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Anti-Masonic party (est. 1826)

First founded in New York, it gained considerable influence in New England and the mid-Atlantic during the 1832 election, campaigning against the politically influential Masonic order, a secret society. It opposed Andrew Jackson, a Mason, and drew much of their support from evangelical Protestants.

Bank War (1832)

Battle between President Andrew Jackson and Congressional supporters of the Bank of the United States over the bank's renewal in 1832. Jackson vetoed the Bank Bill, arguing that the bank favored moneyed interests at the expense of western farmers.

Black Hawk War (1832)

Series of clashes in Illinois and Wisconsin between American forces and Indian chief Black Hawk of the Sauk and Fox tribes, who unsuccessfully tried to reclaim territory lost under the 1830 Indian Removal Act.

compromise Tariff of 1833 (1833)

Passed as a measure to resolve the nullification crisis, it provided that tariffs be lowered gradually, over a period of ten years, to 1816 levels.

corrupt bargain (1824)

Alleged deal between presidential candidates John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay to throw the election, to be decided by the House of Representatives, in Adams' favor. Though never proven, the accusation became the rallying cry for supporters of Andrew Jackson, who had actually garnered a plurality of the popular vote.

Force Bill (1833)

Passed by Congress alongside the Compromise Tariff, it authorized the president to use the military to collect federal tariff duties.

Goliad (1836)

Texas outpost where American volunteers, having laid down their arms and surrendered, were massacred by Mexican forces in 1836. The incident, along with the slaughter at the Alamo, fueled American support for Texan independence.

Indian Removal Act (1830)

Ordered the removal of Indian Tribes still residing east of the Mississippi to newly established Indian Territory west of Arkansas and Missouri. Tribes resisting eviction were forcibly removed by American forces, often after prolonged legal or military battles.

Nullification Crisis (1832-33)

Showdown between President Andrew Jackson and the South Carolina legislature, which declared the 1832 tariff null and void in the state and threatened secession if the federal government tried to collect duties. It was resolved by a compromise negotiated by Henry Clay in 1833.

panic of 1837 (1837)

Economic crisis triggered by bank failures, elevated grain prices, and Andrew Jackson's efforts to curb overspeculation on western lands and transportation improvements. In response, President Martin Van Buren proposed the "Divorce Bill", which pulled treasury funds out of the banking system altogether, contracting the credit supply.

pet banks (1833)

Popular term for pro-Jackson state banks that received the bulk of federal deposits when Andrew Jackson moved to dismantle the Bank of the United States.

Battle of San Jacinto (1836)

Resulted in the capture of Mexican dictator Santa Anna, who was forced to withdraw his troops from Texas and recognize the Rio Grande as Texas's Southwestern border.

Specie Circular (1836)

U.S. Treasury decree requiring that all public lands be purchased with "hard", or metallic, currency. Issued after small state banks flooded the market with unreliable paper currency, fueling land speculation in the West.

spoils system (1828-36)

Policy of rewarding political supporters with public office, first widely employed at the federal level by Andrew Jackson. The practice was widely abused by unscrupulous office seekers, but it also helped cement party loyalty in the emerging two-party system.

Tariff of Abominations (1828)

Noteworthy for its unprecedentedly high duties on imports. Southerners vehemently opposed the Tariff, arguing that it hurt Southern farmers, who did not enjoy the protection of tariffs, but were forced to pay higher prices for manufactures.

Trail of Tears (1838-39)

Forced march of 15,000 Cherokee Indians from their Georgia and Alabama homes to Indian Territory. Some 4,000 Cherokee died on the arduous journey.

Alamo (1836)

Fortress in Texas where four hundred American volunteers were slain by Santa Anna in 1836. "Remember the Alamo" became a battle cry in support of Texan independence.

John Q. Adams

son of second president John Adams, he served as secretary of State under Monroe before becoming the sixth president of the US. A strong advocate of national finance and improvement, he faced opposition from states' rights advocates in the South and West. His controversial election-allegedly "corrupt bargain of 1824"-and his lack of political acumen further hampered his presidential agenda.

