There are 2 times that I know of where the US may have defaulted on it's debt.
There was a time during the war of 1812 where soldiers were not getting paid
Once, the young nation had a dramatic excuse: The Treasury was empty,
the White House and Capitol were charred ruins, even the troops
fighting the War of 1812 weren't getting paid.
at least not immediately
the Treasury was unable to move enough precious metal to service its
debt, and missed interest payments on bonds. Boston bondholders,
according to Wayne State College history professor Don Hickey, were
paid off in short-term interest-bearing treasury notes or more bonds.
There was another time in 1979 where technical difficulties presumably resulted in some bills not getting paid on time.
A second time, in 1979, was a back-office glitch that ended up costing
taxpayers billions of dollars. The Treasury Department blamed the
mishap on a crush of paperwork partly caused by lawmakers who — this
will sound familiar — bickered too long before raising the nation's
which, also was payed off
This default was temporary. Treasury did pay these T-bills after a
short delay. But it balked at paying additional interest to cover the
period of delay. According to Zivney and Marcus, it required both
legal arm twisting and new legislation before Treasury made all
investors whole for that additional interest.