150 terms

U.S. History STAAR Vocabulary

The process in which a society or country transforms itself from a primarily agricultural society into one based on the manufacturing of goods and services.
Manifest Destiny
Argument that the United States was destined to expand across North America.
Labor Union
An organized association of workers, often in a trade or profession, formed to protect and further the rights and interests of the workers.
Gilded Age
A period of U.S. history in the late 1800's noted for political corruption, financial speculation, and the opulent lives of wealthy industrialists and financiers.
Cultural Diffusion
When customs, beliefs and social activities are spread through different ethnicities, religions, nationalities as people come in contact with one another.
Emancipation Proclamation
Presidential decree, effective January 1, 1863, that freed slaves in Confederate-held territory.
Federal government's effort between 1865 and 1877 to repair the damage to the South caused by the Civil War and to restore southern states to the Union
The policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants.
Reconstruction Amendments
Nickname given to the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments which ended slavery and secured voting rights and equal protection for African Americans.
The often wild land or territory that forms the furthest extent of a country's settled or inhabited regions.
Ku Klux Klan
Group of white southerners against Radical Reconstruction. They challenged attempts at racial equality by intimidating blacks, and others.
A person who organizes and manages a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
William (Boss) Tweed
New York City politician who was able to defraud taxpayers out of millions of dollars; he would eventually become symbolic of the greed and corruption of the Gilded Age.
Rugged Individualism
Belief not only in personal liberty and self-reliance but also in free economic and social competition.
Bessemer Process
New technique, patented in 1856, for making stronger steel more efficiently.
Complete control of a product or service. Many of these appeared during the post Civil-War industrialism. Allowed America to progress but at the same time controlled prices and competition.
Thomas Edison
An American inventor and businessman whose inventions included the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the electric light bulb
Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Law passed in 1890 that outlawed any combination of companies that restrained trade or commerce. Early attempt to outlaw monopolies.
Concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work
Monroe Doctrine
Presidential declaration in 1823 which stated that the United States would oppose efforts of any outside power to control a nation in the Western Hemisphere
Movement of populations toward the city; expansion of population, industry and infrastructure within a small geographical space.
Process in which over-time immigrant groups take on the customs and institutions of the United States.
Klondike Gold Rush
Movement of an estimated 100,000 people and equipment to Alaska in search of gold between 1897-1899.
American Federation of Labor (AFL)
Sought to organize only skilled workers in a network of smaller unions, each devoted to a specific craft.
Social Gospel
The application of Christian principles to Progressive Era problems including alcoholism, crime, racial tensions and child labor.
Homestead Act
1863 law that offered 160 acres of western land to settlers - resulted in the quick settlement of the West.
Foreign Policy
A policy pursued by a nation in its dealings with other nations, designed to achieve national objectives.
System by which the federal government set aside a specified area of land for Native Americans.
Dawes Act
1887 Act of Congress by which the federal government sought to assimilate Native Americans into the mainstream culture.
Massacre at Wounded Knee
1890 shooting by army troops of a group of unarmed Sioux. Marked the end of any widespread Native American resistance to the U.S. government.
Populist Party
Political group formed in 1892 to advocate a larger money supply and other economic reforms being called for by farmers.
Alfred Thayer Mahan
Author and Naval historian, whose book The Influence of Sea Power on History was a major cause for the European naval arms race in the 1890s
Sanford B. Dole
Essential in the westernization of Hawaii, was appointed by President McKinley as the provisional President of the Republic of Hawaii in 1900.
A government policy of not interfering in private business.
Open Door Policy
A failed proposal by American Secretary of State, John Hay to allow multiple Imperial powers access to China, with none of them in control of that country.
Chinese Exclusion Act
Law passed in 1882 that prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the country
Gentlemen's Agreement
1907 agreement between the United States and Japan that restricted Japanese immigration.
