Movement dedicated the abolition of slavery that existed primarily in the North in years leading up to the Civil War; had both white and black members.
Term used to describe America's consumer culture of the 1920s, when advertising began to influence the choices of purchasers.
Policies that began in the 1970s to make up for the past discrimination and give minorities and women advantages in applying for certain jobs and in applying for admission to certain universities.
Term used by economist John Kenneth Galbraith to describe the American economy in the 1950s, during which time many Americans became enraptured with appliances and homes in the suburbs.
Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
Established by the Agricultural Act of 1932, a New Deal bureau designed to restore economic position of farmers by paying them not to farm goods that were being overproduced.
Agricultural Marketing Act
1929 act championed by Herbert Hoover that authorized the lending of federal money to farmer's cooperatives to buy crops to keep them from the oversaturated market; program hampered by lack of adequate federal financial support.
1754 meeting of representatives of seven colonies to coordinate their efforts against French and Native-American threats in the Western frontier regions.
Alien and Sedition Acts
Proposed and supported by John Adams, gave the president the power to expel aliens deemed "dangers to the country's well-being" and outlawed publication and public pronouncement of "false, scandalous, and malicious" statements about the government.
Coalition of nations that opposed Germany, Italy, and Japan in World War II; led by England, the Soviet Union, and the United States. In World War I, the coalition consisted of France, Russia, and Great Britain. This group opposed the Central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy).
America First Committee
Isolationist group in America that insisted that America stay out of World War II; held rallies from 1939 to 1941; argued that affairs in Europe should be settled by Europeans and not Americans and stated that the Soviet Union was a greater eventual threat than Nazi Germany.
American Colonization Society
Formed in 1817, stated that the best way to end the slavery problem in the United States was for blacks to emigrate to Africa; by 1822 a few American blacks emigrated to Liberia. Organization's views were later rejected by more abolitionists.
American Federation of Labor (AFL)
National labor union founded by Samuel Gompers in 1886; original goal was to organize skilled workers by craft. Merged with Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1955.
American Indian Movement (AIM)
Native-American organization founded in 1968 to protest government policies and injustices suffered by Native Americans; in 1973 organized armed occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
American Liberty League
Formed in 1934 by anti-New Deal politicians and business leaders to oppose policies of Franklin Roosevelt; stated that New Deal policies brought America closer to fascism.
Economic plan promoted by Speaker of the House Henry Clay in years following the War of 1812; promoted vigorous growth of the American economy and the use of protective tariffs to encourage Americans to buy more domestic goods.
Anaconda Copper Company
Large mining syndicate typical of many companies involved in mining in the western United States in the 1860s and 1870s; used heavy machinery and professional engineers. Many prospectors who found gold, silver, or copper sold their claims to companies such as this.
Critical component of initial Union plans to with the Civil War; called for capture of critical Southern ports and eventual control of the Mississippi River, which would create major economic and strategic difficulties for the Confederacy.
Group that opposed the ratification of the proposed Constitution of the United States in 1787; many feared that strong central government would remove the processes of government "from the people" and replicate the excesses of the British monarchy.
Organization formed in 1898 to oppose American annexation of the Philippines and American imperialism in general; focused the public on the potential financial, military, and especially moral costs of imperialism.
Organization founded in 1893 that increased public awareness of the social effects of alcohol on society; supported politicians who favored prohibition and promoted statewide referendums in Western and Southern states to ban alcohol.
In the courthouse of this Virginia city Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865.
1954 televised hearings on charges that Senator Joseph McCarthy was unfairly tarnishing the United States Army with charges of communist infiltration into the armed forces; hearings were the beginning of the end for McCarthy, whose bullying tactics were repeatedly demonstrated.
Articles of Confederation
Ratified in 1781, this document established the first official government of the United States; allowed much power to remain in the states, with the federal government possessing only limited powers. Articles replaced by the Constitution in 1788.
Instrument that enabled navigators to calculate their latitude using the sun and the stars; allowed more accuracy in plotting routes during the Age of Discovery.
Battle of the Atlantic
Began in spring 1941 with the sinking of an American merchant vessel by a German submarine. Armed conflict between warships of American and Germany took place in September of 1941; American merchant vessels were armed by 1942.
Fall 1941 agreement between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, stating that America and Great Britain would support a postwar world based on self-determination and would endorse a world body to ensure "general security"; U.S. agreement to convoy merchant ships across part of Atlantic inevitably drew America closer to conflict with Germany.
Advanced Indian society located in central Mexico; conquered by Spanish conquistador Cortes. The defeat of the Aztecs was hastened by smallpox brought to Mexico by the Spanish.
Large increase in birthrate in United States that began in 1945 and lasted until 1962; new and larger families fueled the move to suburbia that occurred in the 1950s and produced the "youth culture" that would become crucial in the 1960s.
Crisis that occurred when William Howard Taft was president, further distancing him from Progressive supporters of Theodore Roosevelt. Richard Ballinger, Taft's Secretary of the Interior, allowed private businessmen to purchase large amounts of public land in Alaska; Forest Service head Gifford Pinchot (a Roosevelt supporter) protested to Congress and was fired by Taft.
Political battles surrounding the attempt by President Andrew Jackson to greatly reduce the power of the Second Bank of the United States; Jackson claimed the bank was designed to serve special interests in America and not the common people.
Bataan Death March
Forced march of nearly 75,000 American and Filipino soldiers captured by the Japanese from the Bataan Peninsula in early May 1942; over 10,000 soldiers died during this one-week ordeal.
Bay of Pigs
Failed 1961 invasion of Cuba by United States-supported anti-Castro refugees designed to topple Castro from power; prestige of the Unites States, and of the newly elected president, John Kennedy, was damaged by this failed coup attempt.
Bear Flag Republic
Declaring independence from Mexican control, this republic was declared in 1846 by American settlers living in California; this political act was part of a larger American political and military strategy to wrest Texas and California from Mexico.
American and British pilots flew in food and fuel to West Berlin during late 1948 and early 1949 because Soviet Union and East Germany blockaded other access to West Berlin (which was located in East Germany); Stalin ended this blockade in May 1949. Airlift demonstrated American commitment to protecting Western allies in Europe during the early Cold War period.
Concrete structure build in 1961 by Soviets and East Germany physically dividing East and West Berlin; to many in the West, the Wall was symbolic of communist repression in the Cold War era. The wall was finally torn down in 1989.
First produced in 1856 in converter (furnace) invented by Henry Bessemer; was much more durable and harder than iron. Steel was a critical commodity in the Second Industrial Revolution.
