Failed movement led by conservative
Western politicians to cede federal control of western land
to individual states, promoting private ownership and commercial
Imperious British prime minister
who rejected American intervention in an 1895 border dispute
between Venezuela and British Guiana, prompting an American
threat of military involvement. Salisbury ultimately reversed
his position and allowed a commission to arbitrate the dispute.
This term signifies England's
relatively benign neglect of its American colonies from about
1690 to 1760. During these years King and Parliament rarely
legislated constraints of any kind and allowed the colonists
much autonomy in provincial and local matters. In turn, the
colonists supported the parent nation's economic political objectives.
This harmonious period came to an end after the Seven Year's
War when King and Parliament began asserting more control over
the American colonists through taxes and trade regulations.
Santa Anna, General Antonio
The Mexican general and president
whose defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836 permitted
Texas to gain its independence.
Southern white Republicans during
Reconstruction, they came from every class and had a variety
of motives but were pictured by their opponents as ignorant
The 1925 trial of John Scopes
for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in a Tennessee
public school; also called the "Monkey Trial."
A Missouri slave, Scott sued
for his freedom on the grounds that his master had taken him
onto free soil. The Supreme Court ruled in 1857 that Scott was
not a citizen and that Congress had no power to exclude slavery
from the federal territories.
Bank of the United States
A national bank chartered in
1816 to hold government funds, ease the transfer of money across
state lines, and regulate private banks. Its federal charter
expired in 1836. See Bank
of the United States
Second Continental Congress
This body gathered in Philadelphia
during May 1775 after the shooting war with Great Britain had
started. The second Congress functioned as a coordinating government
for the colonies and states in providing overall direction for
the patriot war effort. It continued as a central legislative
body under the Articles of Confederation until 1789 when a new
national legislature, the federal Congress as established under
the Constitution of 1787, first convened.
Second Great Awakening
A wave of religious fervor and
revivalism that swept the United States from the early nineteenth
century through the Civil War.
Second New Deal
The second stage of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's economic recovery and reform program,
launched January 4, 1935.
Religious dissenters from England
who believed that the state-supported Anglican church, or Church
of England, was too corrupt to be reformed. Thus, like the Pilgrims,
they often migrated elsewhere to form their own religious communities.
Settlement House Movement
A reform movement growing out
of Jane Addams' Hull House in the late nineteenth century, it
led to the formation of community centers in which mainly middle-class
women sought to meet the needs of recent immigrants to urban
Seward, William Henry
Secretary of State for Abraham
Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, and advocate of a vigorous expansionism.
He is perhaps best known for the purchase of Alaska from Russia
in 1867 for $7.2 million, an act labeled "Seward's Folly."
A system of labor to replace
slavery that allowed landless farmers to work the land of others
for a share of the crops they produced. It was favored by freed
people over gang labor but often resulted in virtual peonage.
Beset by a hard-hitting economic
depression after the War of American Independence, these farmers
from western Massachusetts finally rose up in rebellion against
their state government in 1786 because they had failed to obtain
tax relief. One leader of the uprising was Daniel Shays, from
whom the Shaysites derived their name.
Sherman Antitrust Act
A law passed in 1890 to break
up trusts and monopolies, it was rarely enforced except against
labor unions and most of its power was stripped away by the
Supreme Court, but it began federal attempts to prevent unfair,
anti-competitive business practices.
A form of nonviolent protest
in which civil rights activists occupy seats in a segregated
Legal codes that defined the
slaveholders' power and the slaves' status as property.
Smith, Joseph, Jr.
The founder of the Mormon Church,
Smith was murdered in Illinois in 1844.
The chemical-laden fog caused
by automobile engines, a serious problem in southern California.
Like nuclear waste and the shrinking water supply, it reflects
the problems associated with the rapid demographic shift to
the West in modem times.
An ideology based upon the evolutionary
theories of Charles Darwin, it justified the concentration of
wealth and lack of governmental protection of the weak through
the ideas of natural selection and survival of the fittest.
A movement among Christian theologians,
it applied Christian doctrines to social problems and advocated
creating living conditions conducive to saving souls by tackling
the problems of the poor.
Once France formally entered
the War for Independence in 1778 on the American side, the British
had to concern themselves with protecting such vital holdings
as their sugar islands in the Caribbean region. Needing to disperse
their troop strength, the idea of the Southern strategy was
to tap into a perceived reservoir of loyalist numbers in the
southern colonies. Reduced British forces could employ these
loyalists as troops in subduing the rebels and as civil officials
in reestablishing royal governments. The plan failed for many
reasons, including a shortfall of loyalist support and an inability
to hold ground once conquered in places like South Carolina.
