||McKinley's 2nd inauguration.
Shot by anarchist
Panama Canal Zone
||Theodore Roosevelt's second inauguration
||Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of the
established (July 26).
||William Howard Taft is inaugurated
||Woodrow Wilson inaugurated.
World War I:
U.S. enters World War I, declaring war on Germany (April 6, 1917) and
Austria-Hungary (Dec. 7, 1917) three years after conflict began in
1914. Armistice ending World War I is signed (Nov. 11, 1918).
||Panama Canal opens to traffic
||Worldwide influenza epidemic, by 1920, nearly 20 million
(0.5 million in US) are dead.
League of Nations
meets for the first time; U.S. is not represented (Jan. 13).
Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting the manufacture,
sale, and transportation of liquor (Jan. 16). It is later repealed by
the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933.
Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, granting women the right to
vote (Aug. 18). President Wilson suffers a stroke (Sept. 26).
Versailles, outlining terms for peace at the end of World War I, is
rejected by the Senate (Nov. 19).
||Warren G. Harding is inaugurated as the 29th
president (March 4). He signs resolution declaring peace with Austria
and Germany (July 2).
||President Harding dies suddenly (Aug. 2).
He is succeeded by his vice president, Calvin Coolidge.
scandal breaks, as Senate launches an investigation into improper leasing of
naval oil reserves during Harding administration (Oct.)
||Coolidge's second inauguration (March 4).
Tennessee passes a law against the teaching of evolution in public schools
(March 23), setting the stage for the
Trial (July 10–25).
makes the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in his plane The
Spirit of St. Louis (May 20–21).
||Herbert Hoover is inaugurated as the 31st
president (March 4). Stock market crash precipitates the
||The Star-Spangled Banner is adopted as
the national anthem (March 3).
Caraway of Arkansas is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, to
fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband (Jan. 12). She is
reelected in 1932 and 1938.
completes first solo nonstop transatlantic flight by a woman (May 21).
Amendment to the Constitution, sometimes called the “Lame Duck
Amendment,” is ratified, moving the president's inauguration date from March
4 to Jan. 20 (Jan. 23). Franklin Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd
president (March 4).
recovery measures are enacted by Congress (March 9–June 16).
Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, repealing Prohibition
Administration is established (April 8).
Act is passed (Aug. 14). Bureau of Investigation (established
1908) becomes the
Federal Bureau of Investigation under
J. Edgar Hoover
||F. Roosevelt's second inauguration (Jan.
Standards Act is passed, setting the first
in the U.S. at 25 cents per hour (June 25).
World War II:
U.S. declares its neutrality in European conflict (Sept. 5, 1939). F.
Roosevelt's third inauguration (Jan. 20, 1941). He is the first and
only president elected to a third term. Japan attacks Hawaii, Guam, and the
Philippines (Dec. 7, 1941). U.S. declares war on Japan (Dec. 8).
Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; U.S. reciprocates by
declaring war on both countries (Dec. 11). Allies invade North Africa
(Oct.–Dec. 1942) and Italy (Sept.–Dec. 1943). Allies invade
France on D-Day (June 6, 1944). F. Roosevelt's fourth inauguration
(Jan. 20, 1945). President Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet at
Yalta in the
USSR to discuss postwar occupation of Germany (Feb. 4–11). President
Roosevelt dies of a stroke (April 12) and is succeeded by his vice
president, Harry Truman. Germany surrenders unconditionally (May 7).
First atomic bomb is detonated at Alamogordo, N.M. (July 16).
President Truman, Churchill, and Stalin meet at
Berlin, Germany, to demand Japan's unconditional surrender and to discuss
plans for postwar Europe (July 17–Aug. 2). U.S. drops atomic bomb on
Japan (Aug. 6). U.S. drops atomic bomb on
Japan (Aug. 9). Japan agrees to unconditional surrender (Aug. 14).
Japanese envoys sign surrender terms aboard the USS Missouri in
Tokyo harbor (Sept. 2).
||United Nations is established (Oct. 24).
||The Philippines, which had been ceded to the
U.S. by Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War, becomes an independent
republic (July 4).
Succession Act is signed into law by President Truman (July 18).
Intelligence Agency is established.
||Congress passes foreign aid bill including the
which provides for European postwar recovery (April 2). Soviets begin
blockade of Berlin in the first major crisis of the cold war (June 24).
In response, U.S. and Great Britain begin
food and fuel to West Berlin (June 26).
||Truman's second inauguration (Jan. 20).
Treaty Organization (NATO) is established (April 4). Soviets end
blockade of Berlin (May 12), but airlift continues until Sept. 30.
