APUSH Timeline Periods 7-9

By Simeon Zhang

Period 7: 1890—1945

Massacre at Wounded Knee

December, 1890: During the conquest of the West, the Seventh Cavalry rounded up 350 cold and starving Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Fighting broke out for disputed purposes, which led to the massacre of over 300 Indians.

Fifteen Million "New Immigrants"

1890—1915: During this period, the major sources of immigration to the United States shifted as 15 million immigrants arrived from eastern and southern European nations such as Italy, Poland, Russia, and Greece.

Hawaii Annexed

July, 1898: The United States annexed Hawaii during a period of strong sentiment for imperialism, started by the Spanish-American War. Hawaii's economy was dependent on the sugar trade with the US, but Queen Liliuokalani wanted to oppose American control over the islands. Farmers then staged an uprising, resulting in America annexing Hawaii.

Peace With Spain; US receives Philippines, Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico

August, 1898: The Spanish-American War ended with an armistice and the Treaty of Paris granted the United States multiple lands that were previously Spanish colonies.

Open Door Policy

1899: The United States enacted this policy in China to ensure equal opportunity for economic interests of all nations without interference or risk of war.

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

1911: This was one of the deadliest industrial fires in New York City and in US history. This led to a revision in factory safety standards.

Amendment XVI

February, 1913: This amendment allowed Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it off the national census.

Federal Reserve Act

December, 1913: This act, signed by Woodrow Wilson, established the Federal Reserve System which is the central banking system of the United States. It also established the US dollar.

Sinking of Lusitania

1915: Germany wages submarine warfare with the United Kingdom by sinking the RMS Lusitania. Public opinion turned against Germany after this event.

Harlem Renaissance Begins

April 5, 1917: Black culture flourished in postwar Harlem with many African American artists, musicians, and authors. A new sentiment for the distinct and rich culture grows in "black pride".

US Enters WWI

April 6, 1917: Wilson goes to Congress for a declaration of war after Germany attacks American submarines and appeals to Mexico. Europe was suffering great losses on both sides.

Amendment XVIII

January, 1919: This amendment banned the production, transportation, and sale of alcohol in the US and began the prohibition period.

Red Summer

Summer & Autumn of 1919: During this period, race riots broke out in multiple cities across the United States, resulting in over 165 deaths. The conflicts were mostly between whites and blacks.

Treaty of Versailles

June 1919: This treaty officially ended World War I and held Germany responsible. It also placed many restrictions on Germany and forced the nation to pay reparations.

Amendment XIX

1920: This amendment officially granted the right to vote to all female US citizens. It was the result of the women's' suffrage movement.

Revenue Act

1924: Signed by President Coolidge, this act cut federal tax rates and established the US Board of Tax Appeals.

Lindbergh Crosses the Atlantic

1927: Charles Lindbergh successfully made a nonstop, 33-hour flight from Long Island to Paris. This was the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Stock Market Crashes

1929: The Great Depression begins when the stock prices of many corporations fall dramatically. All efforts on "Black Tuesday" failed to save the stock market and many stocks became worthless.

Bonus Army

1932: World War I veterans marched into Washington DC to demand the bonus that they were promised for serving in the war. President Hoover then ordered Douglas MacArthur to drive them out.

Bank Holiday, "Hundred Days"

March, 1933: In his first 100 days of presidency, Franklin Roosevelt attempted to restore public confidence in banks by shutting down all American banks for four days. Roosevelt worked hard to improve the economy during his early administration.

New Deal Agencies

1933: FDR establishes several agencies as a part of his New Deal, to provide relief to the American people and boost the economy. Such agencies include: NRA, AAA, FDIC, TVA, FERA, CCC.

Amendment XXI

December, 1933: This amendment ended prohibition by repealing Amendment XVIII.


1934: The Securities and Exchange Commission set up new regulations and policed the stock market to fight corruption and fraud.

Wagner Act

July, 1935: This law established the National Labor Relations Board which addressed relations between unions and employers. It also effectively legalized the existence of workers' unions.

Social Security Act

August, 1935: This act established a social security program which provided financial insurance for retired workers, the elderly and needy people.

Japan Invades China

1931: The Japanese Kwantung army invaded and annexed Manchuria to gain land and power.

FDR Attempts to Pack Supreme Court

1937: As the Supreme Court was still mostly conservative, FDR attempted to appoint justices that supported his policies claiming that the Supreme Court was "overworked".

Fair Labor Standards Act

1938: This law established a minimum wage, overtime pay, required record keeping, and child labor restrictions. It applied to most paying jobs.

