Time Line of Notable Events Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

An annotated time line of important events in the history of American business.

1492-1504

Christopher Columbus's explorations open Western Hemisphere to European settlement, trade, and development.

1607

First permanent British colonies are established in Virginia.

1609-1610

English navigator Henry Hudson explores Atlantic seaboard, Hudson River, and Hudson's Bay in search of new trade routes.

1619

First African slaves are imported to Jamestown, Virginia.

1620

(Dec. 26) Mayflower pilgrims arrive at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.

1626

(May) Dutch begin colonizing Manhattan Island.

1628

Massachusetts Bay Company is chartered as joint-stock company to finance Pilgrims bound for New England.

1639

First American printing press operates in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which along with Boston will become center of American publishing.

1651 and 1660

English parliament enacts Navigation Acts, which restrict use of non-English ships in trade with American colonies.

1664

(Aug. 29) England annexes New Netherlands, which it will rename New York.

1673

Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette explore Upper Mississippi River.

1681-1682

Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle explores Lower Mississippi River.

1681

(Mar. 4) England's King Charles II of England grants William Penn a charter to found colony of Pennsylvania.

1690

First American papermaking plant opens in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

Benjamin Harris publishes first American newspaper, Publick Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick, in Boston.

c. 1732

New Jersey stagecoach line is colonies' first public transport system.

1741

American magazine industry begins with Andrew Bradford's American Magazine, followed shortly by Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine.

1742

Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine carries first magazine advertisements in colonies.

1744

Benjamin Franklin publishes first mail-order catalog, offering scientific and academic materials.

1754

(May 24) French and Indian War begins.

1763

British parliament grants Crown trade monopoly in British North America.

(Feb. 10) Treaty of Paris ends French and Indian War.

1765

(Nov. 1) Britain's Stamp Act imposes taxes on American printed publications and documents; it will be repealed on March 18, 1766.

1767

(June 29) British parliament passes Townshend Act, which adds import duties on certain American imports.

1770

(Mar. 5) British parliament partially repeals Townshend Act.

1773

(May 10) Britain's Tea Act gives East India Company monopoly over exports of tea to North American colonies.

(Dec. 16) Colonists board British ships and dump their tea cargoes into Boston Harbor in tax protest that will be remembered as "Boston Tea Party."

1774

British parliament passes Coercive Acts to restore order in Massachusetts after Boston Tea Party and other anti-British acts; new restrictions include closing Boston's port.

1775

U.S. Post Office begins.

Daniel Boone and others build Wilderness Road.

(Apr. 18, 1775-Sept. 3, 1783) North American colonies fight for independence from Great Britain.

1776

(July 4) Among principles articulated in Declaration of Independence is call for free trade.

1780

(Mar. 1) Pennsylvania is first state to abolish slavery.

1781

(Mar. 1) Former colonies adopt Articles of Confederation.

1783

(Sept. 3) Treaty of Paris ends Revolutionary War.

1784, 1785, and 1787

Northwest Ordinances establish principles for governing and developing Northwest Territory.

1784

Economic downturn caused by low production and insufficient money supply creates national depression.

Alexander Hamilton establishes Bank of New York.

(Sept. 22) Russia begins to colonize Alaska.

1785

First public toll road, in Virginia, opens.

First American toll bridge corporation is formed in Boston.

Continental Congress adopts decimal coinage system.

1786

(Jan. 16) Massachusetts farmers, led by Daniel Shays, mount armed rebellion against taxes.

(Sept. 11) Representatives from five states convene in Annapolis to discuss problems of Articles of Confederation.

1789

U.S. Constitution is ratified; Congress creates Departments of State and Treasury.

(Sept. 11) Alexander Hamilton becomes first secretary of the treasury.

1790

Congress enacts first federal copyright law.

Congress enacts first patent law, which will soon be replaced.

1791

(Feb.) Federal government charters First Bank of the United States as a private institution.

(Mar. 3) Whiskey Act imposes first federal excise tax, to pay state debts from Revolutionary War.

(Dec.) Bill of Rights is ratified.

1792

(Apr. 2) U.S. Mint is established.

(May 17) New York Stock Exchange opens.

1794

Congress extends excise tax of 1791's Whiskey Act to carriages, snuff, sugar, and salt.

First large urban American hotel opens in New York City.

(Mar. 14) Eli Whitney patents cotton gin.

(June 4) Neutrality Act prohibits American nationals from becoming involved in foreign military forces.

1801

(Mar.) Treaty of Madrid returns Louisiana Territory from Spain to France.

1802

By this date, all federal excise taxes, except that for salt, are repealed.

(Mar. 16) Congress creates U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help develop national infrastructure, particularly harbors and waterways.

1803

(Dec. 20) United States completes purchase of Louisiana Territory from France.

1804

(May 14) Meriwether Lewis and William Clark begin exploratory expedition through Louisiana Territory.

1805-1806

Zebulon Montgomery Pike leads exploratory expeditions into West.

1806

Congress passes series of Embargo Acts to retaliate against British and French abuses of American shipping during Napoleonic Wars.

(Sept. 23) Lewis and Clark complete their exploratory expedition.

1807

(Mar. 2) Congress outlaws importation of African slaves.

(Aug. 17) Robert Fulton's steamboat Clermont makes first run from New York City to Albany.

1808

Collapse of foreign trade caused by embargo precipitates national depression.

(Apr. 6) John Jacob Astor founds American Fur Company.

1809

Non-Intercourse Act bans trade with France and Great Britain.

Bank of the United States v. Deveaux holds that bank depositors in Pennsylvania may sue in federal court to recover deposits from state of Georgia.

1810

(Mar. 16) Fletcher v. Peck holds a state law to be unconstitutional.

1811

Charter of First Bank of the United States is not renewed.

1811-1818

Cumberland Road is built with federal funding.

1812

(June 18) War of 1812 begins.

1813

Congressional attempts to create national income tax are abandoned.

1814

(Dec. 24, 1814) War of 1812 ends.

1816

Second Bank of the United States is chartered.

First gas utility company in United States is established in Baltimore; other cities will soon follow.

(Apr.) Second Bank of the United States is chartered.

1817

William Underwood introduces hermetic canning of food to United States.

1819

Collapse of American credit markets brings on national panic.

Dartmouth College v. Woodward holds that state charters of private institutions are protected by Constitution's contracts clause.

(Feb. 22) Spain cedes Florida to United States.

(Mar. 5) McCulloch v. Maryland holds that Maryland cannot tax Bank of the United States, thereby establishing basic principle of federal government's relationship with states.

(May 22-June 20) Savannah is first steamship to cross Atlantic Ocean.

1820

First portion of Erie Canal opens to traffic.

(Feb. 20) Congress adopts Missouri Compromise, maintaining balance between free and slave states and prohibiting slavery in western part of Louisiana Territory.

(Apr. 24) Congress passes Land Act laying basis for transferring former Indian lands to individual U.S. citizens.

1821

(Sept. 28) Mexico declares its independence from Spain.

1823

First steamboat reaches Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Daly's Lessee v. James holds that terms of wills must be carefully followed.

Johnson v. M'Intosh holds that Native Americans may sell their land only to federal government, as they do not have traditional ownership rights to the land.

(Dec. 2) President James Monroe articulates doctrine of European nonintervention in Western Hemispheric affairs.

1824

Osborn v. Bank of the United States upholds right of United States to establish a bank.

Henry Clay's American system is instituted.

1824 (cont.)

(Mar. 2) Gibbons v. Ogden supports federal license of steamboat operator over that of a state monopoly license holder.

1825

(Oct. 25) Completion of Erie Canal connects Lake Erie with Albany, New York.

1826

(Feb. 26) Samuel Colt patents revolver.

1827

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad corporation is formed.

Ogden v. Saunders permits both states and federal government to have jurisdiction in bankruptcy cases.

1828

(May 19) Tariff of Abominations protects industries in northern states from European competition.

1830

(Jan. 7) Baltimore and Ohio, first long-distance railroad in United States, opens.

(May 28) Congress passes Indian Removal Act to force members of several eastern Native American tribes to migrate west.

1831

First clipper ship is built in Baltimore.

Congress extends copyright protection to musical compositions.

(Summer) Cyrus McCormick invents reaper.

1832

South Carolina legislature votes to veto federal Tariff of Abominations of 1828 on principle that every state has sovereign power to overrule federal laws.

Railroads begin carrying U.S. mails in eastern states.

(July 10) Second Bank of the United States becomes national political issue when President Andrew Jackson vetoes its rechartering.

(Nov. 26) Streetcar service begins in New York City.

1833

Congress passes Compromise Tariff Act to mitigate economic hardships in southern states caused by Tariff of Abominations of 1828.

Benjamin Davis founds New York Sun.

1834

(Oct. 14) Henry Blair patents seed planter.

1835

George Gordon Bennett founds New York Morning Herald.

1836

Sugarcane cultivation begins in Hawaii.

New federal Patent Act tightens requirements for patentable inventions.

