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A list of APUSH terms that begins in the colonial era and ends at 9/11.

Great Columbian / Biological Exchange

Exchange of plants and animals between the New World and Europe following the discovery of America in 1492.

Christopher Columbus

Italian explorer, sailed from Spain in 1492 and reached Americas, greatly increased European awareness of the North American Continent

Bartolomeo de las Casas

16th Century Spanish Historian, Dominican Friar, "Protector of the Indians;" opposed atrocities by colonizers on Indigenous people

Spanish empire

Empire control in Mexico, South America, and Florida, religious empire; Franciscans + mission system, defensive buffers vs. English, French, and Russians. Economic empire.

French empire

Empire control in Canada, Ohio, and Mississippi River Valley with Louisiana. Religious: Jesuits. Positive indigenous relations. Fur trade. Coureurs du bois.

English/British Empire

Exhibited control in the form of dominions, colonies, mandates, and territories. Queen Elizabeth I was a prominent ruler during the colonial period of this empire. French Rivalry + engaged in Columbian Exchange.


First permanent English settlement; located in Virginia. Founded by London Company

Mayflower Compact

Pilgrims/Separatists agreement: agreement to obey laws created by the community and a profession of allegiance to the king

Chesapeake colonies

Term for the colonies of Maryland and Virginia

Virginia colony

This colony was founded in 1607. First settlement was Jamestown. Charter to stock company/royal. Tobacco was vital to its survival.


The year when the first U.S representative assembly was established - House of Burgesses (Jamestown, Virginia)

Bacon's rebellion

Colonial uprising that took place in 1676 in the Virginia colony, led by Nathaniel Bacon. Virginians resented William Berkeley's friendly policy towards Native Americans. This was the first rebellion in American colonies in which discontented frontiersmen took part.

Maryland colony

Founded in 1634 by Lord Baltimore, founded to be a place for persecuted Catholics to find refuge, a safe haven, act of toleration

Toleration Act

Guaranteed religious toleration to trinitarian Christians, but decreed the death penalty to Jews and atheists and others who didn't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ,

New England colonies

The term for the colonies of Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire

Massachusetts Bay Colony

Colony founded in 1630 by John Winthrop, part of the Great Puritan Migration, founded by puritans. Had a theocratic republic. "City upon a hill"

John Winthrop

Puritan governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Speaker of "City upon a hill"

"City upon a hill"

Said by Winthrop; refers to the idea that Puritan colonists emigrating to the New World were part of a special pact with God to create a holy community: a model society to the world/moral commonwealth

Anne Hutchinson

Woman who challenged Purtian religous authorities in Massachusetts Bay. Puritan authorities banished her because she challenged religious doctrine, gender roles. clerical authority, and claimed to have had revelations from God

King Philip's war

1675. longest and bloodiest conflict between settlers and natives in 17th century, native Wampanoags under KIng Phillip ( Indian Chieftain) resisted England encroachment on their land, they killed many settlers in Mass, English joined with Mohawks to defeat them

Salem Witch Trials

1629 outbreak of witchcraft accusations in a Massachussetts Bay puritan village marked by an atmosphere of fear, hysteria and stress. Spectral evidence was used frequently.

Rhode Island Colony

Self-governing colony founded by Roger Williams in 1636; granted freedom for all religions and non-believers; religious toleration; disestablishment, universal suffrage for white males w/property qualifications; most democratic


Separation of church and state; no religion is officially supported by the state/government; opposed tax-supported church

Connecticut colony

Colony founded by Thomas Hooker in 1636; self-governing; origin of Fundamental Orders

Fundamental Orders

The first constitution written in North America; granted ALL adult males to vote not just church going land owners as was the policy in Massachutes

New Amsterdam

Dutch colonial settlement that served as the capital of New Netherland. This later became "New York City"

Restoration colonies

Colonies created as a result from the land grants in North America given by King Charles II of England The two major restoration colonies were Pennsylvania and Carolina.

