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Battle of New Orleans

This 1815 battle was the last of the War of 1812, and it actually occurred after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed because Americans were unaware of the treaty. General Andrew Jackson successfully defended New Orleans against thousands of British troops, making himself a national hero and making Americans feel nationalistic--that they were one of the top world powers (even though the war itself ended in stalemate).

Battle of Tippecanoe

As a result of this 1811 battle between future president William Henry Harrison and the Shawnee, the US more firmly secured the territory it claimed in Ohio and Indiana. The battle was the source of Harrison's 1840 campaign slogan and song, "Tippecanoe and Tyler too."

Congressional caucus

This informal method of selecting presidential candidates was used during the early years of the US until the election of 1824, when this system became viewed as elitist and undemocratic. Under this method the public had no voice in the nomination process, instead leaving the choice up to a centralized group of politicians based in Washington, DC.

Embargo Act

A law that was endorsed by Thomas Jefferson and passed in December 1807 that ended all importation and exportation of goods in the US. The act was a response to the Chesapeake-Leopard affair. This law failed to put enough economic pressure on the French and British to force those nations to recognize US trading neutrality rights, and the law hurt the American economy more than it did Britain's or France's. It was repealed in March 1809.

Era of Good Feelings

This era of one-party rule, nationalism, and cooperation lasted from the end of the War of 1812 (in 1815) and the rise of Andrew Jackson in 1828. At the center was James Monroe's presidency, during which Monroe strove to avoid political conflict and strengthen American nationalism and pride.

Haitian Revolution

Toussaint l'Ouverture led this uprising, which in 1790 resulted in the successful overthrow of French colonial rule on this Caribbean island. This revolution set up the first black government in the Western Hemisphere and the world's second democratic republic (after the US). The US was reluctant to give full support to this republic led by former slaves.

Hartford Convention

This Connecticut meeting of Federalists near the end of the War of 1812 led to the downfall that party. The England-based party enumerated its complaints against the ruling Republicans, protested the war, and even debated the possibility of making a separate peace with England. The men who attended were viewed as traitors when the war ended and news of this meeting reached the rest of the country.


This British policy from the early 1800s involved forcibly boarding American ships in search of British naval deserters whom they would force back into the navy. Often, naturalized or native-born Americans were also seized, provoking outrage in America. This was one of many actions that helped spark the War of 1812.

James Monroe

As president from 1817 until 1825, he presided during the core of the Era of Good Feelings.

Macon's Bill No. 2

This law helped lead to the War of 1812. It was an 1810 ploy to induce either Britain or France to lift trade restrictions. Under the proposed law, the US promised to lift trade sanctions if one country agreed to free trade with the US. The US would then trade with that nation and reimpose sanctions on the other nation. Napoleon pretended to agree, then backed out of his promise, but damage was already done to US-British relations before American policy could be adjusted again.

Missouri Compromise

Under this 1820 agreement, __________ entered the Union as a slave state, Maine entered as a free state, and slavery was prohibited in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory north of the 36°30' line.

Monroe Doctrine

This foreign policy issued in December 1823 asserted that the political systems of the Western Hemisphere and Europe were different, that the Americas were no longer open to European colonization or influence, and that the US would respond with force to any attempt to recolonize newly-independent nations in the Americas. The US wasn't powerful enough to act on this policy for many years, but it paved the way for US dominance of the Western Hemisphere.

Non-Intercourse Act

After the repeal of the Embargo Act, this 1809 law restricted trade with Britain and France only, opening up trade with all other foreign ports.

Panic of 1819

This two-year depression was caused by extensive speculation, the loose lending practices of state banks, a decline in European demand for American staple goods, and mismanagement within the Second Bank of the United States. This economic crisis exacerbated social divisions within the United States and is often called the beginning of the end of the Era of Good Feelings.

Second Bank of the United States

This institution was chartered in 1816 under President Madison and became a depository for federal funds and a creditor for (loaning money to) state banks. It became unpopular after being blamed for the panic of 1819, and suspicion of corruption and mismanagement haunted it until its charter expired in 1836. Jackson fought against this institution throughout his presidency, proclaiming it to be an unconstitutional extension of the federal government and a tool that rich capitalists used to corrupt American society.

