A Chronology of American History:
15th | 16th
| 17th | 18th
| 19th | 20th
U.S. population: 75,994,575.
Under a "Gentleman's Agreement"
between Japan and the United States, Japan agrees to limit emigration
of laborers to the United States.
Robert LaFollette takes office as Wisconsin's governor, and puts
into effect the "Wisconsin Idea," which serves as a
model for "progressive government." This provided for
a direct primary in 1903 and a railroad commission in 1905.
January 10: Oil is discovered
at Spindletop near Beaumont, Texas.
Gold: The Oil Frontier)
March 2: Under the Platt Amendment,
Cuba authorizes the United States to maintain law and order and
agreed to sell or lease the U.S. land to serve as naval stations.
Spanish American War)
Mar 3: U.S. Steel is organized,
becoming the country's first billion dollar corporation.
Rise of Big Business)
September 6: President William
McKinley is shot in Buffalo, N.Y. by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist.
The president died on September 14, and is succeeded by Theodore
The federal government files anti-trust suits against North Securities,
a railroad holding company, and the beef trust in Chicago. Both
suits were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
May 12: The United Mine Workers
stage a strike against anthracite coal mine operators. President
Roosevelt appointed a commission to mediate the settlement.
Gompers and the American Federation of Labor)
June 2: Oregon becomes the first
state to institute the initiative and referendum, through which
the people can initiate legislation.
July 17: Under the Newlands Reclamation
Act, the federal government will build dams in sixteen western
Americans and Southwestern Growth)
November 3: Panama revolts against Colombia rule, clearing the
way for construction of an American canal.
the Caribbean and Central America)
December 17: With Orville Wright
on board, and lasting just 12 seconds, the Wright brother make
the first successful flight by a powered aircraft at Kitty Hawk,
December 6: President Theodore Roosevelt announces the Roosevelt
Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
the Caribbean and Central America)
April 17: The Supreme Court strikes down a New York law that prohibited
a banker from employing anyone more than 60 hours a week or 10
hours a day, ruling that it interfered with freedom of contract.
Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards -An Autobiography: Antanas
June 27: Socialists and labor
radicals form the International Workers of the World (the IWW
or the Wobblies) in Chicago. Big Bill Haywood, a representative
from the Western Federation of Miners proclaims this meeting "the
Continental Congress of the working class. The aims and objects
of this organization shall be to put the working class in possession
of economic power...without regard to the capitalist masters."
Unlike the AFL, which restricted its membership to skilled craftsmen,
the IWW opened membership to any wage earner regardless of occupation,
race, or sex.
Murder of Former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg)
Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle, an expose of working
conditions in Chicago's meatpacking houses. Sinclair had hoped
to generate sympathy for the working class, but wound up making
the public concerned about adulterated food. "I aimed at
the public's heart," he quipped, "but by accident hit
it in the stomach."
Roots of Progressivism)
April 18: The Great San Francisco
Earthquake kills 400 people and causes $500 million worth of damage.
June 30: The Pure Food and Drug
Act bars the sale of adulterated foods and drugs. That same day,
to address the problems of contaminated and mislabeled meat, Congress
passes the Meat Inspection Act providing for enforcement of sanitary
regulations in the meat-packing industry.
September 22: An anti-black riot
in Atlanta results leaves 21 people dead, including 18 African
October 11: The San Francisco
school board orders the segregation of all Japanese, Chinese,
and Korean children. On March 13, 1907, under pressure from the
President, San Fransico rescinds the action.
In his seventh annual message to Congress, President Theodore
Roosevelt said: "We are prone to speak of the resources of
this country as inexhaustible; this is not so." During his
presidency, 148 million acres were set aside as national forest
lands and 80 million acres of mineral lands were withdrawn from
December 16: "The Great White
Fleet," consisting of sixteen battleships, sets sail for
an around the world cruise.
In its decision in Muller v. Oregon, the Supreme Court acknowledged
the need for facts, not just legal arguments, to establish the
reasonableness of social legislation. Louis Brandeis, chief counsel
for the State of Oregon, used social science data to prove the
reasonableness of Oregon's law to restrict the hours that a woman
August 14-15: During two days
of anti-black rioting in Springfield, Ill., two thousand African
Americans are forced out of the city, two were lynched, and six
others were killed.
December 24: New York City revokes
the licenses of the city's movie theaters and returns them only
when the theaters agree not to show immoral films.
December 26: Black boxer Jack
Johnson knocks out Canadian Tommy Burns to become the heavyweight
champion. White promoters searched for a "Great White Hope"
to defeat Johnson. In 1915, he was defeated by Jess Willard in
a fight that many believed was fixed.
Henry Ford introduces his Model T. Priced originally at $850,
the Model T's price had fallen to $240 by 1924.
April 7: Explorers Robert Peary
and Matthew Henson reportedly reach the North Pole. Henson, who
was African American, trained the dog teams, build the sledges,
and spoke the language of the Eskimos.
May 31-June 1: The Niagara Movement.
A biracial group of religious leaders and humanitiarians incorporates
as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The organization demanded equal civil, political, and educational
rights, and enforcement of the 14th and 15th Amendments.
U.S. population: 91,972,266.
The publication, The Fundamentals,
spells out the basic precepts of fundamentalist religious belief:
the literal accuracy of Scripture and the reality of the Virgin
birth, the physical resurrection of Christ, vicarious atonement,
and the physical second coming of Christ.
June 18: The Mann-Elkins Act extends
the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission to include
telegraph and telephone companies and gives it the power to suspend
railroad rate increases pending investigation and court rulings.