New York colony

Colony founded by Dutch in 1624. Very diverse and wealthy colony. Contained the Hudson river

Pennsylvania colony

Colony formed from the "Holy Experiment"; settled by Quakers. Founded by William Penn, who bought land from the Native Americans. Allowed religious freedom

William Penn

An English Quaker, founded Pennsylvania in 1682, after receiving a charter from King Charles II the year before. He launched the colony as a "holy experiment" based on religious tolerance.

Georgia colony

Colony founded by James Oglethorpe. Its first settlers were debtors and unfortunates( "worthy poor"). Tolerant to Christians but not Catholics. Acted as a buffer between Spanish Florida and the Carolinas.

James Oglethorpe

Founded Georgia; a member of parliament; philanthropist; social reformer (helping those in debtors' prisons)


Economic philosophy of 17th and 18th century European nations; sought to increase wealth and power through acquisition of gold and silver and establishing a favorable balance of trade. Colonies served interest of mother country through importation of its raw materials -> Exportation > importation

Triangular trade

Trading System between Europe, Africa, and the colonies; European purchased slaves in Africa and sold them to colonies, new materials from colonies went to Europe while European finished products were sold in the colonies.

Navigation Acts

Acts passed in 1660 passed by British parliament to increase colonial dependence on Great Britain for trade; limited goods that were exported to colonies; caused great resentment in American colonies.

"salutary/benign neglect"

150 years of colonial self-rule due to Neglect by British authorities

Dominion of New England

1686 - The British government combined the colonies of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut into a single province headed by a royal governor (Andros). The Dominion ended in 1692, when the colonists revolted and drove out Governor Andros.

Glorious Revolution (in America)

Elimination of Dominion of England in 1689; Plymouth added to Massachusetts in 1691; Reinstatement of legislative assemblies; Coode's Rebellion; some royal governors; more closely intertwined empire


The religion of a group of religious dissidents who came to the New World so they would have a location to establish a "purer" church than the one that existed in England


18th century philosophy stressing reason, and how it can be used to improve the human condition. Natural rights was a major idea that influenced Thomas Jefferson in the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

John Locke

English philosopher who advocated the idea of a "social contract" in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty and property.

Benjamin Franklin

Printer, author, inventor, diplomat, statesman, and Founding Father. One of the few Americans who was highly respected in Europe, primarily due to his discoveries in the field of electricity. He helped to negotiate French support for the American Revolution.

First Great Awakening

Religious revival in the colonies in 1730s and 1740s; George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards preached a message of atonement for sins by admitting them to God. The movement attempted to combat the growing secularism and rationalism of mid-eighteenth century America. Religious splits in the colonies became deeper.

Jonathan Edwards

Preacher during the First Great Awakening; "Sinners in the hands of angry god"

George Whitefield

English clergyman who was known for his ability to convince many people through his sermons. He involved himself in the Great Awakening in 1739 preaching his belief in gaining salvation.

18th century immigration

Increase in non-English immigrants and fewer English immigrants; Scots-Irish, Scots, Germans, Dutch, Africans; poor move west for cheaper land

American Slavery

More than 10 million Africans brought to Americas. This institution was lifelong and generational, racial based, economically profitable, and was abolished by the 13th amendment.

Stono Rebellion

An uprising of slaves in South Carolina in 1739, leading to the tightening of already harsh slave laws. The largest slave uprising in the colonies.

Zenger case

The case that established the precedent that true statements about public officials could not be prosecuted as libel; Newspapers are not financially liable for criticism of government if actually true.

French and Indian/Seven Year's War

The war fought by French and English on American soil over control of the Ohio River Valley-- English defeated French in 1763. Historical Significance: established England as number one world power and began to gradually change attitudes of the colonists toward England for the worse (i.e taxing)

Albany Plan of Union

Plan proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1754 that aimed to unite the 13 colonies for trade, military (defense), and other purposes; the plan was turned down at every colonial assembly and by the Crown.

Benjamin Franklin Achievements

Spread Enlightenment ideals: need for scientific research, importance of education. Advocate of religious toleration; first "self-made man" ; only American to sign the three founding documents of the U.S (Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Paris, Constitution ; only founding father to be public anti-slavery advocate ; most democratic founding father; made the middle class individual an important factor in American society.

