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The history of the United States is considered one of the most interesting subjects in high schools and colleges. However, a lot of students find it hard to single out key events and historical figures. If you prepare for your final exams in history or SAT/ACT admission tests, here is the list of top 10 events in American History, which are necessary to know in order to perform well on any history exam:
The first English colony was founded in 1620. A group of Puritans sought for religious freedom and arrived at Plymouth on Mayflower ship in the year 1620. However, some of the first colonists did not survive the first winter due to the poor harvest and bad living conditions. The following year Native Americans taught them how to grow local crops. Being thankful to them, colonists decided to give them a part of their first harvest. That was the prehistory of Thanksgiving Day.
As first 13 colonies grew stronger, it became evident that war with Britain was inevitable. In the year 1773, British East India Company sent their ships to the Boston harbor to unload tea. On 16 December 1773, a group of local men who dressed as Indians threw all tea into the harbor. As a result, the port of Boston was closed. On 4 July 1776, the Congress accepted the Declaration of Independence, which gave the birth to the first democracy – the United States of America.
In the mid of the 19-th century, the USA was divided into industrially developed North – were the slavery was abolished, and agricultural South, where rich landowners exploited slaves from African countries on their plantations. The start of the Civil War was the election of Abraham Lincoln the President of the United States of America in 1861. His aim was to abolish slavery in the Southern States. However, most southern states did not agree with such position of newly elected President. As a result, South Carolina ceded the Union followed by Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Florida. Together, they formed the Confederate States of America on 4 February 1861 with President Jefferson Davis, which gave the start to the Civil War.
The Great Depression was the first global crisis in the world, which caused immense economic decrease across the USA. 24-th of October 1929, known as Black Thursday, was the day when Wall Street crash, which led to the crash of investment banks, insurance companies and big companies across the USA and European countries. Due to economic decrease, the industrial production in the USA had fallen by half. As a result, the unemployment rate has reached 25 %.
The most prominent historical figure of the USA at that period of time was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was the only President in the American History who was elected 4 times. 7 December 1941 was the start of the World War II for the USA when Japan attacked American Pacific fleet at Perl Harbor. Landing of American and British troops in Normandy on June 6, 1944 helped the allies to beat Nazi Germany.
Despite the fact that slavery was abolished a hundred years ago, American society remained racially segregated as on the mid of 20-th century. Afro-Americans were discriminated based on their color of skin in all spheres of life. Martin Luther King decided to put the end to any kind of discrimination in 1963 and said his prominent words “I have a dream”, facing more than a quarter of million people of both races who gathered in Washington to demand equal rights to everyone, regardless of his/her color of skin. As a result, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which gave equal rights to all people, regardless of their color of skin. The Act was signed in 1964.
The Cold War was the period of political tension between two superpowers – the United States of America and the USSR. The biggest crisis between two states occurred in 1962 when Cuba allowed the USSR to place intercontinental ballistic missiles on their territory. This period in world history is called Cuban Missile Crisis. Despite the fact, that Cold War is often seen from the negative perspective, it has a positive one – Cosmic and technological race, which resulted in immense technological development, the birth of high-tech fields. The cosmic race ended on July 20, 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.
In the mid of 20-th century, Vietnam experienced Civil War between the Communist North and Capitalist South. The first American troops were sent in 1961 by President John Kennedy. In August 1964 North Vietnamese boats attacked US ships, which resulted in increased military involvement. The USA lost a lot of soldiers due to guerrilla war. A lot of American soldiers were captured by Vietnamese guerrilla groups. Starting from 1970, President Nixon withdrew American troops. The last US troops left South Vietnam in 1973.
On 17 June 1972 unknown men broke into the Democratic party Headquarters, which was located in Watergate Building. They found the tapes of conversations, which proved that White House administration wanted to “cover up”. As a result of this scandal, Richard Nixon had to resign on 9 August 1974.
The start of the 21-st century was the time of the biggest global challenge – terrorism. On September 11, 2001 two planes crashed into the towers of World Trade Center located in New York. That was the biggest terrorist act in modern history. As a result, George Bush declared the war to global terrorism, which was followed by American military intervention in Afghanistan. The USA government decided to prevent the potential threat of using chemical weapon by Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein and declared the war to Iraq on March 19, 2003.
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