A term for hard coin, such as
gold or silver, that can also back and give a fixed point of
valuation to paper currencies.
Religious songs composed by
enslaved African Americans.
The policy of awarding political
or financial help with a government job. Abuses of the spoils
system led to the passage in 1883 of the Pendleton Act, which
created the Civil Service Commission to award government jobs
on the basis of merit.
Russian satellite that successfully
orbited the earth in 1957, prompting Americans to question their
own values and educational system. The hysteria over Soviet
technological superiority led to the 1958 National Defense Education
The economic conditions of slow
economic growth, rising inflation, and flagging productivity
that characterized the American economy during the 1970s.
Soviet premier in the 1930s
and 1940s, known for his violent purges of internal political
enemies and his suspicion of Western leaders, an ideology guided
by two major German invasions into Russia.
Stamp Act Congress
This intercolonial body of political
leaders from nine colonies met for a few days in October 1765
to consider ways to protest the Stamp Act. The delegates drafted
a petition declaring that Parliament should not tax Americans,
since they were not represented in that legislative body. The
Congress showed that the colonies, when aggrieved, could act
in unity, an important precedent for further intercolonial resistance
efforts in years to come.
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady
Organizer of the first women's
rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, Stanton
led the struggle for woman suffrage.
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty
of 1972 (SALT I)
Arms control treaty signed by
President Nixon and Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev. Although
it only froze the deployment of relatively inconsequential intercontinental
ballistic missiles, this first treaty would lead to more comprehensive
arms reduction treaties in the future.
The view that the powers of
the national government are limited to those described in the
Students for a Democratic Society
Founded in Port Huron, Michigan
in 1962, the radical organization aimed to rid American society
of poverty, racism, and violence through an individually oriented
approach called participatory democracy. By 1968, the organization
had over 100,000 followers and was responsible for demonstrations
at nearly 1000 colleges.
Legislation in 1947 that reflected
the conservative post-war mood. It outlawed the closed shop,
gave presidential power to delay strikes with a "cooling-off"
period, and curtailed the political and economic power of organized
Tariff of Abominations
An 1828 protective tariff opposed
by many Southerners.
The pre-Civil War reform movement
which sought to curb the drinking of hard liquor.
As American military and political
leaders suggested victory in Vietnam was in sight, North Vietnam
launched an offensive in January 1968 against every major South
Vietnamese target. Although the United States repelled the Tet
Offensive, it prompted waves of criticism from those who felt
the government had been misleading the American people.
Thoreau, Henry David
A pencilmaker, poet, and author
of the influential essay "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau
sought to realize transcendentalist ideals in his personal life.
In England during the eighteenth
century the Tory Party was closely identified with the king's
interests and monarchism, or in the minds of many American patriots,
with tyrannical government. As the Revolution dawned, Tory became
a term of derision applied to those colonists who sought to
maintain their allegiance to the British crown. They preferred
to think of themselves as loyalists, since they were not rebelling
against but were still supporting British imperial authority
As opposed to limited war, total
war usually denotes a military conflict in which warfare ultimately
affects the entire population, civilian as well as military.
The American Civil War, at least in its latter stages, might
serve as an example of total war because of the destruction
of both military and civilian resources in the South by Union
armies operating under General Grant and especially General
Sherman during 1864 and 1865.
A group of New England intellectuals
who glorified nature and believed that each person contains
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The peace treaty ending the
Mexican War gave the United States California, Nevada, New Mexico,
Utah, and parts of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming in
exchange for $15 million and assumption of $3.25 million in
debts owed to Americans by Mexico.
Treaty of Versailles
The treaty that ended World
A speech by President Truman
in March 1947 that set the course of U.S. foreign policy for
the next generation, painting international affairs as a struggle
between free democratic governments and tyrannical communist
governments, and advocating American intervention to protect
A form of business organization
that created a single board to trustees to oversee competing
firms, the term came to apply when any single entity had the
power to control competition within a given industry, such as
A leading orator in the abolitionist
and women's rights movements, Sojourner Truth was born into
slavery in New York's Hudson River Valley and escaped in 1826.
A black Baptist preacher who
led a revolt against slavery in Southampton County in southern
Virginia in 1831.
This amendment, adopted in 1964,
barred a poll tax in federal elections.
The practice of controlling
every phase of production by owning the sources of raw materials
and often the transportation facilities needed to distribute
the product, it was a means of gaining a competitive edge over
A former West Indian slave who
organized an attempted rebellion against slavery in Charleston,
South Carolina, in 1822.
