Dr. Quintard Taylor, Jr.
Scott and Dorothy Bullitt
Professor of American History 
 
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African American History | African American History in the West (Now available at www.blackpast.org)  


United States History:

Timeline: 1700 - 1800

Before 1600 | 1600 - 1700 | 1700 - 1800 | 1800 - 1900 | 1900 - 2000 | American Revolution Timeline | Cold War Timeline

1690 - The beginning of King William's War as hostilities in Europe between the French and English spill over to the colonies. In February, Schenectady, New York is burned by the French with the aid of their Native American allies. THE GLORIOUS REVOLUTION IN AMERICA

1691 - In New York, the newly appointed Governor of New England, Henry Sloughter, arrives from England and institutes royally sanctioned representative government. In October, Massachusetts gets a new royal charter which includes government by a royal governor and a governor's council.

1692 - In May, hysteria grips the village of Salem, Massachusetts, as witchcraft suspects are arrested and imprisoned. A special court is then set up by the governor of Massachusetts. Between June and September, 150 persons are accused, with 20 persons, including 14 women, being executed. By October, the hysteria subsides, remaining prisoners are released and the special court is dissolved.

1693 - The College of William and Mary is founded in Williamsburg, Virginia.

1696 - The Royal African Trade Company loses its slave trade monopoly, spurring colonists in New England to engage in slave trading for profit. In April, the Navigation Act of 1696 is passed by the English Parliament requiring colonial trade to be done exclusively via English built ships. The Act also expands the powers of colonial custom commissioners, including rights of forcible entry, and requires the posting of bonds on certain goods.

1699 - The English Parliament passes the Wool Act, protecting its own wool industry by limiting wool production in Ireland and forbidding the export of wool from the American colonies.

1700 - The Anglo population in the English colonies in America reaches 275,000, with Boston (pop. 7000) as the largest city, followed by New York (pop. 5000).

1700 - In June, Massachusetts passes a law ordering all Roman Catholic priests to leave the colony within three months, upon penalty of life imprisonment or execution. New York then passes a similar law.

1701 - In July, The French establish a settlement at Detroit. In October, Yale College is founded in Connecticut.

1702 - In March, Queen Anne ascends the English throne. In May, England declares war on France after the death of the King of Spain, Charles II, to stop the union of France and Spain. This War of the Spanish Succession is called Queen Anne's War in the colonies, where the English and American colonists will battle the French, their Native American allies, and the Spanish for the next eleven years.

1706 - January 17, Benjamin Franklin is born in Boston. In November, South Carolina establishes the Anglican Church as its official church.

1711 - Hostilities break out between Native Americans and settlers in North Carolina after the massacre of settlers there. The conflict, known as the Tuscarora Indian War will last two years.

1712 - In May, the Carolina colony is officially divided into North Carolina and South Carolina. In June, the Pennsylvania assembly bans the import of slaves into that colony. In Massachusetts, the first sperm whale is captured at sea by an American from Nantucket.

1713 - Queen Anne's War ends with the Treaty of Utrecht.

1714 - Tea is introduced for the first time into the American Colonies. In August, King George I ascends to the English throne, succeeding Queen Anne.

1716 - The first group of black slaves is brought to the Louisiana territory.

1718 - New Orleans is founded by the French.

1720 - The population of American colonists reaches 475,000. Boston (pop. 12,000) is the largest city, followed by Philadelphia (pop. 10,000) and New York (pop. 7000).

1725 - The population of black slaves in the American colonies reaches 75,000.

1727 - King George II ascends the English throne.

1729 - Benjamin Franklin begins publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette, which eventually becomes the most popular colonial newspaper.

1730 - Baltimore is founded in the Maryland colony.

1731 - The first American public library is founded in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin.

1732 - February 22, George Washington is born in Virginia. Also in February, the first mass is celebrated in the only Catholic church in colonial America, in Philadelphia. In June, Georgia, the 13th English colony, is founded.

1732-1757 - Benjamin Franklin publishes Poor Richard's Almanac, containing weather predictions, humor, proverbs and epigrams, selling nearly 10,000 copies per year.

1733 - The Molasses Act, passed by the English Parliament, imposes heavy duties on molasses, rum and sugar imported from non-British islands in the Caribbean to protect the English planters there from French and Dutch competition.

1734 - In November, New York newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger is arrested and accused of seditious libel by the Governor. In December, the Great Awakening religious revival movement begins in Massachusetts. The movement will last ten years and spread to all of the American colonies.

1735 - John Peter Zenger is brought to trial for seditious libel but is acquitted after his lawyer successfully convinces the jury that truth is a defense against libel.

