North America’s oldest history is particularly linked to the indigenous people who lived on the continent before European colonization. The European conquest began in the 16th century, from Spain, France and England, among others. Of these, England, later the United Kingdom, eventually became the strongest colonial power.
The independence of the United States as a state is linked to the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, where envoys from 13 British colonies along the Atlantic coast made a political and ideological settlement with the British Empire. The ransom triggered war with the British, which was defeated in 1783.
Today’s American nation has its roots in the business that was run over hundreds of years by Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, French and especially British colonizers. In this context, it is irrelevant that, according to the Norse tradition, Icelander Leiv Eiriksson discovered Vinland around the year 1000, since the discoveries did not lead to permanent colonization.
The Swedish and Dutch colonization attempts were also short-lived. New Sweden in the New Jersey – Delaware area during the period 1638–1655 was pushed aside by Dutch interests. New Netherlands, in the years 1621–1664, in turn, was converted to the British colonies of New Jersey and New York. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of United States.
During the colonial period, the Spanish and French territories were also on the periphery, in the south and northwest respectively. Especially after 1660, British influence was dominant. This is despite the fact that in the 18th century there was a strong immigration of Germans (and Scots, ie descendants of Ulster inhabitants) who settled especially in the Pennsylvania, western Virginia and Carolina colonies. The only new colony established in the 18th century was Georgia in 1732, which strengthened the British position vis-à-vis Spain.
The English colonies mainly had two centers, Virginia and New England. Although Walter Raleigh had taken possession of Virginia for England in 1584, this did not lead to a permanent settlement until 1607 (Jamestown). After a few harsh years, this colony gradually gained a solid economic foundation due to tobacco cultivation. It was mainly run by small farmers in the 17th century, but in the next hundred years the colony became more and more active in plantation with slaves from Africa.
Virginia thus became a landowner community, but with a touch of independent farmers. Between Virginia and New England existed the so-called middle colonies, which differed politically, socially and on income basis from the others. There was greater variety and more commercial activity here.
In New England, life took on another touch. The settlers here had a much greater religious and social view. The pilgrim fathers, that is, the first 100 settlers to arrive in 1620 with the ship Mayflower, were religious outcasts from the Anglican Church, who had traveled from England for their convictions. Many so-called Puritans, who wanted to purify the Anglican church from within, followed in their footsteps and wanted to build a new and alternative society. Partly for such reasons and partly because living conditions in New England were more difficult than in Virginia, the colonies in the north received a greater element of social equality. The wealth was more evenly distributed; the form of governance was theocratic- democratic.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Provides latest population data about United States. Lists by Year from 1950 to 2020. Also includes major cities by population.
This was most striking in the original colony of Massachusetts, but partly also characterized the new colonies that emerged in the north after the religious struggle in England towards the mid-1600s forced the “great emigration”. The newcomers settled and formed colonies such as Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, all with small farming, fishing and eventually shipping as trade routes.
In both Massachusetts and Virginia, a form of popular representation was developed early, creating a pattern for newer colonies. Representative bodies both taxed, appropriated money and drafted laws. During the political and religious turmoil in England in the 17th century, the colonies also achieved a great deal of independence in practice. But the emergence of the monarchy after 1660 strengthened the interests of the throne in the new world. This coincided with a weakening of the trading companies and private interests that had formally proposed the colonization. In 1606 a so-called Virginia company had been formed. The Massachusetts Company was established in 1629.
Things changed when most colonies became crown colonies from the late 1600s. The supreme executive authority was now assigned a royal appointed governor, who had the right of veto against a decision in the colony’s People’s Assembly. Equally important to the people of the colonies was that England, by the usual mercantilist principles of the time, sought to maintain a monopoly on trade with the colonies through a series of laws. These stipulated that most export goods could only be exported to England and that most import goods had to be imported through an English port.
