Sunday, December 19, 2010

10 Minute History of the US

10 Minute Chronology of US Financial Times

WHOA! 260 visitors and 1 single little comment (big comment actually, from RDL, a great blogger), but c'mon folks....chime in, look alive :-)
I updated the list below from a December post I did and got a bunch of good chime in, if there are important things I missed, please comment and I will add.

For me the little summary below was a great "view from 20,000 feet".  Imagine that....less than 200 years ago, the British were rampaging through Washington with troops and burning the White House.

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1800: New York's population is 60,000
1803: President Thomas Jefferson purchases Louisiana (which extended from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, from Montana to New Orleans) from Napoleon, thus essentially doubling the size of the USA
1812: the USA declares war on Britain
1814: British troops storm Washington and burn the Capitol and the White House
1817: the New York Stock Exchange opens in Wall Street
1819: an economic depression hits the farmers of the south and the west
1824: only 5% of adult USA citizens vote in the presidential elections
1826: James Smithson bequeaths his fortune to founding the Smithsonian Institution "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men"
1837: an economic depression follows a wave of speculation
1839: Yellow fever kills 12% of Houston's population
1844: the USA has over 5,000 kms of railway (3,000 in Britain, 2,000 in Germany, 500 in France)
1851: The population of the USA is 20,067,720 free persons and 2,077,034 slaves
1854: the USA forces Japan to sign a trade agreement ("treaty of Kanagawa") which reopens Japan to foreigners after two centuries
1858: a telegraph wire is laid at the bottom of the ocean between Ireland and Canada
1858: the USA stock market crash spawns an international market crash
1859: The Carrington Solar Flare lights up the night sky and creates havoc with telegraph lines1860: Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln is elected president although he gains only 40% of the popular vote
1861: civil war erupts between the northern ("unionist") states and the southern ("confederate") states (26.2 million versus 8.1 million)
 1862: John Rockefeller founds a company to refine oil (later renamed Standard Oil)
1864: all the major powers agree at the Geneva convention on rules for the treatment of prisoners of war
Apr 1865: the Union, led by general Ulysses Grant, defeats the Confederates, slavery is abolished (13th amendment of the constitution) and blacks are given the right to vote (370,000 Union citizens and soldiers and 258,000 Confederate citizens and soldiers have died)
1865: president Lincoln is assassinated
1867: The price of oil drops to $2.40/barrel from the peak of $13.75 a barrel
1869: Goldman Sachs is founded by German immigrant Marcus Goldman and (in 1882) Goldman's son-in-law Samuel Sachs
1871: the National Rifle Association is founded
1873: an economic depression causes rise in unemployment and bankruptcies\
1873: the USA adopts the gold standard
1876: General Custer and his troops are massacred by Sioux Indians at Little Big Horn
1882: the USA bans Chinese immigrants for ten years and forbids existing Chinese immigrants from becoming USA citizens
1885: white miners kill 28 Chinese workers in Wyoming
1890: The work week in the USA is 60 hours
1890: Congress passes the Anti-Trust Act to protect against monopolies
1892: John Muir founds the "Sierra Club", the first environmental organizations
1893: an economic depression causes unemployment and bankruptcies, The Panic of 1893 in which the Federal Treasury was nearly out of Gold.
1900: A six-room house costs $3,000 to buy
1900: Life expectancy in the USA is 47.3
1900: the USA's population is 76 million
1902: Willis Carrier invents the air conditioner
1902: a female journalist, Ida-Minerva Tarbell, exposes Standard Oil's dubious practices
1907: The Bankers Panic of 1907 October 23, 1907
1908: William D'Arcy discovers oil in Iran
1909: The USA forces the dissolution of Standard Oil, an event that creates Chevron, Mobil, Amoco, etc
1910-1911 Stock Market Panic after enforcement started of the 1890 Sherman Anti-Monopoly Act-- "Corrupt business is good profitable business :-)"
1912,  JP Morgan testified before the Pujo Committee, a subcommittee of the House Banking and Currency committee. The committee ultimately found that a cabal of financial leaders were abusing their public trust to consolidate control over many industries: the partners of J.P. Morgan & Co. along with the directors of First National and National City Bank controlled aggregate resources of $22.245 billion.1913 The Federal Reserve Bank is created.  Control of the Money Supply was given to crooked banksters.
1913: John Rockefeller is worth $212 billions, 1/44th of the USA economy, and establishes the Rockefeller Foundation "to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world"
1913: Ford installs the first assembly line (at Highland Park, which later becomes the murder capital of the world, by the way)
1913: 2% of USA citizens control 60% of the national product (Morgan and Rockefeller alone control 20%)
1914: World War I begins
1914: The Federal income tax is introduced
1916: Merrill Lynch is founded
1916: William Boeing founds a company to manufacture airplanes
1918: an epidemics of influenza kills 20 million people worldwide (500,000 in the USA)
1918: the first world war ends: 2 million Russians, 1.8 million Germans, 1.3 million French, 1.1 million Austro-Hungarians, 0.9 million Britons, 0.6 million Turks and 0.5 million Italians are dead.
1920: alcohol is outlawed ("Prohibition")
1924: boom of the stock market
1927: Pan American World Airways is founded
1928: first daily passenger flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco
1929: Herbert Hoover is elected president
1929: stock markets crash around the world ("great depression")
1929: the richest 1% owns 40% of the nation's wealth, while workers' productivity has increased 43% since 1919
1930: the Bank of Italy is renamed Bank of America
1930: the GDP of the USA falls 9.4% from the year before and unemployment reaches 8.7%
1931: The price of oil plunges to $0.15/barrel
1931: the Empire State Building, the tallest building in the world of all times, opens in New York
1931: Gambling is legalized in Las Vegas
1932: between april 8 and july 8 stocks fall 34%
1932: 10,000 banks have failed since 1929, GDP has dropped 31% since 1929, the stock market has lost almost 90% of its value from boom to bust, and unemployment reaches 23.6%
1933: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is created to insure deposits in banks and thrift institutions
1933: the Prohibition is repealed