Charter of Second Bank of the United States expires and is not renewed, but bank will continue to do business until 1839.

(Mar. 2) American settlers declare Texas independent of Mexico.

1837

Loss of faith in American banking system starts six-year depression.

Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge holds that only clear and explicit contract terms are legally binding.

1838

(Apr.) Regular transatlantic steam passenger service begins between Boston and England.

1840

Independent Treasury Act is passed to fix damage done to Second Bank of United States under Andrew Jackson's administration.

1841

Volney Palmer sets up first American advertising agency in Philadelphia.

Horace Greeley founds New York Tribune.

1842

Swift v. Tyson holds that federal courts can independently judge principles of general commercial law.

New York Curb Market, which will later become American Stock Exchange (AMEX), is founded.

(Sept. 2) In Commonwealth v. Hunt, Massachusetts court articulates first legal basis for American workers to organize and strike.

1843

(Sept. 2) James Wilson founds The Economist, a London-based weekly financial news magazine.

1844

(May 24) Samuel Morse sends first telegraph message

(June 15) Charles Goodyear patents rubber vulcanization process.

1845

(Dec. 29) United States annexes Texas.

1845-1854

Ireland's potato famine increases Irish emigration to United States.

1846

(June 14) Mexican War begins.

(June 15) United States acquires Oregon Territory.

(Sept. 10) Elias Howe patents sewing machine.

1847

(July 1) United States issues first postage stamps.

(July 24) Mormons begin settlement of Utah.

1848

Federal Married Women's Property Rights Law gives married women limited property rights for first time.

(Jan. 24) Discovery of gold in Northern California begins gold rush.

(Feb. 2) Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends Mexican War.

(July 19-20) First American women's rights convention is held at Seneca Falls, New York.

1849

Congress creates Department of the Interior.

1850

First U.S. petroleum refinery is built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1851

First American cheese factory is established in Rome, New York.

Western Union telegraph company is founded as New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company.

(Mar. 13) Chicago Board of Trade becomes first American exchange on which derivatives contracts are traded.

(Sept. 18) New York Times is founded.

1853

(Dec. 31) United States signs treaty to buy Gadsden Purchase territory from Mexico.

1854

United States signs Canadian-American Reciprocity Treaty to increase trade with British Canada.

(Mar. 31) Commodore Matthew Perry negotiates treaty opening Japan to American trade.

1855

Allan J. Pinkerton founds first major American private detective agency in Chicago.

(Jan. 28) Completion of Panama railroad reduces travel time between East and West Coasts of United States.

1856

Congress extends copyright protection to dramatic works.

American greeting card industry begins.

(Apr. 21) First bridge across Mississippi River links Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois.

1857

First attempt to lay transatlantic cable linking Great Britain and United States fails.

(Mar. 23) Elisha Graves Otis installs first passenger elevator in New York department store.

(Aug. 24) Bank failures begin panic in financial markets and national economic downturn.

1858

(Aug. 16) First transatlantic telegraph message is sent, but cable will soon fail.

(Oct. 9) Overland Mail stagecoaches link San Francisco and St. Louis.

1859

Predecessor of Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) is founded.

(Aug. 27) Commercial oil drilling at Titusville, Pennsylvania, demonstrates that petroleum industry can be basis of national industry.

1860

(Apr. 3) Pony Express begins providing transcontinental mail service.

(Oct. 26) South Carolina is first of eleven southern states to secede from Union.

1861

(Mar. 9) Confederate Congress authorizes printing of paper currency, launching inflationary trend.

(Apr. 12) Civil War begins.

(Aug. 5) Congress passes first federal income tax law as part of Revenue Act of 1861; law will be declared unconstitutional in 1895.

(Oct. 24) First transcontinental telegraph line is completed.

(Oct. 26) Pony Express is disbanded.

1862

California passes Anti-Coolie Act, which establishes special tax on Chinese workers.

Federal Morrill Land-Grant Act gives states large tracts of federal land to help create and fund agricultural and industrial colleges.

Federal Pacific Railway Act grants Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads extensive land in western United States.

Congress creates Department of Agriculture.

1862 (cont.)

Major enlargement of Erie Canal is completed.

(May 20) President Abraham Lincoln signs Homestead Act, which will give about 30 percent of western federal lands to settlers.

(July 1) Congress passes comprehensive Internal Revenue Act.

1863

U.S. Post Office standardizes rates, based on weight.

(Apr.) Confederate government imposes sweeping taxes.

1863-1864

(Feb. 25, 1863-June 3, 1864) National Bank Acts raise money for Union government during Civil War by organizing network of government-chartered National Banks.

1864

Eureka Iron Works of Wyandotte, Michigan, becomes first American producer of Bessemer steel.

1865

Congress extends copyright protection to photographs; over next five years protection will be extended to paintings, drawings, sculptures, and models and designs in fine arts.

Chicago Union Stock Yards open; they will eventually became world's largest livestock-receiving center.

Congress creates Department of Housing and Urban Development.

(Apr. 9) Civil War ends, and Reconstruction begins in defeated southern states.

(Apr. 14) U.S. Secret Service is established to combat counterfeiting.

(Dec.) Ratification of Thirteenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution abolishes slavery.

1866

Congress passes Pacific Telegraph Act to facilitate commercial, postal, and military communication by consolidating all telegraph companies.

United States ends Canadian-American Reciprocity Treaty.

National Labor Union is founded.

(July 27) First successful transatlantic cable is completed.

1867

Foundation of National Grange of Patrons of Husbandry launches Granger movement.

(Mar. 2) President Andrew Johnson signs law creating Department of Education, an agency without cabinet status; the following year it will be renamed Office of Education and attached to the Department of the Interior.

(Mar. 30) Russia sells Alaska to United States.

(July 1) Canada becomes dominion with British Empire.

1868

Horatio Alger publishes Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks, first in a long series of rags-to-riches stories for juvenile readers.

(June 23) Christopher Latham Sholes patents first practical typewriter.

1869

National Bank v. Commonwealth allows states to tax national banks.

Veazie Bank v. Fenno holds that taxes of a certain percentage on bank notes are not direct taxes on state agencies.

(May 10) Transcontinental railroad is completed.

(Sept. 24) Financiers' failed attempt to corner market on New York Gold Exchange causes panic that will be remembered as "Black Friday."

(Nov. 25) Knights of Labor is founded.

1870

Revised Patent Act requires applicants to provide written descriptions of their inventions.

First National Bank v. Lanier upholds law preventing one bank from loaning its shares to another bank.

Merchants Bank v. State Bank holds corporations liable for actions of employees.

United States v. Dewitt holds that Congress has no power over possession and sale of items within states.

Legal Tender Cases establishes right of U.S. government to pay its debts in paper money.

John D. Rockefeller creates Standard Oil Company of Ohio.

(July 1) U.S. Department of Justice begins operating.

1871

J. P. Morgan establishes private banking company that will later become the powerful J. P. Morgan and Company.

1872

U.S. Post Office is elevated to cabinet-level department.

U.S. congressmen are revealed to have taken bribes from construction company in Cr‚dit Mobilier scandal.

Oulton v. German Savings and Loan Society holds that method by which savings depositors are repaid does not determine if an enterprise is a bank.

Montgomery Ward department stores are founded.

National Labor Union collapses.

1873

Slaughterhouse Cases largely eliminate Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause as protection of individuals from actions of states in which they reside.

Treaty of Washington increases U.S.-Canadian trade.

Coinage Act revises coinage laws and makes U.S. Mint part of the Treasury Department.

(Mar. 3) Congress passes Comstock Law, which bans use of U.S. mail to advertise, publish, or sell sexually suggestive material.

(Sept. 18) Economic instability aggravated by growing railroad speculation begins six-year depression.

1874

Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner publish The Gilded Age, a novel about political and business corruption that gives its name to late nineteenth century era of American history.

Tiffany v. National Bank of Missouri allows national banks to charge more interest on loans than state banks.

(July) Discovery of gold in Black Hills of Dakota Territory begins major gold rush.

(Nov. 24) Joseph Glidden patents barbed wire.

1875

United States signs Treaty of the Meter, an international agreement to use metric units in international matters, especially business.

Cooke v. United States holds that when federal government is party to commercial transactions, it incurs all responsibilities of private parties in similar circumstances.

Farmers' and Mechanics' National Bank v. Dearing holds that federal law does not wholly exempt national banks from state laws.

First National Bank v. National Exchange Bank limits right of banks to buy and sell stocks.

Andrew Carnegie starts steel plant in Pennsylvania.

1876

Thomas Alva Edison establishes industrial research lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

(Feb. 2) National League forms as first major league baseball league.

(May 10) Philadelphia hosts Centennial Exposition, which celebrates American industrial progress and international trade.

(June 25) Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates telephone at Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition.

1877

Desert Land Act permits would-be farmers to buy federal land at low prices in return for bringing it under irrigation.

Washington Post is founded.

(July 16) Railroad workers throughout central and eastern states begin strike to protest wage cuts and poor working conditions.

