Timeline of United States history

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This is a timeline of United States history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political and economic events in the United States and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of the United States.

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

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1513 March 27 Juan Ponce de León sights Florida for the first time.[1]
1524 April 17 Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the Atlantic coast of North America under French employ.[2]
1542 Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi River, strengthening Spanish claims to the interior of North America.[3]
1565 August 28 Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded St. Augustine.[4]
1570 The Iroquois Confederacy was founded.[5][6]
1587 April English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh founded Roanoke Colony.[7]
1590 August 15 The Roanoke Colony was found deserted.[7]

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1607 May 14 John Smith founded the Jamestown settlement[8]
1614 October 11 The Dutch laid claim to the territories of New Netherland.
1619 Slavery was introduced to the Colony of Virginia.[9]
1620 November 11 The Mayflower Compact was signed.[10]
1626 New Amsterdam was founded.[11]
1629 March 4 The Massachusetts Bay Colony founded.[12]
1630 July 6 The Winthrop Fleet arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.[13]
1632 June 20 The Province of Maryland was founded.[14]
1634 Theologian Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1636 The Connecticut Colony was founded by Thomas Hooker.[15]
January Williams founded the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.[16]
Harvard College was founded.[17]
1637 Pequot War: The war, in New England, ended.[18]
1638 The Delaware Colony was founded.
The New Haven Colony was founded.[19]
New Sweden was created.[20]
1639 January 14 The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut were adopted.[19][21]
June 4 The Fundamental Agreement of the New Haven Colony was signed.[22]
1640 French and Iroquois Wars: The wars escalated to full warfare.[23]
1642 February 25 Kieft's War: The war, in New Netherland, began.[24]
1643 May The New England Confederation was created.[25]
1644 Third Anglo–Powhatan War: The war began.[26]
1645 August 9 Kieft's War: The war ended.[24]
1646 Third Anglo-Powhatan War: The war ended.[26]
1649 The Maryland Toleration Act was passed.[27]
January 30 The execution of the English King Charles I of England caused the establishment of the Commonwealth of England.[28]
1655 Peach Tree War: The war took place.[29]
1659 Esopus Wars: The first war took place.[30]
1660 The Commonwealth of England came to an end with the restoration of King Charles II of England.[31]
1662 The Halfway Covenant was adopted.[32]
1663 March 24 Charles granted a charter for a new colony, the Province of Carolina.[33]
Esopus Wars: The second war took place.[34]
1664 Second Anglo-Dutch War: The war began with the English conquest of New Amsterdam.[31]
1667 July 31 New Netherland was ceded to England under the Treaty of Breda (1667).[35]
1669 John Lederer of Virginia began to explore the Appalachian Mountains.[36]
1670 Charles Town was founded.[31]
Lederer's expedition ended.[36]
1671 September The Batts-Fallam expedition sponsored by Abraham Wood reached the New River.[37]
1672 The Blue Laws were enacted in Connecticut.
1673 May Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette began to explore the Illinois Country.[38]
1674 Jolliet and Marquette's expedition ended.[38]
New Netherland was permanently relinquished to England under the Treaty of Westminster.[39]
1675 June 24 King Philip's War: The war, in New England, began.[18]
1676 Bacon's Rebellion: The rebellion, in Virginia, took place.[40]
King Philip's War: The war took place.[18]
1677 The Province of Maine was absorbed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1679 War between Carolina and the Westo resulted in the destruction of the Westo.[41]
1680 September Pueblo Revolt: A revolt took place in Spanish New Mexico.[42]
1681 The Province of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn.[43]
1682 April 7 René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle travelled down the Mississippi River to its mouth.[44]
1685 February 6 Charles died. He was succeeded as King of Kingdom of England by James II of England.[45]
1686 The Dominion of New England was established.[31]
1687 Yamasee Indians from Spanish Florida moved to Carolina.
1688 December 11 Glorious Revolution: James was deposed in favor of William and Mary.[31]
1689 April 18 The Governor of the Dominion of New England was deposed, ending the rule of the Dominion.[46]
May King William's War: The war began.[47]
1690 February 9 Schenectady Massacre: A massacre took place.[48]
1692 Salem witch trials: Witch trials took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.[49]
1697 July War of the Grand Alliance: The war was ended by the Treaty of Ryswick.[50]
1698 Pensacola, Florida was established by the Spanish.
1699 Biloxi was founded by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville.[51]

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1702 March 8 William 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.
1714 August 1 Anne, Queen of Great Britain died and was succeeded by George I of Great Britain.
1715 Yamasee War: The war, in Carolina, took place.
1727 June 11 George I of Great Britain died and was succeeded by George II of Great Britain.
1729 July 25 The proprietors of the Province of Carolina sold out to the British crown.
1732 First Great Awakening: The First Great Awakening took place.
1733 February 12 The English settlement of Savannah and the Province of Georgia were founded by James Oglethorpe.
1749 The Province of Georgia overturned its ban on slavery
1752 June 15 Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment took place.
September 14 Great Britain switches to the Gregorian calendar.
1754 May 28 French and Indian War: The war began.
June 19 Albany Congress: A "Union of Colonies" was proposed.
1758 October The Treaty of Easton was signed.
1760 September 8 French 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 25 George II of Great Britain died and was succeeded by his grandson George III of the United Kingdom.
1763 Pontiac's Rebellion: The rebellion began.
February 10 French 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 7 George 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.
1764 April 5 The Sugar Act, intended to raise revenues, was passed by the British Parliament.
September 1 The British Parliament passed the Currency Act, which prohibited the colonies from issuing paper money.
1765 March 22 To 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 24 The British Parliament enacted the Quartering Act, requiring the Thirteen Colonies to provide housing, food, and other provisions to British troops.
May 29 Virginia'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 19 Stamp 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.
1766 Pontiac's Rebellion: The rebellion ended.
March 18 The 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 21 The Liberty Pole was erected in New York City in celebration of the repeal of the Stamp Act.
1767 June 29 The Townshend Acts, named for Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend, were passed by the British Parliament, placing duties on many items imported into America.
1769 The British Parliament suspended the Governor and assembly of the Province of New York for failure to enforce the Quartering Act.
December The broadside To the Betrayed Inhabitants of the City and Colony of New York was published by the local Sons of Liberty.
1770 January 19 Battle of Golden Hill: British troops wounded several civilians and killed one.
January 28 Frederick North, Lord North becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain.
March 5 Boston Massacre: The massacre took place.
1771 May 16 Battle of Alamance: A battle took place in North Carolina ending the Regulator Movement.
1772 May The Watauga Association, in modern-day Tennessee, declared itself independent.
June 9 Gaspee Affair: The British schooner Gaspee was burned.
November 2 Samuel Adams organized the Committees of Correspondence.
1773 May 10 The British Parliament passed the Tea Act.
December 15 The local Sons of Liberty published Association of the Sons of Liberty in New York.
December 16 Boston Tea Party: The Boston Tea Party took place.
1774 Franklin, 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.
March 31 Britain passed the Boston Port Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts.
May 20 Britain 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 2 Britain passed a second Quartering Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts.
July 18 The Fairfax County Resolves - George Washington and George Mason plus others state position of Virginia Colony vis a Vis King George.www.constitution.org/bcp/fairfax_res.htm
September 1 Powder Alarm: British General Thomas Gage secretly raided a powder magazine in Cambridge.
September 5 First Continental Congress held in Philadelphia, PA. 12 colonies attended.
October 19 The HMS Peggy Stewart was burned.
December 22 Greenwich Tea Party: The Greenwich Tea Party took place.
1775 Second Continental Congress: The Congress met.
April 19 Battles of Lexington and Concord: The battles took place, beginning the American Revolutionary War.
May 9 Skenesboro, New York was captured by Lieutenant Samuel Herrick.
May 10 Fort Ticonderoga was captured by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys.
June 17 Battle of Bunker Hill: The battle took place.
July The Olive Branch Petition was sent to King George III.
December 5 Henry Knox began the transport of fifty-nine captured cannon from upstate New York to Boston.
1776 New Hampshire ratified the first state constitution.
Prisoners began to be taken in Wallabout Bay. see Prisoners in the American Revolutionary War.
January 10 Thomas Paine published Common Sense.
January 24 Knox reached Boston.
March 3 Battle of Nassau: The battle began.
March 4 Battle of Nassau: The battle ended.
July 2 Second Continental Congress: The Congress enacted the Lee Resolution declaring independence from the British Empire.
July 4 Second Continental Congress: The Congress approved the written United States Declaration of Independence.
August 27 Battle of Long Island: The battle took place.
September 11 Staten Island Peace Conference: The peace conference took place.
September 15 Landing at Kip's Bay: The landing took place.
September 16 Battle of Harlem Heights: The battle took place.
September 21 Great Fire of New York (1776): The fire began.
September 22 Nathan Hale was captured and executed for espionage.
Great Fire of New York (1776): The fire ended.
October 11 Battle of Valcour Island: The battle took place.
October 29 Battle of White Plains: The battle took place.
November 16 Battle of Fort Washington: The battle took place.
November 20 Battle of Fort Lee: The battle took place.
December 23 Battle of Iron Works Hill: The battle began.
December 26 Battle of Trenton: The battle took place.
Battle of Iron Works Hill: The battle ended.
1777 Forage War: The war took place.
January 2 Second Battle of Trenton: The battle took place.
January 3 Battle of Princeton: The battle took place.
April 13 Battle of Bound Brook: The battle took place.
May 28 The Continental Army made camp at the Middlebrook encampment.
June 26 Battle of Short Hills: The battle took place.
July 2 The Continental Army left the Middlebrook encampment.
July 5 Fort Ticonderoga was abandoned by the Continental Army due to advancing British troops placing cannon on Mount Defiance.
July 6 The British retook Fort Ticonderoga.
July 7 Battle of Hubbardton: The battle took place.
July 8 Delegates in Vermont established the Vermont Republic and adopted the Constitution of Vermont (Vermont Republic), which abolished slavery.
August 6 Battle of Oriskany: The battle took place.
August 16 Battle of Bennington: The battle took place.
September 11 Battle of Brandywine: The battle took place.
September 19 Battles of Saratoga: The first Battle of Saratoga took place.
September 20 Battle of Paoli: The battle took place.
September 26 The British occupied Philadelphia.
October 4 Battle of Germantown: The battle took place.
October 7 Battles of Saratoga: The second battle concluded with the surrender of the British army under General John Burgoyne.
October 22 Battle of Red Bank: The battle took place.
November 15 Second Continental Congress: The Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation.
December 5 Battle of White Marsh: The battle began.
December 8 Battle of White Marsh: The battle ended.
December 11 Battle of Matson's Ford: The battle took place.
December 19 The Continental Army entered its winter quarters at Valley Forge
1778 February 6 The Treaty of Alliance was signed with France.
May 20 Battle of Barren Hill: The battle took place.
June British occupation of Philadelphia ended.
June 19 The Continental Army left its winter quarters at Valley Forge.
June 28 Battle of Monmouth: The battle took place.
November 30 The Continental Army entered winter quarters at the Middlebrook encampment.
1779 June 3 The Continental Army left the Middlebrook encampment.
July 16 Battle of Stony Point: The battle took place.
August 19 Battle of Paulus Hook: The battle took place.
December The Continental Army entered winter quarters at Morristown.
1780 January 28 A stockade known as Fort Nashborough was founded on the banks of the Cumberland River.
February 1 Some 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 14 Bombardment 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 8 Siege of Charleston: British troops under General Clinton and naval forces under Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot besiege Charleston, South Carolina.
May The Continental Army left Morristown.
May 6 Siege of Charleston: Fort Moultrie fell to the British.
May 12 Siege 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 29 Battle 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 6 Battle of Connecticut Farms: The battle took place.
June 23 Battle of Springfield (1780): An attempted British invasion of New Jersey was stopped at Connecticut Farms and Springfield, ending major fighting in the North.
September 23 John André was captured, exposing the treason of Arnold.
October 7 Battle of Kings Mountain: The battle took place.
1781 January 17 Battle of Cowpens: The battle took place.
March 1 The Articles of Confederation were ratified.
March 15 Battle of Guilford Court House: The battle took place.
October 19 Siege of Yorktown: The British surrendered at Yorktown.
December 31 The Bank of North America was chartered.
1782 The British government officially, yet informally, recognized American independence.
1783 September 3 American Revolutionary War: The Treaty of Paris (1783) ended the war.
November 25 The British withdraw from ports in New York and the Carolinas.
1784 The State of Frankland, later Franklin, seceded from North Carolina.
1785 Congress refused Franklin admission to the Union.
November 28 The Treaty of Hopewell was signed.
1786 August 29 Shays' Rebellion: The rebellion took place.
September 11–14 Annapolis Convention (1786): The convention failed.
1787 July 13 The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was passed.
May 25-September 17 Philadelphia Convention: A Constitutional convention took place in Philadelphia.
December 7–18 Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey ratified the Constitution.
1788 North Carolina reconquered and dissolved the State of Franklin.
1789 United States presidential election, 1789: The election took place.
March 4 The United States Constitution came into effect.
April 30 First 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 21 North Carolina, by a margin of 43%, became the twelfth state to ratify the Constitution.
1790 May 26 The Southwest Territory (a/k/a Territory South of the River Ohio) is created from North Carolina's Western frontier lands.
May 29 Rhode Island, by a margin of 3%, became the thirteenth state to ratify the Constitution.
1791 The 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.
1792 Kentucky County, Virginia became the fifteenth state of Kentucky.
November 2 – December 5 U.S. presidential election, 1792: Washington was reelected President. John Adams was chosen as Vice President.
1793 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.
A yellow fever outbreak occurred in Philadelphia.
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 was passed.
February 18 Chisholm v. Georgia was decided.
1794 Whiskey Rebellion: The rebellion took place.
August–November The Nickajack Expedition brings a close to the Cherokee–American wars.
August 20 Battle 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.
1795 The Treaty of Greenville was signed.
The Jay Treaty was signed.
The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified
1796 June 1 Tennessee, formerly Southwest Territory, was admitted as the sixteenth state.
Pinckney's Treaty was signed.
The Treaty of Tripoli was signed.
November 4 – December 7 U.S. presidential election, 1796: Adams was elected President. Thomas Jefferson was elected Vice President.
1797 Adams was inaugurated.
XYZ Affair: The affair took place.
1798 The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were issued.
1799 The Charles Brockden Brown novel Edgar Huntly was published.
Fries's Rebellion: The rebellion took place.
The Logan Act was passed.
December 14 Washington died.
1800 The Library of Congress was founded.
October 31 – December 3 U.S. presidential election, 1800: Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in votes in the Electoral College.

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1801 Jefferson is elected President by the House of Representatives. Burr becomes Vice President.
