For those of you that think history is boring, be prepared to be proven wrong! American history is filled with some incredibly important events that have helped shape this country and the world around us. We’ve compiled some of the most influential dates in American history. Some you might recognize and others may completely take you by surprise. For example, did you know that the teddy bear first debuted in the U.S.?! You won’t believe just how influential the U.S. has been after you get through these important dates.
15. The Great Depression
Although the Great Depression affected the entire world economy, it actually had its start in the United States. Everything started when the stock market crashed in October 1929. This collapse caused the economy to spiral downwards with small business, families, and banks all being negatively impacted. The unemployment rate grew to 25%-30% and soon the entire world was feeling the effects of the Great Depression. The Great Depression finally ended thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Program.
Next. we have a speech that will live on in memory as one of the most influential in changing the course of American history.
14. “I Have A Dream” Speech
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the “I Have A Dream” speech to a crowd of 25o,000 people. This speech would go down in history as one of the most profound and iconic in American history. King’s speech brought greater attention to the Civil Rights Movement that had been going on in America for many years. Through his use of optimistic language and a message of non-violence, King was able to call attention to the issue in a way that resonated with many. Thanks to his speech, Congress moved faster in passing the Civil Rights Act.
13. The Atomic Bomb
America was the first and only nation in the world to ever drop an atomic bomb.The dropping of the atomic bomb is often noted as the end of World War 2. You may not know, but the United States actually dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. The first bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 on Hiroshima and wiped out 90% of the city’s population. The second bomb was dropped three days later on Nagasaki which killed another 40,000 people. The atomic bomb in turn ended World War 2 as Japan withdrew after the bombs dropped. However, the invention of the atomic bomb also brought about the Cold War with Russia.
12. The Moon Landing
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two people on the Moon and it was America that accomplished this goal before anyone else! On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was launched toward the moon from Kennedy Space Center. It took a few days for them to finally land on the moon and on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps on the surface of the moon. Since television was finally more accessible, more than 600 million people around the globe turned on their sets to watch the landing take place.
11. September 11
On September 11th 2001, Islamic extremists hijacked four planes that were flying above the US. The hijackers crashed the planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and eventually one crashed in Pennsylvania. Around 3,000 people lost their lives on that day within hours, and 2,606 of them were civilians heading to work or on a trip. This event changed America in a drastic way. The way we handle our foreign policy and the way people board on planes all became drastically different. Many Americans are still horrified by the attacks to this day and we still honor everyone who lost their lives on that day.
10. World War II
World War II greatly impacted the lives of people throughout America. Although the United States was only involved in the last four years of the war, it would greatly affect many families in the states. Sons and fathers were all sent abroad to fight. For a while, the U.S. was staying out of the war, that was until Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. Men were shipped off to Europe and around 500,000 American men lost their lives. Once the war was over, men returning to the states were faced with a booming economy, as the war had positively impacted the U.S. From that point on, the U.S. dominated the world economy and became a major military power.
9. Vietnam War
The Vietnam War is one of the most controversial wars that the United States has been involved in. The U.S. entered the war with the intention of preventing communism from spreading from North Vietnam into South Vietnam. However, looking back, we can see that a lot of decisions made during this war were poorly made. President Kennedy was against the war, however, after his assassination President Johnson pushed for it and one of the biggest motivators was more oil for the U.S. Many protests were held as no one knew why we were involved in the war in the first place and no one wanted to continue the invasion.
Next, we have the invention of a stuffed toy that would soon become a bestseller amongst children.
8. The Teddy Bear
In November 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt decided to head out on a hunting trip. The president headed over to Mississippi to go bear-hunting but something would soon happen that would show the president’s merciful side. On the trip, a bear had been clubbed and tied to a tree and was awaiting the lethal shot from President Roosevelt. However, the president refused to kill the bear in what he considered to be an unsportsmanlike way. A Washington Post cartoonist Clifford Berryman sketched up cartoon of the moment that led one man to become inspired to create a stuffed bear! Brooklyn candy-shop owner Morris Michtom saw the cartoon and had his wife stitch up some stuffed bears and Roosevelt gave his permission to call them “Teddy’s bears.”
7. Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
President Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, just a few months before the start of the Civil War. Lincoln was the first and only president in the U.S. to lead the country while a civil war was going on. Still, he was able to unite the country and eventually the south conceded to the north. Still, there was a lot of resentment from the south and on April 14, 1865 during a performance at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., John Wilkes Booth shot the president. This was a huge turning point in American history, especially toward racial tensions and segregation.
6. Founding of Jamestown
On December 6, 1606, three ships sailed out to America and settled the colony known as Jamestown. Jamestown is an important colony because it was the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The Jamestown colony was also the first to bring Africans over, however, they treated them more like indentured servants and not slaves. The language, customs, government and beliefs of the people that settled Jamestown are actually quite similar to the customs we have in America still to this day.
Next, we have a revolution that took place to establish the United States as its own sovereign nation.
5. The American Revolution
Thanks to the American Revolution, America would finally become its own sovereign nation and no longer a colony of Britain. The colonial revolt took place between the years of 1765 and 1783. Although the war lasted until 1783, we celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th since the Declaration of Independence was ratified on this date in 1776. Throughout the five years of war there was a lot of bloodshed and fighting, however, the United States ended up the victor and the rest is history…
4. “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson
Have you ever wondered where the late-night programming got its start?! Well, The Tonight Show premiered on NBC in 1954 as Tonight and was originally hosted by Steve Allen. However, things radically changed for late-night talk shows when Johnny Carson took over. Carson hosted the show for three decades and provided all of us with some of the most memorable television moments.
Next, did you know that there were no female cabbie drivers before 1950? You won’t believe how one woman shook things up for women everywhere when she got behind the wheel of a taxi cab.
3. NYC’s First Female Cabbie
Gertrude Hadley Jeannette was an African American playwright and film and stage actress. However, she was also the first woman to work as a licensed taxi driver in New York City. At first, there was a bit of a controversy amongst the male cabbies who quibbled about “the feminine invasion of their business.” However, they eventually warmed up to the idea and Jeannette made history with her bold job move.
2. Sandy Koufax Throws A Perfect Game
Brooklyn-native Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitched a perfect game in the National League against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on September 9, 1965. “There are two times in my life the hair on my arms has stood up,” general manager Al Campanis recalled. “The first time I saw the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the first time I saw Sandy Koufax throw a fastball.” Koufax was a true legend and helped solidify the American pastime known as baseball.
1. Susan B. Anthony Votes
American women in the 1800s were growing frustrated with the fact that they couldn’t participate in the voting system of their own country. Susan B. Anthony, an American social reformer and women’s rights activist, decided that this unfair treatment could no longer prevail in the United States. On November 5, 1872, Anthony and three other women headed to a barbershop to register to vote in the election. When they were refused, Anthony threatened to sue and so the first women cast their votes in the presidential election.