No historical writing can be totally objective; observers are always influenced by either conscious or unconscious bias. Conscious bias might be a flattering biography of Lincoln written by an abolitionist in 1865, or an unflattering biography of Lincoln written by a southerner in the same year. Unconscious bias may be created by one's education, predispositions toward the subject, or even one's race or gender.
A legislative structure consisting of two houses, this was adopted by the authors of the U.S. Constitution; membership of the states in one house (the House of Representatives) is determined by the population, while in the other house (the Senate) all states have equal representation.
Bill of Rights
Added to the Constitution in 1791, the first 10 amendments protected freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms, and other basic rights of American citizens.
Birth of a Nation
Epic movie released in 1915 by director D.W. Griffith; portrayed the Reconstruction as a period when Southern blacks threatened basic American values, which the Ku Klux Klan tried to protect; film was lauded by many, including President Woodrow Wilson.
Laws adopted by the Southern states in the Reconstruction era that greatly limited the freedom of Southern blacks; in several states blacks could not move, own land, or do anything but farm.
Prevented persons accused of being communists from getting work in entertainment and other industries during the period of anticommunist fervor of the late 1940s and early 1950s; some entertainers waited until the mid-1960s before working publicly again.
Spurred by Malcolm X and other black leaders, a call for black pride and advancement without the help of whites; this appeared to be a repudiation of the calls for peaceful integration urged by Martin Luther King. Race riots in Northern cities in mid-1960s were at least partially fueled by supporters of black nationalism.
Group originally founded in Oakland, California, to protect blacks from police harassment; promoted militant black power; also ran social programs in several California cities. Founded by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.
Movement of black Americans in the mid-1960s that emphasized pride in racial heritage and black economic and political self-reliance; term coined by black civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael.
As a result of Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, residents of Kansas territory could decide if territory would allow slavery or not; as a result, both pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups flooded settlers into Kansas territory. Much violence followed very disputed elections in 1855.
Large farms that came to dominate agricultural life in much of the West in the late 1800s; instead of plots farmed by yeoman farmers, large amounts of machinery were used, and workers were hired laborers, often performing only specific tasks (similar to work in a factory).
Group of nearly 17,000 veterans who marched on Washington in May 1932 to demand the military bonuses they had been promised; this group was eventually driven from their camp city by the United States Army. This action increased the public perception that the Hoover administration cared little about the poor.
Conflict between British soldiers and Boston civilians on March 5, 1770; after civilians threw rocks and snowballs at the soldiers, the soldiers opened fire, killing five and wounding six.
Boston Tea Party
In response to the Tea Act and additional British taxes on tea, Boston radicals disguised as Native Americans threw nearly 350 chests of tea into Boston harbor on December 16, 1773.
Brown v. Board of Education
1954 Supreme Court decision that threw out the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that schools could be "separate but equal"; the ruling began the long and painful process of school desegregation in the South and other parts of America.
Battle of the Bulge
December 1944 German attack that was the last major offensive by the Axis powers in World War II; Germans managed to push forward into Belgium but were then driven back. Attack was costly to the Germans in terms of material and manpower.
Bull Moose party
Name given to the Progressive party in the 1912 presidential campaign; Bull Moose candidate ex-president Theodore Roosevelt ran against incumbent president William Howard Taft and Democrat Woodrow Wilson, with Wilson emerging victorious.
First Battle of Bull Run
July 21, 1861 Confederate victory over Union forces, which ended in Union forces fleeting in disarray toward Washington; this battle convinced Lincoln and others in the North that victory over the Confederates would not be as easy as they initially thought.
Second Battle of Bull Run
Decisive victory by General Robert E. Lee and Confederate forces over the Union army in August 1862.
Battle of Bunker Hill
June 1775 British attack on colonial forces at Breed's Hill outside Boston; despite frightful losses, the British emerged victorious in this battle.
Protestant faith that preached salvation "by faith alone" and predestination; desire by Calvinists in England to create a "pure church" in England was only partially successful, thus causing Calvinist Puritans to come to the New World starting in 1620.
Camp David Accords
Treaty between Egypt and Israel brokered by President Jimmy Carter and signed in early 1979; Israel agreed to give back territory in the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, while Egypt agreed to recognize Israel's right to exist as a nation.
Term used by Southerners to mock Northerners who came to the South to gain either financially or politically during the Reconstruction era.
The alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria that opposed England, France, Russia, and later the United States in World War I.
Chancellor of the Exchequer
During the era prior to and during the Revolutionary War, this was the bead of the department in the British government that issued and collected taxes; many acts issued by the Chancellor of the Exchequer created great resentment in the American colonies.
Battle of Chancellorsville
Brilliant Confederate attack on Union forces led by Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee on May 2 to 3, 1863; Union defeat led to great pessimism in the North and convinced many in the South that victory over the North was indeed possible.
Battle of Chateau-Thierry
One of the first 1918 World War I battles where soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force fought and suffered severe casualties.
Speech made by Richard Nixon on national television on September 23, 1952, where he defended himself against charges that right supporters had set up a special expense account for his use; by the speech Nixon saved his spot on the 1952 Republican ticket (he was running for vice president, with Eisenhower running for president) and saved his political career.
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
1831 Supreme Court case in which the Cherokee tribe claimed that Georgia had no right to enforce laws in Cherokee territory, since Cherokees were a sovereign nation; ruling by John Marshall stated that Cherokees were a "domestic dependent nation" and had no right to appeal in federal court.
Church of England
Also called the Anglican church, this was the Protestant church established by King Henry VIII; religious radicals desired a "purer" church that was allowed by monarchs of the early seventeenth century, causing some to leave for the Americas.
In reaction to the 1767 Townshend Acts, the Massachusetts assembly circulated a letter to the other colonies, asking that they work together and jointly issue a petition of protest. Strong-willed response of British authorities to the letter influenced the colonial assemblies to work together on a close basis.
Civil Rights Act of 1866
Act that struck down Black Codes and defined the rights of all citizens; also stated that the federal government could act when civil rights were violated at the state level. Passed by Congress over the veto of President Andrew Johnson.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
key piece of civil rights legislation that made discrimination of the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin illegal; segregation in public restrooms, bus stations, and other public facilities also was declared illegal.
Civil Service Commission
Created by the Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883, this body was in charge of testing applicants and assigning them to appropriate government jobs; filling jobs on the basis of merit replaced the spoils system, in which government jobs were given as rewards for political service.
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
New Deal program that began in 1933, putting nearly 3 million young men to work; workers were paid little, but worked on conservation projects and maintaining beaches and parks. CCC program for young women began in 1937.
