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US History Important Figures

Three-sister farming

The cultivation of beans, corn, and squash together

Treaty of Tordesillas

Set the Line of Demarcation which was a boundary established in 1493 to define Spanish and Portuguese possessions in the Americas.


daughter of a Mayan leader that helped Cortes as his main translater and kept an eye on Aztec spies

Joint-stock company

A company made up of a group of shareholders. Each shareholder contributes some money to the company and receives some share of the company's profits and debts.

Tuscarora War

War in the Carolinas from 1711 through 1713 between the Tuscarora Indians and the colonists.

Sir Francis Drake

English explorer and admiral who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe and who helped to defeat the Spanish Armada (1540-1596)


the theological system of John Calvin and his followers emphasizing omnipotence of God and salvation by grace alone


the belief that what happens in human life has already been determined by some higher power

Salutary Neglect

An English policy of not strictly enforcing laws in its colonies

Peter Stuyvesant

The governor of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, hated by the colonists. They surrendered the colony to the English on Sept. 8, 1664.

South Carolina Slave Revolt

Fifty blacks along the Stono River tried to march to Spanish Florida, but were stopped by local militia

Congretional Church

Self-governing Puritan congregations without the hierarchical establishment of the Anglican Church.

William Berkeley

Governor of Virginia; greedy and corrupt; led to Bacon's Rebellion

Albany Congress

A meeting in Albany, New York, in 1754, in which the British colonies attempted to make an alliance with the Iroquois tribe in order to end their differences. The Iroquois, however, rejected the offer.

Pontiac's Uprising

(1763) bloody campaign waged by Ottawa chief Pontiac to drive the British out fo Ohio Country. It was brutally crushed by British troops, who resorted to distributign blankets infected with smallpox as a means to put down the rebellion

Edward Braddock

British general who was defeated near Fort Duquesne.

Sons of Liberty

Groups of colonists who organized themselves to protest against the British government.

Daughters of Liberty

An organization formed by women prior to the American Revolution They got together to protest treatment of the colonies by their British Rulers

Committees of Correspondence

Organization founded by Samuel Adams consisting of a system of communication between patriot leaders in New England and throughout the colonies

Baron Von Steuben

A stern, Prussian drillmaster that taught American soldiers during the Revolutionary War how to successfully fight the British.

Virginia Statue for Religious Freedoms

1786- declared Virginia did not have an official church

Northwest Ordinance

law that described how the Northwest Territory was to be governed

Great Comprimise

compromise made by Constitutional Convention in which states would have equal representation in one house of the legislature and representation based on population in the other house

Daniel Shay

led a rebellion of farmers

Funding at par

Payment of debts, such as government bonds, at face value. In 1790, Alexander Hamilton proposed that the federal government pay its Revolutionary war debts in full in order to bolster the nation's credit.

XYZ Affair

a 1797 French attempt to bribe the United States by demanding money before discussing French seizure of neutral American ships

Virginia resolution

Madison said a state could interpose, or place itself between the federal government and its citizens

Kentucky resolution

written by jefferson; introduced nullification; states have right to judge laws made and if be, declare laws null and void

Edmond Genet

French diplomat sent to the United States to recruit American volunteers to attack British ships

Revolution of 1800

Jefferson's election changed the direction of the government from Federalist to Democratic- Republican, so it was called a "revolution."

John Marshall

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appointed by John Adams

Meriwether Lewis

United States explorer and soldier who lead led an expedition from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River (1774-1809)

William Clark

United States explorer who (with Meriwether Lewis) led an expedition from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River

American System

Economic program advanced by Henry Clay that included support for a national bank, high tariffs, and internal improvements; emphasized strong role for federal government in the economy.

Dartmouth College v. Woodward

1819--New Hampshire had attempted to take over Dartmouth College by revising its colonial charter. The Court ruled that the charter was protected under the contract clause of the U. S. Constitution; upholds the sanctity of contracts.

Oliver Hazard Perry

Naval officer who led the US victory over the British on Lake Erie in 1813

Spoils System

the system of employing and promoting civil servants who are friends and supporters of the group in power

Indian Removal Act

removed indians from southern states and put them on reservations in the midwest

Nicholas Biddle

President of the Second Bank of the United States; he struggled to keep the bank functioning when President Jackson tried to destroy it.

Martin Van Buren

He was the eighth president of the United States who was experienced in legislative and administrative life. He passed the Divorce Bill which placed the federal surplus in vaults located in large cities and denied the backing system.

