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This term describes people who wanted a reconnection with Britain rather than declaring independence. They were typically Royal officials, Anglican clergymen, wealthy merchants with ties to London, de-mobilized Royal soldiers, or recent arrivals (especially from Scotland), together with many ordinary people. Though estimates vary, colonists with such sympathies likely accounted for as much as 30% of the colonial population of the day, compared to about 40% who were 'Patriot'.

Battle of Trenton

This took place on December 26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War after General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River. The hazardous crossing in adverse weather allowed Washington to lead the main body of the Continental Army to sneak attack Hessian soldiers. After a brief struggle, nearly the entire Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle boosted the Continental Army's flagging morale, and inspired re-enlistments.

Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

An American orator and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses who gave speeches against the British government and its policies urging the colonies to fight for independence. In connection with a petition to declare a "state of defense" in Virginia in 1775, he gave his most famous speech which ends with the words, "Give me liberty or give me death." He served as Governor of Virginia from 1776-1779 and 1784-1786, and was instrumental in causing the Bill of Rights to be adopted as part of the U.S. Constitution.

Second Continental Congress

It met in 1776 and drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence, which justified the Revolutionary War and declared that the colonies should be independent of Britain.

Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed's Hill) June 1775

This Revolutionary War battle took place shortly after Lexington and Concord. It was the first major battle of the war. Although the British gained their objective, they paid dearly in lives lost. This battle proved that the American rebels would put up a fierce resistance to Britain.

Thomas Jefferson

He was a delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States.

Declaration of Independence

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson helped to draft this document during the Second Continental Congress. It proclaimed American separation from the British Empire on July 4th, 1776.

Abigail Adams

Wife of John Adams. During the Revolutionary War, she wrote letters to her husband describing life on the home front. She urged her husband to remember America's women in the new government he was helping to create.

Marquis de Lafayette

He was a French major general who aided the colonies during the Revolutionary War. He and Baron von Steuben (a Prussian general) were the two major foreign military experts who helped train the colonial armies.

Benedict Arnold

He had been a Colonel in the Connecticut militia at the outbreak of the Revolution and soon became a General in the Continental Army. He won key victories for the colonies in the battles in upstate New York in 1777, and was instrumental in General Gates victory over the British at Saratoga. After becoming Commander of Philadelphia in 1778, he went heavily into debt, and in 1780, he was caught plotting to surrender the key Hudson River fortress of West Point to the British in exchange for a commission in the royal army. He is the most famous traitor in American history.

Robert Morris (1734-1806)

A delegate to the Second Continental Congress. He agreed that Britain had treated the colonies unfairly, but he didn't believe that the colonies should dissolve ties with Britain. He argued against the Declaration of Independence.

Battle of Saratoga

In the fall of 1777, British General John Burgoyne attacked southward from Canada along the Hudson Valley in New York, hoping to link up with General Howe in New York City, thereby cutting the colonies in half. Burgoyne was defeated by American General Horatio Gates, at this battle, surrendering the entire British Army of the North, over 6,000 soldiers. The colonial victory in this battle convinced France that the Americans might defeat the British with more outside support. For this reason historians view this battle as a critical point of the American Revolution.

Valley Forge

This place was not a battle; it was the site where the Continental Army camped during the winter of 1777- '78, after its defeats at the Battles of the Brandywine and Germantown. The Continental Army suffered further casualties here due to cold and disease. Washington chose the site because it allowed him to defend the Continental Congress if necessary, which was then meeting in York, Pennsylvania after the British capture of Philadelphia.


Because of their lack of success in suppressing the Revolution in the northern colonies, in early 1780 the British switched their strategy and undertook a series of campaigns through the southern colonies. This strategy was equally unsuccessful, and the British decided to return to their main headquarters in New York City. While marching from Virginia to New York, British commander Lord Cornwallis became trapped along the Chesapeake Bay. His troops fortified the town and waited for reinforcements. The French navy, led by DeGrasse, blocked their escape. After a series of battles, Cornwallis surrendered to the Continental Army on October 19, 1781, which ended all major fighting in the Revolutionary War. What was this battle?

Treaty of Paris, 1783

This treaty ended the Revolutionary War, recognized the independence of the American colonies, and granted the colonies the territory from the southern border of Canada to the northern border of Florida, and from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River. This treaty was signed by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay.

'republican motherhood'

Women gained a small status increase for their efforts in the Revolutionary war, but they were primarily valued as mothers of future patriots. This term characterizes women's role in the emerging United States before and after the American Revolution. It centered on the belief that children should be raised to uphold the ideals of republicanism, making them the perfect citizens of the new nation.

state constitutions

These were drafted by the individual former colonies in the period directly after the Declaration of Independence. The exercise of creating one of these for each state greatly influenced the creation of a federal one in the following decade.