Clayton Antitrust Act
1914 act designed to strengthen the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890; certain activities previously committed by the big businesses, such as not allowing unions in factories and not allowing strikes, were declared illegal.
Period between 1945 and 1991 of near-continuous struggle between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies; Cold War tensions were made even more intense by the existence of the atomic bomb.
Existed in all of the British colonies in America; House of Burgesses in Virginia was the first one. Members of colonial assemblies were almost always members of the upper classes of colonial society.
Committee on Public Information
Created by Woodrow Wilson during World War I to mobilize public opinion for the war, this was the most intensive use of propaganda until that time by the United States. The image of "Uncle Same" was created for this propaganda campaign.
Committees of Correspondence
First existed in Massachusetts, and eventually in all of the colonies; leaders of resistance to British rule listed their grievances against the British and circulated them to all of the towns of the colony.
Very popular 1776 publication in the colonies written by Englishman Thomas Paine, who had come to America in 1774; repudiated the entire concept of government by monarchy. After publication of this document, public sentiment in the colonies turned decisively toward a desire for independence.
Compromise of 1850
Complex agreement that temporarily lessened tensions between Northern and Southern political leader, and prevented a possible secession crisis; to appease the South, the Fugitive Slave Act was strengthened; to appease the North, California entered the Union as a free state.
Compromise of 1877
Political arrangement that ended the contested presidential election of 1876. Representatives of Southern states agreed not to oppose the official election of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes as president despite massive election irregularities. In return, the Union arm stopped enforcing Reconstruction legislation in the South, thus ending Reconstruction.
Battle of Concord
Occurred on April 19, 1775, between British regulars and Massachusetts militiamen. Almost 275 British soldiers were wounded or died; as a result, a wider conflict between the colonies and the British became much more probable.
Confederate States of America
Eventually made up of 11 former states with Jefferson Davis as its first and only president. Was unable to defeat the North because of lack of railroad lines, lack of industry, and an inability to get European nations to support their cause.
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)
Group of unions that broke from the AFL in 1938 and organize effective union drives in automobile and rubber industries; supported sit-down strikes in major rubber plants. Reaffiliated with the AFL in 1955.
Getting recruits for military service using a draft; this method was used by the American government in all of the wars of the twentieth century. Conscription was viewed most negatively during the Vietnam War.
Many Americans in the 1950s became infatuated with all of the new products produced by technology and went out and purchased more than any prior generation; consumer tastes of the decade were largely dictated by advertising and television.
Formulated by George Kennan, a policy whereby the United States would forcibly stop communist aggression whenever and wherever it occurred; containment was the dominant American policy of the Cold War era, and forced America to become involved in foreign conflicts such as Vietnam.
Soldiers in the "American" army commanded by George Washington in the Revolutionary War; victory at the Battle of Trenton on December 16, 1776, did much to raise the morale of the soldiers (and convince many of them to reenlist). Also a term used for paper money printed in 1781 that was soon made worthless by inflation.
Contract with America
1994 pledge by Republican candidates for House of Representatives; led by Newt Gingrich, candidates promised to support term limits, balancing the budget, and lessening the size of the federal government. In 1994 Congressional elections, Republicans won both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years.
System used to protect American ships carrying materials to Great Britain in 1940 and 1941; merchant ships were protected by American warships. Firing took place between these ships and German submarines, with American losses. Also used in World War I by the Navy to allow American shipping to Europe.
Democrats in Congress in the first years of the Civil War who opposed Abraham Lincoln and the North's attack on the South, claiming that the war would result in massive numbers of freed slaves entering the North and a total disruption of the Northern economy.
Battle of the Coral Sea
May 1942 American naval victory over the Japanese; prevented Japanese from attacking Australia. First naval battle where losses on both sides came almost exclusively from bombing from airplanes.
Youth of the 1960s who espoused a lifestyle encompassing drug use, free love, and a rejection of adult authority; actual "hippies" were never more than a small percentage of young people.
Supporters of Ohio Populist Jacob Coxey who in 1894 marched on Washington, demanded that the government create jobs for the unemployed; although this group had no effect whatsoever on policy, it did demonstrate the social and economic impact of the Panic of 1893.
Belief in the Biblical account of the origin of the universe and the origin of man; believers in creationism and believers in evolution both had their day in court during the 1925 Scopes Trial.
1860 compromise proposal on the slavery issue designed to defuse tension between North and South; would have allowed slavery to continue in the South and would have denied Congress the power to regulate interstate slave trade. On the advice of newly elected President Lincoln, Republicans in Congress voted against it.
From these attempts to recapture the Holy Land, Europeans acquired an appreciation of the benefits of overseas expansion and an appreciation of the economic benefits of slavery.
Cuban Missile Crisis
1962 conflict between the Unites States and the Soviet Union over Soviet missiles discovered in Cuba; Soviets eventually removed missiles under American pressure. Crisis was perhaps the closest the world came to armed conflict in the Cold War era.
1764 British act forbidding the American colonies to issue paper money as legal tender, acct was repealed in 1773 by the British as an effort to ease tensions between themselves and the colonies.
dark horse candidate
A candidate for office with little support before the beginning of the nomination process; James K. Polk was the first dark horse candidate for president in 1844.
1887 act designed to break up Native American tribes, offered Native American families 160 acres of farmland or 320 acres of land for grazing. Large amounts of tribal lands were not claimed by Native Americans, and thus were purchased by land speculators.
Declaration of Neutrality
Issued by President Woodrow Wilson after the outbreak of World War I in Europe in 1914, stating that the United States would maintain normal relations with and continue to trade with both sides in the conflict; factors including submarine warfare made it difficult for America to maintain this policy. Also declared by George Washington in 1793 to allow American merchants to trade with those on both sides of the French Revolution.
Declaration of Rights and Grievances
1774 measure adopted by the First Continental Congress, stating that Parliament had some rights to regulate colonial trade with Britain, but that Parliament did not have the right to tax the colonies without their consent.
1766 British law stating that the Parliament had absolute right to tax the colonies as they saw fit and to make laws that would be enacted in the colonies. Ironically, issued at the same time as the repeal of the Stamp Act.
Economic policy where government spends money that it "doesn't have," thus creating a budget deficit. Although "conventional" economic theory disapproves of this, it is commonplace during times of crisis or war (e.g., the New Deal; post-September 11, 2001).
Had its birth during the candidacy of Andrew Jackson; originally drew its principles from Thomas Jefferson and advocated limited government. In modern times many Democrats favor domestic programs that a larger, more powerful government allows.