(Dec. 24) Thomas Alva Edison patents cylinder phonograph.

1878

American Bar Association (ABA) is established.

Federal Bland-Allison Act provides for freer coinage of silver to relieve liquidity problems caused by gold standard; it will be superseded by Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890.

1879

(Oct. 21) Thomas Alva Edison demonstrates incandescent lights.

1881

Samuel Gompers helps form Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada, which will disband and reform as American Federation of Labor in 1886.

First college-level business school is established at University of Pennsylvania.

James Bonsack's high-speed cigarette-rolling machine revolutionizes American tobacco industry.

1882

Chinese Exclusion Act bans Chinese workers from entering United States for ten years and excludes all Chinese immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens; it will be repealed by Magnuson Act of 1943.

United States is divided into four time zones.

American Association forms to challenge baseball's National League; it will later be renamed American League.

1883

Construction on world's first skyscraper begins in Chicago.

(May 24) Brooklyn Bridge opens to traffic.

1884

Congress creates Bureau of Labor within Department of Interior.

National Cattle Growers Association is established.

1886

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad holds that corporations have same legal rights as "persons."

Wabash, St. Louis, and Pacific Railway Co. v. Illinois strikes down state law regulating railroad pricing policies, while encouraging Congress to enact national standards.

Sears, Roebuck and Company is founded as mail-order retailer.

Ottmar Mergenthaler's invention of Linotype begins typesetting revolution in printing industry.

(May 4) Striking workers clash with Chicago police in Haymarket Riot.

(Dec. 8) American Federation of Labor (AFL) is organized with Samuel Gompers as president.

1887

Congress passes Interstate Commerce Act to correct abuses of economic power by railroad industry and to establish Interstate Commerce Commission.

1888

George Eastman introduces first Kodak camera.

Adams Gum Company begins first successful American vending machine operation.

Kidd v. Pearson creates distinction between manufacturing and commerce.

1889

U.S. Department of Agriculture is raised to cabinet level.

(Apr. 22) Opening of federal land in Oklahoma to homesteaders creates massive land rush.

(July 8) Wall Street Journal begins publication.

1890

Federal Sherman Silver Purchase Act requires federal government to buy more silver bullion.

Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad Co. v. Minnesota holds that courts have power to review utility rates.

Leisy v. Hardin holds that federal government, not states, may regulate alcohol placed into interstate commerce.

Milwaukee department store is first American retailer to use trading stamps to promote sales.

1890 (cont.)

(Jan. 22) United Mine Workers of America is founded.

(July 2) President Benjamin Harrison signs Sherman Antitrust Act into law to protect consumers from monopolistic business practices.

1891

Briggs v. Spaulding holds that company directors are responsible for exercising only a normal level of care over company business.

American Express issues first travelers' checks.

U.S. Post Office inaugurates rural free delivery (RFD).

1892

Jenkins v. Collard increases government power to regulate corporations.

Edison General Electric and Thomas-Huston merge to form General Electric company.

International Longshoremen's Association is founded.

(Jan. 1) Ellis Island opens as immigrant reception center in New York Harbor.

(Jan. 29) Asa G. Candler founds Coca-Cola Company.

(July) Union steelworkers strike against Homestead Steel Works Company.

1893

American Railway Union is formed with Eugene V. Debs as president.

(Feb.) Failures of Reading Railroad and National Cordage Company trigger stock market collapse that begins national panic.

(May 1-Oct. 30) Chicago World's Fair celebrates technological advances of nineteenth century.

(Aug.) American Bimetallic League holds national convention in Chicago.

1894

William Hope Harvey publishes Coin's Financial School.

Kellogg's Corn Flakes launches dry cereal industry.

(Jan. 7) Thomas Alva Edison copyrights first motion picture.

(Mar. 26-May 1) Unemployed people in "Coxey's Army" stage first mass protest march on Washington, D.C., to lobby for federally supported public works program.

(May-July) Pullman workers strike against railroads.

(June 28) Congress votes to make first Monday in September a federal holiday Labor Day.

1895

In re Debs upholds injunction against labor leader Eugene V. Debs.

United States v. E. C. Knight finds that framers of Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 did not intend for act to apply to manufacturing processes.

(Jan. 24) Hawaiian monarchy is overthrown and replaced by republic controlled by Americans.

(Sept. 18) Booker T. Washington delivers Atlanta Compromise speech proposing racial accommodation that would relegate African Americans to inferior position.

1896

Orison Swett Marden publishes How to Succeed: Or, Stepping-Stones to Fame and Fortune.

Davis v. Elmira Savings Bank holds that federal law takes precedence over state law when banks became insolvent.

Herman Hollerith founds Tabulating Machine Company, which will become International Business Machines (IBM) in 1924.

Sperry & Hutchinson (S&H) Green Stamps Company opens.

(May 6) Plessy v. Ferguson ruling establishes "separate-but-equal" principle in racial segregation of public transportation.

(May 26) Dow Jones Industrial Average makes its first appearance.

(July 9) William Jennings Bryan delivers "Cross of Gold" speech at Democratic National Convention, advocating free silver policy.

(Aug. 17) Discovery of gold strike in Canada's Yukon Territory begins American rush to Klondike.

(Nov. 16) First American hydroelectric plant opens at Niagara Falls.

1897

Allgeyer v. Louisiana uses freedom of contract doctrine to overturn a state law.

Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Co. v. Chicago holds that Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause applies to states.

American automotive industry begins with Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut.

(July 24) Congress passes Dingley Tariff Act, instituting new protective tariff policies.

1898

Federal National Bankruptcy Act establishes conditions and procedures for institutions and businesses to declare bankruptcy; act will be superseded by Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978.

Holden v. Hardy recognizes that states have police powers to place some restrictions on freedom of contract.

Pepsi-Cola company is founded.

University of Chicago business school opens.

(Feb. 1) Travelers Insurance Company issues first automobile insurance policy.

(Apr. 25-Aug. 12) United States fights Spain in Spanish-American War.

(Aug. 12) United States annexes Hawaii.

1900

Gold Standard Act (Currency Act) makes gold sole legal-tender coinage in United States, thereby ending bimetallism.

Socialist labor leader Eugene V. Debs mounts first of his five unsuccessful runs for the U.S. presidency.

John D. Rockefeller ranks as first American billionaire.

Booker T. Washington organizes National Negro Business League.

1900 (cont.)

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union is founded.

(Mar.) Kodak Brownie camera makes photography more widely affordable.

1901

Frank Norris's novel The Octopus explores abuses of monopolistic railroads.

(Jan. 10) Oil discovery at Spindletop launches Texas oil boom.

(Feb. 25) J. P. Morgan organizes United States Steel, which quickly becomes world's largest corporation.

(Dec. 12) Guglielmo Marconi demonstrates first transatlantic telegraph signal sent by radio.

1902

First major fast-food chain, Horn & Hardart Automat, opens in Philadelphia.

(Mar. 4) American Automobile Association is founded.

(May 12-Oct. 23) Pennsylvania coal miners strike for safer conditions, better pay, and recognition of their union.

1903

Champion v. Ames upholds federal statute prohibiting transportation of lottery tickets in interstate commerce.

American and National Leagues join to form what will later become known as Major League Baseball.

(Feb. 14) Congress creates Department of Commerce and Labor, incorporating Bureau of Labor from Department of Interior.

(June 17) Ford Motor Company is founded.

(Aug.) Team Drivers International Union and Teamsters National Union unite to form International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

(fall) Gillette markets first razor with disposable blades.

(Oct.) Pittsburgh Pirates of National League and Boston Pilgrims of American League pennant meet in baseball's first World Series.

(Nov. 6) U.S. government recognizes independence of Panama, with which it will enter into treaty to build Panama Canal.

(Dec. 17) Orville and Wilbur Wright fly first powered airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1904

McCray v. United States holds that federal tax powers can be used to regulate commerce.

Northern Securities Co. v. United States upholds federal government's power to break up industrial monopolies under Sherman Antitrust Act.

National Child Labor Committee is established.

Ida Tarbell's The History of the Standard Oil Company tarnishes reputations of Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller.

National Federation of Advertising Clubs of America forms to police truth in advertising.

1905

First gas station opens in St. Louis, Missouri.

U.S. Forest Service is created within Department of Agriculture.

Lochner v. New York uses doctrine of substantive due process to overturn a statute regulating labor conditions.

Swift and Company v. United States uses stream of commerce doctrine to hold that antitrust laws can be constitutionally applied to stockyard transactions.

Chicago-based clothing retailer Spiegel mails its first catalog.

(June) Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is founded.

1906

Federal Pure Food and Drug Act outlaws unsafe products; it will be replaced by more comprehensive Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act of 1938.

Wyman v. Wallace gives federal courts general jurisdiction over national bank cases.

Food and Drug Administration is created within U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Protection of presidents is added to duties of U.S. Secret Service.

(Jan. 1) Fuller Brush Company is founded.

