Key Terms in American History

Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Anna Elizabeth Klumpke
(National Portrait Gallery)

The following is a list of important events, people, and movements in American history arranged in chronological order. A student who has a strong understanding of these terms will be acquainted with most of the significant elements of the history of the United States. What a term list like this does not cover well are the intellectual, cultural, and literary influences on American life and history.

I occasionally receive emails from students (and some teachers) who ask why I do not include the definitions for the terms listed below. My experience has been that if I provide definitions to my students, they often end up repeating them back on quizzes and tests without much understanding. I believe the process of reading about a term in context is a much better way to learn its meaning.

There are times when a quick definition is all that is needed. With the instant access of the web, term identifications can be found easily.

Greg Feldmeth

Native American and Precolonial Periods
Colonial Beginnings 18th Century Colonial Life

Prologue to Revolution (1754-1775)

Revolutionary War

Articles of Confederation Period & Constitutional Convention

Federalist Era
Jeffersonian Era & War of 1812 Nationalism & Sectionalism
Jacksonian Era Reform Movements in 19th Century America Expansionism & Immigration Antebellum America (1850-1861) Civil War Reconstruction (1865-1877) 1865-1900: Frontier West 1865-1900: Industrial America 1865-1900: Urban Culture Gilded Age Politics & Imperialism Progressive Era World War I & International Relations The 1920s Crash, the Great Depression, and the New Deal International Relations Between the World Wars World War II Cold War America The 1950s The 1960s Contemporary America (1970-present)

Please cite this source when appropriate:

 Feldmeth, Greg D. "U.S. History Resources" (31 March 1998).

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