Santa Anna

Mexican general, president and dictator, who opposed Texas' independence and later led the Mexican army in the war against the US.

Stephen Austin

established the first major Anglo settlements in Texas under an agreement with the Mexican government. Though loyal to Mexico, he advocated for local Texans' rights, particularly the right to bring slaves into the region. Briefly imprisoned by Santa Anna for inciting rebellion, he returned to Texas in 1836 to serve as secretary of state of the newly-independent republic until his death later that year.

Nicholas Biddle

banker, financier, and President of the second Bank of the United States from 1822 until the bank's charter expired in 1836.

John C. Calhoun

Vice president under Jackson, he became a US senator form South Carolina after a public break with the administration. A fierce supporter of states' rights, he advocated South Carolina's position during the nullification crisis. In the 1840s and 1850s, he staunchly defended slavery, accusing free-state Northerners of conspiring to the free the slaves.

Henry Clay

Secretary of State and US senator from Kentucky, he was known as the "Great Compromiser," helping to negotiate the Missouri Compromise in 1820, the Compromise Tariff of 1833 and the Compromise of 1850. As a National Republican, later Whig, Clay advocated a strong national agenda of internal improvements and protective tariffs, known as the American System.

William Henry Harrison

hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe and ninth president of the US. A Whig, he won the 1840 election on a "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" campaign, which played up his credentials as a backwoods westerner and Indian fighter. He died of pneumonia just four weeks after his inauguration.

Sam Houston

President of the Republic of Texas and US senator, he led Texas to independence in 1836 as commander in chief of the Texas army. As President of the Republic, he unsubbessfully sought annexation into the US. Once Texas officially joined the Union in 1845, he was elected to the US senate, later returning to serve as Governor of Texas until 1861, when he was removed from office for refusing to take an oath of loyatly to the Confederacy.

Andrew Jackson

War hero, congressman and seventh president of the US. A Democrat, he ushered in a new era of American politics, advocating white manhood suffrage and cementing party loyalties through the spoils system. As president, he dismantled the Bank of the US, asserted federal supremacy in the nullification crisis, and oversaw the harsh policy of Indian removal in the South.

Martin Van Buren

Jacksonian Democrat who became the eighth president of the US after serving as vice president during his second term. As president, he presided over the "hard times" wrought by the Panic of 1837, clinging to his monetary policies and rejecting federal intervention in the economy.

Denmark Vesey

Free black who orchestrated an aborted slave uprising in Charleston, South Carolina in 1822. His plan was uncovered before he could put it in motion, and he and 34 accomplices were put to death.

Daniel Webster

Lawyer, congressman and secretary of state, he teamed up with Clay in the Bank War agains Jackson in 1832. Hoping to avoid sectional conflict, he opposed the annexation of Texas but later urged the North to support the Compromise of 1850.

Age of Reason (1794)

Work by Thomas Paine; it was against the church, saying that they just wanted "power and profit."

Deism (1800s)

Belief system that emphasized reasoned moral behavior and scientific pursuit of knowledge, they believed in a Supreme Being but rejected the divinity of Christ.

Unitarians (1800s)

Religion that emphasized inherent goodness of men, rejected Christ's divinity, and believed in a unitary deity - inspired by Deism.

2nd Great Awakening (early 1800s)

Religious revival characterized by camp meetings and conversions that brought about the democratization of religion.

Burned Over District (early 1800s)

Large area in NY that was home to many revivalist pastors that preached "hellfire and brimstone" during the 2nd Great Awakening.

Mormons (1830s-)

Religious followers of Joseph Smith who faced persecution and followed Brigham Young to Utah.

Lyceum (1835-)

Public lecture hall that hosted speakers on a wide variety of topics, it was part of a broad desire for higher education.

Maine Law of 1851 (1851)

Temperance law that prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol and was followed by a dozen other states.

Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls (1848)

Feminists gathered and Elizabeth C. Stanton read her Declaration of Sentiments - it was the first women's rights gathering.

Transcendentalism (1830s-50s)

Belief system that emphasized individualism and self reliance...each person possessed an "inner light: that pointed them to God.