Tallmadge Amendment

This 1819 amendment to the bill for Missouri's admission to the Union sought to prohibit the further introduction of slaves into Missouri and would have mandated the emancipation of slaves' children. The proposal was blocked by the Senate, but it sparked intense congressional debate over the balance of slave and free states. This debate ended with the MO Compromise.


The Shawnee chief who tried to unite Native American tribes in Ohio and Indiana to thwart white settlement. His forces were defeated in the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. He later allied with the British during the War of 1812.

Transcontinental Treaty

Also known as the Adams-Onis Treaty, this agreement was signed in 1819 between the US and Spain. Through this treaty, Spain gave Florida to the US and agreed to a southern border of the US for all land west of the Mississippi.

Treaty of Ghent

Signed on Christmas Eve in 1814, this treaty ended the War of 1812, with all territory between both nations remaining unchanged.

War Hawks

A group of westerners and southerners led by John Calhoun and Henry Clay who pushed for war against Britain. These politicians objected to Britain's hostile policies against US ships, including impressment and the seizure of shipping goods, and advocated fighting instead of submitting to such treatment. They also hoped that through war, the US would win western, southwestern, and Canadian territories.

War of 1812

Conflict between the US and Great Britain from 1812-14. It ended in stalemate with the Treaty of Ghent, but the American public believed the US had won the war after news spread of General Andrew Jackson's decisive victory at the Battle of New Orleans, which occurred two weeks after the signing of the treaty. For years following this apparent victory, an ebullient spirit of nationalism and optimism pervaded America.

XYZ Affair

During this scandal three unnamed French diplomats demanded a bribe from Americans in exchange for negotiation rights with French foreign minister Charles de Talleyrand. The Americans had been seeking an end to continued French aggression at sea. When John Adams's diplomats returned to the US with a story of what had happened, the public was outraged, and some called for war.

Alexander Hamilton

This man emerged as a major political figure during the debate over the Constitution as the outspoken author of the Federalist Papers. He later served as secretary of the treasury under Washington and spearheaded the government's Federalist initiatives, most notably through the creation of the Bank of the United States.

Alien and Sedition Acts

These laws were passed by Federalists in 1798 in response to the XYZ Affair and growing public support for the Jeffersonian Republicans. On the grounds of "national security," these laws increased the number of years required to gain citizenship, allowed for the imprisonment and deportation of aliens, and suspended freedom of speech. Popular dissatisfaction with these laws helped Jefferson's bid for presidency in 1800 and led to the VA & KY Resolutions--the nation's first nullification crisis.

Bank of the United States

Chartered in 1791, this controversial institution was a key part of Alexander Hamilton's Federalist economic program.

Citizen Genet

This man was sent to the US in 1793 by the new French government following the French Revolution. Although a diplomat, he openly sought American aid in France's conflicts with Britain and Spain. Because the US had already declared itself neutral in the conflict, Washington had this man deported.

Cotton gin

Invented in 1793 by Eli Whitney. This machine separated the fibers of short-staple cotton from the seeds. By making plantations more efficient and profitable, this invention helped lead to a cotton-dominated economy in the South and a revitalization of the domestic slave trade

George Washington

First president of the United States, Commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He defined the role of the president by setting several precedents: he intervened little in legislative affairs and concentrated mostly on diplomacy and finance, he supported Alexander Hamilton's economic campaign, and after serving two terms in office he established an unofficial policy that presidents should serve no more than two terms in office.

James Madison

Before he became fourth president of the United States (1809-1817), he began his political career as a Federalist in seeking to ratify the Constitution. He was one of the authors of The Federalist Papers and a staunch advocate of strong central government. But he later became critical of excessive power in central government and joined Thomas Jefferson in leading the Republican Party.

Jay's Treaty

This 1795 treaty with England led to the removal of British troops from American land and opened up limited trade with the British West Indies, but said nothing about British seizure of American ships or the impressment of American sailors. The American public criticized the treaty for favoring Britain, but it was one of the greatest diplomatic feats of the Washington administration because it preserved peace with Britain.

John Adams

As America's second president, he served from 1797 to 1801. He was the second and final Federalist president, and he supported a powerful centralized government. His most notable actions in office were preventing a full war with France and overseeing the passage of the unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts.

John Jay

This man played an important role in the establishment of the new government under the Constitution. One of the authors of The Federalist Papers, he was involved in the drafting of the Constitution. He was also the first chief justice of the Supreme Court.