For the first time, this was in favor of the colonies, which then secured a steady trade and shipping. England’s interest in expanding colonial rule and thus colonial territories also led the colonists to receive English support for expansion westward toward the Ohio Valley around 1750. During this they supported not only the Indians but also the French, who had founded colonies in the Mississippi. the valley and in Canada.
The wars between England and France from the late 17th century had also resulted in fighting between Englishmen and Frenchmen in America, and the war in the years 1756–1763 was no exception. The English colonists had a share of the honor for the whole of Canada falling under the English throne at the conclusion of the peace.
The independence struggle 1763–1783
Most people in the British colonies in America looked at each other as good Englishmen – perhaps even better than in the motherland. But the tension between the colonies and the United Kingdom became increasingly clear by the middle of the 18th century. The Paris Peace of 1763 became a turning point. In 1764, the British Parliament decided to introduce import duties on a number of goods to the colonies. In 1765 a stamp tax followed.
The orders were partly due to the fact that it had cost the United Kingdom a great deal to wage all the wars against France, partly on behalf of the colonies. The colonial representatives, however, denied that the English crown had the right to tax the colonies. This sense of independence was supported by strong progress in the colonies in the first half of the 18th century in terms of both population and general wealth.
While the population of the English colonies in America stood at about 200,000 in 1690, around 1765 it was up to 2.5 million. At the same time, the colonies had become far from self-reliant. The battle over customs duties reached a preliminary climax in 1773 with The Boston Tea Party. Dressed as Native Americans, 50 of Boston’s residents threw three shiploads of precious tea into the sea. The British government responded by blocking Boston Harbor and putting the Constitution of Massachusetts out of force.
The battle over the customs laws gathered the colonies for the first time. A number of national “congresses” followed. The first, in 1774, decided to discontinue all trade with the British. Bloody clashes between colonists and British troops at Concord and Lexington in April 1775 triggered the war. In May of that year, a new Continental Congress in Philadelphia took over as interim government for the United States and appointed George Washington as Army Chief. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence followed.
The wars of fortune changed a great deal. To begin with, the British won several victories; the US Army was uneducated, reflected poor cohesion between the colonies and suffered from money problems. However, the British also had major problems, primarily with the supplies. Following a British defeat at Saratoga in October 1777, the Americans succeeded in concluding a war alliance with France. With the assistance of a French Army, General George Washington forced British General Charles Cornwallis to surrender with 8,000 men at Yorktown in October 1781. The victory proved decisive.
At the peace treaty in Paris in 1783, the United Kingdom recognized the United States’ independence.
From Independence to Civil War 1783-1861
Formally, the United States was one nation after the War of Independence, but in reality the unity and commonalities were weak in the next few years. According to the so-called Confederation Articles, passed in 1777, the Congress did not have the authority to print taxes that could reduce the large war debt, among other things.
The United States was to act as a loose union of states, and in the post-war period, individual states strengthened their power at the expense of the Union. This happened at the same time as economic depression and social unrest. By the way, the United Kingdom had recognized the independence of the individual states and not the United States. The British further closed the important West Indian market for US ships while Spain sought to assert itself in the southern regions of the new nation.
The relationship between the Union and the individual states was in fact not settled until the Civil War. In principle, however, there was a major change in 1789. While the development to date has been towards greater power for the states, the trend has now been the opposite. The turmoil and uncertainty led to a Constitutional Assembly meeting in Philadelphia with envoys from 12 of the 13 states. The Philadelphia Convention convened from May to September 1787 to work out a compromise between the federalists, who wanted a centralized state power, and the anti-federalists.
In the new state apparatus, the balance between federal and state authority was established. At the federal level, power was divided between three basically equal and independent state powers: Congress, the presidential office, and the federal court. Corresponding triplets also took place at the state level (see sections on constitution and the judiciary above). The Union Constitution of 1787 entered into force in April 1789 after the draft was ratified by the states. George Washington became the first elected president, sitting in the period 1789-1797.