Adams appoints John Marshall Chief Justice.
1803 The Supreme Court issues a decision in Marbury v. Madison which overturns the Judiciary Act of 1789.
Louisiana Purchase: The purchase is made.
March 1 Ohio, formerly the Northwest Territory, becomes the 17th state.
1804 The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified.
New Jersey abolishes slavery.
July 11 Burr–Hamilton duel: Alexander Hamilton is fatally wounded.
Lewis and Clark begin their journey west
November 2 – December 5 U.S. presidential election: Jefferson is reelected President; George Clinton is elected Vice President.
1807 The Embargo Act of 1807 is passed.
Robert Fulton invents the steamboat.
1808 The slave trade is ended.
November 4 – December 7 U.S. presidential election: James Madison is elected president. Clinton is reelected as Vice President.
1809 Madison is inaugurated.
March 1 The Non-Intercourse Act is passed.
1810 The Supreme Court issues a decision in Fletcher v. Peck which overturns a state law.
1811 The charter of the First Bank of the United States expires.
1812 War of 1812: The war begins.
Daniel Webster is elected to the United States Congress.
April 30 Louisiana becomes the 18th state
U.S. presidential election: Madison is reelected President; Elbridge Gerry is elected United States Vice President.
1814 August 24 Burning of Washington: British troops burn Washington, D.C. but are forced back at Baltimore.
December 14 War of 1812: The Treaty of Ghent ends the war.
1815 January 8 War of 1812: Battle of New Orleans: The battle takes place before notification of the Treaty of Ghent made it to the frontier.
1816 U.S. presidential election, 1816: James Monroe is elected President. Daniel D. Tompkins is elected Vice President.
The Second Bank of the United States is chartered.
December 11 Indiana becomes the 19th state.
1817 Monroe is inaugurated.
The Rush–Bagot Treaty is signed.
Harvard Law School is founded.
December 10 Mississippi becomes the 20th state.
1818 Cumberland Road opens.
December 3 Illinois becomes the 21st state.
The Jackson Purchase in Kentucky is obtained.
1819 Panic of 1819: The panic takes place.
The Adams–Onís Treaty, which provides for the acquisition of Florida, is signed.
The decision in McCulloch v. Maryland prohibits state laws from infringing upon federal Constitutional authority.
The decision in Dartmouth College v. Woodward protects the principle of honoring contracts and charters.
December 14 Alabama becomes the 22nd state.
1820 6 March The Missouri Compromise was signed into law, providing for the admission of the District of Maine into the Union as a free state and of the southeastern portion of the Missouri Territory into the Union as the slave state of Missouri. It further provided that any additional states admitted out of the territory of the Missouri Territory would be slave or free depending on whether they fell south or north, respectively, of the parallel 36°30′ north.
15 March The state of Maine was admitted to the Union.
Spring Joseph Smith claimed to have had his first vision of God in Manchester, New York. See First Vision.
24 April The Land Act of 1820 was signed into law, ending the provision of credit to individual buyers of federal land and simultaneously reducing the minimum price and size of tracts that could be sold.
3 May The seven member United States House Committee on Agriculture, a standing committee of the House, was established.
12 May The border between Kentucky and Tennessee was extended south between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers to the parallel 36°30′ north.
15 May The Tenure of Office Act (1820) was passed by the Congress, limiting the term in office of civil servants to four years.
3 July United States elections, 1820: The first elections to the House for the 17th Congress opened, in Louisiana.
5 July Louisiana gubernatorial election, 1820: Democratic-Republicans Thomas B. Robertson and Pierre Derbigny were sent to a runoff election for the governorship of Louisiana.
19 July A southern border between Alabama and Mississippi was demarked, resolving some confusion over a sliver of land in Mississippi's favor.
10 October Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district special election, 1820: A special election was held to fill the seat representing Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district, vacated by the resignation of the Democratic-Republican David Fullerton. Federalist Thomas Grubb McCullough won with fifty-one percent of the vote.
18 October The Choctaw and the United States concluded the Treaty of Doak's Stand, under which the former ceded roughly half their territory to Mississippi and agreed to be moved west into modern Arkansas.
1 November United States presidential election, 1820: Voting began for election to the presidency.
6 December United States presidential election, 1820: Voting ended. Monroe was reelected with eighty-one percent of the vote.
1821 August 10 Missouri becomes the 24th state.
1823 The Monroe Doctrine is proclaimed.
1824 The decision in Gibbons v. Ogden affirms federal over state authority in interstate commerce.
U.S. presidential election: An election is held with inconclusive results.
1825 John Quincy Adams is elected President by the House of Representatives; John C. Calhoun is elected Vice President.
The Erie Canal is completed.
1826 July 4 Former Presidents Jefferson and John Adams die within hours of each other; ironically on Independence Day.
1828 Nullification Crisis: The South Carolina Exposition and Protest is published.
Construction begins on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
U.S. presidential election: Andrew Jackson is elected President. Calhoun continues as Vice President.
1829 Jackson is inaugurated.
1830 Second Great Awakening: A Christian revival takes place.
The Oregon Trail comes into use by settlers migrating to the Pacific Northwest.
May 28 The Indian Removal Act is passed.
1831 A revolt led by Nat Turner occurs.
Publication of The Liberator begins.
Cyrus McCormick invents the reaper.
Petticoat Affair: The affair took place.
1832 The Supreme Court rules in favor of the Cherokee Nation in Worcester v. State of Georgia.
Black Hawk War: The war takes place.
The Tariff of 1832 is passed.
The Ordinance of Nullification is passed by South Carolina.
The Department of Indian Affairs is established.
United States presidential election: Jackson is reelected President; Martin Van Buren is elected Vice President of the United States.
Bank War: Jackson vetoes the charter renewal of the Second Bank of the United States.
Calhoun resigns the Vice Presidency.
1833 The Force Bill, expanding Presidential powers, is passed.
Jackson's second inauguration is held.
1834 Slavery debates takes place at Lane Theological Seminary.
1835 Texas Revolution: The revolution begins.
Alexis De Tocqueville's Democracy in America is published.
Second Seminole War: A war begins in Florida with Seminole resistance to relocation.
1836 Battle of the Alamo: The battle takes place.
Battle of San Jacinto: The battle takes place.
Creek War of 1836: The war takes place.
Samuel Colt invents the revolver.
The original "Gag Rule", a bar on discussion of antislavery petitions passed by the House, is imposed.
The Specie Circular is issued.
June 15 Arkansas becomes the 25th state.
U.S. presidential election: Van Buren is elected President, Richard Mentor Johnson Vice President.
1837 Van Buren is inaugurated.
The United States recognizes the Republic of Texas.
Caroline Affair: The affair takes place.
January 26 Michigan becomes the 26th state.
Oberlin College begins enrolling female students.
Panic of 1837: The panic takes place.
A decision in Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge reverses a decision in Dartmouth College v. Woodward and affirms that property rights can be overridden by public need.
1838 The forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from the Southeastern United States along the Trail of Tears led to the deaths of more than 4,000 Native American Indians.
Aroostook War: The war takes place.
1840 United States presidential election: An election is held.
1841 William Henry Harrison becomes President.
John Quincy Adams argues the case United States v. The Amistad before the Supreme Court.
United States v. The Amistad is decided.
President Harrison dies after only a month in office.
John Tyler becomes President.
1842 August 9 The Webster–Ashburton Treaty is signed.
Dorr Rebellion: A civil war takes place in Rhode Island.
1843 An attempt to impeach Tyler fails.
1844 U.S. presidential election, 1844: An election is held.
1845 Texas Annexation: The annexation takes place.
James K. Polk becomes President of the United States.
March 3 Florida becomes the 27th state.
December 28 Texas becomes the 28th state.
1846 Mexican–American War: The war begins.
December 28 Iowa becomes the 29th state.
The Wilmot Proviso is introduced.
1848 U.S. presidential election: An election is held.
May 29 Wisconsin becomes the 30th state.
February 2 Mexican–American War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the war.
1849 Zachary Taylor becomes President.
California Gold Rush: The gold rush begins.
1850 Taylor threatens to veto the Compromise of 1850, even at the risk of civil war.
July 9 Taylor dies. Millard Fillmore becomes President.
The Clayton–Bulwer Treaty is signed.
The Compromise of 1850 is passed.
September 9 California becomes the 31st state.
1852 U.S. presidential election: An election is held.
1853 Franklin Pierce becomes President.
Commodore Matthew Perry opens Japan.
1854 The Kansas–Nebraska Act is passed, nullifying the Missouri Compromise.
June 8 The Gadsden Purchase is finalized.
The Ostend Manifesto is issued.
The Convention of Kanagawa is signed.
William Walker leads an expedition.
1855 The Farmers' High School, later Penn State University, is founded.
1856 Sacking of Lawrence: The sacking of Lawrence takes place.
May 24–25 Pottawatomie Massacre: The massacre, led by John Brown, takes place.
Preston Brooks beats Charles Sumner with his walking stick in the Senate chamber.
U.S. presidential election: An election is held.
1857 James Buchanan becomes President.
A decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford declares blacks are not citizens of the United States and, therefore, do not have the right to file lawsuits.
May Utah War: The war starts.
The LeCompton Constitution is rejected in the Kansas Territory.
Panic of 1857: The panic takes place.
1858 The first transatlantic cable is laid.
May 11 Minnesota becomes the 32nd state.
Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The debates are held.
The United States becomes a party to the Treaty of Tientsin.
1859 John Brown leads a raid on Harper's Ferry.
February 14 Oregon becomes the 33rd state.
The Comstock Lode is discovered.
1860 The Pony Express is founded.
The Crittenden Compromise is reached.
November 6 United States presidential election: Abraham Lincoln is elected President of the United States.
December 20 South Carolina seceded from the Union.
1861 Ten more states secede from the Union and established the Confederate States of America.
January 29 Kansas becomes the 34th state.
Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederacy.
American Civil War: The war begins at Fort Sumter.
First Battle of Bull Run: The battle takes place.
1862 Battle of Hampton Roads: A naval battle between the Monitor and Merrimack takes place.
The Homestead Act is passed.
The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act is passed.
General Robert E. Lee is placed in command of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Second Battle of Bull Run: The battle takes place.
Battle of Antietam: The battle takes place.
August 17–December 26 Dakota War of 1862: The war is fought.
1863 Battle of Gettysburg: The battle takes place.
January 1 Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in those states that had seceded.
Siege of Vicksburg: The siege takes place.
New York Draft Riots: Draft riots take place.
June 20 Pro-Union counties which had seceded from Virginia become the 35th state West Virginia.
1864 General Ulysses S. Grant is put in command of all Union forces.
The Wade–Davis Bill is passed.
Sand Creek Massacre: The massacre takes place.
October 31 Nevada becomes the 36th state.
U.S. presidential election: An election is held.
Sherman's March to the Sea: The march takes place.
1865 Lee is named commander-in-chief of all Confederate forces.
Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital, is captured by a corps of black Union troops.
Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House.
April 15 Abraham Lincoln assassination: Lincoln is assassinated; Andrew Johnson became President.
American Civil War: The war ends with the surrender of the last elements of the Confederacy.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed, permanently outlawing slavery.
The Freedmen's Bureau is established.
1866 The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is passed.
The Ku Klux Klan is founded.
1867 The Tenure of Office Act (1867) is enacted.
March 1 Nebraska becomes the 37th state.
The Alaska Purchase referred to as "Seward's Folly" by critics): The Alaska territory is purchased from Russia.
1868 Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: Johnson is impeached by the House, but acquitted by the Senate.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, second of the Reconstruction Amendments, is ratified.
Grant is elected President.
1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad is completed at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.[52]
May 15 Women's suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton found the National Woman Suffrage Association.
1870 1 January Republican congressman Benjamin F. Hopkins died.
15 January Murder of John R. Bitzer: Chinese national Ah Chow fatally shot miner John R. Bitzer in Montana.
18 January James B. Howell was seated following a special election to the seat left vacant by the resignation of fellow Republican James W. Grimes.
26 January Virginia was readmitted to representation in Congress. It sent one Republican and one Democrat to the Senate and three Republicans and five Democrats, some of whom were seated over the following five days, to the House.
3 February The Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibits federal and state governments from denying the right to vote to any citizen on the basis of "race, color or previous condition of servitude," was ratified.
5 February Democratic representative Truman H. Hoag died.
17 February Democrat George Woodward Greene was removed from the House after Republican Charles Van Wyck, who succeeded him, challenged his credentials as a duly elected member.
23 February Mississippi was readmitted to representation in Congress. The Fourth Military District was dissolved. Mississippi sent four Republicans to the House and two, including the first black congressman, to the Senate.
Republican David Atwood was seated following a special election to the seat left vacant by Hopkins's death.
28 February Republican congressman John T. Deweese resigned under investigation for appointments he had made to the United States Military Academy and United States Naval Academy.
30 March Texas was readmitted to representation in Congress. It sent two Republicans to the Senate and three Republicans and one Democrat to the House, some of whom were seated the following day.
31 May The Enforcement Act of 1870, which empowered the Marshals Service and the federal courts to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, was signed into law.
13 April Democrat John Roberts Reading was removed from the House after Republican Caleb Newbold Taylor, who succeeded him, challenged his credentials as a duly elected member.
23 April Republican Erasmus D. Peck was seated following a special election to the seat left vacant by Hoag's death.
6 June United States elections, 1870: The first elections to the House for the 42nd Congress were held, in Oregon.
22 June A bill establishing the Department of Justice was signed into law. The law brought all United States Attorneys under the authority of the Attorney General, granted the new department exclusive authority to prosecute federal crimes, and created the office of the Solicitor General, responsible for representing the federal government before the Supreme Court.
23 June Republican congressman David Heaton died.
1 July A group of conservative members of the Virginia General Assembly organized as the Conservative Party of Virginia.
12 July The Currency Act of 1870 was signed into law, maintaining the supply of Demand Notes and replacing 45 million dollars in temporary loan certificates with banknotes.
13 July Republican senator Daniel Sheldon Norton of Minnesota died.
14 July Congress passed the Funding Act of 1870, authorizing the refinancing of the national debt through the issuance of long-term debt instruments.
The Naturalization Act of 1870, which created a system of controls for the naturalization process and extended the process to persons of African origin and descent, was signed into law.
15 July Georgia was readmitted to representation in Congress. Its representatives were held ineligible and not seated.
Republican William Windom was appointed to fill Norton's vacant Senate seat.
Republican congressman Noah Davis resigned to accept an appointment as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
18 September Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition: Explorer Henry D. Washburn observed and named Old Faithful.
30 September Republican representative William Smyth (congressman) died.
16 October Conservative representative Robert Ridgway (congressman) died.
8 November United States elections, 1870: Twenty-five states held elections to the Congress. The Republican Party lost seats in both houses but retained a majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate.
