Richmond, Va., the capital of the Confederacy (April 3). Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Va., (April 9).


1863

Homestead Act becomes law, allowing settlers to claim land (160 acres) after they have lived on it for five years (Jan. 1).


1865

Lincoln is assassinated (April 14) by John Wilkes Booth in Washington, DC, and is succeeded by his vice president, Andrew Johnson. Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting slavery (Dec. 6).


1867

U.S. acquires Alaska from Russia for the sum of $7.2 million (treaty concluded March 30).


1868

President Johnson is impeached by the House of Representatives (Feb. 24), but he is acquitted at his trial in the Senate (May 26). Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, defining citizenship (July 9).


1869

Ulysses S. Grant is inaugurated as the 18th president (March 4). Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads are joined at Promontory, Utah, creating first transcontinental railroad (May 10).


1870

Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, giving blacks the right to vote (Feb. 3).


1871

Chicago fire kills 300 and leaves 90,000 people homeless (Oct. 8–9).


1872

Crédit Mobilier scandal breaks, involving several members of Congress (Sept.).

1873

Grant's second inauguration (March 4).


1876

Lt. Col. George A. Custer's regiment is wiped out by Sioux Indians under Sitting Bull at the Little Big Horn River, Mont. (June 25).


1877

Rutherford B. Hayes is inaugurated as the 19th president (March 5). The first telephone line is built from Boston to Somerville, Mass.; the following year, President Hayes has the first telephone installed in the White House.

1881

James A. Garfield is inaugurated as the 20th president (March 4). He is shot (July 2) by Charles Guiteau in Washington, DC, and later dies from complications of his wounds in Elberon, N.J. (Sept. 19). Garfield's vice president, Chester Alan Arthur, succeeds him in office.


1882

U.S. adopts standard time (Nov. 18).


1885

Grover Cleveland is inaugurated as the 22nd president (March 4).


1886

Statue of Liberty is dedicated (Oct. 28). American Federation of Labor is organized (Dec.).


1889

Benjamin Harrison is inaugurated as the 23rd president (March 4). Oklahoma is opened to settlers (April 22).


1890

National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) is founded, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as president. Sherman Antitrust Act is signed into law, prohibiting commercial monopolies (July 2). Last major battle of the Indian Wars occurs at Wounded Knee in South Dakota (Dec. 29). In reporting the results of the 1890 census, the Census Bureau announces that the West has been settled and the frontier is closed.


1892

Ellis Island becomes chief immigration station of the U.S. (Jan. 1).


1893

Grover Cleveland is inaugurated a second time, as the 24th president (March 4). He is the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms.


1896

Plessy v. Ferguson: Landmark Supreme Court decision holds that racial segregation is constitutional, paving the way for the repressive Jim Crow laws in the South (May 18).


1897

William McKinley is inaugurated as the 25th president (March 4).


1898

Spanish-American War: USS Maine is blown up in Havana harbor (Feb. 15), prompting U.S. to declare war on Spain (April 25). Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Spanish-American War (Dec. 10); Spain gives up control of Cuba, which becomes an independent republic, and cedes Puerto Rico, Guam, and (for $20 million) the Philippines to the U.S.


1898

U.S. annexes Hawaii by an act of Congress (July 7).


1899

U.S. acquires American Samoa by treaty with Great Britain and Germany (Dec. 2).




1900–1949


1900

Galveston hurricane leaves an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 dead (Sept. 8). According to the census, the nation's population numbers nearly 76 million.


1901

McKinley's second inauguration (March 4). He is shot (Sept. 6) by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, N.Y., and later dies from his wounds (Sept. 14). He is succeeded by his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt.


1903

U.S. acquires Panama Canal Zone (treaty signed Nov. 17). Wright brothers make the first controlled, sustained flight in heavier-than-air aircraft at Kitty Hawk, N.C. (Dec. 17).


1905

Theodore Roosevelt's second inauguration (March 4).

1906

San Francisco earthquake leaves 500 dead or missing and destroys about 4 sq mi of the city (April 18).


1908

Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of the FBI, is established (July 26).


1909

William Howard Taft is inaugurated as the 27th president (March 4). Mrs. Taft has 80 Japanese cherry trees planted along the banks of the Potomac River.


1913

Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated as the 28th president (March 4). Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, providing for the direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote rather than by the state legislatures (April 8).


1914–1918

World War I: U.S. enters World War I, declaring war on Germany (April 6, 1917) and Austria-Hungary (Dec. 7, 1917) three years after conflict began in
1914. Armistice ending World War I is signed (Nov. 11, 1918).


