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ABC-1 agreement (1941)

An agreement between Britain and the United States developed at a conference in Washington, DC, between January 29- March 27, 1941, that should the United States enter World War II, the two nations and their allies would coordinate their military planning, making a priority of protecting the British Commonwealth. That would mean "getting Germany first" in the Atlantic and the European theater and fighting more defensively on other military fronts.

Bracero program (1942)

Program established by agreement with the Mexican government to recruit temporary Mexican agricultural workers to the United States to make up for wartime labor shortages in the Far West. The program persisted until 1964, by when it had sponsored 4.5 million border crossings.

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) (1942)

Nonviolent civil rights organization founded in 1942 and committed to the "Double V"—victory over fascism abroad and racism at home. After World War II, CORE would become a major force in the civil rights movement.

D-Day (1944)

A massive military operation led by American forces in Normandy beginning on June 6, 1944. The pivotal battle led to the liberation of France and brought on the final phases of World War II in Europe.

Executive Order No. 9066 (1942)

Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizing the War Department to remove Japanese "enemy aliens" to isolated internment camps. Immigrants and citizens alike were sent away from their homes, neighbors, schools, and businesses. The Japanese internment policy was held to be constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. U.S. (1944).

Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) (1941)

Threatened with a massive "Negro March on Washington" to demand equal job opportunities in war jobs and in the military, Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration issued an executive order forbidding racial discrimination in all defense plants operating under contract with the federal government. The FEPC was intended to monitor compliance with the Executive Order.

Manhattan Project (1942)

Code name for the American commission established in 1942 develop the atomic bomb. The first experimental bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the desert of New Mexico. Atomic bombs were then dropped on two cities in Japan in hopes of bringing the war to an end: Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Midway, Battle of (1942)

A pivotal naval battle fought near the island of Midway on June 3-6, 1942. The victory halted Japanese advances in the Pacific.

National War Labor Board (NWLB) (1940s)

Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to act as an arbitration tribunal and mediate disputes between labor and management that might have led to war stoppages and thereby undermined the war effort. The NWLB was also charged with adjusting wages with an eye to controlling inflation.

Navajo code talkers (1940s)

Native American men who served in the military by transmitting radio messages in their native languages, which were undecipherable by German and Japanese spies

Office of Price Administration (OPA) (1941-1947)

A critically important wartime agency charged with regulating the consumer economy through:
1) rationing scarce supplies, such as automobiles, tires, fuel, nylon, and sugar,
and by
2) curbing inflation by setting ceilings on the price of goods.
3) Rents were controlled as well in parts of the country overwhelmed by war workers.
The OPA was extended after World War II ended to continue the fight against inflation, but was abolished in 1947.

Potsdam conference (1945)

From July 17 to August 2, 1945, President Harry S Truman met with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and British leaders Winston Churchill and later Clement Attlee (when the Labour party defeated Churchill's Conservative party) near Berlin to deliver an ultimatum to Japan: surrender or be destroyed.

Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act (1943)

Passed amidst worries about the effects that labor strikes would have on war production, this law allowed the federal government to seize and operate plants threatened by labor disputes. It also criminalized strike action against government-run companies.

V-E (Victory in Europe) Day (1945)

May 8, 1945, marked the official end of the war in Europe, following the unconditional surrender of what remained of the German government.

V-J (Victory in Japan) Day (1945)

August 15, 1945 heralded the surrender of Japan and the final end to World War II.

WAACs (Women's Army Auxiliary Corps), WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and SPARs (U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve (1940s)

The women's branches of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, established during World War II to employ women in noncombatant jobs. Women now participated in the armed services in ways that went beyond their traditional roles as nurses

War Production Board (WPB) (1940s)

Established in 1942 by executive order to direct all war production, including procuring and allocating raw materials, to maximize the nation's war machine. The WPB had sweeping powers over the U.S. economy and was abolished in November 1945 soon after Japan's defeat.