Conservative Richard Thomas Walker Duke was seated following a special election to fill the vacancy left by Ridgway's death.
5 December Republican Joseph Dixon (North Carolina) was seated following a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Heaton's death.
6 December Republicans Charles H. Holmes and William P. Wolf were seated following special elections to fill the vacancies of Davis and Smyth, respectively.
19 December Republican senator Charles D. Drake of Missouri resigned following his appointment as chief justice of the Court of Claims. Fellow Republican Daniel T. Jewett was appointed to succeed him.
1871 Great Chicago Fire: The fire occurs.
The Treaty of Washington, 1871 is signed with the British Empire regarding the Dominion of Canada.
1872 Yellowstone National Park is created.
Crédit Mobilier scandal: The scandal takes place.
The Amnesty Act is passed.
The Alabama Claims is settled.
U.S. presidential election: An election is held.
1873 Panic of 1873: The panic takes place.
Virginius Affair: The affair takes place.
1874 Red River Indian War
1875 Kentucky Derby: Aristides (horse) wins the first Kentucky Derby.
The Resumption Act is passed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 is passed.
The Art Students League of New York is founded.
1876 The National League of baseball is founded.
Centennial Exposition: The Exposition, in Philadelphia, is held.
A decision in Munn v. Illinois establishes the public regulation of utilities.
Colorado becomes the 38th state.
Battle of Little Bighorn: The battle takes place.
Wild Bill Hickok is killed by a shot to the back of the head by Jack McCall while playing poker in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone.
U.S. presidential election: The election produced an unclear result with 20 Electoral College votes disputed.
1877 The Electoral Commission awarded Rutherford B. Hayes the Presidency.
Reconstruction era of the United States: The era ends.
Nez Perce War: The war takes place.
1878 The Bland-Allison Act is passed.
The first Morgan silver dollar is minted.
1879 Thomas Edison invents the light bulb.
The Knights of Labor goes public.
1880 The University of Southern California is founded.
The Population of the United States passes 50 million.
1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: A gunfight takes place in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
James Garfield is inaugurated President of the United States.
Garfield is assassinated.
Chester A. Arthur is inaugurated President of the United States.
Clara Barton created is Red Cross.
The Tuskegee Institute is founded
Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
A Century of Dishonor is written by Helen Hunt Jackson.
1882 The Chinese Exclusion Act is passed.
Jesse James is shot and killed by Robert Ford and Charlie Ford.
1883 Buffalo Bill Cody debuts his Wild West Show.
A decision in the Civil Rights Cases legalizes the doctrine of racial segregation.
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act is passed.
The Brooklyn Bridge opens.
1885 Grover Cleveland is inaugurated as President.
The Washington monument is completed.
1886 Haymarket Riot: The riot takes place.
The American Federation of Labor is founded in Columbus, Ohio.
1887 The United States Congress creates the Interstate Commerce Commission.
The Dawes Act is passed.
The Hatch Act is passed.
1888 Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy, is published.
The National Geographic Society is founded.
1889 Benjamin Harrison becomes President
November 2 North Dakota, South Dakota becomes the 39th and 40th states.
Novembe 8 Montana becomes the 41st state
November 11 Washington becomes the 42nd state.
Johnstown flood: A flood occurs in Pennsylvania.
Jane Addams founds Hull House.
April 22 Land Run of 1889: The land run begins.
1890 The Sherman Antitrust Act is passed.
Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives.
The Sherman Silver Purchase Act is passed.
The McKinley tariff is passed.
Yosemite National Park is created.
July 3 Idaho becomes the 43rd state.
July 10 Wyoming becomes the 44th state.
Wounded Knee Massacre: The massacre takes place.
The National American Woman Suffrage Association is founded.
1891 Baltimore Crisis: The crisis takes place.
James Naismith invents basketball.
1892 Homestead Strike: The strike takes place.
General Electric is founded.
The Sierra Club is founded
1893 Cleveland is inaugurated President for a second term.
Panic of 1893: The panic takes place.
The Sherman Silver Purchase Act is repealed.
1894 Coxey's Army march on Washington, D.C.
Pullman strike: The strike takes place.
The Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, including an income tax, is passed.
1895 Stagger Lee Shelton shoots Billy Lyons.
Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company is decided, striking down part of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act.
1896 A decision in Plessy v. Ferguson affirms the legality of "separate but equal" facilities.
William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of Gold speech.
Gold is discovered in the Yukon's Klondike region.
January 4 Utah becomes the 45th state.
1897 William McKinley becomes President.
The Boston subway is completed.
The Dingley Act is passed.
1898 The USS Maine explodes in Havana harbor.
The De Lôme Letter is published.
Spanish–American War: The Treaty of Paris (1898) ends the war.
July 7 Republic of Hawaii is annexed.
The Newlands Resolution is passed.
The American Anti-Imperialist League is organized.
1899 The Teller Amendment is passed.
American Samoa is occupied.
The Open Door Policy is announced.
1900 The United States population exceeds 75 million. see Demographics of the United States.
The Foraker Act is passed.
The Gold Standard Act is passed.
Boxer Rebellion: The United States helps put down the rebellion.
1900 Galveston hurricane: The hurricane takes place.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1901 September 14 President William McKinley was assassinated by Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, New York.[53]
September 14 Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as president, after the assassination of President McKinley.[54]
November 18 The Hay–Pauncefote Treaty was signed.[55]
1902 January 1 The first Rose Bowl Game was played between the University of Michigan and Stanford University.[56]
February 19 The Elkins Act was signed into law.[57]
The Drago Doctrine was announced.[58]
June 17 The Newlands Reclamation Act was signed into law.[59]
1903 January 22 The Hay–Herrán Treaty was passed.[60]
June 16 The Ford Motor Company was formed.[61]
February 14 The Department of Commerce and Labor was created.[62]
October 1 The first World Series was played between the Boston Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates.[63]
November 18 The Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed.[64]
December 1 The movie The Great Train Robbery premieres.[65]
December 17 The Wright brothers made their first powered flight in the Wright Flyer.[66]
1904 The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine was issued.[67]
May 4 The Panama Canal Zone was acquired by the United States from France for $40 million.[68]
November 8 United States presidential election, 1904: President Theodore Roosevelt was reelected to a second term, defeating New York Appeals Court Judge Alton B. Parker.[69]
1905 July 11–14 The Niagara Falls conference was held.[70]
September 5 The Treaty of Portsmouth, negotiated by President Theodore Roosevelt, was signed, ending the Russo-Japanese War.[71]
1906 March 13 Women's suffrage and civil rights activist Susan B. Anthony died.[72]
April 18 The 1906 San Francisco earthquake killed over 3,400 people and destroyed over 80% of San Francisco; being the deadliest earthquake in American history.[73][74][75]
June 29 The Hepburn Act was signed into law.[76]
June 30 The Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act were signed; establishing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[77][78]
December 10 President 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.[79]
1907 January 26 The Tillman Act was signed into law.[80]
February 26 The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907 was signed.[81]
November 17 Oklahoma was admitted to the Union, becoming the 46th state.[82]
December 6 Monongah Mining Disaster: A coal mine exploded in Monongah, West Virginia, killing at least 361.[83]
1908 May 30 The Aldrich–Vreeland Act was signed into law.[84]
July 26 The Bureau of Investigation (later the FBI) was established.[85]
October 1 The Ford Model T appeared on the market.[61]
November 3 United States presidential election, 1908: U.S. Secretary of War William Howard Taft was elected President, defeating former Nebraska Representative William Jennings Bryan.[86]
November 30 The Root–Takahira Agreement was reached.[87]
1909 William Howard Taft implemented Dollar Diplomacy.[88]
February 12 The NAACP was founded by W. E. B. Du Bois.[89]
April 7 Robert Peary became the first person to reach the North Pole.[90]
August 2 The first redesigned Lincoln Penny was released to the public.[91]
1910 February 8 The Boy Scouts of America was created.[92]
June 18 The Mann–Elkins Act was signed into law.[93]
The Mann Act was signed into law.[94]
August 6 The Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act was signed into law.[95]
1911 May 15 Standard Oil Company v. United States: The Supreme Court found Standard Oil guilty of monopolizing the petroleum industry; subsequently dividing Standard Oil into several geographically separate firms.[96]
May 30 The first Indianapolis 500 was held; being won by Ray Harroun.[97]
1912 January 6 New Mexico was admitted to the Union, becoming the 47th.[98]
February 14 Arizona was admitted to the Union, becoming the 48th state.[98]
March 12 Girl Scouts of the USA was created by Juliette Gordon Low.[99]
April 14–15 The 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.[100][101][102]
October 14 Former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot, but not killed, while campaigning for President as the candidate for the progressive Bull Moose Party.[103]
November 5 United States presidential election, 1912: New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson defeated incumbent President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt and union leader Eugene V. Debs.[104]
1913 February 3 The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing an income tax, was ratified.[105]
February 17 The Armory Show opened in New York City, introducing American and European modern art to the American public.[106]
May 31 The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing direct election of Senators, was ratified.[107]
June 15 After mass civilian casualties in the Battle of Bud Bagsak, the Moro's surrendered their rebellion, ending the Philippine–American War.[108]
October 4 The Underwood Tariff was signed into law.[109]
December 1 Henry Ford developed the modern assembly line.[110]
December 23 The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law; establishing the Federal Reserve System.[111]
1914 April 20 Ludlow Massacre: The camps of striking coal miners were attacked by the Colorado National Guard; killing 25, including 11 children.[112]
July 28 World War I: Austria-Hungary invaded the Kingdom of Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; triggering the start of World War I.[113]
May 9 The first Mother's Day was observed.[114]
September 26 The Federal Trade Commission was established.[115]
October 15 The Clayton Antitrust Act was signed into law.[116]
1915 February 8 The controversial movie The Birth of a Nation opened in Los Angeles, becoming the largest-grossing movie at the time.[117]
May 7 The RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German torpedo, killing 1,198 passengers; partially contributing to the U.S.'s later involvement in World War I.[118]
1916 November 7 Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the United States Congress.[119]
The Adamson Railway Labor Act was signed into law.
July 17 The Federal Farm Loan Act was signed into law.[120]
August 29 The Jones Act was signed into law.[121]
November 7 United States presidential election, 1916: President Woodrow Wilson was reelected to a second term, defeating Associate Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes of New York.[122]
1917 March 31 The United States acquired the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25,000,000.[123]
March 1 The Zimmermann telegram was published, helping shift public opinion in favor of U.S. involvement in World War I.[124]
April 6 The United States declared war on Germany, beginning the U.S.'s involvement in World War I.[125]
June 15 The Espionage Act was signed into law.[126]
November 2 The Lansing–Ishii Agreement was signed.[127]
First Red Scare: The scare, marked by a widespread fear of Bolshevism and anarchism, began.[128][129][130]
1918 January 8 World 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.[131]
May 16 The 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.[126][132]
1919 Red 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.[133]
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.[128]
June 28 World War I: The Treaty of Versailles ended the war.[134]
October 2 The Black Sox Scandal, involving the fixing of the 1919 World Series, occurred.[135]
October 28 President Woodrow Wilson's veto of the Volstead Act was overridden by the Senate, establishing the Eighteenth Amendment.[136]
November 19 The 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.[137]
1920 January Depression of 1920–21: A deflationary recession began in the United States.
2 January Palmer Raids: Authorities arrested some three thousand suspected communists and anarchists in raids across the country.
4 January Republican congressman J. Hampton Moore resigned his seat following his election to become mayor of Philadelphia.
17 January The Eighteenth Amendment and Volstead Act came into force, forbidding the production, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. See Prohibition in the United States.[138]
20 January Oahu Sugar Strike of 1920: Filipino American sugar plantation workers in Hawaii went on strike for higher wages.
26 January The Supreme Court held in Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States that copies of illegally obtained evidence are also inadmissible as evidence.
2 February Secretary of the Treasury Carter Glass, a Democrat, was appointed to the Virginia Senate seat left vacant by the death of Thomas S. Martin.
25 February The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, which allowed for the leasing of public lands for the extraction of natural resources, was passed by the Congress.
27 February Ruby Murders: Two store owners in Ruby, Arizona were murdered by Mexicans, probably followers of the revolutionary general Pancho Villa.
29 February Democratic representative Edward W. Saunders resigned following his election to the Virginia Supreme Court.
1 March The United States Railroad Administration returned control of the railroads to its constituent companies under the terms of the Esch–Cummins Act, which also officially encouraged consolidation of private railroads.
Democratic senator John H. Bankhead of Alabama died.
5 March Democrat B. B. Comer was appointed to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Bankhead until a special election could be held.
8 March The Supreme Court held in a decision in Eisner v. Macomber that a pro rata stock dividend that does not increase one's ownership in a company cannot be considered taxable income under the Constitution.
15 March 1920 North Dakota blizzard: A blizzard began in North Dakota which would kill some thirty people.
18 March 1920 North Dakota blizzard: The blizzard ended.
19 March The Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles.
24 March Republican representative William J. Browning of New Jersey's 1st congressional district died.
28 March 1920 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak: An outbreak of tornadoes in the Midwest and South killed nearly four hundred people.
30 March The Death on the High Seas Act was signed into law, permitting damages to be collected by survivors in the event of the wrongful death in international waters of a member of the Merchant Marine.
13 April Congress passed the Phelan Act of 1920, authorizing the Federal Reserve Banks to offer discounts to member banks taking large loans.
19 April In a decision in Missouri v. Holland, the Supreme Court held that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which implemented the Migratory Bird Treaty forbidding the hunting of migratory birds in the United States and Canada, was constitutional under the Supremacy Clause.
April 1920 tornado outbreak: An outbreak of tornadoes in the Southeast began which would claim over two hundred lives and injure over a thousand.
21 April April 1920 tornado outbreak: The outbreak ended.
Anaconda Road massacre: Anaconda Copper security fired on striking mine workers in Butte, Montana, killing one and injuring twenty.
25 April Republican congressman Charles Archibald Nichols died.
26 April Great Debate (astronomy): A debate was held in Washington, D.C. between the astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis concerning the existence of other galaxies outside the Milky Way.
8 May 1920 Kentucky Derby: Paul Jones won a running of the Kentucky Derby.
19 May Battle of Matewan: Ten people including the mayor were killed in Matewan, West Virginia following tensions between the Stone Mountain Coal Company and the United Mine Workers (UMW).
23 May Secret Court of 1920: Harvard dean Chester Noyes Greenough convened a special tribunal to investigate homosexual activity at the college.
31 May 1920 Indianapolis 500: Gaston Chevrolet won a running of the Indianapolis 500 in Speedway, Indiana.
1 June The Supreme Court held in a decision in Hawke v. Smith that a referendum in Ohio nullifying the Ohio General Assembly's ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment was unconstitutional and void.