Believed in the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote of the benefits of a limited government and of a society dominated by the values of the yeoman farmer. Opposed to the Federalists, who wanted a strong national state and a society dominated by commercial interests.
The lessening of tensions between nations. A policy of détente between the United States and the Soviet Union and Communist China began during the presidency of Richard Nixon; the architect of policy was National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
1954 victory of Vietnamese forces over the French, causing the French to leave Vietnam and all of Indochina; Geneva Peace Accords that followed established North and South Vietnam.
Progressive-era reform adopted by some states that allowed candidates for state offices to be nominated by the rank-and-file party members in statewide primaries instead of by the party bosses, who had traditionally dominated the nominating process.
Foreign policy of President William Howard Taft, which favored increased American investment in the world as the major method for increasing American influence and stability abroad; in some parts of the world, such as in Latin America, the increased American influence was resented.
Social trend of post-World War II America; many Americans turned to family and home life as a source of contentment; emphasis on family as a source of fulfillment forced some women to abandon the workforce and achieve "satisfaction" as homemakers.
Dominion of New England
Instituted by King James II in 1686. Sir Edmund Andros governed the colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Plymouth, and New Hampshire as a single entity without an elective assembly; Andros was finally overthrown by militiamen in Boston in April 1689 (after the Glorious Revolution).
Major tenet of Cold War containment policy of the United States held that if one country in a region turned communist, other surrounding countries would soon follow; this theory convinced many that to save all of Southeast Asia, it was necessary to resist communist aggression in Vietnam.
Double V campaign
World War II "policy" supported by several prominent plack newspapers, stating that blacks in America should work for victory over the Axis powers but at the same time work for victory over oppression at home; black leaders remained frustrated during the war by continued segregation of the armed forces.
Dred Scott case
Supreme Court case involving a man who was born a slave but had then lived in both a nonslave state and a nonslave territory and was now petitioning for his legal freedon; in 1857 the Court ruled that slaves were not people but were property, that they could not be citizens of the United States, and thus had no legal right to petition the Court for anything. Ruling also stated that the Missouri Compromise, which banned slavery in the territories, was unconstitutional.
Great Plains region that suffered severe drought and experienced massive dust storms during the 1930s; because of extreme conditions many who lived in the Dust Bowl left their farms and went to California to work as migrant farmers.
Policy established in 1957 that promised military and economic aid to "friendly" nations in the Middle East; the policy was established to prevent communism from gaining a foothold in the region. The policy was first utilized later that year when the United States gave large amounts of aid to King Hussein of Jordan to put down internal rebellion.
Procedure outlined in the Constitution for the election of the president; under this system, votes of electors from each state, and not the popular vote, determine who is elected president. As was demonstrated in 2000 presidential election, this system allows a person to be elected president who does not win the nationwide popular vote.
Edict by Abraham Lincoln that went into effect on January 1, 1863, abolishing slavery in the Confederate states; proclamation did not affect the four slave states that were still part of the Union (so as o not alienate them).
Embargo of 1807
Declaration by President Thomas jefferson that banned all American trade with Europe. As a result of the war between England and Napoleon's France, America's sea rights as a nautral power were threatened; Jefferson hoped the embargo would force England and France to respect American neutrality.
Emergency Quota Act
Also called the Johnson Act, this 1921 bill limited immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe by stating that in a year, total immigration from any country could only equal 3 percent of the number of immigrations from that country living in the United States in 1910.
Eighteenth-century European intellectual movement that attempted to discover the natural laws that governed science and society and taught that progress was inevitable in the Western world. Americans were greatly influenced by the Enlightenment, especially by the ideas of John Locke, who stated that the government should exist for the benefit of the people living under it.
The name of the American bomber that on August 6, 1945, dropped the first atomi bomb on the city of Hiroshima, thus initiating the nuclear age.
Era of Good Feelings
Term used by a newspaper of the period to describe the years between 1816 and 1823, when after then end of the War of 1812 the United States remained generally free of foreign conflicts and when political strife at home was at a bare minimum (because of the collapse of the Federalist party).
World War I-era regulation passed in 1917 that ordered sever pentalties for citizens who criticized the war effort or the government; mandatory prison sentences were also proclaimed for those who interfered with the draft process. Nearly 700 Americans were arrested for violating this act.
Group of Massachusetts Federalists who met to voice their displeasure with the policies of Thomas Jefferson during Jefferson's second term, and proposed that the New England states and New York secede from the Union.
Large number of Southern blacks who left the South and moved to Kansas for a "better life" after Reconstruction ended in 1877; many failed to find satisfaction in Kansas because of lack of opportunities and open hostility from Kansas residents.
A series of domestic programs proposed to Congress by President Harry Turman that included a Fair Employment Practices Act, a call for government construction of public housing, an extension of Social Security, and a proposal to ensure employment for all American workers.
After the decline of Grange organizations, these became the major organizations of farmers in the 1880s; many experimented with cooperative buying and selling. Many local alliances became involved in direct political activity with the growth of the Populist Party in the 1890s.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Passed during the first Hundred Days of the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, this body insured individual bank deposits up to $2500 and helped to restore confidence in America's banks.
Federal Reserve System
Established by Federal Reserve Act of 1913, this system established 12 in each district; in addition, a Federal Reserve Board was established to regulate the entire structure. This act improved public confidence in the banking system.
Federal Trade Commission
Authorized after the passage of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, it was established as the major government body in charge of regulating big business. The FTC investigated possible violations of antitrust laws.
During the period when the Constitution was being ratified, these were the supporters of the larger national government as outlined in the Constitution; the party of Washington and John Adams, it was supported by commercial interests. Federalists were opposed by Jeffersonians, who favored a smaller federal government and a society dominated by agrarian values. Federalist influence in national politics ended with the presidential election of 1816.
The Feminine Mystique
Betty Friedan's 1963 book that was the Bible of the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Friedan maintained that the post-World War II emphasis on family forced women to think of themselves primarily as housewives and robbed them of much of their creative potential.
The belief that women should have the same rights and benefits in American society that men do. Feminism gained many supporters during the Progressive era, and in the 1960s drew large numbers of supporters. The National Organization for Women (NOW) was established in 1966 by Betty Friedan and had nearly 200,000 members in 1969.
Ratified in 1870, this amendment stated that a person could not be denied the right to vote because of the color of their skin or whether or not they had been a slave. This extended the rights of blacks to vote to the North (which the Emancipation Proclamation had not done); some in the women's movement opposed the amendment on the grounds that it did nothing for the rights of women.
The plan of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany to eliminate Jewish civilization from Europe; by the end of the war in 1945, nearly 6 million Jews had been executed. The full extent of Germany's atrocities was not known in Europe and the United States until near the end of World War II.
