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Thread: Five most important events in US History

  1. #1
    is feeling caustic
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    Lightbulb Five most important events in US History

    I have this assignment to do for History AP. Now I'm not an American so I wouldn't know much about American history in the first place. Now instead of picking some five and then looking like a fool for leaving out Pearl Harbor, or 9/11, I need the help of all you intelligent, sophisticated, enlightened scholars to give me what you think are the five most important events in US history.

    Briefly explain why each was important and why you made your number one selection. Thanks, greatly appreciated. I will give my five tomorrow after a night of research.

  2. #2
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I'll just give one.

    The signing of The Declaration Of independance.

    Read it and it explains why.

  3. #3
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    Here's a few of mine.

    Signing of the Declaration in 1776, which signalled the birth of the nation

    The ratification of the Constitution in 1788, establishing the federal republic

    South Carolina's decision to secede following Lincoln's victory in 1860 which split the Union, and eventually the surrender of the Confederacy in 1865 preserving the Union

    The 1898 Spanish-American War and Congress' ultimate decision to annex Hawaii in 1898 and then the Philippines in 1899 (signalled the US' intent to become a world power)

    Pearl Harbor (ended US isolation and officially ushered the US into the war)

    The A-bomb over Hiroshima in August 1945 (introduces the Atomic Age)

    Several events that occurred in the last couple of years of the 1940s that introduced the Cold War (Truman Doctrine, Berlin Crisis, creation of NATO, and the Soviet's test firing their own A-bomb), which dominated US foreign policy decisions for over 40 years

    Indirectly, the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major event in US history (ending the Cold War and suddenly leaving the US without a major foe)

    9/11 (the US was struck on its own soil, and gave it a new major threat to focus on in the 21st century)

  4. #4
    The Battle of Yorktown, which effectively ended the war for independence.

  5. #5
    Some additional events to consider:

    The Monroe Doctrine; named for president James Monroe who delivered it in a speech to congress in 1823, it was the most important assertion to date of United States' foreign policy in history. This statement of position would dictate the policy of the United States in international affairs for years to come.

    The Lousiana Purchase The U.S. purchased Louisiana from France in 1803. It had several significant economic and political implications. From an economic perspective it doubled the size of the United States at a price of only fifteen million dollars. for a territory that was rich in minerals and natural resources. It gave the midwest access by boat to the sea, increasing trade and reducing our dependance on European ports. Jefferson, carefully deliberated whether the Constitution granted him the right to acquire territory for the purpose of expanding the Union. His action established the power of the president to expand the borders of the United States under the existing powers of the Constitution.

    The New Deal; The New Deal had three main purposes. First, it provided relief for the needy. Second, it aided nationwide recovery by establishing jobs and encouraging business, and third, it tried to reform business and government so a severe depression would never happen in the United States again. Some of the results of the New Deal were important and long lasting. Even after the depression, reforms such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Social Security Act continued to exist. After the New Deal, the government's role in banking and welfare would continue to grow steadily. It allowed the U.S. to recover and steady itself to grow into the economic powerhouse it is today.

    The Civil War; The Civil War had significant economic, political, and social implications. The Civil War, preserved the Union by settling the slavery issue once and for all and readmitting the states that had succeeded from the Union. The impact of the Civil War on the U.S. economy was dramatic. The war devastated the economy of the South. Not only were agricultural resources of the region destroyed, but slave labor, on which the economy was based, was eliminated. The Civil War also marked the transformation of the U.S. from what had been mainly an agrarian society into an industrial society. This shift in the economy resulted from rapidly changing technology which came as a direct response to wartime needs. The emergence of the U.S. as an industrial society also resulted in the North replacing the South as the economic center of the country. As a result of the Emancipation Proclamation and passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments along with the momentous events of the Civil War, we had a permanent solution to the issue of slavery and the beginning of civil rights for all people.