Tammany Hall

a political organization within the Democratic Party in New York city (late 1800's and early 1900's) seeking political control by corruption and bossism

Transportation Revolution

rapid growth in the speed and convenience of transportation; in the United States this began in the early 1800s

DeWitt Clinton

United States politician who as governor of New York supported the project to build the Erie Canal (1769-1828)


church founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, religious group that emphasized moderation, saving, hard work, and risk-taking; moved from IL to UT

Oneida Community

radical experiment that practiced free love, birth control, and flourished largely because of superior steel products

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

A pioneer in the women's suffrage movement, she helped organize the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. She later helped edit the militant feminist magazine Revolution from 1868 - 1870.

Susan B. Anthony

social reformer who campaigned for womens rights, the temperance, and was an abolitionist, helped form the National Woman Suffrage Assosiation


spanish slave ship; slaves took over ship and were caught off US coast; sued for freedom in US Supreme court; slaves were ultimately freed by court because they were taken illegally

American Anti-Slavery Society

an organization started by William Lloyd garrison whose members wanted immediate emancipation and racial equality for African Americans.

Nat Turner

United States slave and insurrectionist who in 1831 led a rebellion of slaves in Virginia

Conscience Whigs

Anti-slavery whigs who opposed both the Texas annexation and the Mexican War on moral grounds.

Wilmot Proviso

Bill that would ban slavery in the territories acquired after the War with Mexico

Stephen W. Kearny

General that led a detachment of 17,000 troops over the Santa fe Tail from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe. Secured California for the US.

Free Soil Party

Formed in 1847 - 1848, dedicated to opposing slavery in newly acquired territories such as Oregon and ceded Mexican territory.

Treaty of Kanagwa

peace between america and japan and unless they are under stress they can only port in japan

Caleb Cushing

American diplomat who negotiated the Treaty of Wanghia with China in 1844

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

During the race to become Senator Lincoln asked to have multiple debates with Douglas. Certain topics of these debates were slavery, how to deal with slavery, and where slavery should be allowed. Although Lincoln lost the election to Douglas, he was known throughout the country because of the debates.

Crittenden Amendments

these, while prohibiting slavery north of 36 30, would also give federal protection in all territories south of that line

Roger B. Taney

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when Dred Scott decision was made

Writ of Habeas Corpus

a court order that requires police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why they are holding the person

New York Draft Riots

July 1863 just after the Battle at Gettysburg. Mobs of Irish working-class men and women roamed the streets for four days until federal troops suppressed them. They loathed the idea of being drafted to fight a war on behalf of slaves who, once freed, would compete with them for jobs.


Austrian Hapsburg prince that Napoleon placed on the throne of Mexico in an unsuccessful attempt to making Mexico a French satellite

Clara Barton

Nurse during the Civil War; started the American Red Cross

Thirteenth Amendment

abolished slavery


a group of northern Democrats who opposed abolition and sympathized with the South during the Civil War

Salmon Chase

ambitious secretary of the treasury who wanted to replace Lincoln as president in 1864

Credit Mobilier Scandal

1872 Union Pacific railroad insiders had formed the Credit Mobilier construction company and then cleverly hired themselves at inflated prices to build the railroad line, earning dividends as high as 348%

Plessy v Ferguson

sumpreme court ruled that segregation public places facilities were legal as long as the facilites were equal

Pendleton Act

Passed in 1883, an Act that created a federal civil service so that hiring and promotion would be based on merit rather than patronage.


a tributary of the Ohio River that rises in western Ohio and flows southwestward across Indiana

Interstate Commerce Act

Established the ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) - monitors the business operation of carriers transporting goods and people between states - created to regulate railroad prices

Cornelius Vanderbilt

United States financier who accumulated great wealth from railroad and shipping businesses (1794-1877)

Dawes Severalty Act

Bill that promised Indians tracts of land to farm in order to assimilate them into white culture. The bill was resisted, uneffective, and disastrous to Indian tribes

Gold Standard Act

Signed by McKinley in 1900 and stated that all paper money must be backed only by gold. This meant that the government had to hold large gold reserves in case people wanted to trade in their money. Also eliminated silver coins in circulation.