(Feb. 28) Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle, a novel exposing conditions in meatpacking industry.

1907

(Aug. 28) United Parcel Service (UPS) is founded in Seattle, Washington, as American Messenger Company.

(Oct.) Stock market crash and bank failures trigger new panic in financial markets.

1908

Chicago enacts first American law requiring pasteurization of milk.

Adair v. United States limits extent to which the government can protect worker rights.

Loewe v. Lawlor forbids labor unions from organizing boycotts against specific companies.

Ford Motor Company begins two decades of producing Model T motorcars.

(Sept. 16) William Crapo Durant founds General Motors.

1909

Congress passed comprehensive copyright statute that incorporates all earlier amendments and extends protection to motion pictures.

1910

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion-picture company begins as Loew's.

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is formed.

(Mar. 23) Arthur J. Morris founds first Morris Plan bank.

1911

Standard Oil Co. v. United States upholds lower court decree to break up Standard Oil Company.

Federal government orders Standard Oil Company to divest itself of its thirty-three largest companies.

(Jan.) U.S. Post Office begins operating postal savings banks.

(Mar. 25) Fire in New York's Triangle Shirtwaist Company kills 146 workers.

1912

Massachusetts enacts first American minimum-wage law.

Miller v. King holds that national banks cannot act as holders of land.

Children's Bureau is first federal agency regulating child labor.

Leon L. Bean founds mail-order business in Freeport, Maine.

1913

Clement National Bank v. Vermont holds that states may tax deposits in banks.

Minnesota Rate Cases holds that Interstate Commerce Commission can regulate certain intrastate railroad rates.

Ford Motor Company begins using moving assembly lines.

(Jan. 1) U.S. Post Office begins parcel post delivery of packages.

(Feb. 3) Ratification of Sixteenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution authorizes imposition of federal income tax.

(Mar. 14) U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor is divided into Department of Commerce and Department of Labor.

(Oct. 3) President Woodrow Wilson signs into law Underwood Tariff Act, which is designed to lower tariffs.

(Dec. 23) Federal Reserve Act establishes Federal Reserve system to manage national money supply; act will be amended in 1935 by Federal Banking Act.

1914

Harrison Act regulates production and distribution of certain narcotic substances.

Shreveport Rate Cases strengthen powers of Interstate Commerce Commission.

(Feb. 13) American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) is founded.

(July) New York Stock Exchange closes during beginning of World War I.

(Aug.) World War I begins in Europe.

(Aug. 15) Panama Canal opens to shipping.

(Sept. 26) Congress creates Federal Trade Commission to combat monopolistic practices in business and to promote fair trade practices.

(Oct. 15) Federal Clayton Antitrust Act goes into effect, strengthening antitrust laws while protecting labor unions from its restrictions.

1915

African Americans begin Great Migration from South to northern cities.

Fox motion-picture company is founded.

(Mar. 16) Federal Trade Commission begins operating.

1916

New York City enacts first comprehensive urban zoning plan.

Federal Tariff Commission is created to collect information on tariff rates for U.S. president and Congress; it will be renamed International Trade Commission in 1974.

First accreditation agency for business schools is established.

1916 (cont.)

Paramount motion-picture company is founded.

(Mar. 16) Jamaican immigrant Marcus Garvey arrives in New York and begins to build Universal Negro Improvement Association.

(Aug.) Junior Achievement begins as Boys' and Girls' Bureau.

(Sept. 1) Child Labor Act (Keating-Owen Act) regulates interstate transportation of products made by children.

1917

Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act promotes training in agricultural education.

National Hockey League is formed in Canada.

Union Carbide forms to manufacture petroleum products.

Knights of Labor is disbanded.

(Apr. 6) United States enters World War I.

(Sept.) Forbes magazine is launched.

1918

Congress enacts minimum-wage law for female workers in District of Columbia.

First regularly scheduled airmail service, between New York and Washington, D.C., begins.

(June 3) Hammer v. Dagenhart overturns Child Labor Act of 1916.

(Nov. 11) Armistice ends World War I.

1919

General Electric and American Telegraph and Telephone launch Radio Corporation of America (RCA).

Home radios go on the market.

National Restaurant Association is established.

(June 23) Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association launches Black Star Line the first black-owned and operated shipping line.

(Dec.) Charles Ponzi launches fraudulent pyramid investment scheme in Boston.

1920

Sinclair Lewis's novel Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott puts concept of "Main Street" into language as symbol of American middle-class values.

John L. Lewis begins four decades of service as president of the United Mine Workers of America.

(Jan. 17) Prohibition era begins.

(Aug.-Sept.) American Professional Football Association, which will later become National Football League, is formed.

1921

Duplex Printing Co. v. Deering permits injunctions against organized labor.

Truax v. Corrigan strikes down state law protecting strikers against injunctions.

First drive-in restaurant chain, the Pig Stand, opens in Dallas, Texas.

White Castle, the first fast-food hamburger chain, opens in Wichita, Kansas.

1921 (cont.)

Barron's, a weekly financial magazine for investors, is founded.

West Virginia becomes first state to impose sale tax.

1921-1924

High federal government officials take bribes in Teapot Dome scandal.

1922

Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act increases federal regulation of narcotic substances.

Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co. holds that Congress cannot use its taxing power to impose regulations on production.

Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon rules against a state ban on coal mining.

Sinclair Lewis's novel Babbitt portrays American businessmen as shallow and spiritually empty.

Federal Baseball Club v. the National League exempts professional baseball from antitrust laws.

(Feb.) Reader's Digest begins publication.

1923

First American drive-in eatery opens in Dallas, Texas.

Adkins v. Children's Hospital strikes down minimum-wage laws.

Wolff Packing Co. v. Court of Industrial Relations places most businesses outside reach of state regulation.

Warner Bros. motion-picture company is founded.

1924

Immigration Act sets quotes for immigrants based on percentages of nationalities already in United States.

First National Bank v. Missouri holds that nationally chartered banks are subject to state banking laws that do not conflict with federal laws.

(Mar. 21) Massachusetts Investors Trust is first mutual fund.

1925

Congress authorizes Army Corps of Engineers to develop hydroelectric power stations.

Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs) is founded as telecommunications research and development company.

Burma Shave advertisements begin four decades of lining American highways.

Sears, Roebuck opens its first department store in Chicago.

(June 25) Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters is founded under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph.

1926

First cigarette vending machines appear.

Federal Railway Labor Act provides for mediation of labor disputes between railway companies and unions representing their employees.

Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. upholds a zoning ordinance.

Sears, Roebuck issues metal charge cards.

(Nov. 15) National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is launched.

1927

First National Bank v. City of Hartford holds that states cannot tax shares of national banks at rates higher than those at which they tax local banks.

Bell Laboratories demonstrates television broadcasting.

(May 26) Ford Motor Company builds its last Model T motorcar.

1928

Standard Container Act sets standard sizes for baskets and containers for fruits and vegetables.

RKO motion-picture company is founded.

Jazz Singer begins era of sound motion pictures.

1929

Agricultural Marketing Act creates Federal Farm Board to promote merchandising of agricultural products in interstate and foreign commerce and help make agriculture economically viable.

(Oct.) Wall Street Journal launches Pacific coast edition.

(Oct. 24) Stock market crash begins dramatic decline in financial sector and launches Great Depression.

1930

Congress creates Veterans Administration.

National Mediation Board is created to govern labor-management relations in railroad and airline industries.

Colonel Harland Sanders launches Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, which will later be renamed KFC.

(Feb.) Henry Luce founds Fortune magazine.

1931

Federal Davis-Bacon Act protects local labor wage standards and fringe benefits on government contracts.

DeLaval Steam Turbine Co. v. United States rules that companies are entitled to compensation for value of contracts only at dates of cancellation.

Sears, Roebuck establishes Allstate Insurance Company.

Nevada becomes first state to permit casino gambling.

(July) Columbia Broadcasting System's New York City station begins first regularly scheduled television broadcasting; a Los Angeles station will begin in December.

1931-1938

Dust Bowl drought conditions devastate farmlands in South and Midwest.

1932

Norris-LaGuardia Act gives employees right to form unions without employer interference.

Federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation Act establishes Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) is founded.

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merge to form AFL-CIO.

1932 (cont.)

Phrase "trickle-down theory" is used during election campaign to describe President Herbert Hoover's economic policies.

1933

Agriculture Adjustment Act provides emergency assistance to farmers during Depression years, supports farm prices, and provides assistance with farm mortgages.

Glass-Steagall Act (Banking Act) reorganizes banking industry.

Federal Homeowners' Loan Act establishes Homeowners' Loan Corporation.

National Industrial Recovery Act establishes National Recovery Administration to stabilize economy and National Resources Planning Board to assist in planning economy.

Congress creates Farm Credit Administration to oversee financial institutions that extend credit to farmers.

Congress creates Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to protect deposits in banks.

(Mar. 4) President Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration begins New Deal programs.

(May 18) Congress creates Tennessee Valley Authority to develop hydroelectric power in Tennessee River Valley.