Articles of Confederation

This legal framework lasted from 1781-1789. It delegated most of the powers (the power to tax, to regulate trade, and to draft troops) to the individual states, but left the federal government power over war, foreign policy, and issuing money. A weakness was that they gave the federal government so little power that it couldn't keep the country united. These were abandoned for the Constitution.


The document which established the present federal government of the United States and outlined its powers. It can be changed through amendments.


One of the three branches of government, this branch makes laws and has the power to levy taxes. The House of Representatives and the Senate together to make up this branch.

bicameral legislature

This is a lawmaking body which consists of two chambers or houses. It is an essential and defining feature of the classical notion of mixed government.

House of Representatives

One of the two parts of Congress, considered the "lower house." Members are elected directly by the people, with the number for each state determined by the state's population.


One of the two parts of Congress, this is considered the "upper house." Members were originally appointed by state legislatures, but now two from each state are elected directly by the people.

Executive branch

One of the three branches of government, this branch is the head of government, administers government policies, and is the chief diplomat of foreign policy. It is headed by the president, who has the power to veto legislation passed by Congress.

Judiciary branch

One of the three branches of government, whose primary task is to determine the constitutionality of laws. The highest authority in this branch is the Supreme Court, which sets precedent for all lower courts. Created by Congress in 1789.

Supremacy clause

Article VI of the Constitution, which declares the Constitution, all federal laws passed pursuant to its provisions, and all federal treaties, to be the "supreme law of the land," which override any state laws or state constitutional provisions to the contrary.


The Constitution was completed in 1787, but had to be accepted by at least 50% of delegates in 9 of the 13 original states in order to be put into effect. The 9th state approved in 1788, and by 1790, all 13 original states completed the process.

Checks and balances

This phrase represents a central structural theme of the America Constitution. Each of the three branches of government blocks the power of the other two, so no one branch can become too powerful. The president (executive) can veto laws passed by Congress (legislative), and also chooses the judges in the Supreme Court (judiciary). Congress can overturn a presidential veto if 2/3 of the members vote to do so. The Supreme Court can declare laws passed by Congress and the president unconstitutional, and hence invalid.

Northwest Ordinance, 1787

This law set the model for the annexation of western lands into the United States, in this case Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It determined the steps and requirements for new states. It was one of the few successes of the Articles of Confederation congress.

Shay's Rebellion

This civil unrest occurred in the winter of 1786-7 under the Articles of Confederation. Poor, indebted landowners in Massachusetts blocked access to courts and prevented the government from arresting or repossessing the property of those in debt. The federal government was too weak to help Boston remove the rebels, a sign that the Articles of Confederation weren't working effectively.

Constitutional Convention

This meeting took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the United States of America, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from Great Britain. Ben Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington were some of the attendees.

John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

(1632-1704) This English philosopher's ideas influenced the 'founding fathers'. He wrote that all human beings have a right to life, liberty, and property and that governments exist to protect those rights. He believed that a contract existed between a government and its people, and if the government failed to uphold its end of the contract, the people could rebel and institute a new government.

James Madison

This Virginian was one of America's early leading politicians and helped shaped the philosophy of American government. He wrote much of the Virginia Plan, Federalist Papers, as well as the Constitution. He served in the House of Representatives, as Jefferson's Secretary of State, and as the fourth president.

Great Compromise

1787 At the Constitutional Convention, larger states wanted to follow the Virginia Plan, which based each state's representation in Congress on state population. Smaller states wanted to follow the New Jersey Plan, which gave every state the same number of representatives. A deal was reached by creating the House and the Senate, and using both of the two separate plans as the method for electing members of each. What was this called?

Three-Fifths Compromise

This was a deal between Southern and Northern states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in which three-fifths of the population of slaves would be counted for both the distribution of taxes and the apportionment of the members of the United States House of Representatives. What was this called?


They opposed the ratification of the Constitution because it gave more power to the federal government and less to the states, and because it did not ensure individual rights. Many wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation. These people were instrumental in passing the Bill of Rights as a prerequisite to ratification of the Constitution. They included Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams. After the ratification of the Constitution, these people regrouped as the Democratic-Republican party.


This early American political 'party' opposed the Articles of Confederation and instead supported a strong central government as created in the Constitution. Their leaders included John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.

The Federalist Papers

This collection of essays by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, explained the importance of a strong central government. They were published in 1787-1788 to convince New York to ratify the Constitution.

Bill of Rights

This is the name given to the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Adopted in 1791, this was the compromise that bridged the divide between federalists and anti-federalists.