New Harmony (est. 1825)

Communal "utopian" society of about 1,000 founded by Robert Owen in Indiana.

Oneida Community (est. 1848)

Radical utopian community advocating "free love," birth control, and eugenics.

Hudson River School (mid 1800s)

American artistic movement that produced Romantic renditions of local landscapes.

The American Scholar (1837)

Ralph Waldo Emerson's address at Harvard that declared an America's intellectual independence from Europe.

Louisa May Alcott

New England born author of popular novels for adolescents, most notably Little Women.

Susan B. Anthony

Reformer and woman suffragist, she, with long-time friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton, advocated for temperance and women's rights in New York State, established the abolitionist Women's Loyal Leasgue during the Civil War, and founded the National Woman Suggrage Association in 1869 to lobby for a constitutional amendment giving women the vote.

John J. Audubon

French-born naturalist and author of the beautifully written Birds of America.

James Fenimore Cooper

American novelist and a member of New York's Knickerbocker Group, he wrote adventure tales, including The Last of the Mohicans, which won acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

Emily Dickinson

Massachusetts born poet who, despite spending her life as a recluse, created a vivid inner world through her poetry, exploring themes of nature, love, death, and immortality. Refusing to publish during her lifetime, she left behind nearly two thousand poems, which were published after her death.

Dorothea Dix

new England teacher-author and champion of mental health reform, she assembled reports on insane asylums and petitioned the Massachusetts legislature to improve conditions.

Neal S. Dow

Nineteenth century temperance activist, dubbed the "Father of Prohibition" for his sponsorship of the Maine Law of 1851, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the state.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Boston-born scholar and leading American transcendentalist, whose essays, most notably "Self-Reliance" stressed individualism, self-improvement, optimism, and freedom.

Charles Grandison Finney

One of the leading revival preachers during the Second Great Awakening, he presided over mass camp meetings throughtout New York state, championing temperance and abolition, and urging women to play a greater role in religious life.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Novelist and author of The Scarlet Letter, a tale exploring the psychological effects of sin in seventeenth century Puritan Boston.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Harvard professor of modern languages and popular mid-nineteenth century poet, who won broad acclaim in Europe for his poetry.

Horace Mann

Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education and a champion of public education, advocation:
1) more and better school houses
2) longer terms
3) better pay for teachers
4) an expanded curriculum.

Herman Melville

New York author who spent his youth as a whaler on the high seas, an experience which no doubt inspired his epic novel, Moby Dick.

Lucretia Mott

Prominent Quaker and abolitionist, she became a champion for women's rights after she and her fellow female delegates were not seated at the London antislavery convention of 1840. She, along with Stanton, held the first Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848.

Francis Parkman

Early American historian who wrote a series of volumes on the imperial struggle between Britain and France in North America.

Joseph Smith

Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), the young Smith gained a following after an angel directed him to a set of golden plates which, when deciphered, becmae the Book of Mormon. Smith's communal, authoritarian church and his advocacy of plural marriage antagonized his heighbors in Ohio, Missouri and finally Illinois, where he was murdered by a mob in 1844.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Abolitionist and woman suffragist, she organized the first Woman's Rights Convention near her home in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. After the Civil War, she urged Congress to include women in the fourteenth and fifteenth amendents, despite urgings from Frederick Douglass to let freedmen have their hour. In 1869, she, along with Susan B. Anthony, founded the National Woman Suggrage Association to lobby for a constitutional amendment granting women the vote.

Lucy Stone

Abolitionist and women's rights activist, who kept her maiden name after marriage inspiring women-"Lucy Stoners"-to follow her example. Though she campaigned to include women in the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, she did not join Stanton and Anthony in denouncing the amendments when it became clear the changes would not be made. In 1869 she founded the American Woman Suffrage Association, which lobbied for suffrage primarily at the state level.

Henry David Thoreau

American transcendentalist and author of Walden: Or Life in the Woods. A committed idealist and abolitionist, he advocated civil disobedience, spending a night in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax to a government that supported slavery.

