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8 - Academic Vocabulary
Terms in this set (115)
Bemused ~ His friend mailed him to the North, where bemused abolitionists received him in Philadelphia.
verb ~ puzzled, confused; not knowing what to do
Decry ~ Even white abolitionists decried the violent nature of his text.
verb ~ express strong disapproval of
Delineated ~ Senate in 1858, South Carolina senator and planter, James Henry Hammond, demonstrated this logic by arguing that slaves comprised, "the very mud-sill of society," or a bottom supportive layer to a class system delineated across racial lines.
verb ~ represented accurately or precisely
Demarcate ~ A clear line demarcated the elite, but according to Burton, the line between poor and yeoman was less distinct.
verb ~ separate or distinguish from; setting boundaries and limits
Disparity ~ Nevertheless, the very presence of slaves throughout the American South fostered white unity despite economic disparities.
noun ~ a great difference in equality
Divisive ~ Clearly slavery was a terribly divisive issue.
adjective ~ tending to cause disagreements separating people into opposing groups
Equivocate ~ His words, "I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — and I will be heard," clarified the position of the New Abolitionists.
verb ~ speaking in a way that is intentionally not clear and confusing to other people, especially to hide the truth
Fend ~ They said that their owners would protect and assist them when they were sick and aged, unlike those who, once fired from their work, were left to fend helplessly for themselves.
verb ~ to take care of and provide for yourself without depending on others
Implode ~ Not content to wait for laws to change or for slavery to implode itself, railroad activists helped individual fugitive slaves find the light of freedom.
verb ~ to collapse and fall inward
Nostalgic ~ The nostalgic view of the South that emerged in the 20th Century emphasized the elite planter class of wealth and refinement who controlled large plantations and numerous slaves.
adjective ~ emotional feelings about things that happened in the past
Painstaking ~ What once was painstakingly slow was now relatively fast.
adjective ~ done with extreme care and attention
Rampage ~ As they continued on their rampage they gathered additional supporters but when their ammunition was exhausted, they were captured.
verb ~ a large group of people rushing around in a violent and uncontrollable manner
Reverberate ~ Yet its echo continues to reverberate loudly.
noun ~ of a loud noise being repeated several times as an echo
Solidarity ~ The church suffered brutalities and massive arrests of its membership, clearly an indication of the fear of black solidarity.
noun ~ a union of interests or purposes among members of a group
Vantage ~ From our vantage point in the 21st Century it seems obvious that slavery caused the Civil War.
noun ~ a place or position with a good view of something.
Adamant ~ Yet the Pennsylvania representative was so adamantly against the extension of slavery to lands ceded by Mexico, he made a proposition that would divide the Congress.
adjective ~ unwilling to be persuaded to change an opinion or decision
Contentious ~ From before the United States declared in dependence in 1776, slavery had been a contentious issue.
adjective ~ causing or likely to cause disagreement; controversial
Crucial ~ Most white Americans agreed that western expansion was crucial to the health of the nation.
adjective ~ extremely important or essential
Doggedly ~ He and his followers were doggedly hunted well into the summer.
adjective ~ determined to do something, even if it is very difficult
Engulf ~ Kansas served as a small scale prelude to the bloody catastrophe that engulfed the entire nation just five years later.
verb ~ to surround and cover completely
Envision ~ Though Wilmot's heart did not bleed for the slave, he envisioned California as a place where free white Pennsylvanians could work without the competition of slave labor.
verb ~ to imagine as a future possibility; visualize
Flagrant ~ The flagrant violation of the Fugitive Slave Law set the scene for the tempest that emerged later in the decade.
adjective ~ obviously wrong or offensive in some way, scandalous
Galvanize ~ Their attack galvanized the northern states like nothing before.
verb ~ shock or excite a person or group into taking action.