John Marshall

This man served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 until his death in 1835. Under his leadership, the Court became as powerful a federal force as the executive and legislative branches (especially through Marbury v. Madison). During James Monroe's term in office, this man delivered two 1819 rulings that curtailed states' rights and exposed latent conflicts during the Era of Good Feelings.

Judicial review

This principle was established by Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison (1803). This doctrine claims that the Supreme Court could declare an act of Congress unconstitutional.

Judiciary Act of 1789

This law formally created the American court system, establishing a federal district court in each state and giving the Supreme Court final jurisdiction in all legal matters.

Lewis and Clark

These two men were hired by Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. They traveled 3,000 miles between 1804 and 1806, collecting scientific data and specimens and charting the territory to the west of the Mississippi. Their journey spurred national interest in exploration and settlement of the West.

Louisiana Purchase

Through this 1803 action, Jefferson nearly doubled America's territory by gaining land from Napoleon and opened the West to exploration and settlement. This acquisition also caused strife in the form of border disputes with foreign powers as well as congressional debates over the admission of new states from the region (whether they would be slave-holding or free).

Proclamation of American Neutrality

In the early 1790s, Britain and France went to war with each other. The American public was torn over which nation to support: the South largely backed France, while the North favored the British. This 1793 announcement was George Washington's response to the public division--a decision that the US would not get involved in the war.


This was an undeclared naval war between France and the US during 1798-1800. At the expense of his own popularity, President Adams refused to seek a formal declaration of war on France.


A Native American woman who proved an indispensable guide to Lewis and Clark during their 1804-1806 expedition. She showed the men how to forage for food and helped them maintain good relations with tribes in the Northwest.

Shays's Rebellion

This uprising began in August 1786 in western Massachusetts. A group of farmers led by a Revolutionary War veteran violently tried to shut down three county courthouses in order to prevent foreclosure proceedings. The rebellion was put down by a private militia hired by the wealthy Bostonians, but it alerted many government officials to the weaknesses of the nation under the Articles of Confederation.

Thomas Jefferson

This man was the leading opponent of Alexander Hamilton and became the third president of the United States (1801-1809). He resigned as George Washington's first secretary of state in response to Hamilton's continued efforts to centralize power in the national government. Along with James Madison, he took up the cause of the strict constructionists who wanted to limit federal power. As president he doubled the size of the nation through the Louisiana Purchase and struggled to maintain American neutrality in foreign affairs.

Treaty of San Lorenzo

This 1795 treaty with Spain is also known as Pinckney's Treaty. It gave the US unrestricted access to the Mississippi River and established the border between the US and Spanish Florida.

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

These documents were passed by two state legislatures in 1798 in protest to the Alien and Sedition Acts. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson drafted these documents to condemn the Federalists' broad interpretation of the Constitution and to advocate a compact theory of the Union, which stated that states' rights superseded federal powers. The implicit argument was that a state could supercede a federal government decision and could nullify a law that seemed unconstitutional.

Whiskey Rebellion

A July 1794 riot that broke out in western Pennsylvania in response to a high excise tax on ______ initiated by Alexander Hamilton. In a show of national strength, President George Washington led a force of militiamen to crush this uprising.

Equal Rights Amendment

(1) proposed constitutional amendment supported by the National Organization for Women & first proposed by Alice Paul in 1923; its goal was to prevent all gender-based discrimination & in the 1970s, the House and Senate passed the amendment, and sent it to the states for ratification; (2) a "Stop the __" movement prevented this amendment from being approved by the necessary 3/4ths of the states & it failed by 3 states

Deep Throat

secret informant who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein purue story behind the Watergate Scandal; his true identity was a mystery until shortly before his death in 2008--former FBI agent W. Mark Felt acknowledged that he was the informant

Jimmy Carter

(1) devout Baptist president (D) 1977-1981 best known for his commitment to human rights (ex: Moscow Olympics boycott in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan); (2) he faced tension in the Middle East--unsuccessfully dealth w/ Iran Hostage Crisis and successfully brokered the Camp David Peace Accords; (4) ongoing economic difficulties contributed to his failure to be re-elected in 1980; formerly a peanut farmer from Georgia

