Skip to main content

U.S. History and Historical Documents

Đang chơi bàiDiscover highlights from American history, including military events and founding documents.

 (sometimes referred to as the American War of Independence or the Revolutionary War) was a conflict that lasted from 1775-1783 and allowed the original 13 colonies to remain independent from Great Britain.
  • American politician and soldier George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789, serving two terms.
  • Beginning in Great Britain in the late 1790s, the  eventually made its way to the United States and changed the focus of the U.S. economy and the way it manufactured products.
  • 1800-1899

    • In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson agreed to the , successfully adding 530 million acres of land to the United States. The area was purchased from France for $15 million. The following year, President Jefferson assigned Meriwether Lewis (who asked for help from William Clark) to head west and . It took about a year and a half for the duo to reach the west coast.
    • The  resolved outstanding tensions between the United States and Great Britain. The two year war ended British military posts on U.S. soil and British interference with American trade.
    •  divided the United States in two—the Northern States versus the Southern States. The outcome of the four year battle (1861-1865) kept the United States together as one whole nation and ended slavery.


    • On December 17, 1903, brothers became the first people to maintain a controlled flight in a powered, heavier-than-air machine. The Wright Flyer only flew for 12 seconds for a distance of 120 feet, but the technology would change the modern world forever.
    • On April 6, 1917, the United States entered  by declaring war on Germany.
    • After nearly 100 years of protests, demonstrations, and sit-ins, women of the United States were officially after the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 26, 1920.
    • The worst economic crisis to happen in the United States occurred when the stock market crashed in October 1929, resulting in the .  
    • officially begins in September 1939 after Germany invades Poland. The United States didn’t enter the war until after the Japanese attack on on December 7, 1941.
    • On August 6 and August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of , effectively ending World War II. 
    • After World War II, an agreement was reached to divide Korea into two parts: a northern half to be controlled by the Soviet Union and a southern half to be controlled by the United States. The division was originally meant as a temporary solution, but the Soviet Union managed to block elections that were held to elect someone to unify to the country. Instead, the Soviet Union sent North Korean troops across the 38th parallel leading to the three-year-long (1950-1953) . 
    • From 1954-1968, the took place, especially in the Southern states. Fighting to put an end to racial segregation and discrimination, the movement resulted in the 1964 , the 1965 , and the 1968 .
    • The was a nearly 20-year battle (November 1, 1955–April 30, 1975) between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam won the war and Vietnam became a unified country.
    • The mission (July 16-24, 1969) allowed United States astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to become the first humans to walk on the moon’s surface.


    • The terrorist attacks on , changed the United States forever. Less than a month later (October 7, 2001) the United States began the , which is still happening today.
    • On March 20, 2003, the United States . The war lasted for more than eight years before it was officially declared over on December 18, 2011.
    • In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American person to be elected president of the United States.

    Library of Congress Resources

    Đang chơi bài has compiled a for each day of the year, titled "This Day in History." The website is updated daily and visitors can view the previous day's history as well as whatever documents, pictures, or outside information is available for each historical event. 

    The section of the Library of Congress is separated by time period or subject and offers an in-depth look at the history of the United States. 

    is one of the most important documents in the history of the United States. 

    Fast Facts

    • It took 17 days to write the Declaration of Independence.
    • On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain.
    • On July 4, 1776, Congress voted to accept the Declaration of Independence, marking July 4 as Independence Day.

    Đang chơi bàiTo learn more, you may want to:

    Đang chơi bài . The adopted the Constitution on September 17, 1787.  

    The is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It guarantees greater constitutional protection for individual liberties and lists specific prohibitions on government power. There are in all. The 27th Amendment, which was originally proposed in 1789, was not ratified until 1992. 

    Where to View the Constitution

    Đang chơi bàiYou can view the original, parchment copy of the U.S. Constitution at the  in Washington, DC. You can also or

    Đang chơi bài date to 1775, when America needed a defense force to protect the original 13 colonies from a British invasion. Today, there are five branches:

    • The is the oldest (established June 14, 1775) and largest of the five branches. Soldiers are responsible for performing land-based military operations.
    • The mainly operates from the waters (seas and oceans) providing protection both in the water and in the air.
    • The modern-day  is the youngest of the five branches (established September 18, 1947). Before the modern-day Air Force was created, it was an arm of the U.S. Army, dating to 1907. Airmen are responsible for carrying out aerial military operations.
    • The  is the smallest of the four branches under the Department of Defense. Marines provide both land and sea support to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and, in times of war, Coast Guard.
    • The is the only branch that falls under the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is multi-functional, with many peacetime missions. include: maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, and ports, waterways, and coastal security. 

    Military Museums

    Military museums offer visitors insight into the history, defining moments, and current status of the branches of the U.S. armed forces:

    • The U.S. Army does not have an official museum but there are interactive exhibits  as well as smaller,  located across the country.      
      • There is a to develop a national museum in the Washington, DC, area. 
    • The is located next to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, and features exhibits on the actions of Marines during World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
    • Located in downtown Washington, DC, the  has exhibits on different navigational tools used by the Navy as well as artifacts captured by the Navy.
    • The  is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and features a collection of aircraft used throughout the history of the Air Force.
    • The  is located on the campus of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and features artifacts from the nearly 230-year history of the Coast Guard.
    is located in Pennsylvania and is a reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers at one of the best-known locations from the American Revolution.
  • is located in Massachusetts and offers visitors a chance to see the birthplace of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
  • in New Jersey is a memorial to those members of George Washington’s army who survived an unusually cold winter.
  • War of 1812:

    • The , located in Massachusetts, provides interactive exhibits on life on the frigate as well as how the ship handled different battles.
    •  in Baltimore, Maryland, is the location that inspired the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner

    Civil War:

    • The in Washington, DC, has collections and exhibits to help visitors remember the African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
    • The National Park Service has an that contains information on the soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War.
    • in Virginia reminds visitors of some of the Civil War’s most devastating battles.
    • is located on the site of the Civil War’s deadliest battle—and is often referred to as the turning point of the entire war.
    • The in Maryland has exhibits on those who volunteered to take care of the sick and wounded during the Civil War.

    World War I:

    • President's Park in Washington, DC, includes monuments to the thousands of fallen American soldiers of the  and  Infantry Divisions.
    • The  in Kansas City, Missouri, has various artifacts from the war—including uniforms, tanks and weapons, and illustrations, political cartoons and soldiers' drawings created during the Great War.

    World War II:

    • The , also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, is located in Virginia near .
    • The , near Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, includes the USS Arizona Memorial and exhibits on events that occurred in the Pacific Theater during the war.
    • The in Washington, DC, is a tribute to those who served during the war in battle and at home.

    Korean War:

    • The  depicts those who fought in the three-year war.

    Vietnam War:

    • In Washington, DC, the has the names of the 58,000 Americans who died during the conflict etched into the walls of the monument.

    Visit the to search for more military memorials and monuments located throughout the United States. 

    is the of the United States. To celebrate a victory over British forces during the War of 1812, U.S. soldiers raised a large American flag at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 14, 1814. Inspired by those events, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem called "Defence of Fort M'Henry," which eventually became the Star Spangled Banner and the United States national anthem. 

    Share This Page:

    Do you have a question?

    Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

    Last Updated: July 8, 2019