1739 - England declares war on Spain. As a result, in America, hostilities break out between Florida Spaniards and Georgia and South Carolina colonists. Also in 1739, three separate violent uprisings by black slaves occur in South Carolina.

1740 - Fifty black slaves are hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, after plans for another revolt are revealed. Also in 1740, in Europe, the War of the Austrian Succession begins after the death of Emperor Charles VI and eventually results in France and Spain allied against England. The conflict is known in the American colonies as King George's War and lasts until 1748..

1750 - The Iron Act is passed by the English Parliament, limiting the growth of the iron industry in the American colonies to protect the English Iron industry.

1751 - The Currency Act is passed by the English Parliament, banning the issuing of paper money by the New England colonies.

1754 - The French and Indian War erupts as a result of disputes over land in the Ohio River Valley. In May, George Washington leads a small group of American colonists to victory over the French, then builds Fort Necessity in the Ohio territory. In July, after being attacked by numerically superior French forces, Washington surrenders the fort and retreats.

1755 - In February, English General Edward Braddock arrives in Virginia with two regiments of English troops. Gen. Braddock assumes the post of commander in chief of all English forces in America. In April, Gen. Braddock and Lt. Col. George Washington set out with nearly 2000 men to battle the French in the Ohio territory. In July, a force of about 900 French and Indians defeat those English forces. Braddock is mortally wounded. Massachusetts Governor William Shirley then becomes the new commander in chief.

1756 - England declares war on France, as the French and Indian War in the colonies now spreads to Europe.

1757 - In June, William Pitt becomes England's Secretary of State and escalates the French and Indian War in the colonies by establishing a policy of unlimited warfare. In July, Benjamin Franklin begins a five year stay in London.

1758 - In July, a devastating defeat occurs for English forces at Lake George, New York, as nearly two thousand men are lost during a frontal attack against well entrenched French forces at Fort Ticonderoga. French losses are 377. In November, the French abandon Fort Duquesne in the Ohio territory. Settlers then rush into the territory to establish homes. Also in 1758, the first Indian reservation in America is founded, in New Jersey, on 3000 acres.

1759 - French Fort Niagara is captured by the English. Also in 1759, war erupts between Cherokee Indians and southern colonists.

1759 - 13 September-The Fall of Quebec - Battle of the "Plains of Abraham" - British defeat French, thus gaining control of Canada.

1760 - The population of colonists in America reaches 1,500,000. In March, much of Boston is destroyed by a raging fire. In September, Quebec surrenders to the English. In October, George III becomes the new English King.

1762 - England declares war on Spain, which had been planning to ally itself with France and Austria. The British then successfully attack Spanish outposts in the West Indies and Cuba.

1763 - The French and Indian War, known in Europe as the Seven Year's War, ends with the Treaty of Paris. Under the treaty, France gives England all French territory east of the Mississippi River, except New Orleans. The Spanish give up east and west Florida to the English in return for Cuba.

1763 - In May, the Ottawa Native Americans under Chief Pontiac begin all-out warfare against the British west of Niagara, destroying several British forts and conducting a siege against the British at Detroit. In August, Pontiac's forces are defeated by the British near Pittsburgh. The siege of Detroit ends in November, but hostilities between the British and Chief Pontiac continue for several years.

1763 - The Proclamation of 1763, signed by King George III of England, prohibits any English settlement west of the Appalachian mountains and requires those already settled in those regions to return east in an attempt to ease tensions with Native Americans.

1764 - The Sugar Act is passed by the English Parliament to offset the war debt brought on by the French and Indian War and to help pay for the expenses of running the colonies and newly acquired territories. This act increases the duties on imported sugar and other items such as textiles, coffee, wines and indigo (dye). It doubles the duties on foreign goods reshipped from England to the colonies and also forbids the import of foreign rum and French wines.

1764 - The Currency Act prohibits the colonists from issuing any legal tender paper money. This act threatens to destabilize the entire colonial economy of both the industrial North and agricultural South, thus uniting the colonists against it.

1765 - In March, the Stamp Act is passed by the English Parliament imposing the first direct tax on the American colonies, to offset the high costs of the British military organization in America. Thus for the first time in the 150 year old history of the British colonies in America, the Americans will pay tax not to their own local legislatures in America, but directly to England.

Under the Stamp Act, all printed materials are taxed, including; newspapers, pamphlets, bills, legal documents, licenses, almanacs, dice and playing cards. The American colonists quickly unite in opposition, led by the most influential segments of colonial society - lawyers, publishers, land owners, ship builders and merchants - who are most affected by the Act, which is scheduled to go into effect on November 1.