Broadcasts on the radio by Franklin Roosevelt addressed directly to the American people that made many Americans feel that he personally cared about them; FDR did 16 of these in his first two terms. Many Americans in the 1930s had pictures of Roosevelt in their living rooms; in addition, Roosevelt received more letters from ordinary Americans that any other president in American history.
First Continental Congress
A 1774 meeting in Philadelphia at which colonists vowed to resist further efforts to tax them without their consent.
First Great Awakening
A religious revival in the American colonies that lasted from the 1720s through the 1740s; speakers like Jonathan Edwards enraptured speakers with sermons such as "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Religious splits in the colonies became deeper because of this movement.
A "new woman" of the 1920s, who wore short skirts and bobbed hair and rejected many of the social regulations that controlled women of previous generations.
Food and Drug Act
1906 bill that created a federal Food and Drug Administration; example of consumer protection legislation of the progressive era, it was at least partially passed as a result of Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle.
1832 legislation that gave President Andrew Jackson the power to invade any state if that action was necessary to enforce federal law; bill was in response to nullification of federal tariff redulation by the legislature of South Carolina.
1922 act that sharply increased tariffs on imported goods; most Republican leaders of the 1920s firmly believed in "protectionist" policies that would increase profits for American businesses.
Federal fort located in Charleston, South Carolina, that was fired on by Confederate artillery on April 12, 1861; these were the first shots actually fired in the Civil War. A public outcry immediately followed across the Northern states, and the mobilization of a federal army began.
Woodrow Wilson's view of a post-World War I that he hoped the other Allied powers would endorse during the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles; Wilson's vision included elimination of secret treaties, arms reduction, national self-determination, and the creation of a League of Nations. After negotiations, only the League of Nations remained (which the United States never became part of).
Ratified in 1868, this amendment stated that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States" were citizens. In addition, all former Confederate supporters were prohibited from holding office in the United States.
Missionaries who established settlements in the Southwestern United States in the late 1500s; at their missions Christian conversion was encouraged, but at the same time Native Americans were used as virtual slaves. Rebellions against the missions and the soldiers sent to protect them began in 1598.
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle on December 13, 1862, where the Union army commanded by General Ambrose Burnside suffered a major defeat at the hands of Confederate forces.
Free Speech Movement
Protests at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964 and 1965 that opposed the control that the university, and "the establishment" in general, had over the lives of university students. Protestors demanded changes in university regulations and also broader changes in American society.
The philosophy that trade barriers and protective tariffs inhibit long-term economic growth; this philosophy was the basis for the 1994 ratification by the United States of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which removed trade restrictions between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Term used for free blacks in the South after the Civil War. Freedmen enjoyed some gains in terms of education, the ability to hold office, and economic well-being during the Reconstruction era, although many of these gains were wiped out after the Compromise of 1877.
Buses of black and white civil rights workers who in 1961 rode on interstate buses to the Deep South to see if Southern states were abiding by the 1960 Supreme Court ruling banning segregation on interstate buses and in waiting rooms and restaurants at bus stations. Buses met mob violence in numerous cities; federal marshals were finally called to protect the freedom riders.
Introduced by Stephen Douglas in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the idea that despite the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, a territory could still prevent slavery by electing officials who were opposed to it and by creating laws and regulations that would make slavery impossible to enforce.
Political party that won 10 percent of the vote in the 1848 presidential election; they were opposed to the spread of slavery into any of the recently acquired American territories. Free-Soil supporters were mainly many former members of the Whig party in the North.
French and Indian War
Called the Seven Years' War in European textbooks; in this war, the British and the French fought for the right to expand their empire in the Americas. Colonists and Native Americans fought on both sides, and the war eventually spead to Europe and elsewhere. The English emerged victorious, and in the end received all of French Canada.
Fugitive Slave Act
Part of the Compromise of 1850, this legislation set up special commissions in Northern states to determine if an accused runaway slave really was one; according to regulations, after the verdict, commissioners were given more money if the accused was found to be a runaway that if he or she was found not to be one. Some Northern legislatures passed laws attempting to circumvent the Fugitive Slave Act.
Strip of territory running through Arizona and New Mexico that the United States purchased from Mexico in 1853; President Pierce authorized this purchase to secure that the southern route of the transcontinental railroad (between Texas and California) would be in American territory.
After the French were defeated in Vietnam, a series of agreements made in 1954 that temporarily divided Vietnam into two parts (along the 17th parallel) and promised nation wide elections within two years. To prevent communists from gaining control, the United States installed a friendly government in South Vietnam and saw that the reunification elections never took place.
Speech made by Abraham Lincoln at dedication ceremony for a cemetery for Union soldiers who died at the Battle of Gettysburg; in this November 19, 1863 speech Lincoln stated that freedom should exist in the United States for all men, and that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Battle of Gettysburg
The most important battle of the Civil War, this July 1863 victory by Union forces prevented General Robert E. Lee from invading the North. Defeat at Gettysburg, along with defeat at the Battle of Vicksburg during the same month, turned the tide of war firmly in the direction of Union forces.
Treaty of Ghent
1814 treaty between the United States and Great Britain ending the War of 1812; treaty restored diplomatic relations between the two countries but did nothing to address the issues that had initially caused war.
Religion practiced by Lakota tribesman in reponse to repeated incursions by American settlers. Ghost dancers thought that a Native-American messiah would come and banish the whites, return the buffalo, and give all former Native-American land back to the Native Americans. Worried territorial officials had Sitting Bull arrested (he was later killed under uncertain circumstances) and killed another 240 Lakota at Wounded Knee Creek.
Popular term for an American serviceman during World War II; refers to the fact that virtually anything worn or used was "government issued."
Officially called the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944, this legislation gave many benefits to returning World War II veterans, including financial assistance for veterans wanting to go to college or enter other job training programs, special loan programs for veterans wanting to buy homes or businesses, and preferential treatment for veterans who wished to apply for government jobs.
The Gilded Age
Some historians describe the late nineteenth century in this manner, describing it as an era with a surface of great prosperity hiding deep problems of social inequity and shallowness of culture. The term comes from the title of an 1873 Mark Twain novel.
Balief that the United States should work closely with other nations of the world to solve common problems; this was the foreign policy approach of President Clinton. Policies that supported this approach included the ratification of NAFTA, the United States working more closely with the United Nations, and "nation building" abroad. Many policies of globalization were initially rejected by Clinton's successor, George W. Bush.
