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Table of contents :
The Wounds of Civil War,1865–1898
Expansion at Home & Abroad,1867–1917
The Gilded Age, 1876–1899
The Progressive Era, 1900–1914
World War I & Normalcy, 1914–1928
Victorian to Modern America,1884–1928
Depression & the New Deal, 1929–1941
Global Origins of World War II,1922–1941
World War II, 1941–1945
The Cold War Begins, 1946–1959
The Baby Boom Generation, 1944–1969
The Rise & Fall of PostwarLiberalism, 1960–1979
Conservatism Ascendant, 1980–1989
The Cold War Ends, NewChallenges Begin, 1989–2000
Bush & the War on Terror, 2001–2008
The Obama Years, 2009–2012
The Media & Technology Revolution,1946–2010
The Wounds of Civil War, 1865–1898
1873 1875 1876
1. President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated; Andrew Johnson becomes president. 2. The 13th Amendment is ratified, forbidding slavery. 3. Black codes are enacted in the South to limit former slaves’ participation in social and civic life. 1. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is passed to counteract black codes and secure citizenship rights for former slaves. 2. The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union veterans, is founded; it will accept black members. 1. The Military Reconstruction Act is passed, dividing the former Confederacy into districts administered by the U.S. military rather than civil governments. 2. The Tenure of Office Act is passed, requiring that the Senate approve the dismissal of cabinet officers. 3. Former Confederate general Jubal A. Early publishes A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America, popularizing the myth of the “Lost Cause.” 1. The 14th Amendment is ratified, securing citizenship rights for former slaves. 2. President Johnson is impeached for violation of the Tenure of Office Act; he is later acquitted of charges and serves out his term. 3. Former Union general Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant is elected president. 1870 The 15th Amendment is ratified, protecting the voting rights of former slaves. The Ku Klux Klan Act is passed, empowering the president to suspend habeas corpus and to employ federal troops to supervise elections. Financial crisis precipitates the Panic of 1873, a severe economic downturn lasting six years. The Whiskey Ring scandal, involving bribe taking by Grant administration officials, breaks open. There is no clear winner in the closely contested presidential election between Rutherford B. Hayes (R-OH) and Samuel Tilden (D-NY), as several states report questionable or fraudulent results. The Compromise of 1877 settles the election and ends Reconstruction. a. Hayes is elected president. b. Democrats receive a promise that troops will be removed from the South. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by former Confederate president Jefferson Davis is published. Union and Confederate veterans mark the 25th anniversary of the Civil War together at Gettysburg. To disenfranchise African Americans in the South, the Mississippi Plan creates barriers to voting, such as a poll tax, literacy tests, and residency requirements. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases by African American journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett is published. In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court upholds the principle of “separate but equal,” permitting segregation. 1898 The first grandfather clause is enacted in LA, creating literacy and property requirements for voting but exempting poor whites who had voted prior to abolition or who descended from preabolition voters.
Expansion at Home & Abroad, 1867–1917 1867 1869 1873 1874
The U.S. purchases AK from Russia. The First Transcontinental Railroad is completed. Gold and silver are discovered in NV. Gold is discovered in the Dakota Territory.
WORLD’S #1 ACADEMIC OUTLINE
1876 1879 1887
1907 1914 1917
The Sioux and Cheyenne defeat Colonel George Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. African American Exodusters begin migrating from the Deep South to KS. Congress enacts the Dawes Severalty Act to prohibit tribal ownership of land in favor of individual land ownership on Indian reservations. The Influence of Sea Power upon History: 1660–1783 by naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan is published. 1. Historian Frederick Jackson Turner advances his “frontier thesis” of American democratic development. 2. Americans in HI depose Queen Liliuokalani. 1. The USS Maine explodes in the Havana harbor, leading to the Spanish-American War. a. This marks the third time Congress officially declares war. 2. In the Teller Amendment, the U.S. promises not to annex Cuba. 3. The U.S. Navy defeats Spain at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines, establishing the U.S. as a major naval power. 4. The U.S. Army defeats Spain at the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba. a. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt gains fame after leading his Rough Riders to victory. 5. The U.S. occupies Puerto Rico. 6. The U.S. signs a peace treaty with Spain. 7. The U.S. annexes HI. 1. Secretary of State John Hay articulates the U.S. desire for an “Open Door” policy in trade with China. 2. Fighting breaks out in the Philippines between U.S. forces and Filipino nationalists. The Cuban Constitution paves the way for independence. a. The Platt Amendment gives the U.S. the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and secure naval bases in Cuba. The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty gives the U.S. the right to build a canal across Panama. Roosevelt adds the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. a. The U.S. will be the “policeman” in Latin America to prevent European influence and secure stability. Roosevelt sends the Great White Fleet around the world to display the U.S. flag. The Panama Canal opens. The Jones Act is passed, granting U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans.
The Gilded Age, 1876–1899
1. Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone. 2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is published. 1877 1. The Great Railroad Strike begins in WV and spreads across the country. 2. Thomas Edison invents the phonograph. 1879 1. Edison invents the incandescent light bulb. 2. James Ritty invents the cash register. Thomas Edison 3. Terence V. Powderly leads the Knights of Labor. 1880 James Garfield (R-OH) is elected president. 1881 1. Garfield is assassinated by a delusional former supporter; vice president Chester A. Arthur (R-NY) becomes president. 2. Booker T. Washington founds the Tuskegee Institute. 1882 1. John D. Rockefeller creates the first trust: Standard Oil. 2. The Chinese Exclusion Act creates a moratorium on Chinese immigration for 10 years. 1883 1. The Pendleton Civil Service Act reforms the process for acquiring government jobs to emphasize merit rather than partisan support. 2. Railroads create time zones for the U.S. and Canada. 1876
1. Grover Cleveland (D-NY) is elected president. 2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) is founded. 1. A bomb goes off during a labor protest at Haymarket Square in Chicago. 2. The American Federation of Labor, a union for skilled workers, is founded by Samuel Gompers. Congress passes the Interstate Commerce Act, creating the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to regulate railroad practices and prices. 1. George Eastman introduces the Kodak camera. 2. Benjamin Harrison (R-IN) is elected president. a. He is the grandson of president William Henry Harrison. 3. Looking Backward: 2000–1887 by Edward Bellamy is published. 1. Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr found HullHouse in Chicago. 2. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie expounds the “gospel of wealth,” which states that the rich are obligated to engage in philanthropy. 3. The National Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union is formed, bringing together several regional farmers’ alliances to advocate for economic and political reforms. 1. The Census Bureau declares the American frontier closed. 2. Congress passes the Sherman Antitrust Act to combat organizations that act “in restraint of trade.” 3. Jacob Riis documents urban poverty and immigrant life in How the Other Half Lives. 4. WY achieves statehood, becoming the first state to allow women’s suffrage since 1807, when NJ revoked the right. 1. The Populist Party nominates a presidential candidate, James Weaver of IA, for the first time; he wins 22 electoral votes. 2. The Homestead Strike descends into armed violence. 3. Grover Cleveland is elected president. a. He is the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms. The Panic of 1893 devastates the financial sector, triggers a stock market collapse and business failures, and depletes Treasury gold reserves. a. About 20% of the workforce is unemployed. b. It is the worst economic depression in the U.S. before the Great Depression. 1. The Pullman Strike paralyzes the nation’s railroads. a. The Cleveland administration secures a federal court injunction against strikers, arguing that their actions impede mail delivery. b. Labor leader Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned for breaking the injunction. 2. Coxey’s Army, a group of unemployed men led by Jacob S. Coxey, march to Washington, DC, to protest hard economic times. 1. The Supreme Court upholds the use of injunctions to end strikes in In re Debs. 2. William Randolph Hearst’s New York Morning Journal battles Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World for readers and sales. 3. The Anti-Saloon League of America is created. 1. Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan (D-NE) delivers his Populist “Cross of Gold” speech. 2. William McKinley (R-OH) is elected president. The U.S. government has issued over 200,000 new patents since 1890.