1914

Panama Canal opens to traffic (Aug. 15).


1915

First long distance telephone service, between New York and San Francisco, is demonstrated (Jan. 25).


1916

U.S. agrees to purchase Danish West Indies (Virgin Islands) for $25 million (treaty signed Aug. 14). Jeannette Rankin of Montana is the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (Nov. 7).


1917

Wilson's second inauguration (March 5). First regular airmail service begins, with one round trip a day between Washington, DC, and New York (May 15).

1918

Worldwide influenza epidemic strikes; by 1920, nearly 20 million are dead. In U.S., 500,000 perish.


1919

League of Nations meets for the first time; U.S. is not represented (Jan. 13). Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor (Jan. 16). It is later repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933. Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, granting women the right to vote (Aug. 18). President Wilson suffers a stroke (Sept. 26). Treaty of Versailles, outlining terms for peace at the end of World War I, is rejected by the Senate (Nov. 19).


1921

Warren G. Harding is inaugurated as the 29th president (March 4). He signs resolution declaring peace with Austria and Germany (July 2).


1923

President Harding dies suddenly (Aug. 2). He is succeeded by his vice president, Calvin Coolidge. Teapot Dome scandal breaks, as Senate launches an investigation into improper leasing of naval oil reserves during Harding administration (Oct.)


1925

Coolidge's second inauguration (March 4). Tennessee passes a law against the teaching of evolution in public schools (March 23), setting the stage for the Scopes Monkey Trial (July 10–25).


1927

Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in his plane The Spirit of St. Louis (May 20–21).


1929

Herbert Hoover is inaugurated as the 31st president (March 4). Stock market crash precipitates the Great Depression (Oct. 29).


1931

The Star-Spangled Banner is adopted as the national anthem (March 3).


1932

Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband (Jan. 12). She is reelected in 1932 and 1938. Amelia Earhart completes first solo nonstop transatlantic flight by a woman (May 21).



1933

Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, sometimes called the “Lame Duck Amendment,” is ratified, moving the president's inauguration date from March 4 to Jan. 20 (Jan. 23). Franklin Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president (March 4). New Deal recovery measures are enacted by Congress (March 9–June 16). Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, repealing Prohibition (Dec. 5).


1935

Works Progress Administration is established (April 8). Social Security Act is passed (Aug. 14). Bureau of Investigation (established 1908) becomes the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover


1937

F. Roosevelt's second inauguration (Jan. 20).


1938

Fair Labor Standards Act is passed, setting the first minimum wage in the U.S. at 25 cents per hour (June 25).


1939–1945

World War II: U.S. declares its neutrality in European conflict (Sept. 5, 1939). F. Roosevelt's third inauguration (Jan. 20, 1941). He is the first and only president elected to a third term. Japan attacks Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines (Dec. 7, 1941). U.S. declares war on Japan (Dec. 8). Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; U.S. reciprocates by declaring war on both countries (Dec. 11). Allies invade North Africa (Oct.–Dec. 1942) and Italy (Sept.–Dec. 1943). Allies invade France on D-Day (June 6, 1944). F. Roosevelt's fourth inauguration (Jan. 20, 1945). President Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet at Yalta in the USSR to discuss postwar occupation of Germany (Feb. 4–11). President Roosevelt dies of a stroke (April 12) and is succeeded by his vice president, Harry Truman. Germany surrenders unconditionally (May 7). First atomic bomb is detonated at Alamogordo, N.M. (July 16). President Truman, Churchill, and Stalin meet at Potsdam, near Berlin, Germany, to demand Japan's unconditional surrender and to discuss plans for postwar Europe (July 17–Aug. 2). U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan (Aug. 6). U.S. drops atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan (Aug. 9). Japan agrees to unconditional surrender (Aug. 14). Japanese envoys sign surrender terms aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo harbor (Sept. 2).


1945

United Nations is established (Oct. 24).


1946

The Philippines, which had been ceded to the U.S. by Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War, becomes an independent republic (July 4).

1947

Presidential Succession Act is signed into law by President Truman (July 18). Central Intelligence Agency is established.


1948

Congress passes foreign aid bill including the Marshall Plan, which provides for European postwar recovery (April 2). Soviets begin blockade of Berlin in the first major crisis of the cold war (June 24). In response, U.S. and Great Britain begin airlift of food and fuel to West Berlin (June 26).


1949

Truman's second inauguration (Jan. 20). North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established (April 4). Soviets end blockade of Berlin (May 12), but airlift continues until Sept. 30
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