Top Ten Most Influential

10 Events from American History

10. Apollo 11 (20 July 1969)

Reaching the seeming end of the space race started essentially since the end of WWII, America successfully landed on the moon in 1969, years after Kennedy began his push for dominance in space over the Soviet Union.

We did not, until this date, possess or even deserve a universal common ground on which to agree. Now, no matter what else happens, if extraterrestrial life ever learns of us, they will learn that we walked on our own moon, studied it up close and personal, and returned safe and sound.

And it was the United States of America who saw it through. After tragedies uncountable, the most notorious of which was the fiery death of Virgil Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. But NASA and most Americans understood that the prize at the end of the race was worth finishing.

Apollo11: Lunar Landing July 20, 1969

9. Proclamation of 1763 (7 October 1763)

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War, which forbade all settlement past a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains.

Due to this and eventually escalating 'offenses' by the monarchy against the colonists, tensions between the settlers and the parliament grew and grew until violent confrontations took place, leading to the birth of America as its own nation.

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8. Patriot Act (26 October 2001)

The Patriot Act, the title being a ten-letter backronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001", was established shortly after the terrorist attacks on the New York World Trade Centers as an effort to put an end to terrorism, at least in America. Its legislation allowed for increased general security and permission to do whatever necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks.

At the time, it was generally accepted by the population, but as time has gone on, the Patriot Act has been used more and more as an excuse to invade civil liberties and has led to an argument regarding the balance of privacy and security.

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7. Nineteenth Amendment (18 August 1920)

This amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. The official text reads:

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Ever since white, male superiority during the era of slavery and every day since, the reigns have only slowly been loosened, and this piece of legislation further promoted the extension of basic civil rights to people other than men.

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6. Monroe Doctrine (2 December 1823)

This act stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries.

Only a few years after the War of 1812, a power grab by Great Britain that resulted in America's assertion of its position on the international stage, again America sought to ensure its new-found power by any means necessary, resulting in a long-term policy of internationalism.

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5. Marbury v Madison (24 February 1803)

Marbury v. Madison was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. The landmark decision helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of the American for of government.

Since the writing of the Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation, the inherent system of checks-and-balances continually evolves to ensure maximum power without crossing into monarchical or dictatorial and the evolution allowed enhanced powers to the judiciary branch without being too controlling over the others.

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4. Policy of Containment (1940s)

It is best known as the Cold War policy of the United States and its allies to prevent the spread of communism abroad. A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet Union to enlarge communist influence in Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Africa, and Vietnam. Containment represented a middle-ground position between detente and rollback, but it let the opponent choose the place and time of any confrontation.

This was primarily President Truman's foreign policy through his two terms and was generally accepted by the most of the population. It also represented yet another shift to internationalism and mass involvement in most, if not all, foreign affairs, a policy that still exists today.

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3. Thirteenth Amendment (18 December 1865)

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. Slavery had been tacitly protected in the original Constitution through clauses such as the Three-Fifths Compromise.Though many slaves had been declared free by Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, their post-war status was uncertain. On April 8, 1864, the Senate passed an amendment to abolish slavery. After one unsuccessful vote and extensive legislative maneuvering by the Lincoln administration, the House followed suit on January 31, 1865. The measure was swiftly ratified by nearly all Northern states, along with a sufficient number of border and "reconstructed" Southern states, causing it to be adopted before the end of the year.

This abolition would eventually lead to the Civil Rights movement and even still today, the push for complete and total equality across race, color, religion, and sex in America.

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2. Louisiana Purchase (4 July 1803)

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory (828,000 square miles) by the United States from France in 1803. Adjusting for inflation, the modern financial equivalent spent for the Purchase of the Louisiana territory is approximately $236 million in 2014 U.S. dollars which averages to less than forty-two cents per acre. The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen current US states and two Canadian provinces.

This acquisition of land not only aided in an increase potential for economic opportunity, but also really began to fuel the idea of Manifest Destiny that consumed the American population for decades to come.

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1. March on Washington (28 August 1963)

This was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. Thousands of Americans headed to Washington on Tuesday August 27, 1963. On Wednesday, August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in which he called for an end to racism.

The march was organized by a group of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations, under the theme "jobs, and freedom". Estimates of the number of participants varied from 200,000 to 300,000; it is widely accepted that approximately 250,000 people participated in the march. Observers estimated that 75–80% of the marchers were black, yielding the single largest turnout of white supporters for racial equality.

The march is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act and preceded the Selma Voting Rights Movement which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

And so it is because of that, that I name the event as the number one most influential event in American history in terms of shaping today's America.

Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have A Dream Speech