Timeline of the History of the United States

The history of the United States dates back to the first settlers in the Americas. The settlers were defined by the hardships they endured and the unique relationships with the native Americans of the land, as well as with their home or “mother” nation.

France, Spain, and the Dutch all influenced the original settlers that would go on to create the United States, though Great Britain by far had the most influence. The creation of the thirteen British colonies in America would form the foundation upon which the colonists would build their own nation.

The severance of the colonies from Great Britain during the American Revolution would create the new nation of the United States. Although the United States is young by historical standards, it has a rich and unique history based upon one of the most influential and unique documents in history: the Constitution of the United States.

This living document still provides the foundation upon which the United States operates today.

Here is a look at a timeline of the history of the United States.

Timeline of the History of the United States

Colonial Period (~1600s – 1763)

1580s-1600s

1585: The first English colony in North America is founded and called the Roanoke Colony.

1590: The Roanoke Colony is found abandoned, mysteriously disappearing. Historians still cannot definitively determine what happened to the settlers.

1607: Both the Jamestown Colony and the lost Popham Colony were founded. Jamestown was one of the first successful English colonies in America.

1608: The Popham Colony ends in failure due to poor relations with natives and a harsh winter.

1610s-1630s

1614: The Dutch claim the colony of New Netherland which centered around the trading city of New Amsterdam.

1619: The first African slaves arrive in Jamestown, VA. They were the first slaves in English continental North America, as there were slaves already on the English colonized island of Bermuda.

1620: The Mayflower Compact is signed and the Puritans found the Plymouth Colony.

1621: What is generally referred to as the first Thanksgiving occurs between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag natives in the area.

Virginia_map_1606
Map of Jamestown colony via Wikimedia

1628: The Massachusetts Bay Colony is founded in the northeast.

1630: The city of Boston is founded within the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1638: The Pequot War ends with the Treaty of Hartford and a decisive colonial victory.

1640s-1660s

1640: The Beaver Wars between the Iroquois nation and French escalate over the French Fur Trade.

1643: Several northeastern colonies form the New England Confederation as a military alliance against native polities.

1655: The short lived colony of New Sweden is incorporated into the Dutch colony of New Netherland.

1667: The Dutch Colony of New Netherland is ceded to the English under the Treaty of Breda.

1670s-1690s

1670: Charleston is founded in modern day South Carolina.

1674: After the Dutch recaptured New Netherland in 1673, the colony is permanently ceded to the English in the Treaty of Westminster.

1676: Bacon’s Rebellion takes place in the Virginia colony in an attempt to change the colony’s Native American policies.

1681: William Penn receives a royal charter and founds the Pennsylvania colony.

1688: The Glorious Revolution occurs in England whereby James II is overthrown and replaced by William and Mary of Orange.

1692: The infamous Salem Witch Trials occur in the Massachusetts colony.

1699: The capital of the Virginia colony is moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg. The Jamestown colony is slowly abandoned.

1700-1720s

1705: The Virginia House of Burgesses passes the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 regulating the treatment of slaves in the colony.

1712: The New York Slave revolt of 1712 occurs leading to more restrictive laws against slaves and black people in the colony.

1723: The French establish Fort Orleans on the Missouri River in the newly acquired Louisiana territory.

1729: The city of Baltimore is founded.

1730s-1750s

1732: The colony of Georgia is founded.

1739: The Stono Rebellion of 1739 occurs when dozens of South Carolina slaves attempted to flee to Spanish Florida.

1740: The Negro Act of 1740 is passed in South Carolina further limiting slaves rights in response to the Stono Rebellion.

1741: The New York Conspiracy of 1741 is suppressed. The event was an alleged plot by slaves and poor white to burn New York City, though some historians doubt the plot ever existed.

1754: The French and Indian War begins engulfing the colonies in a large scale war with the French and Native Americans.

1759: The British take the French city of Quebec, all but assuring victory in the American theater of the war.

American Revolution (1763-1783)

1760s

1763: The Treaty of Paris is signed formally ending the French and Indian War. Pontiac’s Rebellion erupts showing that conflict with Native Americans would continue as colonists encroached on frontier native land. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is issued to help limit westward expansion by the colonists.

1765: The Stamp Act of 1765 generates fierce resistance and protests in the colonies over British attempts at unjust taxation.