Albert Einstein

german-born scientist who immigrated to the United STates in 1933 to escape the Nazis. He helped persuade FDR to push ahead with preparations for developing the atomic bomb, but later reufully declared that "annihilation of any life on earth has been brought within the range of technical possibilities"

Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower

Supreme commander of U.S. forces in Europe during WWII, the war hero later became the 34th president of the United States. During his two terms, from 1952-1960, he presided over the economically prosperous 1950s. He was praised for his dignity and decency, though criticized for not being more assertive on civil rights

Douglas MacArthur

the flamboyant, vain, and brilliant American commander in the Philippines and mastermind of the "leapfrogging" strategy for bypassing strongly defended Japanese islands during WWII he would go on to command American troops in the Korean War until he was relieved of his duties by President Truman for insubordination in 1951

Chester Nimitz

U.S. navy admiral who was commander-in-chief of the Pacific Naval Forces for the United STates and its allies during WWII. He strategized the important victories in the Battle of Midway and the Coral Sea

Harry S. Truman

Vice president under FDR in 1945, he assumed the office of the presidency in April of that year, when FDR died froma brain hemorrhage while vacationing in WArm Springs, Georgia. He won another term in his own right in a historically close election in 1948 against Republican Thomas Dewey. As president, he chose to use nuclear weapons against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Abraham Lincoln Brigade (early 1940s)

Idealistic American volunteers who served in the Spanish Civil War, defending Spanish republican forces from the fascist General Francisco Franco's nationalist coup. Some 3,000 Americans served alongside volunteers from other countries.

Appeasement (1938)

The policy followed by leaders of Britain and France at the 1938 conference in Munich. Their purpose was to avoid war, but they allowed Germany to take the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia.

Atlantic Charter (1941)

Meeting on a warship off the coast of Newfoundland in August 1941, Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed this covenant outlining the future path toward:
1) disarmament
2) peace
3) and a permanent system of general security.
Its spirit would animate the founding of the
4) United Nations
5) and raise awareness of the human rights of individuals after World War II.

Good Neighbor policy (late 1930s)

A departure from the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, it stressed nonintervention in Latin America. It was begun by Herbert Hoover but associated with Franlin D. Roosevelt.

Hitler-Stalin pact (1939)

Treaty signed on August 23, 1939 in which Germany and the Soviet Union agreed not to fight each other. The fateful agreement paved the way for German aggression against Poland and the Western democracies.

Johnson Debt Default Act (1934)

Seeped in ugly memories of World War I, this spiteful act prevented debt-ridden nations from borrowing further from the United States.

Kristallnacht (1938)

German for "night of broken glass," it refers to the murderous pogrom that destroyed Jewish businesses and synagogues and sent thousands to concentration camps on the night of November 9, 1938. Thousands more attempted to find refuge in the United States, but were ultimately turned away due to restrictive immigration laws.

Lend-Lease Bill (1941)

Based on the motto, "Send guns, not sons," this law abandoned former pretenses of neutrality by allowing Americans to sell unlimited supplies of arms to any nation defending itself against the Axis Powers. Patriotically numbered 1776, the bill was praised as a device for keeping the nation out of World War II.

London Economic Conference (1933)

A sixty-nation economic conference organized to stabilize international currency rates. Franklin Roosevelt's decision to revoke American participation contributed to a deepening world economic crisis.

Neutrality Act of 1939

This act stipulated that European democracies might buy American munitions, but only if they could pay in cash and transport them in their own ships. The terms were known as "Cash-and-Carry." It represented an effort to:
1) avoid war debts
2) and protect American arms-carriers from torpedo attacks.

Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937

Short-sighted acts passed in 1935, 1936, and 1937 in order to prevent American participation in a European War. Among other restrictions, they prevented Americans from selling munitions to foreign belligerents

Pearl Harbor (1941)

An American naval base in Hawaii where Japanese warplanes destroyed numerous ships and caused 3,000 casualties on December 7, 1941—a day that, in President Roosevelt's words, was to "live in infamy." The attack brought the United States into World War II.

Quarantine Speech (1937)

An important speech delivered by Franklin Roosevelt in which he called for "positive endeavors" to "quarantine" land-hungry dictators, presumably through economic embargos. The speech flew in the face of isolationist politicians.

Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (1934)

This act reversed traditional high-protective-tariff policies by allowing the president to negotiate lower tariffs with trade partners, without Senate approval. Its chief architect was Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who believed that tariff barriers choked off foreign trade.