George Washington

He established many of the presidential traditions, including limiting a president's tenure to two terms. He was against political parties and strove for political balance in government by appointing political adversaries to government positions.

Judiciary Act

This 1789 law created the federal court system and allowed the president to create federal courts and to appoint judges.

Alexander Hamilton

He was the leading Federalist, and supported industry and strong central government. He insisted that the federal government assume debts incurred by the states during the Revolutionary War. As Secretary of the Treasury under President Washington he created the National Bank and managed to pay off the U.S.'s early debts through tariffs and the excise tax on whiskey.

Thomas Jefferson

He had been America's ambassador to France during the Articles of Confederation, and then selected as Washington's Secretary of State. He was a leading Democratic-Republican, and was fiercely opposed to Hamilton's ideas.

electoral college

The Constitution laid out this method of indirectly electing a head of state rather than through a direct popular election. Each state has a number of electors equal to its total Congressional representation (in both houses). The electors generally cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in their respective states, but in some states are not required by law to do so. What is this system called?

Proclamation of Neutrality

This was an announcement by United States President George Washington on April 22, 1793, declaring the nation non-aligned in the conflict between France and Great Britain. The action started a war of pamphlets between Hamilton (writing for the Federalists), and Madison (writing for the Democratic-Republicans), thus helping to create the landscape of America's 'first party system'.

Implied powers

Section 8 of Article I contains a long list of powers specifically granted to Congress, and ends with the statement that Congress shall also have the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers." There has long been a debate as to how much power this "necessary and proper" clause grants to Congress. Critics of governmental power argue this elastic clause can be "stretched" to include almost any other power that Congress might try to assert. How are these powers referred to?

First Bank of the US

This institution was chartered by the United States Congress and lasted from 1791-1811. It was created to handle the financial needs and requirements of the central government of the newly formed United States, which had previously been thirteen individual states with their own, currencies, financial institutions, and policies.

Proposed by Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, it was supported by Northern merchants and New England state governments.


Whiskey Rebellion

In 1794, farmers in Pennsylvania rebelled against Hamilton's tax hike, and several federal officers were killed in the riots caused by their attempts to serve arrest warrants on the offenders. In October, 1794, the army, led by Washington, put down the rebellion. The incident showed that the new government under the Constitution could react swiftly and effectively to such a problem, in contrast to the inability of the government under the Articles of Confederation to deal with Shay's Rebellion.

Election of 1796

This was the first true presidential election (when Washington ran, there was never any question that he would be elected). Adams was a Federalist, and won the presidency. Jefferson was a Democratic-Republican, and as second place was awarded the VP.

Washington's farewell address

This famous speech, near the end of the first president's second term in office, set precidents that other presidents have followed. In this speech, he announced his intention to decline a third term in office, argued that American independence among nations can only be achieved through unity at home, and gave a strong endorsement to American constitutional style of government.


The one of America's first political parties, many of its members had earlier been Anti-federalists, which had never organized into a formal political party. Leaders included Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (who was earlier a Federalist).

Alien and Sedition Acts

These consist of four laws passed by the Federalist Congress and signed by President Adams in 1798. They empowered the federal government to arrest and deport foreigners and suppress dissent. They were enacted, in part, because of the XYZ Affair, and were aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were considered subversives. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which initiated the concept of "nullification" of federal laws were written in response to these Acts.


This terms describes the structuring of family units based on the man, as father figure, having primary authority over the rest of the family members. It also refers to the role of men in society more generally where men take primary responsibility over the welfare of the community as a whole. This authority often includes acting as the dominant figures in social, economic, and political procedures, including serving as representatives via public office.


This Protestant denomination gained strength during the First Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740s. The English preacher George Whitefield played a major role, traveling across the colonies and preaching in a dramatic and emotional style, accepting everyone as his audience. Many people became passionately and emotionally involved in their religion, and began to study the Bible at home.

'farmers' republic'

This term describes the ideal of Jeffersonian America. This school of thought felt that a society of rural, independent, landowning agriculturalists would be the best way to create a stable democracy. Bound to responsibility by the land and to the community in times of need, Jefferson felt that this type of society would be far better than an urban, manufacturing society.

James Monroe

This Virginian was a Democratic-Republican with a long life in politics. He was the fifth President of the United States (1817-1825), and his time in office came to be known as the 'era of good feelings'. His administration was marked by the acquisition of Florida (1819); the Missouri Compromise (1820), and the profession of U.S. opposition to European interference in the Americas.

Election of 1800

The two Democratic-Republicans Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr defeated Federalist John Adams, but tied with each other. The final decision went the House of Representatives, where there was another tie. After a long series of ties in the House, Jefferson was finally chosen as president. Burr became vice-president. This led to the 12th Amendment, which requires the president and vice-president of the same party to run on the same ticket.