World War II Begins

1939: Adolf Hitler leads Nazi Germany to invade Poland, which marked the first day of World War II.

Lend-Lease Act

March, 1941: This law allowed the lending and leasing of US military aid to Great Britain and any other nation whose defense is vital for the United States.

Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor

December, 1941: The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service surprise bombed the US military base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This pushed the US to enter World War II.

US Interns Japanese

1942: Out of fear of Japanese spies, the US government interned hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens into labor camps.

Yalta Conference

February, 1945: The "Big Three" (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) meet in Yalta to discuss postwar reorganization.

VE Day

May 8, 1945: Victory in the European front of World War II and the fall of Nazi Germany.

Atomic Bombs

August, 1945: Two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to Japanese surrender and the end of the war.

Period 8: 1945-1980

"Iron Curtain" Speech

March, 1946: Winston Churchill gave a speech in Westminster College about the "iron curtain" that divided the Soviet Union and its satellite states with the democratic western nations.


March, 1947: This was the US foreign policy regarding the prevention or "containment" of the spread of communism.

Marshall Plan

June 3, 1947: As a part of the containment policy, this plan helped many Western European nations rebuild and strengthen their economies so that their local communist parties would lose influence.

Taft-Hartley Act

June 23, 1947: This act restricted the power and activities of unions. It outlawed many activities such as picketing and the "closed shop".

Berlin Airlift

1948-1949: Germany was divided and the Soviets occupied the East. US airplanes dropped supplies to Berlin as the USSR formed a blockade.

Military Integrated

1948: President Truman legalized the organization of mixed-race military units. Black and white soldiers could now serve together on the same tasks.


April, 1949: The NATO treaty formed an alliance between all democratic nations to prevent any wars between them. This was the first peacetime alliance.

Communists Control China

October, 1949: Mao Zedong's communists took control of the Chinese government and established the People's Republic of China.

Joseph McCarthy, "McCarthyism"

February, 1950: McCarthy led a strong crusade against any government official suspected of supporting communism and socialism.

Korean War

June, 1950: The communist-controlled North Korea invaded South Korea, which was supported by the UN and United States. China then aided North Korea and pushed the southern forces back to the 48th parallel, which remained the border.

Amendment XXII Limits President to Two Terms

1951: After FDR was elected into four terms, this amendment was passed to limit the total number of terms that can be served by a single person. This was to avoid having the same president indefinitely.

Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court Strikes Down "Separate but Equal"

May, 1954: These Supreme Court decision was vital for the success of the Civil Rights Movement, as it declared segregation in schools and all public spaces unconstitutional.

Vietnam Divided

August, 1954: France attempted to recolonize Vietnam after WWII but were opposed by the Vietminh. The First Indochina War ended with the fall of Dien Bien Phu, and France left Vietnam, which was divided into the north and south through the Geneva Conference.

Warsaw Pact

May, 1955: In response to the establishment of NATO, the Soviet Union and its satellite nations form their own communist alliance.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

December, 1955: After Rosa Parks was imprisoned for her resistance to bus segregation, African Americans in Montgomery boycotted the use of any public buses to demonstrate their resistance to segregation. The boycott greatly affected the bus business.

Eisenhower Doctrine

January, 1957: Primarily to fight off communism, this doctrine announced to Middle Eastern countries that they could ask for economic or military aid from the US if threatened with armed aggression.

Civil Rights Act

September, 1957: This was the first federal civil rights legislation passed and it primarily improved voting rights for blacks. The goal of the law was to ensure that all Americans could freely exercise their right to vote.


October, 1957: The USSR successfully launched the first satellite into space. This shocks all of America because they are no longer the most technologically advanced nation.

First US Satellite

January, 1958: The US responded to Sputnik by advancing their space program and launching their first satellite, Explorer I.


July, 1958: The US creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the space agency that headed research on the first manned space programs.

Freedom Rides

1961: As a part of the civil rights movement, many interracial students in CORE staged bus rides where colored people would refuse to segragate, hoping that the policy would be changed.

Bay of Pigs

April, 1961: In an attempt to stop Fidel Castro's communist government in Cuba, the CIA trained guerrilla soldiers out of anti-Castro exiles to spark an uprising. It failed.

Cuban Missile Crisis

October 1961: Tensions for nuclear warfare between the US and USSR reached its highest point when the USSR put nuclear missiles in Cuba, in response to the US' missiles in Turkey. The US planned to take out the missile sites, but the situation was resolved when the USSR agreed to take out the missiles if the US didn't invade.

