The history of the United States is a long and winding road. There have been ups and downs, peaks and valleys, bright spots and dark moments. However, through it all, the United States has stood as a beacon of hope for people around the world. For many people around the world, the history of the United States is a jumbled mess with no rhyme or reason. This is largely due to how most textbooks present American history. They focus on dates, events, and people in a very linear fashion that doesn’t give you an accurate scope of what happened in those times.
The truth is there are so many fascinating tidbits about America’s past that are often left out of textbooks. The history books tend to gloss over some really interesting topics that you may not know about unless you take the time to read up on them. That’s why this article exists! Read on to learn more about the History of the US: From 1833 to 2008:
1833: The Year that Changed America Forever
The US has a long, convoluted history. But one episode will stand out to anyone who has never delved into it: The year 1833. In 1833, the US economy went into a depression because of overspending and overproduction. Thousands of businesses went bankrupt, and many families lost their homes. This led to widespread unrest among the American people, who were already frustrated with the government.
When President Andrew Jackson decided to take all of the government’s money and put it into the banks (which were failing), he made himself very unpopular. His decision to pay off the banks and not the people who had given him money to run his campaign was considered a fraud. In short, the year 1833 was the year the people of the United States lost faith in their government and began looking for other ways to solve their problems. This led to the rise of the abolitionist movement and the women’s suffrage movement, and it created a political climate that would eventually lead to a civil war.
1865: The End of Slavery in the United States
The history of the US is often told as a story of progress, but there is a dark period in its history that is rarely mentioned: slavery. Students are taught about the start of slavery in the US, but they aren’t told how long it lasted. To be honest, no one knows for sure how long it lasted. The history books say that slavery was abolished in 1865 after the American Civil War. However, it continued on in secret for at least another 20 years.
Slavery wasn’t just a Southern problem. It was legal in many Northern states as well. Massachusetts, for example, only outlawed it in 1847. The history books focus on the Civil War and the end of slavery, but they often skip over the decade of Reconstruction that followed. That’s when the US government worked to rebuild the South after the war, while at the same time trying to maintain order in the North.
1898: The Spanish-American War
The Spanish-American War is largely remembered as the event that led to American colonization of the Philippines. But the US had another colony before the Philippines: Puerto Rico. Nearly half of Puerto Ricans didn’t want to be American citizens, and they rebelled against the US. The US responded by putting the island under martial law. This raised some questions about the US’s commitment to self-government and democratic ideals.
The Spanish-American War itself was as much about honor as it was about expansion. The US felt slighted that Spain had cancelled a contract to lease the island of Guantanamo Bay to build a naval base. Investors were eager to push the US into war, claiming it would spur a huge economic boom. They were right—American companies gained control of over a billion dollars worth of sugar plantations in Cuba.
1933: The Beginning of the Great Depression
The Great Depression is often treated as a footnote in American History. Students are told that it happened, and then they move on to other topics. The truth is that this was an incredibly significant period in American history. It changed the way people thought about government and capitalism, and it led to the New Deal.
The New Deal was a program of government-funded projects designed to put people back to work and help make ends meet. It provided the US with many of its most recognizable structures, such as the Hoover Dam. This was a time when people turned away from capitalism and towards a more socialist way of doing things—and it happened because of the Great Depression.
1941-1945: World War II
World War II is often remembered for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but few people know about an attack on the US mainland that also took place during that time: The Attack on Smelter Mountain. This was the first attack on a US mainland since the War of 1812, and it happened in California. The people who were involved in this attack were Japanese immigrants who were living in California at the time.
The Japanese were fearful that the US would attack their country, so they were trying to take the first shot. This attack was foiled thanks to a group of forest rangers who happened to be nearby. They managed to find the Japanese spies and prevent them from starting a very different kind of war. The attack on Smelter Mountain was largely forgotten after the war ended, but it was a very significant moment in the history of US-Japanese relations.
1954: Brown v. Board of Education
The fight for civil rights took many forms in the 20th century, but few people know that the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case happened in 1954. Brown v. Board of Education was a Supreme Court case that declared that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. It was a very significant moment in American history, since it put an end to decades of subtle racism and segregation against minorities.
The repercussions of this case were felt far and wide. It led to the creation of the Civil Rights Movement and the end of Jim Crow laws in the South. It was also a sign that the US was committed to ending racism and discrimination in all forms.
1963-1967: Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Movement was a massive and incredibly significant movement in American history. It saw the rise of black power, the formation of new political parties, the deaths of many civil rights leaders, and the signing of the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Movement took many forms. People marched in the streets, they boycotted unfair businesses, and they even used nonviolent civil disobedience.
Many of the leaders of the movement, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, are household names. But there are others who are less well known. One lesser-known person in the Civil Rights Movement is Viola Liuzzo. Liuzzo was a white woman who travelled to Selma, Alabama, in 1965 to protest segregation. Her car was shot at by a group of racist men, and she was killed. Her death and her commitment to fighting for justice were a testament to the power of the movement.
1973-1976: Watergate Scandal
The Watergate Scandal is one of the most significant moments in modern American history, yet many people don’t know the full details. The Watergate Scandal was an attempt to spy on and sabotage the Democratic Party. It was done by President Nixon and his associates. The scandal is famous for ending with President Nixon being impeached, but it didn’t stop there. During the investigation, the country discovered that Nixon had recorded his conversations. That was against the law, so Nixon had to resign. All of this happened in less than three years, from the break-in at the Democratic headquarters all the way up to Nixon’s resignation.
2001 to 2008: The End or Just the Beginning?
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were a horrific moment in American history. Many people died, and the country was changed forever. The attacks were perpetrated by Al-Qaeda, a terrorist organization that was funded by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian who had a long history with the United States. He was trained by the US in the 1980s to fight the Soviet Union. However, in the 1990s, he turned his sights on the US. The 9/11 attacks were the worst the US had ever seen. They led to the War on