    Brown v. Board of Education; It was a significant to the amendments to the Constitution, the civil rights movement, the Supreme Court's power of judicial review, and the American ideal of equality and diversity within our society. The case stands as a historical and contemporary example of the rule of law. Marking the start of the modern civil rights movement, the decision for Brown v. Board of Education was based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and was the basis for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  6. #6
    Valued Senior Member dixonmassey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by §outh§tar
    I have this assignment to do for History AP. Now I'm not an American so I wouldn't know much about American history in the first place. Now instead of picking some five and then looking like a fool for leaving out Pearl Harbor, or 9/11, I need the help of all you intelligent, sophisticated, enlightened scholars to give me what you think are the five most important events in US history.

    Briefly explain why each was important and why you made your number one selection. Thanks, greatly appreciated. I will give my five tomorrow after a night of research.

    Any rating of anything (including history) is highly subjective and therefore objectively it's nearly worthless. Just read an introductory history book, maybe something will catch your eye. Unless you are a historian, need to pass a test, etc., learning history in which you have little interest is misplacement of your limited time resources. History is vast, your life is short.

  7. #7
    is feeling caustic
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    @ dixonmassey

    In a country where a letter grade is used to determine one's future, I doubt your suggestion of any practical use. It is unfortunate, but that's the way it is. I admit I don't care an iota for American history and my employer won't either but hey, pass the class or flip burgers.

  8. #8
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    Ok, here are my five:

    Signing of the Declaration of Independence
    The signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 forever distinguishes America in that it contained the first ever formal statement by a whole people of their right to a government of their own choosing.

    September 11 attacks
    The September 11 attacks unified America for the 21st century and made combating terrorism the focus of United States foreign policy.

    The New Deal
    The New Deal established federal responsibility for the wellbeing of the economy and the American people. It also restored faith in American democracy during an era of communism and fascism.

    The Civil War
    The North’s victory over the South in the American Civil War ensured the preservation of the Union, the abolishment of slavery and the acknowledgement of citizenship to the freed slaves. The war also indicated the new economic and political upper hand of the Northern states.

    The Louisiana Purchase
    The purchase doubled the United States in size, greatly strengthening the country materially, setting off westward expansion and confirming the implied power of the federal Constitution.


    Now I need your help on which order of importance they should be in. I don't know if the Louisiana Purchase is more important than the Civil War.. so recommend their order of important 1-5.

    Oh and @ dixonmassey

    I have to write an essay on why U.S. history is an important class. Now obviously I could care less but any ideas, anyone?

  9. #9
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    The Mexican-American War might be at least as significant as the Louisiana Purchase. While it didn't bring quite as much new territory into the Union (529,000 square miles as opposed to 830,000 square miles), it brought in the Southwest Territories, particularly California, while at the same time President Polk got the British to agree to divide the Oregon Territory along the 49th Parallel. The positive was the US acquired the Pacific ports of San Diego, San Francisco and Bremerton Sound (at Seattle), which was a huge commercial boon for the US and its Far East trade. The negative was that the acquistion of the Southwest territory re-ignited the problem of sectionalism, which had been fairly quiet, at least in Congress, since the nullification crisis in 1832. But the issue of slavery in the newly acquired territories again began to dominate politics in Congress in the 1850s.

  10. #10
    Valued Senior Member dixonmassey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by §outh§tar
    @ dixonmassey

    In a country where a letter grade is used to determine one's future, I doubt your suggestion of any practical use. It is unfortunate, but that's the way it is. I admit I don't care an iota for American history and my employer won't either but hey, pass the class or flip burgers.

    As I've told if test is an issue you should follow the crowd and ratings. The best way is to write about the historical periods your teacher likes (in Universities it's not that hard. Prof must publish papers in scientific journals) and the MOST important: one should now how prof interpret one event or the other. In two words: paraphrase (in very different words and sentences) the wise works/conclusions of your prof and A is yours. Immitation is the highest form of flattery, scientists/teachers/everybody love when other folks see/share their "unique" the most advanced wisdoms. As for burger flipping, you may ace everything and still flip burgers or do equally noble jobs. Just keep it in mind.

    AP as far I understand is HS advanced placement. I am not sure if your history teacher has a Ph.D. (it's very likely he has) or masters in history. If he has any advanced degree he most likely has published some useless crap in some G*d forgotten journals. Just use science citation index to find out what your teacher published and where (abstract of paper will be most likely included in the search results. So no need to read/look for actual papers.). You can access science citation index at the library of the nearest to you moderately research oriented (2nd tier at least) university.
    The same approach will be very usefull in dealing with your present and future humanities essays.
    Last edited by dixonmassey; 08-05-04 at 10:06 PM.