The Progressive Era, 1900–1914
1900 1. The Gold Standard Act commits the U.S. to currency
backed by gold alone. 2. McKinley and Bryan face off again in the presidential election; McKinley is reelected. 3. The industrial workforce surpasses 17 million, up from 5 million in 1860. 1. Andrew Carnegie sells his steel business to financier J. P. Morgan, and it becomes part of U.S. Steel. 2. McKinley is assassinated by an anarchist; Teddy Roosevelt (R-NY) becomes president. 3. The Socialist Party of America is formed.
The Progressive Era, 1900–1914 (continued ) 1902 Roosevelt intervenes in the strike by the United Mine Workers of America and arranges arbitration. 1903 1. The Wright brothers build and fly the first powered airplane. 2. The Ford Motor Company is founded. 3. The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois is published. 1904 Roosevelt is elected W. E. B. Du Bois president. 1905 1. President Roosevelt mediates to end the RussoJapanese War, for which he will receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. 2. The Industrial Workers of the World is founded. 3. The Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the urban North is under way. 1906 1. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, a muckraking exposé about the meatpacking industry, is published. 2. Congress passes the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. 3. The Hepburn Act gives the ICC the power to regulate railroad rates. 1907 1. IN passes a law that permits the government to sterilize “confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles and rapists.” 2. The Panic of 1907 occurs; J. P. Morgan coordinates a response to end the crisis. 3. Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking by William James is published. 1908 1. In Muller v. OR, the Supreme Court holds that states may establish a 10-hour workday for women. 2. William Howard Taft (R-OH) is elected president. 1909 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded. 1910 1. The Mann Act makes it a federal crime to transport a woman across state lines for prostitution or “any other immoral purpose.” 2. The U.S. census reveals almost 9 million immigrants have arrived in the U.S. since 1900, mostly from Asia and southern and eastern Europe. 1911 1. A fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City kills 146 people, mostly young women. 2. The Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Taylor is published. 1912 Roosevelt forms the Bull Moose Party and runs for the presidency against Taft and Woodrow Wilson (D-NJ). a. Wilson is elected president. 1913 1. The Federal Reserve Act creates the Federal Reserve, the central banking system of the U.S. 2. The 16th Amendment is passed, permitting the income tax. 3. The 17th Amendment is passed, allowing the direct election of senators.
World War I & Normalcy, 1914–1928 1914
1. The Federal Trade Commission is established. 2. Under the Clayton Antitrust Act, unions are exempted from antitrust regulations. 3. World War I (WWI) begins in Europe with the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is reformed in GA. a. Its members are xenophobic, anti-Catholic, and racist. b. The KKK is popular not only in the rural South but also in the Midwest and major cities. Wilson is reelected, running with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” 1. In the “Zimmermann Telegram,” Germany urges Mexico to attack the U.S., promising former Mexican lands in the Southwest as a benefit. 2. Congress declares war on the Central Powers (chiefly, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) and joins WWI as one of the Allied Powers (chiefly, Britain, France, and Russia). 3. The Selective Service Act authorizes a draft. 4. The War Industries Board is created to oversee factory production; it is empowered to set prices and allocate resources. 5. The Committee on Public Information is founded to produce anti-German propaganda. 6. The Espionage Act forbids efforts to hamper the U.S. war effort or aid enemies. 7. The War Revenue Act raises income tax rates. 8. The Russian Revolution begins. a. Russia withdraws from the war. b. A Communist government is established in Russia. 1. President Wilson formulates his Fourteen Points plan, which calls for the creation of a League of Nations to foster international diplomacy. 2. The War Labor Board is created to set wages and hours. 3. The Sedition Act forbids “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” directed at the war effort.
1. The Treaty of Versailles is signed, ending WWI. 2. The 18th Amendment is passed, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol. 3. The Volstead Act provides enforcement mechanisms for Prohibition. 4. In Schenck v. U.S., the Supreme Court rules the Espionage Act of 1917 is constitutional. a. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. says the law does not “protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.” 5. MA governor Calvin Coolidge calls out a militia to confront the Boston police strike, arguing that “there is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” 1. The U.S. census reveals that, for the first time, the majority of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. 2. The Palmer Raids are ordered by the U.S. attorney general to round up anarchists and Communists. 3. The Senate rejects the Treaty of Versailles for the final time. 4. The 19th Amendment is ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage. 5. Warren G. Harding (R-OH), promising “normalcy,” is elected president. 1. Eugenicist and contraception advocate Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League, which later becomes Planned Parenthood. 2. Treasury secretary Andrew W. Mellon begins a series of tax cuts. 3. The Sheppard-Towner Act is passed by Congress, providing aid for infants and pregnant women. The U.S. economy begins postwar recovery. 1. President Harding dies. Vice president Calvin Coolidge (R-MA) becomes president. 2. The Equal Rights Amendment is proposed. 1. The Harding-era Teapot Dome scandal is revealed. 2. The National Origins Act curtails immigration. a. Immigration is limited to 150,000 immigrants from Europe, mostly from northern Europe. b. Asian immigration is banned. 3. Law students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murder 14-year-old Bobby Franks. 4. Coolidge is elected president. 1. TN science teacher John Scopes is tried for violating a state law that prohibited teaching evolution. a. The Scopes trial is contested by famous lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan. b. Satirical journalist H. L. Mencken brands it as the “Monkey Trial.” 2. Clarence Birdseye develops a process for freezing food. 1. In Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Court upholds a law permitting forced sterilization of the disabled. a. Justice Holmes says, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” 2. Italian immigrants and suspected anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for robbery and murder. 3. Charles Lindbergh is the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. 1. Alfred Smith (D-NY) becomes the first Catholic candidate for president. 2. Herbert Hoover (R-CA) is elected president. 3. Jacob Schick invents the electric razor.
