USA 1890-1945: 180 Key Dates

I've gone fairly over-board here but this is pretty much every important event.  I'd suggest using this early in the course but keep in mind Taft's 'dollar diplomacy' and marines entring Nicaragua and San Domingo- there's no real date one can attribute to those.  And of course I've not included every strike and race riot but just a few of the larger ones that it might be useful to remember.  I've also not mentioned the Dawes Plan or the Young Plan- and by extention the Rurh Crisis- and some of the smaller parts of the New Deal...because there's a lot of it.

Found a few mistakes- ww1 doesn't end & McKinley lives on.

2nd July 1890
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison.
1 of 180
29th December 1890
154 Lakota Sioux die in the Wounded Knee Massacre.
2 of 180
1st January 1891
Ellis Island begins accommodating immigrants into the United States.
3 of 180
8th November 1891
Grover Cleveland is elected President for his second, non-consecutive, term.
4 of 180
5th May 1893
A few months past railway, agriculture and silver markets shrinking US stock prices suddenly plummet triggering unprecedented runs on banks and the Panic of 1893- just two months into Cleveland's term.
5 of 180
1st May 1894
The May Day Riots take place in Cleveland due to record high unemployment; it quickly becomes associated with the far-left and anarchists (who supposedly bombed the crowd) and contributes significantly to the Red Scare.
6 of 180
11th May 1894
3000 workers of the Pullman Palace Car Factory begin a 'wildcat' strike in Illinois. They are quickly fired and Eugene V. Debs leads the American Railway Union in a sympathy strike.
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27th May 1895
The ARU strike has reached 250 000 nation wide and the Supreme Court decides that military suppression would be legal. The pickets are broken up violently, 30 workers die and Debs is jailed. Cleveland becomes very unpopular with progressives.
8 of 180
9th July 1896
Dark-horse William Jennings Bryan declares " shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold" at the Democratic National Convention and is nominated for the Presidency.
9 of 180
3rd November 1896
William McKinley defeats Jennings Bryan by some 600 000 votes. His election is a victory for the businesses and business progressivism of the North.
10 of 180
15th February 1898
The USS Maine sinks in Havana Harbour after an explosion, 266 sailors are killed. It was under orders to observe the Cuban revolution against Spanish rule; the Spanish are immediately blamed for the disaster.
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25th April 1898
Congress declare war on Spain after the US Navy begin a blockade of Cuban ports.
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1st July 1898
The decisive victory of the Battle of San Juan Hill glorifies Theodore Roosevelt's 'Rough Riders'- even though the 'Buffalo Soldiers' actually saw the heaviest fighting.
13 of 180
30th April 1900
After a decade of upheaval and messy diplomacy Hawaii officially becomes US territory.
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10th December 1898
The Treaty of Paris is signed ending hostilities between the US and Spain. Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines for the prices of $20 million are ceded to the USA, who have won an easy victory.
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4th February 1899
The Philippine-American War breaks out in Manila as Emilio Aguinaldo leads a popular resistance to American rule.
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2nd July 1900
Secretary of State John Hay unveils his 'Open Door' policy towards China- the European powers agree with him a few months later.
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15th March 1900
The Gold Standard Act is ratified. It begins over thirty years of gold standard currency in the USA.
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6th November 1900
McKinley beats Bryan once again, and this time by about 300 000 more votes.
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2nd March 1901
The Platt Amendment is passed setting Cuba up to be merely a protectorate of the US
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16th October 1901
Roosevelt invites Booker T. Washington to the White House. Racial violence increases in the South but it's a tremendous step for Washington.
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3rd December 1901
Roosevelt makes a 20 000 word speech to the House of Representatives asking Congress to curb the powers of trusts "within reasonable limits".
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2nd March 1901
Congress passes the Platt Amendment in an effort to turn Cuba into "a self-governing colony". It gives the US military autonomy over the island, as a condition for the withdrawal of troops, which will be achieved through several naval bases.
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28th January 1902
The Carnegie Institution is founded in Washington, DC with a $10 million gift from Andrew Carnegie.
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18th February 1902
President Roosevelt prosecutes the Northern Securities Company for violation of the Sherman Act.
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2nd April 1902
Electric Theatre, the first movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles- by 1909 they'll be one in every town.
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December 1902
The Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903 occurs (until February 1903), in which Britain, Germany and Italy sustain a naval blockade on Venezuela in order to enforce collection of outstanding financial claims.
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21st October 1902
The 'Eight Hour' Strike by the United Mine Workers ends after intervention from Roosevelt- the workers get nine hours.
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20th May 1902
Cuba gains independence from the United States.
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23rd February 1903
Cuba leases Guantanamo Bay to the US.
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14th March 1903
The Hay-Herran Treaty is ratified by Congress the US are ready to go ahead with building the Panama Canal. The Colombian Senate reject it immediately.
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13th November 1903
The US recognise the independence of Panama.
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18th November 1903
The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama giving the U.S. exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.
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23rd February 1904
For $10 million, the United States gains control of the Panama Canal Zone.