Election of 1800

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

Gabriel's Rebellion

This took place near Richmond Virginia in the summer of 1800 when a literate enslaved blacksmith planned and led a large slave revolt. Governor James Monroe and the state militia suppressed the uprising. The 27 enslaved people who participated were hanged. In reaction, the Virginia and other legislatures passed restrictions on free blacks, as well as the education, movement and hiring out of the enslaved.

John Adams

He is regarded as one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States. He came to prominence in Boston as a lawyer during the early stages of the American Revolution, pushed for the Declaration of Independence in 1776 as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, and later served as the second president of the United States. During his one term as president, he was frustrated by battles inside his own Federalist party (by a faction led by Alexander Hamilton) and the newly emergent partisan disagreements with Democratic Republicans.

12th Amendment

Brought about by the Jefferson/Burr tie, stated that presidential and vice-presidential nominees would run on the same party ticket. Before this law, all of the candidates ran against each other, with the winner becoming president and second-place becoming vice-president.

Second Great Awakening

This was a series of evangelical religious revivals starting in 1801 that helped to spread Methodism and Baptism. The revivals attracted women, Blacks, and Native Americans to a world long dominated by white men. Evangelical participation in social causes was fostered that changed American life in areas such as prison reform, abolitionism, and temperance.

French Revolution

This was the second great democratic revolution of the 1790s, occuring only a few years after the American Revolution. The people overthrew the king (and chopped off his head) and his government, and then instituted a series of unsuccessful democratic governments until Napoleon took over as dictator in 1799. The U.S. hotly debated involvement, but in the end did nothing to aid either side.

Citizen Genêt

(Edmond Charles Genêt) This Frenchmen was at the center of a great political affair from 1793-1794, which caused debate and polarization within American politics. As a French diplomat, he came to ask the American government to send money and troops to aid the revolutionaries in the French Revolution, and then proceeded to recruit men and arm ships in the US himself. His actions endangered American neutrality in the war between France and Britain, which Washington had pointedly declared in his Neutrality Proclamation.

Neutrality Proclamation

This was Washington's declaration that the U.S. would not take sides after the French Revolution touched off a war between France and a coalition consisting primarily of England, Austria and Prussia. This was a departure from the alliance formed with the Franco-American Treaty of 1778 (during the American Revolution).

XYZ Affair

This was a 1797-1798 political episode between France and the US. American refusal to honor the Franco-American Treaty of 1778, and President Adam's criticism of the French Revolution, led France to break off relations with the U.S. Adams sent delegates to meet with Talleyrand, the French foreign minister, in the hopes of working things out. His three agents told the American delegates that they could meet with Talleyrand only in exchange for a very large bribe. The Americans did not pay the bribe, and in 1798 Adams made the incident public, without disclosing the names of the three French agents in his report to Congress.

Democratic-Republican Party

This political party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison around 1792 in order to oppose the economic and foreign policies of the Federalists and Alexander Hamilton. The party opposed the Jay Treaty of 1794 ( friendship with Britain) and generally supported good relations with France. The party insisted on a strict construction of the Constitution, and denounced the national bank as unconstitutional. The party favored states' rights and the primacy of the yeoman farmer over bankers, industrialists, and merchants. It was the dominant political party in the United States from 1800 to 1824, when it split into competing factions.

Jay's Treaty

This 1794 agreement between Britain and the US settled some ongoing conflicts from the Revolutionary War, and lead to a short period of cooperation and trade. It dealt with the Northwest posts and trade on the Mississippi River. It was unpopular with most Americans because it did not punish Britain for the attacks on neutral American ships. It was particularly unpopular with France, because the U.S. also accepted the British restrictions on the rights of neutrals.

Pickney's Treaty

This 1795 friendship treaty between the U.S. and Spain clarified borders of Spanish Florida and Lousiana, guaranteed America access to the Mississippi river, and gave permission to store goods in the Spanish port of New Orleans.

Northwest Indian War

This 1785-1795 conflict was between the United States and a confederation of numerous Native tribes for control of what would become Ohio, Chicago, and Detroit. Still opposed to the US, some British agents in the region sold weapons and ammunition to the Nativess and encouraged attacks on American settlers. It followed centuries of conflict over this territory among the shifting alliances of the tribes, European powers, and their colonists.

Treaty of Greenville

This was signed on August 2, 1795, between a coalition of Native Americans and the United States following the Native American loss at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. It put an end to the Northwest Indian War. It turned over to the United States large parts of modern-day Ohio, the future site of downtown Chicago, and the Fort Detroit area.

