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US Government


1774 - The First Continental Congress meets in Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia from September 5 to October 4.

1775 - The Second Continental Congress has its first meeting on May 10, 1775 at Philadelphia's State House.

1776 - The Declaration of Independence is signed by the Second Continental Congress declaring the United States an independent country.

1777 - The Articles of Confederation are written and approved by the Second Continental Congress.

1781 - The Articles of Confederation are ratified by the original thirteen states.

1781 - The Confederation Congress first meets.

1783 - The Treaty of Paris is signed by the United States and Great Britain recognizing the U.S. as an independent government and officially ending the Revolutionary War.

1787 - The Constitutional Convention meets in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17. The U.S. Constitution is written by the Convention in order to form an improved government.

1787 - Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the Constitution on December 7, 1787.

1788 - New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify the Constitution on June 21, 1788. The Constitution becomes law and the new government is formed.

1789 - The Congress holds its first meeting in New York and George Washington becomes the first president.

1790 - Rhode Island becomes the last of the original thirteen states to ratify the Constitution.

1791 - The Bill of Rights is ratified and becomes a part of the Constitution.

1800 - The capital city moves from Philadelphia to Washington D.C.

1803 - The Supreme Court gains the power to declare a law unconstitutional through the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison.

1823 - The Monroe Doctrine is established warning European countries not to interfere with the Americas.

1830 - The Indian Removal Act forces all Native Americans to move west of the Mississippi River.

1861 - The Civil War begins. Several states secede and form the Confederacy.

1865 - The Civil War ends. The Thirteenth Amendment is added to the Constitution making slavery illegal.

1870 - The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified guaranteeing the right of all men to vote regardless of race.

1890 - The Sherman Antitrust Act is passed allowing the government to stop anti-competitive business practices.

1913 - The Sixteenth Amendment is passed allowing the government to impose an income tax.

1920 - The Nineteenth Amendment is passed giving women the right to vote.

1935 - The Social Security Act is passed to help provide for the elderly, widows, and orphans.

1951- The Twenty-second Amendment is passed putting a term limit on the office of president of two terms.

1954 - The Supreme Court rules that segregation in the schools is unconstitutional in the case of Brown v. Board of Education.

1964 - The Civil Rights Act is passed.

1966 - The Miranda Warning became part of U.S. law after the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona.

1970 - The Environmental Protection Agency is formed to enforce government regulations to protect various aspects of the environment including clean air, water, land, and endangered species.

1971 - The 26th Amendment is passed setting the voting age to 18.

2002 - The Department of Homeland Security is formed.

To learn more about the United States government:

Branches of Government
Executive Branch
President's Cabinet
US Presidents

Legislative Branch
House of Representatives
How Laws are Made

Judicial Branch
Landmark Cases
Serving on a Jury
Famous Supreme Court Justices
John Marshall
Thurgood Marshall
Sonia Sotomayor
United States Constitution
The Constitution
Bill of Rights
Other Constitutional Amendments
First Amendment
Second Amendment
Third Amendment
Fourth Amendment
Fifth Amendment
Sixth Amendment
Seventh Amendment
Eighth Amendment
Ninth Amendment
Tenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment
Fifteenth Amendment
Nineteenth Amendment
Checks and Balances
Interest Groups
US Armed Forces
State and Local Governments
Becoming a Citizen
Civil Rights

Voting in the United States
Two-Party System
Electoral College
Running for Office

Works Cited

History >> US Government

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