1770s-1783

1773: After the 1773 Boston Tea Party, the British reacted by closing the port of Boston and passing the “Intolerable Acts,” further angering the colonists. As one of the largest American cities in 1775 – Boston was a hot spot for revolutionary activity.

1775: The siege of Boston erupts and the Battle of Bunker Hill occurs giving the British a pyrrhic victory. Afterwards, the Olive Branch Petition is sent to King George as a last attempt to avoid war with Britain.

1776: The colonists declare independence from Great Britain on July 4th, officially creating the United States of America. Although all the colonists appeared united against Great Britain, the divide between Loyalists and Patriots was much greater than most people realize.

Washington crossing Delaware
Painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River via Wikimedia

1777: A major turning point in the war comes with the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga, helping to formally bring France into the war.

1781: The Battle of Cowpens is fought in South Carolina, becoming a major turning point in the southern campaign. At the Battle of Yorktown, the United States scores a major victory against the British in the last major engagement of the war.

1783: The Treaty of Paris (1783) formally ends the American Revolution. The war for American independence came at great cost, with nearly 25,000 Americans dying in the struggle.

New Nation (1783-1815)

1783-1789

1786-1787: Shays’ Rebellion erupts in Massachusetts highlighting the weakness of the federal government under the Articles of Confederation.

1787-1788: The Federalist Papers are anonymously published and serve as the most influential defense of the new US Constitution. While scholars tend to highlight their differences, there were many similarities between the Federalists and anti-Federalists that battled for influence.

1788-1789: George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President under the new Constitution.

1790-1794

1790: The new United States federal government encounters its first test in trying to establish a strong foundation. Hamilton’s assumption of state debts plan met fierce resistance, though eventually passed due to the important Compromise of 1790 where the nation’s capital moved to Washington D.C.

1791: The Haitian Revolution begins with a full fledged slave revolt, alarming southern slaveholders. Lasting over a decade, the conflict saw the first successful slave revolt that established a new nation.

1792: George Washington reelected for a second term as President.

Washington's cabinet
Washington and his presidential cabinet via LOC

1793: Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin, a device that had profound effects on the US textile industry and the institution of slavery.

Washington’s controversial Proclamation of Neutrality to keep the United States out of the British-French conflict damages the US relationship with France and proves divisive amongst the populace.

1794: Jay’s Treaty of 1794 is signed between the United States and Great Britain helping to resolve longstanding issues. The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 occurs on the Pennsylvania frontier led by disgruntled whiskey distillers.

At the momentous Battle of Fallen Timbers, the US scores a decisive victory over Native Americans in the Northwest Territory, paving the way for a peace treaty a year later.

1795-1799

1795: The United States signs the Treaty of Greenville which affected Native Americans by opening up territory primarily in Ohio for settlers to continue to push westward.

In foreign affairs the US negotiates the historic Pinckney’s Treaty that secured navigation along the Mississippi River — a major boon to the young nation.

1796: Just before leaving office, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton help pen the far-reaching Washington’s Farewell Address. In the address, Washington gives 3 primary warnings to the American people of the dangers he foresaw to the republic.

John Adams (Federalist) is elected as the second President of the United States in the hotly contested election of 1796. Though there were no official political parties at the time, the Democratic-Republicans coalesced behind Jeffersonian beliefs and ideals under their leader, Thomas Jefferson.

1797: In the embarrassing XYZ Affair, France spurns American diplomats, demanding bribes in return for an audience. The causes of the affair dated back to several of Washington’s policies, and the escapade eventually led to the Quasi-War with France.

1798: Congress passes the divisive Alien and Sedition Acts to widespread opposition. The Federalists passed the acts for numerous reasons, though it ultimately backfired and helped sway public opinion towards the Democratic-Republicans.

In response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Democratic-Republicans pens the influential Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. The resolutions argued that the acts were unconstitutional, and also established the concept of nullification which would have disastrous effects in later years.

1800s

1800: In the important election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson defeats John Adams in a tight race to become the third President of the United States.

1801: With the significant Judiciary Act of 1801, or “Midnight Judges Act,” Adams appoints dozens of Federalist judges to lifetime appointments right before leaving office.