Immortalize ~ The mural "The Tragic Prelude" immortalizes John Brown and decorates the walls of the Kansas State Capitol building.
verb ~ to cause someone to be remembered forever
In Cold Blood ~ By the end of 1856, over 200 people would be gunned down in cold blood.
adverb ~ without feeling or mercy
Irrevocably ~ Passage of the bill irrevocably split the Whig Party, one of the two major political parties in the country at the time.
adverb ~ in a way that cannot be changed, reversed, or recovered.
Loot ~ They burned and looted homes and shops.
verb ~ to steal, typically during a war or riot
Muster ~ The Senate, equally divided between free states and slave states could not muster the majority necessary for approval.
verb ~ a formal gathering of troops, especially for inspection or in preparation for battle
Posse ~ A posse of over 800 men from Kansas and Missouri rode to Lawrence to arrest members of the free state government.
noun ~ a temporary police force
Prelude ~ Kansas served as a small scale prelude to the bloody catastrophe that engulfed the entire nation just five years later.
noun ~ something that introduces what follows
Proponent ~ As the 1840s melted into the 1850s, Stephen Douglas became the loudest proponent of popular sovereignty.
noun ~ a person who supports an idea, plan, or cause
Retroactive ~ It also legalized the "border ruffian" vote by not requiring voters to be residents in Kansas prior to voting and made the law retroactive to the preceding elections.
adjective ~ something happening now that came from the past
Ruffian ~ It also legalized the "border ruffian" vote by not requiring voters to be residents in Kansas prior to voting and made the law retroactive to the preceding elections.
noun ~ a violent person, especially one involved in crime
Spawn ~ As the United States gained new territory, especially after defeating Mexico in the 1840s, the fight about the expansion of slavery became a major question that spawned political feuds, actual fighting, and gave birth to new political parties.
verb ~ to give birth to, or be the beginning of something
Specter ~ The specter of secession had risen again.
noun ~ something that causes fear or worry; a ghost
Amass ~ The House of Representatives voted to expel Brooks, but it could not amass the votes to do so.
verb ~ to collect and gather a large amount
Amendment ~ A few last ditch efforts were made to end the crisis through Constitutional amendment.
noun ~ a change or addition to the US constitution
Charismatic ~ Or, had the problem just grown so large that war was inevitable, no matter how brilliant or charismatic the nation's leaders might have been.
adjective ~ charming in a way that makes others want to be around you
Circumvent ~ However, many Northern states found ways to circumvent the Fugitive Slave Act.
verb ~ find a way around an obstacle
Cohorts ~ John Brown and his cohorts marched into an unsuspecting Harper's Ferry and seized the federal complex with little resistance.
noun ~ people who have come together in support of a common cause
Conciliatory ~ If the influential voices of the day - John Brown, Charles Sumner or Preston Brooks for example - hadn't been so extreme in their rhetoric or actions and had followed more closely the conciliatory example of Abraham Lincoln, could war have been avoided?
adjective ~ making or willing to make compromise
Dilemma ~ Lincoln had a dilemma.
noun ~ a situation in which there seems to be no good choices
Euphemism ~ Like the rest of the language in the Constitution prior to the Civil War, the proposed amendment never uses the word "slavery," instead employing the euphemisms "domestic institutions" and "persons held to labor or service."
noun ~ the use of a word or phrase to avoid saying another word or phrase that may be unpleasant or offensive
Excoriate ~ The Charleston Mercury was an exception: it excoriated Lincoln's address as manifesting "insolence" and "brutality," and attacked the Union government as "a mobocratic empire."
verb ~ express strong disapproval of
Gauntlet ~ The gauntlet was thrown.
noun ~ a glove of armored leather that protects the hand
Ill-Fated ~ The Republican Party adopted a specific plank condemning John Brown and his ill-fated plan.
adjective ~ unlucky or certain to experience failure that cannot be avoided
Imbecile ~ Sumner declared Butler an imbecile and said, "Senator Butler has chosen a mistress. I mean the harlot, slavery."
noun ~ a person of subnormal intelligence
Inaugural ~ Lincoln supported the amendment, specifically mentioning it in his first inaugural address...
