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Inquiry Unlimited presents

20th Century USA ( America’s Story) Historical Chronology
Part 1: 1900 - 1949

(Basic narrative and chronology derived from 1997 The World Almanac)


[pre-1910 | 1920 | 1930 | 1940 ]


  • Carry Nation, Kansas antisaloon agitator, began raiding with a hatchet.
  • August 27, 1900 - U. S. Army physicians discovered the cause of yellow fever.
  • U.S. helped put down the "Boxers" in Beijing [Age of Imperialism | Boxer Rebellion]
  • International Ladies' Garment Workers Union was founded in New York City in November.]




  • July 23, 1904 - Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri invented the ice cream cone when he developed the idea of filling a pastry cone with ice cream.
  • October 27, 1904 - New York subway system is opened for business

  • September, 1905 - Roosevelt's involvement in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Portsmouth Treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War received him the Nobel Peace Prize )


  • Henry Ford introduced Model T car, produced by assembly-line methods, priced at $850 on October 1.

  • William Howard Taft, Republican, became the 27th President of the United States.
  • Adm. Robert E. Peary reached the North Pole on April 6 accompanied by Matthew Henson, a black man, and 4 Eskimos
  • National Conference of the Negro convened on May 30 leading to founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

  • Boy Scouts of America founded on February 8, 1910

  • The building holding New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist Company sweatshop caught fire on March 25, 1911 killing 146 mostly young women some of whom were trapped and killed while others jumped to their deaths.


  • Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) [1913 - 1921] became the 28th president of the United States.
  • National Child Labor Committee campaigns against the dangers of children working (a classroom activity) and U. S. legislators debate changing the child labor laws (1916 - Keating-Owen Act) .
  • The Income Tax Amendment ( the 16th) is adopted creating tax day as April 15 for Americans.
  • 17th Amendment creates the direct election of U.S. Senators - Constitution of the United States is ratified.


  • First telephone talk from New York to San Francisco on January 25, 1915 by Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson
    [History of telephones | Bell's Path to the Telephone]
  • British ship Lusitania sunk on May 7 by German submarine with 128 American passengers lost which prompted Pres. Wilson's note to Germany.
  • U.S. troops landed in Haiti on July 28, 1915. Haiti became a U. S. protectorate under Sept. 16 treaty.

  • General John Pershing entered Mexico to pursue Francisco (Pancho) Villa who had raided U.S. border areas and forces were withdrawn on Feb. 5, 1917
  • U.S. bought Virgin Islands from Denmark on August 4, 1916

  • Germany, suffering from British blockade, declared almost unrestricted submarine warfare on Jan. 31, 1917
  • U.S. cut diplomatic ties with Germany on February 3, 1917
  • March 31, 1917 - The United States takes ownership of the Virgin Islands
  • United States formally declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917 entering World War I.
  • The first U.S. troops arrived in Europe on June 26, 1917
  • November 2, 1917 - Balfour Declaration in support of Jewish Zionism.
  • The 18th (Prohibition) Amendment to the Constitution was submitted to the states by Congress on December 18, 1917

  • American Forces under General Pershing launched their first major offensive in World War I.
  • World War I ended on November 11, 1918.
  • December 4, 1918 - Wilson leaves for Europe to attend Paris Peace Conference which culminates in the Treaty of Versailles (signed June 28, 1919) and establishes the League of Nations



  • Warren Gamaliel Harding (Republican) [1921 - 1923] became the 29th president of the United States.
  • On July 29, Adolf Hitler became the leader of National Socialist 'Nazi' Party.
  • A joint congressional resolution declared peace with Germany, Austria, and Hungary was signed on July 2, 1921 by Pres. Warren Harding with treaties signed in August, 1921.
  • The Ku Klux Klan began revival with violence against Catholics in North, South, and Midwest

  • February 8, 1922 - President Harding installed a radio in the White House.
  • Violence during a coal-mine strike at Herrin, Illinois on June 22-23, 1922 cost 36 lives, 21 of whom were nonunion miners.

  • Calvin Coolidge (Republican) [1923 - 1929] became the 30th president of the United States.
  • The first sound-on-film motion picture, Phonofilm, was shown by Lee deForest at the Rivoli Theater, New York City beginning in April, 1923

  • Though the Teapot Dome Scandal was revealed in 1924 during the Coolidge Administration and dealt with then, the situation had happened during the Harding Administration when public land was secretly leased to private investors with no bids
  • A law was approved by Congress on June 15, 1924 making all Indians citizens.
  • First woman governor, Nellie Taylor Ross, was elected governor of Wyoming on November 6, 1924 after the death of her husband on October 2, 1924.
  • George Gershwin wrote Rhapsody in Blue in 1924.

  • John Scopes was found guilty of having taught evolution in a Dayton, Tennessee high school, was fined $100 and court costs on July 24, 1925.
  • On July 18, Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" was published.

  • Dr. Robert H. Goddard demonstrated the practicality of rockets on March 16, 1926 at Auburn, Massachusetts with the first liquid fuel rocket which traveled 184 feet in 2.5 seconds.

  • Captain Charles A. Lindbergh left Roosevelt Field, NY on May 20, 1927, alone in his plane, " the Spirit of St. Louis", on his first New York-Paris nonstop flight. He reached LeBourget airfield on May 21 having flown 3,610 miles in 33-1/2 hours. He received the First Distinguished Flying Cross.
  • The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson, demonstrated part-talking pictures in New York City on December 27, 1927.

  • Herbert Hoover was elected president defeating Alfred E. Smith, the Catholic governor of New York.
  • Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly the Atlantic on June 17, 1928.

  • Herbert Hoover (Republican) [1929 - 1933] became the 31st president of the United States.
  • The St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago on February 14, 1929 where gangsters killed 7 rival gangsters.
  • Teapot Dome scandal
  • Stock market crashed on October 29, 1929 marking the end of postwar prosperity as stock prices plummeted and began the worst American depression. Lowest day, July 8, 1932



As of December 4, 2003, you are visitor to view this early 20th century timeline.
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Last modified: August 30, 2014.
Copyright 1997 - Marjorie Duby *. All rights reserved.

This website and its contents were compiled and arranged by Marjorie Duby using other websites, almanacs, and chronologies focusing on 19th century American history for the purpose of use by school children.
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