June 25: White Slavery. The Mann
Act makes it illegal to transport women acros state lines, or
bring them into the United States, for immoral purposes. Red light
districts in ten cities are closed.
August 10: In his New Nationalism
speech, Theodore Roosevelt lays out his commitment to conservation,
a graduated income tax, regulation of trusts, and the rights of
November: The Mexican Revolution
begins when Francisco Madero leads an uprising against President
Dissident Republicans bolt the party and form the Progressive
Party, which endorses anti-trust enforcement, collective bargaining,
and conservation of national resources.
March 25: 146 Jewish and Italian
immigrant women are killed in a fire at New York's Triangle Shirtwaist
January: 25,000 textile workers go on strike against the American
Woolen Co. of Lawrence, Mass.
April 14-15: On its maiden voyage,
the Titanic sinks south of Newfoundland; about 1,500 of 2,200
passengers and crew members drown.
October 14: Theodore Roosevelt
is shot in a Milwaukee hotel during a campaign tour. Roosevelt
delivered a speech before going to a hospital.
February 17: An exhibition of avant garde, post-Impressionist
art works opens at New York's 69th Regiment Armory.
February 25: The 16th Amendment
permits an income tax. The federal income tax levies a tax of
1 percent on incomes above $3,000 for single individuals and above
$4,000 for married couples. A 1 percent surtax is imposed on incomes
above $20,000 rising to 6 percent on those above $500,000.
Summer: Henry Ford introduces
the assembly line, allowing him to produce a thousand Model T's
daily. Ford also institutes a $5 work day.
August 27: "Watchful waiting."
President Wilson refuses the recognize the Mexican government
of Gen. Victoriano Huerta, whose agents had assassinated President
Francio Madero in February.
December 23: The Federal Reserve
System is established, providing central control over the nation's
currency and credit.
Edgar Rice Burroughs publishes Tarzan of the Apes, the
story of a baby of English nobility who is raised by a band of
April 20: Company guards and National
Guard troops attack striking coal miners at John D. Rockefeller's
Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. in Ludlow, Colo. When the Ludow War
is over, 74 people had died, including eleven children.
April 21: After the arrest of
American sailors in Tampico, Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson
orders American sailors and marines to occupy Vera Cruz. In November,
after Mexican President Huerta fled the country, the president
withdrew the troops.
June 28: The assassination of
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austo-Hungarian throne,
by a Serbian nationalist, ignites a chain of events that results
in World War I.
Road To War)
August 15: The Panama Canal officially
September 26: The Federal Trade
Commission is established to prevent monopolies and unfair business
Margaret Sanger, who coined the term "birth control,"
is arrested in New York for distributing contraceptive information.
In October 1916, she opened the nation's first birth control clinic
February 8: D.W. Griffith's luridly
racist film, Birth of a Nation, provides a sympathetic
treatment of the Ku Klux Klan.
of a Nation)
February 23: Nevada grants divorces
after six months' residence.
July 6: Erich Muenter, a German
instructor at Cornell University, commits suicide after detonating
a bomb in the U.S. Senate reception room and shooting financier
J. Pierpont Morgan.
May 7: The British ship, the Lusitania,
is torpedoed and sinks off the Irish coast; 1,198 passengers drown,
including 114 Americans.
August 17: Leo Frank, a Jew, is
lynched in Atlanta, for allegedly murdering an employee at the
National Pencil Company.
November: Labor leader Joe Hill,
who had been convicted of murdering an ex-police officer, is executed
by firing squad in Utah. His last words were, Don't mourn for
December 4: Henry Ford charters
a "Peace Ship," in an effort to end World War I.
March 9: Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, along with 1,500
men, crosses the U.S. border to attack Columbus, N. Mex. Pres.
Wilson orders Brig. Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing
to capture Villa.
July 22: A bomb explodes at a
pro-war preparedness parade in San Francisco, killing ten.
September 13: To prevent a nationwide
railroad strike, the Adamson Eight-Hour Act mandates an 8-hour
work day in the railroad industry.
Revolution topples the Czarist government in Russia. In March,
Czar Nicholas II abdicates and a provisional government follows.
In November, the Bolsheviks overthrow the provisional government.
March 7: The Associated Press
publishes the "Zimmermann Telegram," which proposed
a German alliance with Mexico and promised Mexico recovery of
lost territory in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
April 2: In a speech asking Congress
to declare war against Germany, President Wilson says, "The
world must be made safe for democracy."
April 6: The United States declares
war on the Central Powers. Six Senators and 50 Representatives
vote against the declaration.
April 14: The president creates
Committee on Public Information to censor newspapers and magazines.
May 18: The United States institutes
a military draft. All men 21-30 are required to register.
June 15: Congress passes the Espionage
Act, providing for a $10,000 fine and 20 years in prison for anyone
who encourages disloyalty or interferes with the draft. Over 1,500
people were charged with violations of the law.
July 28: The War Industries Board
is established to mobilize industry and ration goods to support
the war effort.
September 5: Federal agents raid
IWW headquarters in 24 cities. Ten leaders are arrested including
"Big Bill" Haywood.
November: The British Foreign
Office issues the Balfour Declaration, pledging support for the
"establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish
January 8: President Woodrow Wilson issues his 14 Point plan for
a lasting peace. It calls for open peace treaties without secret
agreements; freedom of the seas; arms reductions, and establishment
of a League of Nations. French Prime Minister Clemenceau responds:
"Even God Almighty has only ten."
