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1787
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
A constitutional convention meets in Philadelphia to frame a Constitution; the Constitution of the U.S. is signed.
Government
New State: Delaware ratifies the Constitution and becomes the 1st state in the Union; Pennsylvania is 2nd state in the Union; New Jersey becomes the 3rd.
Government
National Capital: The new Constitution provides the the creation of a separate national capital, and the search for a site begins.
Government
Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
Inventions
American inventor John Fitch (1743-1798) launches a steamboat on the Delaware River.
Education
Higher Education: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia opens.
Education
Children''s Books: The first American edition of "Mother Goose Rhymes" is published by Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831
Arts and Letters
Mozart (1756-1791) composes "Don Giovanni;" it premieres in Prague.
Ideas
John Adams (1735-1826) writes "A Defense of the Constitution of Government of the U.S.A."
Ideas
James Madison (1751-1836) writes "The Vices of the Political System of the United States."
Washington, Martha
George Washington (1732-1799) attends a concert given by Alexander Reinagle (c.1750-1809), finest pianist in the U.S. at the time; he later engages Reinagle to give music lessons to his daughter.
Economics
The first American cotton mill opens in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Daily Life
One of the first non-religious song books, A Select Collection of the Most Favorite Scots Tunes, is published in the U.S. by Alexander Rienagle.
Religion
Lucy Wright (1760-1821), successor to Ann Lee, dominates the period of the Shaker society’s greatest growth.
Religion
Black preacher Richard Allen (1760-1831) founds the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Reform
Abolition Movement: The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is formed by British Quakers.
1788
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
New State: Georgia ratifies the new Constitution and becomes the 4th state admitted to the Union; Connecticut becomes the 5th; Massachusetts is the 6th; Maryland is the 7th; South Carolina is the 8th; New Hampshire is the 9th; Virginia is the 10th; New York is the 11th.
Government
National Capital: New York City becomes the federal capital of the U.S.
Government
National Capital: Maryland and Virginia give land for a new federal capital.
Science
The Marquis Pierre Simon de Laplace (1749-1827) writes "Laws of the Planetary System."
Medicine
Mobs riot in New York and Boston protesting the use of cadavers for dissection in medical schools.
Inventions
Andrew Meikle (1719-1811), Scottish millwright, patents a thrasher for removing husks from grain.
Education
Hannah More (1745-1833) opens a school for illiterates in England and receives much opposition for educating laborers.
Education
Public Education: The Constitution gives the power to establish schools and license teachers to individual states rather than to the federal government.
Ideas
"The Federalist Papers" are published.
Ideas
Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) writes "A Critique of Pure Reason."
Adams, Abigail
Abigail (1744-1818) and John Adams (1735-1826) return to Braintree, MA from abroad.
Taylor, Margaret
Margaret “Peggy” Mackall Smith (1788-1852), wife of Zachary Taylor, is born in Calvert County, MD on September 21.
Economics
"Northwest America," the first American ship built on the west coast, is launched.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Botany Bay in Australia becomes an English penal colony.
Daily Life
The first hortensia and fuchsia are imported to Europe from Peru.
Daily Life
Disasters: Fire destroys more than 800 buildings in New Orleans.
Social Issues
Slavery: Connecticut and Massachusetts forbid residents from participating in the slave trade.
Social Issues
Slavery: New York passes a new comprehensive slave law, confirming that all current slaves are slaves for life.
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1789
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Constitution of the United States goes into effect; the first ten amendments to the Constitution are introduced by the Congress.
Law
The Federal Judiciary Act creates the Supreme Court.
Law
Chief Justices: President George Washington (1732-1799) nominates John Jay (1745-1829) as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on September 24th. The Senate confirms the appointment on September 26th. After serving as Chief Justice for five years, Jay resigns from the Supreme Court on June 29, 1795. He is elected Governor of New York in 1796.
Politics
George Washington (1732-1799) is elected President of the U.S., and John Adams (1735-1826)is elected Vice President.
Politics
First Political Parties: The Federalist Party is formed.
Politics
Tammany (Hall) is founded in New York City.
Politics
Political buttons first appear.
Government
New State: North Carolina ratifies the Constitution and becomes the 12th state admitted to the Union.