Victorian to Modern America, 1884–1928 1884 1897 1902 1903 1904
1907 1910 1915
The first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, is built in Chicago. Steeplechase Park opens on Coney Island, NY. The first Rose Bowl college football game is played. The first World Series is played. Adolescence by psychologist G. Stanley Hall is published, identifying adolescence as a distinct life phase and voicing fears that the ease of modern urban life had made boys “over-refined.” Harry Houdini performs the Milk Can Escape. Stratemeyer Syndicate, publisher of mass-produced series fiction for boys, begins publishing the Tom Swift stories. 1. D. W. Griffith pioneers the feature film with The Birth of a Nation. a. The film lionizes the KKK of the Reconstruction era. b. After a White House screening, President Wilson lauds the film. 2. Silent film star Charlie Chaplin appears in The Charlie Chaplin Tramp. 2
1920s 1. The Harlem Renaissance, a movement that fosters
the growth of African American literature, music, and art, develops. 2. The flapper style is popular among young women. 3. Department stores, featuring elaborate amenities, are on the rise in cities. 1920 KDKA in Pittsburgh becomes the first commercial radio station. 1924 Macy’s stages its first Thanksgiving Day Parade. 1925 1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is published. 2. The Man Nobody Knows is published; written by ad man Bruce Barton, the book depicts Jesus as a successful businessman. 1926 1. The Book-of-the-Month Club is founded, promoting middlebrow culture. 2. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway is published. 1. The Jazz Singer is the first full-length “talkie.” 2. Babe Ruth sets his home run record. 1928 1. The minstrel comedy radio Ernest Hemingway show Amos ‘n’ Andy begins broadcasting. 2. Walt Disney creates Mickey Mouse. 1927
Depression & the New Deal, 1929–1941
1. The stock market crashes on Black Tuesday, October 29. 2. Hoover gathers business and union leaders at the Conference for Continued Industrial Progress and asks them to promise not to reduce employment or wages and not to strike. 1930 1. Congress enacts the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, raising tariffs to record levels. 2. Construction begins on the Hoover Dam in NV. 3. Populist Catholic priest Fr. Charles Coughlin begins devoting his radio show to politics; in time, he will attack Communism, capitalism, FDR, Jews, and intervention in WWII. 1931 Unemployment passes 15%, up from 3% in 1929. 1932 1. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is created to issue loans to banks. 2. The Bonus Army of WWI veterans marches on Washington, DC, to demand early payment of their pensions. 3. Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR; D-NY) defeats Hoover to win the presidency. 1933 1. FDR embarks on his Hundred Days campaign of reform. 2. FDR orders a “bank holiday.” a. The Emergency Banking Act gives the Treasury secretary the power to decide whether banks are sound enough to reopen. 3. The Glass-Steagall Act creates the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to protect bank customers’ deposits. 4. FDR broadcasts his first “fireside chat” radio address. 5. The Civilian Conservation Corps is created to give young men employment. 6. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) pays farmers to reduce production. 7. The Tennessee Valley Authority is created to bring electricity to rural TN and neighboring states. 8. The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) creates the National Recovery Administration to coordinate businesses, set prices, and establish working conditions. 9. The 20th Amendment is ratified, changing the date of presidential inauguration and presidential term dates. 10. The 21st Amendment is ratified, ending Prohibition. 11. Drought and dust storms, combined with overcultivation, continue in the Great Plains, producing the “Dust Bowl.” 12. Unemployment peaks at nearly 25%. 1934 1. Francis Townsend’s “Old-Age Revolving Pension” scheme gains momentum. 2. Redistributionist LA senator Huey Long calls for the creation of a “Share Our Wealth Society.” 3. The Securities and Exchange Commission is created to oversee stock markets. 1935 1. The Works Progress Administration is created to provide government jobs on public works projects. 2. In Schechter v. U.S., the Supreme Court strikes down NIRA. 3. The Wagner Act is passed, protecting workers’ right to organize unions and collectively bargain. 4. The Social Security Act creates a national government pension system for retirees. 1929
1. In U.S. v. Butler, the Supreme Court strikes down AAA. 2. FDR is reelected. 3. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by British economist John Maynard Keynes is published. 1. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is published. 2. FDR unveils the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill, derided as a “court-packing scheme.” 1938 1. After a brief period of economic growth, the Great Depression continues as a new recession begins. a. Unemployment jumps to nearly 19% following a period of decline. 2. The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a minimum wage.
Global Origins of World War II, 1922–1941 1922 1923
1924 1928 1929 1931 1933 1934 1935
Fascist Benito Mussolini takes power in Italy. The Weimar government of Germany presides over rampant inflation and is nearly toppled by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party, led by Adolf Hitler, in the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler is imprisoned. The U.S.-brokered Dawes Plan attempts to ease European tensions over German reparations payments. The Kellogg-Briand Pact is signed by 26 nations, outlawing war. The economic downturn in the U.S. is mirrored around the world; the Great Depression is global. Japan invades Manchuria. Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany. Hitler consolidates power with the Night of the Long Knives murders. 1. The Neutrality Act of 1935 imposes an embargo on selling arms to combatants. 2. Italy invades Ethiopia. 1. The Neutrality Act of 1936 renews the 1935 act. 2. Civil war breaks out in Spain; the Communist USSR and Nazi Germany back opposite sides and test weaponry. 1. Japan expands attacks on China. 2. The Neutrality Act of 1937 establishes the “cash-andcarry” principle. 1938 1. Germany annexes Austria in the Anschluss. 2. The Munich Agreement allows Germany to annex part of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland). a. British prime minister Neville Chamberlain hails the agreement as securing “peace for our time.” b. The agreement is later derided as an “appeasement.” 1. In the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, enemies Germany and the USSR agree not to go to war. They also agree to divide parts of Eastern Europe between them. 2. Germany invades Poland. Britain and France declare war on Germany. 1. The Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact. 2. The German army drives west, capturing the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. 3. Winston Churchill becomes British prime minister. 4. The German air force bombs Britain throughout the summer and fall in the Battle of Britain. 5. Japan moves forces toward Indochina, threatening Western colonies in Southeast Asia.
