The timeline of historic dates that the American people have experienced is long and full of many important occurrences. When planning a homeschooling curriculum around U.S. history, here are the top 10 events you'll want to point out to your children:
1. American Revolution
The American Revolution took place during the second half of the 18th century, when the 13 colonies banded together to gain freedom from Britain. As King George grew greedy for the wealth of this new land, early colonists became more determined to fight for independence. George Washington led a militia to victory with a substantial amount of assistance from France, and a new nation was born.
2. Louisiana Purchase
In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase helped to make modern-day Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri part of the United States. Along with portions of a few other states, this deal included a total of 828,800 square miles of land. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson, America was able to double its size for about $15 million - today that would be about $220 million.
3. Civil War
During the Civil War, America's northern states fought against the South. What was everyone fighting over? The idea that all men are created equal. Abraham Lincoln played one of the most influential roles in this battle for what was right, and fought to abolish slavery. In the end, the South surrendered and the Constitution was amended. Across the country, African-Americans were given the rights to vote and hold office.
4. Lincoln's assassination
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth - a man who was looking to "avenge the South" and make Lincoln pay for his sins. This happened one month after the president's second inaugural address, in which he called for charity for all. Booth gunned Lincoln down with a .44 caliber at the Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., during a performance of "Our American Cousin."
5. Manhattan Project
Research and development for the Manhattan Project began in 1939 and resulted in the first atomic bomb of World War II. More than 130,000 scientists were led by Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi to create two types of atomic bombs because of this project. In the end, Harry Truman made the decision to use this weapon in 1945 to end what was the deadliest war the world had seen.
6. JFK's assassination
On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Kennedy was traveling in a motorcade with his wife when he was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. This event shook the morale of Americans across the country, as many questioned the safety that modern-day security was able to provide. There are still a number of questions that have gone unanswered when it comes to the specifics of this assassination.
7. Apollo 11
President John F. Kennedy made it the nation's goal to reach the moon in 1961. After a number of failed attempts, Apollo 11 made American feet the first to touch the celestial body's surface. Those feet belonged to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who took the giant steps on July 20, 1969. It was during this first trip that the U.S. flag was planted on the moon's surface.
8. Vietnam War
It wasn't until the early 1960s that the Vietnam War grew to be an important event in U.S. history. This was the point at which American soldiers were sent to intervene and prevent communists from taking over South Vietnam. In 1975, Gerald Ford recognized that the war was over. It wasn't without a loss, though, as 58,000 Americans had perished.
9. September 11, 2001
This date will forever live in all Americans' memories. Tragically, terrorism struck U.S. ground when four suicide attacks victimized U.S. citizens . In New York City and Washington, D.C., commercial airplanes were turned into weapons on Sept. 11. This was the beginning of a "war on terror" that would last for years to come.
10. Osama bin Laden's death
On May 2, 2011, a Navy SEAL team uncovered the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. As ordered by President Barack Obama, the team put an end to the terror the former leader of al-Qaida had brought upon the country. This was a major event following one of the most vicious acts of terrorism to ever occur on American soil.
The history of the United States is full of influential dates and occurrences that often revolve around tragedy. As you teach your children about these important events in a curriculum for homeschooling, make it a point to showcase the progress Americans have made over the years.