1. Education
One way to study American History is to focus on the major wars that have occurred. The following wars had a huge part in the shaping of America, its culture, and its people.
  1. American Revolution
  2. Civil War
  3. War of 1812
  4. Spanish-American War
  5. World War 1
  6. World War 2
  1. Korean and Vietnam Conflicts
  2. Cold War
  3. Industrial Revolution
  4. Prohibition
  5. Great Depression
  6. Civil Rights Movement

American Revolution

George Washington, Commander of the Continental Army

The Revolutionary War lasted from 1775-1783. This fight between Great Britain and its thirteen colonies was the result of years of growing conflict. After the French and Indian War that occurred between 1754-1763, the British government began requiring the colonies to pay higher taxes. Over time, protests and conflict led to a tightening of control by the Mother Country. Beginning with the fighting at Lexington and Concord in April 1775, open warfare broke out.

Civil War

Three Confederate prisoners taken at the Battle of Gettysburg, July, 1863.

The Civil War which lasted from 1861 to 1865 divided the United States to such an extent that its impact can still be felt over 140 years later. Many of the major causes of the war were set from the inception of the Constitution. The battles, both large and small, were horribly bloody and resulted in over 600,000 deaths and over 450,000 injuries.

War of 1812

Andrew Jackson.

The War of 1812 has sometimes been called the Second War of Independence and was fought between the United States and Great Britain. During the war, Washington D. C. was taken over, and President Madison was forced to flee. The war ended in 1815 essentially restoring the status quo between the two countries.

Spanish-American War

Theodore Roosevelt, Twenty-Sixth President of the United States

The Spanish-American War began in 1898 as a direct result of an incident that occurred in Havana harbor. On February 15, 1898, an explosion occurred on the USS Maine that caused the deaths of over 250 American sailors. Even though later investigations have shown that the explosion was a accident in the boiler room of the ship, public furor arose and pushed the country to war because of what was believed at the time to be Spanish sabotage.

World War 1

Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States

World War 1 was fought between 1914 and 1918, though the United States did not enter the war until 1917. The causes of World War 1 are complicated and based on years of entangling alliances and competition between nations.

World War 2

USS Missouri - Site of the Japanese Surrender Ending World War II

When events began happening in Europe that would eventually lead to World War 2, many Americans took an increasingly hard line towards getting involved. World War 1 had caused an increased desire for isolationism amongst the American people. However, the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 led to America's involvement in the war.

Korean and Vietnam Conflicts

Dwight D Eisenhower, Thirty-Fourth President of the United States

Both Korea and Vietnam were "hot" wars that occured during the Cold War era. In both of the conflicts, America was fighting overseas to try and stop the spread of communism. Unfortunately, neither war resulted in victory for the United States and both led to increased dissension amongst the American people.

Cold War

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima During World War II

The Cold War was a stand-off between the two major superpowers left at the end of World War II: the United States and the Soviet Union. They both tried to further their own ends by influencing nations around the world. The period was marked by conflict and increasing tension that only resolved with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Industrial Revolution

Image of the steamboat Clermont designed by Robert Fulton - American Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution changed the course of human history. The United States used the power of this revolution to catapult itself into a world superpower.


Temperance Movement Image - Still from Edison Movie

Read about the fascinating Prohibition Era, a time when America decided to "legally" give up drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, the experiment ended in failure with growing crime rates and lawlessness.

Great Depression

Great Depression - Florence Thompson with children during the Great Depression

The effects of the Great Depression was huge across the world. Not only did it lead to the New Deal in America but more significantly, it was a direct cause of the rise of extremism in Germany leading to World War II.

Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King Jr.

Read about the people, places and events that shaped the modern United States Civil Rights movement. The Brown decision heralded the beginning of the movement. However, many more struggles had to be endured before seeing a real change in the American History.

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