However, the new nation was far from safe. Washington and his successors in the presidency, John Adams (1797–1801) and Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809), managed to keep the United States out of the wars that raged in Europe at that time, but the Napoleonic wars created greater difficulties for US trade. In 1811, the Americans finally reached an agreement with France, while war with the United Kingdom came to an end in the years 1812-1814.
The British landed an army that destroyed Washington, but in return the Americans struck a British army force near New Orleans. The war strengthened the prestige of the United States, and the treaty with the United Kingdom in 1815 showed that the British had finally agreed to regard the United States as a unified sovereign state.
The Americans used their newfound strength to determine their distance from Europe. One result of this was President James Monroe’s (1817–1825) doctrine that the entire American continent would henceforth be closed to European powers from 1823. Foreign policy largely relied on an isolationist course, isolated from Europe.
At the same time, there was a strong expansion period. A number of new states were admitted into the Union: Vermont in 1791, Kentucky in 1792, Tennessee in 1796 and Ohio in 1803. In 1803, the United States purchased the then Louisiana from France (the Louisiana Purchase). As a result, the Union’s territory was increased by about 140 percent, which would provide the basis for 13 new states.
During Monroe, seven new states were admitted: Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine and Missouri. Florida was purchased by Spain, following an agreement of 1819 with a formal takeover in 1821, and later admitted as a state. Texas escaped from Mexico and became a state in 1845. After the war with Mexico in the years 1846–1848, California became a new state, and the territory of New Mexico later became the states of Arizona and New Mexico. Then Iowa followed and Wisconsin, so that the number of states in the Union rose to 30 in 1850.
In national productivity, there was also strong expansion in both the northern and southern states. From the 1790s there was a rapid growth of cotton plantations in the southern states. An important reason was that cotton cultivation was mechanized during the industrial revolution of the 1790s. At the same time, the industry, especially the cotton industry, shot at equally rapid speed in the north.
Modern assembly line industry was also introduced, first for weapons and then for other industrial areas. While an industrial proletariat was emerging in the northern states, but also a large number of free single peasants in the northwest, the land was increasingly gathered on the hands of the big plantation owners in the south. Although the Congress in 1807 definitively abolished the ban on slave imports, slave labor was now seriously underpinning cotton cultivation in the southern states. Here, the demand for free trade was strong, while higher tariffs were increasingly demanded in the north to protect the new industry.
Slavery, and especially its prevalence, gradually emerged as the major political issue. In 1820, a compromise solution, the ” Missouri Compromise, ” was set, which set a specific northern boundary for slave holdings. In 1850, the relationship between slave states and so-called free states was equal – 15 of each. However, the Kansas-Nebraska Agreement of 1854 gave the new states the right to decide for themselves by voting whether they wanted slavery or not.
The battle over slavery tapered the political divides. The federalist group from the independence period was disbanded early, and the anti-federalists transitioned into new party formation – first under the name of the Democratic-Republican Party and then as the Democrat, who in principle sat with the political power until 1860.
The ideology emphasized a free and open society where the individual was not to be hampered unnecessarily by the intervention of national authorities. Although the Democrats at that time attached more trust to local and state authorities, there was also no great confidence in such forms of publicity. However, the battle over the slave issue led to the formation of a new party, the Republican, which opposed slavery and advocacy of protectionism, the sale of union land to free peasants – and a more centralized state government.
At the presidential election of 1860, Republicans with their candidate Abraham Lincoln prevailed.
Reconstruction and economic development 1865-1898
The period from the end of the Civil War to 1877 became known early as the “Reconstruction Period “. This reflected not only economic recovery of the ravaged southern states, but also political reform. Even Lincoln had had major problems with radical elements within his Republican party, which in Congress advocated harsh practices against the southern states.
Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), was almost dismissed from office because, like Lincoln, he was too lenient on the slain enemy. Radical Republicans, despite Johnson’s veto, passed a series of laws that gave the Union full military and political control over the southern states. The radical congressional majority also passed laws that guaranteed freedom and civil rights for the blacks, while the white “rebels” for a time lost the same rights.