Cold war conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces on Korean
Peninsula. North Korean communists invade South Korea (June 25, 1950).
President Truman, without the approval of Congress, commits American troops
to battle (June 27). President Truman removes Gen. Douglas MacArthur
as head of U.S. Far East Command (April 11, 1951). Armistice
agreement is signed (July 27, 1953).
||Vietnam War: Prolonged conflict between
Communist forces of North Vietnam, backed by China and the USSR, and
non-Communist forces of South Vietnam, backed by the United States.
President Truman authorizes $15 million in economic and military aid to the
French, who are fighting to retain control of French Indochina, including
Vietnam. As part of the aid package, Truman also sends 35 military advisers
(May 1950). North Vietnamese torpedo boats allegedly attack U.S.
destroyer in Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam (Aug. 2,
1964). Congress approves Gulf of Tonkin resolution, authorizing
President Johnson to take any measures necessary to defend U.S. forces and
prevent further aggression (Aug. 7). U.S. planes begin bombing raids
of North Vietnam (Feb. 1965). First U.S. combat troops arrive in
South Vietnam (March 8–9). North Vietnamese army and Viet Cong launch
Tet Offensive, attacking Saigon and other key cities in South Vietnam
(Jan.–Feb. 1968). American soldiers kill 300 Vietnamese villagers in My
Lai massacre (March 16). U.S. troops invade Cambodia (May 1,
1970). Representatives of North and South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and
the U.S. sign a cease-fire agreement in Paris (Jan. 27, 1973). Last
U.S. troops leave Vietnam (March 29). South Vietnamese government
surrenders to North Vietnam; U.S. embassy Marine guards and last U.S.
civilians are evacuated (April 30, 1975).
Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, limiting the president to two
terms (Feb. 27). President Truman speaks in first coast-to-coast live
television broadcast (Sept. 4).
becomes a U.S. commonwealth (July 25). First
is detonated by the U.S. on
atoll in the Marshall Islands (Nov. 1).
||Dwight Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th
president (Jan. 20). Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for
passing secret information about U.S. atomic weaponry to the Soviets
Sen. Joseph R.
McCarthy accuses army officials, members of the media, and other public
figures of being Communists during highly publicized hearings (April
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans.:
Court decision declares that racial segregation in schools is
unconstitutional (May 17).
||Eisenhower's second inauguration (Jan. 21).
President sends federal troops to Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.,
to enforce integration of black students (Sept. 24).
||Explorer I, first American satellite,
is launched (Jan. 31).
||Alaska becomes the 49th state (Jan. 3)
and Hawaii becomes the 50th (Aug. 21).
||U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Cuba
(Jan. 3). John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th president (Jan.
20). Bay of
Pigs invasion of Cuba fails (April 17–20). A mixed-race group of
volunteers sponsored by the Committee on Racial Equality—the so-called
Freedom Riders—travel on buses through the South in order to protest
racially segregated interstate bus facilities (May).
||Lt. Col. John Glenn becomes first U.S.
astronaut to orbit Earth (Feb. 20).
Crisis: President Kennedy denounces Soviet Union for secretly installing
missile bases on Cuba and initiates a naval blockade of the island (Oct.
||Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivers his “I
Have a Dream” speech before a crowd of 200,000 during the civil rights march
on Washington, DC (Aug. 28). President Kennedy is assassinated in
Dallas, Tex. (Nov. 22). He is succeeded in office by his vice
president, Lyndon B. Johnson.
||President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act
||In his annual state of the Union address,
President Johnson proposes his
program (Jan. 4). L. Johnson's second inauguration (Jan. 20).
State troopers attack peaceful demonstrators led by Rev. Martin Luther King,
Jr., as they try to cross bridge in Selma, Ala. (March 7). President
Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discriminatory voting
practices (Aug. 6). In six days of rioting in Watts, a black section
of Los Angeles, 35 people are killed and 883 injured (Aug. 11–16).
Court decision further defines due process clause of Fourteenth
Amendment and establishes Miranda rights (June 13).
Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, outlining the procedures for
filling vacancies in the presidency and vice presidency (Feb. 10).
||Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated
in Memphis, Tenn. (April 4). Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated
in Los Angeles, Calif. (June 5–6).
||Richard Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th
president (Jan. 20). Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr.,
become the first men to land on the Moon (July 20).
||Four students are shot to death by National
Guardsmen during an antiwar protest at Kent State University (May 1).
Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, lowering the voting age from
21 to 18 (July 1).
||Nixon makes historic visit to Communist China
(Feb. 21–27). U.S. and Soviet Union sign strategic arms control
agreement known as SALT I (May 26). Five men, all employees of
Nixon's reelection campaign, are caught breaking into rival Democratic
headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, DC (June 17).
||Nixon's second inauguration (Jan. 20).
Roe v. Wade:
Court decision legalizes abortion in first trimester of pregnancy
(Jan. 22). Senate Select Committee begins televised hearings to
Watergate cover-up (May 17–Aug. 7). Vice President
Spiro T. Agnew
resigns over charges of corruption and income tax evasion (Oct. 10).
President Nixon nominates Gerald R. Ford as vice president (Oct. 12).
Ford is confirmed by Congress and sworn in (Dec. 6). He is the first
vice president to succeed to the office under the terms laid out by the
||House Judiciary Committee recommends to full
House that Nixon be impeached on grounds of obstruction of justice, abuse of
power, and contempt of Congress (July 27–30). Nixon resigns; he is
succeeded in office by his vice president, Gerald Ford (Aug. 9).
Nixon is granted an unconditional pardon by President Ford (Sept. 8).
Five former Nixon aides go on trial for their involvement in the Watergate
cover-up (Oct. 15); H. R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman, and John
Mitchell eventually serve time in prison. Nelson Rockefeller is confirmed
and sworn in as vice president (Dec. 19).
||Jimmy Carter is inaugurated as the 39th
president (Jan. 20). President Carter signs treaty (Sept. 7)
agreeing to turn control of Panama Canal over to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999.
||President Carter meets with Egyptian president
Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin at Camp David
(Sept. 6); Sadat and Begin sign Camp David Accord, ending 30-year
conflict between Egypt and Israel (Sept. 17).
||U.S. establishes diplomatic ties with mainland
China for the first time since Communist takeover in 1949 (Jan. 1).
Malfunction at Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania causes near
meltdown (March 28). Panama takes control of the Canal Zone, formerly
administered by U.S. (Oct. 1). Iranian students storm U.S. embassy in
Teheran and hold 66 people hostage (Nov. 4); 13 of the hostages are
released (Nov. 19–20).
||President Carter announces that U.S. athletes
will not attend Summer Olympics in Moscow unless Soviet Union withdraws from
Afghanistan (Jan. 20). FBI's undercover bribery investigation, code
named Abscam, implicates a U.S. senator, seven members of the House, and 31
other public officials (Feb. 2). U.S. mission to rescue hostages in
Iran is aborted after a helicopter and cargo plane collide at the staging
site in a remote part of Iran and 8 servicemen are killed (April 25).
||Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th
president (Jan. 20). U.S. hostages held in Iran are released after
444 days in captivity (Jan. 20). President Reagan is shot in the
chest by John Hinckley, Jr. (March 30). Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn
in as the first woman Supreme Court justice (Sept. 25).
||Deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights
Amendment to the Constitution passes without the necessary votes (June
||U.S. invades Caribbean island of Grenada after
a coup by Marxist faction in the government (Oct. 25).
||Reagan's second inauguration (Jan. 21).
||Space shuttle Challenger explodes 73
seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crew members (Jan. 28). It
is the worst
accident in the history of the U.S. space program. U.S. bombs military
bases in Libya in effort to deter terrorist strikes on American targets
Iran-Contra scandal breaks when White House is forced to reveal secret
arms-for-hostages deals (Nov.).
||Congress holds public hearings in Iran-Contra
investigation (May 5–Aug. 3). In a speech in Berlin, President Reagan
challenges Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” and open
Eastern Europe to political and economic reform (June 12). Reagan and
Gorbachev sign INF treaty, the first arms-control agreement to reduce the
superpowers' nuclear weapons (Dec. 8).
||George H. W. Bush is inaugurated as the 41st
president (Jan. 20). Oil tanker Exxon Valdez runs aground in
Prince William Sound, spilling more than 10 million gallons of oil (March
24). It is the largest
oil spill in
U.S. history. President Bush signs legislation to provide for federal
bailout of nearly 800 insolvent savings and loan institutions (Aug. 9).
U.S. forces invade Panama in an attempt to capture
Noriega, who previously had been indicted in the U.S. on drug
trafficking charges (Dec. 20).
||Iraqi troops invade Kuwait, leading to the
Persian Gulf War (Aug. 2).
