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Although America history is short compared to any other country, the events throughout its past have played a vital role in the world. The U.S. has become a dominant economic, political, and social force in the 20th and 21st centuries. These are some of the affairs that have shaped the country we live in today and are important to teach to our students.

The American Revolution

If the 13 original colonies of northeast America hadn’t revolted against the English Empire than the world still might be under British colonialism. The refusal to pay increased taxes to the British led to a full revolt that eventually caused an international rebellion from France, the Netherlands, and Spain. America becomes a symbol of freedom as it formed its own constitution and began one of the truest forms of democracy.

Abolition of Slavery

One of the most regrettable traditions in American history is the prolonged use of African slaves, especially in the southern states. The country became divided on this issue that caused the American Civil War led by Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation. The end of the war in 1865, led to the 13th amendment to the constitution that abolished slavery.

Bombing of Hiroshima

The distressing decision by President Harry Truman to detonate an atomic bomb on Japan caused tremendous bloodshed and fear that ultimately led to the end of WWII. This showed the power behind nuclear countries holding weapons of mass destruction that ignited the cold war with Russia and the continued power struggle seen in modern times.

Kennedy Assassination

John F. Kennedy was the youngest and one of the most popular presidents to hold office. He advocated for peace by dissolving the Cuban Missile Crisis and planned an exit from Vietnam. After his death and the succession of Lyndon B. Johnson as president, the Vietnam War escalated leading to more death and red scare rhetoric.


When a plane crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Americans received the first glimpse of the effect of war on their own soil. This led the U.S. government to implement the Patriot Act and jump-start the war on terror. It also began mass surveillance programs by government agencies like the NSA and the FBI.