Frederick Jackson Turner

United States historian who stressed the role of the western frontier in American history (1861-1951)

Mckinley Tariff

1890 tariff that raised protective tariff levels by nearly 50%, making them the highest tariffs on imports in the United States history

Anti-Imperialist League

objected to the annexation of the Philippines and the building of an American empire. Idealism, self-interest, racism, constitutionalism, and other reasons motivated them, but they failed to make their case; the Philippines were annexed in 1900

Hay-Pauncefote Treaty

(TR) , negotiations with Colombia, six mile strip of land in Panama, $10 million, US could dig canal without British involvement


readiness to embark on bold new ventures


a legislative act is referred for final approval to a popular vote by the electorate


cause to be returned

Thorstein Veblen

United States economist who wrote about conspicuous consumption (1857-1929)

Robert M. La Follete

Politician from wisconsin who proposed that political parties select their canidates by a popular vote

Clayton Anti-trust act

law that weakened monopolies and upheld the rights of unions and farm organizations

Workingmen's Compensation Act

established an all-purpose protection program for Federal civilian employees and their dependents in the event of injury or death

Herbert Croly

He wrote the The Promise of American Life (1909) where he called for an activist fed govn't of the kind Hamilton had advocated in the 1790s but one that would serve all citizens, not merely the capitalist class.

Industrial Workers of the World

a former international labor union and radical labor movement in the United States

William D Haywood

Leader of the Industrial Workers of the World who promoted the concept of one all-inclusive union whose credo would be the promotion of socialism.

Bernard Baruch

economic advisor to United States Presidents (1870-1965)

Neutrality Acts of 1935,1936,1937

stipulated that when the president proclaimed the existence of a foreign war, US citizens were prohibited from doing business with the belligerent

Abraham Lincoln Brigade

more than 3,000 young american formed this group and traveled to spain to join in the fight against fascicm

Atlantic Charter

1941-Pledge signed by US president FDR and British prime minister Winston Churchill not to acquire new territory as a result of WWII amd to work for peace after the war

Manhatton Project

Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein develope atomic weapon teachnology.

Chester Nimitz

United States admiral of the Pacific fleet during World War II who used aircraft carriers to destroy the Japanese navy (1885-1966)

Albert Einstein

This 20th Century scientist revolutionized the way scientists thought about space, time and matter, the most notable being his theory of relativity.

Taft-Harley Act

(1947) Forbids closed shop, permits states to bar union shop, allow temporary injunctions of strikes affecting national welfare

GI Bill

law passed in 1944 to help returning veterans buy homes and pay for higher educations

Yalta Conference

FDR, Churchill and Stalin met at Yalta. Russia agreed to declare war on Japan after the surrender of Germany and in return FDR and Churchill promised the USSR concession in Manchuria and the territories that it had lost in the Russo-Japanese War

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Group that sent its own delegates to the Democratic National Convention in 1964 to protest discrimination against black voters in Mississippi

James Meredith

United States civil rights leader whose college registration caused riots in traditionally segregated Mississippi (born in 1933)

Malcom X

spread ideas of black nationalism. disagreed w/ both the tactics and goals of the early civil rights movement. minister of the nation of isam. rejected his original name because it was his family's slave name


President Richard Nixons strategy for ending U.S involvement in the vietnam war, involving a gradual withdrawl of American troops and replacement of them with South Vietnamese forces

Southern Strategy

Nixon's plan to persuade conservative southern white voters away from the Democratic party

Henry A. Kissinger

National security adviser who had been secretly meeting in Paris with North Vietnamese officials in hopes of working to an end of the war. He was also preparing the way for Nixon to visit China and Russia.

Strategic Defense Initiative

Reagan's Star Wars defense system to shoot down missiles while they're in space

Iran Contra Affair

scandal including arms sales to the Middle East in order to send money to help the Contras in Nicaragua even though Congress had objected

Ronald Reagan

U.S. president from 1980-1988 who labeled the Soviet Union as an "evil empire," dramatically increased military spending, and provided money and supplies to support the Afghan rebels in their war against the Soviet Union

Mikhail Gorbachev

Soviet statesman whose foreign policy brought an end to the Cold War and whose domestic policy introduced major reforms (born in 1931)

Americans with Disabilities Act

Passed by Congress in 1991, this act banned discrimination against the disabled in employment and mandated easy access to all public and commerical buildings.

George H.W. Bush

republican, former director of CIA, oil company founder/owner, foreign policy (panama, gulf war), raised taxes eventhough said he wouldnt, more centrist than his son, NAFTA negotiation

North American Free Trade Agreement

NAFTA an alliance that merges canada, mexico and the united states into a single market

No Child left behind

Holds states, schools, and school districts more accountable for their standardized tests scores. The wanted outcome was better tests scores all around and overall a smarter and better population of young people that would positively contribute to a growing America.

Kyoto Treaty

a treaty signed in 1997. It requires countries who sign it to reduce thieir gas emissions to levels below what they were producing in 1990

Guantanamo Detention Camp

Controversial prison facility constructed after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Located on territory occupied by the U.S. military, but not technically part of the United States, the facility serves as an extra-legal holding area for suspected terrorists. (1069)

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