1765 - Also in March, the Quartering Act requires colonists to house British troops and supply them with food.

1765 - In May, in Virginia, Patrick Henry presents seven Virginia Resolutions to the House of Burgesses claiming that only the Virginia assembly can legally tax Virginia residents, saying, "If this be treason, make the most of it." Also in May, the first medical school in America is founded, in Philadelphia.

1765 - In July, the Sons of Liberty, an underground organization opposed to the Stamp Act, is formed in a number of colonial towns. Its members use violence and intimidation to eventually force all of the British stamp agents to resign and also stop many American merchants from ordering British trade goods.

1765 - August 26, a mob in Boston attacks the home of Thomas Hutchinson, Chief Justice of Massachusetts, as Hutchinson and his family narrowly escape.

1765 - In October, the Stamp Act Congress convenes in New York City, with representatives from nine of the colonies. The Congress prepares a resolution to be sent to King George III and the English Parliament. The petition requests the repeal of the Stamp Act and the Acts of 1764. The petition asserts that only colonial legislatures can tax colonial residents and that taxation without representation violates the colonists' basic civil rights.

1766 - In January, the New York assembly refuses to completely comply with Gen. Gage's request to enforce the Quartering Act.

1766 - In March, King George III signs a bill repealing the Stamp Act after much debate in the English Parliament, which included an appearance by Ben Franklin arguing for repeal and warning of a possible revolution in the American colonies if the Stamp Act was enforced by the British military.

1766 - On the same day it repealed the Stamp Act, the English Parliament passes the Declaratory Act stating that the British government has total power to legislate any laws governing the American colonies in all cases whatsoever.

1766 - In April, news of the repeal of the Stamp Act results in celebrations in the colonies and a relaxation of the boycott of imported English trade goods.

1766 - In August, violence breaks out in New York between British soldiers and armed colonists, including Sons of Liberty members. The violence erupts as a result of the continuing refusal of New York colonists to comply with the Quartering Act. In December, the New York legislature is suspended by the English Crown after once again voting to refuse to comply with the Act.

1767 - In June, The English Parliament passes the Townshend Revenue Acts, imposing a new series of taxes on the colonists to offset the costs of administering and protecting the American colonies. Items taxed include imports such as paper, tea, glass, lead and paints. The Act also establishes a colonial board of customs commissioners in Boston. In October, Bostonians decide to reinstate a boycott of English luxury items.

1768 - In July, the governor of Massachusetts dissolves the general court after the legislature defies his order to revoke Adams' circular letter. In August, in Boston and New York, merchants agree to boycott most British goods until the Townshend Acts are repealed. In September, at a town meeting in Boston, residents are urged to arm themselves. Later in September, English warships sail into Boston Harbor, then two regiments of English infantry land in Boston and set up permanent residence to keep order.

1769 - In July, in the territory of California, San Diego is founded by Franciscan Friar Juniper Serra. In October, the boycott of English goods spreads to New Jersey, Rhode Island, and then North Carolina.

1770 - The population of the American colonies reaches 2,210,000 persons.

1770 - Violence erupts in January between members of the Sons of Liberty in New York and 40 British soldiers over the posting of broadsheets by the British. Several men are seriously wounded.

March 5, 1770 - The Boston Massacre occurs as a mob harasses British soldiers who then fire their muskets pointblank into the crowd, killing three instantly, mortally wounding two others and injuring six. After the incident, the new Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, at the insistence of Sam Adams, withdraws British troops out of Boston to nearby harbor islands. The captain of the British soldiers, Thomas Preston, is then arrested along with eight of his men and charged with murder.

Capt. Preston’s account of the event:
http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1751-1775/bostonmassacre/prest.htm 

1770 - In April, the Townshend Acts are repealed by the British. All duties on imports into the colonies are eliminated except for tea. Also, the Quartering Act is not renewed.

1770 - In October, trial begins for the British soldiers arrested after the Boston Massacre. Colonial lawyers John Adams and Josiah Quincy successfully defend Captain Preston and six of his men, who are acquitted. Two other soldiers are found guilty of manslaughter, branded, then released.

1772 - In June, a British customs schooner, the Gaspee, runs aground off Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay. Colonists from Providence row out to the schooner and attack it, set the British crew ashore, then burn the ship. In September, a 500 pound reward is offered by the English Crown for the capture of those colonists, who would then be sent to England for trial. The announcement that they would be sent to England further upsets many American colonists.