In the state assemblies in the south during this period, the freed blacks dominated, often as straw men for radical (also corrupt) northern state interests. White southern states responded by trying to prevent the blacks from exercising their civil rights. In the earliest reconstruction years, the secret extremist organization Ku-Klux-Klan sought to achieve this goal through terror and brutal assaults on blacks.
The conditions of the blacks were not improved after the reconstruction period ceased and the Northern State troops were withdrawn, in 1877. On the contrary, racial segregation, segregation, open policy in the southern states towards the end of the century, without the intervention of the northern states. A number of laws and regulations often made it impossible for blacks to vote in elections. Only in the early 1960s were the last racial segregation laws, the Jim Crow laws, repealed by the federal Congress.
The northern states recovered quickly after the war. The wars of destruction had mostly occurred in the south. Industrial development accelerated. Railway construction, which had increased in the 1830s and increased significantly in the 1850s, was now started across the continent. In 1869, the first railway between the east and west coasts opened. This created opportunities for the farmers in the prairie. New land was cultivated, soon with new agricultural machinery. The value of industrial production was sixfold in the period 1860-1900, while the number of factory workers increased from 1.3 to 5.3 million. Mass immigration provided ample access to labor. The population of the United States increased from 31 million in 1860 to 50 million in 1880 and 76 million in 1900.
The period from 1865 to the end of the century was primarily the era of large capitalism. All in 1850, the small industry was largely out-competed, and in the decades that followed, large companies became dominant in American industry. Immigration provided cheap and disorganized labor, and little consideration was shown in the struggle for profit. Large capital was collected partly by individual millionaires and partly by joint-stock companies. These, in turn, gained control of the markets through cartels and trusts. The trusts in particular became powerful through their complete dominance in industries such as steel, oil and railways. Politically, too, they became a factor of power of great importance.
The last part of the 19th century was the heyday of the Republican Party – from 1854, which during this period began to be called “The Grand Old Party” (GOP). Still, Republicans did not completely dominate. In the decades following the Civil War, much of the real divide between Republicans and Democrats was also lost, and the battle often degenerated into pure power struggle and manipulation of economic benefits for party members. Corruption often occurred. It had a special scope in the reign of President Ulysses Simpson Grant in the period 1869-1877, with the formerly capable general appearing weak as an administrator.
In 1873, the double coin base with the mint of silver and gold was set, despite protests from mining circles and farmers. The latter, who were meeting increasingly poor times, felt that the main problem lay in too little money and that the delay in the minting of silver was a financial threat. Farmers, especially in the Midwest and the South, were no happier with their action, populism, against large capital just before the turn of the century. But also elsewhere in the country a reaction to unrestrained capitalism has emerged, and in 1890 the first anti-trust law was passed.
Imperialism and World War 1898-1920
The United States traditionally considered itself an anti-colonialist nation because of its own struggle against the old European colonial powers. The United States had then not participated in the race for colonies in Africa and Asia. However, the idea of allowing American ideals to become part of the world community was strong. At the same time, the United States had, at the turn of the century, built up a huge production apparatus that placed it primarily among the great powers. Natural resources existed in large quantities, but the markets were limited.
Such conditions characterized the foreign policy to an increasing extent. All in 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia. The demand for other support points in the Pacific was violently promoted just before 1900 when the fleet was in a modernization and build-up period.
In 1898, the same year that the United States annexed Hawaii, the country went to war against Spain. The result was that the United States subjugated Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Under Theodore Roosevelt in the years 1901-1909, imperialist politics was further strengthened. When Colombia in 1903 negatively leased territory to the United States for canal construction, the Department of Panamá, with US support, declared itself independent and made the canal zone available to the United States. The channel itself was completed in 1914. At the same time, the United States increased its influence in Central America.
In 1911 it was decided to fortify the Panama Canal. President Woodrow Wilson (1913–21) was peaceable, but despite this came in tense relations with both Japan and Mexico.
