Act of Toleration
Act proposed by Cecilius Calvert (Lord Baltimore) to allow for
toleration of both Protestants and Catholics in Maryland.
Act loosening the requirements for church membership in Puritan Massachusetts. The act was passed in response to a drop in church attendance amongst second generation Puritans.
Proclamation of 1763
Act passed by British Parliament restricting colonial settlement to land east of the Appalachian Mountains. The act was passed in response to clashes with Indians (notably Pontiac's War) as colonists moved west into land acquired from France after the French and Indian War.
Direct Tax placed on the American colonies by British Parliament. The act required colonists to purchase stamps for a variety of printed material. The uproar over the act led to the _________ Congress, one of the first organized protests of British taxation policy.
Series of revenue-producing taxes placed on the American colonies by Britain in an attempt to pay for continued occupation of the colonies by British troops. The act taxed items like lead, paint, glass, paper, and tea.
Series of four acts designed to punish the city of Boston for the damage caused by the Boston Tea Party. The British refer to the acts as the "Coercive Acts".
While not intended as such, many American colonists considered this to be one of the Intolerable Acts. The act established Catholicism as the official religion of Quebec, and expanded Quebec to include territory that today makes up Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Passed by the Article of Confederation Congress, this act established an orderly method for surveying and selling western land of the early U.S. Notably, the act divided the land into six square mile "townships" that were further subdivided into homesteads.
Also passed by the Articles of Confederation Congress, this act established the method by which new territory could join the union as states.
Alien and Sedition Acts
A series of acts sponsored by the Federalists imposing severe restrictions on aliens out of fear of treason. The acts were an attempt to limit the power of Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party.
Essentially forbade US maritime trade with foreign nations. This was signed by Jefferson in order to maintain American neutrality during the Napoleonic Wars. It was opposed by New England Federalists.
Repealed the Embargo Act with regards to all nations except France and Britain.
Also known as the Compromise of 1820, it admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state, thus preserving sectional balance. It also set the southern border of Missouri (36° 30') as the future border between slave and free states. This provision was ruled unconstitutional by the Dred Scott decision of 1857.
Tariff of 1828
Also known as the "Tariff of Abominations", opposition to this act led to the Nullification Crisis, the resignation of John C. Calhoun as VP, and the writing of the South Carolina Exposition and Protest.
Indian Removal Act
Andrew Jackson's forcible removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from the South (particularly the Cherokee from Georgia). Most of the Indians were removed via the Trail of Tears. The act was a direct response to the 1828 case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and was later challenged with the 1832 case of Worcester v. Georgia.
Compromise of 1850
Series of five laws intended to compromise on the issue of slavery in the lands acquired after the Mexican War. California was admitted as a free state, the slave trade was ended in the District of Columbia, and the North agreed to a stricter Fugitive Slave Law.
Provided for the admission of Kansas and Nebraska with or without slavery; essentially repealed the Missouri Compromise (1820).
Provided for the distribution of western lands to US citizens.
Citizens were given 160 acres of free land in exchange for a pledge to "improve" the land within five years.
Radical Reconstruction plan passed by Congressional Republicans but later vetoed by Lincoln. The plan called for 50% of citizens of reconstructed states to take an Ironclad Oath swearing that they never supported the Confederacy. This was a challenge to Lincoln's more lenient 10% Plan.
Tenure of Office Act
Prohibited the president from removing officials properly appointed by the Senate. Andrew Johnson violated this by firing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, leading to his impeachment.
Required the Treasury to monthly, limited purchases of silver for coinage. Congress was required to purchase between $2 and $4 Million worth of silver. The act was later replaced by the 1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act.
Chinese Exclusion Act
A reversal of the 1868 Burlingame Treaty, this act prohibited the immigration from China.
Provided for the objective appointment of civil service positions on the basis of merit. It was sparked by the assassination of James Garfield by disappointed office seeker Charles Guiteau.
Interstate Commerce Act
Created the Interstate Commerce Commission and forced all railway charges to be fair and reasonable. The act's passage was a response to protests from farmer's groups like The Grange.
Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Authorized the federal government to dissolve a trust. The act was weak, and was even used to restrict the power of labor unions. It was strengthened by the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.
Sherman Silver Purchase Act
Replaced the Bland-Allison Act; required the treasury to purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver at market value per month.
Established the government of the newly acquired territory of Puerto Rico. The Insular Cases declared that citizenship was not automatically bestowed upon people in newly acquired territories, and it wasn't until the 1917 Jones Act that Puerto Ricans gained U.S. citizenship.
Meat Inspection Act
Aimed to eliminate the dangerous and unsanitary conditions in the meat-packing industry. This was a direct response to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
Clayton Anti-Trust Act
Strengthened the Sherman Antitrust Act, was more specific as to what actions constituted a "trust". Samuel Gompers called the act the "Magna Carta of organized labor" because it removed the restrictions on labor unions put into place by the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Provided severe penalties for persons found guilty of aiding the enemy or refusal to serve in the US military. Charles Schenck's violation of this law was the subject of the 1919 case of Schenck v. US.
Provided for the enforcement of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition).
Adjusted Compensation Act
Provided for the payment of adjusted compensation (bonus) to all veterans of WWI. It was payment of this bonus that the Bonus Army was after when they marched on Washington in 1931.
Sharp increase of tariff rates on more than 20,000 imported goods. President Hoover thought that this would alleviate the pains of the Great Depression, but most economists blame it with sinking the U.S. deeper into the Depression.
Reconstruction Finance Corporation
An attempt by Herbert Hoover to address the problems of the Great Depression by giving billions of dollars in loans to banks and businesses. The act was criticized because it did not give direct relief to the poor.
Also known as the "Anti-Injunction Act", it barred federal courts from issuing injunctions to halt labor disputes. The act also outlawed the "yellow-dog contract".
National Industrial Recovery Act
Created the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and the Public Works Administration (PWA). It was later ruled unconstitutional in the 1935 case of Schecter Poultry v. U.S.
Federal Emergency Relief Act
Created the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) to aid the states through grants.
Created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for
guaranteeing individual bank deposits.
Also known as the National Labor Relations Act, created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Enabled any country whose defense is deemed necessary to the nation to acquire arms and other war supplies from the US. This arrangement to help the UK during the Battle of Britain followed the earlier "Cash and Carry" and Destroyers for Bases" programs.
Passed over Truman's veto, this act heavily restricted the actions of Unions including banning the "closed shop" and forbidding union contributions to political campaigns. Allowed the federal government to apply for injunctions to stop strikes.
National Security Act
Combined all military departments into a single department, Defense. James Forrestal was the first Secretary of Defense.
Civil Rights Act
Among other provisions, it outlawed discrimination in employment on the basis of race, religion, or sex. It created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate claims of discrimination.
Voting Rights Act
Eliminated literacy and other tests as requirements for voting.
Occupational Safety and Health Act
It mandated that employers provide employment "free from recognized hazards to employees".
War Powers Act
Set a sixty day limit on the presidential commitment of troops to hostilities abroad without Congressional approval. Passed over Nixon's veto, the act is considered by many to be a reaction to LBJ's actions with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
Required Congress to balance the budget.
Regulates campaign financing. Specifically, it targets "soft money" contributions and "issue ads" not financed by a specific candidate.