1773 - In March, the Virginia House of Burgesses appoints an eleven member committee of correspondence to communicate with the other colonies regarding common complaints against the British. Members of that committee include, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee. Virginia is followed a few months later by New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and South Carolina.

1773 - May 10, the Tea Act takes effect. It maintains a threepenny per pound import tax on tea arriving in the colonies, which had already been in effect for six years. It also gives the near bankrupt British East India Company a virtual tea monopoly by allowing it to sell directly to colonial agents, bypassing any middlemen, thus underselling American merchants. The East India Company had successfully lobbied Parliament for such a measure. In September, Parliament authorizes the company to ship half a million pounds of tea to a group of chosen tea agents.

December 16, 1773 - About 8000 Bostonians gather to hear Sam Adams tell them Royal Governor Hutchinson has repeated his command not to allow the ships out of the harbor until the tea taxes are paid. That night, the Boston Tea Party occurs as colonial activists disguise themselves as Mohawk Indians then board the ships and dump all 342 containers of tea into the harbor.

1774 - In March, an angry English Parliament passes the first of a series of Coercive Acts (called Intolerable Acts by Americans) in response to the rebellion in Massachusetts. The Boston Port Bill effectively shuts down all commercial shipping in Boston harbor until Massachusetts pays the taxes owed on the tea dumped in the harbor and also reimburses the East India Company for the loss of the tea.

1774 - May 12, Bostonians at a town meeting call for a boycott of British imports in response to the Boston Port Bill. May 13, General Thomas Gage, commander of all British military forces in the colonies, arrives in Boston and replaces Hutchinson as Royal governor, putting Massachusetts under military rule. He is followed by the arrival of four regiments of British troops.

1774 - May 20, The English Parliament enacts the next series of Coercive Acts, which include the Massachusetts Regulating Act and the Government Act virtually ending any self-rule by the colonists there. Instead, the English Crown and the Royal governor assume political power formerly exercised by colonists. Also enacted; the Administration of Justice Act which protects royal officials in Massachusetts from being sued in colonial courts, and the Quebec Act establishing a centralized government in Canada controlled by the Crown and English Parliament. The Quebec Act greatly upsets American colonists by extending the southern boundary of Canada into territories claimed by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia.

1774 - In June, a new version of the 1765 Quartering Act is enacted by the English Parliament requiring all of the American colonies to provide housing for British troops in occupied houses and taverns and in unoccupied buildings. In September, Massachusetts Governor Gage seizes that colony's arsenal of weapons at Charlestown.

1774 - September 5 to October 26, the First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia with 56 delegates, representing every colony, except Georgia. Attendants include Patrick Henry, George Washington, Sam Adams and John Hancock.

On September 17, the Congress declares its opposition to the Coercive Acts, saying they are "not to be obeyed," and also promotes the formation of local militia units. On October 14, a Declaration and Resolves is adopted that opposes the Coercive Acts, the Quebec Act, and other measure taken by the British that undermine self-rule. The rights of the colonists are asserted, including the rights to "life, liberty and property." On October 20, the Congress adopts the Continental Association in which delegates agree to a boycott of English imports, effect an embargo of exports to Britain, and discontinue the slave trade.

1775 - February 1, in Cambridge, Mass., a provincial congress is held during which John Hancock and Joseph Warren begin defensive preparations for a state of war. February 9, the English Parliament declares Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion. March 23, in Virginia, Patrick Henry delivers a speech against British rule, stating, "Give me liberty or give me death!" March 30, the New England Restraining Act is endorsed by King George III, requiring New England colonies to trade exclusively with England and also bans fishing in the North Atlantic.

1775 - In April, Massachusetts Governor Gage is ordered to enforce the Coercive Acts and suppress "open rebellion" among the colonists by all necessary force.

April 18, 1775 - General Gage orders 700 British soldiers to Concord to destroy the colonists' weapons depot. That night, Paul Revere and William Dawes are sent from Boston to warn colonists. Revere reaches Lexington about midnight and warns Sam Adams and John Hancock who are hiding out there.

At dawn on April 19 about 70 armed Massachusetts militiamen stand face to face on Lexington Green with the British advance guard. An unordered 'shot heard around the world' begins the American Revolution. A volley of British rifle fire followed by a charge with bayonets leaves eight Americans dead and ten wounded. The British regroup and head for the depot in Concord, destroying the colonists' weapons and supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, a British platoon is attacked by militiamen, with 14 casualties. 2 Colonists killed.

British forces then begin a long retreat from Lexington back to Boston and are harassed and shot at all along the way by farmers and rebels and suffer over 250 casualties. News of the events at Lexington and Concord spreads like wildfire throughout the Colonies.