June 3: The Supreme Court invalidates
a law prohibiting the interstate shipment of goods made by under
September 14: Socialist party
leader Eugene Debs is sentenced to ten years in prison for violating
the Espionage Act. He was pardoned by President Warren Harding
October: A deadly influenza epidemic
reaches its height. Altogether, the epidemic killed nearly 500,000
January 18: The Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War I strips
Germany of land and natural resources; mandates steep reductions
in the size of the Germany army and navy; and levies punitive
reparations later set at $32 billion.
January 29: The 18th Amendment
to the Constitution bans "the manufacture, sale, or transportation
of liquors." At the time the amendment was adopted, prohibition
was already in effect in all southern and western states except
California and Louisiana.
September: 350,000 steelworkers
strike, following by 400,000 miners 40 days later. Altogether,
4 million workers went on strike during the year.
September 25: President Wilson
collapses from a stroke.
November 7: Palmer Raids. Under
orders from Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, Department of
Justice agents raid the headquarters of leftist organizations
in a dozen cities.
November 19: The Senate fails
to ratify the Versailles Peace Treaty. The Senate voted 55-9,
nine votes short of the required two-thirds majority.
U.S. population: 105,710,620.
Life expectancy had risen to 54
years from 49 years in 1901.
January 2: Government agents arrest
members of the IWW and Communist Party in 33 cities. 556 aliens
are deported for their political beliefs.
March 19: The Senate votes 49-35
to join the League of Nations, seven votes short of the two-thirds
vote necessary for ratification. Defeat became certain when President
Wilson instructed his supporters to vote down a League bill with
Republican amendments attached.
August 18: The Woman's Suffrage
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified.
September 28: A Chicago grand
jury indicts 8 players on the Chicago "Black Sox" for
throwing the 1919 World Series. The players were acquitted but
were later banned from baseball.
May 19: Congress institutes a quota system that limits immigration
to 3 percent of a nationality's number in the 1910 Census.
November 12: At the Washington
Conference for Limitation of Armaments, conferees agree to restrict
future construction of warships.
May: Congress reduces immigration to approximately 150,000 people
a year limiting each nationality to 2 percent of the number of
persons in the U.S. in 1890.
May: "The Crime of the Century."
Prodigies Nathan Leopold, Jr., and Richard Loeb confess to kidnapping
and killing 13-year-old Bobby Franks for "the thrill of it."
November: Two states, Wyoming
and Texas elected women governors.
July: At the "Monkey" Trial in Dayton, Tenn., schoolteacher
John Scopes is tried for violating a Tennessee law prohibiting
the teaching of evolution. Scope's defense attorney Clarence Darrow
called prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan to the stand,
and ridiculed Bryan's fundamentalist religious beliefs. Scopes
was found guilty of violating the law and fined $100. The sentence
was later overturned.
Henry Ford introduces the 49-hour work week in the auto industry.
May 21: 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh flies from Long Island to
Paris in 33 hours and 29 minutes.
August 23: Anarchists Nicola Sacco
and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed in Massachusetts for the
1920 killing of a factory guard, despite protests that they were
being punished for their radical beliefs.
October 6: The Jazz Singer, the
first "talkie," premieres. The first words: "You
ain't heard nothing yet."
August 27: Fifteen nations sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which
renounces war "as an instrument of national policy."
Eventually sixty nations ratified that agreement, which lacked
any enforcement mechanism.
February 14: St. Valentine's Day Massacre. 14 members of a Chicago
gang are shot to death in a Chicago warehouse on orders from Al
October 29: Black Tuesday. The
bull market of the late 1920s comes to a crashing end. Between
September 3 and December 1, stocks declined $26 billion in value.
U.S. population: 123,203,000
June 17: The Smoot-Hawley Tariff
raises duties on agricultural and manufactured goods, triggering
March 3. President Herbert Hoover signs an act making the "Star-Spangled
Banner" the national anthem.
March 25: Nine black youths, the
"Scottboro Boys, are charged with rape. The case established
the right of African Americans to serve on juries.
September: A bank panic leads
305 banks to close in September and another 522 in October.
Jan 22: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is established
to provide loans to banks, railroads, and insurance companies.
March 1: The son of aviator Charles
Lindbergh is kidnapped.
July 2: Democratic presidential
candidate Franklin Roosevelt promises a "New Deal" for
the American people.
July 28: Bonus Army. President
Herbert Hoover orders the army to remove 15,000 WWI veterans who
had been camped in Washington for two months demanding early payment
of a bonus due in 1945.
January 30: Adolf Hitler, leader of Germany's Nazi party, is appointed
March 4: Franklin D. Roosevelt
becomes President and launches the New Deal. In his inaugural
address, he says: "The only thing we have to fear is fear
itself." During his first hundred days in office, Congress
enacts the AAA, which provides farmers with payments for restricting
production; establishes the Civil Works Administration and the
Public Works Administration; and creates the Civilian Conservation
Corps, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Securities and Exchange
Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal
Bank Deposit Insurance Corporation.
December 5: Prohibition is repealed.
January 1: Dr. Francis Townsend, a 66-year-old retired dentist,
proposes federally-funded pensions for the elderly.
July 22: Public Enemy Number 1,
bank robber John Dillinger, is shot and killed by the FBI while
leaving a movie theater in Chicago.
September 15: The Nuremberg Laws
strip German Jews of and prohibit intermarriage with non-Jews.
May 27: The Supreme Court declares the national industrial Recovery
Act unconstitutional, suggesting that any federal effort to legislate
wages, prices, and working conditions was invalid.
June 10: Alcoholic Anonymous is
organized in New York City.
July 5: The Wagner Act guarantees
workers' right to bargain collectively.
August 14: President Roosevelt
signs the Social Security Act.