Civil Rights March on Washington

August, 1963: 200,000 civil rights demonstrators marched on the mall on Washington DC, supported by JFK. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech at this rally.

JFK Assassinated

November 22, 1963: While in Dallas, Texas for political appearances, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Conspiracies arose in the later decades.

War on Poverty

January 8, 1964: Lyndon B. Johnson launched the "War on Poverty" which created Medicare and Medicaid and promoted "community action".

Amendment XXIV

January 23, 1964: This amendment prohibited poll taxes for any elections.

Great Society

May, 1964: President Johnson launched his "Great Society" reform program which involved building coalitions to end poverty and racial injustice.

Gulf of Tonkin

August 2, 1964: After a US destroyer was attacked at the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnam, a resolution was passed giving the president any funds he needed to stop the Vietnam war.

Malcolm X Assassinated

February, 1965: Malcolm X, a civil rights activist who advocated defense against racial injustice, was assassinated presumably by rivals within the Nation of Islam.

Operation Rolling Thunder in Vietnam

March, 1965: This operation was a series of bombardment campaigns in North Vietnam to boost the Saigon regime in the south and defeat the communist regime in the north.

National Organization for Women Formed

1966: NOW was formed by Betty Friedan and other feminists to promote the new feminist movement that began in the 60s. The organization worked to fight for educational opportunities and economic equality. They also defied traditional domestic values.

Detroit Riot

1967: On a Sunday morning, one of the deadliest and most destructive race riots broke out in 12th Street, Detroit. When the police could not handle the situation, the governor of Michigan ordered the National Guard into Detroit.

MLK and Robert Kennedy Assassinated

April 4; June 6, 1968: The nation was in a year of trauma as two prominent political figures were assassinated. Martin Luther King Jr was shot on his motel room balcony in Memphis by James Earl Ray, and riots broke out the following days. Robert Kennedy was shot at a Los Angeles hotel by a Palestinian who dislike Kennedy's pro-Israeli remarks.


January, 1969: President Nixon and Henry Kissinger sought a solution to the Vietnam stalemate through "Vietnamization" or the training and equipping of the South Vietnamese military. This would allow the locals to take on combat roles and reduce dependence the US.

Nixon Proposes New Federalism

1969: Nixon believed that government should be limited and power should return to state and local governments, which were the opinions of the "silent majority". Nixon worked to dismantle the Great Society and many previous government programs.

First Man on the Moon

July 20, 1969: NASA's Apollo program successfully sent Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon.

Massacre at Kent State

May, 1970: Shootings took place at Kent State University, killing many unarmed students protesting the Vietnam. The Ohio National Guard was responsible.

EPA Established

December, 1970: Following the growing environmentalist movement, the Environmental Protection Agency was established by Nixon to enforce the anti-pollution laws.

Nixon Opens Talks with China

February, 1972: 20 years after the fall of the Chinese nationalist government, Nixon visits China and restores diplomatic relations. China was also admitted into the UN.

SALT Talks Begins

May, 1972: American and Soviet Union diplomats met in Finland to discuss setting limits on their nuclear weapons arsenal. It was called the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty.


June, 1972: A scandal involving a break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate hotel negatively impacted Nixon's administration, as he was suspected to be involved in a cover-up. This leads to his impeachment.

Roe v Wade

January 22, 1973: This Supreme Court case legalized abortion, citing "right to privacy". Many states could still set their own restrictions on abortion.

US Forces Withdraw from Vietnam

January 27, 1973: After the "Christmas bombings", President Nixon withdrew all US troops from Vietnam in a continued stalemate. The Paris Accords officially ended the war between Vietnam and the US.

Nixon Resigns, Ford's Pardon

1974: With impending impeachment, Nixon resigned from office and Gerald Ford becomes acting President. He later pardons Nixon for any of his crimes committed in office.

Vietnam Falls

March, 1975: The ceasefire set by the Paris Accords was quickly broken when the North Vietnamese launched a full-scale offensive on the south. Ford refused to help and the southern forces fall at Saigon. Vietnam becomes communist.

Panama Canal Treaties Ratified

1977: Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos agreed over two treaties which officially gave Panama control over the Panama Canal, which was previously under control of the US.

Camp David Accords

1978: The Egyptian President and Israeli Prime Minister negotiated conditions for peace in Camp David with help from President Carter. The Accords officially made peace between the nations and was one of Carter's greatest achievements.

US Recognizes China

January 1, 1979: When the Chinese leader was hoping to open up the nation to the outside world, Washington and Beijing announced their resumption of formal diplomatic relations. The US also formally recognized China

SALT II Completed

June 18, 1979: President Carter traveled to Vienna to finish the SALT II draft. This agreement limited long range missiles, bombers, and nuclear warheads for the US and USSR but was met with opposition.

American Embassy in Iran Occupied

November, 1979: During the Iranian revolution, a group of armed militants invaded the American embassy in Teheran and took the diplomats and military personnel hostage. They demanded the shah of Iran, who was in the US, to be returned in exchange for the hostages' freedom.

USSR Invades Afghanistan

December 25, 1979: The Soviet Union invaded the mountainous Islamic country, Afghanistan, where Marxism was already a great influence. The war lasted over 9 years before the USSR withdrew.

US Boycotts Olympics & Withdraws from SALT II

1980: As the USSR's actions in Afghanistan threatened world peace, the US angrily imposed economic sanctions on Russia, boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and withdrew from SALT II.

Reagan Elected President

November 4, 1980: Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President and he promised tax cuts and restoration of American "strength" and "pride". The hostages in Iran were soon released, and Reagan worked to deregulate the economy, while the fiscal crisis emerged.

Period 9: 1980-Present

World Wide Web Goes Public

1989: The exchange and access of information as well as global communication was forever changed with the introduction of the Internet and World Wide Web. It was introduced by British scientist Tim Burners-Lee.

Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm)

January, 1991: Operation Desert Storm was the coalition offensive led by the United States against Iraq in the Gulf War. It was carried out in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Collapse of Soviet Union

December 26, 1991: The power of communism declined with a failed communist coup. This fatally injured the legitimacy of the communist party and the power of the Soviet government, leading to many Soviet republics declaring independence. The Soviet Union dissolved and the republics reorganized into independent nations.

World Trade Center Bombed

1993: A bomb exploded inside the parking garage of the World Trade Center causing 6 deaths serious structural damage to the buildings.

NAFTA Treaty

1994: The North American Free Trade Agreement established eliminated most trade barriers between the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Welfare Reform

1996: President Bill Clinton reluctantly signed a major welfare reform which ended the 50-year guarantee of federal assistance to families with dependent children. The reduced funds were mostly shifted to low-wage workers.

Bill Clinton is Impeached by US House of Representatives

1998: Following the Monica Lewinksy scandal, President Clinton is impeached on two counts: lying to the grand jury and obstructing justice. He is later acquitted.

2000 Election

2000: George W. Bush runs against Al Gore in an election with very controversial results. While Gore won the popular vote, the votes in Florida were not able to be correctly counted and the remaining electoral votes went to Bush in a Supreme Court decision.

World Trade Center and Pentagon Attacked

September 11, 2001: This event was the most notorious terrorist attack in all of US history, where multiple commercial airliners were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. This event increased the American people's awareness of the danger of terrorism greatly.

War Against Terrorism Begins, Operation Enduring Freedom

September 20; October, 2001: Following the September 1 attacks, President Bush announced a "War on Terrorism", and blamed the attacks on Middle Eastern terrorist groups, such as al-Queda. Operation Enduring Freedom launched a series of attacks on suspected areas with terrorist groups, starting with Afghanistan.

US Invades Iraq

2003: US forces invade Iraq, which was a part of what Bush called the "axis of evil", believing them to be aiding terrorist groups and developing nuclear weapons. The US military topples the Hussein regime.

Hurricane Katrina

2005: A devastating hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico hit the New Orleans area and the government was slow to respond. This event was the most costly disaster in reparations for the United States and decreased Bush's popularity.

Great Recession

2007: A sharp decline in economic activity began in the late first decade of the 2000s leaving many in debt. It was considered the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression and was related to the financial crisis at the time in the US.

TARP Passed

October 3, 2008: This allowed the US government to purchase toxi assets by authorizing expenditures of $750 billion.

Barack Obama Elected

November 4, 2008: The first African American president was elected beating John McCain 365-173 electoral votes. Everyone had high expectations for Obama's policies.

Affordable Care Act

2010: This controversial law established a system of universal healthcare, but it did not go into effect until 2014, due to a lot of technical issues.

US Withdraws from Iraq

2011: Obama ends the Iraq war and gradually withdraws all US troops.


Are we living in period 9 or period 10?
Created By
Simeon Zhang


Created with images by Kheel Center, Cornell University Library - "Interior view of the tenth-floor work area in the Asch Building after the Triangle fire"

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