Napoleonic Wars

(1804-1815) These conflicts were a continuation of those sparked by the French Revolution. In them, Great Britain and France fought for European supremacy--and treated weaker powers heavy-handedly. The United States attempted to remain neutral during the early 1800s, but eventually became embroiled in the European conflicts leading to the War of 1812 against Great Britain.

War of 1812 (1812-1814)

This conflict was caused by American outrage over British actions including the impressment of American sailors, the seizure of American ships, and aiding the Indian attacks along the western frontier. The war strengthened American nationalism and encouraged the growth of industry. It gave the U.S. an excuse to seize the British northwest posts and to annex Florida from Britain's ally Spain. Including several sea battles and frontier skirmishes, the war ground to a stalmate, although the British managed to invade and burn Washington, D.C.

'war hawks'

The term was coined to describe young Democratic-Republicans, led by Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, who argued for war in Congress leading into the War of 1812. The term is now used more generally to refer to those who advocate for war.

The Treaty of Ghent

This December 1814 treaty ended the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. It restored the status quo and required the U.S. to give back Florida. Two weeks later, Andrew Jackson's troops defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans, not knowing that a peace treaty had already been signed.

Henry Clay

This Kentucky politician was one of the most prominent political figures of his day. He was a central player in the War of 1812, to the emergence of the Whig party in the 1830s , to the Compromise of 1850. His American system argued for using federal money for internal improvements (roads, bridges, industrial improvements, etc.), enacting a protective tariff to foster the growth of American industries, and strengthening the national bank.

Revolution of 1800

This term refers to the second presidential contest between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Jefferson's election was a political realignment that ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican Party rule and the eventual demise of the Federalist Party.

Thomas Jefferson

This founding father was the main author of the Declaration of Independence. After serving as America's ambassador in France, he was Secretary of State under George Washington. As a founding member of the Democratic-Republican party, he believed in a less aristocratic presidency and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. He wanted to reduce federal spending and government interference in everyday life.

Aaron Burr

He was one of the leading Democratic-Republicans of New York, and served as a U.S. Senator from New York from 1791-1797. He was elected Vice President and served from 1801-1805. He was a principal opponent of Alexander Hamilton's Federalist policies. In 1804, he shot and killed Hamilton in perhaps the most famous duel in American history.

Barbary Wars (1801-1805)

(1801-1805) Also called the Tripolitan War, this was a series of naval engagements launched by President Jefferson in an effort to stop the attacks on American merchant ships by pirates from the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. The war was inconclusive, afterwards, the U.S. paid a tribute to North African states to protect their ships from pirate attacks.

Louisiana Purchase

In 1803 the U.S. bought the land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains from Napoleon for $15 million. Jefferson was interested in the territory because it would give the U.S. the Mississippi River and New Orleans (both were valuable for trade and shipping) and also room to expand. Napoleon wanted to sell because he needed money for his European campaigns and because a rebellion against the French in Haiti had soured him on the idea of New World colonies. The Constitution did not give the federal government the power to buy land, so Jefferson used loose construction to justify the acquisition.

Lewis and Clark

From 1804-1806 these two explorers were commissioned by President Jefferson to map and explore the Louisiana Purchase region. Beginning at St. Louis, Missouri, the expedition traveled up the Missouri River to the Great Divide, and then down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. It produced extensive maps of the area and recorded many scientific discoveries, greatly facilitating later settlement of the region and travel to the Pacific coast.


This term describes forced service of a person into an army or navy, and was a common occurrence in the era following the Revolutionary War. The British would board American merchant vessels in order to retrieve its numerous navy deserters, and often seized any sailor who could not prove that he was an American citizen and not British.

Embargo of 1807

This bill banned trade between the United States of America and other nations. The US was trying to assert its independence from European control. It was created at the request of President Thomas Jefferson in an attempt to prevent American involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. The bill proved unpopular and unenforceable and was repealed in 1808.


(1763-1813) He was Shawnee chief who, along with his brother, Tenskwatawa, a religious leader known as The Prophet, worked to unite the Northwestern Indian tribes. His league of tribes was defeated by an American at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Living to fight another day, he was then killed fighting for the British during the War of 1812.

The Battle of New Orleans

January, 1815 - This was a great victory for the U.S., but it took place two weeks after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent had ended the War of 1812. A large British invasion force was repelled by Andrew Jackson's army resulting in 2500 British soldiers killed or captured, while only 8 American men were killed.

Hartford Convention of 1814

This was an 1814 meeting of New England merchants who opposed the War of 1812, and its associated trade restrictions. This largely Federalist group proposed some Amendments to the Constitution and advocated the right of states to nullify federal laws. They also discussed the idea of seceding from the U.S. if their desires were ignored. This meeting turned public sentiment against the Federalists and led to the demise of the party.