September 8: Huey Long is assassinated
in Louisiana's state capitol.
October 18: The Committee for
Industrial Organization is formed with John L. Lewis, president
of the United Mine Workers, as its head. In 1938, it became the
Congress of Industrial Organizations. Unlike the AFL, it did not
limit membership to skilled workers.
March 7: In violation of the Versailles Treaty ending WWI, 4,000
German troops occupy the Rhineland.
Summer: Jesse Owens wins four
medals at the Olympics in Berlin, rebutting Hitler's claims about
the superiority of the Aryan race.
July 17 Civil War erupts in Spain,
ending the country's five year experiment with democracy. Adolf
Hitler and Benito Mussolini provide arms to Gen. Francisco Franco,
who defeats the Loyalists in 1939 and imposes a dictatorship.
February 5: President Roosevelt proposes his "court packing"
February 11: After a 44-day occupation
of General Motors factories, GM recognizes the United Automobile
March 18: A school fire in New
London, Texas, kills 294.
March 29: The Supreme Court upholds
a minimum wage law for women.
April 12: The Supreme Court upholds
the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.
May 1: A Neutrality Act prohibits
the export of arms and ammunition to belligerents.
May 24: The Supreme Court upholds
the constitutionality of the Social Security Act.
December 12: Japanese planes sink
the U.S. gunboat Panay in Chinese waters, killing two. The Japanese
government apologizes and pays reparations.
May 26: The House of Representatives creates
September 29: Munich Pact: To
avert war, Britain and France give in to Hitler's claim to the
Sudetenland, the German-populated part of Czechoslovakia. Critics
denounce the agreement as "appeasement."
April 9: Denied use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the
American Revolution, contralto Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln
Memorial before 75,000 people.
August 23: Germany and the Soviet
Union sign a non-aggression pact. The two countries agree to divide
September: World War II begins
following Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1.
U.S. population: 131,669,275.
April 9: Norway and Denmark fall
to the Nazis.
May 10-29: Germany captures Holland,
Belgium, and Luxemburg.
May 26-June 4: 338,000 Allied
forces, mainly British, evacuate the continent at Dunkerque.
June 28: The Smith Act outlaws
organizations advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government.
August-November: Battle of Britain.
The Royal Air Force repels the Luftwaffe.
September 3: The U.S. provides
Britain with 50 aging destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases
on eight military bases in Newfoundland and the West Indies.
January 13: President Roosevelt calls on Congress to defend four
essential freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom
from want, and freedom from fear.
March 11: Lend-Lease. The U.S.
provides Britain with arms and supplies.
April 11: The Office of Price
Administration is established with power to set production priorities
and prices and institute rationing.
Summer: President Roosevelt freezes
German, Italian, and Japanese assets and embargoes shipments of
gasoline and scrap metal to Japan.
June 22: Germany invades Russia
in violation of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact.
December 7: Japanese planes and
submarines attack the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii. The surprise attacked heavily damaged or sank 19 ships
and killed 3,457 soldiers, sailors, and civilians.
January 20: Wansee Conference. The Nazis plan the "final
solution" to the Jewish problem.
February 19: President Roosevelt
authorizes the internment of 112,000 Japanese-Americans living
along the Pacific coast. Japanese-Americans in Hawaii were not
interned. More than 17,000 Japanese-Americans served in the U.S.
armed forces during the war.
April 10: The Bataan Death March
begins. 10,000 U.S. and 45,000 Filipino prisoners of war are forced
to march 120 miles to Pampanga Province. 5,200 Americans and thousands
of Filipinos died during the forced march.
April 18: "30 Seconds Over
Tokyo." Col. Jimmy Doolittle's carrier-based aircraft bomb
May 15: Gas rationing is put into
effect, limiting drives to three gallons a week.
June 3-6: The Battle of Midway.
U.S. aircraft repel a Japanese assault in the Central Pacific,
sinking 17 Japanese ships and shooting down 250 airplanes.
July 25: British and American
forces invade French North Africa.
November 28: A fire at Boston's
Coconut Grove nightclub kills 491.
December 2: A research team led
by physicist Enrico Fermi produces the first successful atomic
chain reaction at the University of Chicago.
May 9-10: Some 250,000 German troops surrender in Tunisia, abandoning
the last Nazi stronghold in Africa.
June 5-8: Zoot Suit Riots. Sailors
in Los Angeles attack Mexican Americans.
June 10: The United States institutes
a withholding tax.
June 20: An anti-black riot in
Detroit results in the deaths of 25 blacks and nine whites.
July 10: 150,000 British, American,
and Canadian forces land in Sicily, conquering the island in five
July 25: Benito Mussolini is forced
to resign as head of Italy's government after 21 years of rule.
September: British and American
forces advance into Italy.
Publishers introduce the "paperback" book.
June 6: D-Day. Over a 48-hour
period, 156,000 Allied troops storm the beaches of Normandy in
France, while 8000 Allied planes provide air cover.
June 22: President Roosevelt signs
the GI Bill of Rights, providing educational and vocational benefits
for returning veterans.
October 22-27: The Battle of Leyte
Gulf. At the largest naval battle in history, 166 U.S. ships and
1280 planes destroy five Japanese aircraft carriers, four battleships,
14 cruisers, and 43 other ships, and destroy 7000 aircraft.
December 16: The last German counter
offense of the war, the Battle of the Bulge, begins.
April 25-June 26: Representatives from 50 nations draft the United
Nations charter in San Francisco.
April 30: Adolf Hitler commits
suicide in an underground bunker in Berlin.
May 7: V-E Day. German forces
surrender to the Allies. Germany is divided into four zones.