(June 6) First drive-in movie theater opens in Camden, New Jersey.

(Dec. 5) Prohibition ends.

1934

Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act gives president power to reduce tariffs on foreign trade, and United States begins signing bilateral trade agreements with many nations.

Copeland Act makes it illegal for employers and their agents to make employees pay to keep their jobs.

Federal Credit Union Act creates Bureau of Federal Credit Unions to charter and oversee nonprofit, member-owned unions.

Gold Reserve Act authorizes U.S. president to devalue dollar against gold, authorizes U.S. Treasury to acquire gold held by Federal Reserve banks, and abolishes gold coinage and redemption of U.S. currency in gold.

Kerr-Smith Tobacco Control Act imposes processing taxes on tobacco industry.

National Housing Act establishes Federal Savings and Loans Insurance Corporation and Federal Housing Administration.

Bureau of Federal Credit Unions is created to oversee credit unions throughout United States; it will later be renamed National Credit Union Administration.

Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell upholds state law limiting farm and home foreclosures.

Nebbia v. New York holds that Fourteenth Amendment does not prohibit states from regulating most aspects of businesses open to public.

By executive order, Franklin D. Roosevelt creates Export-Import Bank of United States.

Federal Communications Act consolidates laws pertaining to radio and telephone service, creates Federal Communications Commission, and transfers regulation of interstate.

1934 (cont.)

(June 6) Securities and Exchange Commission is established to help maintain structural integrity of national capital markets.

1935

Rural Electrification Act extends electricity to many areas for first time.

Kodak begins marketing color film.

Ashurst-Sumners Act forbids shipping of prison-made goods into states that prohibit convict labor.

Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States rules National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional.

Federal Railroad Retirement Act sets up railroad pension payments for retired employees and their families.

Gold Clause Cases upholds right of Congress to set monetary policy.

Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States rules against constitutionality of National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933.

Federal Banking Act amends earlier banking laws to increase maximum liabilities of depositors and to authorize Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to assist failing banks to merge with strong banks.

(July 5) National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) creates National Labor Relations Board to arbiter management-labor disputes and combat unfair labor practices.

(Aug. 14) Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Social Security Act, which creates federally managed retirement and benefits program for workers.

(Dec. 17) DC-3 aircraft makes its maiden flight.

1936

Federal Commodity Exchange Act replaces Grain Futures Act of 1922, establishing Commodity Exchange Commission to regulate trading in commodity-contract markets.

Federal Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act sets basic labor standards for work on government contracts.

Completion of Boulder Dam (later renamed Hoover Dam) creates Lake Mead.

United States v. Butler strikes down regulatory features of Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933.

Carter v. Carter Coal Co. overturns federal law setting up local boards to regulate coal prices and help workers negotiate wages and hours.

Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo overturns minimum-wage legislation.

(Dec.) Fort Knox opens as the primary storage facility for federal government gold supply.

(Dec. 30) General Motors employees begin six-week sit-down strike.

1937

Bituminous Coal Act imposes new regulations on sale and distribution of bituminous coal in interstate commerce.

Napoleon Hill publishes Think and Grow Rich.

Housing Act finances slum clearance and building of public housing.

Franklin D. Roosevelt introduces tree-planting campaign to alleviate Dust Bowl conditions.

1937 (cont.)

Helvering v. Davis affirms constitutionality of Social Security Act of 1935.

National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel upholds National Labor Relations Act.

West Coast Hotel v. Parrish permits states broad discretion in regulating working conditions.

(May 7) Hindenburg crash in Lakehurst, New Jersey, ends brief era of airship transportation.

(Sept.) Sharp economic downturn causes nine-month recession within Great Depression.

1938

Civil Aeronautics Board begins regulating all domestic air transportation as public utility; it sets fares, routes, and schedules.

Fair Labor Standards Act establishes national minimum wage, guarantees overtime pay, regulates employment of workers under eighteen, and prohibits child labor.

Mexican government nationalizes petroleum industry.

Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act supersedes Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, authorizing Food and Drug Administration to exercise oversight over more foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

Erie Railroad v. Tompkins repudiates doctrine of national common law.

Lauf v. E. G. Shinner overrules lower court's antiunion injunction.

(Oct. 31) New York Stock Exchange creates investor protection program.

1939

DuPont begins marketing synthetic nylon.

Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations upholds right of labor organizations to hold peaceful meetings and distribute literature.

Mulford v. Smith upholds constitutionality of Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938.

National Labor Relations Board v. Fansteel Metallurgical rules sit-down strike illegal.

Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) is founded.

Federal government oversees Food Stamp Plan.

Earl S. Tupper Company begins marketing Tupperware.

John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath exposes agribusiness exploitation of Dust Bowl refugees.

(Sept. 1) World War II begins in Europe.

1940

Investment Advisers Act regulates investment advisers.

Colorado National Bank v. Bedford allows state tax on safety-deposit-box use.

Thornhill v. Alabama overturns labor leader's conviction for peaceful picketing.

First Dairy Queen opens in Joliet, Illinois.

Radio Corporation of America (RCA) demonstrates color television to members of Federal Communications Commission board.

1941

United States v. Darby Lumber Co. upholds federal law mandating minimum wages and maximum hours.

Milk Wagon Drivers Union v. Meadowmoor Dairies and American Federation of Labor v. Swing allow state courts to stop picketing when violence erupts but not otherwise.

Standard & Poor’s financial services company is founded.

(Mar. 11) Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Lend-Lease Act to provide war material to Allied nations fighting in World War II.

(Apr. 20) U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt and Canadian prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King sign Hyde Park Declaration, an agreement for cooperative war production.

(June 25) Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 8802 outlaws racial discrimination in defense industry and establishes Committee on Fair Employment Practices.

(July) First television commercial is broadcast in the United States.

(Dec.) American entry into World War II ends Great Depression.

(Dec. 7) Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor draws United States into World War II.

1942

Congress passes Emergency Price Controls Act to counter inflationary pressures resulting from transformation of peacetime economy to wartime conditions and to establish Office of Price Administration.

Wickard v. Filburn broadens definition of interstate commerce.

(Jan.) United States and Mexico launch bracero program to bring Mexican farmworkers into the United States; program will be renewed every two years until 1964.

1943

Magnuson Act repeals Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and permits small quota of Chinese immigrants.

1944

Federal Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act establishes Bureau of Mines.

Steele v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. establishes doctrine of fair representation.

(June 24) Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Servicemen's Readjustment Act, better known as G.I. Bill, which subsidizes education for veterans of World War II for ten years.

(July 1-22) United States participates in international convention that drafts Bretton Woods Agreement, establishing International Monetary Fund and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

1945

(Aug. 16) Japanese surrender ends World War II.

(Aug. 21) Lend-Lease Act expires.

(Autumn) Passenger car production resumes after World War II.

1946

Southland convenience stores adopt name 7-Eleven.

Congress creates Atomic Energy Commission to provide for civilian control of nuclear energy.

(Nov. 12) First drive-through American bank opens in Chicago.

1946-1947

United States oversees postwar Japanese trade.

1947

Lanham Trademark Act governs trademarks and other symbols used to identify goods in interstate commerce.

New Department of Defense combines War and Navy Departments.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to mediate labor disputes.

Federal Crop Insurance Corp. v. Merrill holds that government need not honor contracts when agents exceed authority granted in those contracts.

United States v. United Mine Workers finds that 1932 Norris-LaGuardia Act does not apply when government is, in effect, employer.

(Feb. 21) Edwin Land introduces instant Polaroid cameras.

(June 23) Taft-Hartley Act (Labor-Management Relations Act) amends National Labor Relations Act of 1935 by limiting power of labor unions.

(July 12) United States launches Marshall Plan to help Europe recover from World War II.

(Dec. 23) Invention of transistors revolutionizes electronics industries.

1948

Shelley v. Kraemer invalidates racially based restrictive covenants on property sales.

(Jan. 1) United States signs General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

1949

Founding of People's Republic of China virtually ends Chinese trade with United States.

Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman portrays man discarded by American business.

(Aug. 3) Basketball Association of America and National Basketball League merge to form National Basketball Association (NBA).

1950

National Science Foundation is created to promote science and engineering in United States.

Association of New York restaurants begin issuing Diners Club charge cards.

(June 25) North Korea's invasion of South Korea begins Korean War.

1951

Fur Products Labeling Act requires fur garments be labeled with names of animals killed.

Tupperware switches marketing from retail stories to direct sales in private homes.

CBS broadcasts world's first color program.

1952

Federal Coal Mine Safety Act sets hazard standards and provides for enforcement of safety regulations; act will be extended to all underground mines in 1966.

Veterans' Adjustment Act provides new compensations to returning Korean War veterans.

New Patent Act overhauls U.S. patent system.

Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer disallows president's right to invoke emergency powers to seize and operate private businesses without congressional approval.

Holiday Inn motel chain begins.

(Apr.-June) U.S. government seizes steel mills whose workers threaten to strike.