Pontiac's Rebellion

After the French and Indian War, colonists began moving westward and settling on Indian land. This migration led to this conflict in 1763, when a large number of Indian tribes banded together under the Ottawa chief Pontiac to keep the colonists from taking over their land.

Proclamation of 1763

A proclamation from the British government which forbade British colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains, and which required any settlers already living west of the mountains to move back east.

Stamp Act

An act passed by the British parliament in 1756 that raised revenue from the American colonies by a duty in the form of a stamp required on all newspapers and legal or commercial documents

Sons of Liberty

A radical political organization formed by Samuel Adams after the passage of the Stamp Act to protest various British acts; organization used both peaceful and violent means of protest

Daughters of Liberty

This organization supported the boycott of British goods. They urged Americans to wear homemade fabrics and produce other goods that were previously available only from Britain. They believed that way, the American colonies would become economically independent.

Declaratory Act

Act passed in 1766 after the repeal of the stamp act; stated that Parliament had authority over the the colonies and the right to tax and pass legislation "in all cases whatsoever."

Townshend Acts

A tax that the British Parliament passed in 1767 that was placed on leads, glass, paint and tea

Boston Massacre

The first bloodshed of the American Revolution (1770), as British guards at the Boston Customs House opened fire on a crowd killing five Americans

Boston Tea Party

Demonstration (1773) by citizens of Boston who (disguised as Indians) raided three British ships in Boston harbor and dumped hundreds of chests of tea into the harbor

Coercive/Intolerable Acts

Acts passed in retaliation to the Boston Tea Party; the British government closed port of Boston until tea was paid for; revised the charter if Massachusetts (which drastically reduced their powers of self-government), forced colonists of Massachusetts to house British soldiers and allowed British officers to be tried in England for crimes of violence.

American Revolution (1775-1783)

A period when 13 colonies gained independence from England. Based on disapproval by colonists of several taxes and other unpopular laws. Protests lead to fighting in 1775, and after two main British armies were captured in 1777 and 1781 and an alliance of the colonists with the French, the Treaty of Paris was signed.

Continental Congress

The legislative assembly composed of delegates from the rebel colonies who met during and after the American Revolution

Common sense

A pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1776 that criticized monarchies and convinced many American colonists of the need to break away from Britain

Declaration of Independence

The document recording the proclamation of the second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain

General George Washington

Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Brilliantly led America to victory and freedom in the American Revolution. Became 1st US president

Battle of Saratoga

Turning point of the American Revolution. It was very important because it convinced the French to give the U.S. military support. It lifted American spirits, ended the British threat in New England by taking control of the Hudson River, and, most importantly, showed the French that the Americans had the potential to beat their enemy, Great Britain.

French Alliance

The French entered the war in 1778, and assisted in the victory of the Americans seeking independence from Britain


American colonists who remained loyal to Britain and opposed the war for independence

Articles of Confederation

This document, the nations first constitution, was adopted by the second continental congress in 1781 during the revolution. The document was limited because states held most of the power, and congress lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, and control coinage

Newburgh Conspiracy

The officers of the Continental Army had long gone without pay, and they met in New York to address Congress about their pay, they also considered staging a coup and seizing control of the new government, but the plotting ceased when George Washington refused to support the plan.

Peace of Paris (1783)

Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States, agreed to the Mississippi boundary in the west, Florida was passed back to Spain; Loyalist property that had been confiscated would be returned.


Political movement / ideology that supports the ideas that all power and sovereignty comes directly from the people and not from some authoritative person and that the success of a government depends on the characters of its citizens.

Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom

1779 - Written by Thomas Jefferson, this statute outlawed an established church and called for separation of Church and State. (Disestablishment)

Republican Motherhood

The idea that American women had a special responsibility to cultivate "civic virtue" in their children

Land ordinance and Northwest Ordinance

Systematic survey of land, land divided in 6 x 6 mile regions; Established a system for setting up governments in the western territories so they could eventually join the Union on an equal footing with the original 13 states ; laid the legal and cultural groundwork for midwestern (and subsequently, western) development

Shay's Rebellion

This conflict in Massachusetts caused many to criticize the Articles of Confederation and admit the weak central government was not working; uprising led by Daniel Shays in an effort to prevent courts from foreclosing on the farms of those who could not pay the taxes

Philadelphia (Constitutional) Convention

The meeting of state delegates in 1787 in Philadelphia called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It instead designed a new plan of government, the US Constitution.

James Madison

Strict constructionist, 4th president, father of the Constitution, leads nation through War of 1812, author of Bill of Rights

Virginia Plan

Virginia delegate James Madison's plan of government, in which states got a number of representatives in Congress based on their population

New Jersey Plan

New Jersey delegate William Paterson's plan of government, in which states got an equal number of representatives in Congress

Great Compromise

Compromise made by Constitutional Convention in which states would have equal representation in one house of the legislature (Senate) and representation based on population in the other house (House of Representatives)

3/5 Compromise

The decision at the Constitutional convention to count slaves as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of deciding the population and determining how many seats each state would have in Congress

Charles Beard's Constitution thesis

A historian who argued that the Constitution was designed to protect the economic self-interest of its framers. Beard's view is largely rejected by contemporary scholars

Ratification of the Constitution debate

Opponents (anti-federalists) feared central power and wanted Bill of Rights; Constitution ratified at conventions; ultimately ratified b/c support of Washington and Franklin (Federalists), Federalist Papers, promise to add Bill of Rights

Federalist Papers

Series of essays, written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, that defended the Constitution and tried to reassure Americans that the states would not be overpowered by the federal government.

Bill of Rights

A formal statement of the fundamental rights of the people of the United States, incorporated in the Constitution as Amendments 1-10, and in all state constitutions.

Washington's Presidency (1789-1797)

He set the precedent for being the President of the United States. He humbly served two terms and appointed the first cabinet. He stayed out of Congress' way and supported the United States' isolationist stance in world affairs.

Hamilton's financial program

A financial plan involving the funding of national debt at par value, the assumption of state debts, and the establishment of a national bank

Establishment of Washington D.C as nation's capital

Disagreements rose as to which state it would be a part of. In 1790, Alexander Hamilton proposed a solution that established the new permanent capital on federal land rather than in a state. President George Washington was asked to pick the site. Both Maryland and Virginia gave up land along the Potomac River that became the District of Columbia, established in 1791.

Neutrality Proclamation

A 1793 statement by President Washington that the United States would not support or aid either France or Britain in their European conflict following the French Revolution

Jay's Treaty

An agreement between made up by John Jay; said that Britain was to pay for Americans ships that were seized in 1793 ; Americans had to pay British merchants debts owed from before the revolution ; Britain had agreed to remove their troops from the Ohio Valley

Pinckney's Treaty

Agreement with Spain that changed Florida's border, opened the Mississippi River to American navigation, and granted Americans the right of deposit in New Orleans; Spain agreed to the treaty because it feared that Jay's Treaty included an Anglo-American alliance.

Whiskey Rebellion

A protest caused by tax on liquor; it tested the will of the government; Washington's quick response showed the government's strength and mercy (led an army to put down the rebellion)

First Party System: Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans

A term that defines the period of time when the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans competed for the presidency. Federalists (Hamilton): industrial society, strong central govt., loose interpretation;Republicans(Jefferson/Madison): decentralized, agrarian society and economy, limited central govt., belief in states rights, strict interpretation. It was ended with the Era of Good Feelings. ,

Washington's Farewell Address

Warned against permanent foreign alliances and political parties, called for unity of the country, established precedent of two-term presidency

John Adams' Presidency (1797-1801)

He was the second president of the United States and a Federalist. He was responsible for passing the Alien and Sedition Acts. Prevented all out war with France after the XYZ Affair. His passing of the Alien and Sedition Acts severely hurt the popularity of the Federalist party and himself

XYZ Affair

Incident in which French agents demanded a bribe and loan from the U.S. diplomats in exchange for discussing an agreement that French privateers would no longer attack American ships; led to an undeclared war between U.S. and France


Term widely used to describe French and American naval conflicts between 1798 to 1800. Neither nation declared war, although they carried out naval operations against each other

Alien and Sedition Acts

A series of laws that sought to restrict the activities of people who opposed Federalist policies (1798)

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

Written anonymously by Jefferson and Madison in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, they declared that states could nullify federal laws that the states considered unconstitutional.