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8th November 1904
Roosevelt is re-elected by a landslide over Democrat Alton B. Parker.
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5th September 1905
President Roosevelt mediates the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War.
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29th July 1905
Secretary of War William Taft co-signs the Taft-Katsura Agreement in secret. The US recognises Japan's claims in Korea.
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28th February 1906
Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle- "I aimed at the publics heart and by accident hit it in the stomach".
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8th June 1906
Roosevelt signs the Antiquities Act protecting certain public land from sale.
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30th June 1906
The Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act are made law.
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10th December 1906
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese War (1905).
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17th April 1907
1.1 million immigrants arrive at Ellis Island marking the busiest day in its history.
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24th October 1907
A major American financial crisis is averted when J. P. Morgan, E. H. Harriman, James Stillman, Henry Clay Frick, and other Wall Street financiers create a $25,000,000 pool to invest in the shares on the plunging New York Stock Exchange.
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8th February 1908
Japanese immigration to the US is forbidden.
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27th September 1908
The Model T Ford is launched at a price of $850; by 1925 it will be less than $200.
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3rd November 1908
William Howard Taft is elected to be the 27th President. He defeats William Jennings Bryan in a highly stratified race; Bryan once again rallies Southerners and Farmers but fails to sway enough Industrial Workers to the Democrats.
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12th February 1909
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.
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28th January 1909
United State troops leave Cuba over a decade after initial occupation.
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11th November 1909
Pearl Harbour Naval Base is opened in Hawaii.
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15th May 1911
The Supreme Court dissolves Standard Oil after declaring it an unreasonable monopoly.
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5th August 1912
Dissident Republicans nominate Theodore Roosevelt as the Progressive Party candidate- he "feels as fit and strong as a bull moose".
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5th November 1912
Undercut by Roosevelt, Taft finishes 3rd in the Presidential Race and Woodrow Wilson is elected. Wilson represents the centre of his party but even earns Bryan's support. Socialist Eugene Debs wins 6% of the popular vote.
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3rd October 1913
The United States Revenue Act of 1913 re-imposes the federal income tax and lowers basic tariff rates from 40% to 25%.
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10th October 1913
The Panama Canal is finished.
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23rd December 1913
The Federal Reserve is created, some say that Wilson agreed to this before his election.
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5th January 1914
The Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage of $5 for a day's labor.
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28th July 1914
A month after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, World War One begins. Eight days later German troops enter Belgium, Britain declares war one Germany and America its neutrality.
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26th September 1914
Wilson signs in the Federal Trade Commission Act setting up the FTC. Wilson appears to be continuing Roosevelt's anti-trust culture.
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12th January 1915
The House of Representatives blocks a proposal to give women the right to vote.
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8th February 1915
D.W. Griffith's controversial film The Birth of a Nation premieres in Los Angeles: it glorifies the memory of the original Klu Klux Klan
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7th May 1915
RMS Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat. It is the second White Star Line cruiser to sink and the first to be sunk. Over a thousand (mostly Americans) are killed.
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9th June 1915
Now Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan resigns from Wilson's government in protest of the internal reaction to the Lusitania.
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28th July 1915
The United States occupation of Haiti begins.
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27th November 1915
The Second Klu Klux Klan begins.
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15th March 1916
Wilson sends 12 000 troops into Mexico to pursue (unsuccessfully) revolutionary leader Francisco Villa.
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7th November 1916
Woodrow Wilson is narrowly re-elected over Charles E. Hughes.
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21st November 1916
The US rejects Germany's offer of $10 000 per American killed aboard the Lusitania.
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22nd January 1917
President Woodrow Wilson calls for "peace without victory" in Europe.
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3rd February 1917
The US breaks of diplomatic relations with Germany.
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24th February 1917
President Woodrow Wilson calls for "peace without victory" in Europe.
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6th April 1917
Four days after Wilson submits a request to Congress, the USA declares war on Germany.
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15th June 1917
The Espionage Act is passed, increasing government powers to investigate radical groups and making it illegal to interfere with military activities.
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5th June 1917
Conscription begins in the United States.
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8th January 1918
President Wilson states his fourteen points on what a post-war Europe should look like.
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16th May 1918