1953

Flammable Fabrics Act bans sales of clothing and household furnishings that present serious risks of causing property damage or injuries.

Congress reorganizes and expands Internal Revenue Code of 1939, which was made up of previously existing U.S. tax statutes.

Congress creates Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Small Business Administration is established as independent regulatory agency to assist small businesses.

J. Paul Getty forms Getty Oil Corporation.

Francis Crick and James D. Watson's discovery of structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) makes possible genetic engineering.

(July 27) Negotiated cease-fire ends fighting in Korean War.

(Nov. 9) U.S. Supreme Court affirms 1922 ruling that Major League Baseball is exempt from antitrust laws because it is a sport, not a business.

1954

Berman v. Parker holds that government can take private property for public purposes under Fifth Amendment's takings clause.

Franklin National Bank v. New York rules regulations banning banks from using "savings" in their name are unconstitutional.

Burger King Corporation is established in Miami, Florida.

(July 10) President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs into law Food for Peace program, which is designed to help American farmers sell surplus food abroad.

(July 21) United States supports partition of Vietnam.

c. 1954-1968

Civil Rights movement helps bring African Americans more deeply into national economy.

1955

Henry Bloch and his brothers incorporate their tax-preparation service as H&R Block.

Term "agribusiness" is coined.

(Apr. 15) Ray Kroc opens first McDonald's franchise restaurant.

(July 18) Disneyland opens to the public in Anaheim, California.

1956

Bank Holding Company Act establishes standards for formation of bank holding companies.

Federal-Aid Highway Act creates largest domestic public works project in national history to build highways for national defense.

Carl N. Karcher opens first Carl's Jr. restaurants in Southern California.

Sociologist William Allan Whyte's The Organization Man explores dehumanizing and conformist nature of work in corporations.

1957

First American commercial nuclear power plant begins operating in Shippingport, Pennsylvania.

(Mar. 25) Treaty of Rome creates European Common Market.

(Oct. 4) Soviet Union puts first artificial satellite in orbit.

1958

Congress passes Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act to cover large nongovernmental welfare and pension plans.

Pizza Hut, the first national pizza chain, begins in Wichita, Kansas.

American Express begins issuing first general-purpose credit cards; Bank of America begins issuing BankAmericards.

(Feb. 1) United States puts its first satellite in orbit.

1959

Landrum-Griffin Act (Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act) combats labor union corruption.

Opening of St. Lawrence Seaway increases shipping from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

(July 29) Eisenhower signs legislation creating National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1960

Federal Hazardous Substances Act authorizes secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to require warning labels for hazardous household substances; act will be amended by Child Protection and Toy Safety Act of 1969.

Tyco International begins operations.

(Sept.) Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Venezuela form Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

1961

Congress creates U.S. Federal Maritime Commission to regulate oceanic transportation of foreign commerce.

(Jan. 17) Dwight D. Eisenhower warns of power of military-industrial complex in farewell address to nation.

(Mar. 6) President John F. Kennedy's Executive Order 10925 requires firms doing business federal government not to discriminate in employment.

(Apr. 12) Soviet Union puts first astronaut into space.

(May 5) United States first its first astronaut in space in suborbital flight.

(Nov. 3) U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) is established.

1962

Trade Expansion Act permits U.S. president to negotiate tariff reductions with European Common Market nations.

Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, alerting public to dangers of pesticides and other environmental hazards.

NASA creates Technology Utilization Program to disseminate space technology information.

Glen Bell opens first Taco Bell in Downey, California.

C‚sar Ch vez founds National Farm Workers Association, which will become United Farm Workers of America in 1966.

(Mar. 1) First Kmart store opens in Garden City, Michigan.

(July 2) Sam Walton opens first Wal-Mart store.

1963

Equal Pay Act amends Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, abolishing wage differentials based on sex.

Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death exposes abuses in American funeral industry.

(June 22) John F. Kennedy's Executive Order 11114 empowers federal agencies to terminate contracts with companies not complying with affirmative action order.

(July 26) United States puts first geosynchronous satellite into orbit.

(Nov.) New Hampshire voters approve first state-run lottery since nineteenth century; other states soon follow suit.

1964

International Business Machines introduces first mass-produced mainframe computer.

Congress creates U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Heart of Atlanta Motel Inc. v. United States upholds public accommodations sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Katzenbach v. McClung upholds regulations outlawing racial discrimination in restaurants.

(Jan. 11) Office of U.S. Surgeon General issues first official warning of health hazards of smoking.

(July 2) President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Civil Rights Act, which outlaws segregation in schools, public places, and public accommodations.

(Dec.) Bracero program ends.

1965

Mexico launches maquiladora program to build manufacturing plants, mostly along northern border.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs federal Medicare and Medicaid programs into law.

Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act amends federal Clean Air Act of 1963 by setting first federal vehicle emissions standards.

United States begins sending combat troops to Vietnam.

United Farm Workers of America begins five-year strike against grape growers.

Predecessor of Subway sandwich shops opens in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Ralph Nader publishes Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile.

(Jan.) Canada and United States sign Automotive Products Trade Agreement.

(Sept. 24) Johnson's Executive Order 11246 extends affirmative action to recruitment, screening, and selection of new employees.

1966

Federal Uniform Time Act regulates dates of daylight saving time among states.

Federal Coal Mine Safety Act of 1952 is extended to all underground mines.

Child Protection Act amends Federal Hazardous Substances Act of 1960.

Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act extends G.I. Bill benefits to noncombat veterans.

First National Bank of Logan v. Walker Bank and Trust Co. limits expansion of national banks.

1966 (cont.)

(Apr. 25) U.S. Post Office stops accepting deposits to postal savings banks.

(Oct. 15) Department of Transportation is created.

1967

Age Discrimination in Employment Act limits ability of large employers to refuse to hire older workers because of age.

National Transportation Safety Board is created to investigate major civilian transportation accidents.

Consortium of California banks begin issuing Master Charge cards, which will be renamed MasterCards in 1979.

(Oct. 13) Johnson's Executive Order 11375 extends affirmative action to cover sex discrimination.

(Dec.) Civil rights leaders launch multiracial Poor People's Campaign to protest poverty and economic injustice.

1968

Architectural Barriers Act requires new federal buildings and facilities built or altered with federal funds to be accessible to persons with disabilities.

Consumer Credit Protection Act, also known as Truth-in-Lending Act, is federal government's first major attempt to protect consumers from predatory credit practices.

Federal Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act requires large land sale promoters to furnish prospective buyers with detailed reports on the land and to explain buyers' rights.

National Bureau of Standards recommends that United States make metric system its predominant system of weights and measures by 1981.

Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in sale, purchase, and leasing of properties used for housing.

1969

Child Protection and Toy Safety Act amends Federal Hazardous Substances Act of 1960.

In AFSCME v. Woodward, a federal appeals court holds that employees cannot be fired for joining labor unions.

(July 20) First manned landing on moon.

(Nov.) Dave Thomas opens first Wendy's hamburger restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.

1970's

Junk bond industry arises.

1970

Bank Secrecy Act requires banks to keep records of customer transactions and report daily financial dealings involving more than $10,000 to Treasury Department.

Emergency Home Finance Act creates Federal Home Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) to provide secondary market for conventional loans and Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration mortgages.

Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act amends Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968 by protecting consumers against inaccurate information.

Bureau of Federal Credit Unions is renamed National Credit Union Administration.

1970 (cont.)

Boys Market, Inc. v. Retail Clerks' Local 770 permits courts to issue injunctions against sit-down strikes.

(Oct. 15) Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) provides for extended penalties for crimes performed by criminal organizations.

(Dec. 2) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, created to safeguard public health and protect natural environment, begins operating.

(Dec. 29) Occupational Safety and Health Act creates National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

1971

Congress creates Overseas Private Investment Corporation to assist American businesses investing in other counties and promote economic development of emerging markets.

U.S. Post Office becomes U.S. Postal Service and ceases to be U.S. cabinet department.

Griggs v. Duke Power Co. rules that hiring and promotion policies with "racially disparate impact" must be clearly job related to be lawful.

Investment Co. Institute v. Camp upholds law banning banks from involvement in investment fund industry.

Federal Express (FedEx) is founded.

First videocassette recorders (VCRs) for home use go on the market.

(Feb. 8) NASDAQ begins operations as the first computerized stock exchange.

(Mar. 24) Congress kills funding to develop U.S. supersonic jetliner.

(May 1) National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak, begins offering passenger rail service.

1972

Noise Control Act establishes standards for products made in United States that produce excessive noise.

Congress creates U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to help protect against injuries from consumer products.

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance holds that all people affected by racial discrimination in housing can sue.

(Feb. 21-27) President Richard Nixon visits China.

(Apr. 1) First player strike in Major League Baseball begins.

(June 14) Congress votes to ban DDT.

1973

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is created by combining federal agencies already involved in combating illegal drugs.

(Oct. 17) Arab states put embargo on oil exports to United States and Western European nations; Americans quickly face gas shortages.

