U.S. History Glossary

Earth Science
Living Environment





Abolitionist – person who opposes slavery

Affirmative action – programs used to help underrepresented groups such as women and minorities to obtain equal employment opportunities

Albany Plan of Union (1754) – a proposal to create a unified government for the Thirteen Colonies; attempted to unify the colonies as one government for defense and other general purposes

Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) – laws that were enacted to prevent anarchy within the U.S.; these acts took civil liberties away from resident aliens and limited freedom of speech

Alliance for progress – international program aimed at strengthening Democracy and promoting reform in Latin America

Amendment – a change or alteration to the United States Constitution

4th Amendment – protects against unreasonable search and seizure

13th Amendment – prohibits slavery

14th Amendment – grants citizenship to former slaves and applies the Bill of Rights to State government

15th Amendment – guarantees suffrage (the right to vote) to African Americans

16th Amendment – authorized the federal government to tax income

19th Amendment – amendment to the United States Constitution that granted women the right to vote

22nd Amendment – limits the President to two terms

American Federation of Labor – first successful labor union in the United States led by Samuel Gompers

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) – protected people with disabilities from discrimination

Annexation – makes a territory a state

Annexation of Texas (1845) – the United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state

Anthracite Coal Strike – a strike where coal miners asked for higher pay and shorter working hours. The Government intervened and suspended the strike. The workers received higher pay and shorter working hours

Antifederalist – one of Americas first political parties led by Thomas Jefferson believing that a strong central government was a threat to civil rights and a strict interpretation of the United States Constitution

Apartheid – South African practice of separating people according to race (segregation)

Appeasement – diplomatic policy of making concessions to avoid war

Apportionment – the method in which the number of representatives are distributed per state

Arms race – the United States and Soviet Union tried to compete on weapons development during the Cold War

Arsenal of democracy – speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt urging the United States to supply the allies with weapons prior to the United States entering World War II

Articles of Confederation – original constitution of the United States; gave little power to the federal government

Assembly line – an arrangement of workers, machines, and equipment in which the product being assembled passes consecutively from one person (task) to another

Assembly line – an arrangement of workers, machines, and equipment in which the product being assembled passes consecutively from one person (task) to another Each worker on the line was responsible for one task

Assimilation – the idea of abandoning ones cultural traits to blend in with the larger society

Assimilate – to leave one’s current culture and become part of another



Baby boomers – anyone born between 1946 and 1964

Baron de Montesquieu – enlightenment philosopher who proposed the concept of separation of powers

Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) – the United States trained and armed Cuban exiles at an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba

Berkeley demonstrations (1964-1965) – students wanted the administration to acknowledge the students right to free speech and lift a ban of on-campus political activities

Bicameral legislature – the United States Congress consists of two houses The Senate is based on equal representation and the House of Representatives proportionately distributes representation based on population. This distribution is also called apportionment

Big Stick Policy – Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy towards Latin America. Often involved the use of troops to protect U.S. commercial interests

Bill of Rights – the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution with an emphasis on civil rights

Black codes – any code of law that defined and especially limited the rights of former slaves after the Civil War

Black separatism – a movement to create separate institutions for people of African descent in societies historically dominated by whites

Bleeding Kansas – between 1854 & 1861, a series of violent clashes between abolitionists and pro slavery forces over Kansas’s status as a slave or free state

Bolshevik Revolution (1917) – revolution in which the Bolsheviks seized control of the Russian government

Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – on August 6th 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. On August 9th 1945 a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki leading to the Japanese surrender ending World War II

Bonus Army – WWI Veterans who demanded bonuses that were supposed to be paid to them for serving in WWI

Booker T. Washington – civil rights pioneer who advocated realistic accommodation & vocational training

Boycott – the act of refusing to buy or deal with a person, organization or country as part of a protest

Bread and butter unionism – occurs when unions demand higher wages, improved hours and safer working conditions

Brown v. Board of Ed (1954) – landmark Supreme Court decision that eliminated segregation in public schools

Bush v. Gore (2000) – Supreme court case that upheld the electoral count in the election of 2000