1936: The economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes are applied in the USA
1940: Karl Pabst invents the jeep
1941: Japanese attack Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) and the USA enters world war II
1941: Roosevelt authorizes a project to develop an atomic bomb (later renamed the Manhattan Project)
1944: the world's monetary system is anchored to the dollar and the dollar to gold, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are created ("Bretton Woods agreement")
1945: Germany surrenders and is divided in a Western and a Soviet area, while Soviet troops occupy Eastern European countries
1945: the USA drops two atomic bombs on Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and World War II ends
1946: George Marshall envisions a plan to promote the economic recovery of European democracies
Tinfoil hat Alert J
1947: the first widely publicized sighting of a UFO
1947: The USA sets up the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
1948: the Jews are granted their own country in Palestine: Israel
1951: the first commercial computer is built, the Univac
1956: Dwight Eisenhower signs the Federal Aid Highway Act to build a nation-wide network of freeways
1957: 4.5 million babies are born in the USA, the highest number in its history (the "baby boomers")
1958: Bank of America adopts the credit card
1958: the USA's gross national product is 50% of the world's national product
1960: The ratio of debt to personal disposable income is 55%
1962: Warren Buffett acquires Berkshire Hathaway, the beginning of his multibillion dollar empire
1964: Bear Stearns acquires Orkin Exterminating Company, the first major leveraged buyout transactions
1969: the computer network ArpaNET is born in the USA (it will be renamed Internet in 1985)
1971: the USA imports more oil than it exports
1971: The USA pulls out of the Bretton Woods agreement of fixed exchange rates and forces foreign currencies to float
1973: the USA, defeated, leaves Vietnam after killing close to 2 million civilians and 1 million soldiers, and losing 58,000 men
1973: members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) impose an oil embargo against the West and oil prices skyrocket (the first "oil crisis"), thus precipitating a world depression (october)
1973: the World Trade Center is inaugurated in New York, the world's tallest skyscraper
1974: the Sears Towers open in Chicago, the world's tallest skyscraper
1975: The USA accounts for 26.3% of world GDP
1978: the USA abandons the gold standard
1979: the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan and the USA organizes an Islamic resistance led by Osama Bin Laden
1979: an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant stops development of new nuclear power plants in the USA
1980: billionaire Ted Turner launches CNN, the first cable tv devoted to world news
1980: The private equity industry raises $2.4 billion
1980: the value of gold peaks at $850 an ounce
1980: Inflation peaks at 13.5%
1981: newly elected president Reagan trades hostages for arms with Iran, helps Saddam Hussein's Iraq against Iran, and authorizes funding and training of Islamic terrorists led by Osama Bin Laden to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan
1982: the USA government breaks up the largest company in the world, AT&T, worth $60 billion, because it has become a monopoly
1982: Unemployment peaks at 10.8%
1985: between 1977 and 1985 consumption of oil in the USA drops 17%, imports drop 50%, and imports from the Middle East drop 87%
1985: the dollar declines against European and Japanese currencies (it will decline 50% in three years)
1987: Alan Greenspan is appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank
1987 the largest one day percentage drop ever of the us stock market. 508 points 22.61%1989: The private equity industry raises $21.9 billion
1990 US Banking Crisis