The imperialist foreign policy gained support among the population. Two factors in particular can help explain this. First, the American people were changing their character from an Anglo-Saxon nation to a “nation of nations.” Earlier waves of immigration had probably led to dissatisfaction, but immigrants had largely been integrated and assimilated.
It was different with the veritable tidal wave, the so-called “new” immigration wave, that struck the United States from southeastern Europe after the 1880s. Increasing racial awareness in the established population coincided easily with economic defense mechanisms of the working population, as new immigration worsened working conditions. An aggressive attitude towards other peoples was often the result. Perhaps equally important, however, was that imperialist politics was combined with reform policy at home. Theodore Roosevelt enjoyed great popularity for his persistent and apparently effective opposition to the big trusts.
In another way, he was in line with the “progressive movement” of the period 1890–1917, which in particular in the urban areas called for the fight against uncontrolled capital forces that were wasted on national resources, stimulated political and other corruption and created slums in the big cities. Roosevelt worked for natural resources such as mines, forests and hydropower to belong to the public. When he handed over the presidency to his co-worker Robert Taft, he expected that this domestic policy line would continue. Taft, however, proved far more conservative, prompting a group of Republicans under Sen. La Follette to break out and form “the progressive party.”
At the 1912 general election, Roosevelt voted as a progressive candidate, referring Taft to third place. However, the winner was Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Under Wilson, the banking system was reformed, income tax introduced in principle, trade regulated and customs duties lowered on a number of important commodities and life necessities.
World war one
The United States declared itself neutral when World War I broke out in August 1914, but produced ammunition and war materials for the Western powers (entente). After many episodes, the United States in March 1917 joined the war on the entente’s side. One triggering reason was in particular Germany’s unrestricted submarine war. A great effort by American troops, money and materiel contributed greatly to the German defeat in 1918. Especially on the western front of Europe, the Americans also suffered great loss of life; 48,909 were killed while 230,074 were wounded.
Wilson, despite the war, tried to pursue an anti-imperialist policy that separated him more and more from his predecessors. In January 1918, he presented to Congress 14 points that would form the basis for a future peace. The key was to avoid territorial annexations and war reparations.
When Germany started peace talks, it was on the basis of Wilson’s 14 points. This and Wilson’s idealism made him a leading figure during the Versailles Peace Conference, but the peace settlement did not reflect the wishes of the Americans. Admittedly, he was resolved to establish a League of Nations, but annexes and reparations proved inevitable. Wilson had misjudged the bitterness in Europe, but also in his own US Senate, which refused to ratify the peace agreement and to allow the United States to bind itself through the League of Nations.
At home, the war stimulated progress in three particular fields. The abstinence campaign resulted in a nationwide ban on the production and import of alcoholic beverages in January 1919. The following year, women’s voting rights were enshrined in the Constitution. The war industry’s need for labor had also brought mass displacement of blacks from the southern states to industrial centers in the north, a development that would soon make the racial problem as acute in the north as it was in the south.
Interwar period and economic crisis, 1920–1940
Republicans recaptured the presidential office in 1920 under the slogan “Back to Normalcy”. The normal would in this case say the situation at least a couple of decades back. Although cultural phenomena such as jazz and film were now breaking through and giving the impression of rapid development, nostalgia and reaction were equally important trends in the decade. This was expressed, among other things, by a strong support in ancient agricultural America about the Protestant religion; such as the monkey process.
Another issue was political clap hunting for anarchists and left-wing extremists just after the world war. The prosecution and execution of two murder accused, Sacco and Vanzetti (the Sacco-Vanzetti case), were partly characterized by the fact that the two were both anarchists and Italians. The reluctance of the “new” immigration wave also resulted in a series of laws, so that after 1924, strict national quotas were introduced, and the allowed immigration was radically reduced.