Gerald Ford

(1) became VP after Spiro Agnew resigned (bribery scandal) and became president after Watergate scandal forced Nixon in Aug. 1974; (2) he pardoned Nixon and pushed a conservative domestic policy, but was little more than a caretaker president when respect for government was at an all-time low


(1) monopoly cartel formed by nations in the Middle East, and later S. America, Asia & Africa; it formed following increases in oil prices in the 1970s; (2) in 1973, this group raised the price of oil, leading to an energy crisis but huge profits for oil producers

Oil embargo

the 1973 refusal of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to export oil to Western nations--a response to US miliary support for Israel during the Yom Kippur war; it lasted until 1974 & sparked rapid inflation, crippling the US economy (and plaguing Ford's tenure as president)

Richard Nixon

(1) president (R) from 1969 until he resigned in the wake of a scandal; (2) he oversaw a moderately conservative domestic program; (3) he oversaw detente & launched a policy of "Vietnamization" (after first expanding the war into Cambodia--troop levels hit an all time high before he began the troop withdrawal)


(1) hotel in Washington, DC, that was home to the Democratic National Committee headquarters and was targeted for a wiretapping scheme by burglars employed by Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP); (2) the resulting events became the greatest scandal in US history after it became clear that Nixon had known of the break-in & had participated in a cover-up attempt; (3) two years after a landslide victory in re-election Nixon resigned the presidency in disgrace in 1974

Women's Strike for Equality

Aug. 1970 event in which tens of thousands of women around the country held demonstrations to demand the right to equal employment and legal abortions

Iran-Contra affair

(1) scandal uncovered after investigations in 1987 revealed that the US had been selling weapons to the anti-American government in Iran (to help secure the release of American hostages) & had been using the profits from these sales to secretly & illegally finance the Contras in Nicaragua (a rebel group fighting the leftist Sandinista regime; (2) NSC member Oliver North had organized the operation from within the White House but there was no proof that Reagan was aware of North's actions

Oliver North

member of the National Security Council who headed the illegal operations that became known in the Iran-Contra scandal; claimed that he kept the operations a secret from President Reagan

Ronald Reagan

president (R) from 1981-1989 who focused on economic prosperity and victory in the Cold War; his "supply side economics" inspired major tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of the economy, a massive military buildup, and a policy toward the USSR that increased tension with that nation to levels unseen since before the Nixon presidency


officially "supply side economics" (and derided as "voodoo economics"), this economic philosophy argued that the government should take a more laissez-faire approach and lower taxes on the wealthy because the wealth of the rich would naturally "trickle down" to the poor

Black Power

a term that reflects the black nationalism & the desire to fight oppresssion; coined by SNCC's Stokely Carmichael & adopted by Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and other civil rights groups that opposed the more passive "Black Pride" of MLK, Jr.

Black Panthers

"black power"/"black nationalism" movement that advocated economic self-sufficiency and armed resistance to white oppression; organized in 1966 in Oakland, CA by Huey Newton & Bobby Seale

Cesar Chavez

(1) Mexican-American migrant farm worker & founder of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in 1963; (2) helped exploited Chicano workers with his successful "boycott grapes" movement that led to better pay, limits on the use of toxic fertilizers, and recognition of farm workers' collective bargaining right

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Great Society law that banned discrimination in education, employment, and all public accommodations; enforced the 14th Amendment passed almost 100 years earlier

Civil Rights Act of 1968

Great Society law that outlawed discrimination in the rental or sale of housing and apartments; it provided further protection for civil rights leaders but penalties for rioters

Economic Opportunity Act

Great Society law that established a government office to provide young Americans with job training & a volunteer network that organized social work & education in impoverished areas

The Feminine Mystique

1963 book by psychologist Betty Friedan that inspired the women's liberation movement; it denounced the social norms that confined women to the home and argued that women should have the same options as men

Freedom rides

1961 program led by the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that brought black & white members to the South on public buses to protest transportation-related segregation laws; the participants were often beaten up by angry whites in the south

Great Society

(1) Lyndon B. Johnson's domestic reform agena, which aimed to achieve racial equality, end poverty, and improve health-care; (2) LBJ pushed many laws through Congress early in his presidency, but the program failed to meet its full goals, partly b/c the administration began to focus more on foreign affairs (esp. the war in Vietnam).