Treaty of Ghent

December 24, 1814 - This agreement ended the War of 1812 and restored the status quo. For the most part, territory captured in the war was returned to the original owner.

Rush-Bagot Treaty

1817 - This treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain (which controlled Canada) provided for the mutual disarmament of the Great Lakes. This was later expanded into a disarmament of the entire 5,000+ mils long Canada/U.S. border.

Panic of 1819

This was the first major financial crisis in US history It caused widespread foreclosures, bank failures, unemployment, and a slump in agriculture and manufacturing. The economic collapse was caused by overproduction and the reduced demand for goods after the War of 1812, and some blame the policies on the National Bank.

Seminole Indians

This native American tribe was living in Spanish Florida in 1817, when it launched a series of raids into the U.S. President J. Q. Adams ordered Andrew Jackson, whose troops were on the U.S./Florida border, to seize Spanish forts in northern Florida. Jackson's successful attacks convinced the Spanish that they could not defend Florida against the U.S.

Adams-Onis Treaty

This 1819 agreement settled a border dispute between Spain and the United States. Spain gave up Florida to the U.S. and in exchange the US acknowledged Texas and the American Southwest as Spanish territory.

Monroe Doctrine

1823 - This declared that Europe should not interfere in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere and that any attempt at interference by a European power would be seen as a threat to the U.S. It also declared that a New World colony which has gained independence may not be re-colonized by Europe.

Era of Good Feelings

A name for President Monroe's two terms, a period of strong nationalism, economic growth, and territorial expansion. Since the Federalist party dissolved after the War of 1812, there was only one political party and little partisan conflict.

John Marshall

This Federalist politician was an early Supreme Court Chief Justice whose decision promoted federal power over state power and established the judiciary as a branch of government equal to the legislative and executive.

John C Calhoun

(1782 - March 31, 1850) He was a leading Southern politician from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. A gifted politician, he began his political career as a Democratic-Republican, a nationalist and proponent of protective tariffs. Later, as a Democrat, and his views changed as he became a proponent of free trade, states' rights, limited government, and nullification.

American Temperance Society

This group was established in1826 in Boston to crusade against alcohol. Within ten years there were over 8,000 local groups and more than 1,500,000 members who had taken the pledge to abstain from drinking. The movement was most successful in northern states, where in time such groups increasingly pressed for the mandatory prohibition of alcohol rather than for voluntary abstinence.

Andrew Jackson

This lawyer and politician cut his teeth on the Tennessee Frontier. He served as a US Representative, US Senator, a member of Tennessee's Supreme Court. He then fought in the War of 1812 commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). This polarizing figure dominated American politics in the 1820s and 1830s, his political ambition combined with widening political participation, shaping the modern Democratic Party.

Democratic Party

This political party came about in the mid 1820s after divisions within the Democratic-Republicans over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe. The faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, became this new party. Along with the Whig Party, this was the chief party in the United States until the Civil War.

Industrial revolution

This was the name of a broad social and economic trend that brought America from the days of the 'agrarian republic' of 1800 to be the worlds leading economy and manufacturing center by 1900. The birth of mass manufacturing had occurred in England in the 1700s, but it was not until the period of growth after the

Nullification Crisis

This political episode began with the passage of the Tariff of 1828, which was fiercely opposed by southern politicians led by Vice President John C. Calhoun. When the Jackson administration failed to take any actions to address their concerns, some began to advocate that the state itself declare the tariff null and void within South Carolina. With the passage of a compromising Tariff Act of 1832, the tension subsided.

Eli Whitney

In 1794 this man developed the cotton gin, a machine which could separate cotton from its seeds. This invention increased cotton's profitablity. It fueled expansion into the west as farmers sought to farm more cotton, and the value of slaves to increase, as each slave could now produce much more cotton.

Interchangeable parts

1799-1800 - Eli Whitney developed a manufacturing system which uses standardized parts which are all identical and thus, interchangeable. Before this, each part of a given device had been designed only for that one device; if a single piece of the device broke, it was difficult or impossible to replace. With standardized parts, it was easy to get a replacement part from the manufacturer. Whitney first put used standardized parts to make muskets for the U.S. government.

Daniel Webster

(1782 - 1852) He was a leading American statesman during the nation's Antebellum Period. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests. His increasingly nationalistic views and the effectiveness with which he articulated them led Webster to become one of the most famous orators and influential Whig leaders of the Second Party System.

Cumberland Road (National Road)

This was the first highway built by the federal government. Constructed during 1825-1850, it stretched from Pennsylvania to Illinois. It was a major overland shipping route and an important connection between the North and the West.