1803: The United States agrees to the historic Louisiana Purchase adding over 828,000 sq miles of territory to the new nation. Just why Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory is not definitively known to this day, though the decision was a major turning point in US history.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, delivers perhaps the most influential court decision ever in the Marbury v. Madison case, establishing the doctrine of judicial review.

Ograbme
Political cartoon featuring the much despised Embargo Act of 1807 via Wikimedia

1804: Jefferson is elected to a second term. The President orders the Lewis and Clark Expedition which lasts just over two years. The expedition uncovered hundreds of discoveries to the western world, and Lewis and Clark’s importance was paramount to the ever growing westward expansion of the nation.

1807: Following the humiliating Chesapeake-Leopard affair, Congress enacts the 1807 Embargo Act, the significance of which lies in how widely unpopular it was across America. The act ultimately failed after its provision arguably harmed the US more than Great Britain.

1808: James Madison is chosen as the fourth President of the United States.

1810s

1810: Congress attempts to punish Britain for the illegal impressment of American sailors by passing Macon’s Bill No. 2. The act proved ineffective, and ultimately helped push the US and Britain closer to war.

In the US government, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the landmark Fletcher v. Peck case. It was the first time that the federal judiciary struck down a state law as unconstitutional.

1811: At the significant Battle of Tippecanoe, US forces narrowly defeat Tecumseh’s Confederacy on the frontier, catapulting General William Henry Harrison to national fame.

1812: James Madison is reelected as President; the War of 1812 with Great Britain begins.

1814: The Hartford Convention of 1814 occurs, leading to the end of the Federalist party in the national political scene. At the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Andrew Jackson and the US militia defeat the “Red Stick” Creek warriors — virtually ending the Creek War that was fought alongside the War of 1812.

1815: Andrew Jackson wins the Battle of New Orleans, one of the most important battles of the War of 1812; the Treaty of Ghent is signed with Great Britain ending the war.

Expansion & Pre-Civil War (1815-1860)

1816-1819

1816: James Monroe is elected as the fifth President of the United States beginning what is known as the “Era of Good Feelings.”

An unlikely mix of supporters pass the Tariff of 1816 — a unique law which was the first tariff designed to be protectionist in nature. Tariffs formed an integral component of Henry Clay’s American System designed to spur economic growth.

1817: The underappreciated Rush-Bagot Treaty helped lead to more peaceful relations with Britain through naval disarmament on the Great Lakes bordering the two nations.

1819: The effects of the Panic of 1819 rock the nation as historians consider the financial crisis to be the first true nation-wide depression.

As a result of the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty the United States added the territory of Florida to the nation and further defined the western boundary with Spain.

In the significant McCulloch v. Maryland case, the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Second Bank of the United States and establishes that the “Necessary and Proper” clause of the Constitution gave the federal government implied powers.

1820s

1820: Monroe is reelected to a second term virtually unopposed. In the far-reaching 1820 Missouri Compromise, Congress drew a line dividing the western territories into free states in the north vs slave states in the south.

1823: In his seventh annual message to Congress, James Monroe proclaims the important Monroe Doctrine which greatly influences US foreign policy.

1824: The election of 1824, or the “corrupt” bargain, occurs where the House of Representatives decides John Quincy Adams will become the sixth President of the United States.

Erie Canal postcard
The Erie Canal finished construction in 1824 and greatly transformed the nation. via NY Heritage

The landmark Gibbons v. Ogden ruling expands federal powers over interstate commerce through a broad interpretation the Commerce clause of the US Constitution.

1825: The completion of the Erie Canal provides an economic boost to the region and sparks a wave of canal building throughout the nation, lowering transportation costs and opening up further swathes of the interior for settlement.

1828: Andrew Jackson wins the election of 1828 — a rematch with John Quincy Adams and becomes the seventh President of the United States. The significant of the election of 1828 lies in how it ushered in a new era in American politics and society: the Jacksonian Era.

1830s

1830: Anti-Native American sentiment helps lead to the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The effects of the act ripple through American society as the great Five Civilized Tribes would be forced off their lands to move west.

1832: Jackson is reelected to a second term in office. By now, the major differences between Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy are readily apparant throughout American society.

The pivotal Bank War of 1832 dooms the Second Bank of the United States whose charter was not renewed and expired in 1836.