Rome-Berlin Axis (1936)

Nazi Germany, under Adolf Hitler, and Fascist Italy, led by Benito Mussolini, allied themselves together under this nefarious treaty. The pact was signed after both countries had intervened on behalf of the fascist leader Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

War Refugee Board (1944)

A United States agency formed to help rescue Jews from German-occupied territories and to provide relief to inmates of Nazi concentration camps. The agency performed noble work, but it did not begin operations until very late in the war, after millions had already been murdered.

Francisco Franco

spanish general who became head of state after his fascistic troops prevailed over the republican loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. He remained head of the Spanish state util his death in 1975

Adolf Hitler

Nazi dictator of Germany form 1933 to 1945, he was the mastermind behind the Holocaust. His rapacious quest for power provoked World War II

Cordell Hull

secretary of state under President Roosevelt and chief archtiect of the low-tariff reciprocal trade policy of the New Dealers. Foreign trade increased appreciably under all the trade pacts that he negotiated. One of the chief archtiects behind the United Nations, he was awarded the nobel Peace Prize in 1945 for "co-initiating the United Nations"

Benito Mussolini

facist leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943, He launched Italy into World War II on the side of Axis Powers and became a close ally of Adolph Hitler

Wendell Wilkie

Known as the "rich man's Roosevlet," he was a novice politician and Republican businessman who lost to FranklinRoosevelt in the 1940 presidential campaign. Although he won more votes than any previous GOP candidate, Roosevelt still beat him by a landslide

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) (1933)

A New Deal program designed to raise agricultural prices by paying farmers not to farm. It was based on the assumption that higher prices would increase farmers' purchasing power and thereby help alleviate the Great Depression.

Brain Trust

Specialists in law, economics, and welfare, many young university professors, who advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt and helped develop the policies of the New Deal.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) (1933)

A government program created by Congress to hire young unemployed men to improve the rural, out-of-doors environment with such work as planting trees, fighting fires, draining swamps, and maintaining National Parks. The CCC proved to be an important foundation for the post-World War II environmental movement.

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)

A New Deal-era labor organization that broke away from the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in order to organize unskilled industrial workers regardless of their particular economic sector or craft. The CIO gave a great boost to labor organizing in the midst of the Great Depression and during World War II. In 1955, the CIO merged with the AFL.

Court-packing plan (1937)

Franklin Roosevelt's politically motivated and ill-fated scheme to add a new justice to the Supreme Court for every member over seventy who would not retire. His objective was to overcome the Court's objections to New Deal reforms

Dust Bowl (1930s)

Grim nickname for the Great Plains region devastated by drought and dust storms during the 1930s. The disaster led to the migration into California of thousands of displaced "Okies" and "Arkies"

Fair Labor Standards Act (1938)

Important New Deal labor legislation that regulated minimum wages and maximum hours for workers involved in interstate commerce. The law also outlawed labor by children under sixteen. The exclusion of agricultural, service, and domestic workers meant that many blacks, Mexican Americans, and women who were concentrated in these sectors—did not benefit from the act's protection

Glass-Steagall Banking Reform Act (1933)

A law creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insured individual bank deposits and ended a century-long tradition of unstable banking that had reached a crisis in the Great Depression.

Hundred Days (1933)

The first hundred days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, stretching from March 9 to June 16, 1933, when an unprecedented number of reform bills were passed by a Democratic Congress to launch the New Deal.

Keynesianism (1930s)

An economic theory based on the thoughts of British economist John Maynard Keynes, holding that central banks should:
1) adjust interest rates
2) and governments should use deficit spending and tax policies to increase purchasing power and hence prosperity

National Recovery Administration (NRA) (1933)

Known by its critics as the "National Run Around," the NRA was an early New Deal program designed to assist industry, labor, and the unemployed through centralized planning mechanisms that monitored workers' earnings and working hours to distribute work and established codes for "fair competition" to ensure that similar procedures were followed by all firms in any particular industrial sector.

New Deal (1930s)

The economic and political policies of Franklin Roosevelt's administration in the 1930s, which aimed to solve the problems of the Great Depression by providing relief for the unemployed and launching efforts to stimulate economic recovery. The New Deal built on reforms of the progressive era to expand greatly an American-style welfare state.