4 June The National Defense Act of 1920, which established the Organized Reserve, now the Army Reserve, and elevated the National Guard and the Reserve alongside the Regular Army to comprise the Army of the United States, was passed by the Congress.
5 June Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, prohibiting foreign vessels from transporting goods by sea between American ports.
The Federal Power Act, which created the Federal Power Commission and transferred to it, from the states, the authority to issue licenses to construct dams, was passed by the Congress.
7 June Republican congressman Edmund Platt resigned his seat representing New York's 26th congressional district following his appointment to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
8 June 1920 Republican National Convention: A national convention of the Republican Party convened in Chicago which would select dark horse compromise candidate Warren G. Harding, senator from Ohio, as its nominee for the presidency.
15 June 1920 Duluth lynchings: Three black circus workers were lynched by a mob in Duluth, Minnesota following a false rape accusation.
16 June Fifteen hectares on Taboga Island were annexed to the Panama Canal Zone.
28 June 1920 Democratic National Convention: A national convention of the Democratic Party convened in San Francisco which would select Ohio governor James M. Cox as its presidential nominee after forty-four ballots.
4 July Republican representative Dick Thompson Morgan died.
1 August Denver streetcar strike of 1920: The Denver local of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, now the Amalgamated Transit Union, went on strike following a refusal of the Denver Tramway to raise their wages in compliance with an order of the National War Labor Board.
5 August Denver streetcar strike of 1920: The strike descended into violence following confrontations between the union and strikebreakers. Two people were killed and thirty wounded.
7 August Denver streetcar strike of 1920: Federal troops placed Denver under martial law, ending the violence and the strike.
13 August 1920 U.S. Open (golf): Ted Ray won the U.S. Open in Toledo, Ohio.
18 August The Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote.[139]
21 August 1920 PGA Championship: Jock Hutchinson won the final of the golf tournament, held in Flossmoor, Illinois.
30 August 1920 U.S. National Championships (tennis): A tennis tournament opened in Forest Hills, Queens.
7 September 1920 Alabama coal strike: Some fifteen thousand UMW miners went on strike in Alabama.
16 September Wall Street bombing: A horse-drawn carriage bomb probably planted by followers of the anarchist Luigi Galleani in the financial district of New York killed some forty people and injured over a hundred.[140]
23 September 1920 Louisiana hurricane: A hurricane dissipated over eastern Kansas after causing one death and over a million dollars in damage in Louisiana.
12 October 1920 World Series: The Cleveland Indians defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games.
1 November Democratic congressman James Thomas Heflin resigned his seat representing Alabama's 5th congressional district following his victory in a special election to replace Comer as senator from Alabama.
2 November United States elections, 1920: Harding decisively defeated Cox for the presidency, with sixty percent of the vote. The Republican Party strengthened its majorities in the House and Senate.[141]
19 November Republican congressman Mahlon Morris Garland died.
7 December 1920 State of the Union Address: Wilson addressed a joint session of the Congress.
13 December In a decision in United States v. Wheeler (1920), the Supreme Court held that the Constitution did not grant the federal government the power to punish a private citizen's violation of another's freedom of movement.
30 December Republican John MacCrate resigned his seat representing New York's 3rd congressional district in the House following his election to the New York Supreme Court.
1921 May 19 The Emergency Quota Act was signed into law.[142]
May 31 – June 1 The Tulsa Race Riot occurred; resulting in the deaths of up to 300 African-Americans and leaving more than 8,000 homeless.[143]
November 12 The first meeting of the Washington Disarmament Conference of 1921 was held.[144]
1922 September 21 The Fordney–McCumber Tariff was signed into law.[145]
1923 August 2 President Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.[146]
August 3 Vice President Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as President, the day following the death of President Harding.[147]
November 22 Teapot Dome scandal: Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall resigned as a result of the scandal.[148]
December 10 The Equal Rights Amendment, written by women's suffragist leader Alice Paul, was first introduced in the Senate.[149]
1924 May 10 J. Edgar Hoover was appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation.[150]
May 26 The Immigration Act Basic Law was signed into law.[151]
November 4 United States presidential election, 1924: President Calvin Coolidge defeated former Solicitor General John W. Davis and Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette.[152]
1925 July 21 Scopes Trial: High school teacher John T. Scopes was found guilty of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, for teaching human evolution in the classroom.[153]
November 4 Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected Governor of Wyoming, becoming the first woman elected governor of a U.S. State.[154]
November 28 WSM first broadcast the Grand Ole Opry.[155]
1926 November 15 The broadcast network NBC was founded.[156]
1927 January 27 The radio network Columbia Broadcasting System (later CBS) was founded.[157]
May 18 Bath 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.[158][159]
May 21 Charles Lindbergh made the first trans-Atlantic flight.[160]
August 23 Sacco and Vanzetti were executed.[161]
October 6 The Jazz Singer, the first motion picture with sound, was released.[162]
1928 August 27 The Kellogg–Briand Pact was signed.[163]
November 6 United States presidential election, 1928: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was elected President, defeating New York Governor Al Smith.[164]
November 18 Disney's animated feature Steamboat Willie, featuring Mickey Mouse, opened.[165]
1929 February 14 The 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.[166]
October 29 Wall Street Crash of 1929: The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted a record 68 points.[167]
November 7 The Museum of Modern Art opened to the public in New York City.[168]
February 20 American Samoa officially became a United States territory.[169]
1930 June 17 The Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act was signed into law.[170]
1931 May 1 The Empire State Building opened in New York City.[171]
1932 January 7 The Stimson Doctrine was published.[172]
January 22 The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was established.[173]
March 23 The Norris–La Guardia Act was signed into law.[174]
May The Bonus Army protests began in Washington, D.C.[175]
May 20 Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean.[176]
November 8 United States presidential election, 1932: New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President, defeating incumbent Herbert Hoover.[177]
1933 January 23 The Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution, moving the beginning and end of the terms of elected federal officials to January 20, was ratified.[178]
February 15 Giuseppe Zangara assassinated Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak in an attempt on President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt's life.[179]
March 4 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins United States Secretary of Labor, becoming the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position.[180]
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.[181]
December 5 The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, ending prohibition, was ratified.[182]
1934 Dust Bowl: The Dust Bowl, characterized by severe drought and heat waves in the Great Plains, began.[183]
March 24 The Tydings–McDuffie Act was signed into law, establishing the Philippine Commonwealth.[184]
June 6 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was established.[185]
June 12 The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act was signed into law.[186]
June 16 The Glass–Steagall Act was signed into law.[187]
June 18 The Indian Reorganization Act was signed into law.[188]
June 22 John Dillinger was killed.[189]
June 28 The Federal Housing Administration was established.[190]
1935 March 22 The FBI was established, with J. Edgar Hoover as its first director.[191]
April 8 The Works Progress Administration was established.[192]
May 14 The Social Security Act was signed into law; establishing the Social Security Administration.[193]
May 27 Schechter 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.[194]
July 5 The National Labor Relations Act was signed into law.[195]
August 9 The Motor Carrier Act was signed into law.[196]
August 30 The Revenue Act of 1935 was signed into law.[197]
August 31 The Neutrality Act of 1935 was signed into law.[198]
September 10 Louisiana Senator Huey Long was assassinated.[199]
November 9 The Congress of Industrial Organizations was founded.[200]
1936 January 6 United States v. Butler: The Supreme Court ruled that the processing taxes instituted under the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act were unconstitutional.[201]
March 25 The Second London Naval Treaty was signed.[202]
June 19 The Robinson-Patman Act was signed into law.[203]
November 3 United States presidential election, 1936: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected to a second term, defeating Kansas Governor Alf Landon.[204]
December 30 The Flint Sit-Down Strike began.[205]
1937 May 1 The Neutrality Act of 1937 was signed into law.[206]
May 6 Hindenburg 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.[207]
May 27 The Golden Gate Bridge opened in San Francisco.[208]
December 12 Panay 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.[209]
1938 June 25 The Fair Labor Standards Act was signed into law; establishing a federal minimum wage.[210]
October 30 Orson Welles performed a broadcast of The War of the Worlds.[211]
1939 February 4 Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the first full-length animated film.[212]
August 2 The Hatch Act, aimed at corrupt political practices, was signed into law, preventing federal civil servants from campaigning.[213]
September 1 Invasion of Poland (1939): Nazi Germany invaded Poland.[214]
September 21 In response to the Poland Campaign, President Roosevelt requested a cash and carry policy to replace the Neutrality Acts.[215]
1940 June 29 The Smith Act was signed into law.[216]
The cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry debuted.[217][218]
July 20 Billboard publishes its first music popularity chart.[219]
September 16 The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, reinstating the U.S. military draft, was signed into law.[220]
November 5 U.S. presidential election, 1940: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected to a third term, defeating corporate lawyer Wendell Willkie of Indiana.[221]
1941 February 23 American Nuclear chemist Glenn T. Seaborg, with fellow U.C. Berkeley researchers, discovered the chemical element plutonium.[222][223][224]
March 11 World 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.[225]
June 25 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, prohibiting racial discrimination in the defense industry.[226]
August 14 World War II: The Atlantic Charter was drafted by Britain and the United States to serve as a blueprint for the postwar world.[227]
December 7 Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Empire of Japan deliberately attacked 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 American citizens and leaving 1,178 wounded.[228]
December 8 The United States declares war on the Empire of Japan, beginning the U.S. entry into World War II.[229]
December 11 The United States declares war on Germany and Italy, after both nations declared war with United States.[230]
1942 The Congress of Racial Equality was established.[231]
January 20 The Office of Price Administration was established.[232]
February 9 Automobile production in the United States for private consumers is halted by the War Production Board.[233]
February 19 Japanese American internment: Internment and seizure of property began, per Executive Order 9066 issued by President Roosevelt.[234]
April 9 The U.S. surrenders to Japan in the Battle of Bataan, beginning the three year occupation of the Commonwealth of the Philippines by Japanese forces.[235]
April 11 President Roosevelt signed Executive order 8734; establishing the Office of Price Administration.[236]
April 18 Pacific Theater of Operations: The Doolittle Raid begins the first U.S. bombing of Japanese archipelago.[237]
June 3 The Aleutian Islands Campaign begins the Japanese occupation of Alaska Territory.[238]
June 4–7 The Battle of Midway was fought.[239]
August 7 The Guadalcanal Campaign begins in the Solomon Islands.[240]
August 13 The Manhattan Project, leading to the development of the first atomic bomb, began.[241]
October 21 The Revenue Act of 1942 was signed into law.[242]
November 28 The Cocoanut Grove fire, the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. History, killed 492 people in Boston.[243]
1943 January 14–24 The Casablanca Conference was held.[244]
March 31 The Broadway musical Oklahoma! opened.[245]
June 20–22 The Detroit Race Riot occurred; resulting in the deaths of 34 Whites and African-Americans and leaving 670 injured.[246][247]
September 8 Armistice 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.[248][249][250]
November 22–26 The Cairo Conference was held.[251]
November 28 The Tehran Conference was held between the "Big Three" Allied leaders of World War II.[252]
1944 June 6 Normandy Landings (D-Day): The Invasion of Normandy, one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history, began in the Allied Powers broader Operation Overlord; leading to the Liberation of Paris.[253][254][255]
June 22 The G.I. Bill was signed into law.[256]
July 1–22 United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference: Delegates from 44 nations met to discuss a new post-WWII monetary policy.[257]
August 21 The Dumbarton Oaks Conference began, starting the first talks between world leaders on the establishment of the United Nations.[258]
November 7 U.S. presidential election, 1944: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected to a fourth term, defeating New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey.[259]
December 16 The Battle of the Bulge, Germany's final major offensive of World War II, began; being the deadliest military battle for the United States during World War II.[260][261]
1945 February 4–11 The Yalta Conference was held in the Soviet Union.[262]
February 19 The Battle of Iwo Jima began.[263]
March 19 The Western Allied invasion of Germany began.
April 1 The Battle of Okinawa began, being the deadliest battle of the Pacific War.[264]
April 12 President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia; with Vice President Harry S. Truman succeeding him, becoming the 33rd President.[265][266]
April 30 German Chancellor Adolf Hitler committed suicide alongside wife Eva Braun in Berlin.[267]
May 7 Germany surrenders to the Allied Powers, leading to the End of World War II in Europe.[268]
June 26 United Nations Charter: The United Nations was founded, replacing the League of Nations.[269]
July 17 -
August 2
The Potsdam Conference was held in Occupied Germany.[270]
August 6 & 9 Operation Downfall: The United States conducted the only two atomic bombings during a war on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 70,000 people in Hiroshima (including 20,000 Japanese combatants and 20,000 Korean slave laborers) and 40,000 in Nagasaki (including 27,778 Japanese munitions workers, 2,000 Korean slave laborers, and 150 Japanese combatants).[271]
August 15 Surrender of Japan: In a broadcast to the Japanese public, Emperor Hirohito announced that Japan had accepted the Potsdam Declaration, surrendering to the Allied Powers.[272]
September 2 The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed between the Empire of Japan, the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Republic of China, France, Netherlands, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay; marking the end of World War II.[273]
November 20 Nuremberg Trials: The military tribunals against Nazi Germany leadership began.[274]
Strike Wave of 1945–1946: Nationwide labor strikes were held, with over 4.6 million workers striking.[275]
1946 Automobile production in the United States for private consumers resumed.[276]
February 20 The Employment Act was signed into law; establishing the Council of Economic Advisers.[277]
July 4 The Philippines regained independence from the United States.[278]
July 14 Benjamin Spock's The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care was published.[279]
August 1 The United States Atomic Energy Act of 1946 was signed into law; establishing the United States Atomic Energy Commission.[280]
December 5 President Truman signed Executive Order 9808; establishing the President's Committee on Civil Rights.[281]
1947 March 12 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."[282]
March 21 President Truman signed executive order 9835; establishing the Federal Employee Loyalty Program to search out the "infiltration of disloyal persons" in the U.S. Government.[283]
April 15 Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the color line in Major League Baseball.[284]
June 5 The Marshall Plan was announced by U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall.[285]
June 23 The Taft Hartley Act was enacted, with the House and Senate overriding President Truman's veto of the bill.[286]
July 7 The Roswell UFO incident occurred near Roswell, New Mexico.[287]
July 18 The Presidential Succession Act was signed into law.[288]
July 26 The National Security Act of 1947 was signed into law, establishing the Central Intelligence Agency.[289]
October 30 The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was signed in Geneva.[290]
1948 April 30 The Charter of the Organization of American States was adopted.[291]
June 8 Texaco Star Theater, the first top-rated United States network television show, debuted on television.[292]
June 24 The Berlin Blockade, the first major crisis of the Cold War, took place.[293]
The Selective Service Act of 1948 was signed into law.[294]
July 26 President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, leading to the desegregating the United States Armed Forces.[295]
November 2 U.S. presidential election, 1948: President Harry S. Truman was reelected to a second term, defeating New York Governor and 1944 Presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey, and South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, in what is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in American political history.[296][297][298]
November 26 The Polaroid camera was first offered for sale.[299]
1949 January 5 In the 1949 State of the Union Address, President Truman proposed the unsuccessful Fair Deal; his administration's agenda for economic and domestic policy.[300]
Allied-occupied Germany was divided into East and West Germany.