The English government established
these courts in its North American colonies to deal with issues
of maritime law, including smuggling. If judges condemned vessels
for smuggling, they would share in profits from the sale of
such craft and their cargoes. Judges made all rulings without
juries and thus could clearly benefit from their own decisions,
which caused many colonists to view these courts as centers
of despotic imperial power. The Stamp Act of 1765 stated that
colonists who did not pay stamp duties could be tried in vice-admiralty
courts, which became another colonial grievance about the prospect
of being convicted and sent to jail without a jury trial, a
violation of fundamental English liberties.
King George III's chief minister,
George Grenville, employed this concept in 1765 in relation
to the Stamp Act. He insisted that all colonists were represented
in Parliament by virtue of being English subjects, regardless
of where they lived. Grenville was attempting to counter the
colonists' position that King and Parliament had no authority
to tax them, since the Americans had no duly elected representatives
serving in Parliament.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
This law prohibited literacy
tests and sent federal examiners to the South to register voters.
The free black author of An
Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, which threatened
violence if slavery was not abolished.
Alabama governor who ran for
president in 1968 as a third-party candidate on the American
Independent ticket. His message rejecting forced racial integration,
the activities of radical college students, and the perceived
national drift toward the left appealed to many working class
Americans, and he received 13.5 percent of that election's vote.
War of 1812
War between Britain and the
United States. Causes included British interference with American
shipping, impressment of seamen, a desire to end British aid
to Indians, and an American desire for expansion.
War Powers Act
This 1973 law required presidents
to win specific authorization from Congress to engage U.S. forces
in foreign combat for more than 90 days.
War Production Board
The board established in January
1942 to help mobilize the U.S. economy for war production.
As the nation's first president,
Washington helped define the powers of the presidency, demonstrated
in the Whiskey Rebellion that the national government would
enforce federal law, cleared the Ohio country of Indians, and
attempted to preserve American neutrality during the war between
Britain and France.
During the 1972 presidential
campaign, burglars, tied to the Nixon White House, were caught
installing eavesdropping devices in Democratic Party headquarters
in the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C. Revelations of
White House efforts to obstruct the investigation of the break-in,
of financial irregularities, and the use of government agencies
for partisan purposes led President Nixon to resign in 1974.
A noted orator, Webster opposed
the War of 1812 and the protectionist tariff of 1816 after his
election to the House of Representatives. He later became a
staunch nationalist and defender of tariff protection.
During the eighteenth century
in England the Whig Party was a loosely organized coalition
of political leaders that opposed any hint of arbitrary authority
that might emanate from the monarchy and royally appointed officials
in government. Like the radical Whig pamphleteers, they also
viewed themselves as defenders of liberty, which is one reason
why many American leaders, even though not organized as a political
party, called themselves whigs. During the 1830s and 1840s in
the United States, there was a Whig party that opposed the policies
of Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and other members of the
The inventor of the cotton gin,
Whitney pioneered a system of mass production of interchangeable
parts. Whitney's cotton gin, which separated cotton from its
seeds, met the growing demand for cotton from the textile industry
and breathed new life into the institution of slavery.
An amendment to an 1846 appropriations
bill that would have forbade slavery from any territory acquired
from Mexico. The amendment passed the House twice but was defeated
in the Senate.
Woman's Christian Temperance
An organization led by Frances
Willard to stop the abuse of alcohol, it joined forces with
other groups in the movement for the prohibition of alcohol
to reduce such problems as wife abuse.
Women's Army Corps (WAC)
The auxiliary women's unit to
the U.S. army.
Workmen's Compensation Laws
Legislation establishing mandatory
insurance to be carried by employers to cover on-the-job injuries
to their workers, it was a reform that provided protection to
workers while also lowering the risk to employers.
Writs of Assistance
Blanket search warrants used
by English customs collectors in the colonies to try to catch
suspected smugglers. These writs did not require any form of
prior evidence to justify searches, which the colonies viewed
as yet another imperial violation of fundamental English liberties.
X, Y, Z
The meeting between President
Franklin Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill,
and Soviet premier Joseph Stalin at Yalta in the Russian Crimea
in February 1945 to determine the post-World War II world order.
Sensationalistic press accounts
of the volatile Cuban situation in the 1890s, led by William
Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's
New York World. Helped mobilize pro-interventionist public
opinion prior to the Spanish-American war.
The leader of the Mormon church
following Joseph Smith's murder, Young led the Mormon exodus
from Illinois to the Great Salt Lake.
Telegram from German Foreign
Minister Arnold Zimmermann to the German ambassador to Mexico
pledging a Mexican-German alliance against the United States,
which brought the United States into World War I.