Social Security Act (1935)

A flagship accomplishment of the New Deal, this law provided for unemployment and old-age insurance financed by a payroll tax on employers and employees. It has long remained a pillar of the "New Deal Order".

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) (1933)

One of the most revolutionary of the New Deal public works projects, the TVA brought:
1) cheap electric power
2) full employment
3) low-cost housing
4) and environmental improvements
to Americans in the Tennessee Valley

Wagner Act (1935)

Also known as the National Labor Relations Act, this law protected the right of labor to:
1) organize in unions
2) bargain collectively with employers
3) and established the National Labor Relations Board to monitor unfair labor practices on the part of employer.
Its passage marked the culmination of decades of labor protest.

Mary McLeod Bethune

the highest ranking African-American in the Roosevelt administration, she headed up the Office of Minority Affairs and was a leader of the unoffical Black Cabinet which sought to apply new deal benefits to blacks as well as whites

Father Charles Coughlin

a catholic priest from michigan who goaded 40 million radio listeners with his weekly anti-New Deal harangues. He was a well-known opponent of FDR's New Deal policies

Harry Hopkins

a former New York social worker, he came to be one of the major architects of the New Deal, heading up the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and Works Progress ADministration, and serving as a personal confidant to FDR

Huey "Kingfish" Long

Louisiana governor, later senator, whose anti-New Deal "Share Our Wealth" program promised to make "Every Man a King" that is, until he was gunned down in 1935

Frances Perkins

the first woman cabinet member and secretary of labor under FDR, she helped draw labor into the New Deal coalition

Eleanor Roosevelt

the wife of FDR, she was the most active First Lady the United STates had ever seen, and was known for her devotion to the impoverished and opressed

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

the 32nd president of the United States, he was the only American president to be elected to four terms of office. He first won the presidency against Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression and was credited with having devloped a program, called the New Deal, that shepherded the nation out of crisis. When World War II broke out in Europe, he steered the U.S. into the war, which in the end proved more effective than the New Deal in helping the nation recover from difficult economic times. His gallant struggle against polio and his enormous talents as a politician helped make him a beloved leader for a dozen difficult years in the nation's history

Francis Townsend

a retired physician who had lost his savings in the Great Depression and promoted a plan, popular with senior citizens to pay every person over sixty $200 a month, provided that the money was spent within the month. One estimate had the scheme costing one-half of the national income

Robert Wagner

A democratic senator from New York State from 1927-1949, he was responsible for the passage of some of the most important legislation enacted through the New Deal. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 was popularly known as the Wagner Act in honor of the senator. He also played a major role in the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Wagner-Steagall Housing Act of 1937

Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923)

A landmark Supreme Court decision reversing the ruling in Muller v. Oregan, which had declared women to be deserving of special protection in the workplace

Agricultural Marketing Act (1929)

This act established the Federal Farm Board, a lending bureau for hard-pressed farmers. The act also aimed to help farmers help themselves through new producers' cooperatives. As the depression worsened in 1930, the Board tried to bolster falling prices by buying up surpluses, but it was unable to cope with the flood of farm produce to market.

Black Tuesday (1929)

The dark, panicky day of October 29, 1929 when over 16,410,000 shares of stock were sold on Wall Street. It was a trigger that helped bring on the Great Depression

Bonus Army (1932)

Officially known as the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF), this rag-tag group of 20,000 veterans marched on Washington to demand immediate payment of bonuses earned during World War I. General Douglas MacArthur dispersed them with tear gas and bayonets

Dawes Plan (1924)

An arrangement negotiated in 1924 to reschedule German reparations payments. It stabilized the German currency and opened the way for further American private loans to Germany

Fordney-McCumber Tariff Law (1922)

A comprehensive bill passed to protect domestic production from foreign competitors. As a direct result, many European nations were spurred to increase their own trade barriers

Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930)

The highest protective tariff in the peacetime history of the United States, passed as a result of good old-fashioned horse trading. To the outside world, it smacked of ugly economic warfare.