The urge for “normal” conditions, however, appeared first and foremost in the economic life where business and Republican politicians wanted to get away from the restrictions imposed by recent decades, especially the World War. Large capital and finance gained more leeway with the support of the Republican government, which largely advocated a liberalist laissez-faire policy.
The “normal” policy enjoyed a reputation for a time because it coincided with an apparent economic boom. After a shorter downturn just after the world war, the industry experienced a hectic flowering period. But the distribution of income was uneven. The peasants in particular had a difficult time, and attempts to improve their position through legislative amendments were rejected.
Wall street cracked
Extensive speculation created an unhealthy economic structure. The crash on the New York Stock Exchange in October 1929 therefore became more than one episode, it initiated a long economic depression. In the winter of 1932–1933, unemployment reached a quarter of the workforce, more than 13 million people.
The depression in the United States became part of the economic world crisis at this time. For this crisis, the United States had to bear co-responsibility. Even after the world war, the foremost credit nation, with large outstanding claims, isolated itself from the outside world. While the United States was in debt to foreign countries for about $ 3 billion, the country now had about $ 14 billion. However, the debtor nations were not able to pay the debt on goods due to the high US protection duty, so US debtors abroad continued to increase. Admittedly, part of the debt was paid off in gold abroad, which the Americans found to have to place in Europe, but from the late 1920s, US capital exports declined. The Wall Street crash started the world crisis.
New deal policy
At the election in 1932, it was clear that the Democrats were going to win. With Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–1945) came an election promise for a new donor, the New Deal, for the American people. In reality, the New Deal policy did not stand for a unified concrete policy, but more for a new attitude: to provide purchasing power and security to the vast majority of people by deliberately using federal authority and federal funds.
To combat unemployment, deficit budgeting and major emergency work were used as instruments. Agriculture was assisted through a broad-based subsidy program in which farmers were subsidized for not cultivating all available land; By reducing production, agricultural prices were raised. The Roosevelt administration also for the first time entered into a collaboration with the industry leaders on state aid, including on condition that the workers were granted organizational rights. During the New Deal also heard the first unemployment and age struggles, shortening of working hours, wage increases for the lowest paid workers and increased credit from the banks.
Eventually, the New Deal met with opposition, not only from the business world, but also from the federal Supreme Court, which declared several of the laws unconstitutional. An attempt by Roosevelt to force the Supreme Court into a more progressive line in 1937, shortly after he was re-elected by a large majority, was a failure. Admittedly, the Supreme Court changed after each basic view, but at the same time Congress appeared unwilling to enact more reform laws. It also weakened Roosevelt’s position that unemployment was never eliminated. An economic downturn in 1937 caused the number of unemployed to rise again to around 10 million in 1938.
The problem was not solved until a new world crisis, this time military, created work for everyone. Roosevelt was nonetheless re-elected as the first US president to a third term in the 1940 elections.
After World War I, US isolationism was further strengthened. In 1928, the United States signed the Kellogg Pact, which labeled war as an illegal means of international dispute resolution. The country also participated in the disarmament conference in Geneva until it collapsed in 1933. From 1934, a large number of reciprocal trade agreements with other countries were concluded to facilitate foreign trade, and this was a development away from isolationism.
But Congress, on the other hand, passed a series of neutrality laws. One law in 1935 banned the export of war materials to warring countries, another in 1939 allowed exports, but not on US ships. In a speech in October 1937, Roosevelt rejected isolationism and later worked for American involvement in world development, both as a broker and, if necessary, as support for the Western powers. During this, he relied on intense political resistance, which was not only related to foreign policy motives.
Many opponents questioned the rationale for fighting European dictators when Roosevelt seemed to be aiming for dictatorial power in the United States.
The United States reacted neutrally to the world crisis from the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Still, sympathy for the Western powers was clear. This was expressed in Roosevelt’s policy in that he passed the Lend -Lease Act in March 1941. It granted the West Allies the right to borrow and rent war materials from the United States.