adjective ~ first speech someone gives when starting an important new job
Ominously ~ In this climate of fear and hostility, the election year of 1860 opened ominously.
adverb ~ in a way that suggests that something bad is going to happen
Pummel ~ Only after being physically restrained by others did Brooks end the pummeling.
verb ~ strike repeatedly with the fists
Rebuff ~ When Jefferson Davis sent a group of commissioners to Washington to negotiate for the transfer of Fort Sumter to South Carolina, they were promptly rebuffed.
verb ~ reject (someone or something) in an abrupt or ungracious manner
Succinctly ~ The speech was primarily addressed to the people of the South, and was intended to succinctly state Lincoln's intended policies and desires.
adverb ~ in a brief and clearly expressed manner; to the point
Tirade ~ Part of this oratory was a bitter, personal tirade against South Carolina's Senator Andrew Butler.
noun ~ a long speech in which someone criticizes a person or thing.
Untenable ~ By 1843, several hundred slaves a year were successfully escaping to the North along the routes of the Underground Railroad, making slavery untenable in the border states.
adjective ~ incapable of being defended or justified
Belle ~ Beauregard was warned of McDowell's troop movement by a Southern belle who concealed the message in her hair.
noun ~ a beautiful and attractive woman
Casualty ~ In 1863, facing a serious loss of manpower through casualties and expiration of enlistments, Congress authorized the government to enforce conscription, resulting in riots in several states.
noun ~ someone injured or killed in an accident or war
Courier ~ When Lee learned of the approach of this concentrated force, he sent couriers to his generals with orders to reunite near Gettysburg to do battle.
noun ~ a person who carries a message
Crest ~ But as the Confederates were retreating, they found a brigade of fresh troops led by General Thomas Jackson waiting just over the crest of the hill.
noun ~ the top or extreme point of something
Devastate ~ Their economy was devastated by the loss of slave labor and a crippling blockade.
verb ~ causing great damage or suffering to something or someone
Divisive ~ Resentment of the draft was another divisive issue.
adjective ~ tending to cause disagreements separating people into opposing groups
Elude ~ Two months later, Lincoln won the popular vote that eluded him in his first election.
verb ~ to evade or escape from usually in a skillful way
Grudgingly ~ During the first two hours of battle, 4,500 Confederates gave ground grudgingly to 10,000 Union soldiers.
adverb ~ unwillingly; reluctantly
Lavish ~ The newly rich built lavish homes and spent their money extravagantly on carriages, silk clothing and jewelry.
adjective ~ more than enough; luxurious and rich
Loophole ~ Like in the North, loopholes permitted a drafted man to hire a substitute, leading many wealthy men to avoid service.
noun ~ a legal way to avoid something, usually because of a mistake in the way rules or laws have been written
Pillage ~ His soldiers pillaged the countryside and destroyed everything of conceivable military value as they traveled 285 miles to Savannah, Georgia in a march that became legendary for the misery it created among the civilian population.
verb ~ to steal something from a place or a person by using violence, esp. during war
Quota ~ Each state was given a quota, and if it could not meet the quota, it had no recourse but to draft men into the state militia.
noun ~ a number, amount, or share that is officially allowed or necessary
Reminiscent ~ This was a lesson reminiscent of the one learned by the British themselves in the Revolutionary War.
adjective ~ reminding you of a particular person, event, or thing
Rout ~ A retreat by the Union became a rout.
verb ~ to defeat an enemy or competitor completely
Secession ~ Fourth, shatter Southern civilian morale by capturing and destroying the cities of Atlanta, Savannah, and the heart of Southern secession, the State of South Carolina.
noun ~ the act of leaving an organization or government
Staunch ~ He had staunch opponents in the Congress.
adjective ~ strongly loyal to a person, organization, or set of beliefs or opinions
Timidity ~ Meanwhile, Lincoln was growing impatient at the timidity of his generals.
noun ~ lack of courage and confidence; nervous and shy
Unbecoming ~ There was a great deal of public outrage that such conduct was unbecoming or even immoral in times of war.