Grim shantytowns where impoverished victims of the Great Depression slept under newspapers and in makeshift tents. Their visibility (and sarcastic name) tarnished the reputation of the Hoover administration

Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928)

A sentimental triumph of the 1920s peace movement, this 1928 pact linked sixty-two nations in the supposed "outlawry of war"

McNary-Haugen Bill (1924-1928)

A farm-relief bill that was championed throughout the 1920s and aimed to keep agricultural prices high by authorizing the government to buy up surpluses and sell them abroad. Congress twice passed the bill, but President Calvin Coolidge vetoed it in 1927 and 1928

Nine-Power Treaty (1922)

Agreement coming out of the Washington "Disarmament" Conference of 1921-1922 that pledged Britain, France, Italy, Japan, the United States, China, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium to abide by the Open Door Policy in China. The Five-Power Naval Treaty on ship ratios and the Four-Power Treaty to preserve the status quo in the Pacific also came out of the conference

Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction Act (1932)

This law that banned "yellow-dog," or anti-union, work contracts and forbade federal courts from issuing injunctions to quash strikes and boycotts. It was an early piece of labor-friendly federal legislation.

Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) (1932)

A government lending agency established under the Hoover administration in order to assist insurance companies, banks, agricultural organizations, railroads, and local governments. It was a precursor to later agencies that grew out of the New Deal and symbolized a recognition by the Republicans that some federal action was required to address the Great Depression

Teapot Dome scandal (1921)

A tawdry affair involving the illegal lease of priceless naval oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming and Elk Hills, California. The scandal, which implicated President Harding's Secretary of the Interior, was one of several that gave his administration a reputation for corruption.

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

Vice President "Silent Cal" became the 30th president of the United States when Warren G. Harding died in office. A friend of business over labor, he served during the boom years from 1923-1929

John Davis

the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 1924. The wealthy, Wall-Street-connected man was no less conservative than his opponent, Calvin Coolidge

Albert B. Fall

a scheming conservationist who served as secretary of the interior under Warren G. Harding, he was one of the key players in the notorious Teapot Dome Scandal

Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)

29th president of the United States, from 1921 to his death in office in 1923. He began his career as a newspaper publisher before getting elected to the Ohio Senate, where he served from 1899 to 1903. He then served as lieutenant governor of Ohio (1903-1905) and as a U.S. senator (1915-1921) before winning the presidency. His time in office was beset with scandals, many of them the result of disloyalty of designing friends

Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follete

hailing from Wisconsin, he was one of the most militant of the progressive Republican leader. He served in the Senate and in the Wisconsin governor's seat, and was aperennial contender for the presidency, keeping the spirit of progressivism alive into the 1920s

Albert E. Smith

colorful New York governor who was the unsuccessful Democrati candidate for president in 1928. His Catholicism and "wet" stance on Prohibition made him a controversial figure, even in the traditionally loyal Democratic South. Although he lost the electoral vote to Hoover by a landslide, his appeal to urban voters foreshadowed the northern urban and Southern coalition that would gain FDR the White House in 1932

American plan

A business-oriented approach to worker relations popular among firms in the 1920s to defeat unionization. Managers sought to strengthen their communication with workers and to offer benefits like pensions and insurance. They insisted on an "open shop" in contrast to the mandatory union membership through the "closed shop" that many labor activists had demanded in the strike after World War I.

Bible Belt

The region of the American South, extending roughly from North Carolina west to Oklahoma and Texas, where Protestant Fundamentalism and belief in literal interpretation of the Bible were traditionally strongest.

Bolshevik Revolution (1917)

The second stage of the Russian Revolution in November 1917 when Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik party seized power and established a communist state. The first stage had occurred the previous February when more moderate revolutionaries overthrew the Russian Czar.

criminal syndicalism laws (1919-1920)

Passed by many states during the Red Scare of 1919-1920, these nefarious laws outlawed the mere advocacy of violence to secure social change. Stump speakers for the International Workers of the World, or IWW, were special targets.

Eighteenth Amendment (1919)

Ratified in 1919, this Constitutional amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. It ushered in the era known as Prohibition.


A system of assembly-line manufacturing and mass production named after Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company and developer of the Model T car.


A Protestant Christian movement emphasizing the literal truth of the Bible and opposing religious modernism, which sought to reconcile religion and science. It was especially strong in the Baptist Church and the Church of Christ, first organized in 1906.

