Ancient Order of Hibernians
Irish semi-secret society that served as a benevolent organization for downtrodden Irish immigrants in the United States.
Awful Disclosures (1836)
Maria Monk's sensational expose of alleged horrors in Catholic convents. Its popularity reflected nativist fears of Catholic influence.
Small, swift vessels that gave American shippers an advantage in the carrying trade. Clipper ships were made largely obsolete by the advent of sturdier, roomier iron steamers on the eve of the Civil War.
Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842)
Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that strengthened the labor movement by upholding the legality of unions.
cotton gin (1793)
Eli Whitney's invention that sped up the process of harvesting cotton. The gin made cotton cultivation more profitable, revitalizing the Southern economy and increasing the importance of slavery in the South.
cult of domesticity
Pervasive nineteenth century cultural creed that venerated the domestic role of women. It gave married women greater authority to shape home life but limited opportunities outside the domestic sphere.
Historians' term for the spoliation of Western natural resources through excessive hunting, logging, mining, and grazing.
New York state canal that linked Lake Erie to the Hudson River. It dramatically lowered shipping costs, fueling an economic boom in upstate New York and increasing the profitability of farming in the Old Northwest.
Nativist political party, also known as the American party, which emerged in response to an influx of immigrants, particularly Irish Catholics.
Legal principle that facilitates capital investment by offering protection for individual investors, who, in cases of legal claims or bankruptcy, cannot be held responsible for more than the value of their individual shares.
Eighteenth and nineteenth century transformation from a disaggregated, subsistence economy to a national commercial and industrial network.
McCormick reaper (1831)
Mechanized the harvest of grains, such as wheat, allowing farmers to cultivate larger plots. The introduction of the reaper in the 1830s fueled the establishment of large-scale commercial agriculture in the Midwest.
Secret organization of Irish miners that campaigned, at times violently, against poor working conditions in the Pennsylvania mines.
Federal government bureau that reviews patent applications. A patent is a legal recognition of a new invention, granting exclusive rights to the inventor for a period of years.
Short-lived, speedy mail service between Missouri and California that relied on lightweight riders galloping between closely-placed outposts.
The principal marketplace of the Northwest fur trade, which peaked in the 1820s and 1830s. Each summer, traders set up camps in the Rocky Mountains to exchange manufactured goods for beaver pelts.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's popular lecture-essay that reflected the spirit of individualism pervasive in American popular culture during the 1830s and 1840s.
Powerful New York political machine that primarily drew support from the city's immigrants, who depended on Tammany Hall patronage, particularly social services.
Term referring to a series of nineteenth century transportation innovations-turnpikes, steamboats, canals and railroads-that linked local and regional markets, creating a national economy.
Privately-funded, toll-based public road constructed in the early nineteenth century to facilitate commerce.