Lyndon B. Johnson

JFK's vice president then president from 1963 to 1968 (he declined to seek reelection--his popularity fell b/c of the failing war in Vietnam); best known for his Great Society program

John F. Kennedy

(1) youngest ever & only Catholic president, a charismatic leader who served from 1961 until his assassination in Nov. 1963; (2) his whole family was involved in politics (the relatively good times when they all worked together was romanticized as "Camelot"); (3) peacefully resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis after the embarassing Bay of Pigs invasion

Medical Care Act

1965 Great Society law that created Medicare and Medicaid--federal govt health insurance plans for senior citizens and welfare recipients

Malcolm X

leading advocate of Black Power & spokesperson for the Nation of Islam; broke from that organization and was assassinated in 1965 after declaring his new dedication to cross-cultural unity

March Against Death

Nov. 1969 protest of 300,000 people who marched in a long, circular path thu Washington, DC, for 40 hours straight (each held a candle and the name of a soldier killed or a village destroyed in Vietnam); a high point in the student antiwar movement & a poignant symbol of antiwar sentiment

Medgar Evers

NAACP leader in Mississippi who was assassinated in Jackson, MS, in 1963 following JFK's speech for civil rights

Martin Luther King Jr.

(1) prominent civil rights leader who rose to fame during the 1955-6 Montgomery Bus Boycott; (2) he led the struggle for integration and equality through nonviolent means (labeled the "black pride" movement); (3) his 1968 assassination sparked riots in cities all over the US

New Frontier

JFK's policy agenda that focused on reform at home & victory in the Cold War (thru both containment and peaceful international development cooperation)

National Organization for Women (NOW)

(1) the central organization of the women's liberation movement; (2) founded in 1966, it continues to lobby Congress for equal rights, initiate lawsuits against discrimination, and raise public awareness of women's issues

Rosa Parks

seamstress & an active member of the NAACP who sparked the Montgomery bus boycott by refusing to give up her seat to a white man in Dec 1955

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)

college student organization founded in 1962 to achieve racial equality, alleviate poverty, end the Vietnam War, and encourage a more participatory form of democracy

Silent majority

a term coined by Nixon during the 1968 presidential campaign to refer to his assertion that many Americans were tired of chaos, student protests, and civil rights agitation & were eager for a conservative federal government

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

organization founded in 1957 by MLK, Jr. & other prominent clergymen to fight segregation using nonviolent means

Stokely Carmichael

once a prominent member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he abandoned his nonviolent leanings in 1966 & advocated Black Nationalism (& coined the phrase "Black Power")

Silent Spring

Rachel Carson's 1962 book that exposed the environmental hazards of the pesticide DDT & helped spur the environmentalist movement

Voting Rights Act

1965 Great Society law that guaranteed all Americans the right to vote & allowed the federal govt to intervene in elections if necessary to protect minority voters; effectively enforced the 15th Amendment passed almost 100 years earlier

The Warren Commission

government body created by LBJ & headed by then Chief Justice Earl __ to investigate JFK's assassination; it concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman & not part of a conspiracy

Watts riots

violent uprisings in 1965 in a poor predominantly black section of L.A. that left >30 dead & 1,000 wounded; the violence came following slow progress in civil rights legislation and the assassination of several civil rights leaders

Berlin Airlift

"Operation Vittles"--the US and British response to Stalin's June 1948-May 1949 blockade of the western half of this German city: thousands of flights delivered food, fuel, and other necessities to prevent this city from falling to communism

Berlin Blockade

the June 1948 Soviet action that led to an airlift of supplies to this western-occupied German city

Marshall Plan

(1) 4-year, >$17 billion plan for the economic reconstruction of Europe (1948-1952); (2) the goal was to prevent communist expansion by eliminating economic & political insecurity in Europe

Douglas MacArthur

(1) American general in the Pacific during WWII, oversaw 6-year occupation of postwar Japan, led UN troops in Operation Chromite (the Incheon Landing); (2) he pushed for total victory in the Korean War--conquering all of Korea and perhaps moving into China--but Truman held him back; (3) he publicly denounced the administration of a month and was relieved of command in April 1951

Spheres of influence

(1) a bloc (group of nations/territories) in unofficial economic, political, and social orbit of a greater power (ex: NATO countries were in the US's ___; the Warsaw Pact countries were in the USSR's __.); (2) this term can also be used to describe the areas in China controlled by each European power during the Open Door era

