Decade By Decade, Timelines of the 1800s

Photograph of Lincoln's second inaugural address by Alexander Gardner
Lincoln was photographed by Alexander Gardner while delivering his second inaugural address. Library of Congress

Below you'll find a quick summary of the most important events by decade in the 1800s. Click on this links for more information.


Thomas Jefferson was in the White House, Lewis and Clark were heading west, a rebellion broke out in Ireland, Burr and Hamilton fought their duel, and Washington Irving kicked off American literature. Learn about the 1800s decade.


The National Road made westward movement possible, Tecumseh organized Native Americans, the British burned the White House and the Capitol, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, and Andrew Jackson became an American hero at the Battle of New Orleans. Learn about the 1810s.


The Missouri Compromise held the Union together, very bitter elections picked American presidents, the Erie Canal made New York the Empire State, Andrew Jackson's inaugural party nearly wrecked the White House, and Scotland Yard came into being. Learn about the 1820s.


A steam locomotive raced a horse, Andrew Jackson beat up the man who tried to assassinate him, Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands, a siege at the Alamo became legendary, and Queen Victoria began her lengthy reign. Learn about the 1830s.


Queen Victoria married the love of her life, "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" won an American election, the British suffered a disaster in Afghanistan, Ireland was ravaged by the Great Famine, and Gold Fever struck California. Learn about the 1840s.


Compromises over slavery delayed the Civil War, empires clashed in the Crimean War, Lincoln debated Douglas, and John Brown's raid made war in America seem much more likely. Learn about the 1850s.


The United States was torn by the Civil War, President Lincoln was assassinated, novelist Benjamin Disraeli became Britain's prime minister, John Muir arrived in Yosemite Valley, and hero of the Civil War Ulysses S. Grant became president of the United States. Learn about the 1860s.


Bismarck provoked the Franco-Prussian War, Yellowstone became the first National Park, Stanley found Livingstone, Boss Tweed went to jail, Custer met his end at the Little Bighorn, and the 1876 presidential election was most likely stolen. Learn about the 1870s.


The Great Game was played out in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, Gladstone became prime minister, the Brooklyn Bridge opened with a huge celebration (and a disaster soon after), Krakatoa erupted, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor, and the Johnstown Flood shocked the nation. Learn about the 1880s.


Lizzie Borden was charged with an ax murder, Yosemite became a National Park, the Panic of 1893 devastated the economy, the first modern Olympics were held in Greece,and Teddy Roosevelt shook up New York City before charging up San Juan Hill. Learn about the 1890s.