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1804: Aaron Burr kills one of the greatest figures in American history, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel.
1814: British forces burn down the White House during the War of 1812.
1838: The Trail of Tears. 4000 Cherokees die during a forced relocation to the West.
1857: The Dred Scott Decision. The Supreme Court essentially rules that black people are nothing more than property like a chair or couch.
1861: The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the beginning engagement of the Civil War.
1862: The battle of Antietam was the single bloodiest day in American history with 25,000 soldiers killed, wounded, or missing.
1865: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. One of our greatest Presidents, if not our greatest President, was murdered soon after the beginning of his second term.
1900: A hurricane strikes Galveston, Texas killing 6000 in the worst disaster in American history.
1917: The Zimmerman Telegraph. Germany's Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann sends a telegram to Mexico encouraging them to attack the United States. The British intercepted the telegram and sent it to the United States where it led to America's entry into WW1.
1918: The influenza pandemic begins at Fort Riley, Kansas. By the time it was over, 25% of the US population would become sick and by some estimates, well over half a million Americans died as result.
1929: A massive drop in value of the stock market helped trigger the Great Depression which lasted until the increased economic activity spurred by WW2 got us going back in the right direction.
1941: Pearl Harbor. "A date which will live in infamy" indeed.
1942: The US government came to the conclusion that interning Japanese-American citizens was the best of a number of bad options . Roughly a hundred thousand Japanese-Americans ended up in camps.
1949: The Soviet Union tests an atomic bomb. For the next 50 years, Americans fear the Cold War will end in a nuclear holocaust.
1950: As American and Rok forces appear poised to finish off the Norks and reunite Korea, a Chinese offensive caught them completely by surprise and drove them back, nearly into the sea before they regrouped, pushed back, and managed to fight them to a stalemate.
1961: The Bay of Pigs invasion. Kennedy's decision to go forward with the invasion and then deny them air support doomed the entire enterprise to failure. Today, 44 years later, Fidel Castro, a diehard enemy of the United States, is still in power.
1963: In an event that scarred the American psyche and produced countless conspiracy theories, John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
1968: The Tet Offensive was a crushing defeat for North Vietnamese forces but was incorrectly portrayed as a huge victory for them by the American media. This was a key event in destroying the American public's support for the war.
1968: America's greatest civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, is assassinated.
1973: The Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision leads to the legalization of abortion nation wide and the deaths of countless millions of innocent children.
1974: Richard Nixon resigns after being disgraced by Watergate, a scandal which shook American faith in the government.
1975: After the Democrats in Congress cut off aid and promised air support, South Vietnam was doomed. When Saigon actually fell, that symbolized what a disaster the Vietnam War turned out to be.
1977: Jimmy Carter hands over control of the Panama Canal to Panama mainly because they asked for it.
1995: Oklahoma City Bombing. 168 people die as the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is destroyed by domestic terrorists.
2001: 9/11. Terrorist madmen attack the Twin Towers and Pentagon, kill nearly 3000 Americans, and set off a war on terrorism.==========================================================
1776: The Declaration of Independence is signed. Americans officially begin their fight for freedom.
1776: Washington's surprise strike and victory at Trenton increases morale, heartens his troops, and provides enough of a recruiting boost to keep his army from melting away in the Spring, which would have meant an end to the war.
1781: Washington's victory at Yorktown, with the help of the French, seals the victory for America over the Brits.
1789: The Constitution is ratified.
1791: The Bill of Rights is ratified.
1803: The Louisiana Purchase: Roughly 1/5 of modern day America was purchased by Thomas Jefferson from Napoleon for about 15 million dollars.
1805: The members of the Lewis and Clark expedition become the first Americans to reach the Pacific ocean.
1814: Andrew Jackson defeats the British forces at the Battle of New Orleans in a fight that took place after the war had already ended. Had the British controlled New Orleans, which was a vital American port at the time, they might have wrung more concessions out of America or even taken a large swath of what is today American territory for Canada.
1836: Sam Houston and a group of Texans, outnumbered 2 to 1 by the Mexican Army, got revenge for the Alamo in the Battle of San Jacinto. Their victory and the capture soon after of Santa Anna secured the freedom of Texas and cleared the way for them to eventually join the United States.
1846: The Oregon Treaty, made with Britain, officially brings Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming into the US.
1848: After being defeated in the Mexican-American war , Mexico was forced to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which granted America control of "Texas as well as California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming" in return for about $18 million dollars.
1863: Abraham Lincoln frees the slaves in the South, technically at least, with the Emancipation Proclamation.
1864: Sherman's victory in Atlanta not only helped hasten the end of the war, it likely was the key factor that led to Abraham Lincoln defeating George McClellan in the November elections. Had McClellan won, he made it clear that he intended to cut and run rather than press on to victory.
1898: America crushes the Spanish fleet in the Philippines, which cemented our position as a world power.
1903: The Wright Brothers are the "first in flight."
1908: The Model-T Ford, the first car cheap enough for the general public to afford, becomes available.
1914: The 48 mile long Panama Canal is completed.
1918: WW1 ends in victory for the Allied forces after the Germans surrender.
1920: For the first time, American women are allowed to vote.
1945: WW2 ends in victory for the Allied forces after the Japanese surrender.
1947: America helps rebuild Europe after WW2 with the Marshall Plan.
1950 : In what was perhaps the most brilliant military maneuver in American history, Douglas MacArthur lands behind the North Korean lines at Inchon. The subsequent strikes against the Norks broke their army and only the entry of the Chinese into the war kept Korea from being reunited.
1964: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
1969: Neil Armstrong is the first man to walk on the moon -- An amazing feat that showcased American ingenuity and technology.
1989: The Berlin Wall came tumbling down which symbolized the break-up of the Soviet Union and the victory of the United States in the Cold War.
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