April 4 North Atlantic Treaty: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded.[301]
April 13 The Nuremberg Trials ended, with the convictions of 24 major Nazi political and military leaders, among others.[302][303]
August 10 The National Security Amendments of 1949 was signed into law by President Truman, renaming the Department of War the Department of Defense.[304]
August 29 First Lightning: The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb.[305]
1950 Second Red Scare: McCarthyism, the term to describe "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially of pro-Communist activity" of Senator Joseph McCarthy,[306] began after heightened fears of Communist influence in America.
January 21 A grand jury found former State Department official and President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Alger Hiss guilty on two counts of perjury in connection with charges that he was a Soviet spy.[307][308]
February 9 Senator McCarthy came to national prominence after claiming to have a list of 205 State Department employees who were members of the Communist Party and "helping to shape [the U.S.'s] foreign policy."[309]
June 25 Korean War: The North Korean military began the Communist lead invasion of South Korea.[310]
June 27 President Truman ordered U.S. air and naval support to aid South Korea against the Northern lead invasion; prompting the beginning of the U.S. involvement in the Korean War.[311]
September 22 The McCarran Internal Security Act was enacted, with the House and Senate overriding President Truman's veto of the bill.[312]
October 2 The comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz, was first published.[313]
November 1 Truman assassination attempt: Two Puerto Rican nationals attempted to assassinate President Harry S. Truman while he stayed at Blair House.[314]
1951 February 27 The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing term limits for President, was ratified.[315]
April 11 President Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his commands after criticizing the limited war efforts of the Truman administration, and starting unauthorized talks with China in the Korean war.[316]
September 1 The ANZUS Treaty was signed.[317]
September 8 The Japanese Peace Treaty Conference was held San Francisco.[318]
October 10 The Mutual Security Act was signed into law.[319]
1952 June 27 The McCarran–Walter Act was enacted, with the House and Senate overriding President Truman's veto of the bill.[320]
November 4 United States presidential election, 1952: Five-Star General and former Chief of Staff of the United States Army Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected President, defeating Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson II.[321]
1953 April 25 Molecular biologists James Watson and Francis Crick published their paper on the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA.[322][323]
June 19 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed on conspiracy to commit espionage after they were found guilty of giving U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.[324][325]
July 19 The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, ending the Korean War.[326]
August 15 Operation Ajax: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi returned to power after the CIA conducted a coup d'état in Iran.[327]
1954 January 1 Tournament of Roses Parade: The parade was the first national color television broadcast.[328]
April 26 –
July 20
Geneva Conference (1954): A conference was held where the United States attempted to find a way to unify Korea and restore peace in Indochina.[329]
May 17 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.[330]
June 9 Army-McCarthy hearings: Senator McCarthy was nationally discredited after failing to provide credible evidence supporting accusations of communist activity in the U.S. government amid the two months of televised hearings.[331][332][333]
June 18–27 Operation PBSUCCESS: The CIA organized the overthrow of Guatemala's democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán.[334][335][336]
September 8 The United States became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).[337]
November 23 The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high of 382.74, the first time it closed above its peak set before the Wall Street Crash of 1929.[338]
December 2 The United States and the Republic of China signed the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, amid the First Taiwan Strait Crisis.[339]
December 23 The first successful kidney transplant on a human was performed in Boston.[340]
1955 The African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) began.
April 12 The announcement that the polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk was found to be "safe, effective and potent" was made by the University of Michigan.[341]
April 15 Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's fast food restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.[342]
May 14 The Warsaw Pact was signed, establishing a mutual defense arrangement subscribed to by eight Communist states in Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union.[343]
July 17 Disneyland opened at Anaheim, California.[344]
August 28 Emmett Till was kidnapped, beaten and murdered in Money, Mississippi after reportedly flirting with a white woman; with the pictures of his open casket funeral, and the acquittal of his captors, the public reaction of Till's death helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.[345]
September 30 Actor James Dean was killed in a highway collision in Salinas, California.[346]
November 1 Vietnam War: President Eisenhower deploys the first American personnel from the Military Assistance Advisory Group to South Vietnam after the First Indochina War.[347]
December 1 Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, inciting the 386-day Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.[348]
December 5 The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merged into the AFL-CIO, becoming the largest labor union in the United States.[349]
1956 June 29 The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, authorizing the construction of 41,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System over a 20-year period, was signed into law.[350]
Hungarian Revolution of 1956: The United States refused to support the revolution.[351]
November 6 United States presidential election, 1956: President Dwight D. Eisenhower was reelected to a second term, defeating 1952 Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson II in the rematch election.[352]
1957 January 5 The Eisenhower Doctrine, wherein a country could request American economic assistance or military aid if threatened by outside armed aggression, was proclaimed.[353]
January 10 Dr. King, Rustin, Lowrey, Shuttlesworth and Abernathy founded the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC).[354]
September 4 Little Rock Integration Crisis: Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus deployed members of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent African-American students from integrating in the Little Rock Central High School.[355]
September 9 The Civil Rights Act of 1957, primarily a voting rights bill, was signed into law.[356]
September 23 President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent members of the 101st Airborne Division to escort the Little Rock Nine to their classrooms in response to Governor Faubus' efforts preventing school desegregation.[357]
October 4 Space race: The Soviet Union launched Sputnik.[358]
December 2 Atoms for Peace: The Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the first commercial nuclear power plant, went into service.[359]
1958 January 31 Explorer 1: The first U.S. satellite was launched into space.[360]
July 29 The National Aeronautics and Space Act was signed into law; establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.[361]
Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit.[362]
September 2 The National Defense Education Act was signed into law.[363]
1959 January 3 Alaska was admitted to the Union, becoming the 49th state.[364]
February 4 The Day the Music Died: Musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and pilot, Roger Peterson, were killed in a plane accident.[365]
May 4 The First Grammy Awards was held.[366]
July 8 U.S. Army Master Sergeant Chester Ovnand and Major Dale M. Buis were killed in South Vietnam, being the first two official American casualties of the Vietnam War.[367][368]
August 21 Hawaii was admitted to the Union, becoming the 50th state.[369]
1960 February 1 The Greensboro sit-ins, sparked by the refusal of four African American college students to move from a segregated lunch counter, began similar widespread acts of civil disobedience to protest Jim Crow laws.[370]
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was founded.[371]
May 1 U-2 incident: A CIA U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over Soviet airspace.[372]
May 6 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 signed into law.[373]
September 26 The first ever general election debate between presidential candidates was held between Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy and Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon.[374]
November 8 United States presidential election, 1960: Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy was elected President, defeating Vice President Richard M. Nixon and becoming the youngest person to be elected to the office of the Presidency.[375][376]
December 5 Boynton v. Virginia: In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that African-Americans were protected from racial segregation on buses by the Interstate Commerce Act.[377]
December 20 The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam was formed.[378]
1961 January 3 The United States broke diplomatic relations with Cuba.[379]
January 17 President Eisenhower gave his farewell address which warned of the "military–industrial complex".[380][381]
February 7 The United States embargo against Cuba came into force.[382]
March 1 President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924, establishing the Peace Corps.[383]
March 29 The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted electors to the District of Columbia, was ratified.[384]
April 17 –
Bay of Pigs Invasion: The failed U.S. led invasion and attempted coup d'état of Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro took place.[385][386]
May 4 The Freedom Rides began in Washington D.C. after the failure to enforce the Supreme Court's ruling in Boynton v. Virginia.[387][388]
May 5 Alan Shepard piloted the Freedom 7 capsule to become the first American in space.[389]
May 25 President Kennedy proposed the Apollo program, with the goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."[390]
June 16 Vietnam War: President Kennedy deployed an additional 400 U.S. military advisors (900 total) to South Vietnam; totaling 3,200 American troops by 1963, and more than 11,000 by mid-1964.[391][392][393]
1962 February 20 John Glenn orbited the Earth.[394]
March 26 A decision was reached in Baker v. Carr which enabled federal courts to intervene in and to decide reapportionment cases.[395]
June 11 Three inmates go missing on an escape from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on June 11, 1962.[396]
June 25 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.[397]
August 5 Marilyn Monroe died of an apparent overdose from acute barbiturate poisoning at age thirty-six.[398]
October 14–27 Cuban missile crisis: A nuclear confrontation took place between the United States and the Soviet Union.[399]
1963 February 19 Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, attributed to sparking Second-wave feminism, was published.[400]
March 18 Gideon v. Wainwright: In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to counsel is protected under the Sixth Amendment.[401]
April 3 Birmingham campaign: The nonviolent led protests against racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama was launched by the SCLC.[402]
April 16 Letter from a Birmingham Jail: Dr. King was arrested amid the Birmingham campaign, writing an open letter defending the strategy nonviolent protest.[403]
June 10 The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law.[404]
June 12 NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated at his home in Mississippi by white supremacists, hours after President Kennedy gave his Civil Rights Address.[405]
August 28 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., among other notable civil rights leaders, spoke on the Lincoln Memorial, giving his historic "I Have a Dream" speech at the march that drew over 200,000 demonstrators.[406][407][408]
September 15 The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, carried out by a KKK splinter group, killed four African-American girls in what was seen as a turning point for the Civil Rights Movement.[409]
October 7 The Atomic Test Ban Treaty was signed.[410]
November 22 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a sniper in Dallas, Texas while traveling in an open presidential motorcade with Texas Governor John Connally, who was injured in the incident.[411]
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President, hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.[412]
November 24 Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who assassinated President Kennedy, was killed after being fatally shot by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.[413]
November 29 The Warren Commission was established by President Johnson to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.[414]
December 17 The Clean Air Act was signed into law.[415]
1964 January 23 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.[416]
February 7 British Invasion: The Beatles arrived in the United States.[417]
May 22 President Johnson proposed the Great Society, a set of social reforms aimed at the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.[418][419]
The Freedom Summer began, aimed to increase voter registration for African Americans.[420]
July 2 The Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing both segregation and major forms of discrimination against blacks and women, was signed into law.[421]
August 2 Tonkin Gulf incident, a false flag operation with 'deliberately skewed' intelligence to expand U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, occurred.[422][423][424]
August 4 Mississippi civil rights workers' murders: The bodies of three missing civil rights activists, working to register voters as a part of the Freedom Summer, were found near Philadelphia, Mississippi.[425]
August 10 The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, not a formal declaration of war in Vietnam, was signed by President Johnson[426]
August 20 The Economic Opportunity Act was signed into law.[427]
November 3 United States presidential election, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.[428]
December 10 Dr. King became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his 'nonviolent campaign against racism'.[429]
1965 Vietnam War: Johnson escalates United States military involvement in the war, with the number of U.S. troops totaling more than 184,000.[393]
February 21 African American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York.[430]
March 2 Operation Rolling Thunder began in the Vietnam War.[431]
March 7 The Selma to Montgomery marches, known as "Bloody Sunday", drew national outrage after Alabama State Troopers severely beat and used tear gas against the nonviolent demonstrators.[432]
March 25 In a third attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery, 3,200 civil rights demonstrators reached the Alabama State Capitol, where they were joined with a crowd of 25,000, after four days of marching.[433]
April 17 March Against the Vietnam War: The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the SNCC led the first major anti-war demonstration against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C., with over 25,000 protesters.[434]
July 30 The Social Security Amendments of 1965 was signed into law, establishing Medicaid and Medicare in the United States.[435]
August 6 The Voting Rights Act was signed into law.[436]
August 11 -
The Watts riots began in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, resulting in the deaths of 34 people.[437]
September 9 The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was established, after the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Johnson.[438]
October 3 The Immigration Act of 1965 was signed into law, abolishing the National Origins Formula.[439]
November 8 The Higher Education Act of 1965 was passed.[440]
1966 January 18 Robert C. Weaver was sworn in as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, becoming the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position.[441]
June 13 Miranda v. Arizona: The Supreme Court ruled that not informing suspects held in custody on their right to counsel and silence violated protection against self incrimination, establishing what later became known as "Miranda Rights".[442]
June 30 The feminist group the National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed.[443]
July 4 The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law.[444]
September 9 The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed.[445]
1967 January 3 Jack Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism at Parkland Hospital, where Oswald had died and where President Kennedy had been pronounced dead after his assassination.[446]
January 8 Operation Cedar Falls, the largest ground operation of the Vietnam War, began; with over 500,000 with the number of U.S. troops totaling more than 500,000 by the end of 1967.[447][448]
January 15 Super Bowl I: In the first Super Bowl took place between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.[449]
February 23 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.[450]
April 1 The United States Department of Transportation was established.[451]
April 15 National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam: 400,000 demonstrators march in New York City from Central Park to the United Nations Headquarters against the Vietnam War; with 100,000 protesting the war in San Francisco, being one of the largest demonstrations against the Vietnam War.[452]
The Summer of Love took place, marking a defining period for the counterculture movement in the U.S.[453][454]
June 12 Loving v. Virginia: The Supreme Court overruled the prohibition of interracial marriage.[455]
July 1 American Samoa became self-governing under a new Constitution.[456]
October 2 Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; becoming the first African-American Justice to serve on the court.[457]
1968 January 30 The Tet Offensive, a campaign of surprise attacks by the Viet Cong, began.[458]
April 4 Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a sniper at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.[459]
April 4 -
May 29
King assassination riots: The assassination of Dr. King prompted mass riots in Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Kansas City and Louisville; leaving 36 people dead.[460]
April 11 The Civil Rights Act of 1968, providing equal housing protection, was signed into law.[461]
June 5 Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan, after winning the California primary while campaigning for President.[462]
July 1 The United States signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[463]
August 25–29 Chicago City Police clashed with anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.[464]
October 22 The Gun Control Act of 1968 was signed into law.[465]
November 5 United States presidential election, 1968: Former Vice President Richard Nixon was elected President, defeating incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Alabama Governor George Wallace.[466]
Shirley Chisholm of New York became the first African-American woman elected to Congress.[467]
December 21 Apollo 8: The first manned spacecraft to leave Earth's orbit occurred.[468]
1969 March 18 Operation Menu: The United States began its covert bombings of North Vietnamese positions in Cambodia and Laos.[469]
June 29 The Stonewall riots took place, beginning after police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City, which would mark the start of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States.[470]
July 18 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.[471]
July 20 Apollo 11: Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins became the first men to land on the moon, with Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon's surface.[472]
August 15–19 The Woodstock Festival took place in White Lake, New York, proclaimed as "three days of peace and music", it became one of the defining events representing counterculture movement.[473]
November 3 Vietnamization: President Nixon outlaid his administration's Vietnam policy in response to the Tet Offensive.[474]
November 10 Sesame Street premiered on National Educational Television.[475]
November 15 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam: Over 500,000 peaceful demonstrators protested the Vietnam War in Washington D.C., being the largest anti-war protest in U.S. history.[476]
December 15 President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam; reaching the peak level of U.S. troops in Vietnam at 541,000.[477][478]
1970 1 January The National Environmental Policy Act, which required federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of their decisions and established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President, was signed into law.[479]
5 January 1969 National Society of Film Critics Awards: An awards ceremony was held for cinema.
11 January Super Bowl IV: The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings in a Super Bowl held in New Orleans.
