Events from the year 1883 in the United States.
- President: Chester A. Arthur (R-New York)
- Vice President: vacant
- Chief Justice: Morrison Waite (Ohio)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: J. Warren Keifer (R-Ohio) (until March 4), John G. Carlisle (D-Kentucky) (starting December 3)
- Congress: 47th (until March 4), 48th (starting March 4)
- January 10 – A fire at the Newhall Hotel in Milwaukee kills 73 people.
- January 16 – The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, reforming the United States civil service with the aim to end the spoils system, becomes law.
- January 19 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires begins service in Roselle, New Jersey (it was built by Thomas Edison).
- February 23 – Alabama becomes the first U.S. state to enact an antitrust law.
- February 28 – The first vaudeville theater is opened, in Boston, Massachusetts.
- March –
- April 13 – Prospector Alferd Packer convicted of manslaughter after being accused of cannibalism.
- April 30 – Governor of the State of New York Grover Cleveland signs legislation that leads to the creation of Niagara Falls State Park, the country's first state park.
- May 24 – Brooklyn Bridge is opened to traffic after 13 years of construction.
- May 30 – In New York City, a rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge is going to collapse causes a stampede which crushes 12 people.
- July 4 – The world's first rodeo is held in Pecos, Texas.
- September 5 – Mary F. Hoyt becomes the first woman appointed to the U.S. federal civil service (and the second person appointed by examination (in which she came top) instituted under the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act) when she becomes a clerk in the Bank Redemption Agency of the Department of the Treasury.
- September 15 – The University of Texas at Austin opens to students.
- September 29 – A consortium of flour mill operators in Minneapolis, Minnesota, forms the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad as a means to get their product to the Great Lakes ports but avoid the high tariffs of Chicago.
- October 15 – The Supreme Court of the United States declares part of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to be unconstitutional, since the Court allows private individuals and corporations to discriminate based on race.
- November 3 –
- November 18 – U.S. and Canadian railroads institute 5 standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.
- November 28 – Whitman College is chartered as a 4-year college in Walla Walla, Washington.
- The Wolf's Head Society (known as The Third Society until 1888) is founded at Yale University.
- Duncan, Arizona is founded.
- A depression starts in Seattle, United States.
- The Capital Area Humane Society of Ohio was founded.
- September 27 – The Boston Red Stockings clinch their First National League pennant with a 4–1 win over the Cleveland Blues.
- January 25 – Homer Bone, U.S. Senator from Washington from 1933 to 1944 (died 1970)
- March 19 – Joseph Stilwell, general (died 1946)
- April 2 – Pearl Doles Bell, film scenarist, novelist and editor (died 1968)
- April 12 – Imogen Cunningham, photographer (died 1976)
- May 23 – Douglas Fairbanks, swashbuckling silent film actor (died 1939)
- June 7 – Sylvanus Morley, Mayanist (died 1948)
- June 25 – Paul Bartholomew, architect (died 1973)
- July 4 – Rube Goldberg, cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor (died 1970)
- April 3 – Walter Walker, U.S. Senator from Colorado in 1932 (died 1956)
- November 9 – Charles Demuth, painter (died 1935)
- December 13 – Belle da Costa Greene, librarian (died 1950)
- December 19 – Barry Byrne, architect (died 1967)
- January 10 – Samuel Mudd, physician imprisoned for conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (born 1833)
- January 12 – Clark Mills, sculptor (born 1810)
- January 13 – Webster Wagner, inventor, manufacturer and politician (born 1817)
- February 16 – Stephen P. Hempstead, 2nd Governor of Iowa from 1850 to 1854 (born 1812)
- March 4 – Alexander H. Stephens, only Vice President of the Confederate States of America (born 1812)
- March 15 – Henry C. Wayne, U.S. Army officer, Confederate brigadier general (born 1815)
- March 28 – Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, general and railroad executive (born 1807)
- April 4 – Peter Cooper, industrialist, inventor, philanthropist and candidate for President of the U.S. (born 1791)
- April 6 – Benjamin Wright Raymond, politician, twice mayor of Chicago (born 1801)
- April 28 – William M. Browne, politician and newsman, Acting Confederate States Secretary of State in 1862 (born 1823 in Ireland)
- May 15 – Josiah Gorgas, Northern-born Confederate general (born 1818)
- June 14
- July 15 – General Tom Thumb, dwarf performer (born 1838)
- July 22 – Edward Ord, engineer and U.S. Army officer who saw action in the Seminole War, the Indian Wars and the American Civil War (born 1818)
- July 23 – Ginery Twichell, transportation manager and politician (born 1811)
- July 24 – Thomas Swann, politician and president of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from 1847 to 1853 (born 1809)
- July 27 – Montgomery Blair, politician and lawyer (born 1813)
- September 16 – Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., actor and theatre manager (born 1821)
- October 4 – Henry Farnam, surveyor, railroad president and philanthropist (born 1809)
- October 22 – Thomas Mayne Reid, novelist (born 1818 in Ireland)
- November 20 – Augustus C. Dodge, U.S. Senator from Iowa from 1848 to 1855 (born 1812)
- November 24 – Albert Fitch Bellows, landscape painter (born 1829)
- November 26 – Sojourner Truth, African American abolitionist and women's rights activist (born c. 1797)
- December 27 – Andrew A. Humphreys, general and civil engineer (born 1810)
- Mary S. B. Shindler, poet (born 1810)
- Media related to 1883 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons