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Top Ten Events in American History

Updated on November 10, 2016
Nick Burchett profile image

Nick is a US Army veteran, husband and father of three, and has a BA in History. He is a Civil War aficionado and also enjoys genealogy.

Top Ten Events in American History
Top Ten Events in American History

Obviously, with a topic as broad as this it is subject to a personal opinion and viewpoint. What follows is what I believe to be ten extremely important events in the history of the United States. I have purposely left out events during wartime America as there are so many that over the course of the conflict so many would transpire that it would be remiss to leave them out and just say "the Civil War" or "World War II" thus taking us well beyond ten events.

1. Ratification of the US Constitution
This one goes without saying. It revolutionized the idea of a republican form of government and produced a document that other governments have used as the blueprint for the formation of their own constitutions.

2. Eli Whitney invents the Cotton Gin
Some say it was the cause of the growth of slavery, I doubt that, but it did bring about the concept of interchangeable parts that would be taken to the next level by Henry Ford in the 20th century.

3. The Louisiana Purchase
Not sure the purchase itself is significant (outside the fact that Jefferson wasn't even sure he had the Constitutional power to do this ) but the fact that it opened up a HUGE section of the continent for the expansion of America was. Lewis and Clarke and Zebulon Pike would go on to explore this area bought from the French for about $15 million

4. The Election of 1824-1825
Andrew Jackson called it the "corrupt bargain" and that bargain took the presidential vote to the House of Representatives for the first and only time in our history (the election of 1912 had the chance of this ) and cost Jackson the presidency even though he had the popular and electoral votes but NOT the majority.

5. Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
This bill designed by Stephen Douglas of Illinois would be a major cause of the border war between Kansas and Missouri and in my humble opinion was one of the main instigators of the American Civil War. It introduced the concept of "popular sovereignty" in which the people would determine the fate of the state.

6. Creation of the Panama Canal
Completed in 1914, costing 5,600 lives it would connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for the first time in human history. This was astronomical in importance as the trip around Cape Horn was dangerous and time consuming.The canal saves almost 9,000 miles of travel. The first ship to travel the canal was the SS Ancon.

7. Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.
The airplane would become a staple in transportation, war and recreation. It started here with the first successful flight

8. FDR & The New Deal
Like it (him) or hate it (him) The New Deal and Franklin Delano Roosevelt transformed the United States with not only policies and initiatives, some of which are still in use to this day, but how the president interacted with the country. FDR was the only President to serve more than two terms in office. No term limits were in place until 1947 with the 22nd Amendment, and the standard two term was accepted by all presidents up to FDR in reference to the two terms that George Washington served.

9. Civil Rights Movement
The 13th Amendment freed the slaves from their masters but did nothing for them as humans or citizens. The Civil Rights Movement would finally allow blacks the same rights and freedoms as whites, 100 years later.

10. 9/11 Attack
The morning of September 11, 2001 has become one of those days that became a wakeup call for Americans that we were not safe and secure here in our country from attack and for a short period of time, all parties and almost every citizen united as Americans.


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    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home

      I wonder if chris hsas a clue what the "Republican form of govt means?" Chris is just a commy or typical liberal- #1 is surely #1 your right

      Great list-


    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      8 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Good list, but the Declaration of Independence should be in there somewhere, I think!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      8 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Interesting, and valuable, except for the,"Republican Form of Government" which could never be to my taste.

      Thank you for a very good hub. I hope it will be the first of many.


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