13 January The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in a decision in Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. that men and women must be paid equally under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 even for different jobs with substantially equal responsibilities.
18 January 1970 Motor Trend 500: A. J. Foyt won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Riverside, California.
1970 Pro Bowl: The Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference in an all-star game of the National Football League.
19 January Republican congressman William T. Cahill resigned his seat representing New Jersey's 6th congressional district to become governor of New Jersey.
20 January 1970 NBA All-Star Game: The Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association defeated the Western Conference in an all-star game.
22 January 1970 State of the Union Address: Nixon addressed a joint session of the Congress.
24 January 1970 ABA All-Star Game: The Western Conference of the American Basketball Association defeated the Eastern Conference in an all-star game.
27 January 1970 NFL Draft: A National Football League draft was held in New York. Terry Bradshaw of Louisiana Tech University was the first overall pick.
1 February Republican congressman Glenard P. Lipscomb died.
1970 24 Hours of Daytona: John Wyer Automotive Engineering won a twenty-four hour race conducted in Daytona Beach, Florida.
2 February 1970 U.S. Professional Indoor: A tennis tournament opened in Philadelphia of which Rod Laver would win the singles tournament and Ilie Năstase and Ion Țiriac the doubles.
4 February The United States Tax Court held in a decision in Salvatore v. Commissioner that a taxpayer cannot avoid paying taxes on the sale of property by first conveying that property to someone else.
16 February San Francisco Police Department Park Station bombing: A pipe bomb probably planted by the Black Liberation Army killed one officer of the San Francisco Police Department and wounded nine others.
22 February 1970 Daytona 500: Pete Hamilton won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Daytona Beach, Florida.
1 March Republican congressman James B. Utt died.
2 March In a decision in Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc., the Supreme Court held that states may not pass laws which interfere with interstate commerce when such laws impose an undue burden on businesses.
6 March Greenwich Village townhouse explosion: An accidental explosion in New York killed three members of the Weather Underground.
11 March 12th Annual Grammy Awards: An awards ceremony was held for American music.
17 March U.S. postal strike of 1970: Members of a New York branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers voted to go on strike.
Eastern Air Lines Shuttle Flight 1320: A flight from Newark, New Jersey to Boston was hijacked and the copilot killed before the hijacker was subdued.
21 March 1970 12 Hours of Sebring: Scuderia Ferrari won a running of the 12 Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Florida.
23 March The Supreme Court held in Goldberg v. Kelly that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires an evidentiary hearing before a recipient of government benefits can be deprived of such benefits.
U.S. postal strike of 1970: Nixon deployed the National Guard to deliver mail in New York.
1970 NBA draft: A National Basketball Association draft was held in New York.
25 March U.S. postal strike of 1970: The strike ended.
31 March The Supreme Court held in a decision in In re Winship that when a juvenile is charged with an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult, every element of the offense must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, not preponderance of the evidence.
1 April The Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which banned tobacco advertising on radio and television and changed the verbiage of tobacco packaging warning messages, was signed into law.
Operation Texas Star: American and South Vietnamese forces entered the A Sầu Valley.
3 April The Environmental Quality Improvement Act, which expanded the responsibilities of the CEQ to include supervision of federal agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act, was signed into law.
5 April Newhall massacre: Two criminals killed four officers of the California Highway Patrol following a traffic stop in Newhall, Santa Clarita, California.
6 April The Supreme Court held in Ashe v. Swenson that an issue of fact determined in a final judgement cannot be relitigated between the same two parties.
The Supreme Court reached a decision in Dandridge v. Williams in which it held that Maryland's cap on aid granted under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In a decision in Waller v. Florida, the Supreme Court held that the Double Jeopardy Clause protects defendants from successive prosecutions by states and municipalities for offenses based on the same criminal conduct.
7 April 42nd Academy Awards: An awards ceremony was held for American cinema.
12 April 1970 Alabama 500: Pete Hamilton won the first running of what is now the GEICO 500 in Talladega, Alabama.
13 April 1970 Masters Tournament: Billy Casper won a Masters Tournament held in Augusta, Georgia.
17 April April 17–19, 1970 tornado outbreak sequence: A three-day tornado outbreak sequence began with outbreaks in the Southwest.
19 April 24th Tony Awards: An awards ceremony was held for Broadway theatre.
20 April 1970 Boston Marathon: Ron Hill won a running of the Boston Marathon.
24 April Operation Patio: The Seventh Air Force began bombing North Vietnamese military targets in Cambodia within eight miles of the South Vietnamese border.
25 April Operation Patio: The bombing area was extended to eighteen miles inside the Cambodian border.
30 April Cambodian Campaign: Nixon announced the beginning of American military operations in Cambodia with the objective of destroying the Central Office for South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese military headquarters in South Vietnam.[480]
1 May Democratic congressman William St. Onge died.
2 May The Jackson 5 First National Tour: The Jackson 5 held the first concert of their first tour, in Philadelphia.
1970 Kentucky Derby: Dust Commander won a running of the Kentucky Derby.
ALM Flight 980: Some twenty passengers were killed and forty injured after a flight from New York to Sint Maarten ran out of fuel and was forced to make a water landing.
4 May Kent State shootings: The Ohio Army National Guard fired on a crowd of students protesting the Cambodian Campaign at Kent State University, killing four and injuring nine others.[481]
The Supreme Court reached a decision in Brady v. United States, in which it held that reserving the power to impose a death sentence to a jury did not coerce the plaintiff to reject a jury trial.
In a decision in Parker v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court held that a plea agreement entered into in order to avoid the death penalty was valid.
The Supreme Court reached a decision in Rowan v. United States Post Office Department in which it held that there is no Constitutional right to send unwanted mail into someone's home.
The Supreme Court held in a decision in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York that the granting of tax exemptions to religious organizations does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Operation Patio: The operation was ended.
7 May The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held in a decision in Javins v. First National Realty Corp. that an implied warranty of habitability exists in leases of residential property.
8 May Student strike of 1970: Some three hundred thousand students, largely in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, joined in protest of the Vietnam War.
Hard Hat Riot: A violent confrontation took place between student anti-war protesters and members of the AFL–CIO in the Financial District and City Hall in New York.
1970 NBA Finals: The New York Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the seventh game of the finals series in New York.
9 May 1970 Rebel 400: David Pearson won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Darlington, South Carolina.
11 May 1970 Lubbock tornado: A tornado in Lubbock, Texas killed some thirty people.
1970 Augusta riot: Protests over the suspicious death of a young inmate in police custody in Augusta, Georgia devolved into rioting.
12 May Killing of Henry Marrow: A young black man was murdered by a white mob in Oxford, North Carolina.
15 May Jackson State killings: The Jackson Police Department and Mississippi Highway Patrol fired on a group of students at what is now Jackson State University, killing two and injuring twelve.
16 May Miss USA 1970: Deborah Shelton won a Miss USA pageant held in Miami Beach, Florida.
1970 Preakness Stakes: Personality won a running of the Preakness Stakes.
18 May In a decision in Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Ass'n, Inc. v. Bresler, the Supreme Court held that the use of the word "blackmail" in a newspaper article about a public figure was rhetorical hyperbole and could not be found to be libel under the First Amendment.
19 May Operation Freedom Deal: The Seventh Air Force began providing air support to Cambodian forces against North Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge.
20 May Hurricane Alma (1970): A tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea became a hurricane.
21 May The Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970 was signed into law, establishing the excise-funded Airport and Airway Trust Fund for the improvement of airports and air traffic control.
24 May 1970 World 600: Donnie Allison won a running of what is now the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, North Carolina.
25 May The Supreme Court reached a decision in Schacht v. United States in which it held that the use of accurate military uniforms in a play is protected under the First Amendment.
30 May 1970 Indianapolis 500: Al Unser won a running of the Indianapolis 500 in Speedway, Indiana.
1 June The Supreme Court held in a decision in Adickes v. S. H. Kress & Co. that a party moving for summary judgment carries the burden of proof to establish a lack of factual controversy.
4 June 43rd Scripps National Spelling Bee: Fourteen-year-old Libby Childress won a spelling contest held in Washington, D.C..
13 June Nixon called the President's Commission on Campus Unrest.
15 June The Supreme Court reached a decision in Evans v. Cornman in which it held that denying the right to vote to people living in federal enclaves is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Supreme Court held in a decision in Mitchell v. Donovan that it did not have authority to hear an appeal against a decision by a three-member United States district court granting or denying a declaratory judgment.
18 June 1970 NCAA University Division Outdoor Track and Field Championships: A track and field event concluded in Des Moines, Iowa. Brigham Young University, the University of Kansas and the University of Oregon tied for first place.
22 June The Supreme Court held in Chambers v. Maroney that police officers who searched a vehicle after moving it to their stationhouse had not violated the plaintiff's rights under the Fourth Amendment.
The Supreme Court reached a decision in Williams v. Florida in which it held that the Fifth Amendment does not entitle a defendant in a criminal trial to refuse to provide details of his alibi witnesses to the prosecution, and that the Sixth Amendment does not require a jury to have twelve members.
27 June 1970 Greenville 200: Bobby Isaac won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Greenville, South Carolina.
29 June In a decision in Gunn v. University Committee to End the War in Viet Nam, the Supreme Court held that it had no authority to hear an appeal against a decision in a lower court which neither granted nor denied an injunction.
30 June Republicans John H. Rousselot and John G. Schmitz were elected to fill the vacancies left by the deaths of Lipscomb and Utt, respectively.
1 July Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord: The North Vietnamese army began placing an American support base in the A Sầu Valley under mortar fire.
3 July Atlanta International Pop Festival (1970): A three-day music festival opened in Byron, Georgia.
9 July Nixon issued Reorganization Plan No. 3, ordering the consolidation of several existing agencies into the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the authority to issue and enforce regulations in accordance with environmental laws.
10 July The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in a decision in Roth Greeting Cards v. United Card Co. that a work may infringe on a copyright if its "total concept and feel" is substantially similar to that of the original work.
11 July Miss Universe 1970: Marisol Malaret won a Miss Universe pageant held in Miami Beach, Florida.
14 July 1970 Major League Baseball All-Star Game: The National League defeated the American League in an all-star game of Major League Baseball held in Cincinnati.
23 July Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord: United States forces completed a withdrawal from the base and carpet bombed the area.
27 July Democratic congressman Michael J. Kirwan died.
1970 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships: A tennis tournament opened in Indianapolis of which Cliff Richey would win the singles tournament and Clark Graebner and Arthur Ashe the doubles.
29 July 1970 First National Tennis Classic: A tennis tournament opened in Louisville, Kentucky of which Rod Laver would win the singles tournament and John Newcombe and Tony Roche the doubles.
31 July Powder Ridge Rock Festival: Some thirty thousand attendees arrived for a cancelled music festival at the Powder Ridge Ski Area.
1 August Hurricane Celia: A tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico became a hurricane.
3 August 1970 U.S. Pro Tennis Championships: A tennis tournament opened in Boston of which Tony Roche would win the singles tournament and Roy Emerson and Rod Laver the doubles.
7 August Republican congressman George Watkins (politician) died.
Marin County courthouse incident: Jonathan P. Jackson and three Black Panthers kidnapped judge Harold Haley and several others from the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California in an attempt to free the Soledad Brothers. Haley and his captors were killed at a police roadblock during their attempted escape.
12 August The Postal Reorganization Act, which replaced the United States Post Office Department with the United States Postal Service, was signed into law.
15 August The Economic Stabilization Act of 1970 was enacted, granting the President extensive powers to stabilize prices and wages and establishing standards for price and wage controls.
23 August Salad Bowl strike: Farm workers represented by the United Farm Workers went on strike after lettuce growers in the Salinas Valley agreed to allow the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to represent their workers.
24 August Sterling Hall bombing: Student radicals detonated a bomb at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, killing physics researcher Robert Fassnacht and injuring three others.
25 August 1970 Little League World Series: A Little League World Series opened in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania which would see the Little League team of Wayne, New Jersey win the title.
26 August Women's Strike for Equality: Some twenty thousand women took part in a protest in New York led by feminist organization the National Organization for Women.
28 August Vortex I: A music festival opened in Milo McIver State Park.
31 August Tropical Storm Norma (1970): A tropical cyclone formed off the coast of Mexico.
5 September Operation Texas Star: The operation came to a close.
Operation Jefferson Glenn: American and South Vietnamese forces began patrols in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province.
11 September Operation Tailwind: American and South Vietnamese forces covertly invaded southeastern Laos in pursuit of North Vietnamese forces.
12 September Miss America 1971: Phyllis George won a Miss America pageant held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
13 September NASL Final 1970: The Rochester Lancers defeated the Washington Darts in a two-game aggregate match.
Operation Tailwind: The involved forces returned to South Vietnam.
1970 Road Atlanta Can-Am: Tony Dean won a Can-Am race held in Braselton, Georgia.
15 September Tropical Storm Felice: A tropical storm made landfall at High Island, Texas.
21 September 1970 Pacific Southwest Open: A men's and women's tennis tournament opened in Los Angeles.
22 September Congress passed the District of Columbia Delegate Act, allowing Washington, D.C. residents to elect a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives.
Laguna Fire: A fire began in San Diego County which would cost eight lives and burn some three hundred square miles.
28 September 1970 Pacific Coast International Open: A tennis tournament opened in Berkeley, California which would see Arthur Ashe win the singles title and Bob Lutz and Stan Smith the doubles.
30 September 1970 Home State 200: Richard Petty won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Raleigh, North Carolina.
October New Haven Black Panther trials: Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, went on trial for ordering the torture and murder of fellow Panther Alex Rackley.
2 October Wichita State University football team plane crash: Some thirty people were killed and nine injured in a plane crash in Clear Creek County, Colorado.