English revolution of 1688 to 1689 when King James II was removed from the throne and his Protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch husband William began to rule. Reaction to this in the American colonies was varied: There was a revolt against appointed Catholic officials in New York and Maryland, and in Massachusetts the governor was sent back to England with the colonial demand that the Dominion of New England be disbanded.
Economic system that based all currency on gold, meaning that all paper currency could be exchanged at a bank for gold. Business interests of the late nineteenth century supported this; William Jennings Bryan ran for president three times opposing the gold standard, and supported the free coinage of silver instead.
"Gospel of Wealth"
The philosophy of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who stated that wealthy industrialists had an obligation to create a "trust fund" from their profits to help their local communities. By the time of his death, Carnegie had given over 90 percent of his wealth to various foundations and philanthropic endeavors.
Initially formed in 1867, the Grange was an association of farmers that provided social activities and information about new farming techniques. Some local Grange organizations became involved in cooperative buying and selling.
Plan drafter by Roger Sherman of Connecticut that stated one house of the United States Congress would be based on population (the House of Representatives), while in the other house all states would be represented equally (the Senate). This compromise greatly speeded the ratification of the Constitution.
Migration of large numbers of American blacks to Midwestern and Eastern industrial cities that began during World War I and continued throughout the 1920s. Additional workers were needed in the North because of the war and during the 1920s because of immigration restrictions; blacks were willing to leave the South because of continued lynchings there and the fact that their economic situation was not improving.
Aggressive program announced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to attack the major social problems in America; Great Society programs included the War on Poverty, Medicare and Medicaid programs for elderly Americans, greater protection for and more legislation dealing with civil rights, and greater funding for education. Balancing the Great Society and the war in Vietnam would prove difficult for the Johnson administration.
Political party of the 1870s and early 1880s that stated the government should put more money in circulation and supported an eight-hour workday and female suffrage. The party received support from farmers but never built a national base. The Greenback party argued into the 1880s that more greenbacks should be put in circulation to help farmers who were in debt and who saw the prices of their products decreasing annually.
Paper money issued by the American government during and immediately after the Civil War that was not backed up by gold or silver.
Situation when the president is a member of one political party and the U.S. congress is controlled by the other party, causing a situation where little legislation is actually passed. This is how some describe the situation with President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress after the 1994 congressional elections.
Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle over this Pacific island lasted from August 1942 through February 1943; American victory against fierce Japanese resistance was the first major offensive victory for the Americans in the Pacific War.
Battle of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty ending the war with Mexico that was ratified by the Senate in March 1848 and for $15 million gave the United States Texas territory to the Rio Grande River, New Mexico, and California.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
1964 Congressional resolution that gave President Johnson the authority to "take all necessary measures to repel" attacks against American military forces stationed in Vietnam. Later, critics would charge, this resolution allowed the president to greatly expand the Vietnam War without congressional oversight.
Black literary and artistic movement centered in Harlem that lasted from the 1920s into the early 1930s that both celebrated and lamented black life in America; Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston were two famous writers of this movement.
Meeting of New England Federalists in the closing months of the War of 1812 where they threatened that New England would secede from the United States unless trade restrictions imposed by President Madison were lifted. American victory in the war made their protests seem pointless.
In response to the initial effects of the Great Depression, Congress authorized this tariff in 1930; this established tariff rates on imported goods at the highest level of any point in United States history. Some American companies benefited in the short term, although the effect on world trade was disastrous, as many other countries erected tariff barriers on American imports.
Location in Chicago of labor rally called by anarchist and other radical labor leaders on May 2, 1886. A bomb was hurled toward police officials, and police opened fire on the demonstrators; numerous policemen and demonstrators were killed and wounded. Response in the nation's press was decidedly anti-union.
One of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty programs that gave substantial funding for a nursery school program to prepare children of poor parents for kindergarten.
The production of steel, iron, and other materials that can be used for building purposes; great increase in heavy industry fueled the massive industrial growth that took place in the last half of the nineteenth century.
German troops who fought in the Revolutionary War on the side of Great Britain; Hessian troops were almost all paid mercenaries.
The study of history and how it is written. Students of historiography would analyze various historical interpretations and the viewpoints of historians. This field is not as concerned with historical events themselves as it is with how these events are interpreted.
A company that existed to gain monopoly control over an industry by buying large numbers of shares of stock in as many companies as possible in that industry. The best example in American history was John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil corporation.
Historical term used for the extermination of 6 million Jewish victims by Nazi Germany during World War II. Much has been written on the reasons for the Holocaust and why it occurred in Germany.
1862 enactment by Congress that gave 160 acres of publicly owned land to a farmer who lived on the land and farmed it for two years. The provisions of this bill inspired hundreds of thousands of Americans to move westward in the years after the Civil War.
Groups of crude houses made of cardboard and spare wood that sprang up on the fringes of many American cities during the first years of the Great Depression. These shacks were occupied by unemployed workers; the name of these communities demonstrated the feeling that President Hoover should have been doing more to help the downtrodden in America.
The strategy of gaining as much control over an entire single industry as possible, usually by creating trusts and holding companies. The most successful example of horizontal integration was John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, who had at one point controlled over 92 percent of the oil production in the United States.
HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee)
Committee of the House of Representatives that beginning in 1947 investigated possible communist infiltration of the entertainment industry and, more importantly, of the government. Most famous investigations of the committee were the investigation of the "Hollywood Ten" and the investigation of Alger Hiss, a former high-ranking member of the State Department.
Protestants in France, who by the 1630s were believers in Calvinism. Few Huguenots ended up settling in the Americas, as French officials feared they would disrupt the unity of colonial settlements.
Established by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr in Chicago in 1889, this was the first settlement house in America. Services such as reading groups, social clubs, an employment bureau, and a "day care center" for working mothers could be found at Hull House. The Hull House model was later copied in many other urban centers.
Term used in allied propaganda during World War I to depict the German soldier; Germans were portrayed as bloodthirsty beasts. World War I was the first war where propaganda was used on a widespread scale.
The period from March through June of 1933; the first 100 days of the New Deal presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. During this period programs were implemented to assist farmers, the banks, unemployed workers, and businessmen; in addition, prohibition was repealed.
Early civilizations that existed not by framing but by moving from region to region and taking what was necessary at the time from the land; some early Native American tribes in northern New England lived as hunter-gatherers.
Atomic weapons much more powerful than those used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki; these were developed and repeatedly tested by both the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950s, increasing dramatically the potential danger of nuclear war.
The process of removing an elected public official from office; during the Progressive Era several states adopted measures making it easier to do this. Presidents Andrew Johnson and William Jefferson Clinton were both impeached by the House of Representatives, but neither was convicted by the U.S. Senate (the procedure outlined in the Constitution of the United States).
