UNITED STATES HISTORY TIMELINE
Boundaries of the United States and the Several States
by Ed Stephan
The French-Indian War ends.
King George III proclaims a ban on westward migration in the colonies.
April 5 and 9
Parliament passes the Sugar and Currency Acts, respectively.
Parliament passes the Stamp Act.
Parliament passes the Quartering Act of 1765.
The Stamp Act Congress convenes.
Parliament repeals the Stamp Act and passes the Declaratory Act.
Parliament passes the Townshend Acts.
Parliament passes the New York Suspending Act.
The first of John Dickinson's "Letters from a Farmer" is printed in the Pennsylvania Chronicle.
Samuel Adams composes The Massachusetts Circular Letter to the other 12 colonies.
The British Secretary of State for the colonies responds to the Massachusetts Circular Letter.
The British Secretary of State for the colonies orders General Thomas Gage to deploy forces to Boston.
The Boston Massacre leads to the death of five colonists.
All provisions of the Townshend Act are repealed, except for the duty on tea.
An angry colonial mob burns the British ship Gaspee, off the coast of Rhode Island.
Thomas Hutchinson, royal governor of Massachusetts, announces that he will henceforth be paid by the crown, instead of by the colonists; Massachusetts judges follow suit in September.
The first Committee of Correspondence is formed in Boston, and produces Samuel Adams' bold assertion of the "Rights of the Colonists," and Dr. Joseph Warren's
"List of Infringements and Violations of Rights."
Massachusetts' Governor Hutchinson argues the supremacy of Parliament before the General Court.
With the passage of the Tea Act, the East India Company is granted a virtual monopoly on the tea trade in the colonies.
A group of men dressed as Mohawk Indians and led by Samuel Adams dump 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor, an incident known as the Boston Tea Party.
March 31 - June 2
The British Parliament passes the five Coercive Acts in order to punish Massachusetts for the Tea Party and regain control of the colony.
Several important publications appear in print, advancing the colonists' argument against Parliamentary authority; these include Wilson's
All the colonies except Georgia meet in the First Continental Congress.
King George III commits Britain to a policy of intractable opposition to colonial claims.
The Continental Congress passes the Suffolk Resolves.
October 14 - 20
The Continental Congress approves the Declaration and Resolves.
The Continental Congress advocates a boycott of British goods.
The Continental Congress adjourns.
Parliament declares a state of rebellion in the colonies.
Patrick Henry delivers his famous "Liberty or Death" speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
Paul Revere makes his famous ride to alert the minutemen that the British are coming.
Open hostilities commence in the colonies at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts; the siege of Boston begins.
The Second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.
George Washington is appointed the military leader of the Continental forces.
The British are victorious at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but suffer heavy casualties.
The Continental Congress adopts the Olive Branch Petition.
King George III issues his "Olive Branch"
Royal Governor Dunmore of Virginia forms a regiment of former slaves to fight for the British by promising them freedom after their service.
Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations is published.
Thomas Paine's Common Sense is published.
John Adam's Thoughts on Government is published.
The Continental Congress recommends that the states form new governments.
Virginia instructs her delegates to the Continental Congress to propose that the colonies declare independence from Britain.
The Lee Resolution is introduced in the Continental Congress.
The Committee of Five presents Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress.
The Declaration of Independence is approved by the Continental Congress.
The British occupy New York City.
The British execute Nathan Hale for espionage.
George Washington leads his troops across the Delaware River and successfully attacks the Hessian soldiers at Trenton.
The design of the American flag is decided upon by Congress.
Washington is defeated in the Battle of Germantown in Pennsylvania and is forced to retreat; his army takes up winter quarters at Valley Forge.
British General John Burgoyne surrenders to American forces after the Saratoga Campaign.
The Articles of Confederation are approved by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
France recognizes the independence of the United States.
France and the United States form a commercial and military alliance.
Captain John Paul Jones raids Whitehaven, on the coast of England.
British troops force their way into the interior of Georgia and South Carolina.
Spain declares war on Great Britain, but refuses to recognize American independence.
The British capture Charleston, South Carolina.
Benedict Arnold flees to the British after spying for them for over a year.
British troops led by General Cornwallis are forced to retreat from North Carolina.
Holland sides with the United States.
The Articles of Confederation are ratified and adopted by the several states.
Washington leads his forces from New York to Virginia to square off with Cornwallis.
Cornwallis surrenders his army to Washington after the decisive Battle of Yorktown, thus ending British hopes for victory in the Revolutionary War.
Parliament passes a measure allowing peace negotiations to begin with the former colonies.
An outline of peace terms is agreed upon between the Americans and the British.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court abolishes slavery.
On the occasion of the disbanding of the Continental Army, George Washington sends a "Circular Letter" to all the states.
The peace treaty between the Americans and the British is officially signed in Paris.
British troops leave New York City.
The Spelling Book of Noah Webster is published, standardizing the American spelling of words and ridding them of British peculiarities.
Congress names John Adams the ambassador to the Court of St. James, England.
Henry Knox is named Secretary of War.
Thomas Jefferson is appointed ambassador to France.
The Virginia House of Burgesses passes Jefferson's historic Bill for Religious Freedom.
Shays' Rebellion begins in Massachusetts, and spreads concern over the possibility of anarchy breaking out in the newly formed nation.
The Annapolis Convention begins with the goal of proposing changes to the political structure in order to aid commerce.
The Constitutional Convention opens in Philadelphia with the goal of revising the Articles of Confederation.
Congress passes The Northwest Ordinance for the administration of the land north of the Ohio River and west of the Appalachians.
The Constitutional Convention approves the proposed Constitution and sends it to Congress.
The Continental Congress sends the proposed Constitution to the states for ratification.
The first Federalist Paper appears in the New York press.
By a unanimous vote, Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the Constitution, and thus, the first state of the new Union.
After a bitter debate, Pennsylvania's ratifying convention approves the Constitution by a vote of 46-23.
New Jersey ratifies by a unanimous vote.
Georgia ratifies by a unanimous vote.
Connecticut ratifies by a vote of 128 -40.
Massachusetts ratifies by a close vote: 187-168.
Rhode Island refuses to ratify.
Maryland ratifies by a vote of 63-11.
South Carolina ratifies by a vote of 149-73.
The President of Congress announces that the Constitution has been ratified by the nine states required.
New Hampshire ratifies by a close vote: 57-47.
Virginia ratifies by a vote of 89-79.
New York ratifies by a vote of 30-27.
North Carolina refuses to ratify until a Bill of Rights is added to the Constitution.
The first elections of senators and representatives to the new government are held.
The Congress of the Confederation conducts its last official business.
Presidential electors elect George Washington president and John Adams vice president of the new government.
The First Congress convenes in New York.
George Washington is inaugurated as the first president of the United States.
Congress submits twelve Constitutional amendments to the state for consideration.
Vermont ratifies the Constitution, and later becomes the fourteenth state of the Union (on March 4).
Virginia ratifies the Bill of Rights, making it part of the Constitution.
See Pea in a Cup