  11. #11
    Valued Senior Member dixonmassey's Avatar
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    My rating:

    1) French-Idian wars, middle 18th century. Actually it's mostly French-Anglo American wars. Great Brittain was almost totally broke after the war. To pay for the war GB has raised taxes on American colonies. Americans do not like taxes. Therefore, Revolution was inevitable.They did not mind their butts to be protected from French though. GB was too weak/broke after the French Indian Wars to fight Americans in earnest. So Brits were total losers. All expences and sacrifices made to preserve English Language on the North American continent were in vain.

    2) Revolution (it's not exactly a revolution in classical terms but anyway). It's has succeeded on the margin. Had Germans mercenaries had not drunk too much booze on Christmass, Germany most likely would not have lost two world wars.

    3) After Revolution period. 1800 - 1840. Nation did not turn into dictatorship like all and every one South American nation. Americans Invented cotton processing machines, mechanical scythe, and many other things. which became the foundation of the future industrial/farming might.


    4) Industrialization period: 1870th - 1900th. Immigration. Savagely stupid exploitation of natural resources. Labor movement. It's the time when the modern USA has been born.

    5) The Great Depression and its aftermaths (new deal, WII): the rise of the mass middle class.

    6) Dismantling New Deal. Going back to the purer forms of capitalism. Globalization. Deindustrialization. Rise of the corporate power. Changing racial face. 1970th-present.
    Last edited by dixonmassey; 08-05-04 at 11:42 PM.

  12. #12
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    @ dixonmassey

    Could you also rank my five in order of importance for me? And tell me why you made which your number one choice.

  13. #13
    Registered Senior Member tim840's Avatar
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    Revolutionary War
    Civil War
    Spanish-American War
    World War II
    September 11

  14. #14
    Registered Senior Member tim840's Avatar
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    I think those are the obvious ones.

  15. #15
    1) 1787: Signing of the Constitution
    2) 1860s: The Communist American Revolution (The Civil War, Karl Marx, and the unconstitutional Income Tax)
    3) 1919: The Death of the Republic (Ratification of 16th Amendment)
    4) 1990: Ronald Reagan defeats Soviet Union.
    5) 9/12 2001: Ann Coulter declares Holy War
    Last edited by OilIsMastery; 05-31-08 at 11:46 PM.

  16. #16
    Valued Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by southstar
    I have to write an essay on why U.S. history is an important class. Now obviously I could care less but any ideas, anyone?
    Read Oil Mastery's post, and realize that someone unfamiliar with US History has no way of evaluating it.

    So if that someone is a million American citizens, you will have a million voters walking into the voting booths thinking that the Civil War was important as an event in the American Communist Revolution, and that Ann Coulter is responsible for one of the five most important events in US history.

    ( btw: I wouldn't be surprised if the depression precipitated by the launching of the Iraq War turned out to be the most significant event of our time, and 9/11 ended up merely a footnote to it)
    Last edited by iceaura; 06-01-08 at 02:04 AM.

  17. #17
    As a mother, I am telling you Syzygys's Avatar
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    Schoolwork assigment!!!! Yuppiee!!!!!

    1. death of Elvis Presley
    2. Beatles visiting America
    3. Final episode of Seinfeld.
    4. Paris Hilton goes to jail.
    5. Tom Cruise coach moment on Oprah....

    I hope I was helpful....

  18. #18
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    Umm well 9/11
    and maybe when Obama was victorious mehh

  19. #19
    Discovery of America
    Jamestown Settlement(or at the least the successful colonization of America)
    The Declaration Of independance
    The Lousiana Purchase
    The Civil War

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Syzygys View Post
    Schoolwork assignment!!!! Yuppie!!!!!

    1. death of Elvis Presley
    2. Beatles visiting America
    3. Final episode of Seinfeld.
    4. Paris Hilton goes to jail.
    5. Tom Cruise coach moment on Oprah....

    I hope I was helpful....
    Very helpful.......thanks......!!. .

    Death of uncle Michael Jackson........you forgot it...... !.

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