Cabinet – first established by George Washington, every President since has appointed a team of advisors known as secretaries to help the President decide on important issues

Camp David Accords (1978) – thirteen days of secret negotiations between Egyptian President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin resulted in a foundation for a peace treaty between the two nations

Capitalism – an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; characterized by the freedom of capitalists to operate or manage their property for profit in competitive conditions

Cash & Carry (1939) – Neutrality Act that allowed trade with warring nations providing that the warring nations transported the goods themselves

Cash crop economy – economy based on major crops such as cotton and tobacco

Census – measures the United States population every 10 years to determine membership in the House of Representatives

Cesar Chavez– labor leader who unionized farm workers and advocated for the civil rights of migrant farm workers

Checks and balances – separation of powers between the three branches of government. Each of the three branches can limit the powers of the others; included in the United States Constitution to prevent each branch of government from abusing their powers

Chief Executive – describes the President as head of the executive branch

Chinese Exclusion Act – prohibited Chinese immigration for ten years and would not allow Chinese immigrants to become U.S. citizens

Civil disobedience – the refusal to follow a law without the use of violence

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – New Deal program that provided employment to young men during the Great Depression

Civil Rights Act 1964 – federal legislation that prohibits segregation and discrimination in all public institutions

Civil rights movement (1950 – 1980) – a political movement to gain equality for all people under the law

Civil War Amendments – the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were passed between 1865 and 1870; they were designed to ensure equality for recently emancipated slaves

Clayton Antitrust – passed in 1914; was an attempt to strengthen the Sherman Anti-Trust Act

Clinton Parameters (2000) – President Clinton proposals that consisted of revamping territories and borders that have long been in dispute between Israel and Palestine

Cold War – a period of intense rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union from 1945-1991

Collective bargaining – when labor bargains for better wages and working conditions as a group (union)

Commander and Chief – power that grants the President control of the military

Committee system – method in which congress divides up proposed legislation according to topic

Committees of Correspondence – secret governments set up by revolutionary leaders to organize reactions to British Mercantile policies

Common Sense – pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that advocated declaring independence from Great Britain

Compromise of 1850 – California becomes a free state, The Fugitive Slave Act is enforced and popular sovereignty will determine the status of free or slave states entering the union

Compromise of 1877 – a compromise that settled the disputed election of 1876. Since the 1876 election ended in a tie, the Southern states agreed to elect the Northern candidate in return for the removal of all troops from the Southern states

Compromise – an agreement in which both sides sacrifice something for a common goal

Concurrent powers – powers that are shared by the federal and state governments (example – taxation)

Confederation – a system of government in which of the bulk of political power is given to state governments rather than a central government

Congressional committees – sub-organization of Congress that provides input on specialized matters

Consent of the governed – democratic belief that the government is given the power to govern by the people

Conservationist – someone who supports environmental preservation

Constitutional Convention (1987) – convention held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in which 55 delegates from the several states met to frame a new Constitution

Containment – cold war policy to stop the spread of communism

Corruption – a dishonest use of political power for personal gain

Cotton Gin (1793) – Eli Whitney’s invention that separated cotton fibers from their seeds

Court Packing – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s plan to increase the number of justices on the Supreme court to favor his New Deal policies

Creationism – biblical theory on how man was created

Credit Mobilier Controversy – Congressman in President Grant’s administration were accused of taking bribes in exchange for inflated construction contracts to build the Transcontinental Railroad

Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) – President Kennedy set up a naval blockade to prevent Soviet influence in Cuba (military bases)

Cultural pluralism – exists when a smaller population lives within a larger population but still is able to hold on to it’s unique cultural identities ex. Little Italy, Chinatown



D-Day (June 6, 1944) – allied forces invaded France during World War II initiating the Western Allied effort to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation

Dawes Act (1887) – granted parcels of land to Native Americans if they agreed to become U.S. Citizens

Dawes Act– designed to encourage the breakup of the tribes and promote the assimilation of Native American Indians into American Society

Declaration of Independence (1776) – document that declares the United States is no longer part of the British Empire

Declaration of Sentiments (1848) – document that was signed at the Seneca Falls Convention to attain civil, social, political and religious rights for women