Immigration Act of 1924

Also known as the "National Origins Act," this law established quotas for immigration to the United States. Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe were sharply curtailed, while immigrants from Asia were shut out altogether.

Ku Klux Klan

An extremist, paramilitary, right-wing secret society founded in the mid nineteenth century and revived during the 1920s. It was anti-foreign, anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti-pacifist, anti-Communist, anti-internationalist, anti-evolutionist, and anti-bootlegger, but pro-Anglo-Saxon and pro-Protestant. Its members, cloaked in sheets to conceal their identities, terrorized freedmen and sympathetic whites throughout the South after the Civil War. By the 1890s, Klan-style violence and Democratic legislation succeeded in virtually disenfranchising all Southern blacks.


People who obtain money illegally by fraud, bootlegging, gambling, or threats of violence. Racketeers invaded the ranks of labor during the 1920s, a decade when gambling and gangsterism were prevalent in American life.

red scare (1919-1920)

A period of intense anti-communism lasting from 1919 to 1920. The "Palmer raids" of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer resulted in about six thousand deportations of people suspected of "subversive" activities.

Scientific Management

A system of industrial management created and promoted in the early twentieth century by Frederick W. Taylor, emphasizing stopwatch efficiency to improve factory performance. The system gained immense popularity across the United States and Europe.

United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)

A black nationalist organization founded in 1914 by the Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey in order to:
1) promote resettlement of African Americans to their "African homeland"
2) and to stimulate a vigorous separate black economy within the United States.

Volstead Act (1919)

A federal act enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages.

Bourne and Kallen

two early 20th century commentators who wrote against the grain of "one-hundred-percent" Americanism, celebrating ethnic diversity and cultural pluralism. Their essays left behind an important legacy for later writers on pluralism and civil rights

Al Capone

a notorious Chicago bootlegger and gangster during Prohibition, he evaded conviction for murder but served most of an 11-year sentence for tax evasion

Henry Ford

the "Father of the Traffic Jam," he developed the Model T Ford and pioneered its assembly-line production. As founder of the Motor Ford Company, he became one of the wealthiest men in the world

Sigmund Freud

An Austrian physician who led the way in developing the field of psychoanalysis. One of the most influential minds of the 20th century, he was known for his argument that sexual repression was responsible for a variety of nervous and emotional ills

Charles A. Lindbergh

An American aviator who made history as the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic. An instant international hero, his reputation was later tarnished by anti-Semitic views he voiced during WWI

A. Mitchell Palmer

A zealous prosecutor and anti-red, he served as Attorney General during the post-WWI "red scare," when thousands of foreign national were deported because of suspected subversion activities.

Sacco and Vanzetti

Italian anarchists convicted in 1921 of the murder of a Massachusetts factory paymaster his guard. Despite a worldwide public outcry, they were electrocuted in 1927

John T. Scopes

A Tennessee high school biology teacher who was prosecuted in 1925 for teaching the theory of evolution. Former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan joined the prosecution. The talented Clarence Darrow served as defense attorney.

Frederick W. Taylor

A prominent inventor and engineer who developed "scientific management," a system of shop-floor organization that stressed efficient, highly supervised labor management and production methods. His methods revolutionized manufacturing across the industrialized world.

Battle of Château Thierry (1918)

The first significant engagement of American troops in World War I—and, indeed, in any European war. To weary French soldiers, the American doughboys were an image of fresh and gleaming youth.

Committee on Public Information (1917)

A government office during World War I known popularly as the Creel Committee for its Chairman George Creel, it was dedicated to winning everyday Americans' support for the war effort. It regularly distributed pro-war propaganda and sent out an army of "four-minute men" to rally crowds and deliver "patriotic pep".

Espionage Act (1917)

A law prohibiting interference with the draft and other acts of national "disloyalty." Together with the Sedition Act of 1918, which added penalties for abusing the government in writing, it created a climate that was unfriendly to civil liberties.

Fourteen Points (1918)

Woodrow Wilson's proposal to ensure peace after World War I, calling for:
1) an end to secret treaties
2) widespread arms reduction
3) national self-determination
4) a new league of nations.