The Sedition Act is passed effectively limiting freedom of speech.
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16th January 1919
The Eighteenth Amendment is passed prohibiting the sale, production and transportation of Alcohol.
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5th March 1919
A. Mitchell Palmer becomes Attorney General of the United States through recess appointment
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28th June 1919
The Treaty of Versailles is signed and is the first an most significant treaty of the Paris Peace Conference.
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13th April 1919
Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia for speaking out against the draft during World War I.
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30th April 1919
Several bombs are intercepted in the first wave of the 1919 United States anarchist bombings.
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27th July 1919
Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia for speaking out against the draft during World War I.
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30th August 1919
The Socialist Party members attend the 1919 Emergency National Convention in Chicago; the party splinters into three new ones after failing to agree on a response to events in Russia. The far left soon looses its influence in the USA.
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2nd October 1919
An overworked Woodrow Wilson suffers a massive stroke, leaving him paralysed.
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7th November 1919
The first Palmer Raid is conducted on the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Over 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists are arrested in twenty-three different U.S. cities.
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19th November 1919
The Treaty of Versailles fails to get critical ratification in the Senate.
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28th October 1919
Prohibition begins: The United States Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson's veto.
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18th August 1920
The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified: women can now vote.
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2nd November 1920
Warren G. Harding is elected over James M. Cox: American's are sick of Wilson's Democrats and want a return to 'normalcy'.
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19th May 1921
The Emergency Quota Act is passed; it is the first of many harsh immigration laws.
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31st May 1921
The Tulsa Race Riots claim over forty lives.
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13th December 1921
In the Four Power Treaty on Insular Possessions, Japan, the United States, United Kingdom, and France agree to recognize the status quo in the Pacific.
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25th August 1921
A coal strike in West Virginia will lead to the infamous Battle of Blair Mountain- around a hundred people are killed.
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6th February 1922
The USA, UK, France, Japan and Italy sign the Washington Naval Treaty limiting the tonnage of each power's navy.
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7th April 1922
Albert B. Fall the United States Secretary of the Interior is found to have been accepting bribes in exchange for selling of naval oil fields. The Teapot Dome Scandal rocks Harding's administration as his involvement is questioned.
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23rd March 1923
The teaching of evolution is outlawed in Oklahoma: the first anti-Darwinism legislation.
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2nd August 1923
Warren G. Harding dies in office and is succeeded by Vice-President Calvin Coolidge.
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2nd June 1924
U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.
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4th November 1924
Calvin Coolidge is now the elected President, defeating Democrat John W. Davis and Progressive Robert M. LaFollette, Sr.
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10th May 1924
J. Edgar Hoover is appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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10st July 1925
John T. Scopes is brought to trial in Dayton, Tennessee. He is accused of violating the Butler Act; Scopes is defended by Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan leads the prosecution. Bryan is troubled by the prospect of social-Darwinism.
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26th July 1925
Five days after winning at the Scopes 'Monkey' Trial, William Jennings Bryan dies of diabetes mixed with fatigue.
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21st May 1927
Charles Lindbergh finishes the first solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight, from New York to Paris- stock prices of aviation companies immediately soar.
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23rd August 1927
Italian immigrants Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for murder and armed robbery.
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6th November 1928
Republican Herbert Hoover enjoys an easy victory over Alfred E. Smith. Times are so good, that Hoover says "we may soon... be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this Nation".
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14th December 1929
St. Valentine's Day Massacre: Seven gangsters, rivals of Al Capone, are murdered in Chicago warehouse.
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30th October 1922
Benito Mussolini has been made Italian Prime Minister after his Black Shirts march on Rome; in three years he'll be the head of state.
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3rd September 1929
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) peaks at 381.17: banks will lend $9 billion this year and the wage equality is at a record high (1% own 25%).
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4th September 1929
The 'Babson Break': Roger Babson claims there's now too much production and too little a market- "Sooner or later, a crash is coming, and it may be terrific".
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19th September 1929
The 'Fisher Forecast': Professor Irving Fisher at Yale calls Babson a fool and that shares are still great value.
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24th October 1929
Black Thursday hits and the stock market loses $5 billion dollars in value. The next day five major banks spend $20 million buying up shares to reaffirm the market.