1974

Antidumping Act forbids sale of goods at prices lower than those within countries where goods are made.

Congress creates Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Gold Purchase Act ends federal ban on private possession of gold imposed by Gold Reserve Act of 1934.

Education Amendments Act asks schools to prepare students for adoption of metric system.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act provides comprehensive guidelines for loan closing costs and settlement practices.

Congress creates Commodity Trading Futures Trading Commission to oversee operations of commodity markets.

Federal Tariff Commission is renamed U.S. International Trade Commission.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission is established to regulate all aspects of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Beasley v. Food Fair holds that National Labor Relations Act has priority over state law.

Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas holds that ordinance defining "family" to set limits on single-family housing is constitutional.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) creates first comprehensive federal program to regulate private pension funds.

(Mar. 17) Arab oil embargo ends.

1975

Comprehensive Employment and Training Act invests $55 billion in helping to find jobs for disadvantaged, long-term unemployed, and inefficiently employed persons.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act makes credit available to individuals without regard to marital status or sex.

Federal Metric Conversion Act creates U.S. Metric Board to plan, coordinate, and educate public on planned switch to metric system.

National Transportation Safety Board is made independent federal agency.

(Apr. 5) Billionaire industrialist Howard Hughes dies.

(Apr. 30) United States ends its involvement in Vietnam War; President Gerald R. Ford soon imposes U.S. trade embargo on Vietnam.

(July 17) Joint mission ends competitive space race between United States and Soviet Union.

1976

Copyright Revision Act extends copyright protection to duration of creators' lives plus seventy years; act will be amended in 1980 to include computer software and in 1998 by Copyright Extension Term Act of 1998.

Hart-Scott-Rodino Act amends antitrust laws by requiring companies to notify Federal Trade Commission and assistant U.S. attorney general when they plan to buy heavily into other companies.

1976 (cont.)

Federal Toxic Substances Control Act requires chemical companies to give Environmental Protection Agency advance notice of new chemical products.

National League of Cities v. Usery holds Congress has no authority to require state and local governments to pay workers minimum wages.

(Apr. 1) Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs found Apple Computers.

(Apr. 7) Biotechnology corporation Genentech is founded.

1977

Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act establishes Office of Surface Mining within U.S. Department of Interior to regulate active coal mines and to reclaim abandoned mines.

Congress creates Department of Energy.

Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is created to adjudicate complaints filed against mine owners.

Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Commission rules that one state may not require grading system for apples that discriminates against a state whose apples are graded differently.

Linmark Associates Inc. v. Willingboro holds that banning "for sale" signs within a town is unconstitutional.

United States Trust v. New Jersey invalidates state law abrogating public bond covenant on use of revenues.

BankAmericard licensees band together to form Visa.

(May 31) Construction of Alaska Pipeline is completed.

1978

Congress amends Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967) to permit employers to require workers to retire involuntarily at seventy.

Airline Deregulation Act reduces government controls over airline industry.

Bankruptcy Reform Act restructures old laws to permit companies to return to fiscal soundness.

Electronic Fund Transfer Act requires financial institutions to inform new customers of terms and conditions of electronic fund transfer services.

Energy Tax Act imposes excise taxes on motor fuels.

Bankruptcy Reform Act supersedes National Bankruptcy Act of 1898.

Natural Gas Policy Act authorizes Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to govern intrastate and interstate natural gas production.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act amends sex discrimination section of Civil Rights Act of 1964 by requiring employers to provide pregnant women with same benefits received by other employees.

Merit Systems Protection Board is created to handle disputes between employees and federal agencies for which they work.

1978 (cont.)

Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City establishes important principles governing takings clause.

Raymond Motor Transportation v. Rice invalidates state restriction on length of tractor-trailers.

New Jersey permits casino gambling in Atlantic City.

(Jan.) Overthrow of Iran's shah begins revolution that cuts off Iranian oil exports and begins world energy crisis.

(Feb. 28) Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters merges with Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks.

1979

Video rental industry begins in Los Angeles.

Union membership peaks in United States at more than 21 million, while percentage of total workers in unions continues to decline.

Congress approves loan package to save Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy.

United Steelworkers v. Weber permits companies to consider race in trainee selection to reverse past discrimination.

Inc. magazine for small-business owners begins.

Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union and Retail Clerks International Union merge to form United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which will continue to absorb other unions.

(Mar. 28) Three Mile Island nuclear power plant experiences worst U.S. nuclear accident, shaking public confidence in nuclear power industry.

(Apr. 1) President Jimmy Carter signs bill creating Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate responses to major natural and human-caused disasters.

(July) China and United States sign Bilateral Trade Agreement.

(Oct. 17) Carter signs bill making Education a cabinet-level federal department.

1980

Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act ends power of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system to set interest rates of savings accounts.

Federal Monetary Control Act requires all banks and institutions accepting public deposits to make periodic reports to Federal Reserve system.

U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare becomes Department of Health and Human Services.

Congress's passing of Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act begins era of federal deregulation.

National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University holds that private university professors are managerial employees and therefore not eligible for unionization.

Satellite Program Network begins as business and financial news channel that will become Consumer News and Business Network (CNBC) in 1989.

Diamond v. Chakrabarty upholds right of companies to patent genetically engineered life-forms.

1980 (cont.)

Chiarella v. United States clarifies reach of Securities Act of 1933.

(Jan. 1) Federal Revenue Act of 1978 goes into effect, authorizing 401(k) retirement plans.

(May 7) U.S. Department of Education officially opens.

(June 1) Cable News Network (CNN) begins broadcasting.

(Oct. 14) Carter signs Staggers Rail Act, which deregulates railroad industry.

(Dec.) Iraq's invasion of Iran exacerbates world energy crisis.

1981

Michael Bloomberg founds Innovative Market Systems to disseminate business news.

International Business Machines begins making personal computers.

Congress enacts Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, legalizing casino gambling on Native American reservations

(Jan. 28) President Ronald Reagan issues executive order ending federal price and allocation controls to alleviate energy crisis.

(Aug. 3) Air traffic controllers begin nationwide strike that will lead to their losing more than eleven thousand jobs and decertification of their union.

1982

Congress creates National Futures Association.

In joint venture with General Motors, Toyota establishes its first manufacturing facility in United States.

Job Training Partnership Act provides summer jobs for students and training programs for low-income workers, Native Americans, migrant and seasonal workers, and veterans; act will be repealed by Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

Reagan disbands U.S. Metric Board.

Congress passes Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act to increase government revenues and curtail abuses in federal tax system.

Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp. holds that when land is permanently occupied by government, it constitutes a taking under eminent domain.

Phillips markets first compact discs (CDs).

(July) Home Shopping Network begins broadcasting on cable television.

(Sept. 15) USA Today begins publication.

(Sept. 21) National Football League players begin eight-week strike that truncates season.

1983

Internet begins operating.

Federal Orphan Drug Act requires drug companies to develop drugs for illnesses afflicting fewer than 200,000 persons.

1984

Sure-Tan v. National Labor Relations Board holds that National Labor Relations Act also applies to illegal aliens.

Apple introduces Macintosh computer.

NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma et al. holds that National Collegiate Athletic Association must allow member schools to negotiate their own television contracts.

1985

Civil Aeronautics Board is dissolved, as regulatory authority over airlines passes to Department of Transportation.

Montgomery G.I. Bill provides educational stipends to military veterans who have contributed payments during their service time.

Highway Beautification Act adds federal controls to commercial billboards along highways.

Enron Corporation begins operations as Texas natural gas supplier.

Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority removes most limitations on Congress's power to regulate states.

Northeast Bancorp v. Board of Governors holds that states may partially lift bans on out-of-state bank holding companies.

Sears, Roebuck introduces Discover credit card.

Three New England states establish first interstate lottery.

1986

Immigration Reform and Control Act grants amnesty to undocumented immigrants who have resided continuously in United States since before January 1, 1982.

Congress substantially revises Internal Revenue Code.

Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is created to help federal employees supplement their retirement plans with tax-exempt savings.

Maine v. Taylor upholds Maine's ban on importation of live bait fish.

Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson clears way for employees to sue employers for sexual harassment.

1987

Johnson v. Santa Clara County upholds county's adoption of sex-based affirmative action program to remedy past gender discrimination.

Keystone Bituminous Coal Association v. DeBenedictis allows regulation limiting coal mining.

Nollan v. California Coastal Commission expands property owner rights in eminent domain cases.

United States v. Paradise upholds Alabama state plan to reserve appointments for African Americans because of past discrimination.

Alan Greenspan begins two decades as chair of Board of Governors of Federal Reserve system.

Tom Wolfe's novel Bonfire of the Vanities satirizes New York investment bankers.

(Oct. 19) American stock markets fall in crash that will be remembered as "Black Monday."

1988

Veterans Administration becomes Veterans Affairs.

1989

Financial Institutions Rescue, Recovery and Enforcement Act abolishes Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation and places deposit insurance for savings and loans under Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

United States and Canada sign bilateral free trade agreement.

Stephen R. Covey's business-advice book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is huge best seller.