Deflation – a general lowering of prices usually caused by overproduction or decreased demand

Delegated powers. – powers that are expressly given to the Federal Government in Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution

Democracy – a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected representatives

Democrat – political party that supports liberal values and supports demand side economics

Department of Homeland Security – U.S. cabinet department with the primary responsibilities of protecting the United States from terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters

Destroyers for Bases Deal – a deal the United States made with Britain before they entered World War II which gave the British 50 old destroyer ships for U.S. right to build military bases in British ports in the Caribbean

Détente – President Nixon’s policy of warm relations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War

Diplomat – a person who represents their country in relations with other countries

Dollar Diplomacy – William Howard Taft’s policy towards Latin America; involved investing in foreign nations to stabilize them

Domino theory– Cold War belief that if one nation became communist others would follow

Dred Scott decision (1857) – landmark Supreme Court decision that protects the institution of slavery

Due process – legal term that describes the rights of the accused

Duke Ellington – famous musician from the Harlem Renaissance

Dust Bowl (1930’s) – period of severe dust storms that blew on the southern plains causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands



Economic growth – the increase in the amount of the goods and services produced by an economy over time

Eisenhower Doctrine (1957) – applied containment (preventing the spread of communism) to the Middle East

Elastic clause – allows the government to expand their powers beyond those expressed in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution

Election of 1876 – Presidential election in which no candidate received the electoral vote. The Compromise of 1877 elected Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes and ended Reconstruction

Election of 2000 – Presidential election between Republican George Bush Jr. and Democrat Al Gore in which Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election

Electoral college – method in which the President is elected in the United States; a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a
particular office

Electoral vote – an indirect election in which state appointed electors vote for a U.S. presidential candidate

Embargo – foreign policy of not selling goods to a particular nation until demands are met

Engel v. Vitale (1962) – the Supreme Court ruled that prayer in school violated the first amendment of the United States Constitution

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) – provided equality of rights under the law for women and men The Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified

Erie Canal – waterway that connects the Hudson River to the Great lakes Made transportation of goods from the west to the east easier
Establishment clause – part of the first amendment that separates church and state

Evolution – scientific theory that the change in the inherited characteristics of populations over successive generations is the result of natural selection

Excise tax – taxes paid on certain goods produced or sold within a country

Export – shipping goods or services out of the country



Fair Deal – President Truman’s domestic policy that was committed to carrying on New Deal reforms

Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) – the unification of Germany through the destruction of the Berlin wall; symbolizes the end of the Cold War

Fascism – a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator

Federal budget – forecasts the amount of money that the government will spend on a variety of expenses in the upcoming year
– A federal budget deficit is characterized by an excess of spending over income
– A federal budget surplus is characterized by an excess of income over spending

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – created by the United States government to insure the nation’s banking system

Federal government – the central government located in Washington D.C.

Federalist Papers (1787-1788) – 85 essays were published to convince New York voters of the benefits of the new government (Constitution)

Federal Reserve System – the central banking system of the United States; regulates the nations money supply

Federalism – a system of government that divides the powers between central (federal) and local (state) governments

Federalist – one of Americas first political parties led by Alexander Hamilton believing in a stronger central government and loose interpretation of the United States Constitution

Fidel Castro – communist dictator of Cuba (1959-2008)

“Fifty four forty or fight” – popular slogan in 1846 during a dispute between the United States and Great Britain over the Oregon country; those who wanted the U.S. to expand West, insisted that U.S. rights to the Oregon country extended north to latitude 54 degrees 40 minutes

First amendment – protects U.S. citizens rights to freedom of religion, speech, assembly or petition

Food stamps – a social welfare program that assists impoverished families by providing food

Force Bill (1833) – enacted in response to South Carolinas refusal to collect tariffs. It gave the government authority to use whatever force necessary to enforce federal tariffs

Foreign policy – policy on how a country interacts with other nations to achieve its own interests

Fourteen Points (1918) – the Fourteen Points set goals to achieve peace after WWI; a statement by United States President Woodrow Wilson that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe

Fourth amendment – amendment to the constitution that protects against unreasonable search and seizure

