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History of the United States

Part of a series on the History of the United States Timeline Prehistory Pre-Colonial Colonial period 1776–1789 1789–1849 1849–1865 1865–1918 1918–1945 1945–1964 1964–1980 1980–1991 1991–present African American Asian American Chinese American Filipino American Japanese American Mexican American Civil Rights (1896–1954 1955–1968) Civil War Culture Demographics Diplomacy Economics Historiography Medicine Military Southern Frontier (Old West) Technology and industry Territory Women United States portal v t e When to date the start of the history of the United States is debated among historians. Older textbooks started with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 and emphasized the European background or started in 1600 and emphasized the American frontier. In recent decades American schools and universities typically have shifted back in time to include more on the colonial period and much more on the prehistory of the Native peoples.Indigenous peoples lived in what is now the United States for thousands of years and developed complex cultures before European colonists began to arrive, mostly from England, after 1600. The Spanish had early settlements in Florida and the Southwest, and the French along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. By the 1770s, thirteen British colonies contained two and a half million people along the Atlantic coast east of the Appalachian Mountains. After the French and Indian War, the British drove the French out of North America in 1763 and imposed a series of new taxes while rejecting the American argument that taxes required representation in Parliament. Tax resistance, especially the Boston Tea Party (1774), led to punitive laws (known as the Intolerable Acts) by Parliament designed to end self-government in Massachusetts. All 13 colonies united in a Congress that led to armed conflict in April 1775. On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed that all men are created equal, and founded a new nation, the United States of America.With large-scale military and financial support from France and military leadership by General George Washington, the American Patriots won the Revolutionary War. The peace treaty of 1783 gave the new nation most of the land east of the Mississippi River (except Florida). The national government established by the Articles of Confederation proved ineffectual at providing stability to the new nation, as it had no authority to collect taxes and had no executive. A convention called in Philadelphia in 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation instead resulted in the writing of a new Constitution, which was adopted in 1789. In 1791 a Bill of Rights was added to guarantee rights that justified the Revolution. With George Washington as the nation's first president and Alexander Hamilton his chief political and financial adviser, a strong national government was created. When Thomas Jefferson became president he purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, doubling the size of American territorial holdings. A second and last war with Britain was fought in 1812.Driven by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, the nation expanded beyond the Louisiana purchase, all the way to California and Oregon. The expansion was driven by a quest for inexpensive land for yeoman farmers and slave owners. This expansion was controversial and fueled the unresolved differences between the North and South over the institution of slavery in new territories. Slavery was abolished in all states north of the Mason–Dixon line by 1804, but the South continued to profit off the institution, producing high value cotton exports to feed increasing high demand in Europe. The 1860 presidential election of anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln triggered the secession of seven (later eleven) slave states to found the Confederacy in 1861. The American Civil War (1861-1865) ensued, with the overwhelming material and manpower advantages of the North decisive in a long war. Britain and France remained neutral. The result was restoration of the Union, the impoverishment of the South, and the abolition of slavery. In the Reconstruction era (1863–77) legal and voting rights were extended to the Freedmen (freed slaves). The national government emerged much stronger, and because of the Fourteenth Amendment, it gained the explicit duty to protect individual rights. However, legal segregation and Jim Crow laws kept blacks as second class citizens in the South with little power until the 1960s.The United States became the world's leading industrial power at the turn of the 20th century due to an outburst of entrepreneurship in the North and Midwest and the arrival of millions of immigrant workers and farmers from Europe. The national railroad network was completed with the work of Chinese immigrants and large-scale mining and factories industrialized the Northeast and Midwest. Mass dissatisfaction with corruption, inefficiency and traditional politics stimulated the Progressive movement, from the 1890s to 1920s, which led to many social and political reforms. In 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteed women's suffrage (right to vote). This followed the 16th and 17th amendments in 1909 and 1912, which established the first national income tax and direct election of U.S. senators to Congress.Initially neutral in World War I, the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917 and funded the Allied victory the following year. After a prosperous decade in the 1920s, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 marked the onset of the decade-long world-wide Great Depression. Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the Republican dominance of the White House and implemented his New Deal programs for relief, recovery, and reform. The New Deal, which defined modern American liberalism, included relief for the unemployed, support for farmers, Social Security and a minimum wage. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II alongside the Allies especially Britain and the Soviet Union. It financed the Allied war effort and helped defeat Nazi Germany in Europe and, with the detonation of newly invented atomic bombs, Japan in the Pacific War.The United States and the Soviet Union emerged as rival superpowers after World War II. During Cold War, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. confronted one another indirectly in the arms race and Space Race. U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War was built around the support of Western Europe and Japan along with the policy of "containment" or stopping the spread of Communism. The U.S. became involved in wars in Korea and Vietnam to stop the spread. In the 1960s, in large part due to the strength of the civil rights movement, another wave of social reforms were enacted during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, enforcing the constitutional rights of voting and freedom of movement to African Americans and other minorities. Native American activism also rose. The Cold War ended when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, leaving the United States as the world's only superpower. As the 21st century began, international conflict centered around the Middle East and spread to Asia and Africa following the September 11 attacks by Al-Qaeda on the United States. In 2008 the United States had its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, which has been followed by slower than usual rates of economic growth during the 2010s. Cite error: There are tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).
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