Industrial Workers of the World (1905)

The IWW., also known as the "Wobblies," was a radical organization that sought to:
1) build "one big union"
2) and advocated industrial sabotage in defense of that goal.
At its peak in 1923, it could claim 100,000 members and could gain the support of 300,000. The IWW particularly
3) appealed to migratory workers in agriculture
4) and lumbering
5) and to miners, all of whom suffered from horrific working conditions.


Led by Senators William Borah of Idaho and Hiram Johnson of California, this was a hard-core group of militant isolationists who opposed the Wilsonian dream of international cooperation in the League of Nations after World War I. Their efforts played an important part in preventing American participation in the international organization.

League of Nations (1919)

A world organization of national governments proposed by President Woodrow Wilson and established by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. It worked to facilitate peaceful international cooperation. Despite emotional appeals by Wilson, isolationists' objections to the League created the major obstacle to American signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Meuse-Argonne offensive (1918)

General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing led American troops in this effort to cut the German railroad lines supplying the western front. It was one of the few major battles that Americans participated in during the entire war, and was still underway when the war ended.

National War Labor Board (1918)

This wartime agency was chaired by former President Taft and
1) aimed to prevent labor disputes by
2) encouraging high wages
3) an eight-hour day.
While granting some concessions to labor, it stopped short of supporting labor's most important demand: a government guarantee of the right to organize into unions.

Nineteenth Amendment (1920)

This Constitutional amendment, finally passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified in 1920, gave women the right to vote over seventy years after the first organized calls for woman's suffrage in Seneca Falls, New York.

Schenck v. United States (1919)

A Supreme Court decision that upheld the Espionage and Sedition Acts, reasoning that freedom of speech could be curtailed when it posed a "clear and present danger" to the nation.

Sheppard-Towner Maternity Act (1921)

Designed to appeal to new women voters, this act provided:
1) federally financed instruction in maternal and infant health care
2) and expanded the role of government in family welfare.

Treaty of Versailles (1919)

World War I concluded with this vengeful document, which
1) secured peace
2) imposed sharp terms on Germany
3) created a territorial mandate system to manage former colonies of the world powers.
To Woodrow Wilson's chagrin, it incorporated very few of his original Fourteen Points, although it did include the
4) League of Nations that Wilson had long sought. Isolationists in the United States, deeply opposed to the League, led the opposition to the Treaty, which was never ratified by the Senate.

War Industries Board (1917)

Headed by Bernard Baruch, this federal agency:
1) coordinated industrial production during World War I
2) setting production quotas
3) allocating raw materials
4) pushing companies to increase efficiency and eliminate waste.
Under the economic mobilization of the War Industries Board, industrial production in the United States increased 20 percent during the war.

Zimmerman note (1917)

German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman had secretly proposed a German-Mexican alliance against the United States. When the note was intercepted and published in March 1917, it caused an uproar that made some Americans more willing to enter the war.

Bernard Baruch

a stock speculator who was appointed to head the War Industries Board under President Wilson, he went on to participate in the "Brain Trust" under FDR's New Deal administration. During World War II, he repeated his service as an economic adviser, advocaating price controls and rent ceilings

George Creel

the young outspoken, and tactless journalist who was tapped to head the Comittee on Public Information, also known as the Creel Committee, during WWI

Eugene V. Debs

a tireless socialist leader who organized th American Railway Union in the Pullman Strike of1894, he was later convicted under the FirstWorldWar's Espionage Act in 1918 and sentenced to 10 years in a federal penitentiary. A frequent presidential candidate on the Socialist Party Ticket, in 1920 he own over 900,00 votes campaigning for president form his prison cell

David Lloyd George

prime minister of Great Britain during World War I. Along with Woodrow Wilson, Italy's vittorio Orlando, and France's Georg Clemenceau, he formed part of the inner clique at the Paris Peace Conference known as the "Big Four"

William D. ("Big Bill") Haywood

as a leader of the Industrial workers of the World, the Wester Federation of Miners, and the Socialist Party of America. He was one of the most feared of American labor radicals. During WWI, he became a special target of anti-leftist legislation