April 23, 1775 - The Provincial Congress in Massachusetts orders 13,600 American soldiers to be mobilized. Colonial volunteers from all over New England assemble and head for Boston, then establish camps around the city and begin a year long siege of British-held Boston.

SEE SEPARATE  AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE TIMELINE

April 19, 1782 - The Dutch recognize the United States of America as a result of negotiations conducted in the Netherlands by John Adams.

February 4, 1783 - England officially declares an end to hostilities in America.

March 10, 1783 - An anonymous letter circulates among Washington's senior officers camped at Newburgh, New York. The letter calls for an unauthorized meeting and urges the officers to defy the authority of the new U.S. national government (Congress) for its failure to honor past promises to the Continental Army. The next day, Gen. Washington forbids the unauthorized meeting and instead suggests a regular meeting to be held on March 15. A second anonymous letter then appears and is circulated. This letter falsely claims Washington himself sympathizes with the rebellious officers.

March 15, 1783 - General Washington gathers his officers and talks them out of a rebellion against the authority of Congress, and in effect preserves the American democracy. Read more about this

April 26, 1783 - 7000 Loyalists set sail from New York for Canada, bringing a total of 100,000 Loyalists who have now fled America.

July 8, 1783 - The Supreme Court of Massachusetts abolishes slavery in that state.

September 3, 1783 - The Treaty of Paris is signed by the United States and Great Britain. Congress will ratify the treaty on January 14, 1784.

October 7, 1783 - In Virginia, the House of Burgesses grants freedom to slaves who served in the Continental Army.

November 2, 1783 - George Washington delivers his farewell address to his army. The next day, remaining troops are discharged.

December 23, 1783 - Following a triumphant journey from New York to Annapolis, George Washington, victorious commander in chief of the American Revolutionary Army, appears before Congress and voluntarily resigns his commission, an event unprecedented in history.

January 14, 1784 - The Treaty of Paris is ratified by Congress. The Revolutionary War officially ends.

September 22, 1784 - Russians establish their first settlement in Alaska, on Kodiak Island.

February 24, 1785 - Although England refuses to send an ambassador to the U.S., John Adams is sent as the American ambassador to Britain. He will spend the next three years trying without success to settle problems regarding the existence of a string of British forts along the Canadian border, pre-war debts owed to British creditors, post-war American treatment of Loyalists, and the closing of the West Indian colonies to American trade.

May 8, 1785 - Congress passes the Land Ordinance of 1785 which divides the northwest territories into townships, each set at 6 square miles, subdivided into 36 lots of 640 acres each, with each lot selling for no less than $640.

Summer of 1786 - Americans suffer from post-war economic depression including a shortage of currency, high taxes, nagging creditors, farm foreclosures and bankruptcies.

August 22-25, 1786 - Angry representatives from 50 towns in Massachusetts meet to discuss money problems including the rising number of foreclosures, the high cost of lawsuits, heavy land and poll taxes, high salaries for state officials, and demands for new paper money as a means of credit.

August 31, 1786 - In Massachusetts, to prevent debtors from being tried and put in prison, ex-Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays, who is now a bankrupt farmer, leads an armed mob and prevents the Northampton Court from holding a session.

September 20, 1786 - In New Hampshire, an armed mob marches on the state assembly and demands enactment of an issue of paper money.

September 26, 1786 - Shays' rebels, fearing they might be charged with treason, confront 600 militiamen protecting the state Massachusetts Supreme Court session in Springfield and force the court to adjourn.

October 20, 1786 - Congress authorizes Secretary of War Henry Knox to raise an army of 1340 men over concerns of the safety of the federal arsenal at Springfield, Mass.

December 26, 1786 - Shays assembles 1200 men near Worcester, Mass. and heads toward Springfield. Massachusetts Governor, Bowdoin, then orders mobilization of a 4400 man force.

January 26, 1787 - Shays' rebels attack the federal arsenal at Springfield but are unsuccessful. Revolutionary War hero, Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, then arrives with reinforcements from Boston to pursue the rebels.

February 21, 1787 - Amid calls for a stronger central government, due in part to Shays' Rebellion, Congress endorses a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia, beginning in May.

May 25, 1787 - With 29 delegates from nine states present, the constitutional convention begins in the state house (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia. A total of 73 delegates have been chosen by the states (excluding Rhode Island) although only 55 will actually attend. There are 21 veterans of the Revolutionary War and 8 signers of the Declaration of Independence. The delegates are farmers, merchants, lawyers and bankers, with an average age of 42, and include the brilliant 36 year old James Madison, the central figure at the convention, and 81 year old Ben Franklin. Thomas Jefferson, serving abroad as ambassador to France, does not attend.