June 26: Delegates from 50 nations
draft the United Nations Charter in San Francisco.
August 6: The Enola Gay, a B-29,
drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. On August
9, a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.
September 2: Japan formally surrenders
in a ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
November 20: The Nuremberg tribunal
convenes to hear cases of 22 high-ranking Nazis charged with war
crimes. Twelve were given the death sentence, three received life
terms, four were given 10-20 year prison terms, and three were
acquitted. A war crimes trial in Tokyo in 1948 resulted in the
hanging of Premier Tojo and six others.
March: Speaking in Fulton, Mo., Winston Churchill announces that
"an iron curtain has descended across the Continent"
Financier Bernard Baruch declares that "We are in the midst
of a cold war."
28-year-old Jackie Robinson becomes
the first African American in baseball's major leagues.
March 22: President Truman orders
loyalty investigations of all federal employees.
October 14: Air Force Captain
Charles Yeager becomes the first pilot to exceed the speed of
March 8: Congress authorizes the Marshall Plan.
May: The United States formally
recognizes the state of Israel.
June 24: Berlin Blockade. After
Joseph Stalin imposes a land blockade on West Berlin, President
Truman mounts an airlift; 277,000 flights carry over 2.5 million
tons of supplies to the city.
April 4: The United States joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO), and pledges to resist aggression against member nations.
October 1: Mao Tse-tung proclaims
the People's Republic of China. On December 8, China's Nationalist
government flees to Taiwan.
October 21: Eleven U.S. Communist
party leaders are sentenced to five years in prison and fined
U.S. population: 150,697,361.
Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Rep. Wisc.)
tells Wheeling, W. Va.'s Women's Republican Club: "I have
here in my hand a list of 205...names that were known to the Secretary
of State as being members of the Communist party and who nevertheless
are still working and shaping the policy of the State Dept."
May: A special Senate committee,
chaired by Sen. Estes Kefauver, conducts televised hearings on
June 25: The Korean War begins
when North Korean forces cross the 38th parallel into South Korea.
President Truman wins a UN mandate to drive communist forces from
South Korea because the Soviet delegation is absent.
September 15: UN forces land behind
enemy lines at Inchon, while other UN troops drive northward up
the Korean peninsula.
September 23: The McCarran Internal
Security Act requires Communist-front organizations to register
with the Subversive Activities Control Board.
October 7: U.S. forces cross the
38th parallel into North Korea.
November 29: After UN forces approach
the Yalu River, Chinese troops intervene,, pushing the U.S. and
its allies out of North Korea.
February 26: The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution stipulates
that no person may be elected president more than two times.
April 5: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
are sentenced to death for their alleged role in passing U.S.
atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.
April 11: President Truman dismisses
Gen. Douglas MacArthur for publicly challenging the policies of
his civilian superiors. MacArthur had advocated an invasion of
September 23: Checkers Speech. On nationwide television, Richard
M. Nixon, the Republican vice presidential candidate, explains
that an $18,000 private fund set up by wealthy backers was for
"necessary political expenses" and "exposing communism."
He added that he had received another gift, a cocker spaniel that
his daughters had named Checkers.
June 19: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg become the only American civilians
executed for espionage.
July 27: An armistice formally
ends the Korean War, which killed three million people and cost
the U.S. 54,000 lives and $22 billion.
August 19: The CIA engineers a
coup overthrowing Iran's Prime Minister Mohammed Mossaegh and
placing the Shah in power.
March 1: Five members of Congress are shot on the floor of the
House of Representatives by Puerto Rican nationalists.
April 22: The Army-McCarthy hearings
begin. Sen. McCarthy had charged that the Secretary of the Army
had interfered with his investigations of communists in the military.
The Army counter charged that McCarthy had sought favors for an
aide who was in the service. In December, the Senate censured
May 8: The French garrison at
Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam falls to insurgent forces, the Viet Minh,
led by Ho Chi Minh.
May 17: In Brown v. Board of Education,
the Supreme Court rules unanimously that segregated schools were
unconstitutional. Chief Justice Earl Warren writes: "We conclude
that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate
but equal' has no place. Separate education facilities are inherently
June 18: The CIA sponsors a coup
in Guatemala overthrowing the government of Jacobo Arbenz, which
had nationalized property owned by the United Fruit Company.
The United States provides $216 million in aid to South Vietnam.
August 28: Emmett Till, a 14-year-old
African American from Chicago, was kidnapped from his uncle's
home in LeFlore County, Miss. His mutilated body was recovered
four days later from the Tallahatchie River. Till had been accused
of acting disrespectfully toward a white woman. An all-white jury
acquired the two men accused of the crime.
December 1: Seamstress Rosa Parks
refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus to
a white man, leading to a year-long black bus boycott.
December 5: The American Federation
of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge.
October: Soviet troops crush a revolt in Hungary.
October 30: Israeli forces invade
the Sinai Peninsula after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser
nationalizes the Suez Canal and excludes Israeli shipping. The
next day, Britain and France begin to bomb Egypt.
The Senate's McClellan Committee investigates corrupt union practices.
The committee's counsel was Robert F. Kennedy.
September 24: President Eisenhower
sends a thousand army paratroopers to Little Rock, Arkansas's
Central High School, to permit nine black children to enroll in
the previously all-white school.
October 4: The Soviet Union launches
Sputnik, the first artificial satellite.
January 1: Fidel Castro marches into Havana, having defeated the
regime of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba.
U.S. population: 179,323,175.
U.S. scientists Charles H. Townes
and Arthur L. Schawlow patent the laser.
