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terms from the Social Studies TExES exam competencies 7-8

Manifest Destiny

Coined in the 1840s by the Jacksonian Democrats, was the belief that the United States was "destined" to spread from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. Used to promote the annexation of most of the Western United States (Oregon Territory, Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cessation). Always regarded as a general notion rather than a specific policy.

Louisiana Purchase

1803. Originally, was a meeting to discuss the purchase of the city of New Orleans as means of a port. Napolean was on the verge of war with England over previous treaty agreement, and had to forego plans of a vast colony in North America. Sold 828,000 sqaure miles at the cost of $15 million. Doubled the size of the United States at the time, and represents 23% of the current size of the country.

Texas Annexation

1845. Originally refused in 1837, as the U.S. Government believed that the annexation would lead to war with Mexico. Texas remained a sovereign nation. Annexed via a joint resolution through Congress, supported by President-elect Polk, and approved in 1845. Land from the Republic of Texas later bacame parts of NM, CO, OK, KS, and WY.

Mexican Cession

1848. Awarded as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo after the Mexican American War. U.S. paid $15 million for 525,000 square miles.

Oregon Treaty

1846. Settled dispute of Oregon boundary dispute, stemming from the Treaty of 1818 in which both U.S. and British settlers were granted free navigation of the territory.


View that America was spreading as an empire rather than a nation.

Panic of 1893

Serious economic depression beginning in 1893. Began due to rail road companies over-extending themselves, causing bank failures. Was the worst economic collapse in the history of the country until that point, and, some say, as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Acquisition of Hawaii

Became Territory of Hawaii in 1898. Group of Europeans and Americans forced King to sign "Bayonet Constitution", stripping the king of administrative authority. Run as a republic from 1894 until annexation.

Spanish-American War

1898. Fought between Spain and the U.S. The U.S. forced Spain to peacefully resolve the Cuban fight for independence. Sent the USS Maine as a sign of national interest. USS Maine exploded, and through "yellow journalism", tensions were raised and war was declared. Decisive naval victories in Cuba and the Philippines brought about the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The U.S. was awarded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

U.S. involvement in WWI

Originally vowed isolationism, and tried to bring peace. Germany made deal with Mexico to ally their countries if U.S. entered war. Germany sank 7 U.S. merchant ships in a violation of international law. U.S. declares war and sends munitions and soldiers.

Fourteen Points

Part of speech given by President Wilson on 1/18/1918 concerning foreign policy. Became the basis of the terms of the surrender of Germany, documented in the Treaty of Versailles during WWI.


Theory where a country remains neutral in military and political alliances.

Alfred Thayer Mahan

1840-1914. US Navy officer, geostrategist, and educator. Influenced navies worldwide on the importance of building a strong navy. Author of "The Influence of Seapower Upon History, 1660-1783" in 1890. Taught at Naval War College, and was twice President of College.

Theodore Roosevelt

1858-1919. 26th President. Increased size of Navy, "Great White Fleet". Added Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine. "Big Stick" policy. Received Nobel Peace Prize for mediation of end of Russo-Japanese war. Later arbitrated split of Morocco between Germany and France.

Woodrow Wilson

1856-1924. 28th President. Brought U.S. into WWI. Delivered 14 Points speech to Congress.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

1882-1945. 32nd President. Renounced right of U.S. to intervene in Latin America. Felt America should be "Arsenal of Peace" at onset of WWII. Was "anti-imperialist" and sought to end European colonialism. Gave "Infamy Speech" and declared war on Japan in 1941.

Henry Kissinger

b. 1923. Awarded 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end Vietnam War and withdrawing American forces. Heavily involved in South American politics as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. Condoned covert tactics to prevent communism and facism from spreading throughout South America.

Berlin Airlift

1948. Arrangement of the U.S., France, and England to provide food and supplies to Berlin after Soviet Union blockade.

Korean War

1950-1953 (armistice). Armed conflict between two regimes in Korea. Escalated to Communist-Soviet-backed NK to democracy-U.S.-backed SK. Amplified Cold War.

Sputnik I

Launched in 1957. Followed two spectacular failures of U.S. satelite launches. Launched "Space Race". U.S. would go on to create NASA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and increase U.S. government spending on scientific research and education.

Vietnam War

1956-1975. Armed conflict between Communist-supported Democratic Republic Of Vietnam (NV) and US-supported Republic of Vietnam. Failure of U.S. foreign policy and the fall of Saigon in 1975 ended the war.

Marshall Plan

Four-year plan beginning in 1947 for the U.S. for rebuilding and creating a stronger foundation for the allied countried of Europe, and repelling communism after WWII. Named after Secretary of State George Marshall.


North Atlantic Treaty Organization, began in April 1949 and headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Pact between 26 countries and 14 allied states to defend members in an attack by an outside state.


Intense anti-communist suspicion from late 1940s until late 1950s. Named to criticize actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy during second "Red Scare".

Cuban Missile Crisis

Confrontation between the United States, Soviet Union, and Cuba ending in October 1962. Ended in agreement for Soviets to dismantle weapons in Cuba in exchange for no invasion and the secret removal of missles from Turkey. Regarded as the moment that the Cold War almost came to nuclear war, and as one of the major confrontations of the Cold War.

Gulf War

1990-1991. Iraq vs. Coalition of 34 nations over claims of theft of Iraqi oil by neighboring Kuwait. Resulted in overwhelming victory for the coalition.

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