1991: The first economic recession ever strikes California
1993: Islamic terrorists try to blow up the World Trade Center
1994: Netscape, the company founded by Marc Andreesen, goes public even before earning money and starts the "" craze and the boom of the Nasdaq
1995: the Federal Reserve's chairman Alan Greenspan describes the stock market's behavior as "irrational exuberance"
1997: The average yearly income of a USA citizen is $29,000 whereas the average income of a Mexican is $8,000 and the average income of a Nigerian is $900
1998: Osama bin Laden, from his base in Afghanistan, wages a holy war against the USA by bombing two USA embassies in Africa
1999: allows people to create their own "blogs" (personal journals)
2000: More than 50% of USA citizens own stocks
Jan 2000: the Dow Jones reaches an all-time high of 11,723
2000: the economic expansion in the USA is the longest in the history of the US
2000: the NASDAQ stock market crashes, wiping out trillions of dollars of wealth
2000: George W Bush becomes president on a technicality, even though Clinton's vice-president Al Gore wins the majority of votes
2001: the USA enters a recession, ending the longest economic expansion of its history
2001: 3% of the USA population is in jail
2002: USA stock markets crash, following corporate scandals, the third consecutive year of decline
Oct 2002: The Dow Jones falls to 7,286, 37.8% lower than its peak of january 2000
2003: the USA has a record 2 million inmates
2004: the dollar falls to an all-time low against the euro (1.30)
2005: Bernard Ebbers, former Worldcom's CEO, is sentenced to 25 years in jail, capping a string of corporate scandals
2006: Alan Greenspan is retires from chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank
2006: Exxon Mobil posts the largest profit of any company in USA history
2006: Warren Buffet donates $37 billion to charity, the largest donation ever
2006: Enron's CEO Jeffrey Skilling is sentenced to 24 years in prison
2007: China overtakes the USA to become the world's second largest exporter and overtakes Canada to become the main exporter to the USA
2007: after crashing due to the crisis of sub-prime mortgage lenders, the USA stock market sets a new record high
2007: the USA dollar falls to 1:2 to the British pound and to an all-time low of 1.50 to the euro and is worth less than a Canadian dollar for the first time in three decades
2007: at the end of the economic expansion of the 2000s the median income of USA families has declined from $61,000 to $60,500
Dec 2007: The US
jan 2008: the stock market collapses, triggering similar collapses around the world
mar 2008: the price of gold hits $1,000 for the first time ever and oil passes $110 a barrel, while the dollar sets another all-time low against the euro (1.56) and dips below 100 yen (a drop of 6.5% in less than three months), home prices plunge 9.1%, the Eurozone overtakes the USA as the world's largest economy
may 2008: USA's home prices drop by 15.8%, the steepest decline in 21 years
june 2008: oil prices pass $140 a barrel
sep 2008: The USA takes over the two largest mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the largest insurance company, American International Group
sep 2008: In a financial crisis, Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch is sold to Bank of America, the two remaining investment banks in the United States, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, decide to become traditional banks, and the government buys $700 billion of bad mortgages in the largest financial bailout since the Great Depression, and on September 29 the Dow Jones loses 778 points, the biggest single-day point loss ever
oct 2008: the Dow Jones loses more 22% in a week of continuous losses, including the biggest single-day decline since 1987
Jul 2009: The USA budget deficit tops $1 trillion
Aug 2009: The unemployment rate reaches 9.7%, a 26-year high
Nov 2009: The US stock indices stage one of the greatest rallies in history, in the face of horrific fundamentals, 80% of all the increases come from weekend future trading ramp jobs.  It becomes widely accepted that Goldman Sachs is in cahoots with the Federal Reserve and the US Gov, to intentionally goose the stock market and bypass normal business cycles.
Mar 2010 The rally continues, unemployment reaches 17% on the U6 measure, foreclosures continue, record deficits become even larger, Europe teeters on debt defaults.  Dubai is lurking.