adjective ~ not suitable or acceptable
Vengeance ~ Despite Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg a year earlier, the Southern armies came back fighting with a vengeance.
noun ~ action against someone to punish that person for having hurt you
Willpower ~ Still, the Confederacy was not without resources and willpower.
noun ~ the ability to control your own thoughts and behavior
Assassinate ~ Booth and his collaborators decided to assassinate the President, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward all in the same evening.
verb ~ to murder a famous or important person, esp. for political reasons
Bloodthirsty ~ Abraham Lincoln, considered by many to be America's greatest president, was viewed in the South as an enemy at best, and at worst as a " bloodthirsty tyrant."
adjective ~ eager to see or take part in violence
Circuitous ~ A train carried Lincoln's body on a circuitous path back home for burial in Springfield, Illinois.
adjective ~ not straight or direct; roundabout
Dagger ~ In the middle of the play that night, Booth slipped into the entryway to the President's box, holding a dagger in his left hand and a Derringer pistol in his right.
noun ~ a short, pointed knife that is sharp on both sides
Encapsulate ~ But Abraham Lincoln, whose attitude toward the South was encapsulated in his Second Inaugural Address "with charity for all and malice toward none" was dead.
verb ~ express the important parts of something very clearly
Epithet ~ "Yankee" was a pejorative term, and "damn Yankee" was one of the milder epithets applied to anyone who came from the far side of the Mason-Dixon line.
noun ~ a word or phrase used to describe someone, often as an insult
Espouse ~ Beginning with the now-iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago," a reference to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Founding Fathers.
verb ~ adopt or to support an activity or opinion
Fervent ~ Booth was a fervent believer in slavery and white supremacy.
adjective ~ showing strong and sincere feelings or beliefs
Grievous ~ For a long time, the number of deaths on both sides in the Civil War was estimated at slightly over 600,000, with another 400,000 suffering grievous wounds.
adjective ~ having very serious effects or causing great pain
Habeas Corpus ~ At one point, Lincoln even suspended the writ of habeas corpus which meant that he could hold people in prison without a trial.
noun ~ a legal action demanding a prisoner be brought before a judge to make sure they are not being held illegally
Hindsight ~ Looking back at the Civil War with the benefit of more than 150 years of hindsight, it is easy to say that the war was about ending slavery and that emancipation was going to be the obvious outcome of the war.
noun ~ the ability to understand, after something has happened, why or how it was done
Knell ~ The Proclamation itself freed very few slaves, but it was the death knell for slavery in the United States.
noun ~ the sound of a bell rung slowly to announce a death
Legacy ~ What is called the Reconstruction period lasted about a dozen years, but its effects went on for decades, and indeed the legacy of the Civil War and its aftermath, Reconstruction, remain with us to this day.
noun ~ something handed down from one period of time to another period of time
Overstate ~ For free African Americans in the North, and for slaves who escaped and joined the Union armies, the destruction of slavery can hardly be overstated.
verb ~ to exagerate something or make it seem like more than it is
Pejorative ~ "Yankee" was a pejorative term, and "damn Yankee" was one of the milder epithets applied to anyone who came from the far side of the Mason-Dixon line.
adjective ~ expressing disapproval; insulting
Preeminent ~ Recently that estimate has been revised upward to 750,000, a figure upon which many preeminent historians now agree.
adjective ~ greatest in importance, degree, or significance
Reiterate ~ Beginning with the now-iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago," a reference to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Founding Fathers.
verb ~ to say something again
Succinct ~ Like many of his earlier speeches, in his last major address Lincoln was eloquent, succinct, and modest.
adjective ~ (of writing or speech) clear and short; expressing what needs to be said without unnecessary words
Tyrannical ~ And across the battle lines from them there were Southerners who believed in states' rights, that the Northern government was tyrannical, and that the right of the South to secede was as absolute as had been the right of the 13 Colonies to declare independence in 1776.