Internal improvements

This was a general term for government investment in transportation infrastructure, including roads, canals, bridges, and railroads, during the 1800s. There was a dispute over whether the federal government should fund such projects, since it was not specifically given that power by the Constitution.

Erie Canal

Built from 1817 to 1825, this toll waterway connected New York to the Great Lakes, and was an amazing stimulant for growth and trade for Chicago, Detroit, and the west (now the Midwest). Along with the Cumberland Road, it helped connect the North and the West.

Missouri Compromise

This was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, which both sought political advantage as more states were added to the union. It called for admitting one new free state and one new slave state, and for a line of demarcation between free and slave territory to extend westward into the former Louisiana Territory.

Whig Party

This was a major political party during the Second Party System,operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s. The party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. In particular, they supported the supremacy of Congress over the presidency, and favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism.


This means opposition to immigration and immigrants because the groups are considered a threat to local culture and public safety, and competition for jobs and resources. Such an anti-foreign feeling arose in the 1840's and 1850's in response to the influx of Irish and German Catholics.

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.

Seneca Falls

This was the site of the first modern women's right convention in July 1848. At the gathering, Elizabeth Cady Staton read a Declaration of Sentiment listing the many discriminations against women, and adopted eleven resolutions, one of which called for women's suffrage.

Marbury v. Madison

This complicated 1803 Supreme court case arose out of Jefferson's refusal to deliver the commissions to the judges appointed by Adams' 'midnight appointments'.This case established the Supreme Court's right to judicial review, which allows the Supreme Court to declare laws unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Marshall presided.

Dartmouth College v. Woodward

1819 -- This was a landmark Supreme Court decision which helped establish the sanctity of private contracts, and put limits on government power over businesses. The case arose when the New Hampshire legislature attempted to force a private college to become a public institution and thereby place the ability to appoint trustees in the hands of the governor. The decision helped pave the way for the rise of the American business corporation.

McCulloch v. Maryland

1819 - This decision upheld the power of Congress to charter a bank as a government agency, and denied the state the power to tax that agency. It is an example of how the Marshall court strengthened the power of the central government over state governments.

Gibbons v. Ogden

This1824 Supreme Court was a dispute between steamboat operators, one of which had been granted a monopoly by the New York legislature to operate steamboats on New York waterways. A competitor sued to break the monopoly, which was upheld by the state but then overruled by the Supreme Court. This case established that only the federal government has authority over interstate commerce, and further established court protections of a free-market capitalist economic system.

Waltham-Lowell System

This was a labor and production model used in New England and elsewhere during the early years of the American textile industry(early 1800s) where all stages of textile production were done under one roof. Worked by a staff of mostly young, single women who lived in dorms on site and away from home and family. Mill girls came to the new textile centers from rural towns to earn more money than was possible at home, and to live a cultured life in "the city". They lived in company boardinghouses and were held to strict hours and a rigid moral code.

Rhode Island System

This was a labor and production model during the early years of the American textile industry(early 1800s). In this system companies built housing for the families of workers at the factory where thread was spun from raw materials. Weaving was then "put-out" to surrounding villagers to create the finished product.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

This is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the United States, so much in the latter case that the novel intensified the sectional conflict leading to the American Civil War. It was the best selling novel in the US of the 19th century.

Joseph Smith, Jr.

(1805 - 1844) He was the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, also known as Mormonism, and an important religious and political figure during the 1830s and 1840s. In 1827, this man gathered a religious following after announcing that an angel had shown him a set of golden plates describing a visit of Jesus to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In 1830, Smith published what he said was a translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon.


This religious group was initiated in the 1830s by Joseph Smith. Facing violent opposition in Missouri, Illinois, and elsewhere, these people followed a new leader in the 1840s, Brigham Young, to settle what was then Mexico but became Utah.

minstrel show

This was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface. They lampooned black people in mostly disparaging ways: as ignorant, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, joyous, and musical. (1830s-1890s)

camp meeting

These were a phenomenon of American frontier Christianity that gained wide recognition and substantial popularity throughout the 1800s. These were huge contributing factors to what became known as the Second Great Awakening.

Nat Turner

He led a slave rebellion that took place in Southampton County, Virginia during August 1831. Rebel slaves killed approximately 55 white people, the highest number of fatalities caused by slave uprisings in the South. The rebellion was put down within a few days, but not before causing widespread fear. Across the South, state legislators passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.

Horace Mann

(1796 - 1859) He was an American education reformer from Massachusetts who was an early champion of public education.

American Colonization Society

This organization was created in 1816 with the intention of resettling freed black Americans to Africa. It helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821-22, as a place to send people who were formerly enslaved. Members such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster thought slavery was unsustainable and should eventually end but did not consider integrating slaves into society a viable option.