Walt Whitman

Brooklyn-born poet and author of Leaves of Grass, a collection of poems, written largely in free verse, wich exuberantly celebrated American's democratic spirit.

Brigham Young

Second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he led his Mormon followers to Salt Lake City, Utah after Joseph Smith's death. Under his leadership, the Utah settlement prospered, and the church expanded to include over 100,000 members by Young's death in 1877.

Ancient Order of Hibernians (mid 1800s)

Irish semi-secret society that served as a benevolent organization for downtrodden Irish immigrants in the United States.

Molly Maguires (1860s-70s)

Secret organization of Irish miners that campaigned, at times violently, against poor working conditions in the Pennsylvania mines.

Tammany Hall (est. 1789)

Powerful New York political machine that primarily drew support from the city's immigrants, who depended on Tammany Hall patronage, particularly social services.

Know-Nothing party (1850s)

Nativist political party, also known as the American party, which emerged in response to an influx of immigrants, particularly Irish Catholics.

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.

Limited Liability (est. 1800s)

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.

Commonwealth vs. Hunt (1842)

Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that strengthened the labor movement by upholding the legality of unions.

Cult of Domesticity (1800s)

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.

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.

Turnpike (1800s)

Privately funded, toll-based public road constructed in the early nineteenth century to facilitate commerce.

Erie Canal (completed 1825)

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.

Pony Express (1860-61)

Short-lived, speedy mail service between Missouri and California that relied on lightweight riders galloping between closely-placed outposts.

Transportation Revolution (1800s)

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.

Market Revolution (1800s-1900s)

Eighteenth and nineteenth century transformation from a disaggregated, subsistence economy to a national commercial and industrial network.

DeWitt Clinton (1825)

Governor of New York state and promoter of the Erie Canal, which linked the Hudson River to the Great Lakes. "Clinton's Big Ditch," as the canal was called, transformed upstate New York into a center of industry and gave rise to the Midwestern cities of Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago.

John Deere

Inventor of the steel plow, which revolutionized farming in the Midwest, where fragile wooden plows had failed to break through the thick soil.

Cyrus Field (1854)

Promoter of the first tansatlantic cable which linked Ireland and Newfoundland in 1854. After the first cable went dead, he lobbied for a heavier cable, which was finally laid in 1866.

Robert Fulton (1807)

Pennsylvania-born painter-engineer, who constructed the first operating steam boat, the Clermont, in 1807.

Cyrus McCormick

Inventor of the McCormick mower-reaper, a horse-drawn contraption that fueled the development of large-scale agriculture in the trans-Alleghen West.

Samuel F.B. Morse

inventor of the telegraph and the telegraphic code that bears his name. He led the effort to connect Washington annd Baltimore by telegraph and transmitted the first long-distance message-"What hath God wrought"-in May 1844.

Isaac Singer

American inventor and manufacturer, who made his fortune by improving on Elias Howe's sewing machine. His machine fueled the ready-made clothing industry in New England.

Samuel Slater

British-born mechanic and father of the American "Factory System," establishing textile mills throughout New England.

Eli Whitney

Great American inventor, best known for his Cotton Gin, which revolutionized the Southern economy. Whitney also pioneered the use of interchangeable parts in the production of muskets.

War of 1812 (1812-15)

Fought between Britain and the United States largely over the issues of trade and impressment. Though the war ended in a relative draw, it demonstrated America's willingness to defend its interests militarily, earning the young nation newfound respect from European powers.

Battle of New Orleans (1815)

Resounding victory of American forces against the British, restoring American confidence and fueling an outpouring of nationalism. Final battle of the War of 1812.

Treaty of Ghent (1815)

Ended the War of 1812 in a virtual draw, restoring prewar borders but failing to address any of the grievances that first brought America into the war.

Hartford Convention (1814-15)

Convention of Federalists from five New England states who opposed the War of 1812 and resented the strength of Southern and Western interests in Congress and in the White House.

Rush-Bagot Agreement (1817)

Signed by Britain and the United States, it established strict limits on naval armaments in the Great Lakes, a first step in the full demilitarization of the U.S.-Canadian border, completed in the 1870s.