The delegates first vote is to keep the proceedings absolutely secret. George Washington is then nominated as president of the constitutional convention.

June 19, 1787 - Rather than revise the Articles of Confederation, delegates at the constitutional convention vote to create an entirely new form of national government separated into three branches - the legislative, executive and judicial - thus dispersing power with checks and balances, and competing factions, as a measure of protection against tyranny by a controlling majority.

July 13, 1787 - Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance which establishes formal procedures for transforming territories into states. It provides for the eventual establishment of three to five states in the area north of the Ohio River, to be considered equal with the original 13. The Ordinance includes a Bill of Rights that guarantees freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury, public education and a ban on slavery in the Northwest.

July 16, 1787 - At the constitutional convention, Roger Sherman proposes a compromise which allows for representation in the House of Representatives based on each state's population and equal representation for all of the states in the Senate. The numerous black slaves in the South are to counted at only three fifths of their total number. A rough draft of the constitution is then drawn up.

August 6-10, 1787 - Items in the draft constitution are debated including the length of terms for the president and legislators, the power of Congress to regulate commerce, and a proposed 20 year ban on any Congressional action concerning slavery.

September 17, 1787 - Thirty nine delegates vote to approve and then sign the final draft of the new Constitution.

September 19, 1787 - For the first time the proposed Constitution is made public as printed copies of the text are distributed. A storm of controversy soon arises as most people had only expected a revision of the Articles of Confederation, not a new central government with similarities to the British system they had just overthrown.

October 27, 1787 - The Federalists, who advocate a strong central government and approval of the new Constitution, begin publishing essays in favor of ratification. Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, the total number of articles will eventually reach 85 and be compiled and published as the Federalist Papers.  Federalist Papers at Library of Congress

December 7, 1787 - Delaware is the first of the nine states needed to ratify the Constitution. To be followed by: Pennsylvania (Dec. 12) New Jersey (Dec. 18) Georgia (Jan. 2, 1788) Connecticut (Jan. 9) Massachusetts (Feb. 7) Maryland (April 28) South Carolina (May 23) and New Hampshire (June 21).

February 6, 1788 - Anti-Federalists in Massachusetts, led by Sam Adams and John Hancock, favor a more decentralized system of government and give their support to ratification of the Constitution only after a compromise is reached that amendments will be included which guarantee civil liberties.

February 27, 1788 - In Massachusetts, following an incident in which free blacks were kidnapped and transported to the island of Martinique, the Massachusetts legislature declares the slavery trade illegal and provides for monetary damages to victims of kidnappings.

March 24, 1788 - In Rhode Island, the Constitution is rejected by a popular referendum. The state, fearful of consolidated federal power, had refused to send a delegation to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia and had subsequently rejected a state convention to consider ratification.

June 2, 1788 - In Virginia, anti-Federalist forces, led by Patrick Henry and George Mason, oppose ratification of the Constitution. They are joined by Richard Henry Lee who calls for a bill of rights and a lower house set up on a more democratic basis.

June 25, 1788 - In Virginia, the Federalists, led by James Madison, finally prevail as ratification of the Constitution (with a proposed bill of rights and 20 other changes) is endorsed by a close vote of 89 to 75.

July 2, 1788 - A formal announcement is made by the president of Congress that the Constitution of the United States is now in effect, having been ratified by the required nine states.

July 26, 1788 - The state of New York votes 30 to 27 to endorse ratification while also recommending a bill of rights be included.

September 13, 1788 - New York City is chosen by Congress to be the temporary seat of the new U.S. government.

October-December - Commodity prices stabilize, spurring economic recovery and a gradual return to pre-war levels of prosperity.

December 23, 1788 - Maryland proposes giving a 10 square-mile area along the Potomac River for the establishment of a federal town to be the new seat of the U.S. government.

January 23, 1789 - Georgetown University, the first Catholic college in the U.S., is founded by Father John Carroll.

April 30, 1789 - On the balcony of New York's Federal Hall, George Washington, at age 57, is sworn in as the first President of the United States. He then enters the Senate chamber to deliver his inaugural address.

July 4, 1789 - Congress passes its first tax, an 8.5 percent protective tax on 30 different items, with items arriving on American ships charged at a lower rate than foreign ships.

July 14, 1789 - In France, the French Revolution begins with the fall of the Bastille in Paris, an event witnessed by the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson.

July 20, 1789 - Congress passes the Tonnage Act of 1789 levying a 50 cents per ton tax on foreign ships entering American ports, 30 cents per ton on American built but foreign owned ships, and 6 cents per ton on American ships.