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29th October 1929
Black Tuesday: 16 million shares are sold and $14 billion is wiped off the stock market.
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13th November 1929
The stock market reaches its bottom; 659 banks have failed with debts of $140 billion.
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22nd April 1930
The USA, Britain and Japan sign a treaty at the London Naval Conference regulating submarine warfare and further capping ship building.
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17th June 1930
The Hawley-Smoot Tariff is signed into law setting tariffs at there highest for 100 years. It's a huge projectionist move and proves to be ineffective and a huge mistake.
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2nd December 1930
President Hoover goes before Congress and ask for $150 million for public work schemes.
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22nd April 1931
Austria, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the USA recognize the Spanish Republic.
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8th November 1917
The Bolshevik's a victorious in Russia; the USA had volunteers and investment in the White Army.
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6th June 1932
The Revenue Act is passed raising taxes across the USA. The wealthiest can now be taxed 63% and, for the first time, gas is taxed.
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22nd January 1932
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is established: it's pretty ineffective under Hoover as it's hindered by poor bureaucracy and has no control over Wall Street.
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8th November 1932
Franklin Delano Roosevelt wins a landslide victory over Herbert Hoover.
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4th March 1933
Franklin Roosevelt promises the US recovery saying "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself".
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5th March 1933
Now with emergency 'wartime' powers, Roosevelt rushes through an eight day long banking holiday: on the ninth day he broadcasts his first 'fireside' chat.
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12th May 1933
The Agricultural Adjustment Act is passed.
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5th December 1933
The 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, repealing Prohibition, goes into effect.
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14th April 1934
Black Sunday: Twenty of the worst dust storms within the Dust Bowl occur.
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6th June 1934
Roosevelt signs the Securities Exchange Act into law birthing the SEC, marking a big step in his banking reform.
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14th August 1934
The United States occupation of Haiti ends: Roosevelt is a 'good neighbour'.
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29th December 1934
Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.
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16th June 1933
Roosevelt signs the National Industry Recovery Act creating PWA and the ill-fated NRA.
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6th May 1935
Headed by the enthusiastic Senator Harry L. Hopkins the Works Progress Administration is set up.
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27th May 1935
The U.S. Supreme Court declares the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional.
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5th July 1935
The Wagner Act, picking up the labour laws lost in the dissolution of the NRA, becomes law.
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14th August 1935
The Social Securities Act becomes law.
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8th September 1935
Senator Huey Long is killed in Louisiana; his assassin is killed instantly by his body guards.
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30th January 1933
Adolf Hitler is elected Chancellor of Germany; within two years he'll become the self-declared head of state.
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3rd November 1936
Roosevelt is re-elected to a second term in a landslide victory over Alf Landon.
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12th April 1937
The Supreme Court of the United States rules that the National Labor Relations Act is constitutional.
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22nd July 1937
The Senate votes down Roosevelt's 'court packing' bill.
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5th July 1938
The Non-Intervention Committee reaches an agreement to withdraw foreign volunteers from the Spanish Civil War. The agreement is respected by most Republican volunteers, notably by those from the UK and the USA, but is ignored by Germany and Italy.
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3rd November 1936
Roosevelt is re-elected to a second term in a landslide victory over Alf Landon.
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12th April 1937
The Supreme Court of the United States rules that the National Labor Relations Act is constitutional.
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22nd July 1937
The Senate votes down Roosevelt's 'court packing' bill.
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5th July 1938
The Non-Intervention Committee reaches an agreement to withdraw foreign volunteers from the Spanish Civil War. The agreement is respected by most Republican volunteers, notably by those from the UK and the USA, but is ignored by Germany and Italy.
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4th June 1939
The St. Louis, a ship carrying a cargo of 907 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida after already having been turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi death camps.
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1st September 1939
Nazi Germany invades Poland, within 48 hours Britain and France declare war on Germany and World War 2 begins. On the 5th the USA reasserts its neutrality.
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4th November 1939
President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons to non-belligerent nations.
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14th June 1940
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Naval Expansion Act into law, which aims to increase the United States Navy's tonnage by 11%.
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16th September 1940
The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 is signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt, creating the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.
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8th February 1941