Frank Norris – author of “The “Octopus”; exposed the corruption in the railroad industry

Franklin Delano Roosevelt – served as president from 1933-1945 during both the Great Depression and World War II and the creator of the New Deal

Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) – abolitionist Leader

Freedom of the seas – the principle that outside its territorial waters, a nation may not claim sovereignty over the seas

Frontier – unexplored territory in the western United States that served as an opportunity for settlement

Fugitive slave law – declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters



Genocide – the destruction of a racial, political or cultural group

GI Bill– law aimed at helping returning soldiers from World War II gain educational opportunities and homes through low cost loans and financial aid

Gibbons v. Ogden – Supreme Court decision which expanded the term interstate commerce to include nonmaterial services such as transportation. This decision increased the power of the Federal Government

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963 ) – landmark Supreme Court case that upholds a right to counsel in all criminal cases

Gilded Age (1873) – term from a Mark Twain novel illustrating greed and political corruption in post-Civil War America

Global warming – an increase in the earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures. Scientists believe that global warming is caused by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels

Gold Rush – a period of mass westward migration from 1848-1849 after the discovery of gold in California

Gold standard – a monetary standard under which the basic unit of currency is equal in value to and exchangeable for a specified amount of gold

Good Neighbor Policy – the main principle was non-intervention by the U.S. in Latin American Affairs. U.S. would be a good neighbor

Grandfather clause – after the Civil War, there were many laws to prevent African American former slaves from voting. To protect white people who were affected by these laws, they allowed people to vote (without restrictions) if their grandfather voted

Granger movement – groups of farmers that that fought monopolistic grain transport practices following the Civil War; would later become the populist party
Grapes of Wrath (1939) – a novel depicting the life and struggles of farmers during the Great Depression

Great Compromise – established a bicameral (two house) legislature; the Senate is based on equal representation, and the House of Representatives is based on population

Great Depression – an economic down turn beginning with the stock market crash in 1929. During the depression, wide scale unemployment and intense poverty were common

Great Migration – during World War I many African Americans moved to northern cities for better job opportunities

Great Plains – the area of land that lies west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains. Vast grassland used for cattle and wheat ranching
Great Society (1960’s) – Lyndon Johnson’s domestic program; the main goals of these social reforms were to eliminate poverty and racial injustice through spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation

Greensboro sit-ins (1960) – nonviolent protests which led to the Woolworth’s department store chain reversing its policy of racial segregation in the Southern United States



Habeas Corpus – a prisoner can be detained only once the court determines if the person is being lawfully held

Harlem Renaissance – African American cultural movement in the 1920’s that spawned great works of art, literature and movement

Harriet Beecher Stowe – author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; book that inspired the abolitionist movement

Holocaust (1941 – 1945) – genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II by the Nazi party in Germany

Homestead Act (1862) – granted land to individuals who agreed to settle in the West

Homestead steel strike (1892) – a bitterly fought labor dispute in which iron and steel workers struck the Carnegie Steel Company at Homestead, Pa. to protest a proposed wage cut

Hoovervilles – makeshift shanty towns (slums) that were named after President Hoover during the Great Depression; this connected President Hoover as a cause of the Great Depression

House of Un-American Activities Committee – U.S. House of Representatives committee that investigated alleged communist activity in the U.S. during the early years of the Cold War

Hungarian uprising of 1956 – a revolt against communist forces in Hungary



Ida Tarbell – author of “History of the Standard Oil Trust”; exposed corruption in the Standard Oil Trust

Immigration laws of 1921 – laws that restricted the number of immigrants admitted to the U.S. annually. These laws were designed to reduce the amount of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe

Immigration – the movement of people from one specific region into a country or region to which they are not native in order to settle there

Impeachment – a power of the Legislature to bring formal charges against an elected official for crimes they committed while in office

Imperialism – a policy of extending rule or authority of a nation over other foreign nations

Import quota – a physical limit on the quantity of a good that can be imported into a country

Import – bringing goods or services into a country

Income tax – a tax levied on the income of an individual or business

Indian Removal Act – plan that forced Native Americans to move on to reservations west of the Mississippi River

Industrial Revolution – 19th century switch from handmade to factory made goods

Industrialization – the transition from handmade to factory made goods

Initiative, referendum and recall – progressive legislation that targeted political corruption

Internal improvements – canals, roads and railroads that help create an infrastructure for trade and defense.