The first retirement community
opens in Sun City, Arizona, outside Phoenix.
A House subcommittee reports that
207 disk jockeys in 42 cities had received over $260,000 in payola
to play records on the air.
February 1: The "sit-in"
movement begins when four African American studies sit down at
a Charlotte, N.C. Woolworth's to protest segregated lunch counters.
May 5: A U-2 spy plane with Francis
Gary Powers at the controls is shot down over Sverdlovsk, Russia,
aborting a scheduled summit meeting between Soviet Premier Nikita
Khrushchev and President Dwight Eisenhower.
May 9: The Food and Drug Administration
approves the birth control pill. By 1962, 1.2 million American
women were taking it.
June 30: Belgium grants independence
to the Congo.
September 26-October 17: Presidential
candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon face off in four
January: In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warns:
"In the council of government, we must guard against the
acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought,
by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous
rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
March 1: President John Kennedy
creates the Peace Corps. By September, over 1000 volunteers are
providing assistance in underdeveloped countries.
April 12: Russian Cosmonaut Yuri
Gagarin becomes the first human to orbit the earth.
April 17: 1500 Cuban refugees,
trained at a secret CIA base in Guatemala, land at the Bay of
Pigs in Cuba. The attempt to topple the regime of Castro regime
is a failure. On Christmas, 1962, Castro exchanged 1,113 captured
invaders and 922 of their relatives for $53 million worth of medicine
May: FCC Commission Chairman Newton
Minow calls television "a vast wasteland."
May 4: The "Freedom Riders"
leave Washington, D.C. to desegregate public transportation facilities
in the South.
May 5: The U.S. launches its first
astronaut, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Alan Shepard, Jr., into space.
August 13: East German troops
install barricades in Berlin to stem the flow of East Germans
to the West. Four days later, East Germany begins to erect the
concrete Berlin Wall.
December 11: The first two U.S.
military companies arrive in South Vietnam. In October, President
Kennedy had written: "The United States is determined to
help Vietnam preserve its independence, protect its people against
communist assassins and build a better life."
Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, which documents
that damaged caused by pesticides.
June 25: The Supreme Court declares
the use of a non-denominational prayer in New York State schools
violates the Constitutional separation of church and state.
October 1: James Meredith becomes
the first African American student at the University of Mississippi.
An ensuing riots leaves two dead and 375 injured.
October 13: Pope John XXIII convenes
the Second Vatican Council to break down barriers separating Christians
of different denominations and overhaul the Catholic Church's
October-November: The Cuban Missile
Crisis. The U.S. and U.S.S.R. come close to nuclear war when the
U.S. learns that the Soviet Union is installing offensive nuclear
weapons in Cuba. The crisis ended when Moscow dismantles the launch
sites in exchange for President Kennedy's pledge not to invade
The U.S. and U.S.S.R. sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and install
a "hot line" to speed communications between the White
House and the Kremlin.
January 14: At his inauguration,
Alabama Gov. George Wallaces states: "I draw the line in
the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and
I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
August 5: The U.S., the Soviet
Union, and Britain sign a treaty banning nuclear tests in the
atmosphere, outer space, and underwater.
August 28: 200,000 civil rights
demonstrators in Washington, marching in support of the Civil
Rights Act, hear the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his
"I Have a Dream" speech.
September 15: A black church is
Birmingham, Ala. is bombed, killing four girls.
November 1: South Vietnamese President
Diem is killed in a military coup.
November 22: President John Kennedy
is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Two days later, his alleged
assassin was shot to death in a Dallas jail.
January 23: The 24th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits a
poll tax in federal elections.
February 17: The Supreme Court
rules that congressional districts had to be approted according
to the principle of "one man, one vote."
July 2: President Lyndon Johnson
signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, integrating public accommodations
and prohibiting job discrimination.
August 2: The U.S. announces that
North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked a U.S. destroyer in the
Gulf of Tonkin in international waters, 30 miles off the North
Vietnamese coast. By a vote of 502-2, Congress approved the Gulf
of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing the president "to take
all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces
of the United States and to prevent further aggression."
September 27: The commission established
by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the assassination of
President Kennedy concludes that he died at the hands of a single
assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
Ralph Nader publishes Unsafe at Any Speed, which calls for auto
February 7-8: The United States
bombs North Vietnam in retaliation for a National Liberation Front
attack on U.S. troops in South Vietnam.
February 21: Followers of Black
Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad shoot black nationalist leader Malcolm
X as he prepares to deliver a speech in a Manhattan ballroom.
March 7: Alabama state police
attack voting rights demonstrators with clubs and gas as they
prepare to march from Selma for the capital of Montgomery.
August 11-16: Arson and looting
erupt in the Watts district of Los Angeles, resulting in 34 deaths
and 3,900 arrests.
November 9-10: A power blackout
affects over 30 million people from Pennsylvania to southern Canada.
April 28: Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is arrested
for refusing induction after being denied conscientious objector
status. Boxing officials strip him of his title.
June 5: A Chicano group led by
Reis Tijerina seizes a county courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, N.
Mex., to dramatize their claim to lands granted their ancestors
June 5-11: Israel defeats Egypt,
Jordan, Syria, and the United Arab Republic in the "Six-Day
War," resulting in Israeli occupation of territories five
times the country's pre-war size.
Summer: The Summer of Love in
San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district.
July 12-17: A riot in Newark,
N.J., leaves 26 dead and over 1,500 injured.
July 23-30: A riot in Detroit,
sparked by a police raid on an after hours club, leaves 43 dead
and over 2000 injured.
October 2: Thurgood Marshall is
sworn in as the first African American Supreme Court justice.