Persian Gulf War:
U.S. leads international coalition in military operation (code named “Desert
Storm”) to drive Iraqis out of Kuwait (Jan. 16–Feb. 28). Iraq accepts
terms of UN ceasefire, marking an end of the war (April 6).
||U.S. and Soviet Union sign START I treaty,
agreeing to further reduce strategic nuclear arms (July 31). Senate
Judiciary Committee conducts televised hearings to investigate allegations
of past sexual harassment brought against Supreme Court nominee
by Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma (Oct.
||Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in
Dec. 1991, President Bush and Russian president Boris Yeltsin meet at Camp
David and formally declare an end to the cold war (Feb. 1). The
acquittal of four white police officers charged in the 1991 beating of black
motorist Rodney King in Los Angeles sets off several days of rioting,
leading to more than 50 deaths, thousands of injuries and arrests, and $1
billion in property damage (April 29). President Bush authorizes
sending U.S. troops to Somalia as part of UN relief effort (Dec. 4).
President Bush grants pardons to six officials convicted or indicted in the
Iran-Contra scandal, leading some to suspect a cover-up (Dec. 24).
||Bill Clinton is inaugurated as the 42nd
president (Jan. 20). Bomb explodes in basement garage of World Trade
Center, killing 6, injuring 1,000, and causing more than $500 million in
damage (Feb. 26). After 51-day standoff with federal agents, Branch
Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., burns to the ground, killing 80 cult
members (April 19). President Clinton orders missile attack against
Iraq in retaliation for alleged plot to assassinate former President Bush
(June 26). Eighteen U.S. soldiers are killed in ambush by Somali
militiamen in Mogadishu (Oct. 3–4). President Clinton signs
Free Trade Agreement into law (Dec. 8).
||Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee,
files a federal lawsuit against President Clinton for sexual harassment
federal office building in Oklahoma City kills 168 people (April 19).
U.S. establishes full diplomatic relations with Vietnam (July 11).
President Clinton sends first 8,000 of 20,000 U.S. troops to Bosnia for
12-month peacekeeping mission (Dec.). Budget standoff between
President Clinton and Congress results in partial shutdown of U.S.
government (Dec. 16–Jan. 6).
||Clinton's second inauguration (Jan. 20).
||President Clinton denies having had a sexual
relationship with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky (Jan. 17).
President Clinton releases 1999 federal budget plan; it is the first
balanced budget since 1969 (Feb. 2). In televised address, President
Clinton admits having had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky
(Aug. 17). U.S. launches missile attacks on targets in Sudan and
on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (Aug. 20). U.S. and Britain
launch air strikes against weapons sites in Iraq (Dec. 16). House of
Representatives votes to
President Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (Dec.
||Senate acquits Clinton of impeachment charges
(Feb. 12). NATO wages air campaign against Yugoslavia over killing and
deportation of ethnic Albanians in
(March 24–June 10).
at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., leaves 14 students (including
the 2 shooters) and 1 teacher dead and 23 others wounded (April 20).
U.S. and China sign historic trade agreement (Nov. 15).
||According to the census, the nation's
population numbers more than 280 million (April 1). No clear winner
is declared in close
election contest between Vice President Al Gore and Texas governor
George W. Bush (Nov. 7). Bush's tiny lead prompts automatic recount
of votes in Florida (Nov. 8). More than a month after presidential
election, U.S. Supreme Court determines the outcome by ruling against a
manual recount of ballots in certain Florida counties (Dec. 12). Bush
formally accepts the presidency, having won a slim majority in the electoral
college but not a majority of the popular vote (Dec. 13).
||George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd
president (Jan. 20). Two hijacked jetliners ram twin towers of World
Trade Center in worst
against U.S.; a third hijacked plane flies into the Pentagon, and a fourth
crashes in rural Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 people die in the attacks
(Sept. 11). U.S. and Britain launch air attacks against targets in
government fails to hand over Saudi terrorist
Osama bin Laden,
the suspected mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks (Oct. 7).
Following air campaign and ground assault by Afghani opposition troops, the
Taliban regime topples (Dec. 9); however, the hunt for bin Laden and
other members of al-Qaeda terrorist organization continues.
||In his first State of the Union address,
President Bush labels Iran, Iraq, and North Korea an “axis of evil” and
declares that U.S. will wage war against states that develop weapons of mass
destruction (Jan. 29). President Bush signs legislation creating new
Cabinet Department of Homeland Security. He nominates Tom Ridge as
secretary. (Nov. 25).
||President Bush presents case for Iraqi war in
State of the Union speech (Jan. 28). Space shuttle Columbia
explodes upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts
on board (Feb. 1). War in Iraq begins with an air strike on Baghdad
(March 20). U.S. forces enter Baghdad; city falls 4 days later (April
5–9). President declares victory in Iraq (May 1). Bush signs $350
billion tax-cut bill (May 28).