Read the Best of AHC

American History Central has nearly 2,000 articles covering the history of the United States, ranging from the Colonial Era to the Gilded Age. We even have a few articles covering the early 20th Century. Here are the best — and most popular — entries in the Encyclopedia.

Colonial America

The Beaver Wars (1609–1701) were a series of battles that were fought over control of the fur trade in colonial America. During the wars, the Iroquois Confederation took control of the fur trade, eliminated rival Native American Indian tribes, and terrorized French settlements. The French and their Indian allies responded with attacks on Iroquois villages and English settlements. The conflict lasted for nearly a century and ended with the Peace of Montreal in 1701.

Bacon’s Rebellion (1676–1677) was a violent uprising by colonists in Colonial Virginia against government officials and the upper class. Rebels led by Nathaniel Bacon briefly took control of the colony, but the rebellion collapsed when he died. The rebellion is most famous for contributing to a dramatic increase in the usage of slave labor in Virginia.

The Albany Plan of Union (1754) was proposed by Benjamin Franklin and called for the formation of a permanent federation of the American colonies. Although the plan was rejected, similar plans were proposed during the First Continental Congress.

American Revolution

Mercantilism — or the Mercantile System — was an economic theory that England followed that led to the implementation of policies that contributed to the unrest in the American Colonies, the American Revolution, and the American Revolutionary War.

Salutary Neglect was an unwritten policy of the British Government that encouraged American officials to neglect the enforcement of laws in Colonial America. The policy allowed both American and British merchants to flourish. However, when the government reversed the policy, it helped cause the American Revolution.

The Sugar Act, or the American Revenue Act, was passed by Parliament on April 5, 1764. The goal was to raise revenue for Britain to pay part of the cost of a standing army in North America. It is most famous for starting the controversy over “Taxation Without Representation” — a direct cause of the American Revolution and the War for Independence.

The Sons of Liberty was a radical organization in Colonial America created to carry out public demonstrations against British policies that forced Americans to pay taxes without representation in Parliament. Many men associated with the group are considered Founding Fathers of the United States.

The Stamp Act was passed by Parliament in 1765 to raise money from the 13 Original Colonies. It required printers and publishers to buy stamps and place them on many legal documents and printed materials in the American colonies, increasing the cry of “No Taxation Without Representation” — a direct cause of the American Revolution and the War for Independence.

The Boston Massacre (1770) was an incident in which British regulars fired into a group of Bostonians who were harassing them. It is considered one of the first acts of violence of the American Revolution.

The Boston Tea Party was a political protest that happened on the night of December 16, 1773, at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts. A mob organized by the Sons of Liberty raided three ships and threw all of the tea they were carrying into Boston Harbor. Parliament responded to the incident by passing the Intolerable Acts, which led to the colonies holding the First Continental Congress.

The Intolerable Acts, also known as the Coercive Acts, were five laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774, which led the colonies to hold the First Continental Congress in September-October 1774.

Manifest Destiny

James “Jim” Bridger (1804–1881) was a famous Mountain Man — trapper, frontiersman, and explorer — who is most well-known for his expeditions to the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone, and the establishment of Fort Bridger along the Oregon Trail.

Daniel Boone is an American legend, famous for his exploits as a Frontiersman during the Colonial Era and the early days of the United States. Boone played an important role in the settlement of Kentucky by blazing the Wilderness Road, an important step toward the era of Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny.

Manifest Destiny” is the idea that Americans had a “God-given right” — a divine right — to expand across the continent, from the east coast to the west coast, from “sea to shining sea,” planting democracy, capitalism, and Christianity along the way.

The Oregon Trail is the most famous of the Overland Trails used by thousands of American pioneers who emigrated to Oregon and other western territories during the age of Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion. It was blazed by frontiersman Robert Stuart in 1812–1813 and was most popular from 1841 to 1869.

Wars with Native American Indians

The Pequot War (1634–1638) was the first war in the New England area between English colonists and Native American Indians. The English won, nearly exterminated the Pequot, and took control of the Connecticut River Valley.

King Philip’s War (1675–1678) was fought between the English Colonies in New England and Native American Indian Tribes in the region.

King William’s War (1688–1697) was the first conflict in North America between England, France, and their respective Native American Indian allies. There was no clear victor in the war, which was an extension of the Nine Years’ War. However, it set the stage for future conflicts in North America between the European powers as they fought for control of the Fur Trade and dominance of the continent.

Pontiac’s Rebellion — or Pontiac’s War — was an uprising of Native American Indian tribes against British forts in the Ohio Country and Great Lakes region after the French and Indian War. The war led to the Proclamation of 1763 and the establishment of a standing army in the American Colonies, two causes of the American Revolution.

The Apache Wars (c. 1837–c. 1924) were a series of raids, skirmishes, and battles fought between the United States and various Apache tribes in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The wars helped shape America’s Manifest Destiny and led to the rise of important Apache leaders, including Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, and Geronimo.

Federalist Era

The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic scandal between the United States and France that led to an undeclared naval war known as the Quasi-War. The XYZ Affair played a significant role in shaping American foreign policy and domestic politics, and contributed to the political divide that eventually led to the Civil War.

The Quasi-War was an undeclared naval war between the United States and France during the Presidency of John Adams. It grew out of the XYZ Affair and ended when French politics changed direction after Napoleon came into power and the two nations signed the Treaty of Mortefontaine.

Civil War

The Nullification Crisis (1832-1833) was a significant event in American history involving the state nullification of U.S. tariffs. On November 24, 1832, the Convention of the People of South Carolina approved the South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification, starting the constitutional crisis that nearly triggered the Civil War.