January 23: North Korean gunboats capture the U.S. intelligence
January 30: The North Vietnamese
and Viet Cong launch the Tet Offensive against major cities in
South Vietnam, shattering faith that the United States was on
the verge of military victory.
March 16: My Lai Massacre.
March 31: President Johnson announces
that he will not seek reelection and orders a halt to most U.S.
bombing of North Vietnam.
April 4: The Rev. Martin Luther
King is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., where he is supporting
a sanitation workers' strike.
April 23-24: Students at New York's
Columbia University seize five buildings to protest the university's
ties to the military and its plan to build a gymnasium in a nearby
June 5: Democratic presidential
candidate Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated after delivering his
victory speech in the California primary.
August 20-21: Soviet tanks suppress
the liberal reforms in Czechoslovakia.
August 25-29: Police club demonstrators
at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
July 20: Astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to
walk on the moon. His first words from the lunar surface were:
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for all
August 16: Half a million gather
at a rock concert near Woodstock, New York.
November 16: The first reports
of the My Lai massacre are published.
November 20: 89 American Indian
activists occupy Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay to dramatize
the plight of Native Americans.
U.S. population: 203,211,926.
April 30: American troops begin
an incursion into Cambodia.
May 4: National Guard troops kill
four students at Kent State University in Ohio during protests
against the Cambodia invasion.
May 14: Two black students at
Jackson State University in Mississippi are killed by police firing
on a dormitory.
June 13: The New York Times prints the first installment of the
Pentagon Papers, a classified history of U.S. involvement
in the Vietnam War. The U.S. Justice Department sued to suppress
publication of the documents on grounds of national security.
June 30: The 26th Amendment gives
18 year olds the right to vote.
September 3: The Plumbers, a secret
investigative unit set up by the Nixon White House, burglarizes
the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsburg, in order to
find discredit the man who released the Pentagon Papers.
September 9: Inmates take over
New York State's Attica Prison. On September 13, state troopers,
sheriff's deputies, and prison guards stormed the penitentiary;
31 prisoners and nine guards being held hostage died.
October 25: President Nixon announces
he will visit China.
May 15: Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace is shot
in Laurel, Md.
June 17: Five burglars are caught
installing eavesdropping equipment in the offices of the Democratic
National Committee in the Watergate office complex in Washington,
September 5: At the Olympic Games
in Munich, eight armed Palestinian guerrillas storm the Israeli
athletes dormitory, killing one Israeli athlete and taking nine
hostages. During a shoot-out, the nine Israeli hostages were killed
and five of the eight Palestinians.
December 18: The Christmas Bombing.
President Nixon orders the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, apparently
in order to obtain the acquiescence to a peace agreement by President
Thieu of South Vietnam.
January 28: The United States and North Vietnam sign a treaty
ending direct American intervention in Vietnam.
February 27: The American Indian
movement occupies a trading post and church in Wounded Knee, S.D.,
the site of the 1890 massacre of the Sioux, to draw attention
to the grievances of Native Americans.
March 19: Watergate burglary defendant
James McCord informs the judge in the case that perjury had been
committed in the trial and that Administration officials had pressured
defendants to maintain silence and plead guilty.
March 21: President Nixon orders
the payment of $75,000 in hush money to defendant E. Howard Hunt.
The next day, Nixon told an aide, "I want you all to stonewall
it, let them plead the 5th Amendment, cover-up or anything else,
if it'll save itsave the plan...."
May 17: A Senate committee opens
hearings on the Watergate Affair.
July 16: A former White House
aide reveals to Senate Watergate investigators that President
Nixon maintained a secret tape-recording system in the White House.
Sept. 11: Chilean President Salvador
Allende is killed in a military coup. A junta led by Gen. Augusto
Pinoche takes over.
October 10: Vice President Spiro
Agnew resigns and pleads no contest to a charge of tax evasion.
Agnew had received kickbacks and bribes over a ten-year period
while serving as governor and county executive in Maryland. House
Republic leader Gerald Ford replaced Agnew as Vice President.
October 17: Arab countries impose
an oil embargo against the U.S. to raise oil prices and retaliate
for U.S. support for Israel.
October 20: The Saturday Night
Massacre. President Nixon orders his Attorney General Elliot Richardson
to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Rechildson refuses and
resigns. Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus also refuses
and is fire.
February: Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn is
expelled from the Soviet Union
July 24: A unanimous Supreme Court
orders President Nixon to release 64 tapes to the Watergate special
prosecutor, ruling that he may not withhold evidence from a criminal
July 27: The House Judiciary Committee
votes 27-11 to recommend President Nixon's impeachment.
August 8: Richard Nixon becomes
the first president to resign his office. Gerald Ford becomes
the 38th president, declaring "Our long national nightmare
September 8: President Ford pardons
Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed as president.
The pardon contributes to Ford's defeat in the 1976 presidential
Portugal grants independence to Angola and Mozambique.
April 30: The Vietnam War ends
when North Vietnamese troops occupy Saigon and rename it Ho Chi
May 12: Cambodia seizes a U.S.
merchant ship, the Mayaguez and its 39-member crew in the Gulf
of Siam. U.S. troops recover the ship and crew, but suffer 38
January 17: The United States ends a ten year moratorium on capital
punishment, when Utah executed convicted murderer Gary Gilmore.
Spain holds its first free elections since the Spanish Civil War
ended 41 years before.
19: Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt becomes the first Arab leader to visit
Israel since the nation's founding in 1948.