Truman Doctrine

(1) March 1947 foreign policy declaration that the US would support people anywhere in the world facing "attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures"; (2) the US thus adopted a global police role, which at the time meant containing the spread of communism

United Nations

organization founded by 51 countries in 1945 to preserve peace and global stability through international cooperation and collective security; today it has 192 member states

Mao Zedong

(1) founder of the Chinese Communist Party who defeated Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists in 1949 to establish the People's Republic of China; (2) the US felt that his victory was the result of conspiracy & that American foreign policymakers had somehow "lost China"

Bay of Pigs Invasion

(1) failed April 1961 attempt by US-backed Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro's communist government; (2) a huge embarrassment to JFK, the newly-inaugurated president

Berlin Wall

(1) barrier constructed by the USSR (completed in 1961) to prevent people from the eastern zone of this city from escaping to the free west & a symbol of communist, authoritarian rule; (2) it was torn down in Nov 1989--setting the stage for the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War.

Boris Yeltsin

president of the Russian Republic in 1991--the first post-Cold War leader; he came to power by helping Mikhail Gorbachev when hard-line Communists attempted to overthrow him--but soon forced Gorbachev to resign & declared an end to the USSR


(1) Cold War foreign policy established by Truman & continued into the 1960s; (2) it involved economic aid, and covert & overt military action as a way of preventing of communist expansion (while trying to avoid a full-scale war w/ Russia); (3) this doctrine tended to view all communist action as part of a monolithic threat led by Moscow; (4) US diplomat in Moscow George Kennan's "long telegram" helped inspire this policy

Cold War

(1) 1946-1991, the conflict & tension between the US & USSR and their respective spheres of influence; (2) it was characterized by proxy wars, an arms & space race, and geopolitical rivalry; (3) the threat of communism affected all foreign policy (and much domestic) decision-making during this conflict

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

government agency concerned with international espionage; heavily involved in the Third World anti-communist conflicts, including assassination attempts and coups d'etat in Iran & Guatemala in 1953 & 1954

Cuban Missile Crisis

(1) 1962 crisis that nearly led to nuclear war btwn the US & USSR; (2) after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, Soviet Premier Khrushchev placed nuclear weapons in Cuba; President Kennedy demanded their withdrawal & set up a naval "quarantine"; (3) in the end Khrushchev backed down and removed the missiles in exchange for a US promise not to invade Cuba (and secret promise to remove US missiles from Turkey)

Fidel Castro

Cuban revolutionary who ousted the authoritarian Batista regime in in 1959 and established the communist regime that remains in power to this day

Camp David Accords

(1) Israeli-Egyptian peace agreements negotiated by President Carter & signed in 1979; (2) it made Egypt the first state to recognize Israel and both countries became major recipient of US economic & military aid; (3) Sadat was assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists in 1981 as a result of his cooperation


(1) the relaxation of tensions between the US & USSR in the 60s & 70s—the second stage of the Cold War—in which the two powers signed treaties limiting nuclear weapons production/testing & opened up economic relations; (2) Nixon's secretary of state Henry Kissinger was a major architect of this policy

Domino theory

the idea that if any nation fell to communism, the surrounding nations would likely fall as well; expounded by Eisenhower & most infamously used to justify US intervention in Vietnam

Eisenhower Doctrine

1957 foreign policy declaration that committed the US to preventing Communist aggression in the Middle East, with force (and nuclear weapons) if necessary

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

(1) congressional resolution passed in 1964 following an alleged N. Vietnamese attack on the USS Maddox--the closest the US came to a declaration of war for the conflict in Vietnam; (2) this document gave LBJ congressional approval for military action, and became the reason Congress later passed the War Powers Resolution

Hydrogen bomb

(1) following the successful 1949 Soviet a-bomb test, the US began a crash program to develop this kind of fission-fusion nuclear weapon & 2 years later succeeded with the "Ivy Mike" (codename) detonation; (2) after the USSR exploded one in 1953 and another in 1954, the US proposed a resolution that nations use atomic energy only for peaceful means

Ho Chi Minh

Vietnamese Communist leader of the Viet Minh (later called the Viet Cong); he fought against the French & other anti-Communists, leading to the division between South and North Vietnam (and later the Vietnam War)

Helsinki Accords

1975 agreements between President Ford, Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, & 31 other states to solidify European boundaries, promise to respect human rights, and the freedom to travel (an example of détente-era diplomacy)