Crowded apartment buildings with poor standards of sanitation, safety, and comfort
Ellis Island
Place in the New York Harbor where immigrants were required to undergo a physical examination before entering the United States.
Settlement House
Community center organized to provide various services to immigrants.
The policy of extending the rule or authority of a nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies.
Third Party
American political parties which are neither Democrat nor Republican, often formed by groups with specific political or social issues that are not being addressed by either party.
Upton Sinclair
Author, progressive and muckraker who wrote over 100 books, the most famous of which The Jungle exposed dangerous and unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry.
National Park Service
The U.S. federal agency that was created on August 25, 1916 to manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties.
Susan B. Anthony
Prominent progressive and woman's rights activist, co-founder of the Women's Christian Temperance Movement, was a key force in the fight for women's suffrage.
Booker T. Washington
African American leader from the late 1800s until his death in 1915; founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama; encouraged African Americans to learn trades and become economically self-sufficient before calling for equal rights.
Organization formed in 1910 to advance the cause of African Americans by fighting for equal rights. Created in part by W.E.B. DuBois.
Yellow Journalism
Type of newspaper coverage that emphasized sensational stories of crime and scandal. Used these hyped stories to increase newspaper circulation.
Plessey v. Ferguson
Court case which legalized segregation and, by doing so, established the constitutionality of the rule of "separate but equal."
Jim Crow
System of laws that segregated public services by race, beginning in the 1890's
U.S.S. Maine
Was sunk by an explosion in a Cuban harbor in 1898. Newspaper coverage blamed its sinking on the Spanish.
Roosevelt Corollary
1904 extension of the Monroe Doctrine in which the President asserted the right of the United States to intervene in Latin American nations to ensure stability in the Western hemisphere.
Panama Canal
Created a shorter route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans
Dollar Diplomacy
President Taft's policy of encouraging American investment abroad.
An economic and political philosophy that favors public control of property when it is deemed a basic human necessity.
Journalists who uncover wrongdoing on the part of politicians or corporations. Term created by Theodore Roosevelt.
Interstate Commerce Act
1887 law that regulated railroads and other interstate businesses
Pure Food and Drug Act
Outlawed interstate transportation of impure or diluted foods and the deliberate mislabeling of foods and drugs
Person concerned with the care and protection of natural resources through "managed use".
Federal Reserve System
Nation's central banking system, established in 1913, which has successfully regulated the supply of money in the U.S.
19th Amendment
Gave women suffrage, the right to vote. Ratified in 1920
Sussex Pledge
Pledge by the German government in 1916 that its submarines would warn ships before attacking.
John J. Pershing
Officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, credited with efficiently preparing young American forces for war.
Battle of Argonne Forest
Final offensive by Allied forces in WWI, led to the eventual surrender by Germany; largest number of American causalities of any single American military offensives.
League of Nations
International organization, formed after World War I, which aimed to promote security and peace for all members.
Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points for Peace
President Wilson's plan for post WWI Europe; included were freedom of the Seas, a league of Nations and a push toward democracy and free governments.
Treaty of Versailles (WWI)
Peace treaty ending WWI which stripped Germany of its economic and military power, bitterness over the treaty eventually helped strengthen the NAZI party.
Henry Cabot Lodge
American Senator who opposed American involvement in the League of Nations and pushed for Congressional approval of all Declarations of War.
The policy of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments or international agreements.
Palmer Raids
During these, the Attorney General rounded up several hundred suspected communists. These were done to ease the fears of Americans during the "red scare" of the 1920s.
Calvin Coolidge
President who said, "The business of America is business"; Epitomized laissez-faire policy by cutting back on the government's role in the economy.
"Return to Normalcy"
Campaign promise by United States presidential candidate Warren G. Harding's in the election of 1920, marked a shift toward American isolationism in the 1920's.
Term coined during the 1920s to describe a young woman with a fondness for dancing and brash actions.
Charles Lindbergh
Aviator who became an international hero when he made the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. Young and old looked up to this hero because he epitomized traditional values while using new technology.