Election of 1800

Jefferson and Burr each received 73 votes in the Electoral College, so the House of Representatives had to decide the outcome. The House chose Jefferson as President and Burr as Vice President.

Midnight appointments

After 1800, the only branch left in the Federalists' hands was the Judiciary. On John Adam's last night as president he made last minute appointments for Federalists to judgeships. He did so in an attempt to maintain Federalist control of judiciary branch.

Jefferson's Presidency (1801-1809)

Democrat-Republican; Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806), as well as escalating tensions with both Britain and France that led to war with Britain in 1812, after he left office.

Second Great Awakening

A series of religious revivals starting in 1801, based on Methodism and Baptism. Stressed a religious philosophy of salvation through good deeds and tolerance for all Protestant sects. The revivals attracted women, Blacks, and Native Americans.

Charles Finney

A leading evangelist of the Second Great Awakening, he preached that each person had capacity for spiritual rebirth and salvation and that through individual effort could be saved. His concept of "utility of benevolence" proposed the reformation of society as well as of individuals.

Louisiana Purchase

Territory in western United States purchased from France in 1803 for $15 million

Lewis and Clark Expedition

An expedition sent by Thomas Jefferson to explore the northwestern territories (Louisiana territory) of the United States ; led by Merriwether Lewis and William Clark; traveled from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River from 1803 to 1806

Burr Conspiracy

Scheme by Vice-President Aaron Burr to lead the succession of the Louisiana Territory from the US and create his own empire. He was captured in 1807 and charged with treason. Because there was no evidence or two witnesses he was acquitted. Marshall upholds the strict rules for trying someone for treason.


The British practice of taking American sailors from American ships and forcing them into the British navy; a factor in the War of 1812.

Chesapeake-Leopard incident

A feud that occurred in 1807 when the US Chesapeake was stopped in the mid-Atlantic by the British Leopard ; led to British attacks ; ultimately led to the enforcement of the Embargo Act by Jefferson

Embargo Act

1807 act which ended all of America's importation and exportation. Jefferson hoped the act would pressure the French and British to recognize U.S. neutrality rights in exchange for U.S. goods. In reality, it hurt Americans and its economy and got repealed in 1809.

Tenskwatawa/"The Prophet"

He inspired a religious revival that spread through many tribes and united them; killed by Harrison at battle of Tippecanoe

Tecumseh and the Indian Confederation

As American settlers moved westward in the early 1800s, a Shawnee chief named Tecumseh realized that the Indians had to unify against encroachment on their land. With the inspiration of his brother, a religious visionary who became known as The Prophet, Tecumseh formed a confederation of Indian tribes determined to thwart the taking of Indian lands

James Madison's Presidency (1809-1817)

Democratic-republican; includes War of 1812, Protective Tariff and renewal of bank, beginning of Era of Good Feelings

War Hawks

The nationalist members of Congress who strongly supported war with Great Britain on the eve of the War of 1812; included Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

Fought between Britain and the United States largely over the issues of trade and impressment. Though the war ended in a relative draw, it demonstrated America's willingness to defend its interests militarily, earning the young nation new found respect from European powers.

Hartford Convention

Meeting of Federalists near the end of the War of 1812 in which the party listed it's complaints against the rulings of the Republican Party. These actions were viewed as traitorous to the country and had lost the Federalists much influence and respect (The practical end of the Federalist Party).