Tariff of 1816 (1816)

First protective tariff in American history, created primarily to shield New England manufacturers from the inflow of British goods after the War of 1812.

American System (1820s)

Henry Clay's three-pronged system to promote American industry. Clay advocated a strong banking system, a protective tariff and a federally funded transportation network.

Era of Good Feelings (1816-24)

Popular name for the period of one-party, Republican, rule during James Monroe's presidency. The term obscures bitter conflicts over internal improvements, slavery and the national bank.

Panic of 1819 (1819)

Severe financial crisis brought on primarily by the efforts of the Bank of the United States to curb over speculation on western lands. It disproportionately affected the poorer classes, especially in the West, sowing the seeds of Jacksonian Democracy.

Land Act of 1820 (1820)

Fueled the settlement of the Northwest and Missouri territories by lowering the price of public land. Also prohibited the purchase of federal acreage on credit, thereby eliminating one of the causes of the Panic of 1819.

Tallmadge Amendment (1819)

Failed proposal to prohibit the importation of slaves into Missouri territory and pave the way for gradual emancipation. Southerners vehemently opposed the amendment, which they perceived as a threat to the sectional balance between North and South.

Missouri Compromise (1820-54)

contract that allowed Missouri to enter as a slave state in order to preserved the balance between the North and the South; this also created the free-soil state of Maine from Massachusetts and forbade slavery in the Louisiana Purchase territories.

McCullough vs. Maryland (1819)

Supreme Court case that strengthened federal authority and upheld constitutionality of the United States Bank by establishing that Maryland did not have the power to tax the bank; example of nationalistic government.

loose construction

legal doctrine which states that the federal government can use powers not specifically granted or prohibited in the Constitution to carry out mandated responsibilities; started by Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist party.

Cohens vs. Virginia (1821)

case that reinforced federal supremacy by establishing right of Supreme Court to review decisions of state courts involving federal government.

Gibbons vs. Ogden (1824)

suit over whether New York could grant a monopoly to a ferry operating in interstate waters; rule asserted the Supreme Court's sole power to regulate interstate commerce.

Fletcher vs. Peck (1810)

established firmer protection for private property and asserted right of the Supreme Court to invalidate state laws in conflict with the federal Constitution.

Dartmouth College vs. Woodward (1819)

Supreme court case that sustained Dartmouth University's original charter against charges proposed by New Hampshire's state legislature and protected corporations from dominating state governments.

Florida-Purchase Treaty (Adams-Onis Treaty) (1819)

Under this agreement, Spain ceded Florida to United States, which, in turn, abandoned its claims in Texas.

Monroe Doctrine (1823)

statement delivered by president James Monroe warning European powers to refrain from seeking any new territories; US lacked power to back up this announcement, but Britain enforced it by involving themselves with the Latin American market.

Russo-American Treaty (1824)

treaty that fixed the line 54 40' as the southernmost boundary of Russian holdings in America.

James Monroe (1816-24)

Revolutionary war soldier, statesman and fifth president of the US. As president, he supported protective tariffs and a national bank, but maintained a jeffersonian opposition to federally-funded internal improvements. Though he sought to transcend partisanship, even undertaking a goodwill tour of the states in 1817, his presidency was rocked by bitter partisanship and sectional conflicts.

Revolution of 1800 (1800)

Jefferson elected over Adams, considered a revolution reaffirming the spirit of the initial revolution. It was a successfully peaceful transfer of power from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans.

Patronage (1801)

Like the "spoils system." When an elected official fills appointed positions with friends that helped him/her get elected, it is considered patronage. Thomas Jefferson did not change many of the appointed positions in the government when he was elected in 1801.

The Judiciary Act of 1801 (1801)

Allowed President Adams to fill federal judicial posts (until midnight on his last day in office) with Federalist judges (called "midnight judges") in order to secure power for the Federalist party before Adams' term ended.

Marbury vs. Madison (1803)

This case cleared up controversy over who had final say in interpreting the Constitution: the states did not, the Supreme Court did. This is judicial review.