Iron curtain

term was coined by Winston Churchill to describe the Eastern Europe after it became cut off from noncommunist Europe & became controlled by the USSR (usually through puppet governments)

Korean War

(1) 1950-1953 UN-led conflict in Asia in which Truman involved American troops as part of a "police action" (without a Congressional declaration of war); (2) General MacArthur (and later Gen. Matthew Ridgeway) led the fighting until a June 1953 armistice established a border similar to the prewar border btwn the two halves of this country

Moon landing

(1) July 20, 1969, feat accomplished by astronaut Neil Armstrong and Colonel Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., who traveled in Apollo 11 and a landing module called the Eagle; (2) this televised event was intended to demonstrate the scientific power of the US

Mikhail Gorbachev

the last Soviet political leader, from 1985 to 1991; he eased tension between the US and the USSR—work that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990—and oversaw the perestroika reforms

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)

(1) 1960s US Cold War policy that acknowledged the fact that the US & USSR had enough nuclear weapons to destroy each other many times over; (2) this policy actually led to greater stability b/c both nations hoped to prevent outright war with the other nation and (perhaps ironically) ushered in the era of détente

Nixon Doctrine

foreign policy announced July 1969 along with efforts to withdrawal from Vietnam: a policy that pledged that the US would become a helpful partner in the Third World rather than a military protector

Neil Armstrong

astronaut who became the first person to walk on the moon (along with Colonel "Buzz" Aldrin); said, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind"

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

after Khrushchev threatened in 1961 to resume nuclear testing (despite a 1958 ban), this 1963 agreement btwn the US, UK, USSR, and >100 other nations stopped all above-ground nuclear tests


civilian agency (funded with government money) founded in 1958 to compete with Russia's (initially more successful) space program; it sent expeditions to the moon from the late 1960s to early 1980s, and developed & managed the space station and space shuttle programs.

Puppet governments

governments set up and supported by outside powers; the US & USSR established these kinds of governments during the Cold War--superpowers would hand-pick leaders of developing nations in order to keep them in their sphere of influence

Peace Corps

(1) government agency created by JFK in 1961 to send volunteer teachers, health workers, and engineers on 2-year aid missions to Third World countries; (2) the goal is to spread democratic values & aid the Third World with "soft power" (not military pressure)

Paris Accords

agreements signed in Jan. 1973 to settle the terms of US withdrawal from Indochina, ending the war between the US and North Vietnam (but leaving unresolved the conflict between N. & S. Vietnam)

Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT)

May 1972 treaty signed by Nixon as part of détente; this treaty limited each superpower to 200 antiballistic missiles and set quotas for intercontinental and submarine missiles


the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth, launched by the USSR on October 4, 1957; its launch prompted the space race (partly b/c it was understood that rockets could be used to deliver nuclear warheads anywhere on the globe)

Suez Canal Crisis

(1) in 1956 Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser tried to nationalize the __ canal (the north-south waterway in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean and the Red Seas), then owned by British and French interests; (2) the US & UN & USSR together condemned the Br, Fr, and Israeli response (an invasion of Egypt), & the US forced its former allies to withdrawal; (3) the US response demonstrated the American superpower status and the US desire for a balance of power in the Middle East

Tet Offensive

(1) Jan. 1968 surprise month-long military campaign launched throughout South Vietnam by the Vietcong & North Vietnamese communists; (2) a military failure for the communitts, but the widespread devastation & death of thousands of American troops convinced the American public that the Vietnam War was unwinnable.

Warsaw Pact

the Soviet response to NATO: a 1954 collective security agreement between the USSR and its Eastern European satellites (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, & Romania)

Henry Kissinger

national security adviser & later secretary of state under President Nixon; he was a major proponent of détente, an advocate of "realpolitik" foreign policy, and often met secretly with communist leaders in efforts to improve East-West cooperation

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

(1) international collective security organization founded in 1949 to counter the Soviet threat in Eastern Europe; (2) all 12 members agreed to fight together in the event of an attack on any one member; (3) throughout the Cold War, this organization was the primary Western alliance and today it continues to function as the miltary body for US & European cooperation in places such as the the former Yugoslavia


pro-communist guerrilla forces in South Vietnam; American GIs often referred to members of this orgaznization as VCs or collectively as "Charlie"