In Worcester v. Georgia the Supreme Court rules that only the federal government had the power to negotiate with Native Americans and state laws had no effect on native lands.

1833: The Compromise tariff of 1833 ends the Nullification Crisis of 1832 where South Carolina threatened to secede over the unpopular Tariff of Abominations in 1828 and subsequent 1832 tariff.

1835: US negotiators shamefully sign the controversial Treaty of New Echota with the minority “Treaty Party” of the Cherokee nation. The US Senate ratifies the treaty a year later, leading to the horrific Cherokee Trail of Tears where thousands died in the forced march west.

1836: Martin Van Buren is elected as the eighth President of the United States. The heroic Battle of the Alamo and legendary Battle of San Jacinto occur as the major events of the Texas Revolution.

1837: The significant Panic of 1837 takes its toll on the nation. While the failed renewal of the Second Bank of the United States was a major cause of the panic of 1837, other factors contribute as well.

1840s

1840: William Henry Harrison defeats the incumbent Van Buren to become the ninth President of the United States. Harrison was the first member of the Whig Party to be elected President.

1841: Harrison dies after just 31 days in office after becoming ill. Vice President John Tyler succeeds him as the tenth President of the United States, though quickly abandons Whig principles.

1844: James K. Polk wins the election and becomes the eleventh President of the United States. Polk ran on a platform of Manifest Destiny.

Mexican-American war
US dragoons fighting in the Mexican-American War via LOC

1846: The tragedy of the Donner Party highlights the trials and tribulations faced by westward bound settlers taking the Oregon trail or other similar routes.

The controversial Wilmot Proviso is introduced in Congress, though never passed. The measure proposed to ban slavery in any territory potentially acquired in the Mexican-American War which broke out in 1846.

1848: Mexican-American War hero and General Zachary Taylor becomes the twelve President of the United States. The important Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed formally ending the Mexican-American war and leading to the Mexican Cession.

1849: The California gold rush leads to a population boom in the territory as men from across the world flooded in to strike it rich.

1850s

1850: Taylor dies in office and Vice President Millard Fillmore replaces him and becomes the thirteenth President of the United States.

1852: After Fillmore served out the remainder of Taylor’s original term he was passed over by the Whig Party in favor of General Winfield Scott. Scott would lose in a landslide to Franklin Pierce who was elected as the fourteenth President of the United States.

1856: James Buchanan wins the election of 1856, the only time in history when a political party (the Democratic Party) denied a nomination to the incumbent President (Pierce) and won.

1857: The Dred Scott Supreme Court decision causes outrage as the court declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional and determined a black man cannot sue for his freedom simply because he was black.

1858: Abraham Lincoln’s performance in the Lincoln-Douglas debates catapults him onto the national scene in the newfound Republican party.

1859: John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry terrifies southern states and becomes a major event in the lead up to the Civil War.

Civil War & Reconstruction (1860-1877)

1860s

1860: In one of the most divisive elections in history, Abraham Lincoln is elected as the sixteenth President of the United States. Just months later South Carolina would secede from the Union.

1861: Great Britain is nearly drawn into the US Civil War via the Trent Affair.

1863: The Union army scores desperately needed victories at the Battle of Gettysburg and monumental Battle of Vicksburg. The victories turned the tide of the Civil War as the Confederates never fully recovered from the losses.

1864: Lincoln wins reelection in the midst of the Civil War despite facing a challenge from disgruntled former Union General George McClellan.

1865: The Civil War ends. Just days after Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia, President Lincoln is assassinated while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre. Vice President Andrew Johnson succeeds him as the seventeenth President of the United States.

1867: Secretary of State William Seward negotiates the purchase of Alaska from Russia, often known as “Seward’s Folly.”

1868: The first presidential impeachment in the US occurs when Johnson is impeached by the House, but acquitted by the Senate. Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant wins the election of 1868 and becomes the eighteenth President of the United States.

Red Cloud’s War ends with the signing of the significant Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868). As a result the Great Sioux Reservation is created with the coveted Black Hills remaining within Sioux lands.

1870s

1870: Congress enacts the first federal holiday law giving paid time off to federal workers.

1872: Grant easily wins reelection with a wide popular and electoral vote margin.

