At this time in history, great ice caps had formed, and the sea level had dropped. This created a land bridge between Russia and the Bering Strait. Ancient peoples crossed this land bridge before the water rose again, and so America received its first inhabitants.
Columbus persuaded the British monarchs to fund his voyage to the Americas. When Columbus arrived in the Bahamas, he believed he had reached the East Indies.
Roanoke was one of the first attempted colonies in the Americas. After establishing the colony, Sir Walter Raleigh left for England. Upon returning, the entire colony had vanished, lending the colony its nickname: The Lost Colony.
When John Rolfe perfected tobacco cultivation in the Americas, he gave rise to a crop that would become the staple of American commerce for a full century.
In response to declining piety among colonists, the Congregational Churches of New England formed a new method obtaining at least partial church membership. One had to experience a conversion to become a full member.
Many impoverished, single young men had begun roaming the countryside of the Chesapeake area, when they were united by Nathaniel Bacon to rebel against Governor William Berkeley.
Pope's rebellion was a response to Spanish Roman Catholic Missionaries spreading Catholicism in New Mexico. The native people staged an uprising, and destroyed nearly every Catholic Church in the area.
Twenty people were executed on suspicion of being witches on the orders of a group of little girls. The mass hysteria and suspicion surrounding witchcraft brought on mob mentality hangings.
The Great Awakening was characterized by the introduction of emotionalism into preaching. It revitalized religion in the colonies.
John Peter Zenger, accused of libel, was sent to court. He won his case, and so a major step towards free speech was gained.
Officially ended the Seven Years' War as a victory for Great Britain over Spain and France.
The Stamp Act Congress convened to appeal to the king of England to repeal the much hated Stamp Act. Their efforts were largely ignored in Britain and in America.
Placed a light import duty on glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea. Despite being an external tax, Americans were still angered by the lack of representation.
A group of redcoats opened fire on a mob of patriots when the redcoats were threatened with violence. The incident killed three and wounded more.
Angered by the recent taxes on tea and other such commodities, a group of revolutionaries boarded ships in the Boston Harbor, and dumped huge amounts of tea into the water.
The British commander in Boston sent a detachment of troops to Lexington to seize colonial stores of gunpowder in an effort to put down the rebellion. The redcoats opened fire on the rebels, and the Revolutionary War began.
After massacring the rebels at Lexington, the redcoats pushed on to Concord, where they were defeated and forced to retreat by militiamen using guerrilla tactics.
An American army led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold seized Bunker Hill outside of Boston. The English forces sent to drive them off attacked them head-on, and the redcoats were continuously mowed down until the Americans ran out of gunpowder.
Signed by the delegates of the Second Continental Congress, this document officially declared war with, and secession from Britain. It is widely regarded today as the birth of the US.
General Burgoyne, surrounded by American militia, was forced to surrender his entire command to General Horatio Gates. This victory revived the rebellious colonial cause.
The Articles of Confederation were the first set of federal laws laid out for the United States. While they were a step in the right direction, they granted too little power to the federal government.
Treaty between the US and the Iroquois Confederacy. it relinquished huge amount of Indian land to the US government directly after the Revolutionary War had ended.
Set aside the land of the Old Northwest to be sold, and the proceeds used to pay off the national debt.
The Constitution was the much needed reformation of the central government of the US. It was ratified slowly, and with much debate in the individual states, but the promise of a Bill of Rights brought many to endorse it.
Determined that a colony would become a state when it had 60,000 or more residents. Also forbade slavery in the Old Northwest.
When the US was nearly pulled into a war with against England in the Franco-American alliance, President Washington issued the Neutrality Proclamation, declaring that the still weak US would not get involved in the war.
Whiskey brewers, upset by the recently passed tax on whiskey, began to rebel. George Washington sent a large army to put down the rebellion, but the rebels had already dispersed before the army arrived.
In an effort to avoid war, President Adams sent an envoy to reach an agreement with the French. When they requested to meet the foreign minister, Talleyrand, they were approached by three go-betweens referred to as X, Y, and Z. These men demanded bribes to see Talleyrand, and the diplomats refused to pay.
The Second Great Awakening came as a backlash to the growing liberalism of the age. Beginning in the southern frontier lands, the revivals swept up more followers than the first Great Awakening as they covered the United States. Great preachers like Peter Cartwright and Charles Grandison Finney sprouted in the religious reform.
Created in the last days of Adams' presidency, it created sixteen new federal judgeships and other judicial offices. Though it was a needed reform, it was met with opposition from Republicans who viewed it as an attempt to entrench the federalist party in the judicial system.
The huge expanse acquired in the Louisiana Purchase needed to be explored and charted, so President Jefferson sent Merriweather Lewis and William Clark to explore it.
