Major events in the timeline of U.S. history include the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. These events defined the each period's generation of Americans.
The American Revolutionary War began in 1775, and over the course of the 14-year conflict, the United States declared its independence and staved off certain defeat after a disastrous loss during the Battle of New York and the harsh winter spent at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. With the military aid of France, the United States turned the tide and eventually accepted the surrender of General Cornwallis' troops during the Battle of Yorktown, effectively ending the war.
Following decades of tension between the northern free states and the southern pro-slavery states, South Carolina declared its secession from the Union in 1861 and states such as Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee followed. The next four years saw the bloodiest war in American history until the Confederate army surrendered to the Union army at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. During the epilogue of the conflict, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth in April 1865.
Although the slaves were freed during the Civil War, it was not until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s that African Americans found equal rights and an end to segregation. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, the movement led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.