British practice of forcing civilians and ex-sailors back into naval service; during the wars against Napoleon the British seized nearly 7500 sailors from American ships, including some that had actually become American citizens. This practice caused increased tensions between the United States and Great Britain and was one of the causes of the War of 1812.
Advanced and wealthy civilization centered in the Andes mountain region; aided by smallpox, Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incas in 1533.
Legal arrangement when an individual owed compulsory service (in some cases only 3 years, in others up to 10) for free passage to the American colonies. Many of the early settlers in the Virginia colony came as indentured servants.
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
Established in 1905, this union attempted to unionize the unskilled workers who were usually not recruited by the American Federation of Labor. The I.W.W. included blacks, poor sharecroppers, and newly arrived immigrants from Eastern Europe. Members of the union were called "Wobblies," and leaders of the union were inspired by Marxist principles.
The Influence of Sea Power upon History
Very influential 1890 book by Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, which argued that throughout history the most powerful nations have achieved their influence largely because of powerful navies. Mahan called for a large increase in the size of the American nave, the acquisition of American bases in the Pacific, and the building of the Panama Canal.
Procedure supported by the Populist party in 1890s where any proposed law could go on the public ballot as long as a petition with an appropriate number of names is submitted beforehand supporting the proposed law.
Controversial decision was made after the bombing of Pearl Harbor to place Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast in these camps. President Roosevelt authorized this by Executive Order #9066; this order was validated by the Supreme Court in 1944. In 1988 the U.S. government paid compensation to surviving detainees.
Interstate Commerce Act
Passed in 1887, the bill created America's first regulatory commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission. The task of this commission was to regulate the railroad and railroad rates, and to ensure that rates were "reasonable and just."
Term used by anti-British speakers across the colonies for the series of bills passed in Great Britain to punish the Massachusetts colony for the Boston Tea Party of December 1773. These including the closing of the Boston harbor, prohibiting local meetings, and mandatory quartering of troops in the homes of Massachusetts residents.
During the second term of the Regan administration, government officials sold missiles to Iran (hoping that this would help free American hostages held in Lebanon); money from this sale was used to aid anti-communist Contra forces in Nicaragua. Iran was a country that was supposed to be on the American "no trade" list because of their taking of American hostages, and congressional legislation had been enacted making it illegal to give money to the Contras. A major scandal for the Regan administration.
Iranian Hostage Crisis
On November 4, 1979, Islamic fundamentalists seized the American embassy in Tehran, Iran, and took all Americans working there hostage. This was a major humiliation for the United States, as diplomatic and military efforts to fee the hostages failed. The hostages were finally freed on January 20, 1981, immediately after the inauguration of Ronald Regan.
In a March 5, 1946, speech in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill used this term to describe the division that the Soviet Union had created between itself and its Eastern European allies and Western Europe and the United States. Churchill emphasized the need for the United States to stand up to potential Soviet aggression in the future.
Civil War-era ships that were totally encased in iron, thus making them very difficult to damage; the ironclad of the Confederate army was the Virginia (it had been Merrimac when it was captured from the Union), whereas the Union ship was the Monitor. The two ships battled each other in March 1862, with both being badly damaged.
After World War I, a group of U.S. senators who were opposed to a continued U.S. presence in Europe in any form. This group was influential in preventing the passage of the Versailles Treaty in the Senate.
A successful American military tactic in the Pacific in 1942 and 1943 of taking strategic islands that could be used as staging points for continued military offensives. Increasing American dominance in air power made this tactic possible.
A policy of disengaging the United States from major world commitments and concentrating on the U.S. domestic issues. This was the dominant foreign policy of the United States for much of the 1920s and the 1930s.
1794 treaty between the United States and Great Britain designed to ease increasing tensions between the two nations; the British did make some concessions to the Americans, including abandoning the forts they occupied in the interior of the continent. However, Britain refused to make concession to America over the rights of American ships; tensions over this issue would eventually be a cause of the War of 1812.
Term used to describe the image of the liberated, urbanized 1920s, with a flapper as a dominant symbol of that era. Many rural, fundamentalist Americans deeply resented the changes in American culture that occurred in the "Roaring 20s."
The Jazz Singer
1927 film starring Al Jolson that was the first movie with sound. Story of the film deals with young Jewish man who has to choose between the "modern" and his Jewish past.
Missionary group who established settlements in Florida, New Mexico, Paraguay, and in sever areas within French territory in North America. Jesuits were organized with military precision and order.
American foreign policy based on a strident nationalism, a firm belief in American world superiority, and a belief that military solutions were, in almost every case, the best ones. Jingoism was most evident in America during the months leading up to and during the Spanish-American War.
In the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision, Chief Justice John C. Marshall stated that the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately had the power to decide on the constitutionality of any law passed by the U.S. Congress or by the legislature of any state. Many had argued that individual states should have the power to do this; the Marbury decision increased the power of the federal government.
1801 bill passed by the Federalist Congress just before the inauguration of President Thomas Jefferson; Federalists in this bill attempted to maintain control of the judiciary by reducing the number of Supreme Court judges (so Jefferson probably wouldn't be able to name a replacement) and by increasing the number of federal judges (who President Adams appointed before he left office). Bill was repealed by new Congress in 1802.
Justice Reorganization Bill
Franklin Roosevelt's 1937 plan to increase the number of Supreme Court justices. He claimed that this was because many of the judges were older and needed help keeping up with the work; in reality he wanted to "pack the court" because the Court had made several rulings outlawing New Deal legislation. Many Democrats and Republicans opposed this plan, so it was finally dropped by Roosevelt.
1945 tactic of Japanese air force where pilots flew at American ships at full speed and crashed into them, in several cases causing ships to sink. This tactic showed the desperate nature of the Japanese military situation at this time, by July 1945, kamikaze attacks were no longer utilized, as Japan was running out of airplanes and pilots.
1854 compromise legislation crafted by Stephen Douglas that allowed the settlers in the Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide if those territories would be slave or free. Bill caused controversy and bloodshed throughout those territories; in the months before the vote in Kansas, large numbers of "settlers" moved in to influence the vote, and after the vote (won by pro-slavery forces), violence between the two sides intensified.
Kent State University
Site of May 19700 anti-war protest where Ohio National Guardsmen fired on protesters, killing four. To many, this event was symbolic of the extreme political tension that permeated American society in this era.
