The United States has played an important role in several large historical events, many of which changed our world as we know it today. This makes it hard to single out the most important events in American history, but we nevertheless attempted to make a list of events, good and bad, that really stood out for us.

The American Revolution

Without the American Revolution that happened between 1775 and 1781, the United States would not be. If America was under British rule for much longer, who knows how the world might have looked today. Some historians also claim that the American Revolution played a very important role in the democracy of the world – it might have sparked the French Revolution and other colonies also drew inspiration from America’s fight for freedom and liberty.


The Civil War

Although the cost of the Civil War was high – it was one of the bloodiest wars ever fought on American soil, the result was the abolishment of slavery. Black Americans now were regarded as true American citizens, with the right to vote, hold office and own property.

But with the unconditional surrender of the South, the Union was able to welcome back all seceded states, per Lincoln’s wishes, and permanently outlaw slavery of any kind. The Constitution was amended to this effect, Blacks were given the right to vote and hold office, and a nation much more similar to that of the present finally existed in the Western Hemisphere.

The Manhattan Project / Atomic Bomb

One of the most devastating weapons of war was built and used by Americans.  Although Harry Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb on civilians in Japan is still debated today, its effect was immediate. The bomb ended WW2, the largest war the world has ever experienced, and the devastating effect of these bombs has made countries all over the world very hesitant to ever get involved in a world war again.

The Assassination of Kennedy and Lincoln

Two U.S. presidents who played pivotal roles in getting the U.S. to peace were both assassinated. Lincoln led America through the Civil War, while Kennedy managed to defuse the very tense Cuban Missile Crisis. Their deaths showed that even stopping or ending a war does not end the human ability to hate. No victory is ever permanent.


Apollo 11 was one of the greatest achievements of humanity. Americans were the first and only nation to have walked on the moon.


September 11, 2001 marks one of the most horrible moments in American history when two of four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center and killed thousands of Americans. This event instigated a “war on terror” that continued for the next decade and resulted in the elimination of Osama Bin Laden.

This article is part of our extensive collection of articles on the Antebellum Period. Click here to see our comprehensive article on the Antebellum Period. 

This article is also part of our larger selection of posts about American History. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to American History.

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"What Were the Most Important Events in American History?" History on the Net
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