Operation Overlord commences with the D-Day landing at Normandy, France. 1945 1. The Big Three meet again at the Yalta Conference to discuss postwar plans. 2. FDR dies; Harry Truman (D-MO) takes office. 3. The United Nations (UN) is created. 4. Germany surrenders (VE Day). 5. The U.S., the USSR, and Britain meet at the Potsdam Conference to discuss peace settlements. 6. The U.S. drops atomic bombs on Japan. 7. Japan surrenders (VJ Day); WWII ends. 8. Truman proposes the “Fair Deal” program to expand New Deal economic initiatives, but these are only partially enacted in subsequent years.
The Cold War Begins, 1946–1959 1946
World War II, 1941–1945
1. Germany invades the USSR, opening the eastern front in the war. 2. FDR uses the Lend-Lease Act to supply Britain with weapons. 3. Japan captures lands in the Dutch East Indies and Indochina. 4. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. a. FDR calls December 7 “a date which will live in infamy.” b. The U.S. declares war on Japan. c. Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S.; the U.S. reciprocates. 1942 1. The National War Labor Board is reinstated, and the War Production Board is established. 2. Over 100,000 Japanese Americans are ordered to internment camps. 3. The U.S. wins the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway in the Pacific. 4. The Allies land in North Africa and battle the German army. 1943 1. The Soviets defeat the Germans at the Battle of Stalingrad. 2. The Allies invade Italy. 3. The Tehran Conference brings together the Big Three (FDR, Churchill, and Joseph Stalin) to discuss military strategy and political issues.
1. George Kennan, a U.S. diplomat in Moscow, authors the “Long Telegram,” outlining the policy of containment. 2. Former British prime minister Churchill delivers his “Iron Curtain” speech in MO. 3. Inflation reaches 18.6%. 4. Union membership peaks at ⅓ of the workforce; nearly 2 million workers go on strike. 5. Republicans win majorities in the House and the Senate. 1. President Truman announces the Truman Doctrine, committing the U.S. to “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation.” 2. Congress passes the Taft-Hartley Act, which modifies the Wagner Act by prohibiting “closed shops” and permitting states to pass “right-to-work” laws. 3. The National Security Act reorganizes U.S. defense and intelligence agencies. 4. Truman announces a loyalty program to investigate federal employees’ Communist ties. 5. Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American in Major League Jackie Robinson Baseball. 1. The modern state of Israel is founded. 2. Soviets blockade Berlin; Truman orders the Berlin Airlift to provide supplies. 3. Congress authorizes the Marshall Plan (named for secretary of state George Marshall), providing $13 billion for European recovery. 4. Former Communist spy Whittaker Chambers reveals he received classified documents from federal government employee Alger Hiss. 5. Truman issues Executive Order 9981, desegregating the military. 6. A pro-Soviet government is established in Czechoslovakia. 7. Divisions in the Democratic Party lead to the Dixiecrat candidacy of Strom Thurmond of SC. 8. Truman unexpectedly defeats Thomas Dewey (R-NY) to win the presidency. 1. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is founded as an alliance between the U.S. and Western Europe to discourage Soviet attack. 2. The Chinese Civil War ends in victory for Communist forces of Mao Tse-tung over pro-Western forces of Chiang Kai-shek. a. The U.S. refuses to recognize Mao’s government in Beijing, maintaining that only Chiang’s government in Taiwan is legitimate. b. Accusations fly in the U.S. over who “lost China.” 3. The USSR tests an atomic bomb, ending the U.S. atomic monopoly. 1. The National Security Council issues document “NSC-68” calling for a more aggressive stance against Communist expansion. 2. Communist North Korea invades pro-Western South Korea, beginning the Korean War. a. The U.S. leads the UN “police action”—not called a war—to stop the Communist advance. 3. General Douglas MacArthur lands forces at Inchon, driving North Koreans back to their prewar position. 4. The U.S. pushes into North Korea to “roll back” Communism. a. U.S. forces are stopped at the North Korean border with China when the Chinese enter the war and drive U.S. forces back south. 5. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) charges that Communist spies have infiltrated the U.S. government, including the U.S. State Department. 6. Klaus Fuchs is convicted of espionage. 7. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are arrested for espionage. 1. The 22nd Amendment limits the presidency to two terms. 2. Citing insubordination, Truman removes MacArthur from command in Korea. 3
1. The U.S. tests the first hydrogen bomb; it is much more powerful than the atomic bomb. 2. Former general Dwight D. Eisenhower (R-KS) is elected president. 1. The Korean War ends with the border between North and South established near the 38th parallel. 2. Stalin dies; he is replaced by Nikita Khrushchev. 3. CIA-backed forces install a U.S.-friendly ruler in Iran. 1. In the televised Army-McCarthy hearings, Senator McCarthy investigates Communist influence in the army. a. In a testy exchange, U.S. Army lawyer Joseph Welch asks, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” 2. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court overturns Plessy v. Ferguson, holding that “separate but equal” is unconstitutional and paving the way for desegregation, particularly in education. 3. Jonas Salk tests a vaccine against polio on schoolchildren and finds it effective. 4. Secretary of state John Foster Dulles introduces the concept of “massive retaliation” as the best defense against a Soviet nuclear attack. 5. The Geneva Accords end the war in Vietnam between the colonial power France and the nationalist, Communist-backed forces of Ho Chi Minh. a. Vietnam is divided into the Minh-led North and the pro-Western South at the 17th parallel. b. Elections promise to select a leader and reunify the country, but they never take place. 6. The CIA helps remove the pro-Communist government from power in Guatemala. 1. Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy, is murdered in MS by whites for flirting with a white woman. 2. Local NAACP chapter secretary Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott in AL. 3. The USSR forms the Warsaw Pact as a counterpart to NATO. 4. William F. Buckley Jr. Rosa Parks founds the journal National Review, a flagship of intellectual conservatism. 1. The Federal-Aid Highway Act authorizes the construction of an interstate highway system. 2. The Suez Crisis breaks out in the Middle East when Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal. 3. The Soviet military crushes a pro-democracy revolution in Hungary. 1. The USSR launches Sputnik, the first satellite. 2. Eisenhower calls on federal troops to enforce desegregation of a school in Little Rock, AR, after the governor refuses to allow black students to enroll. 3. The Eisenhower Doctrine is announced, promising that the U.S. will defend any Middle Eastern nation threatened by Communism. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is created. 1. A revolution in Cuba brings Communist Fidel Castro to power. 2. Vice president Richard Nixon (R-CA) engages Khrushchev in the “Kitchen Debate” at an industrial expo in Moscow. 3. Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the U.S.
The Baby Boom Generation, 1944–1969 1944 1945 1946
1947 1950 1955 1957
The GI Bill provides housing, education, and other benefits to veterans. Three-quarters of adults say the ideal family has three or more children. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock is published, in which he tells young mothers, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” Developer William Levitt builds the first Levittownstyle development. The median age at first marriage falls to 22.8 for men and 20.3 for women. Disneyland opens in CA. 1. On the Road by Jack Kerouac is published. 2. The total fertility rate (i.e., the number of children the average woman will have) peaks above 3.5. The U.S. census reveals that the suburban population equals the urban population. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is published, identifying “the problem that has no name” that afflicts suburban housewives.