September 25, 1789 - Congress submits 12 proposed constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. The first ten will be ratified and added to the Constitution in 1791 as the Bill of Rights.

September 29, 1789 - The U.S. Army is established by Congress. Totaling 1000 men, it consists of one regiment of eight infantry companies and one battalion of four artillery companies.

March 1, 1790 - A Census Act is passed by Congress. The first census, finished on Aug. 1, indicates a total population of nearly 4 million persons in the U.S. and western territories. African Americans make up 19 percent of the population, with 90 percent living in the South. Native Americans were not counted, although there were likely over 80 tribes with 150,000 persons. For white Americans, the average age is under 16. Most white families are large, with an average of eight children born. The white population will double every 22 years.

The largest American city is Philadelphia, with 42,000 persons, followed by New York (33,000) Boston (18,000) Charleston (16,000) and Baltimore (13,000). The majority of Americans are involved in agricultural pursuits, with little industrial activity occurring at this time.

April 17, 1790 - Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at age 84. His funeral four days later draws over 20,000 mourners.

July 10, 1790 - The House of Representatives votes to locate the national capital on a 10 square-mile site along the Potomac, with President George Washington choosing the exact location.

Source of much of the above: The History Place http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/revolution/rev-early.htm

America - 1790 to 1810 

Peaceful transition – but problems, and problem people – party formation: Washington to Adams to Jefferson to Madison 

The people:  

John Adams – http://gi.grolier.com/presidents/aae/bios/02pjohn.html

 http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/ja2/ja2.htm

http://www.universalway.org/johnadams.html 

Aaron Burr - http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/B/aburr/burr.htm 

Alexander Hamilton - http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/ham/hamilton.html 

Thomas Jefferson - http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/ 

James Madison - http://www.virginia.edu/pjm/ 

September 25, 1789 - Congress submits 12 proposed constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. The first ten will be ratified and added to the Constitution in 1791 as the Bill of Rights.

September 29, 1789 - The U.S. Army is established by Congress. Totaling 1000 men, it consists of one regiment of eight infantry companies and one battalion of four artillery companies.

March 1, 1790 - A Census Act is passed by Congress. The first census, finished on Aug. 1, indicates a total population of nearly 4 million persons in the U.S. and western territories. African Americans make up 19 percent of the population, with 90 percent living in the South. Native Americans were not counted, although there were likely over 80 tribes with 150,000 persons. For white Americans, the average age is under 16. Most white families are large, with an average of eight children born. The white population will double every 22 years.

The largest American city is Philadelphia, with 42,000 persons, followed by New York (33,000) Boston (18,000) Charleston (16,000) and Baltimore (13,000). The majority of Americans are involved in agricultural pursuits, with little industrial activity occurring at this time.

1790 - the first decade

April 17, 1790 - Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at age 84. His funeral four days later draws over 20,000 mourners.

July 10, 1790 - The House of Representatives votes to locate the national capital on a 10 square-mile site along the Potomac, with President George Washington choosing the exact location.

- Source of much of the above: The History Place
http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/revolution/rev-early.htm

- July 4. Jefferson submits to Congress his Report on the Subject of Measures, Weights, and Coins, an effort to establish uniform standards for coinage and weight measures. Jefferson is particularly excited by the discovery that the established weight for the American version of the Spanish dollar equals an ounce. He develops an ideal system of equivalencies between money and weight standards, but it is at odds with that of Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton, whose proposal is based on current business practices 

1791 - February 15. Jefferson sends President George Washington, his Opinion of the Constitutionality of the Bill for Establishing a National Bank. Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton argues that the Constitution provides implied powers to establish a Bank. Jefferson disagrees, and he sees Hamilton's plans for a national bank, the development of manufactures, and other related financial policies as creating conditions for the accumulation of the kind of power and corruption identified with the courts and monarchies of Europe. 

1792 -  Fall. In one of the first openly partisan electoral contests, George Clinton is supported by Jefferson's allies for the office of governor of New York, while Hamiltonians support John Jay. Clinton wins. Officials canvassing votes void some of those for Jay. 

1793 - Cotton Gin invented November 16. Jefferson writes to Eli Whitney, telling him that he approves of his efforts to win a patent for his cotton gin. Jefferson to Eli Whitney, November 16, 1793.