Treaty of Ghent

Treaty that ended the War of 1812 and maintained prewar conditions

Battle of New Orleans

A battle in 1815 between American and British troops for control of New Orleans, ending in an American victory

James Monroe (1817-1825)

The fifth President of the United States (1817-1825).His administration was marked by the acquisition of Florida (1819); the Missouri Compromise (1820), in which Missouri was declared a slave state; and the profession of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), declaring U.S. opposition to European interference in the Americas.

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 (democratic-republican) and no partisan conflicts.

Adams-Onis/Transcontinental Treaty

Spain ceded Florida to US; established border between US and Spanish Mexico in 1819

Monroe Doctrine

A statement of foreign policy which proclaimed that Europe should not interfere in affairs within the United States or in the development of other countries in the Western Hemisphere

U.S Industrial Revolution

Transformation of manufacturing; power-driven machines took place of hand-operated tools especially after 1815

Eli Whitney

United States inventor of the mechanical cotton gin (1765-1825)

Samuel Slater

He was a British mechanic that moved to America and in 1791 invented the first American machine for spinning cotton. He is known as "the Father of the Factory System" and he started the idea of child labor in America's factories.

Tariff of 1816

This protective tariff helped American industry by raising the prices of British manufactured goods, which were often cheaper and of higher quality than those produced in the U.S.

Second Bank of the U.S

A national bank chartered by Congress in 1816 with extensive regulatory powers over currency and credit; modeled after Hamilton's original bank and fixing Revolutionary War debt

National road

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.

Robert Fulton

American inventor who designed the first commercially successful steamboat and the first steam warship (1765-1815)

Erie Canal

A canal between the New York cities of Albany and Buffalo, completed in 1825. The canal, considered a marvel of the modern world at the time, allowed western farmers to ship surplus crops to sell in the North and allowed northern manufacturers to ship finished goods to sell in the West.

De Witt Clinton

The leader of government officials who came up with the plan to link New York City with the Great Lakes region.

Bonus Bill

Calhoun presented this bill in 1817, 1.5 million bank funds to fund internal improvements; passed but vetoed by Madison in his last day in office

Lowell-Waltham system

This system developed in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s, in these factories as much machinery as possible was used, so that few skilled workers were needed in the production process; the workers were almost all young single farm woman.

Separate Spheres

Nineteenth-century idea in Western societies that men and women, especially of the middle class, should have different roles in society: women as wives, mothers, and homemakers; men as breadwinners and participants in business and politics

John Marshall's Supreme Court

Period of court ruling from 1801 to 1835; shaped interpretation of Constitution (loose); strengthened judicial branch; increased power of federal government over state; support of economic activity

Marbury vs. Madison

Established Judicial Review

Gibbons decision

Congress alone regulated interstate commerce

Dartmouth College decision

Corporation contracts were inviolable and could not be controlled by state govts.
Placed restrictions on the power of state govts. to control corporations

McCulloch decision

Upheld constitutionality of Bank of the United States ; Established loose/broad construction/interpretation of the Constitution as constitutional

Worcester Decision

Invalidated Georgia law that required U.S. citizens entering Cherokee territory to obtain permission from governor of Georgia

Antebellum urbanization

Enlarged population due to largest immigration in US history; migration to cities b/c native farming classes forced off land due to changes in agriculture and immigrants; improved transportation, beginnings of industrialization

Squatters and preemption

People who would settle on land that they didn't have a title or claim to

Panic of 1819

This was the first widespread economic crisis in the United States which brought deflation, depression, bank failures, and unemployment. This set back nationalism to more sectionalism and hurt the poorer class, which gave way to Jacksonian Democracy.


A narrow-minded concern for, or devotion to, the interests of one section of a country over the interests of the nation as a whole

Missouri Crisis and Compromise

Missouri was not supposed to be a slave state, but it was, and its admission into the Union would tip the balance in favor of the South; Allowed Missouri to enter the union as a slave state, Maine to enter the union as a free state, prohibited slavery north of latitude 36˚ 30' within the Louisiana Territory (1820)

Democracy in America

Classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville on the United States in the 1830s and its strengths and weaknesses such as the tyranny of the majority; explained why republicanism succeeded in the U.S. and failed elsewhere.

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