In April, Roosevelt let US troops take control of Greenland, and in July, American forces replaced the British in Iceland. In August, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met and sent out the Atlantic Declaration.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base on December 7, 1941 came unexpectedly. The attack gathered the Americans. Admittedly, the old isolationism appeared in the demand that the Pacific war had to be given first priority when the isolationists primarily distanced themselves from Europe and the European, but the president rejected this with the support of most military commanders. The war in Europe then came to the fore.
The US strategy was based on the earliest possible invasion of mainland Europe, a view shared by the Soviet Union. The Americans, however, had to bow to a time of British desires and delay the gangway. Instead, landings were made in North Africa in November 1942, as a prelude to actions northwards against Italy and the European mainland.
Roosevelt wanted, as far as possible, to keep the great powers together, not only on the basis of the necessity of war, but also on the basis of the desire to build a viable United Nations after peace. Both objectives were expressed during the summits in Tehran in December 1943 and Yalta in February 1945. The United States also wanted Soviet participation in the war against Japan.
As the United States mobilized its military forces, the industry also mobilized its forces. The country’s output rose to double, and unemployment disappeared. Especially through the loan and lease agreements, the United States served as a weapons smuggler for the Allies. Strict price controls were introduced. However, political activity continued during the war without interruption, but the opposition could not prevent Roosevelt from winning the 1944 election against Thomas Dewey. When Roosevelt died in April 1945, he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
One of Truman’s first decisions was to continue the work on nuclear weapons. To put an end to the war and save Allied lives, but also to some extent to prevent Soviet territorial gains in the Far East, two nuclear bombs were dropped over Japan in August 1945. During the last major summit of the Potsdam war in July 1945, the nuclear weapon was mentioned only indirectly and vaguely by Truman in an informal conversation with Stalin. Japan capitulated on August 14, well over three months after Germany. About 300,000 US soldiers fell in the war.
Overview of US History
|About. 30,000 BCE||Immigration of hunters and collectors, probably from Northeast Asia. These become the ancestors of the American indigenous peoples|
|About. 800 BCE||The Adena culture of the Ohio Valley, early agricultural culture|
|700 – 1200 AD||Anasazi culture, agricultural culture among the Pueblo Indians in the southwest. Large villages led by clan chiefs|
|about. 1000||Nordic seafarers, including Leiv Eiriksson, come to the east coast of North America|
|1000’s||The Apache and Navajo Indians settle in the southwest|
|1500s||The Iroquois League is formed southeast of the Great Lakes|
|1560s||Failed French colonization attempt in Florida|
|1584||Beginning English colonization trial in Virginia, led by Walter Raleigh|
|1607||The English are joining in Virginia|
|1620s||English Puritans (Pilgrim Fathers on Mayflower) founded New England. The Netherlands founded the colony of New Netherlands at present-day New York|
|1600s||The Iroquois League is expanding and becoming a powerful political entity|
|1640-1660||English royalists found southern colonies|
|1664||The English conquer the Dutch colony|
|1660s||French colonization in Louisiana at the end of the decade|
|1756-1763||The colonial wars between England, France and Spain culminate in the Seven Years’ War, which crushes the French Empire in America|
|1775-1783||The North American Freedom Struggle. Declaration of Independence 1776. British Recognition in 1783|
|1789||The Union Constitution is put into effect. George Washington becomes the first President of the United States|
|1803||The United States buys the Louisiana area of France|
|1812-1814||War against Britain|
|1818||The border with Canada is finally determined|
|1819||Florida is purchased from Spain|
|1823||Monroe Doctrine in Relation to South America’s Liberation; The United States does not tolerate European interference with American politics|
|1840||The first colonization of the prairie is increasing|
|1845||Texas gets busy in the Union; this led to war with Mexico in the years 1845-1848. In the peace treaty, the United States secures all land up to the Pacific|
|1849||The gold rush in California|