Congress creates Federal Housing Finance Board to replace failed Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

Ward v. Rock Against Racism upholds restrictions on noise levels that are neutral to content.

1990

Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on basis of disability in private employment, state and local governments, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

Congress passes Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution throughout United States.

Innovative Market Systems becomes Bloomberg's Business News Services.

1991

President George H. W. Bush signs executive order directing federal agencies and departments to convert to metric system.

Automobile Workers v. Johnson Controls limits right of companies to use sex-based qualifications in workplace.

(Jan. 16-Feb. 28) U.S.-led coalition drives Iraqi forces from Kuwait in Gulf War.

1992

Congress passes Energy Policy Act to reduce dependence on imported oil, improve energy efficiency in buildings and utilities, and develop alternative fuels and renewable energy.

(Feb. 7) Treaty of Maastricht creates European Union (EU).

1993

Budget Reconciliation Act raises taxes retroactively to help sustain national economic growth and to balance federal budget by 1998.

Major Soccer League is formed.

Teresa Harris v. Forklift Systems expands protection of employees against workplace sexual harassment.

1994

Congress creates Broadcasting Board of Governors to take over functions of Voice of America and other nonmilitary government broadcasting ventures.

City Ladue v. Gilleo holds that city of Ladue cannot ban all yard and window signs.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Meyer rules that FDIC may be sued.

(Jan. 1) North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which begins eliminating tariffs on products traded among United States, Mexico, and Canada, goes into effect.

(Feb.) United States lifts its trade embargo on Vietnam.

(Aug.) Major League Baseball players begin strike that will lead to cancellation of parts of two seasons.

1995

Interstate Commerce Commission is abolished, and its remaining functions are transferred to new Surface Transportation Board.

NationsBank of North Carolina v. Variable Annuity Life holds that banks may sell life insurance annuities.

United States v. Lopez holds that Congress may not pass laws regulating things not directly affecting interstate commerce.

(Jan. 1) World Trade Organization is founded.

(Sept. 3) Online auction site eBay is launched.

1996

Telecommunications Act amends Federal Communications Act of 1934.

Barnett Bank of Marion County v. Nelson holds that banks can sell insurance regardless of local prohibitions.

1997

Atherton v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. allows states to impose stricter rules for banks than those imposed by federal statutes.

Montgomery Ward files for bankruptcy.

1997-1998

Sudden drop in value of currencies of several Asian nations leads to significant economic contraction that has global impact.

1998

Federal Workforce Investment Act repeals Job Training Partnership Act of 1982.

Congress creates Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board to investigate safety conditions at industrial facilities.

NASDAQ buys American Stock Exchange.

MP3 players go on market.

(Sept.) Internet search engine and information organizer Google is founded.

(Nov.) National Basketball Association owners begin player lockout that will lead to cancellation of first half of professional basketball season.

1999

Netflix begins renting films through mail.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia goes public on New York Stock Exchange.

2000

U.S. Postal Act makes Postal Service only quasi-governmental entity under purview of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

United States cedes Panama Canal to Panama.

(Jan. 1) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is created to reduce accidents involving trucks and buses.

(Mar. 10) NASDAQ rises to all-time high of 5048.62, on March 10, 2000, on dot-com bubble; by October, 2002, that figure will drop 78 percent.

2001

Homestake Mine in South Dakota's Black Hills closes after having yielded more than 40 million ounces of gold since its opening in 1876.

India-born Indra K. Nooyi becomes president and chief financial officer of PepsiCo, of which she will later become chief executive officer and chair of the board.

(July 1) President George W. Bush signs Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, which gives large tax breaks to business owners and members of upper class.

(Sept. 11) Middle Eastern terrorists hijack American jetliners and fly them into New York City's World Trade Center and Pentagon.

(Oct.) Apple introduces iPod and iTunes Music Store.

(Dec. 2) Enron Corporation files for bankruptcy.

2002

Federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act establishes Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to oversee accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies.

Congress creates Department of Homeland Security to coordinate antiterrorist work of domestic law-enforcement agencies.

Corporate fraud case nearly destroys Tyco International.

Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. National Labor Relations holds that illegal immigrants are not entitled to all protections of National Labor Relations Act.

(July 21) Telecommunications giant WorldCom files for bankruptcy.

(Oct.) NASDAQ falls to only 22 percent of its peak value of March 10, 2000, as dot-com bubble bursts.

2003

Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act protects consumers against identity theft.

Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is split: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau remains with Treasury Department, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is placed under Department of Justice.

AMEX Membership Corporation buys American Stock Exchange back from NASDAQ.

(Mar. 19) Securities and Exchange Commission halts trading of HealthSouth stock after learning of company's grossly inflated earnings reports.

(Mar. 19) United States occupies Iraq.

(Oct.) HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy is indicted on eighty-five counts of financial fraud; in 2007, he will be sentenced to federal prison.

(Nov.) Transatlantic flights of supersonic Concorde are discontinued.

2004

United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua sign Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

United States and Chile sign bilateral free trade agreement; similar agreements with Peru and Colombia will soon follow.

Media mogul Martha Stewart is sentenced to prison for involvement in insider trading scandal.

2004 (cont.)

FedEx purchases Kinko's chain of photocopy shops.

Kmart discount chain purchases Sears, Roebuck.

(Jan. 8) Real estate mogul Donald Trump begins hosting television's The Apprentice, challenging young contestants to perform business-related tasks.

(Apr. 19) Google becomes publicly traded company on NASDAQ.

(Oct.) Player strike leads to cancellation of entire 2004-2005 National Hockey League season.

(Nov. 30) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is created.

2005

Energy Policy Act provides tax incentives and loan guarantees to develop alternative forms of energy; act also amends Uniform Time Act of 1966 by extending number of daylight savings time days.

Federal Family Entertainment and Copyright Act criminalizes use of recording equipment to copy films in motion-picture theaters and prohibits making copies of commercially distributed films.

Kelo v. City of New London holds that states can exercise eminent domain power to take land for private uses, provided public benefits result.

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act addresses individual bankruptcies.

(Aug. 29) Hurricane Katrina devastates southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and southern Alabama.

2006

About 15 million American workers are in unions; about half of them are in private employment, where they represent 8 percent of all salaried workers.

Fortune magazine names Indra K. Nooyi, the head of PepsiCo, the most powerful businesswoman in the world.

(Jan.) Western Union delivers its last telegraph message.

2007

Energy Independence and Security Act (Clean Energy Act) promotes energy efficiency and development of alternative forms of energy.

Rupert Murdoch purchases Wall Street Journal.

(Apr. 4) New York Stock Exchange merges with pan-European stock exchange Euronext.

(Aug.) Collapse of Minneapolis bridge over Mississippi River raises concerns about nation's aging bridges.

2008

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act strengthens safety requirements on consumer products.

Post 9/11 Veterans Assistance Act substantially increases tuition and housing assistance to military veterans.

Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy.

Forbes magazine names Warren Buffett the richest person in the world.

2008 (cont.)

Top U.S. trading partners are Canada (17.9 percent), China (11.2 percent), and Mexico (10.7 percent).

(Jan.) NYSE Euronext buys American Stock Exchange.

(Mar. 16) Federal Reserve arranges sale of investment banking firm Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase to prevent its collapse.

(July) Mortgage-lending bank Countrywide is taken over by Bank of America to avoid collapse.

(July 26) Congress passes Foreclosure Prevention Act to provide relief to homeowners threatened with foreclosure.

(Sept. 7) Federal government takes control of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), giving each a $100 billion line of credit.

(Sept. 16) U.S. Treasury agrees to lend huge insurance company American International Group (AIG) $85 billion, in return for 80 percent ownership interest.

(Sept. 25) Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation presides over forced merger of failing Washington Mutual (WaMu) into JPMorgan Chase.

(Oct.) Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, in serious financial straits, request $50 billion in loans from the federal government, but their request is refused.

(Oct.) Problems in subprime mortgage industry and financial markets reach critical level that causes major lending institutions to collapse and stock markets to drop precipitously; U.S. government intervenes to bail out financial institutions.

(Dec.) President George W. Bush announced that $13.4 billion in emergency loans would be made available to keep Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford out of bankruptcy, with an additional $4 billion to be available in February. However, the automakers were given the loans on condition that they make major concessions and organizational changes by March 31, 2009, to demonstrate that they could return to profitability.

2009

(Feb. 17) President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $787 billion recovery package that included funds for renewable energy, infrastructure, education, and health care, as well as about $282 billion in tax relief for individuals and businesses.

(Feb. 18) President Barack Obama announced a $275 billion housing relief plan. About $200 billion was aimed at helping people with little equity in their homes refinance their loans through government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Another $75 billion was meant to encourage lenders to modify loan terms for people at risk of foreclosure or in foreclosure. On the same day, General Motors and Chrysler, citing adverse economic conditions that further depressed sales of vehicles, asked for an additional $14 billion in aid, while presenting restructuring plans designed to return their companies to profitability.

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