The Lend-Lease Act is passed by Congress; it actually took a year to be ratified after being drawn up.
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14th August 1941
The Atlantic Charter is issued- it for the first time uses the phrase 'united nations'.
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7th December 1941
The Japanese Air Force launches a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour...(or Pearl Harbor). The following day Roosevelt calls it "a date which will live in infamy", all neutrality legislation of the thirties is repealed and the US declares war on Japan.
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11th December 1941
Germany and Italy declare war on the USA- the other axis powers soon follow.
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2nd February 1942
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order directing the internment of Japanese Americans and the seizure of their property: Eleanor Roosevelt begged him not to.
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7th June 1942
The US Navy are victorious at the Battle of Midway, turning the tide of the Pacific War.
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31st October 1940
Hitler reluctantly abandons Operation Sea Lion: The invasion of Britain.
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8th November 1942
Operation Torch – United States and United Kingdom forces land in French North Africa. Roosevelt's been eager to get troops on the ground in Europe.
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14th January 1943
Roosevelt and Churchill meet at the Casablanca Conference: they write up a possible surrender for the axis and a model for how North Africa will look after the war.
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24th December 1943
Dwight Eisenhower is selected to be the Allies Supreme Commander in Europe.
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8th September 1943
Eisenhower publicly announces Italy's surrender to the Allies.
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2nd February 1943
The Red Army achieves a decisive victory at the Battle of Stalingrad, destroying the German 6th Army. 2.5 million Russian soldiers are now heading towards Germany.
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22nd November 1943
Roosevelt meets with Churchill and ROC leader Chiang Kai-Shek meet in Cairo to discuss ways to defeat Japan.
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28th November 1943
Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin meet in Tehran were they plan Operation Overlord for June 1944.
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4th December 1943
The Great Depression officially ends in the United States: With unemployment figures falling fast due to World War II-related employment, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt closes the Works Progress Administration- Hopkins' has worked himself sick.
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6th June 1944
Allied troops land in Normandy. All sides suffer tremendous causalities: only 25% of American's landing on Omaha surviving.
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25th September 1944
Operation Market Garden results in failure.
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7th November 1944
Roosevelt wins re-election over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey, becoming the only U.S. president elected to a fourth term.
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4th February 1945
The 'Big Three' meet at the Yalta conference in Crimea: Europe is split in two.
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26th March 1945
American troops raise the flag at Iwo Jima: on a clear day they can see mainland Japan.
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1st April 1945
US troops capture Okinawa: on a clear day they can see mainland Japan.
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30th April 1945
Two hundred metres from the Soviet line to the east, Adolf Hitler commits suicide in an underground bunker with his high staff.
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12th April 1945
Roosevelt tells his wife "I have a terrific headache" before unexpectedly dying from a cerebral haemorrhage. Harry Truman becomes the 33rd President of the United States.
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8th May 1945
The Allies except Germany's unconditional surrender from Admiral Donitz.
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16th June 1945
Two years after the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was engineered, an atomic bomb is tested on the Trinity Site in New Mexico.
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9th March 1945
Operation Meetinghouse, the firebombing of Tokyo, is carried out- 100 000 Japanese citizens are killed. The US promises much worse if the Japanese do not surrender.
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6th August 1945
The United States drops an atomic bomb (the "Little Boy") on Hiroshima at 8:15 am- 80 000 people are instantly killed, that number will rise to 140 000 over the coming weeks.
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9th August 1945
The United States drops an atomic bomb nicknamed "Fat Man" on Nagasaki- 65 000 are instantly killed.
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14th August 1945
Emperor Hirohito surrenders for Japan- "the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb".
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17th July 1945
Chruchill, Truman and Stalin meet at the Postdam Conference. Truman first tells Stalin about the Manhattan Project: Stalin's spy in the project has already told him this. Half way through the conference Churchill leaves and Attlee shows up.
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8th July 1945
Japan agrees to surrender on the condition that it retains its Emperor.
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4th December 1945
By a vote of 65–7, the United States Senate approves the entry of the United States into the United Nations.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


154 Lakota Sioux die in the Wounded Knee Massacre.


29th December 1890

Card 3


Ellis Island begins accommodating immigrants into the United States.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Grover Cleveland is elected President for his second, non-consecutive, term.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


A few months past railway, agriculture and silver markets shrinking US stock prices suddenly plummet triggering unprecedented runs on banks and the Panic of 1893- just two months into Cleveland's term.


Preview of the back of card 5
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