Louisiana Purchase (1803)

Thomas Jefferson purchased 828,000 square miles of land for 15 million dollars from Napoleon the leader of France. The land mass stretched from the Gulf of Mexico all the to Rocky Mountains and Canada. The purchase of this land sprouted national pride and ensured expansion.

Corps of Discovery (1804-06)

Lewis and Clark's group of 33 men that explored the Louisiana Purchase at Pres. Jefferson's orders.

Orders in Council (1793)

Law passed by the English Parliament when the British were fighting the French. The British closed off all port vessels that France went through so they couldn't get supplies. American ships were seized also and Americans were impressed into the British navy. This lead to the War of 1812.

Impressment (early 1800s)

British sailors would capture and enslave American sailors (who they claimed were actually British sailors that had deserted) because they didn't have enough sailors to man their own ships. This happened excessively in the period before the War of 1812.

The Chesapeake Affair (1807)

An incident that happened off the coast of VA prior to the War of 1812. The Chesapeake, a US frigate, was boarded by a British ship, the Leopard. The Chesapeake was not fully armed. The British seized four alleged deserters (the commander of the Chesapeake was later court marshaled for not taking any action). This is the most famous example of impressment, in which the British seized American sailors and forced them to serve on British ships.

Embargo Act (1807)

Law passed by Congress forbidding all exportation of goods from the United States in an effort to strike back at British and French harassment. The U.S. was not prepared to fight in a war, so Pres. Jefferson hoped to weaken Britain and France by stopping trade. The Embargo Act ended up hurting our economy more than theirs. It was repealed in 1809. The Embargo Act helped to revive the Federalist party It caused New England's industry to grow. It eventually led to the War of 1812.

Non-Intercourse Act (1809)

Formally reopened trade with all nations except England and France. A replacement of the Embargo Act. Made by the Republican Congress in an attempt to make England and France stop harassing the American ships and recognize the neutrality of America.

Macon's Bill No. 2 (1810)

USA opened ports to all nations, but told France and Britain that we would trade exclusively with the one of them that renounced their interference on American trade. France did this, so we only didn't trade with Britain.

War Hawks (early 1800s)

Generally young, they supported and rallied for war during the early 1800s. Their wish was granted with the War of 1812.

Battle of Tippecanoe (1811)

Resulted in the defeat of Indian chief "Prophet" at the hands of future Pres. William Henry Harrison in Indiana. After the battle "Prophet's" brother, Tecumseh, forged an alliance with the British against the USA.

Napoleon Bonaparte

French emperor who waged a series of wars against his neighbors on the European continent from 1800 until his final defeat at Waterloo in 1815. In 1803, having failed to put down the Haitian rebellion, Napoleon relinquished France's remaining North American possessions by selling louisiana Territory to the US

Aaron Burr

Revolutionary War soldier and vice president under Jefferson, he is perhaps most famous for fatally wounding Hamilton in a duel in 1804. In 1806, he led a failed plot to separate the trans-Mississippi West from the US. Narrowly acquitted of treason, he fled to France where he tried to convince Napoleon to ally with Britain against the US.

Samuel Chase

Federalist Supreme Court Justice who drew the ire of Jeffersonian Republicans for his biting criticism of Republican policies. In 1804, the House of Reps brought charges of impeachment against him but failed to make the case that his unrestrained partisanship qualified as "high crimes and misdemeanors." Acquitted by the Senate, he served on the court until his death.

William Clark

Joined Lewis in leading the expedition of Louisiana territory from 1804-06. After the Expedition, he played a key role in shaping America's Indian policy, seeking to strengthen American relations with the Indians through trade.

Thomas Jefferson

Author of the Declaration of Independence, ambassador to France, and third president of the US. As one of the leaders of the Democratic-Republican Party, he advocated a limited role for the national government, particularly in the area of finance. As president, however, he oversaw significant expansion of the federal state through the purchase of LA territory and the enactment of the Embargo of 1807.

James Madison

Principle author of the Constitution, co-author of the Federalist, and fourth president of the US. A leading advocate of a strong national government in the 1780s, he later joined Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans in advocating a more limited role for the federal state. As president, he inherited the conflict over trade with Britain and France, which eventually pushed him to declare war on Britain in 1812.