|1861-1865||Severe tensions between the southern states (which would have slavery, free trade and weak union power) and the northern states lead to civil war after the southern states left the union in 1861. Slavery was abolished by Abraham Lincoln during the war. The northern states are victorious|
|1867||Alaska is purchased from Russia|
|1865-1890||Reconstruction of the Union. Reconstruction after the Civil War. Immigration from Europe is accelerating|
|1875-1900||Rapid industrialization. The first skyscrapers are being built. Imperialism|
|1898||War against Spain. The United States takes Puerto Rico and the Philippines and has influence over Cuba. Hawaii is annexed|
|about. 1900||Jazz occurs in downtown New Orleans|
|1902||The United States acquires the Panama Canal Company and secures the Channel Zone in 1903; the canal is completed in 1914|
|about. 1915||Hollywood becomes the center of the American film industry|
|1917||The United States enters the First World War|
|1920||Isolationism. Car age begins in earnest. The modern consumer society is taking shape|
|1919-1933||Alcohol prohibition leads to the rise of organized crime|
|1928||The first Mickey Mouse movie comes out|
|1929-1939||Stock market crash on Wall Street with subsequent depression|
|1933-1945||Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes president; social and economic reform (New Deal)|
|1941-1945||Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor fleet draws US into World War II. Serious setbacks in the beginning, but complete victory over Japan in 1945. Atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki|
|1946||Tense relations with the Soviet Union begin and begin the Cold War. The US is taking the lead in the Western bloc to stop Russian expansionism|
|1947||Marshall aid for economic reconstruction of Europe|
|1949||The Atlantic Pact. NATO is being created|
|1950-1953||Korean War. The United States intervenes through the UN|
|1950||Rock’n roll occurs|
|1962||The tense relationship with Cuba almost leads to war with the Soviet Union|
|1963||President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and is followed by Lyndon B. Johnson|
|1964||The Civil Rights Act. The racial issue becomes a dominant domestic political problem|
|1965-1973||Active military support for the government of South Vietnam (Vietnam War)|
|1968||Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are murdered|
|1960||Radicalization of the student body. The hippie movement. Militant groups among the civil rights defenders|
|1969||American astronauts land on the moon|
|1972||President Richard Nixon to China and the Soviet Union|
|1973||Vietnam Peace Agreement. The United States is withdrawing|
|1974||In connection with the Watergate case, Nixon resigns from the presidential post after political life has been paralyzed for a long time|
|1979-1981||Occupation of the US Embassy in Tehran|
|1980||Ronald Reagan is elected president on a conservative program|
|1983||Invasion of Grenada|
|1985||Negotiations with the Soviet Union on the reduction of nuclear weapons are resumed|
|1986||The Iran-Contras affair. Political scandals in Washington|
|1987||The INF agreement is signed; the first real disarmament agreement|
|1988||Drought leads to disaster for farmers. Yellowstone National Park in flames|
|1989||Invasion of Panama|
|1990-1991||The United States leads the multinational force in the Gulf War|
|1992||After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States is the only superpower. Economic downturns|
|1995||The NAFTA Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico comes into force|
|1998||Terrorist attacks against US embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es-Salaam; over 250 people are killed|
|Late 1990s||US Peace Initiative in the Middle East, Kosovo and Northern Ireland|
|1999||President Bill Clinton is being prosecuted before the Supreme Court for lying. The President is acquitted|
|2000||Extensive clutter is revealed at the presidential election. The smooth and decisive election in Florida is ultimately decided by the Supreme Court; George W. Bush becomes the new president of the United States|
|2001||Extensive terrorist attack on the United States on September 11. Both twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York are destroyed by hijacked passenger aircraft crashing into them; parts of the Pentagon are destroyed in the same way. The United States launches a worldwide war on terror|
|2003||The United States goes to war against Iraq for allegedly producing weapons of mass destruction. The action receives only limited international support|
|2005||The United States is hit by several natural disasters, including large parts of New Orleans|
|2008||Barack Obama wins presidential election; The United States gets its first black president. At the same time, the financial crisis is hitting the country hard and is beginning to recession which lasts for several years.|