What Are the Different Periods of American History?

The history of the United States is a rich and fascinating topic. From the first Native American inhabitants to modern-day America, there are many periods of American history that have shaped the country into what it is today. In this article, we will explore some of the different periods of American history.

The Pre-Columbian Period

The pre-Columbian period refers to the time before Christopher Columbus arrived in America in 1492. This period spans thousands of years and includes many different cultures and civilizations. Some of the most well-known were the Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations.

During this time, Native Americans lived off the land and developed their own unique cultures and traditions. They hunted, fished, and farmed to survive. They also built impressive structures such as pyramids and temples.

The Colonial Period

The colonial period began in 1607 with the founding of Jamestown, Virginia. During this time, European powers such as Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal established colonies in America for economic gain.

The colonists brought with them their own cultures and traditions which heavily influenced American culture today. They brought Christianity which became a dominant religion in America.

The Revolutionary Period

The Revolutionary Period began in 1765 with protests against British taxation policies. The colonists believed that they should not be taxed without representation in Parliament.

This led to a series of events that culminated in the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. This document declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to British rule.

The Civil War

The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 between the northern states (Union) and southern states (Confederacy). The main issue at stake was slavery – the southern states wanted to keep slavery legal while northern states wanted it abolished.

The Union was victorious and slavery was abolished. This period marked a turning point in American history and paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution began in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It brought about many changes to American society. Factories were built which led to mass production of goods.

This period also saw the growth of cities as people moved from rural areas to urban areas in search of work. The industrial revolution led to many technological advancements such as the steam engine and electricity.

The Modern Era

The modern era began after World War II in 1945. This period saw America become a superpower with a strong economy, military, and political influence around the world.

During this time, there were also many social movements such as the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Rights Movement, and Environmental Movement.


In conclusion, there have been many different periods of American history that have shaped the country into what it is today. From the pre-Columbian period to modern-day America, each period has its own unique characteristics and contributions to American culture. By understanding these different periods of history, we can gain a deeper appreciation for how America came to be what it is today.