War
French Revolution: The French Revolution begins.
Medicine
Edward Holyoke (1728-1829), physician, publishes life expectancy table showing the Americans live longer than Europeans.
Inventions
Englishman William Jessup designs first wagons with flanged wheels.
Education
Higher Education: Georgetown University is established in what is now Washington, D.C.
Education
The first modern chemistry textbook, "Elements of Chemistry," is published by Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794); all illustrations are provided by his wife, Marie.
Education
One of the earliest complaints about a textbook is made by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison against a geography book written by Jedidiah Morse, who object to the popular text’s characterization of the young men of Virginia, as “gamblers, cockfighters, and horse-jockies”.
Ideas
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), English barrister, publishes "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation."
Washington, Martha
Martha Washington (1731-1802) becomes the nation’s first First Lady. She does not attend her husband''s presidential inauguration, but joins him several weeks later in New York City, the nation''''s first capital.
Adams, Abigail
John Adams (1735-1826) becomes Vice President; serves two terms under George Washington.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Paine’s (1764-1849) father loses his business in Philadelphia and is expelled from the Pine Street Monthly Meeting for failure to pay his debts.
Economics
Christopher Colles (c.1738-1821) publishes the first American road map.
Economics
Women''s Firsts: Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) opens a Baltimore bookstore, probably the first woman in America to do so.
Daily Life
Chrysanthemums are introduced to Britain from the Orient.
Daily Life
Holidays: Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as a national holiday for the first time.
Daily Life
Magazines: The first periodical designed for children, "The Children’s Magazine," is published in Hartford, CT.
Reform
Temperance Movement: The first organized temperance group is formed by 200 farmers in Connecticut, who pledge not to drink alcoholic beverages during farming season.
Reform
Abolition Movement: The Maryland Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes and Others Unlawfully Held in Bondage is founded.
1790
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The first session of the Supreme Court takes place.
Government
The Copyright Act is passed with the help of Noah Webster.
Government
Congress gives George Washington (1732-1799) the power to choose the site for the new capitol.
Government
U.S. President George Washington (1732-1799) delivers the first State of the Union address.
Government
New State: Rhode Island becomes the 13th state to ratify the Constitution and join the United States.
Government
Presidents: John Tyler (1790-1862), 10th President of the U.S., is born in Greenway, Virginia.
Medicine
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) rages against the prevalent practice of bloodletting as a universal cure and founds homeopathy.
Inventions
A foot-powered dental drill is invented by John Greenwood (1760-1819).
Education
Education of Women: Catherine Macaulay’s (1731-1791) "Letters on Education" influences Mary Wollstonecraft’s thinking in "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" (1792).
Education
Public Education: Pennsylvania state constitution calls for free public education but only for poor children. It is expected that rich people will pay for their children's schooling.
Washington, Martha
The Washingtons move to Philadelphia when the capital does.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Payne (1764-1849) marries John Todd, Jr., a Quaker lawyer, on January 7.
Tyler, Letitia
Letitia Christian Tyler (1790-1842), first wife of John Tyler, is born on her family's plantation, Cedar Grove, in Virginia on November 12.
Economics
The first American steam-powered cotton-processing machines are built, marking the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.
Economics
Population: The first national census shows the American population at 4 million—about 25% in New England, 25% in the Middle States, and 50% in the South.
Religion
The first Roman Catholic bishop consecrated in America is John Carroll (1735-1815) of Baltimore.
Religion
Women’s Firsts: Mother Bernardina Matthews (1732-1800) establishes a Carmelite convent near Port Tobacco, Maryland, and the first community of Roman Catholic nuns in the Thirteen Colonies.
Religion
The first Roman Catholic Bible is published in the U.S. by Mathew Carey.
Social Issues
Slavery: The First United States Census reveals that nearly 700,000 slaves live and toil in a nation of 3.9 million people.
Social Issues
Slavery: Congress denies naturalization to anyone who is not a free white.
Social Issues
Slavery: Congress advocates the expansion of slavery into the Southwest.
Social Issues
Immigration: The federal government requires two years of residency for naturalization.
Reform
Women''s Rights Movement: French philosopher Condorcet (1743-1794) writes "On the Admission of Women to Citizens’ Rights."
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