Kentucky and Virginia Resolves
Passed by the legislatures in these two states, these resolutions maintained that the Alien and Sedition Acts championed through Congress by John Adams went beyond the powers that the Constitution stated belonged to the federal government. These resolves predated the later Southern argument that individual states could "nullify" federal laws deemed unconstitutional by the states.
Established in 1967 to study the reason for urban riots, the commission spoke at length about the impact of poverty and racism on the lives of urban blacks in America, and emphasized that white institutions created and condoned the ghettos of America.
The American commission that went into various regions of the Middle East immediately after World War I to discover what political future was desired by residents of the region. It was determined that many did not want to be controlled by Britain and France, and saw the United States in a favorable light. Predictable, the British and French saw to it that the findings of the commission were largely kept quiet.
King William's War
Colonial war against the French that lasted from 1689 to 1697; army from New England colonies attacked Quebec, but were forced to retreat because of the lack of strong colonial leadership and an outbreak of smallpox among colonial forces.
An informal group of advisors, with no official titles, who the president relies on for advice. The most famous Kitchen Cabinet was that of Andrew Jackson, who met with several old political friends and two journalists for advice on many occasions.
Knights of Labor
The major labor union of the 1880s; was not a single large union, but a federation of the unions of many industries. The Knights of Labor accepted unskilled workers; publicity against the organization was intense after the Haymarket Square riot of 1886.
Political party developed in the 1850s that claimed that the other political parties and the entire political process were corrupt, that immigrants were destroying the economic base of America by working for low wages, an that Catholics in America were intent on destroying American democracy. Know-Nothings were similar in many ways to other nativist groups that developed at various points in America's history.
1950 to 1953 war in which American and other UN forces fought to stop Communist aggression against South Korea. U.S. entry into the Korean War was totally consistent with the U.S. cold war policy of containment. Negotiated settlement divided Korea along the 38th parallel, a division that remains today.
Ku Klux Klan
Organization founded in the South during the Reconstruction era by whites who wanted to maintain white supremacy in the region. The KKK used terror tactics, including murder. The Klan was revitalized in the 1920s; members of the 1920s Klan also opposed Catholics and Southern and Eastern European immigrants. The KKK exists to this day, with recent efforts to make the Klan appear to be "respectable."
The drive that began in the second half of the nineteenth century to have workers join labor unions. Divisions existed in nineteenth-century unions on whether unions should focus their energies on political gains for workers or on "bread and butter" issues important to workers. In the twentieth century, unions have broad political powers, as most endorse and financially support candidates in national and statewide elections.
laissez-faire economic principles
Economic theory derived from eighteenth-century economist Adam Smith, who stated that for the economy to run soundly the government should take a hands-off role in economic matters. Those who have favored policies such as high import tariffs do not follow laissez-faire policies; a policy like NAFTA has more support among the "free market" supporters of Adam Smith.
The practice of buying up land with the intent of selling it off in the future for a profit. Land speculation existed in the Kentucky territory in the 1780s, throughout the West after the Homestead Act, and in Florida in the 1920s, when hundreds bought Florida swampland hoping to later sell it for a profit.
League of Nations
International body of nations that was proposed by Woodrow Wilson and was adopted at the Versailles Peace Conference ending World War I. The League was never an effective body in reducing international tensions, at least partially because the United States was never a member of it.
Legislation proposed by Franklin Roosevelt and adopted by Congress in 1941, stating that the United States could either sell or lease arms and other equipment to any country whose security was vital to America's interest. After the passage of this bill, military equipment to help the British war effort began to be shipped from the United States.
Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania
A 1767 pamphlet by Pennsylvania attorney and landowner John Dickinson, in which he eloquently stated the "taxation without representation" argument, and also stated that the only way that the House of Commons could represent the colonies in a meaningful way would be for actual colonists to be members of it.
Lever Food and Fuel Control Act
August 1917 measure that gave President Wilson the power to regulate the production and consumption of food and fuels during wartime. Some in his administration argued for price controls and rationing; instead, Wilson instituted voluntary controls.
After World War II, the first "suburban" neighborhood; located in Hempstead, Long Island, houses in this development were small, looked the same, but were perfect for the postwar family that wanted to escape urban life. Levittown would become a symbol of the post-World War II flight to suburbia taken by million.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
1804 to 1806 mission sent by Thomas Jefferson to explore and map the newly acquired Louisiana territory and to create good relations with various Native-American tribes within the territory. Reports brought back indicated that settlement was possibly in much of the region, and that the Louisiana territory was well worth what had been paid for it.
Massachusetts town where the first skirmish between British troops and colonial militiamen took place; during this April 19, 1775, "battle," eight colonists were killed and another nine were wounded.
The radical abolitionist journal of William Lloyd Garrison that was first published in 1831; Garrison and his journal presented the most extreme abolitionist views during the period leading up to the Civil War.
Sold to United States civilians during World War I; a holder who paid $10 for a bond could get $13 back if the holder held onto the bond until it matured. Bonds were important in financing the war effort, and celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin made short films encouraging Americans to buy them.
Battle of the Little Bighorn
1876 Montana battle where Colonel George Custer and more than 200 of his men were killed by a group of Cheyenne and Lakota warriors. This was the last major victory by Native-American forces over a U.S. army unit.
In 1603 King James I gave the London Company a charter to settle the Virginia territory. In April 1607, the first settlers from this company settled at Jamestown.
Group of American intellectuals who viewed America in the 1920s as bigoted, intellectually shallow, and consumed by the quest for the dollar; many became extremely disillusioned with American life and went to Paris. Ernest Hemingway wrote of this group in The Sun Also Rises.
The 1803 purchase of the huge Louisiana territory (from the Mississippi River out to the Rocky Mountains) from Napoleon for $15 million. This purchase made eventual westward movement possible for vast numbers of Americans.
Developed in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1820s, in these factories as much machinery as possible was used, so that few skilled workers were needed in the process, and the workers were almost all single young farm women, who worked for a few years and then returned home to be housewives. Managers found these young women were the perfect workers for this type of factory life.
Individuals who remained loyal to Great Britain during the years up to and during the Revolutionary War. Many who were loyalists were from the higher strata of colonial society; when war actually broke out and it became apparent that the British were not going to quickly win, almost all went to Canada, the West Indies, or back to Great Britain.
Loyalty Review Boards
There were established in 1947 in an effort to control possible communist influence in the American government. These boards were created to investigate the possibility of "security risks" working for the American government, and to determine if those "security risks" should lose their jobs. Some employees were released because of their affiliation with "unacceptable" political organizations or because of their sexual orientation.
British passenger liner with 128 Americans on board that was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915. This sinking caused outrage in the United States and was one of a series of events that drew the United States closer to war with Germany.