1876: In one of the most contested elections in US history, the Compromise of 1877 gives Rutherford B. Hayes the Presidency over Samuel Tilden in exchange for the understanding that Hayes would remove federal troops from the south and end the period of Reconstruction.

Rise of Industry (1877-1900)

1880s

1880: James A. Garfield wins the election of 1880 and becomes the twentieth President of the United States.

1881: Garfield is assassinated by a radical member of his own political party. Vice President Chester A. Arthur becomes the twenty-first President of the United States.

1883: The Pendleton Act of 1883 is passed leading to massive reforms to civil service in the United States.

1884: Grover Cleveland becomes the first Democratic President (and twenty-second overall) since James Buchanan in 1856.

Due to over hunting by American settlers and disease the American bison population declines to a dangerously low level, nearly sending the species to extinction.

1887: Congress passes the 1887 Dawes Severalty Act which aimed to integrate Native American tribes into American society. Instead the act distributed massive amounts of native lands to white settlers and further contributed to the decline of Native American society.

With the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 Congress subjects the private railroad industry to federal regulation. It is the first time in history a private industry becomes subject to federal oversight from a regulatory body.

1888: Despite losing the popular vote, Benjamin Harrison wins an electoral majority, defeats incumbent Grover Cleveland, and becomes the twenty-third President of the United States.

1890s

1892: Grover Cleveland wins a rematch of the 1888 election and assumes the presidency once more. He is the only person to date to be elected in non-consecutive terms and is thus the twenty-second and also twenty-fourth President of the United States.

1896: William McKinley wins the election of 1896 and becomes the twenty-fifth President of the United States.

1898: The USS Maine explodes in Havana harbor contributing to the outbreak of the Spanish-American war a few months later. The popular newspaper style of yellow journalism in the 1890s also contributed to the war with its outrageous and sensationalist headlines.

Progressive Era (1900-1929)

1900s

1900: William McKinley wins a rematch of the 1896 election, once again defeating the Democratic challenger William Jennings Bryan.

1901: McKinley is assassinated by a self-proclaimed anarchist in Buffalo, New York. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeds him becoming the twenty-sixth President of the United States.

1904: Theodore Roosevelt wins reelection becoming the first President to win a full term in office after ascending to the Presidency via the death of the previous President. In his State of the Union Address, he issues his Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.

1907: The ships of the Great White fleet begin their trek to circumnavigate the globe. The expedition signals the arrival of the United States at the world stage with its burgeoning economic power.

1908: William Howard Taft is elected as the twenty-seventh President of the United States. William Jennings Bryan is defeated for the third time.

1910s

1911: Following the 1906 Sherman Anti-Trust Act and a lengthy five year appeal, the Supreme Court upholds the dissolution of the Standard Oil Company into 34 independent companies.

1912: Woodrow Wilson is elected as the twenty-eighth President of the United States. Wilson was the first Democratic president since Grover Cleveland taking advantage of a split Republican ticket between Taft and Roosevelt.

Over 1,500 people die on the Titanic’s maiden voyage — one of the worst non-military maritime disasters in history.

1914: The US completes construction of the Panama Canal — a major accomplishment that came at the cost of nearly 30,000 lives to build.

1916: Wilson narrowly wins reelection, running on a campaign of staying out of World War I.

1917: A combination of relentless German attacks on allied shipping, as well as the significant Zimmerman Telegram help contribute to the eventual US entry into World War I.

1919: The US government conducts a series of raids known as the Palmer Raids aimed at detaining suspected radical anarchists.

1920s

1920: Warren G Harding becomes the twenty-ninth President in a landslide victory. His margin of victory in the popular vote remains the highest since James Monroe ran virtually unopposed in 1820.

1923: Harding suffers a heart attack and dies while on a tour of the west coast. Calvin Coolidge succeeds him as the thirtieth President of the United States.

1924: Coolidge wins reelection in one of the lowest voter turnouts in the modern era since official records were kept.

1928: The Secretary of Commerce under Coolidge, Herbert Hoover wins the 1928 election and becomes the thirty-first President of the United States.

Great Depression & WWII (1929-1945)

1932: Mired in the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeats Hoover in a landslide to become the thirty-second President of the United States.

1933: Quite possibly the worst year of the depression, the unemployment rate peaks at nearly 25% — a staggering number.

