A few weeks ago, I posted a list of over 200 of the most important events in American History. The reason why I created that list was because a reader asked if I could create a blank American history timeline. A LONG time ago, I created a blank work history timeline. It is still one of my favorite educational resources that I’ve ever put together. A blank United States history timeline sounded like a fantastic idea.
When I created the world history timeline all those years ago, I decided to break it up by world region. The reader that requested the American history timeline suggested rather than geographical region, I make divisions for type of events. As someone whose American history knowledge is a little weak, I decided to compile a list of American history events before I decided on my categories.
After going through various history references to create my list of the most significant events in American history, I decided on 6 categories: politics, economics, judicial system, conflicts, achievements, and other important events. “Politics” covers things like presidential elections and acts of Congress. “Economics” covers events like the Great Depression or the creation of the minimum wage. “Judicial system” events covers judicial decisions and other events having to do with the Supreme Court. “Conflicts” covers wars and battles. “Achievements” covers advancements and other successes of the human race. “Important events” is basically a catch-all for everything else.
Since there is not a lot of American history that is documented before European colonization, I decided to start my timeline at 1600. Since there is a lot of American history to document, I opted to only cover 10 years per page. To cover those events which happened before 1600, I created a page without dates for “Before 1600.” Note that if you choose to use my list of important events in American History, they are color-coded to match the timeline.
I also decided to create two different version of the timeline. Since I own and LOVE my binding machine (read my review here), I opted to bind mine along the short edge of the paper. Therefore, I initially created a landscape version of this timeline. What I really love about this format is that it gives you a 2-page spread that lets you view more of the timeline at once.
However, since not everyone has a binding machine, I figured most people will probably just put the pages in a 3 ring binder. Therefore, I created a vertical “portrait” version as well. The pages themselves are mainly the same except the cover and the “Before 1600” page. However, the file is formatted such that if you print choosing to “flip on the long edge,” the pages will be oriented correctly.
Feel free to choose the version below which best suits your needs.
Recommended Age Range: Elementary, Middle School, High School
Time Required: about 10 minutes to print and bind, less time for 3-ring binder
Cost: Free printable, under $2 in used supplies if binding, about $2-3 if using a 3-ring binder
- blank United States history timeline (horizontal version for binding or vertical version for 3-ring binder)
- binding machine or 1/2 inch 3 ring binder
- 1/4″ binding combs (only if binding)
- 2 binding covers (only if binding)
- Print out the blank United States history timeline. Choose the horizontal version if you will be binding it. Choose the vertical version if you will be placing it in a 3-ring binder.
- If you are binding, place the 1/4″ comb in the binding machine. Hole punch a clear cover using the binding machine and attach it to the comb. Hole punch about 12 pages at a time of the timeline and add those to the comb as well.
- Once all the pages have been added to the comb, add the second clear page as a backing. Remove from the binding machine.
- Use scissors to cut off the excess comb.
If you would prefer your timeline to stay “American History” instead of “United States History,” I’ve created some alternate covers as well.
Once you have your blank United States history timeline ready to go, have your student fill it in however best suits your purposes. If a child were studying American history, they could gradually fill it in as they learn.
Since our family will likely not spend an entire year on American history again, I opted to just go ahead and fill in everything. I used my List of Important Events in American History to create a document that my kids and I can use for reference. As their educator, I found it very helpful for just sorting out American history in my own mind.
I’m hoping sometime soon I can create a similar timeline for Modern History. Our blank world history timeline by region is great. However, the 100 years per page is insufficient once you reach about 1600 AD. If you would like to be notified when that timeline is available, please consider signing up for my newsletter.
Have fun studying American history with this blank United States history timeline!
History Activities for Kids
Best Books for Kids
Geography Learning Activities
I was also thinking of topics for our timeline, too, but I was thinking technology/science, art, social/cultural, politics … I like yours, too, though! And i still like having the other countries available to look at … Hmph. Now I’m not sure what to do! But, i am nearly ready to start accordion folding my 200 foot roll of paper into THE EPIC TIMELINE OF ALL HISTORY! I’m afraid of this project. Either it doesn’t work and 200 feet of paper gets recycled, or it does and now I’ve got an epic timeline to manage! O.o
That IS going to be epic! In addition to our Book of Centuries, we also use Pandia Press’s wall timeline which is probably only 15 to 20 feet total. They have 7 categories: Art/Architecture and Literature, Men and Women, General Events, Inventions and Discoveries, Wars and Conflicts, and Treaties/Agreements. On our Pandia timeline, Men/Women and General Events are by far the dominant categories. On this U.S. timeline that I made, at least for the events that I’ve chosen to include, Politics and Conflicts are dominant. Economics and the Judicial System are particularly light. I had to specifically look for extra events to include so they didn’t seem so empty. I did consider putting Science & Technology and The Arts as two separate categories, but I found if I just combined them and listed them all under Achievements, I still didn’t have a problem with running out of space. I did really struggle with whether I should include a Social section to include things like the Civil Rights Movement, but there were few enough events of that type that I opted to just put them under my miscellaneous, catch-all Important Events category. Good luck with your timeline! I think it sounds so cool and I’m sure your kids will learn a ton!