Turning Points in American History: Key Dates and Events

Turning Points in American History: Key Dates and Events

1763
The Treaty of Paris
–Ended the French and Indian War
–Britain won control of all land west to Mississippi River, including Florida, leaving colonists with no enemies on their immediate border
–Britain taxed colonies to pay for past wars, upsetting colonists and starting the American Revolution
1776
The Declaration of Independence
–First time in history a colony declared independence from the mother country; could be called the birth of the USA.
–The document claimed that Britain took their natural rights and asserted that “all men are created equal.” This statement serves as a standard by which we judge how far we have come and how far we have to go to achieve real equality in America.
1789
Ratification of the Constitution
–Helped create a “more perfect union.”
–The document, based upon the principles of federalism, separation of powers, representation, and flexibility, created a firm foundation for the growth and development of the United States.
1800
The “Revolution of 1800”
–Democratic Republicans won the presidency and control of Congress. The new nation survived this critical change of power from the business-oriented, aristocratic Federalists to the more agrarian and Democratic Party of Jefferson without violence.
1803
Louisiana Purchase & Marbury v. Madison
–Louisiana Purchase gave U.S. control of the Mississippi River, which it needed for commercial reasons.
–Doubled the size of the United States and it strongly suggested that the nation would one day extend from sea to sea
–Required Jefferson to use the elastic clause
–Marbury v. Madison set the precedent for judicial review
– –Made Judicial branch (Supreme Court) equal to the President and Congress
1814
Treaty of Ghent
–Ended the War of 1812
–Increased nationalism
–Chance to expand westward without Native resistance
–Encouraged American manufacturing
–Federalist party disappeared
–Strengthened isolation, keeping US out of foreign wars
1848
Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo
Treaty that ended the Mexican War. It gave the U.S. control of the vast Mexican cession. Acquisition of this territory revived the slavery issue that shortly played an important role in the Civil War.
1861
Beginning of the Civil War
The southern states (Confederate States) decision to attack Fort Sumter ended any chance to settle the slavery issue peacefully. Could of possibly have destroyed the United States.
1865
The end of the Civil War and the death of Lincoln
–Defining moment in our nation’s history
–Settled the nature of the Union Question and the slavery question.
–Lincoln’s death caused increased tension because Republicans wanted to secure their positions and African American support before Southern States re-entered the union
1877
End of Reconstruction
Hayes election in 1876 resulted in the Compromise of 1877. This called for the withdrawal of the last remaining Union troops from former Confederate states. Left the new freedmen at the mercy of vengeful southerners.
1914
WWI Begins (Europe)
–Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria Hungary assassinated, ending nearly 100 years of European peace
–US Progressive reform ended with Pres. Wilson’s concentration on foreign affairs and influencing the war and eventual peace
1919
Treaty of Versailles
–Ended World War I
–Partially based on Pres. Wilson’s Fourteen Points
–Planned for a League of Nations, stopping Senate ratification of the treaty. US didn’t join the League, instead returning to relative isolation
1929
The Stock Market Crash
Brought to an end a long period of prosperity and started the worst depression in American history. In the course of dealing with the Depression, the U.S., under FDR, introduced a welfare state with govt. taking increasing responsibility for the interest of a variety of less fortunate groups in American society.
1939/1941
Germany’s Invasion of Poland and The Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor
1939: World War II begins with Hitler invading Poland
1941: Japan attacks American fleet in Hawaii, bringing US into WWII and caused Americans to change attitude on war involvement.
1945
The end of WWII and Beginning of Cold War
–Both Germany and Japan surrender in this year
–The upheaval and demands of the war will usher in the Atomic Age, result in the creation of the United Nations, and begin a conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States that will be known as the Cold War.
1954
First involvement in Vietnam and Brown v. Board of Education
–US did not want Vietnam to go to Communism
–The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam at the 17 parallel
–President Eisenhower tried to explain America’s involvement in Vietnam with his “Domino Theory” Speech
–The Brown v. Board of Education landmark United States Supreme Court may have been the beginning of the civil rights movement
1960
First Sit Ins & JFK Becomes President
–Sit-ins marked activism of African Americans protesting segregation
–Election of JFK led to African Americans’ rising expectations for civil rights legislation within federal executive branch
1964
Gulf of Tonkin Incident; Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
–Gulf of Tonkin Incident would be event that increased America’s military presence in Vietnam. May have started American’s Vietnam War.
–Outlawed segregation in public accommodations and public facilities and banned, discriminatory practices in hiring, voting, and education.
1968
Tet Offensive/Assassination of Martin L King and Kennedy
–Tet was the turning point in the Vietnam War. After Tet American citizens demanded an exit strategy from the war (Nixon’s Vietnamization).
–Death of King was a major blow to the Civil Rights movement.
–Kennedy’s death was a major loss for the liberal Democratic movement in the United States and made the Republicans attempts to gain control of the White House (Nixon a Republican will win the presidential election of 1968) much easier.
1973
The Peace Agreement that ended the Vietnam War is signed. It forces Americans to realize that they were not invincible and could not solve all the problems of the world. Congress took steps to limit presidential options in the War Powers Resolution in an effort not to be drawn into another undeclared war. By 1975 the last Americans will be dramatically removed from the embassy in Saigon as the North Vietnamese communists forces take the city and unify the country under communist control
1989
The Beginning of the end of the Cold War
–Dismantling of Berlin Wall, Election of Solidarity in Poland, and Fall of Eastern European economies in Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania signaled the impending collapse of the Former Soviet Union (1991) and introduced a new era in U.S. diplomatic relations.
2001
9/11 Attacks on American Soil
–Began a major foreign policy shift that we know now as the War on Terror. The United States would engage in a war in Iraq and Afghanistan.