  1. interesting stuff steveo, I didn't know they had polar bears in Hawaii.
    About all I know what to do is pick apart a chart.

  2. Yeah, that is a little known secret. Like most people don't know the volcano is just a marketing scam hehe

  3. Steveo...great charts. want comments? Now, did Noam Chomsky add a few things into this list?...LOL

    It is well known that I really do despise the Bush family. I'm a Constitutional Conservative. Just follow the Constitution and leave me alone and I'm happy with government. Oh, and the Fed can't trade the markets.

    Bush and many other should have been impeached for violation of Article IV Section 4 which states that the government shall defend the states against any and all invasions. It does not say they need to be carrying anything destructive to America. It is plain in its language. Well I just listened to a show with the head of the Border Agents as one was killed recently and he said it is a pathetic joke to think that they want to do anything in DC but legalize all illegals as they do nothing to help them stop the invasion.

    As to the Bush "technicality", a friend of mine who is a lawyer made a point in a school system in NJ. Some teachers started stating Bush won on a technicality and that Gore had really won the presidency (shudder) and he went and gave them one month to stop indoctrinating 6th-8th graders with propaganda or he would make it a landmark case. He demanded, under cover of a pending suit, to show him ANY proof that Gore had won on a violation of the Constitution or on a re-counting of any votes. There were many people down there trying to get Gore the win. There was not one scenario of a recount by any organization that later gave Gore the win. They ordered the teachers to stop telling the students about Gore winning. Also, this school system is the 4th highest paid in the nation. They had the nerve, in the hardest hit town with death (I lost three dear friends and worked in the WTC) where I lived on 9-11, to violate the law 4 weeks later and refuse to teach without a raise and continued free health care. The illegal strike was broken by jailing the majority of them. A truly great lesson for the kids.

    And a world-wide depression in 1973? I don't think so.

    Conspicuously missing is our leaving Vietnam, after never losing a battle, and 2 million killed by the Communist North who had the ChiComs fighting with them, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, boat people, and lots more.

    Talk amongst yourselves. (g)

  4. Steve0,

    Do you want historian, and national treasure IMO, Victor Davis Hansen's brilliant analysis of how The Law of Unintended Consequences of leaving Vietnam brought about 9-11? It might sound odd, but I guarantee you cannot argue it and will probably agree.

    I'm not sure if you want this list discussed as the reason for its posting.

  5. MR, I will return to this someday to update the timetable and verify that 1973 thing...I was 10....we got a microwave, the world was a great place....

  6. I guess Bear wanted the LBO to get experience in exterminations, jajajaja

  7. Steveo,

    I just looked a little more closely. Where is Watergate, Nixon's resignation, that Vietnam was started by democrat JFK or Carter's "Misery Index"?

    Who put this list together? Look at the way this is phrased:

    "1981: newly elected president Reagan trades hostages for arms with Iran" - NEVER PROVEN

    "...helps Saddam Hussein's Iraq against Iran" - TRUE...we were once an ally of Noriega in Panama also. Many allegiances in history have changed. Imagine if Stalin had joined Hitler.