4 October 1970 United States Grand Prix: Emerson Fittipaldi won a Formula One race held in Watkins Glen, New York.
5 October 1970 American League Championship Series: The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Minnesota Twins in three games.
1970 National League Championship Series: The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in three games.
6 October The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in a decision in Aronow v. United States that the presence of the phrase "In God We Trust" on American currency does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Operation Jefferson Glen: The operation came to a close.
11 October 1970 National 500: LeeRoy Yarbrough won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Concord, North Carolina.
15 October The Organized Crime Control Act and its subsection the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act were signed into law, extending penalties to organizations involved in illegal activities and banning their involvement in gambling.
1970 World Series: The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games.
October The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1970, which appropriated twelve billion dollars in matching funds to state and local governments for mass transit, was signed into law.
26 October The Bank Secrecy Act, which requires banks to file reports for large or suspicious cash transactions, was signed into law.
27 October The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and its subsection the Controlled Substances Act were signed into law, establishing security and recordkeeping requirements in the pharmaceutical industry and classifying drugs into schedules with varying criminal penalties for their consumption and possession.
November Recession of 1969–70: A minor economic recession ended.
1 November Puerto Rican suffrage referendum, 1970: A referendum lowered the voting age in Puerto Rico from 21 to eighteen.
3 November United States elections, 1970: The Democratic Party retained its majority in the Senate and increased its majority in the House.
4 November Laguna Fire: The fire ended.
8 November 1970 Georgia 500: Richard Petty won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Byron, Georgia.
9 November Democratic congressman William L. Dawson (politician) died.
14 November Southern Airways Flight 932: A plane crash in Ceredo, West Virginia killed some eighty passengers and crew.
15 November 1970 American 500: Cale Yarborough won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Rockingham, North Carolina.
17 November Democrat Adlai Stevenson III took office following his election to complete the term of Republican senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois.
22 November 1970 Tidewater 300: Bobby Allison won a running of what is now the Sprint Cup Series in Hampton, Virginia.
23 November The Supreme Court held in a decision in North Carolina v. Alford that a judge may accept an Alford plea, in which the defendant claims innocence but concedes that the evidence against him could produce a conviction.
The United States and Mexico concluded the Boundary Treaty of 1970, under which the Rio Grande was established as the border between the two nations. Three small tracts of land including the Horcón Tract were exchanged.
30 November The Agricultural Act of 1970 was signed into law, providing for the issuance of marketing certificates in place of acreage allotments and planting restrictions to manage agricultural production.
2 December The EPA came into existence.[482]
6 December 1970 Lehigh Valley Railroad derailment: A train derailment in Le Roy, New York resulted in a spill of toxic chemicals.
9 December The Horse Protection Act of 1970, which outlawed soring, was signed into law.
1970 Propane vapor cloud explosion in Port Hudson: An explosion occurred following a leak in a pipeline in Franklin County, Missouri.
12 December 1970 Liberty Bowl: Tulane University defeated the University of Colorado in a college football bowl game in Memphis, Tennessee.
21 December The Supreme Court held in a decision in Oregon v. Mitchell that Congress could not set voting age requirements for state elections.
24 December The Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970 was signed into law, amending the Public Health Service Act to include Title X, which subsidizes family planning and preventative health measures for low-income individuals.
The Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 was signed into law, granting intellectual property rights to breeders of sexually reproduced or tuber-propagated crops.
28 December Democratic congressman L. Mendel Rivers died.
1970 Tangerine Bowl: The University of Toledo defeated the College of William & Mary in a college football bowl game in Orlando, Florida.
29 December The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law, requiring employers to meet minimum safety standards and establishing an enforcement agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.[483]
30 December 1970 Peach Bowl: Arizona State University defeated the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in a college football bowl game in Atlanta.
Hurricane Creek mine disaster: An explosion at a mine outside Hyden, Kentucky killed some forty miners.
31 December The Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed, amending the Clean Air Act to include extensive regulatory standards.
The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970 and its subsection the National Urban Policy and New Community Development Act of 1970 were signed into law, granting the Department of Housing and Urban Development the funds and authority to guarantee debt issued for the construction of new towns.
Republican senator John J. Williams (senator) of Delaware resigned his seat. His protégé William V. Roth Jr., then a congressman and senator-elect, was appointed to succeed him.
1970 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl: The University of Alabama tied the University of Oklahoma in a college football bowl game in Houston.
The 10th Aerospace Defense Group was inactivated.
1971 January 25 Charles Manson is sentenced to death (with his sentence later commuted to life in prison) for his involvement in the Tate-LaBianca murders.[484]
April 1 The Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act was signed into law, banning cigarette advertisements on radio and television and issuing a Surgeon General's warning on tobacco products.[485]
June 13 Pentagon Papers: The New York Times publishes its first story on the classified 7,000 page Department of Defense study, leaked by study participant Daniel Ellsberg, on the U.S.'s political-military involvement in Vietnam since 1945.[486][487]
June 17 President Nixon declares a "War on Drugs", stating that drug use in the U.S. is "public enemy number one."[488]
June 30 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.[489]
July 1 The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, was ratified.[490]
August 15 Nixon Shock: Nixon ended the gold standard in the United States.[491]
September 13 Attica Prison riot: After four days of holding 39 prison staff members hostage, a raid that led to a riot at the Attica Correctional Facility was launched by New York State Police; leaving 43 staff and prisoners dead and being the deadliest prison riot in U.S. history.[492]
1972 February 21–28 1972 Nixon visit to China: President Nixon became the first U.S. President to visit the People's Republic of China, marking the end of 25 years of isolation between the U.S. and China.[493][494]
May 26 SALT I Treaty: The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and United States at the Moscow Summit.[495]
June 9–10 Black Hills flood: Flooding in the Black Hills region of Western South Dakota killed 238 people.[496]
June 17 Watergate burglaries: Five men were arrested for the burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.[497]
June 23 The Education Amendments of 1972, enacting Title IX and prohibiting gender based discrimination of educational institutions, was signed into law.[498]
June 29 Furman v. Georgia: The Supreme Court ruled that application of the death penalty outside of cases of homicide violated protection against cruel and unusual punishment.[499]
October 17 The Clean Water Act is enacted, was overridden by the Senate.[500]
November 7 U.S. presidential election, 1972: President Nixon was reelected to a second term, defeating South Dakota Senator George McGovern.[501]
December 14 Apollo 17 became the final mission of the Apollo program and last human spaceflight to the moon.[502]
December 18 Operation Linebacker II: The final major U.S. bombing campaign in North Vietnam began.[503]
1973 January 22 Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court ruled that state laws banning abortion before 24 weeks as unconstitutional.[504]
January 23 The Paris Peace Accords was signed, ending the United States' direct involvement in the Vietnam War.[505]
May 3 The Sears Towers opened in Chicago, becoming the World's tallest building.[506]
May 14 The space station Skylab was launched by NASA.[507]
May 17 The United States Senate Watergate Committee held its first hearing.[508]
October 10 Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in disgrace as part of a plea bargain after being charged with tax evasion, extortion and conspiracy.[509]
October 20 Saturday Night Massacre: President Nixon fired three top legal advisers over the disposition of secret tapes and the actions of the Special Prosecutor in regard to the Watergate scandal.[510]
October 1973 oil crisis: Gasoline prices in the U.S. quadrupled over a three-month period in response to reduced supply of gasoline and heating oil.[511]
December 6 House Minority Leader Gerald Ford of Michigan was sworn in as Vice President after the resignation of Spiro Agnew; becoming the first Vice President to be appointed under the Twenty-fifth Amendment.[512]
1974 April 3–4 1974 Super Outbreak: An outbreak of 148 tornadoes hit thirteen states, killing 330 people.[513]
April 8 Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves broke Babe Ruth's home run record by hitting his 715th career home run.[514]
June 30 The House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Nixon over his actions in the Watergate Scandal.[515]
August 9 President Richard Nixon becomes the first and only President to resign from office. After submitting his resignation in an address to the nation the evening before, Nixon stated that "the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations."[516][517][518]
Vice President Gerald Ford is sworn in as President after the resignation of President Nixon.[519]
September 8 President Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed as President during the Watergate Scandal.[520]
December 31 Executive Order 6102, restricting the private holding of gold within the United States, was lifted.[521]
1975 January 27 The Church Committee, Chaired by Idaho Senator Frank Church, was established in the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal; investigating the illegal activities of the CIA, NSA and FBI.[522]
April 4 Bill Gates founded Microsoft Corporation.[523]
April 30 Fall of Saigon: Saigon, the capitol of South Vietnam, was captured by the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong, causing the South to surrender and officially ending the Vietnam War.[524]
July 15 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project: The first joint U.S.–Soviet space mission began in Kazakhstan.[525]
September 5 President Ford was uninjured after a failed assassination attempt by Manson Family cult member Lynette Fromme in Sacramento, California.[526]
1976 April 1 Steve Jobs founded Apple Inc.[527]
July 2 Gregg v. Georgia: The Supreme Court affirmed that the death penalty did not violate the Eighth Amendment.[528]
July 4 United States Bicentennial: Americans celebrated the United States bicentennial.[529]
October 19 The Copyright Act of 1976 was signed into law.[530]
November 2 U.S. presidential election, 1976: Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was elected President, defeating incumbent Gerald Ford.[69]
1977 January 23 The television miniseries Roots aired on ABC.[531]
May 25 Star Wars is released and goes on to become the highest-grossing film of its time.[532]
July 13–14 New York City blackout of 1977: A twenty-five-hour blackout, resulting in looting and other disorder, took place.[533]
August 4 The United States Department of Energy is established.[534]
August 16 Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock and Roll", died at his home in Graceland.[535]
September 7 The Torrijos–Carter Treaties between the U.S. and Panama, relinquishing U.S. control of the Panama Canal, were ratified.[536]
Mid-October The Commodore PET, the first personal computer for retail sale, was released.[537]
1978 September 17 The Camp David Accords were signed by Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt at Camp David.[538]
October 25 The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was signed into law.[539]
October 27 The Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment Act was signed into law.[540]
November 18 Jonestown Massacre: The mass-suicide of 909 American citizens who were members of the religious cult the Peoples Temple, led by Jim Jones, occurred in Guyana. With the addition murders of nine others, including Congressman Leo Ryan, the 918 deaths were the largest loss of American life in a single incident and in a non-natural disaster at the time.[541][542][543]
November 27 Moscone–Milk assassinations: Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office, and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, were assassinated by Dan White in San Francisco.[544]
1979 March 28 Three Mile Island accident: The partial nuclear meltdown and release of small amounts of radioactive gases and iodine of a nuclear power plant in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania began; considered to be the worst commercial nuclear power accident in U.S. history.[545]
May 21 White Night Riots: After the lenient sentence of Moscone-Milk assassin Dan White, over 5,000 demonstrators in San Francisco's gay community staged what turned into a violent protest.[546]
May 25 American Airlines Flight 191 flight crashed shortly after takeoff from O'Hare International Airport, killing all 271 aboard and two on the ground; being the deadliest aviation accident on U.S. soil.[547]
October 17 The United States Department of Education is established.[548]
November 4 Iran hostage crisis: The U.S. embassy in Tehran was raided by student activists of the Iranian Revolution after overthrown CIA instated Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was allowed into the U.S.; beginning the 444-day capture of the embassy and the holding of fifty-two American embassy personnel.[549]
1980 March 18 The Refugee Act was signed into law.[550]
March 21 1980 Summer Olympics boycott: Protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter announces the U.S. would boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow.[551]
April 4 The United States Department of Health and Human Services was established.[552]
April 24 Operation Eagle Claw: Eight U.S. military personnel were killed after the failed attempt to rescue the fifty-two American hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.[553]
May 18 Eruption of Mount St. Helens: The eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington killed fifty-seven people.[554]
June 1 CNN, the first 24-hour cable news channel, was founded.[555]
November 4 U.S. presidential election, 1980: California Governor Ronald Reagan was elected President, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter and Illinois Representative John B. Anderson.[556]
December 8 Musician John Lennon was assassinated outside of The Dakota in New York City.[557]
1981 January 20 Iran releases the 52 U.S. hostages held in Tehran after 444 days (the day of the swearing in of President Ronald Reagan); signing the Algiers Accords.[558]
March 30 Reagan assassination attempt: President Reagan and three others were injured after an assassination attempt of the President by John Hinckley, outside of the Hilton Washington in Washington D.C.[559]
April 12 STS-1: The Space Shuttle Columbia was launched, being the first flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program.[560]
July 17 Hyatt Regency walkway collapse: A hotel walkway collapsed in Kansas City, Missouri, killing 114 and injuring over two hundred.[561]
August 1 MTV, the first 24-hour cable network dedicated to airing music videos, was launched.[562]
August 4 Reaganomics: The Kemp-Roth Tax Cut was signed into law.[563]
September 21 Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, becoming the first woman to serve on the court.[564]
November 16 President Reagan signed NDSS 17, authorizing the beginning of CIA support for contra rebels in Nicaragua.[565]
1982 June 12 Anti-nuclear protests were held at Central Park in New York City, with nearly one million peaceful demonstrators protesting the arms race.[566]
August 25 Multinational forces, including 800 Marines, were deployed to Lebanon to oversee the withdrawal of Palestine Liberation Organization after Lebanese Civil War.[567]
1983 March 23 President Reagan proposes the Strategic Defense Initiative.[568][569]
April 18 1983 United States embassy bombing: The U.S. embassy in Beirut was bombed by members of the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), killing 63 people, including 17 U.S. government personnel.[570]
October 23 Beirut barracks bombing: 241 United States Marine Corps personnel were killed in a suicide bombing by members of the IJO in Lebanon.[571]
October 25 Operation Urgent Fury: Under executive action from President Reagan, the U.S. deployed 1,900 military personnel in the Invasion of Grenada.[572]
1984 April 23 U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler announces Dr. Robert Gallo and fellow NCI researcher's discovery of HTLV-III as the virus that causes AIDS.[573]
May 8 1984 Summer Olympics boycott: The Soviet Union, later joined by most of the Eastern Bloc, announced the boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles.[574]
July 18 San Ysidro McDonald's massacre: A mass shooting in San Ysidro, California left 22 (including the perpetrator) dead and injured 19 others; being the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at the time.[575]
November 6 U.S. presidential election, 1984: President Reagan was reelected to a second term, defeating former Vice President Walter Mondale.[576]
1985 July 13 Live Aid, a concert attended by 100,000 people and watched by 1.9 billion viewers in 150 countries at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, was held, raising global awareness of famine in Ethiopia.[577]
Arrow Air Flight 1285, carrying U.S. Army personnel to Egypt, crashed in Newfoundland, Canada, killing all 256 passengers on board and being the deadliest single aviation accident in the history of the U.S. military.[578]
1986 January 20 The first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed.[579]
January 28 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster: The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded due to a leak in the shuttle's solid rocket booster 73 seconds after departing from the Kennedy Space Center, killing all seven crew members aboard, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.[580]
