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How do you create an American History timeline?

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Quick Answer

To create an American history timeline, first decide on the beginning and ending years in your chronology. The theme of your project dictates which years you choose; for example, a timeline project on the Civil War begins with the year 1861 and ends with the year 1865. A timeline that explains the Cherokee Trail of Tears focuses on events leading up to and following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

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Full Answer

After you choose your beginning and ending years, select the units of time you wish to use. Timelines that focus on shorter historical periods may have yearly increments; projects with longer historical perspectives may use longer ones, such as 10 or 50-year spans. Next, pick events and years that are most significant to your theme. Historical timelines may present a variety of events to put an idea into context; these include, but are not limited to, important battles, significant births and deaths, world-changing inventions, devastating disasters and artistic accomplishments. Mark the years of your chosen events on the line between your beginning and ending dates; if you annotate these events, it can make the timeline more useful as a study guide.

The simplest timelines are lines marked with years and events; more elaborate ones may include images of a particular event. For example, a chronology of the women's suffrage movement may contain photographs of protest marches and portraits of movement leaders. Pictures of artwork can enhance the timeline of an artistic movement; for example, a timeline of American modernism might include an image of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks." Choose images that bring the time period into the clearest possible context.

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