    "..and authorizes funding and training of Islamic terrorists led by Osama Bin Laden to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan" - QUESTIONABLE as to whether bin Laden himself was all that involved and to say Reagan authorized funding to "him" has no proof to it at all that I can find and I have read extensively on the history of what led to what is now called Al Queda. Also, at the time the Mujaheddin were our allies fighting a proxy cold war against the Soviets just as the Soviets sold arms to the Vietcong as did the ChiComs who also sent in troops. To conveniently NOW call them "Islamic terrorists" is enough to taint the historical credibility of the author.

    Did Reagan know about the arms deals? My guess would be he was insulated from the specifics as any good administration (for any president) would have done. It was never proven that he authorized them. I'd think that aids, and papa Bush, would have said they have a way that has been researched and is not in violation of any laws and he gave them the go-ahead. Many felt that preventing the funding of those who might stop another Cuba in our hemisphere via The Boland Amendment, which was poorly written, was folly. Looking at Bill Clinton's "is" argument, one would have to say Reagan could have run ads in the paper for private funding for the Contras fighting the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. (See what Victor Davis Hanson has to say about a Soviet presence in Central America). Nothing prevented private funds to be sent to the Contras. I think that is how the entire Iran-Contra deal was brokered. Read this Time Magazine piece asking if there were really any law broken and one remains confused:,9171,964501-2,00.html

    Want to have some fun? Read this page. In the Iran-Contra isssue arose to possibility that drug money from the US was used. Is it true? I leave it to yourself to decide. My father in-law was one of only 30 NYPD First Grade Detectives and worked on The Major Case Squad. He was a cop for 37 years after being a hardened combat vet landing in Salerno with General Clark's 3rd Army and fighting at Anzio and up through Italy and into France. He told me to never under-estimate what this government will do and to never trust it. Strong words indeed! After seeing what I have since the middle of 2009 with the stock market I should have remembered his words and just gone long:

  8. Hoover Institute Senior Fellow, Victor Davis Hanson on the result of Congress ending funding for Vietnam and its leading to 9/11

    Plans that were entirely likely for a North/South
    Korea styled Vietnam ended in the Paris Peace Talks with the
    war protesters in the US (widely led by Soviet inspiration)
    and Watergate.

    We had won every battle in Vietnam, and with China having almost 1 million causalities in Korea (North Korea had 520,000 dead and the South 415,000 dead), they primarily fought a proxy war and feared us bombing their non-nuke China. They thought Nixon was literally nuts and would do it.

    We also had 1 million boat people from Vietnam

    1.5-2 million slaughtered or forced into indoctrination camps in Indochina, all because we left.

    Then came the Iran Hostage Crisis

    The Soviets in Central America

    The Afghanistan War

    The forming of Al Queda


    and now this war.

    Professor Hanson said the law of unintended
    consequences gave us all of that, and that he (VDH) fears
    this ending of the war not on our terms could be even worse.

    Professor Hanson might be an independent now, but was a democrat for years.

  9. I admit ought to have some more Vietnam in there, it was an important part in this country's "development".

    I saw a mini-van and painted across the back was "peace , we broke"

    What would you think about a theory where US pulls back everyone from the entire world. Maybe some (but not many) of the embassies stay in much diluted form, but for the most part, we just video-conference. Not all at once, and not in some crazy uncontrolled fashion, but a 10 year plan, where we bring em all back and provide them with productive work opportunities. Except for some rare earth metals....what do we really need from outside that we can't get through normal trade?

    You got some no-brainer ones up there though, although this is primarily a "financial history" of the US and mainly intended for entertainment value, and to great a broader perspectives than the daily BS promoted by the financial/news industry.

  10. >>What would you think about a theory where US pulls back everyone from the entire world. <<

    Probably the number one reason that facilitated Hitler's rise to power was FDR's going off the gold standard and no longer being a force that brought some stability after WW I. . Washington warned of foreign entanglements. But without a cohesive West, which is pretty weak now and not all that unified, despots come more readily to power. I have more to that, but it's late. We are in probably 90 countries training forces right now to fight everything from drug lords to Hugo Chavez types that will gladly join against the West. Che Guevara is a hero to many. We make mistakes, for sure. If we pulled out of Korea right now the results could be devastation. It is decidedly not the answer.


Insightful and Useful Comment!