Vietnam War

(1) this conflict began when Eisenhower & Kennedy started US intervention by sending US military advisors to aid the French and to prevent the spread of communism; in 1964 LBJ started the war with massive aerial bombartment (Operation Rolling Thunder) and then a ground campaign; (3) this war was heavily protested in America and ended as a US loss when the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973

War Powers Resolution

(1) 1973 joint resolution of Congress that made it unlawful for the president to send the military into action without the approval of Congress; (2) it requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing troops & limits military operations for more than 90 days without congressional authorization; (3) it passed over Nixon's veto and has been condemned (or ignored) by nearly every president who has held office since; (4) an attempt to limit what many saw as an abuse of presidential military power

New Look

(1) Eisenhower's Cold War strategy, criticized as "brinksmanship" by some because it preferred nuclear deterrence to ground force involvement & emphasized the threat of massive retaliation; (2) Eisenhower worked to increase nuclear spending and while decreasing the overall military budget.

Jackie Robinson

1st African-American player to play in the major league baseball (for the Brooklyn Dodgers): baseball had been segregated in 2 separate leagues 1884-1947

Smith Act

(1) aka the Alien Registration Act, a 1940 law that act made it illegal to speak of or advocate overthrowing the US government; (2) 5 million aliens in the US also had to register with the federal government; (3) in 1948, Truman demonstrated his aggressive stance against communism by prosecuting 11 Communist Party leaders under the this law; prosecutions continued until 1961

Harry S. Truman

(1) president (D) from FDR's death in April 1945 to 1953; (2) he ordered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki & initiated Containment; (3) at home, he attempted to extend the New Deal policies with the "Fair Deal"; (4) desegregated the army

Taft-Hartley Act

(1) 1947 anti-union law that was passed by Republicans in Congress over Truman's veto; (2) the law banned many union practices and allowed the president to delay strikes with an 80-day "cooling off" period; (3) Truman's opposition to the law roused the support of organized labor, a group crucial to his narrow re-election in 1948

Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

post-WWII govt agency that gained control of nearly all aspects of research related to nuclear power--including monitoring scientists to prevent espionage, safeguarding power plants, and developing advanced nuclear weapons (such as the H-Bomb)

Baby boom

the postwar & 1950s period characterized by economic prosperity and an increased birthrate (when US population grew: 150 to 180 million)

Dynamic conservatism

Eisenhower's philosophy of government: forward-looking rather than traditional or laissez-faire, bipartisan (he was willing to work with the Democratic Party), and willing to accept most of the New Deal reforms

Dwight D. Eisenhower

(1) president (R) 1953-1961 who worked w/ Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to continue containment while lessening Cold War tensions (ex: ending the Korean War); (2) he had been the supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in WWII, coordinating Operation Overlord and the Allied drive to Berlin

Fair Deal

Truman's attempt to extend the policies of the New Deal beginning in 1949: increases to the minimum wage, expanded Social Security, and constructed low-income housing.

House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)

during the McCarthy Red Scare, this congressional committee provided a forum for many hearings about suspected communists in the government


the anticommunist "witch hunt" mentality of Senator Joseph __, who led a public campaign against alleged subversives in the early 1950s.

Elvis Presley

1950s rock-and-roll star; symbol of sex & youth rebellion; his music fused black R & B with white country music

Polio vaccine

Dr. Jonas Salk invented this in 1955 & the govt distributed it throughout the nation nearly eradicating ___ (disease)

The Rosenbergs

(1) husband and wife (Julius and Ethel) accused of spying for the Soviets in 1950--and executed in 1953; (2) they claimed that they were being targeted b/c of their Jewish background and leftist political beliefs during their very public trial (part of the 2nd Red Scare)

To Secure These Rights

title of a report published in 1947 by Truman's Presidential Commitee on Civil Rights, which called for the elimination of segregation; Truman followed their recommendation by desegregating the army in 1948

Thurgood Marshall

(1) NAACP attorney who successfully argued the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954; (2) in 1967, the 1st African American appointed to the Supreme Court

The Beat movement

(1) major nonconformist American literary movement of the 1950s, including Allen Ginsberg (Howl, 1956) & Jack Kerouac (On the Road, 1957); (2) they rejected the consumerism and conformity of middle-class culture and sought to overturn sexual and social norms of the era

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