John Marshall

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 until his death in 1835, he strengthened the role of the courts by establishing the principle of judicial review. During his tenure, the court also expanded the powers of the federal government through a series of decisions that established federal supremacy over the states.

Tecumseh

Accomplished Shawnee warrior, he sought to establish a confederacy of Indian tribes east of the MS. He opposed individual tribes' selling of land to the US, arguing the land belonged to all the Native peoples. After 1811, he allied with British, fighting fiercely against the US until his death in 1813.

Disestablish (18th century)

To separate an official state church from its connection with the government; following the Revolution, all states disestablished the Anglican Church, though some New England states maintained established Congregational Churches well into the 19th century.

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786)

Measure enacted by the Virginia legislature prohibiting state support for religious institutions and recognizing freedom of worship; served as a model for the religion clause of the first amendment to the Constitution.

Articles of Confederation (1781)

First American constitution that established the United States as a loose confederation of states under a weak national Congress, which was not granted the power to regulate commerce or collect taxes; Articles were replaced by a more efficient Constitution in 1789.

Old Northwest (1785-87)

Territories acquired by the federal government from the states, encompassing land northwest of the Ohio River, east of the Mississippi River, and south of the Great Lakes; the well-organized management and the sale of the land in the territories under the land ordinances of 1785 and 1787 established a precedent for handling future land acquisition.

Land Ordinance (1785)

Provided for the sale of land in the old Northwest and earmarked the proceeds toward repaying the national debt.

Northwest Ordinance (1787)

Created a policy for administering the Northwestern Territories; it included a path to statehood and forbade the expansion of slavery into the territories.

Shays' Rebellion (1786)

Armed uprising of western Massachusetts debtors seeking lower taxes and an end to property foreclosures; though quickly put down, the insurrection inspired fears of "mob rule" among leading Revolutionaries.

Virginia Plan (1787)

"large state" proposal for the new constitution falling for proportional representation in both houses of a bicameral states to come back with their own plan for apportioning representation.

New Jersey Plan (1787)

"small state" plan put forth at the Philadelphia convention, proposing equal representation by state, regardless of population, in a unicameral legislature; small states feared that the more populous states would dominate the agenda under a proportional system.

Great Compromise (1787)

Measure which reconciled the New Jersey and Virginia plans at the constitutional convention, giving states proportional representation in the House and equal representation in the Senate; the compromise broke the stalemate at the Convention and paved the way for subsequent compromises over slavery and the Electoral College.

Three-fifths compromise (1787)

Act that determined that each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of apportioning taxes and representation; the compromise granted disproportionate political power to the Southern slave states.

Antifederalists (1780s-90s)

Opponents of the 1787 Constitution, they cast the document as antidemocratic, objected to the subordination of the sates to the central government, and feared encroachment on individuals' liberties in the absence of a bill of rights.

Federalists (1780-90s)

Proponents of the 1787 Constitution, they favored a strong national government, arguing that the checks and balances in the new Constitution would safeguard the people's liberties.

The Federalist (1788)

A collection of essays written by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton and published during the ratification debate in New York to lay out the federalists' arguments in favor of the new Constitution; since their publication, these influential essays have served as an important source for constitutional interpretation.

Patrick Henry

American revolutionary and champion of states' rights, he became a prominent anti-federalist during the ratification debate, opposing what he saw as despotic tendencies in the new national constitution.

Daniel Shays

Revolutionary war vetern who led a group of debtors and impoverished backcountry farmers in a rebellion against the Massachusetts government in 1786, calling for paper money, lighter taxes and an end to property seizures for debt. Though quickly put down, the rebellion raised the specter of mob rule, precipitation calls for a stronger national government.

Alien Laws (1798)

Acts passed by a Federalist Congress raising the residency requirement for citizenship to fourteen years and granting the president the power to deport dangerous foreigners in times of peace.

assumption (1790)

Transfer of debt from one party to another. In order to strengthen the union, the federal government assumed states' Revolutionary War debts, thereby tying the interests of wealthy lenders with those of the national government

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