An Indian rebellion led by Tecumseh and the Prophet was nearly crushed in this battle. General William Henry Harrison advanced on the headquarters of the rebellion at Tippecanoe, and crushed the Indian opposition.
Forces led by Andrew Jackson crushed the Indian rebellions with yet another debilitating defeat. After this battle and the Battle of Tippecanoe, there was virtually no organized resistance to westward white settlement.
Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the Bank of the United States was constitutional by way of implied powers, and that the state of Maryland could not tax federal bank notes, thus empowering the federal government and waning the power of the states.
Admitted Missouri as a slave state, and Maine as a free state to keep the balance of power. It outlawed all future slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri. The compromise was made by Henry Clay to break the deadlock over the slavery issue.
The advent of steamboats brought about a canal-cutting craze, which the Erie Canal was built around. The canal runs from Lake Erie to the Hudson River, and from there to the ocean. The price of land in the area skyrocketed, and transportation costs were cut, thus creating economic empire in New York.
The election of 1824 resulted in no candidate receiving a majority of the electoral votes, and so it fell to the House of Representatives to choose the next president. Henry Clay, being the Speaker of the House, had huge sway over the fate of the election. He hated Jackson, and Crawford had been paralyzed, so he decided on Adams, who then gave him secretaryship of state. This raised a scandal over the bargaining of the office as incentive to vote for Adams.
In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which provided for the transport of Indians east of the Mississippi to the lands west of the Mississippi. This act was made at the request of Andrew Jackson, who believed that he was preserving the Indians. Instead, he uprooted over 100,000 Native Americans, and created the infamous Trail of Tears.
A small insurrection in Canada incited American citizens to strike against the British by supplying the insurgents with supplies. The Caroline, carrying supplies on the Niagara River, was attacked and sunk by a British force, killing one American. Americans protested against this unlawful attack on US soil, and greatly strained relations with Britain while the United States was attempting to maintain neutrality.
The Wilmot Proviso proposed the abolition of slavery in territories acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War. This was first proposed by, and named for, David Wilmot.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo put an end to the Mexican War. and gave the United States all of the land in the Mexican Cession, which was the largest cession of land to the United States. It required that the United States pay 15 million dollars to Mexico, and to assume the claims of United States citizens against Mexico in the amount of $3,250,000.
Uncle Tom's Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, sparked an outrage among abolitionists over slave auctions, which the book depicts as the worst aspect of slavery. It has been credited, even by President Lincoln, as the book that started the Civil War.
After acquiring huge tracts of land from the Mexican Cession, the US required a transcontinental railroad to reach its spoils of war. The land desired to build a railroad through was controlled by Mexico, and so James Gadsden, minister to Mexico, purchased the land for $10,000,000.
Prior to 1854, Japan had been closed to trade with the western world. Then, Commodore Matthew C. Perry arrived in Japan with a large fleet of warships. After his impressive display of force, he persuade the Japanese to sign a treaty allowing the beginnings of an economic relationship with Japan and the rest of the world.
The Supreme Court ruled that slaves were property, and could be taken to any state, so Dred Scott was still a slave. They also ruled that The Missouri Compromise had been unconstitutional.
John Brown raided the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, killing seven innocents. He desired a free black state refuge and an armed uprising of blacks against their masters. John Brown was later hanged, becoming a martyr.
South Carolinian Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter after Lincoln ordered that the fort be supplied to prevent it from surrendering to the Confederates. This sparked the beginning of the Civil War.
The Confederate Navy, being blockaded by the Union, built a makeshift ironclad out of a wooden ship and railroad rails. They hoped to use it to break the blockade, but were instead fought to a standstill by a Union ironclad: the Monitor. The Merrimack was later destroyed by Confederates to prevent its use by the advancing Union.
Lincoln warned on this day that all slaves held in the confederate states would be free on January 1st, 1863. Lincoln did not actually have power over these slaves, and refused to free slaves that he did have power over for fear of losing the support of the border states.
The Battle of Gettysburg claimed the lives of many soldiers on both sides in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Picket's Charge at the battle marked the northernmost Confederate push, and the end of the Confederacy.
While the United States was preoccupied with its own Civil War, Emperor Napoleon of France sent a military force to occupy Mexico City in 1863 despite the Monroe Doctrine. He then created a puppet government with Archduke Maximilian as the emperor of Mexico.
After taking Tennessee, Grant's command was hand to General William Tecumseh Sherman. Sherman was tasked with taking Georgia, and cut a bloody swath through the landscape, burning Atlanta, destroying railroads, looting, and practicing total war.
When Lee surrendered to General Grant, it marked the end of the fighting in the Civil War. While there may have been pockets of resistance left, the Confederacy was practically crushed.
This was the final act made to free the slaves. After a hard fought Civil War, the United States passed the 13th amendment to the Constitution.