'hard-money' Democrats

This term describes people who believed that metal coins were the only safe currency, and they condemned all banks that issued paper currency. Andrew Jackson was their most famous champion.


This is a general term for a social movement against alcohol. In the US this movement flared at various times in history, including in the early 1800s. Leaders, such as Lyman Beecher, included many Protestant church leaders.


This is the name of a radical abolitionist newspaper founded by William Lloyd Garrison in 1831. Published weekly for 35 years, this paper promoted immediate emancipation of slaves in the United States. The paper also served as a prominent voice for the women's suffrage movement and a notable critic of the prevailing conservative religious orthodoxy that supported slavery and opposed suffrage for women.

American Anti-Slavery Society

(1833-1870) This was an abolitionist organization based in New York City. William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass were key leaders of the group and often spoke at its meetings. By 1838, the society had 1,350 local chapters with around 250,000 members. The groups' activities frequently met with violent public opposition, with mobs invading meetings, attacking speakers, and burning presses.

Second Bank of the Untied States

Lasting from 1816 to 1836, this federal institution was highly contentious. Originally forming in order to deal with economic woes coming on the heals of the War of 1812, it was eventually killed by Andrew Jackson who fiercely opposed its recharter.


This land bridge joined present-day Alaska and Siberia at various times during the ice ages allowing people from Asia to populate the Americas.


This pre-Colombian civilization dominated a large swath of today's central Mexico in the centuries prior to the arrival of the Conquistadors. In 1521, Hernan Cortes, his band of men, and rival native powers brought down Montezuma and his once mighty people.

Columbian Exchange

This has been one of the most significant events in the history of world ecology, agriculture, and culture. The term is used to describe the enormous widespread exchange of plants, animals, foods, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres that occurred after 1492.


This pre-Colombian civilization centered around the Yucatan peninsula (southern Mexico and Guatemala). It was well known for its written language, elaborate cities, and advanced astronomy.


This South American civilization had the largest empire in pre-Colombian America based from Cuzco (modern Peru). In 1533 Spanish Conquistadors lead by Francisco Pizarro conquered much of their territory.

Mound Builders

This general term refers to the Native American groups who thrived for thousands of years in the Great Lakes, Ohio River, and Mississippi River regions.


This prominent Native tribe held territory in what would become the SE of the United States. They played a critical role in white Native relations for hundreds of years. They warred against British encroachments on their traditional lands in 1760. Later, they'd be known as one of the Five Civilized Tribes and suffer the Trail of Tears.

Treaty of Tordesillas

1494 This agreement divided the "newly discovered" American territory between the royal governments of Spain and Portugal.

Hernando de Soto

He was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who first joined expeditions in Peru and Central America before leading his own. From 1640-1642 he was the first European to explore the SE of the US and "find" the Mississippi River.

Roanoke Colony

This colony, in present-day North Carolina, was an enterprise financed and organized by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 16th century to establish a permanent English settlement in the Virginia Colony. Between 1585 and 1587, several groups attempted to establish a colony, but either abandoned the settlement or disappeared. The final group of colonists disappeared after three years elapsed without supplies from the King of England.


Founded in1607, it is commonly regarded as the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States of America, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. It was founded by the London Company (later to become the Virginia Company). Although it first struggled to survive, this settlement later thrived on tobacco exports.


This is the name of a Virginia Indian tribe, as well as a powerful confederacy of tribes that they dominated. The confederacy is estimated to have been about 14,000-21,000 people at the time of European contact. Beginning with the arrival of English settlers at Jamestown in 1607, encroachment of the new arrivals, and their ever-growing numbers on what had been Indian lands, resulted in almost continuous conflict for 37 years. By 1646, these people were largely destroyed by disease and war.


(1595-1917)This Powhatan princess famously encountered John Smith of the Jamestown colony. She married an Englishman, John Rolfe, and became a celebrity in London, before dying young.

House of Burgesses

1619 - Established in Virginian, this was the first legislative body in colonial America.

Protestant Reformation

This movement resulted in the splitting of the Christian world into Catholics and Protestants. The European social conflict and religious oppression in the centuries following Martin Luther's 95 Theses caused many to seek more freedom in America.

Mayflower Compact

1620 - This was the first agreement between European colonists for self-government in America. It was signed by the 41 men aboard a ship from England who would establish a Puritan community named Plymouth.


These English Puritans felt the Church of England (aka Anglicans) so corrupted that it could not be reformed, which differentiated it from mainline Puritans, who stayed within the Church of England. Such views, labeled Separatist, were illegal in England. So they fled first to Amsterdam in search of a place where they could openly follow their religious views, and then to America--founding Plymouth in 1620.

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