Teapot Dome Scandal
Scandal in which the Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding.
Harlem Renaissance
African American cultural awakening of the 1920s - blacks made contributions in art, literature and music.
Scopes Monkey Trial
1925 court case in Tennessee that focused on the issue of teaching evolution in public schools
Henry Ford
Founded the Ford Motor Company, revolutionized assembly line production, his Model-T made the dream of an affordable car possible for millions of Americans.
The legal prohibiting of the manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks for common consumption, aka Temperance Movement
Frances Willard
American educator, temperance reformer, and women's suffragist. Her influence was instrumental in the passage of 19th Amendment.
Social Darwinism
Theory that society should do as little as possible to interfere with people's pursuit of success - survival of the fittest for human beings.
The study of improving the qualities of the human species by discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits.
Marcus Garvey
African American leader from 1919 to 1926 who urged African Americans to return to their "motherland" of Africa; provided early inspiration for "black pride" movements.
Tin Pan Alley
Collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Great Migration
(1910-1930) movement of about 1.6 million African Americans, who left mostly rural areas to migrate to northern and Midwestern industrial cities.
Makeshift shelters of the homeless during the early years of the Great Depression.
Bonus Army
Group of World War I veterans and their families who in 1932 protested in Washington, D.C., to receive their pensions early.
100 Days
Period at the start of Franklin Roosevelt's presidency in 1933, when Congress passed many New Deal programs.
Program where the government insured bank deposits for up to $5000
Fiat Money
Currency that derives its value from government regulation or law and is not backed by Gold or Silver.
Gold Standard
Currency that derives its value from governmental promise to back that money with its equivalent value in gold.
Huey Long
Louisiana politician in 1930s; suggested the "Share Our Wealth" program that called for the redistribution of large fortunes by means of grants to families; assassinated in 1935.
Gave the unemployed work in building construction and arts programs
Flying Tigers
Nickname given to The 1st American Volunteer Group of pilots who protected China from invasion by the Japanese in WWII.
Tuskegee Airmen
The first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces, served during World War II
A fixed allowance of provisions or food, especially for soldiers or for civilians during a shortage or time of War.
Victory Gardens
Civilian gardens which helped to ration canned goods for American soldiers during WWI and WWII.
US Office of War Information
Coordinated the release of war news for domestic use, promote patriotism, warn of foreign spies and attempted to recruit women into war work.
Lend-Lease Act
1941 law that authorized the President to provide aid to any nation whose defense he believed was vital to American security. Allowed the U.S. to send weapons to Britain during the early years of WWII.
Yalta Conference
1945 meeting between Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt in which the leaders discussed plans for the post-war world and Stalin promised to allow free elections in Eastern Europe. The breaking of this promise led in part to the Cold War.
Manhattan Project
Secret American program during World War II to develop an atomic bomb
"Rosie the Riveter"
Term used to symbolize the many women who worked in defense industries during World War II.
Executive Order 9066
Presidential order that called for the internment of Japanese-Americans who were considered to security risks by military leaders.
Korematsu v. U.S.
Supreme Court decisions that justified the internment of Japanese-American during World War II.
George Patton
Best known for his leadership as an American general during World War II, he also developed a reputation for a sometimes-controversial gruff outspokenness.
Dwight Eisenhower
The 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961 and a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II.
Omar Bradley
A senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II; command of all U.S. ground forces invading Germany from the west.
Bataan Death March
Murder of nearly 10,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war by Japan during World War II.
Navajo Code Talkers
Use of Navajo by the United States Marine Corps at the beginning of World War II to transport and translate messages in their native language.
"Iron Curtain"
Winston Churchill's term for the extension of Communist control over Eastern Europe.
Truman Doctrine
1947 declaration that stated that the United States would militarily support nations that were being threatened by communism. Created initially to stem the tide of communism in Greece and Turkey.
American policy of resisting further expansion of communism around the world.