The Baby Boom Generation, 1944–1969 (continued) 1967 1. The first Super Bowl is played. 2. Major hippie activities occur in San Francisco, including the “Human Be-In” and the “Summer of Love.” 3. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is released. 1968 The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe is published, documenting Ken Kesey, the Merry Pranksters, and LSD experimentation. 1969 The Woodstock music festival is held.
The Rise & Fall of Postwar Liberalism, 1960–1979
1. An American U-2 spy plane is shot down over the USSR. 2. The first oral contraceptive (a.k.a. “the pill”) is introduced. 3. Four black students stage a “sit-in” at a segregated lunch counter of Woolworth’s department store in Greensboro, NC. 4. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is created to organize nonviolent protests against segregation laws. 5. The presidential election pits senator John F. Kennedy (D-MA) against Vice President Nixon. a. Both candidates are young: Kennedy is 43; Nixon is 47. b. Kennedy charges that a “missile gap” with the USSR developed on Eisenhower’s watch. c. The first televised presidential debate takes place. d. Kennedy wins a narrow victory; he is the first Catholic president. 1961 1. Before leaving office, Eisenhower warns against the rise of a “military-industrial complex.” 2. Kennedy approves a scheme, known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, for CIA-backed Cuban nationals to invade Cuba and overthrow and kill Castro. a. The Cuban military detects the invaders, and the operation ends in disaster. 3. The Freedom Rides begin as African Americans challenge segregation laws when riding buses on interstate routes. 4. With Soviet support, East Germany constructs the Berlin Wall to separate East Berlin from West Berlin. 5. Kennedy creates the Peace Corps and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 1962 1. The Cuban missile crisis sparks fears of a nuclear war between the U.S. and USSR. a. The Soviets are found to be installing missiles in Cuba. b. The U.S. demands removal of the missiles. c. Kennedy declares Cuba under “quarantine” to prevent delivery of missiles. d. The U.S. and USSR settle peacefully: the USSR removes Cuban missiles, and the U.S. removes missiles from Turkey. 2. John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth. 3. Students for a Democratic Society drafts the “Port Huron Statement.” 4. The Other America: Poverty John Glenn in the United States by socialist, political scientist, and activist Michael Harrington is published. 5. Capitalism and Freedom by libertarian economist Milton Friedman is published. 1963 1. In the March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech. 2. MLK leads a nonviolent march in Birmingham, AL, provoking violent reaction from local police chief Eugene “Bull” Connor. 3. AL governor George Wallace blocks the door of the Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to protest integration. 4. NAACP officer Medgar Evers is murdered in MS. 5. The U.S. and USSR sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty. 6. South Vietnamese President Diem is killed during a coup. 7. The Clean Air Act of 1963 is passed. 8. In Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court rules that poor defendants have the right to legal counsel.
9. President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald. a. Vice president Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ; D-TX) is sworn in as president. b. Oswald is shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby while in custody outside a Dallas police station. 1. In the State of the Union address, LBJ announces a “War on Poverty” in America. a. The Office of Economic Opportunity is created, which will launch programs such as Head Start, VISTA, and Job Corps. 2. Responding to a North Vietnamese attack on a U.S. ship, Congress issues the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, granting the president broad powers to conduct war in Vietnam. 3. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed, forbidding discrimination in employment, public facilities, and places of public accommodation such as restaurants. 4. On the campaign trail, LBJ announces the “Great Society” initiatives for poverty relief, civil rights, education reform, health care, and culture. 5. LBJ defeats Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) in a landslide victory. 6. The Free Speech Movement begins on college campuses. 7. In Escobedo v. IL, the Supreme Court affirms the right to legal counsel during police interrogations. 8. In the USSR, Khrushchev loses power and is replaced by Leonid Brezhnev. 1. Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X is murdered. 2. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is passed. 3. The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 is passed, eliminating the 1920s “national Malcolm X origins” system. 4. The Medicare program is created; the federal government will pay for senior citizens’ health care. 5. The Medicaid program is created; the federal government will provide funds for health care for the poor. 6. LBJ creates affirmative action programs. 7. MLK organizes a peaceful civil rights demonstration, the Selma March, in AL, which provokes a violent reaction. 8. In Griswold v. CT, the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution contains a right to privacy and strikes down the CT law that barred married couples’ access to contraception. 9. Urban rioting occurs in the Watts section of Los Angeles. 10. Pope Paul VI becomes the first pope to visit the U.S. 1. In Miranda v. AZ, the Supreme Court rules that suspects must be informed of their rights to an attorney and to remain silent, commonly known as Miranda rights. 2. Urban rioting occurs across the country, especially in Chicago and Cleveland. 3. The Black Panther Party is founded in Oakland, CA. 4. The National Organization for Women is founded. 1. Race riots kill 43 in Detroit, MI, and 26 in Newark, NJ. 2. College students lead peace marches in New York City and Washington, DC. 3. In Loving v. VA, the Supreme Court strikes down miscegenation laws. 4. Boxer Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the army. 1. Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces launch the Tet Offensive, a series of coordinated attacks throughout Vietnam during the traditionally peaceful period of the Buddhist New Year. a. The U.S. wins the battle, but the strength of the enemy undermines politicians’ message that the end of the war is imminent. 2. U.S. troops murder Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre. 3. LBJ announces he will not run for president. 4. MLK is assassinated in Memphis, TN. 5. The Paris Peace Talks begin, though they are often delayed. 6. Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles, CA. 4
7. Antiwar protestors clash with police at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. 8. Nixon defeats vice president Hubert H. Humphrey (D-MN) to win the presidency. 1969 1. Nixon secretly orders bombings of enemy positions in Cambodia. 2. The Apollo 11 moon landing makes Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first people to walk on the moon. 3. Nixon introduces his “Vietnamization” program. 4. The Vietnam draft lottery is held to determine the order of conscription. 5. CA reforms family law to recognize no-fault divorce. 1970 Student antiwar protestors are killed by Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State University in OH. 1971 1. The “Pentagon Papers” are published, detailing government misconduct and mismanagement of the early Vietnam war. a. Military analyst Daniel Ellsberg passed the documents to the New York Times. b. In response, the Nixon White House forms a team of operatives—called the “Plumbers”— to fix the leaks. 2. Nixon announces price controls to fight inflation. 3. Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry debuts; the film is typical of the 1970s revenge fantasy genre. 1972 1. Nixon visits China, fostering new U.S. diplomacy with the Chinese. 2. The U.S. signs the SALT I Treaty with the USSR. 3. The Equal Rights Amendment is approved by Congress, but it will fall short of approval by states. 4. The White House Plumbers are caught breaking into the Democratic Party’s headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. a. Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein begin reporting the story. 5. Nixon orders the renewal of bombing of North Vietnam. 6. Nixon is reelected president. 7. In Furman v. GA, the Supreme Court rules that current procedures for imposing the death penalty are unconstitutional, leading to a four-year moratorium on capital punishment. a. In Gregg v. GA (1976), the Supreme Court rules the new GA death penalty law passes constitutional muster. 8. The crime drama The Godfather explores notions of morality, community, and immigrant identity. 1973 1. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court rules that abortion is a fundamental right. 2. The Paris Peace Accords end U.S. military action in Vietnam. 3. The Arab oil embargo cuts oil sales to the U.S. in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel. a. Gas rationing begins, causing drivers to wait in long gas lines. b. The embargo exacerbates inflation. 4. Dogged by corruption charges, vice president Spiro Agnew (R-MD) resigns. Congressman Gerald Ford (R-MI) is named his replacement. 5. The War Powers Act limits the president’s ability to conduct military operations without Congress’s approval. 1974 1. Supply-side economics are bolstered by popularization of the “Laffer Curve,” associated with economist Arthur Laffer. 2. Nixon resigns as president, becoming the first and only president to do so. Ford assumes office. 3. Ford announces his campaign to “Whip Inflation Now” through personal frugality. 4. Racial tensions flare in Boston over forced busing to desegregate public schools. 5. The English version of The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is published, detailing treatment of political prisoners in the USSR. 6. Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s career home run record. 1975 1. North Vietnamese forces capture the South Vietnam capital of Saigon as the remaining Americans are evacuated. North Vietnam wins the war. 2. A crime wave continues to sweep the country. a. An FBI study finds ¼ of households were victims of felony crime in 1973. b. In a Gallup survey, 21% of urban Americans cite crime as the biggest problem. 1976 1. The U.S. marks the bicentennial of its independence. 2. The film Taxi Driver, starring Robert De Niro, explores themes of urban crime and alienation. 3. Jimmy Carter (D-GA) is elected president, defeating Ford. 1977 The New York City blackout sparks widespread violence and looting.
The Rise & Fall of Postwar Liberalism, 1960–1979 (continued ) 1978 1. The Airline Deregulation Act is passed to reduce 1984 1. The USSR boycotts the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. the government’s power over prices and routes. 2. Democratic presidential nominee Walter 2. In the Bakke case, the Supreme Court issues a Mondale (D-MN) selects Geraldine Ferraro split decision on affirmative action. (D-NY) as his running mate, marking the first a. Racial quotas in college admissions are time a woman is nominated for vice president. unconstitutional, but race may be used if it is 3. Reagan defeats Mondale in a landslide, winning one factor among others. every electoral vote except MN and DC. 3. A treaty signed with Panama plans for the 4. The crack epidemic emerges, fueling violence. eventual U.S. cession of the canal to Panama. 4. Typical of the “tax revolt” movement of the 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev ascends to power in the USSR; 1970s and 1980s, CA voters approve Proposition hoping to save Communism, he announces reform 13, limiting property taxes. programs. a. Glasnost, or “openness,” relaxes restrictions 1979 1. The Camp David Accords, brokered by Carter, on freedom of expression. bring Egypt and Israel to peace. b. Perestroika, or “restructuring,” permits 2. An accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear economic changes and seeks changes in plant in PA causes anxiety over nuclear power. foreign policy. 3. The USSR invades Afghanistan. 4. Paul Volcker is appointed chairman of the 1986 1. The Challenger space shuttle explodes on launch, Federal Reserve and begins fighting inflation killing all aboard. with high interest rates (“tight money” policy). 2. The Iran-Contra scandal breaks. 5. Carter gives his “Crisis of Confidence” (or a. The U.S. sold weapons to Iran to secure the release of hostages held in Lebanon. “Malaise”) speech, encouraging energy b. Money from weapon sales was then used to conservation as a solution to the energy crisis and fund Contra forces in Nicaragua opposing the weak economy. Communist-friendly Sandinista government. 6. Iranian students attack the U.S. embassy in Tehran, 3. The Tax Reform Act simplifies the tax code, holding 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. reduces the number of tax brackets, and a. The nightly news program America Held eliminates some tax shelters. Hostage: The Iran Crisis airs with daily 4. The U.S. bombs Libya. updates on the hostage crisis. 5. The Immigration Reform and Control Act places 7. Evangelical minister Jerry Falwell founds the new requirements on employers of immigrants Moral Majority. and grants amnesty to many who had entered the country illegally. Conservatism Ascendant, 1980–1989 6. Financier Ivan Boesky is imprisoned for 1980 1. The U.S. “Miracle on Ice” hockey team wins the securities fraud and insider trading. gold medal at the Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, 7. An accident occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear defeating the USSR on the way. power plant in Ukraine. 2. The U.S. boycotts the Summer Olympics in 1987 1. Reagan challenges Gorbachev’s commitment to Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of reform in a speech in Berlin, saying, “Mr. Afghanistan. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” 3. The Delta Force attempt to rescue hostages from 2. Meeting in Washington, DC, Reagan and Iran fails. Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear 4. Ronald Reagan (R-CA) defeats Carter to become Forces Treaty. president. 3. The U.S. budget surpasses $1 trillion. 5. John Lennon is murdered in New York City. 4. The Black Monday stock market crash occurs on 6. The divorce rate reaches an all-time high. October 19. 1981 1. Iran releases hostages on the day of Reagan’s 1988 George H. W. Bush (R-TX) is elected president, inauguration, hoping to embarrass President Carter. defeating Michael Dukakis (D-MA). 2. The Reagan tax cuts are enacted, reducing the top marginal rate from 70% to 50%, among other reforms. 3. Reagan narrowly survives an assassination attempt. 4. Citing the Taft-Hartley Act, Reagan fires striking air traffic controllers. 5. The Federal Reserve’s tight money policy triggers a severe recession that lasts 16 months—the worst recession since the Great Depression. 6. The first cases of AIDS are identified. 1982 1. The Nuclear Freeze Movement stages a large protest in New York City. 2. Strategic Arms Reduction Talks begin between the U.S. and Soviet Union. 3. Reagan agrees to a new tax law, raising some taxes, canceling reductions in others, and tightening enforcement. 4. The recession ends in November; economic expansion begins, lasting until 1990. 5. First Lady Nancy Reagan begins the “Just Say No” antidrug campaign. 6. Criminologists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling propound the “broken window” theory of crime and policing. 7. Sylvester Stallone stars as troubled Vietnam veteran John Rambo in First Blood. 1983 1. Seeking an alternative to mutually assured destruction, Reagan announces the Strategic Defense Initiative, a system to shield the U.S. from nuclear attack. a. It was derided as “Star Wars” by opponents. 2. In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, Reagan calls the USSR an “evil empire.” 3. A terrorist bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, kills 241 U.S. troops. 4. U.S. Catholic bishops issue a statement condemning nuclear weapons. 5. The Equal Rights Amendment fails to achieve ratification. 6. The U.S. places missiles in Western Europe to deter Soviet attack. 7. The U.S. invades the Caribbean island of Grenada after its government falls to Communists. 8. The Department of Education releases its A Nation at Risk report, spurring fears of U.S. education failures.