September: President Jimmy Carter mediates Egyptian-Israeli peace
16: Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) is the first
non Italian pope elected in 456 years
Iranian revolution begins
January 1: United States formally recognizes China
16: The Shah of Iran leaves his country and goes into exile, ending
his 37 year rule
1: The Ayatollah Khomeini returns from a 15 year exile and takes
power in Iran
26: Egypt and Israel sign a peace agreement
28: America’s worst nuclear accident takes place at the
Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
19: Somoza regime in Nicaragua is overthrown; Sandinistas take
November 4: Iranian militants seize American hostages
December 27: Soviet Union invades Afghanistan
November 4: Ronald Reagan is elected fortieth president
IBM releases its first personal computer
20: American hostages are released from Iran
30: President Reagan is shot in assassination attempt
13: Pope John Paul II is shot at and nearly killed in St. Peter’s
Square in Rome
29: Regan tax cuts are approved
5: Doctors diagnose the first cases of AIDS
5: President Ronald Reagan decertifies the air traffic controllers
25: Sandra Day O’Connor is sworn in as the first female
Supreme Court justice
Congress deregulates banking industry and lifts controls on airfares
1: CNN, the cable news network, is launched
19: Argentine forces land on the Falkland islands, touching off
the Falklands War with Britain
13: Vietnam Veterans Memorial, designed by Maya Lin, opens in
29: The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan Equal Rights Amendment
fails to achieve ratification
Congress enacts the Boland Amendment, which bars the use of Federal
money to overthrow the Nicaraguan Government
January 1: The word Internet is first used
23: Regan proposes “Star Wars” missile defense system
1: Korean Air Flight KAL-007, a commercial airliner, is shot down
by a Soviet jet fighter, killing 269
25: United States topples Communist government on the Caribbean
island of Grenada
January 1: AT&T, the telephone utility, breaks up into 22
6: Ronald Reagan is reelected
orders an end to all covert aid to Nicaraguan contras
July: United States begins secret arms-for-hostages negotiations
11: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union
January 28: Space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after takeoff,
killing all aboard
26: A Soviet reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine
25: Reagan administration announces that profits from Iranian
arms sales were diverted to Nicaraguan contras
June 12: President Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev
to tear down the Berlin Wall
19: Stock market plunges 508 points in a single session, the worst
decline in Wall Street history
18: A Congressional report states that US President Ronald Wilson
Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing
by his aides in the Iran-Contra Affair
Al-Qaeda founded by Osama bin Laden
8: George Bush is elected forty-first president
21: Libyan agents blow up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland,
February 15: Soviet forces complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan
24: The Exxon Valdez spills 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska's
Prince William Sound
30: Pro-democracy demonstrators erect a 33-foot "Goddess
of Democracy" statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square in Beijing,
4: Pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square are crushed
September-December: Communist regimes collapse in Eastern Europe
18: The regime of Erich Honenecker, Communist leader of East Germany,
10: Berliners begin to tear down the Berlin Wall
20: The United States invades Panama and ousts strongman General
February 26: The Sandinistas are defeated in elections in Nicaragua
2: Iraqi troops invade and occupy Kuwait
3: Germany is reunited
January-February: U.S., Western, and Arab forces eject Iraq from
Kuwait by force
26: Tim Berners-Lee introduces the first web browser
3: Los Angeles police are videotaped beating motorist Rodney King
during an arrest
18: Soviet hardliners place President Mikhail Gorbachev under
house arrest. The coup’s failure results in a shift in power
to the Soviet Republics
31: Soviet Union is dissolved; Cold War ends
January 15: Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence; a
civil war will begin as Yugoslavia breaks up
29: Riots erupt in Los Angeles following acquittal of police officers
in the beating of motorist Rodney King
3: Democrat Bill Clinton is elected forty-second president
Congress passes North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), eliminating
trade barriers between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico
26: Terrorists bomb World Trade Center in New York City, killing
3, 4: 18 Marines, members of a UN peace-keeping force, are killed
1: The Maastricht Treaty creates the European Union
7: Toni Morrison receives the Nobel Prize for Literature, the
first African American to do so
Congress defeats President Bill Clinton's health care plan
1: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect
7: Massacres of Tutsis begin in Rwanda
10: Nelson Mandela is sworn in as president of post-apartheid
8: Republicans win control of both the House and Senate in the
1994 mid-term elections
April 19: Bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma
City. The blast killed 167 men, women, and children and injured
853 others (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance
Abuse Services, May 31, 1998).
4: Football star 0. J. Simpson is found not guilty of murder in
deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman
4: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an
Israeli opponent of the peace process
July 5: Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be successfully
cloned from an adult cell
5: Bill Clinton is reelected president
August 7: Bombings at U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar
el Islam, Tanzania kill 224 people
5: The journal Nature reports that genetic testing indicates that
Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings’s son Eston
19: The House of Representatives approves two articles of impeachment
against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under
oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice in the Monica
World population reaches six billion
12: President Clinton is acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment
24: NATO launches a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia
20: In Littleton, Colorado, two high school students murder 12
students and one teacher before committing suicide
31: The United States transfers control of Panama Canal to Panama
June: Researchers decode the human genome
12: A 5-to-4 Supreme Court ruling ends efforts to recount the
votes in the presidential election in Florida. As a result, Republican
candidate George W. Bush becomes the forty-third president, receiving
a majority of the electoral votes despite losing the popular vote
September 11: Terrorist attacks kills thousands of civilians and
destroy the World Trade Center towers in New York City and part
of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The United States retaliates
for the September 11 attacks by overthrowing Afghanistan’s
4: The first of 22 cases of anthrax infection is detected in the
United States; anthrax infections will result in five deaths