Marshall Plan
The United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to prevent the spread of Soviet communism
Berlin Airlift
Response to a soviet blockade of allied controlled sections of Berlin, successfully brought food and medical supplies to allied controlled areas of Berlin.
Congressional committee that investigated Communist influence in the United States in the 1940's and 1950's.
The "witch hunt" for communists in the United States government during the 1950s.
Venona Papers
A secret collaboration of the United States and United Kingdom intelligence agencies involving decoding messages sent by the Soviet Union, the majority during World War II.
Policy of using the threat of nuclear war in order to protect national interests.
First artificial satellite to orbit Earth, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. The U.S. responded by creating NASA and the National Defense Education Act.
Thurgood Marshall
Lawyer, civil rights activist and first African American justice appointed to the Supreme Court.
Affirmative Action
The encouragement of increased representation of women and minority-group members, especially in employment.
GI Bill
Law passed in 1944 that helped returning WWII veterans buy homes and pay for college.
Beat Generation
Group highlighted by writers and artists who stressed spontaneity and spirituality instead of apathy and conformity.
Taft-Hartley Act
1947 law that allowed the President to order striking workers in some industries back to work. Also called for union members to sign a statement saying they were not members of the Communist Party.
Brown v. Board of Education
1954 case in which the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. Reversed Plessey v. Ferguson.
Great Society
President Lyndon Johnson's proposals to aid public education, provide medical care for the elderly, and eliminate poverty.
Cuban Missile Crisis
1962 crisis that arose between the United States and the Soviet Union over a Soviet attempt to deploy nuclear missiles 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
Peace Corps
Federal program established to send volunteers to help developing nations around the world.
Barry Goldwater
American Senator often credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s
Betty Friedan
Women's rights activist, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the "second wave" of American feminism in the 20th century.
Civil rights organization formed in 1957 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders.
Student civil rights organization founded in 1960.
Freedom Summer
In 1964, leaders of the major civil rights groups organized a voter registration drive in Mississippi.
Malcolm X
African American civil rights leader during 1950s and 1960s; spoke for using all means of resistance, including violence; assassinated in 1965.
Black Power
African American movement seeking unity and self-reliance. Struck fear into some Americans who saw this movement as advocating only violence.
Roe v. Wade
1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion
Cesar Chavez
Latino leader from 1962 to his death in 1993; organized the United Farm Workers (UFW) to help migratory farm workers gain better working conditions and higher pay.
Dolores Huerta
A labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with César Chávez, co-founded the National Farm workers Association.
Organization formed in 1968 to help Native Americans.
Government organization formed in 1970 to deal with issues such as air and water pollution.
Ho Chi Minh
Leader of the Communist party in Indochina after World War II; led Vietnamese against the French, then North Vietnamese against the United States in the Vietnam War.
Ngo Dinh Diem
Leader of South Vietnam, 1954-1963; supported by United States, but not by Vietnamese Buddhist majority; assassinated in 1963.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
1964 congressional resolution authorizing President Johnson to take any military action he felt necessary in Vietnam.
Tet Offensive
1968 attack by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces throughout South Vietnam. The North lost all battles and had enormous casualties, but the effect was to turn American public opinion against the war.
My Lai Massacre
Killing of several hundred Vietnamese villagers by American soldiers in 1968. Demonstrated the brutalities and difficulties faced by American troops in Vietnam
Pentagon Papers
Secret government study of United States involvement in the Vietnam War, made public in 1971 by Daniel Ellsburg.
Credibility Gap
A political term most frequently used to describe public skepticism about the Lyndon B. Johnson administration's statements and policies on the Vietnam War.
President Nixon's policy of replacing American military forces with those of South Vietnam in an attempt to lessen the American role in Vietnam.
War Powers Act
1973 law limiting the President's power to send American troops abroad.
Scandal involving illegal activities that ultimately led to the resignation of President Nixon in 1974.