The Cold War Ends, New Challenges Begin, 1989–2000
1. The Soviets leave Afghanistan. 2. The Berlin Wall falls, marking the symbolic end of the Cold War. 3. The Exxon Valdez oil spill damages the environment in AK. 4. In TX v. Johnson, the Supreme Court rules that flag burning is protected free speech. 5. Financier Michael Milken, active in the junk bond industry, is indicted for securities violations. 6. The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow dictator, money launderer, and drug trafficker Manuel Noriega. 1990 1. The Hubble telescope is deployed in space. 2. New York City records over 2,200 murders, a record high. 3. Iraq invades neighboring Kuwait. The U.S.led coalition of UN Hubble telescope forces begins gathering. 4. Bush breaks his “no new taxes” pledge. 1991 1. The U.S.-led UN coalition invades Iraq in Operation Desert Storm. a. The Iraq military is quickly defeated. b. Kuwait is liberated. c. Saddam Hussein stays in power but is subject to restrictions. 2. During Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Clarence Thomas is accused of sexually harassing former employee Anita Hill. 3. The Soviet Union collapses when a coup by Communist hardliners fails. a. Gorbachev is removed from power. b. Russian president Boris Yeltsin takes over. 4. The total U.S. violent crime rate reaches recordhigh levels. 1992 1. Rioting in Los Angeles follows the acquittal of white police officers accused of beating African American motorist Rodney King. 1989
2. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court overturns PA restrictions on abortion, reaffirming the Roe decision. 3. Bill Clinton (D-AR) defeats Bush to win the Bill Clinton presidency. 4. President Bush orders troops to Somalia. 1. Terrorists attack the World Trade Center in New York City. a. The attack is later linked to al-Qaeda terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden. 2. Clinton promulgates the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward homosexual servicemen and women. 3. The Senate ratifies the North American Free Trade Agreement, establishing a free trade zone with Canada and Mexico. 4. U.S. soldiers are killed in Mogadishu, Somalia. 1. An independent counsel is appointed to investigate Bill and Hillary Clinton’s involvement with the AR Whitewater land development project. 2. Former AR state employee Paula Jones sues President Clinton for sexual harassment. 3. U.S. troops are sent to Haiti to put down a military coup. 4. The 10-year Federal Assault Weapons Ban is enacted. 5. Republicans make large gains in the midterm elections. a. They win the majority in the House and Senate for the first time since the 1952 election. b. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) becomes Speaker of the House; he campaigned on the promise of a “Contract with America” to reduce the size of government. c. Republicans have many victories at the state and local levels. 1. The Oklahoma City Federal Building is bombed by an antigovernment terrorist, killing 168 people. 2. The U.S. becomes more aggressive in the UNNATO mission in Bosnia. 3. O. J. Simpson is acquitted of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown, and her acquaintance Ronald Goldman. 4. The federal government is shut down over a budget fight between Gingrich and Clinton. 1. Clinton promises that “the era of big government is over.” 2. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act is passed, which replaces the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with “workfare” programs. 3. The Defense of Marriage Act is passed; no state has to recognize same-sex unions entered into in another state. 4. Khobar Towers, housing U.S. military personnel, is bombed by terrorists in Saudi Arabia. 5. Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta is bombed during the Olympics. 6. The U.S. launches a missile strike on Iraq over incursions into Kurdish territory. 7. Clinton defeats Bob Dole (R-KS) to win reelection as president. 8. The Unabomber is captured. 1. The Kyoto Protocol on global warming is adopted in Japan. Though signed by most nations, the U.S. refuses assent. 2. Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman secretary of state. 3. Unemployment falls below 5%. 4. In Jones v. Clinton, the Supreme Court rejects the president’s claim of immunity from the Paula Jones lawsuit. 1. The Monica Lewinsky scandal breaks. a. Clinton denies an Oval Office sexual relationship with intern Lewinsky. b. The president is accused of committing perjury during deposition in the Paula Jones lawsuit by failing to disclose the Lewinsky relationship. 2. Independent counsel Ken Starr releases results of investigations into the Whitewater, Paula Jones, and Lewinsky scandals. 3. The House votes to impeach President Clinton for perjury, marking the second time a president has been impeached. 4. Two U.S. embassies in Africa are bombed. Osama bin Laden is placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. 5. The Justice Department sues Microsoft for antitrust violations.