- Fugitive Slave Act passed 

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April 28. As Secretary of State, Jefferson writes an opinion for President Washington arguing that acceptance of the new French minister to the United States, Edmond Genet, is an acceptance of the new revolutionary government in Paris, led by the Girondins. Jefferson argues that the current French government is continuous with that of Louis XVI, with which the United States made a formal treaty of alliance in 1778 during the American Revolution. Hamilton argues that the treaty and diplomatic relationship were with the monarchy of Louis XVI and ended when Louis was dethroned, imprisoned, and executed on January 21, 1793, and that the relationship must be renegotiated. Democratic-Republican clubs, that have sprung up in the United States in support of France. Genet plans to appeal to Americans over the head of President Washington. Jefferson concludes that he has gone too far. In mid-August, the Jacobins gain control of the French government and many Girondists are imprisoned. Although recalled, Genet, a Girondin, dares not return to France, and he eventually receives asylum in the United States, settles on a farm in upstate New York, and marries Cornelia Clinton, the daughter of Governor George Clinton. 

1795 - Bowdoin College founded – became a center for Abolitionist movements; Gen. Howard (Howard University) graduated; Harriet Beecher Stowe taught there and she began to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin there (in 1850)

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October. James Madison visits Monticello to discuss the Jay Treaty with Jefferson. They are both opposed to its ratification. The treaty, negotiated with Great Britain by John Jay, addresses issues left unresolved since the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution. The Jay Treaty provides for compensation to British creditors from American debtors, many of whom are Virginians, and it arranges for the evacuation of British troops still occupying northwestern posts in the United States. However, it fails to address the all-important issue of American trading rights, especially in the British West Indies, and leaves the problem of the impressment of American seamen by the British navy unresolved. The treaty is immensely unpopular and furthers the development of party politics. The Senate narrowly ratifies it in April 1796. 

1796 - December 7. John Adams is elected second president of the U.S. Jefferson is elected vice president, having received the second largest number of electoral votes.  

1797 - March 4. Adams inaugurated as President - Jefferson is inaugurated as vice president of the United States and begins gathering information on rules of parliamentary practice. As vice president, Jefferson presides over the Senate. 

1798 - June-July. Congress passes what are collectively known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. These acts, the Naturalization Act, the Alien Act, the Sedition Act, and the Alien Enemies Act, are passed in the midst of a quasi-war with France and heightened public criticism of foreign policy. 

1799  - Jefferson leaves Philadelphia for Monticello, arriving there on the 8th. Throughout the coming year he devotes himself to Monticello's development. On his way to Philadelphia in November, he visits the new federal city, Washington, D.C., which he plays a key role in designing. (Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for a New Nation, Library of Congress Exhibitions)  

December 14. George Washington dies at Mount Vernon.  

1800 - June. The U. S. capital is moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.

- December 3. Electors meet in their states and cast votes for the next president of the United States. A tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr does not become known till the end of the month. This throws the election into the House of Representatives which addresses the matter on February 11, 1801.

1801 - February 11. The electors' votes for president are officially opened and counted in Congress, which already knows that the vote is tied between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives meets separately and continues balloting for six days. On February 17, on the thirty-sixth ballot, Jefferson is elected president and Aaron Burr becomes vice president.

New York passes Emancipation Act 

Population 5.3 million (1 million of African decent) 

1802 - Ohio outlaws slavery --  September. James Callender makes the accusation that Thomas Jefferson has "for many years past kept, as his concubine, one of his own slaves," Sally Hemings. It is published in the Richmond Recorder that month, and the story is soon picked up by Federalist presses around the country. Callender, a Republican, has previously been an avid investigator of Federalist scandals. In 1798, Jefferson had helped pay for the publication of Callender's pamphlet The Prospect Before Us, which claimed to expose John Adams as a monarchist. However, when Jefferson, now president, fails to reward Callender with the office of postmaster in Richmond, Virginia, Callender turns on him. 

1803 - Louisiana Purchase January 18. Jefferson asks Congress for funds for an expedition to explore the Mississippi River and beyond in search of a route to the Pacific. Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson's private secretary, begins planning the expedition, which forms late in 1803.

- April 30. Robert Livingston, ambassador to France, and James Monroe, special envoy, conclude a treaty of cession in Paris in which the United States purchases from France the whole of the Louisiana territory for fifteen million dollars. The territory, approximately 800,000 square miles comprising the Mississippi River Valley and most of the present-day Midwest, almost doubles the size of the United States. Jefferson's original expectation was that Livingston and Monroe might persuade the French to yield a portion of the Mississippi River Valley for ten million dollars. However, Emperor Napoleon of France has just lost an army and the island of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean to Toussaint L'Overture, leader of a slave insurrection, and he is no longer interested in maintaining a French foothold in North America. He offers the United States the whole of the territory.