April 15 Operation El Dorado Canyon: The U.S. began air strikes against Libya after the Berlin discotheque bombing.[581]
May 19 The Firearm Owners Protection Act was signed into law.[582]
May 25 Hands Across America: Over five million Americans formed a human chain across the Continental United States, holding hands for 15 minutes to raise awareness of hunger and homelessness.[583]
October 1 The Goldwater–Nichols Act was signed into law.[584]
October 9 The Fox Broadcasting Company was founded.[585]
October 21 The Compact of Free Association was signed by the U.S., giving Independence to the Marshall Islands.[586]
October 22 The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was signed into law.[587]
November 3 Iran–Contra affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa first revealed that the United States had secretly sold weapons to Iran in exchange for American hostages, amid a U.S. arms embargo.[588][589]
November 6 The Immigration Reform and Control Act was signed into law.[590]
November 25 After the resignation of National Security Advisor John Poindexter, Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that the profits from the U.S. arms trade with Iran were illegally diverted to support contra groups in Nicaragua.[588][591]
November 26 The Tower Commission is established by President Reagan to investigate the Iran-Contra affair.[592]
1987 May 5 Joint special House and Senate hearings on the Iran-Contra affair began.[593]
June 12 During a visit to Berlin, President Reagan challenged Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall", referring to the Berlin Wall.[594]
October 19 Black Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 508 points in a single session, losing 22.6% of its value.[595]
October 23 The U.S. Senate rejects President Reagan's Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork.[596]
November 18 A joint congressional report investigating the Iran-Contra affair found that the "ultimate responsibility for the events in the Iran-contra affair must rest with the President."[597][598]
December 8 The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. between the U.S. and Soviet Union.[599]
1988 May 14 Carrollton bus collision: A drunk driver crashed into a church bus near Carrollton, Kentucky, killing twenty-seven people.[600]
The Yellowstone fires of 1988 burned 793,880 acres of Yellowstone National Park.[601]
August 8 Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois added lights for night games, being the last major league park that didn't have lights.[602]
August 10 The Civil Liberties Act, compensating Japanese Americans who "lost liberty or property because of discriminatory action by the Federal government during World War II", was signed into law.[603]
August 30 STS-41-D: The Space Shuttle Discovery was launched.[604]
November 2 Morris worm, the first computer worm distributed via the Internet, was launched.[605]
November 8 U.S. presidential election, 1988: Vice President George H. W. Bush was elected President, defeating Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.[606]
1989 March 15 The United States Department of Veterans Affairs was established.[607]
March 24 Exxon Valdez oil spill: An oil tanker struck a reef in Prince William Sound, spilling over 11 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Alaska.[608]
May 31 Speaker of the House Jim Wright becomes the first House Speaker to resign amid scandal; he was succeeded by Tom Foley.[609]
September 10–22 Hurricane Hugo struck the East Coast, killing 49 people and causing $7 billion in damage.[610][611]
October 17 The Loma Prieta earthquake, striking the San Francisco Bay Area and interrupting the 1989 World Series, killed sixty-three people.[612]
December 3 Malta Summit: President Bush and Soviet Premier Gorbachev met in Malta weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, releasing statements indicating that the war may be coming to an end.[613]
December 20 Operation Just Cause: 26,000 U.S. military personnel were deployed in the U.S. invasion of Panama, removing Military Governor Manuel Noriega from power and restoring Panama's democratically elected government.[614]
The Office of National Drug Control Policy was established.[615]
1990 January 13 Douglas Wilder was elected Governor of Virginia, becoming the first African American to become governor of a U.S. State.[616]
April 24 The Hubble Space Telescope was launched during a mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery.[617]
June 1 The 1990 Chemical Weapons Accord was signed between the United States and the Soviet Union.[618]
July 26 The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law.[619]
August 2 Gulf War: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein leads the deployment of 140,000 Iraqi troops in the invasion of Kuwait.[620]
November 15 The Clean Air Act of 1990 was signed into law.[621]
1991 January 17 Operation Desert Storm: The United States leads 34 coalition nations in the invasion of Ba'athist Iraq; deploying over 500,000 U.S. military personnel in response to Iraq's annexation of Kuwait.[622][623]
February 28 President George H.W. Bush announces that a cease fire was reached between in the Gulf War, stating that "Kuwait is liberated. Iraq's army is defeated."[624]
July 31 START I was signed between the United States and the Soviet Union.[625]
December 26 The dissolution of the Soviet Union, recognizing the independence of twelve Soviets states after the resignation of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who declared his office extinct, formally ended the Cold War.[626]


Confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas were held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, after allegations regarding sexual harassment charges were pressed by former aide Anita Hill.[628]
1992 April 29–
May 4
1992 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.[629]
May 7 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.[630]
August 16–28 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.[631][632]
November 3 United States presidential election, 1992: Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was elected President, defeating incumbent George H. W. Bush and Texas businessman Ross Perot.[633]
1993 January 3 START II was signed between the United States and the Russian Federation.[634]
February 13–
April 19
Waco siege: After the ATF failed to raid the compound of members of the religious sect the Branch Davidians, the FBI prompted a 51-day standoff; resulting in the deaths of 72 Branch Davidians after a fire broke out in the compound.[635][636]
February 26 1993 World Trade Center bombing: A truck bomb exploded in the parking garage under the World Trade Center in Manhattan, killing six people and injuring 1,042 others.[637][638]
October 3–4 Battle of Mogadishu: 18 U.S. military personnel, as a part of Operation Gothic Serpent, were killed and 84 wounded after a seventeen-hour assault was prompted by Somali militiamen.[639]
November 30 The Don't ask, don't tell policy, prohibiting openly gay and bisexual people from serving in the military, was signed into law.[640]
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was signed into law.[641]
December 8 The North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by the United States.[642]
Great Flood of 1993: Massive flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers killed 48 people and caused $30.2 billion in damage; being the costliest flood in U.S. history.[643]
1994 January 17 The 1994 Northridge earthquake, striking the Northridge, Los Angeles area, killed fifty-seven people and leaving 20,000 others homeless; causing $20 billion in damage and being the costliest earthquake in U.S. history.[644]
September 19 The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, authorizing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the Violence Against Women Act, was signed into law.[645][646][647]
November 8 Republican Revolution: The Republican Party picked up 54 seats in the House and 8 seats in the Senate, being one of the largest shifts in party balance in U.S. congressional history.[648]
1995 April 19 Oklahoma City bombing: A bombing killed 168 and wounded eight hundred.
July 14–20 The 1995 Chicago heat wave killed 739 people in Chicago, Illinois.[649][650]
October 3 Retired 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.
United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996: A budget crisis caused the federal government to partially shut down.
1996 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.
August 22 The Welfare Reform Act of 1996, replacing the AFDC with TANF, was signed into law.[651][652]
U.S. presidential election, 1996: Bill Clinton was reelected to a second term as President of the United States, defeating presidential candidates Bob Dole and Ross Perot.
United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996: The shutdown ended.
1997 Clinton 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.
1998 Former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones accused Clinton of sexual harassment.
Lewinsky scandal: Bill 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.
1999 Dennis Hastert of Illinois becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10,006.78.
April 20 Two 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.
2000 October 12 USS Cole bombing: The USS Cole was bombed in Yemeni waters, killing seventeen United States Navy sailors.

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2001 January 20 First inauguration of George W. Bush: George W. Bush was inaugurated the forty-third President of the United States.[653]
June 7 The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 was signed into law by President George W. Bush.[654]
September 11 September 11 terrorist attacks: Nineteen terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000.[655]
September 18 2001 Anthrax attacks: Anthrax attacks killed five and infected seventeen more through the mail system.[656]
October 7 War in Afghanistan (2001–present): The United States launched an invasion of Afghanistan.[657]
October 26 The USA PATRIOT Act, increasing law enforcement agencies' ability to conduct searches in cases of suspected terrorism, was signed into law.[658]
November 12 American Airlines Flight 587: A flight crashed in Queens, New York, killing 265.[659]
2002 June 13 The United States officially withdraws from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.[660]
January 8 The No Child Left Behind Act education reform bill was signed into law.[661]
October 2–22 Beltway sniper attacks: Ten people were killed and three were injured in attacks around the Washington, D.C. area.[662]
November 25 The United States Department of Homeland Security was created.[663]
2003 February 1 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.[664]
February 17 2003 E2 nightclub stampede: A nightclub stampede in Chicago, Illinois killed twenty-one.[665]
February 20 The Station nightclub fire: A fire caused by pyrotechnics at a nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island killed 100 people and injured over 230.[666]
March 19 Invasion of Iraq: The United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq.[667]
December 13 Capture of Saddam Hussein: In Iraq, deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured by United States special forces.[668]
2004 February 4 The social networking website Facebook was launched.[669]
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.[670]
November 2 U.S. presidential election, 2004; President George W. Bush was reelected.[671]
2005 January 20 Second inauguration of George W. Bush: George W. Bush was inaugurated to his second term.[672]
August 23–30 Hurricane Katrina: A hurricane devastated the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coastlines killing at least 1,836 people and causing $81 billion in damage.[673]
2006 November 7 The Democratic Party regained control of both houses of Congress and gained control of a majority of state governorships.[674][675][676]
2007 January 3 Democrat Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.[677]
January 10 Iraq War troop surge of 2007: George W. Bush ordered the substantial increase of the number of United States troops in Iraq.[678]
April 16 Virginia Tech massacre: A South Korean student shot and killed thirty-two other students and professors before killing himself.[679]
August 1 The I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed, killing thirteen people.[680]
December Late-2000s recession: A recession began.[681][682][683]
2008 February 5–6 2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak: An outbreak of tornadoes killed over sixty people and produced $1 billion in damage across Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama.[684]
September 1–14 Hurricane Ike: A hurricane killed 100 people along the Texas coast, producing $31 billion in damage and contributing to rising oil prices.[685]
July 11 Oil prices in the United States hit a record $147 per barrel.[686]
Global financial crisis in September 2008: The stock market crashed.[687][688][689]
September 14 Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers: Investment bank Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history.[687]
November 4 U.S. presidential election, 2008: Barack Obama was elected the forty-fourth President of the United States.[690]
2009 January 20 Inauguration of Barack Obama: Obama was inaugurated the forty-fourth President of the United States.[691]
February 17 President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion economic stimulus package.[692]
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.[693]
June 25 Death of Michael Jackson: Pop icon Michael Jackson died.[694]
August 8 Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; becoming the first Latino Justice.[695]
November 5 Fort Hood shooting: Nidal Malik Hasan killed twelve servicemen and injured thirty-one.[696]
2010 February 23 The United States Navy lifted its ban on women in submarines.[697]
March 23 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama.[698]
April 20 Deepwater 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.[699]
July 21 The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law; establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.[700]
November 2 United 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.[701]
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.[702]
November 28 United States diplomatic cables leak: WikiLeaks began to release classified diplomatic documents to the international press.[703]
December 22 The Senate ratified the New START treaty.[704]
December 22 The 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.[705]
2011 January 8 2011 Tucson shooting: A gunman targeting Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords critically injured Giffords and killed six others, including federal judge John Roll, in Tucson, Arizona.[706]
March 19 Operation Odyssey Dawn: The United States began air and cruise missile attacks against Libya.[707]
April 25–28 April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak: The largest tornado outbreak ever in United States history occurs in the American Midwest and Southern United States killing 348 People and causing 11 Billion Dollars in Damage.
May 2 Death of Osama bin Laden: Al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden was killed by United States forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.[708]
May 22 Joplin Tornado: An EF-5 tornado tore through Joplin, Missouri, killing 161, and causing $2.8 Billion in damage, including the destruction of a large portion of the main retail strip, a hospital, the high school, a middle school, and several elementary schools.
August 2 United 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.[709]
August 5 United 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+.[710]
August 8 August 2011 stock markets fall: Major United States stock market indices dropped in value by some two and a half trillion dollars.[711]
September 17 The populist Occupy Wall Street protest movement made camp in Zuccotti Park in New York City.[712]
December 18 Withdrawal 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.[713]
2012 October 25–30 Hurricane Sandy: A devastating hurricane wreaks havoc for the Eastern United States coast. There were many states severely impacted by the hurricane, especially New York and New Jersey, which took a direct hit from the storm.
November 6 United States presidential election, 2012: Barack Obama is reelected as president.[714]
December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting: Occurs in Newtown, Connecticut killing 20 Children and 6 Staff Members in Sandy Hook Elementary School, perpetrated by a 20 Year Old, Adam Lanza.
2013 January 20 Barack Obama is inaugurated for his second term as president.[715]
April 15 Boston Marathon bombings: Two pressure cooker bombs explode during the Boston Marathon.[716]
June Global surveillance disclosures: The revelations of the NSA's PRISM, Boundless Informant and XKeyscore domestic surveillance programs were first published by The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers.[717][718][719]
2014 April 16 Flight MH370 of Malaysian airlines went missing and was never found over the months and months of searching even with the modern technology and thousands of not just Americans but people around the world.[720]
May 23 2014 Isla Vista killings occurs, killing 6, and wounding 14 others, perpetrated by elliot rodger.
June President Obama orders the return of a small number of troops to Iraq to help bolster Iraqi and Kurdish military forces in their war with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[721]
August 9 Michael Brown was shot and killed, in what was ruled by a grand jury to be self-defense, by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, igniting protests and riots in the following months.[722]
November 3 New building, 1 World Trade Center, opens in New York City.[723]
November 4 In national elections, Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate and maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives.[724]
December 17 President Obama announces a restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time since 1961.[725]
2015 April 27 2015 Baltimore protests: Protests and rioting occur in Baltimore, Maryland after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.
June 17 Charleston church shooting: A gunman killed 9, including a state senator in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
June 26 Obergefell v. Hodges: Gay marriage is fully legalized in all 50 states.
July 20 Restoration of relations with Cuba.
December 2 2015 San Bernardino attack: Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married radical Muslim couple, kills 14 people at a center for the developmentally disabled.
2016 January 2 Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: an armed standoff in Oregon between armed anti-government militants and county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies takes place.
June 11 2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting: Omar Mateen kills 49 and injures 53, before being shot by an officer.


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  426. ^ Van Alstyne, William (November 1972). "Congress, the President, and the Power to Declare War". University of Pennsylvania Law Review. duke.edu. 121: 1–27. doi:10.2307/3311146. JSTOR 3311146. 
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