adjective ~ exercising power in a cruel and absolute way
Unfettered ~ Naturally the rage and frustration felt by many Southerners needed a target or outlet, and unsurprisingly, that target was the Freedmen and women, the former slaves who now walked unfettered in the streets of Charleston, Atlanta, Mobile and New Orleans.
adjective ~ not controlled, limited, or prevented by anyone
Waft ~ ...grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar — that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you,...
verb ~ to move gently through the air
Abridged ~ In 1869 Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which stated that, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
verb ~ shortened by having some details of less importance removed
Bloat ~ In speeches, he railed against "slaveocracy" and a bloated "Southern aristocracy" that had little use for the white working man.
verb ~ to swell up, or to make someone or something swollen
Burdensome ~ Many slave owners were glad to get rid of " burdensome slaves" and threw them out "just like Yankee capitalists."
adjective ~ causing difficulties and hardship
Devastation ~ A photograph showing the devastation of the South.
noun ~ great destruction or damage.
Disenfranchise ~ Their purpose was to disenfranchise Republicans, black or white, and restore what they viewed as the proper order of things, namely, a society based on white supremacy.
verb ~ to take away a person's rights or vote
Incompetence ~ Resolutions were passed by groups of white citizens, and editorials appeared in newspapers claiming that Blacks should be excluded from voting because of their political incompetence.
noun ~ lack of ability to do something successfully
Ineligible ~ Originally there were supposed to be seven republicans, seven democrats and one independent on the committee, but the independent was deemed ineligible and was replaced by a republican.
adjective ~ not qualified for or allowed or worthy of being chosen
Infuriated ~ Johnson's vetoes infuriated the Radical Republicans in congress.
verb ~ to make someone extremely angry and impatient
Inhibited ~ Sherman, however, had exceeded his authority, and the Constitution inhibited the ability of the government to confiscate private property "without due process of law."
adjective ~ held back or restrained or prevented
Intimidation ~ Eventually the Congress passed the Lodge Force Bills in 1870 and 1871 to control the violence and protect blacks from being deprived of their civil and political, but enforcement of those acts was often lax, and other means of intimidation often proved effective.
noun ~ the act of frightening or threatening someone in order to persuade them to do something that you want them to do
Jubilation ~ Many freedmen, the name given to former slaves, who had been restricted all their lives had no "where" to go—although they were elated to be free: the great day of jubilation, it was called—but this new state of freedom also caused confusion.
noun ~ a feeling of great happiness
Lenient ~ Johnson's vision of Reconstruction had proved remarkably lenient.
adjective ~ tolerant; not severe, harsh
Lien ~ Some sort of system of production had to be worked out, and what evolved was a combination of various plans that on the surface seemed reasonable: sharecropping, tenant farming and the crop lien system.
noun ~ an official order allowing someone to keep the property of a person who owes them money until it has been paid
Nonexistent ~ Social equality for Blacks was nonexistent and Congress was losing focus on the issue.
adjective ~ not real or present; not existing
Overt ~ Remarkably, Southern Blacks exhibited little overt resentment against their former masters, and many adopted a conciliatory attitude.
adjective ~ done or shown openly; not secret or or hidden
Perpetrator ~ They were performed in public to further intimidate blacks, who realized that they remained vulnerable, and that the perpetrators would not be punished by a judicial system controlled by Whites, even though it was obvious who the guilty parties were.
noun ~ someone who has committed a crime or a violent, harmful act
Punitive ~ Would he follow the Radical Republicans and be harsh and punitive toward the South?
adjective ~ intended as a punishment
Scapegoat ~ In their frustration at having lost the war and suffered great loss of life and property, they made the former slaves scapegoats for what they had endured.
noun ~ someone who is blamed or punished for another's faults or actions
Viable ~ The Republican Party soon ceased to exist as a viable political force in the former Confederate states, and Democrats ruled the South for over one hundred years.
adjective ~ able to live or succeed
Watershed ~ For African Americans, the most important single result of War was freedom—"the great watershed of their lives."
noun ~ an event or period that is important because it represents a big change and the start of new developments
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