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Historical Eras

The U.S. History Framework, a guiding document for teaching history to students in the U.S., assigns eight chronological periods in American and U.S. history: Beginnings, Colonization, Revolution, Expansion and Reform, Civil War and Reconstruction, Development of Modern America, World Wars, and Contemporary America. Within each of these periods, learners to this website will find links to important eras, events, and people in the history of the Americas.

    Inupiaq men BEGINNINGS

  • To 1630 Early America
    Most authorities believe that the Western hemisphere was populated at the end of the last ice age when a lowered ocean level exposed a land bridge that Asian peoples traversed to North America.... Continue Reading

  • 1630 - 1763: The Colonial Period
    The Colonial Period in U.S. history was a time of settlement, discovery, and hardship. This era is marked by European colonization and expansion into the eastern edges of North America. Colonists ofte... Continue Reading

  • 1763 - 1783: Revolutionary America
    As a colonial power, England considered America’s colonies as possessions that existed to benefit the mother country. America was a source of food and raw materials and was also a market for finished ... Continue Reading
  • 1783 - 1815: The Young Republic
    After war with England, the founders focused on establishing a form of governance for the new country and expanding its borders. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the area of the U.S. and the area’s reso... Continue Reading

  • 1815 - 1860: Expansion, Political Reform, and First Industrial Revolution
    As the new nation settled its governance, it continued to expand geographically. Some coined the early 1800s as the “Era of Good Feelings,” due to an apparent lack of political strife. The U.S. philos... Continue Reading

  • 1830 - 1876: Sectional Controversy, War, and Reconstruction
    The period before, during, and after the Civil War was a time of great upheaval in the course of the fledgling country. Leading up to the Civil War, starting with the drafting of the Constitution, the... Continue Reading

  • 1871 - 1914: Second Industrial Revolution
    The Second Industrial Revolution was a phase of rapid technological advance and widespread adoption. Telegraph and railroad lines, gas and water supplies, and sewage systems were built across the coun... Continue Reading
  • 1880 - 1920: Political Reform II
    The era of politics after the Civil War became more dynamic as Americans struggled to determine the direction of the country into the 20th century. New political parties, such as the Populists and Pro... Continue Reading

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  • 1914 - 1933: War, Prosperity, and the Great Depression
    World War I has been called the first modern war due to the widespread use of new technologies such as machine guns, airplanes, land vehicles, and radio communications. The war exacted heavy human cas... Continue Reading
  • 1933 - 1945: New Deal and World War II
    Franklin D. Roosevelt quickly set to economic reform when he assumed the office of president in 1933. His New Deal programs—public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations—were enacted to pro... Continue Reading

  • 1945 - 1960: Postwar America
    The era after World War II marks the beginning of Contemporary America: an age of rapid communication, globalism, increasing reliance on science, a struggle for civil rights and equality, and the noti... Continue Reading
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  • 1960 - 1980: Civil Unrest & Social Reforms
    The Vietnam era, which ran from the 1960s into the 70s, was not just a time of war for the U.S., but also a time of significant civil unrest. John F. Kennedy came into the presidential office in 1961 ... Continue Reading
  • 1980 - 2000: End of the Century
    The 1980s saw the rise of conservatism in America, “trickle-down” economics, and the end of the Cold War—symbolized most powerfully when the Berlin Wall was torn down. The HIV/AIDs epidemic caused dev... Continue Reading
  • 2001 - 2016: New Millenium
    In the U.S., the beginning of the new millennium was marred by the tragedy on September 11, 2001, when militants associated with an extremist group, al Quada, hijacked four commercial airplanes and fl... Continue Reading
  • 2017- present: Pandemic and Cultural Change
    The present period is currently defined by COVID-19, the pandemic that swept across the world in early 2020. COVID-19 was one of the fastest spreading and widespread pandemics since the Spanish flu mo... Continue Reading

U.S. History Framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (2006). National Assessment Governing Board, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/ushistory