1934: The Dust Bowl begins as severe drought impacts the Great Plains region for the next decade.

1936: Roosevelt easily wins reelection with another landslide victory carrying all but two states.

After five years, the Hoover Dam finishes construction two years ahead of schedule.

1940s

1940: Roosevelt wins an unprecedented third term in office, breaking the two-term precedent set by George Washington in his farewell address.

1941: Japan launches a surprise attack against Pearl Harbor, shocking the nation. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the United States formally entered the war against Japan and Germany. The wartime economy calls for thousands of women to enter the workforce in place of the men sent overseas to fight.

1942: In a matter of minutes, the timeline of the Battle of Midway shows how the allies turned the tide in the Pacific theater of the war.

1943: At the Tehran Conference, the “Big Three” meet in person for the first time to strategically plan the next steps in World War II.

The allies develop new strategies to help neutralize the German U-boat threat in the Atlantic, clearing the way for vital shipping lanes.

1944: Mired in the midst of World War II, Roosevelt wins a fourth term riding the wave of momentum brought by Allied successes in the war. Earlier that year in June, the allied invasion of Normandy, or “D-Day,” brings hope the war could be won.

1945: Roosevelt dies three months into his fourth term. Vice President Harry Truman ascends to become the thirty-third President of the United States.

The United States intensifies its firebombing campaign against Japan, reducing dozens of cities to ashes.

Cold War Era & Social Reform (1945-1989)

1948: Though considered an underdog, Truman shockingly wins reelection to another term in office in 1948.

1950s

1952: Former World War II General Dwight D Eisenhower wins in a landslide and becomes the thirty-fourth President.

1954: In order to help protect the interests of the United Fruit Company in Guatemala, the CIA executes Operation “PBSUCCESS” to overthrow the democratically elected leader, Jacobo Arbenz.

1956: Eisenhower was a popular President and easily wins reelection in a rematch of the 1952 election. The Interstate Highways Act of 1956 passes leading to the creation of the modern interstate system.

1960s

1960: John F. Kennedy defeats Richard Nixon to become the first Catholic President and youngest ever at the time of election. Kennedy became the thirty-fifth President of the United States.

1963: Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, TX, generating many conspiracy theories over the nature of his death. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the thirty-sixth President of the United States.

1964: Lyndon B. Johnson wins reelection, cruising to victory over Republican Barry Goldwater.

1968: Former Eisenhower Vice President Richard Nixon wins election becoming the thirty-seventh President of the United States.

1970s

1972: Nixon cruises to reelection, taking nearly 61% of the popular vote.

1974: Nixon resigns on corruption charges stemming from the Watergate scandal. Vice President Gerald Ford becomes the thirty-eighth President of the United States.

1976: Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter narrowly defeats incumbent Gerald Ford to become the thirty-ninth President of the United States.

1980s

1980: Carter was an unpopular President, and was defeated by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. Reagan became the fortieth President of the United States.

1984: Reagan was ultra popular and retained a wide margin of victory in his 1984 reelection campaign.

1988: Former Reagan Vice President George H. W. Bush is elected as the forty-first President of the United States.

New Millennium (1989-Present)

1990s

1992: H. W. Bush is defeated by Bill Clinton in a race where 3rd party candidate Ross Perot received a significant amount of the popular vote. Clinton becomes the forty-second President of the United States.

1996: Clinton is reelected to a second term in office.

2000s

2000: George W. Bush defeats Al Gore in a highly controversial election that was decided by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. Bush would be the forty-third President of the United States.

2004: Riding a wave of patriotism, Bush wins reelection over Senator John Kerry.

2008: Barack Obama wins a historic election, becoming the first African American man elected President. Obama became the forty-fourth President of the United States.

2010s

2012: Obama wins reelection, though by a slightly narrower margin than his 2008 victory.

2016: Donald Trump becomes the forty-fifth President of the United States.

2020s

2020: Joe Biden defeats incumbent Donald Trump to become the forty-six President of the United States. The election was marred by false claims of voter fraud from Trump – who did not accept the results of the election and attempted to overturn the election results.

The US National Debt to GDP ratio spikes in 2020 due to relief measures related to the global COVID pandemic, though recedes in subsequent years.

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