Herbert C. Hoover

a quaker-humanitarian tapped to head the Food Administration during WWI. During th 1920s, he became the Secretary of Commerce, promoting economic modernization and responsible leadership by business to hold off further expansion of government power. Elected to the presidency in 1928 as a Republican, he soon faced the crisis of the Great Depression, which he tried to combat with the same volutnary efforts and restrained governemnt action that had been his hallmark over the previous decade. He lost the election of 1932 to Deomcrat FDR, who advocated a more activist role for the federal government

Henry Cabot Lodge

a prominent republican senator from Massachusetts, he was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and a persistent thorn in President Wilson's internationalist side when he crusaded against the League of Nations

Arthur Zimmermann

german foreign secretary during WWI and author of the infamous "Zimmerman note," which proposed a German-Mexican alliance against the united States

Adamson Act (1916)

This law established an eight-hour day for all employees on trains involved in interstate commerce, with extra pay for overtime. It was the first federal law regulating the hours of workers in private companies, and was upheld by the Supreme Court Wilson v. New (1917).


Great Britain, Russia, and France, later joined by Italy, Japan, and the United States, formed this alliance against the Central Powers in World War I.

Central Powers

Germany and Austria-Hungary, later joined by Turkey and Bulgaria, made up this alliance against the Allies in World War I.

Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914)

1) Law extending the anti-trust protections of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
2) exempting labor unions and agricultural organizations from antimonopoly constraints.
3) The act conferred long-overdue benefits on labor.

Federal Reserve Act (1913)

An act establishing twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks and a Federal Reserve Board, appointed by the president, to:
1) regulate banking
2) create stability on a national scale in the volatile banking sector.
The law carried the nation through the financial crises of the First World War of 1914-1918.

Federal Trade Commission Act (1914)

A banner accomplishment of Woodrow Wilson's administration, this law empowered a standing, presidentially appointed commission to investigate:
1) illegal business practices in interstate commerce like unlawful competition
2) false advertising
3) mislabeling of goods.

holding companies

A company that owns part or all of the other companies' stock in order to extend monopoly control. Often, a holding company does not produce goods or services of its own but only exists to control other companies. The Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914 sought to clamp down on these companies when they obstructed competition.

Jones Act (1916)

Law according territorial status to the Philippines and promising independence as soon as a "stable government" could be established. The United States did not grant the Philippines independence until July 4, 1946.

Lusitania (1915)

British passenger liner torpedoed and sank by Germany on May 7, 1915. It ended the lives of 1,198 people, including 128 Americans, and pushed the United States closer to war.

New Freedom (1912)

Platform of reforms advocated by Woodrow Wilson in his first presidential campaign, including:
1) stronger antitrust legislation to protect small business enterprises from monopolies
2) banking reform
3) tariff reductions.
Wilson's strategy involved
4) taking action to increase opportunities for capitalist competition rather than increasing government regulation of large trusts.

New Nationalism (1912)

State-interventionist reform program devised by journalist Herbert Croly and advocated by Theodore Roosevelt during his Bull Moose presidential campaign. Roosevelt did not object to continued consolidation of trusts and labor unions. Rather, he sought to create stronger regulatory agencies to insure that they operated to serve the public interest, not just private gain.

Tampico Incident (1914)

An arrest of American sailors by the Mexican government that spurred Woodrow Wilson to dispatch the American navy to seize the port of Veracruz in April 1914. Although war was avoided, tensions grew between the United States and Mexico.


German submarines, named for the German Unterseeboot, or "undersea boat," proved deadly for Allied ships in the war zone. U-boat attacks played an important role in drawing the United States into the war.

Underwood Tariff (1913)

This tariff provided for a substantial reduction of rates and enacted an unprecedented, graduated federal income tax. By 1917, revenue from the income tax surpassed receipts from the tariff, a gap that has since been vastly widened.

Workingmen's Compensation Act (1916)

Passed under Woodrow Wilson, this law granted assistance to federal civil-service employees during periods of disability. It was a precursor to labor-friendly legislation passed during the New Deal.

Louis D. Brandeis

a progressive-minded confidant of the Woodrow Wilson, he was the litigator behind Muller v. Oregon. In 1916, Wilson made him the first Jewish American to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court

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