The Cold War Ends, New Challenges Begin, 1989–2000 (continued ) 1998 6. Mark McGwire breaks the single-season home run c. The neutralization of the threat to sponsor terrorism record; McGwire later admits to using steroids. d. The promotion of democracy 7. A balanced federal budget is achieved for the first 2. The Medicare Modernization Act is passed, time since 1969; surpluses follow. establishing a prescription drug benefit (a.k.a. Part D). 3. The Columbia space shuttle crashes, killing all 1999 1. The Senate votes to acquit Clinton of impeachment aboard. articles; Clinton continues his presidency. 4. Hussein is captured in Iraq and later executed by the 2. Two teens attack classmates at Columbine High Iraqi government. School in CO, killing 13 before committing suicide. 5. The U.S. Census Bureau reveals Hispanics have 3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average passes 10,000 for surpassed African Americans as the largest minority the first time. group in the U.S. 4. The U.S. and NATO bomb Serbian forces moving against Kosovo. 6. MA court rules that gay marriage is legal in the state. 2000 1. The IL governor declares a moratorium on capital 2004 1. The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. forces at Abu punishment. Ghraib prison is revealed. 2. The USS Cole is attacked near Yemen; the attack is 2. The U.S. cedes sovereignty of Iraq to a civil later connected to al-Qaeda terrorists and Osama bin government. Laden. 3. The 9/11 Commission Report is issued. 3. The Internet bubble begins to burst. a. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are identified as 4. George W. Bush (R-TX) defeats Al Gore (D-TN) in culprits. a close, controversial presidential election. b. The failure of the FBI and CIA are particularly a. Election results in FL are close and disputed; the cited as enabling the attacks. Gore campaign requests a manual recount in four 4. Bush is reelected president, defeating John Kerry counties. (D-MA). b. The recount is difficult because ballots contain 5. Powell resigns as secretary of state; Condoleezza “hanging chads” (produced from punched cards) Rice is nominated to replace him. that can be interpreted variously. 2005 1. Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and the c. In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court refuses to Gulf Coast. allow a manual recount of the disputed ballots. 2. In the Terri Schiavo case, a FL man’s decision to d. With FL, Bush gains sufficient electoral votes to remove his comatose wife’s feeding tube is upheld win the presidency. when a federal court refuses to intervene. e. A later manual recount of ballots by journalists 3. John Roberts becomes the new chief justice of the reveals a narrow Bush victory. Supreme Court. 4. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq passes 2,000. Bush & the War on Terror, 2001–2008 5. North Korea announces that it possesses nuclear 2001 1. George W. Bush, the second president who is the son weapons. of a former president, is inaugurated. 2006 1. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court strikes 2. Colin Powell is named secretary of state, becoming the down military tribunals planned for suspected terrorist first African American to hold the office. prisoners. 3. The “Bush tax cuts” are enacted. 2. Democrats make large gains in the midterm elections. 4. The September 11 terrorist attacks occur. 3. Proposed immigration reforms spark protests. a. Terrorists hijack four planes, flying two into the 4. Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns; World Trade Center buildings in New York City Robert Gates replaces him. and one into the Pentagon in Washington, DC; learning of the attacks, passengers and crew of the 2007 1. Thirty-two people are killed in a shooting at Virginia fourth plane fight hijackers, crashing the plane in Tech. PA. 2. Bush orders an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq, b. More than 3,000 people are killed. dubbed “the surge.” c. The attacks are revealed as the work of terrorist 3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average passes 14,000. leader Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terror 4. Attorney general Alberto Gonzales resigns amid network. questions about his role in the firing of federal 5. Congress passes the USA PATRIOT Act, authorizing prosecutors. an expansive government program of counterterrorism 5. Barry Bonds sets a new home run record; Bonds is surveillance. later linked to steroid use. 6. The U.S. launches an attack on Afghanistan, aiming to 6. NJ abolishes the death penalty. remove the terrorist-friendly Taliban government from 2008 1. Stung by losses in subprime mortgage investments, a power. major bank crisis unfolds. 7. The “shoe bomber” attempts to light an explosive in a. Investment bank Bear Stearns is sold to his shoes while aboard a plane, which leads to the JPMorgan Chase. screening of passenger shoes at airports. b. Government-sponsored mortgage companies 2002 1. The No Child Left Behind Act is passed, broadening Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are placed into a the federal role and demanding accountability in conservatorship by the Federal Housing Finance education, often in the form of testing. Agency. 2. In a State of the Union address, Bush announces the c. Bank of America purchases Merrill Lynch. ongoing “War on Terror” and the existence of an d. Lehman Brothers, the nation’s fourth-largest “axis of evil” (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea) that investment bank, goes bankrupt; the government threatens peace. refuses to intervene. 3. Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and other corporations are e. Fears of “toxic assets” and a “financial meltdown” revealed to have engaged in accounting manipulations are prevalent. and fraud. Investors lose billions. f. Housing prices tumble; real estate markets are 4. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is passed to regulate devastated. corporate accounting practices. 2. Republican presidential candidate John McCain 5. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is (AZ) selects Sarah Palin (AK) as his running mate. created. a. Palin is the second woman to be nominated for 6. The DHS announces a color-coded threat-level vice president. advisory system. 3. Congress authorizes the Troubled Asset Relief Program 7. A scandal erupts in Boston over the sexual abuse of (TARP), authorizing the government to spend up to children by Catholic clergy, leading to revelations of $700 billion to shore up the financial system. similar problems in dioceses throughout the country. a. $34 billion, commonly known as the “bailout,” is 8. Bush seeks approval for the use of force against Iraq; later used to aid the auto industry. Congress approves. 4. Barack Obama (D-IL) defeats McCain in the 2003 1. A U.S.-led coalition invades Iraq, seeking: presidential election, becoming the first African a. The removal of Saddam Hussein American president. b. The destruction of its suspected weapons of mass a. Democrats win the majority in both the House and destruction program Senate. U.S. $6.95 Author: David Head
The Obama Years, 2009–2012
2009 1. Obama is inaugurated
as president. 2. Congress passes the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. a. The act, commonly known as the “stimulus,” includes government spending and tax Barack Obama cuts estimated to cost $787 billion. 3. The Tea Party movement begins, protesting the Obama administration’s policies and advocating for smaller government. 4. Obama orders additional troops to Afghanistan. 2010 1. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court strikes down limits on corporate campaign contributions. 2. In a close vote, Congress passes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as “Obamacare.” 3. U.S. combat troops leave Iraq. 4. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is passed, reforming the financial industry and reducing TARP to $475 billion. 5. Republicans make gains in the midterm elections and win the majority in the House. 6. The violent crime rate as measured by the FBI is at its lowest level since 1972. 2011 1. Navy SEALs kill Osama bin Laden in a raid of his compound in Pakistan. 2. The need to raise the U.S. government debt limit sparks contentious talks between Congress and President Obama over the federal budget. 3. The U.S. government’s credit rating is reduced for the first time to AA+ by Standard & Poor’s. 4. The Occupy Wall Street protests begin. 2012 1. As part of implementing PPACA, the Department of Health and Human Services requires all employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization in what is commonly called the “HHS mandate.” a. Led by Catholic bishops, religious organizations protest the lack of conscience exemptions. 2. The Supreme Court rules that the controversial individual mandate provision of PPACA is a tax and therefore constitutional. 3. Obama defeats Mitt Romney (R-MA) to win a second term as president.
The Media & Technology Revolution, 1946–2010 1946 1968 1969 1975 1976 1980 1983 1984 1985 1993 1994 1995 1997 1998 1999
2001 2004 2006 2007 2010
The early computer ENIAC is created. Intel is founded. Internet precursor ARPANET is created. Microsoft is founded. Apple is founded. CNN, a 24-hour cable news station, is founded. CDs and CD players go on sale in the U.S. Motorola releases the “brick” cell phone; at two pounds, and with a half-hour battery life, it costs $3,995. The Nintendo Entertainment System arrives in the U.S. The web browser Mosaic is introduced. 1. Amazon.com is founded. 2. Yahoo! is founded. eBay is founded. The first DVDs appear in U.S. stores. Google is founded. 1. Music-sharing service Napster is launched, challenging music industry practices. 2. Concern over the Y2K computer bug is prevalent. Apple releases the first iPod. Facebook is launched. The first Blu-ray Disc is released. The first iPhone is sold. The first iPad is sold.
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