Internment camps – prison camps set up on the west coast during World War II for Americans of Japanese decent

Interstate Commerce Act (1887)– federal legislation aimed at regulating the railroads

Interstate Highway Act (1956) – legislation that provided money to build interstate highways to link the United States’ major cities

Interventionism – foreign policy that encourages involvement in world affairs

Iraq war (2003) – military conflict in Iraq; attack by a coalition of forces led by the United States that resulted in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime

Isolation – foreign policy in which a nation has little or no contact with other nations

Isolationism – foreign policy that avoids making alliances with other nations



Jacob Riis – author of “How The Other Half Lives”; exposed the unsanitary conditions in urban slums

Jane Addams (1860 – 1935) – progressive reformer who focused on settlement houses to assist the urban poor

Jefferson’s Embargo Act (1807) – all U.S. ports were closed to export shipping in either U.S. or foreign vessels, and restrictions were placed on imports from Great Britain

Jesse Jackson (1941) – an African Amercian civil rights leader

Jim Crow laws – laws that enforced racial segregation in the South between the end of Reconstruction (1877) and the beginning of the civil rights movement (1950s)

Jim Crow laws – laws that promoted segregation in the south following the Civil War

John Brown’s Raid – a raid led by a white absolutist, John Brown, on Harpers Ferry. The goal was to start a slave revolt

John D Rockefeller – American industrialist; founder of the Standard Oil Company which was the of the first business trusts in the U.S.

John Locke – enlightenment philosopher, credited with the Natural Rights theory

John Muir – influential conservationist who helped established national parks

Judicial review – the power of the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional



Kansas Nebraska Act (1854) – allows settlers in the Kansas- Nebraska territory to use popular sovereignty (majority rule) to determine the status of slavery when becoming a state

Kent State (1970) – students protested the invasion of Cambodia. The Ohio National Guard killed 4 unarmed protesters

Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (1798) – Argued that “states” have the right to declare federal laws unconstitutional that were not covered under the Constitution

Korean War – in June of 1950, communist North Korea invaded South Korea. The United States sent troops to help fight the invasion

Korematsu v. the United States (1943) – landmark Supreme Court Case that upheld the governments right to place Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II



Laissez-faire – policy of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society

Langston Hughes – famous poet of the Harlem Renaissance

League of Nations – an ineffective world peace keeping organization proposed by Wilson after World War I and included in the Treaty of Versailles

League of Nations – an international organization consisting of individual nations with the goal to maintain world peace

Lend Lease Act (1941) – legislation that allowed the United States to provide military aid to the allies without actually entering World War II

Literacy tests – government practice of testing the literacy (ability to read and write) of potential citizens and potential voters

Lobbyists – people or groups that attempt to influence legislation. This is common amongst corporations and special interest groups

Loose interpretation – belief that the Constitution should not be interpreted word for word

Louisiana Purchase (1803) – Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from France. This purchase gave the United States complete control of the Mississippi river and the port of New Orleans

Lusitania – on May 1, 1915 a German torpedo sunk a ship that left New York bound for Great Britain

Lyndon B. Johnson – 36th President of the United States; created the Great Society program and escalated U.S. troop involvement in Vietnam



Magna Carta (1215) – English charter that listed the political and civil liberties granted by King John to the people

Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) – civil rights leader, who supported the idea of Black Nationalism

Manhattan Project (1942 – 1945) – top secret experiments that led to the creation of the worlds first atomic bomb

Manifest Destiny – the belief that the U.S. was destined to expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (sea to shining sea)

Mapp v. Ohio (1961) – evidence gathered through illegal searches may not be used

Marbury v. Madison (1803) – landmark Supreme Court decision that establishes the precedent of judicial review

March on Washington (1963) – an estimated 250,000 people for a peaceful demonstration to promote Civil Rights and economic equality for African Americans

Margin – borrowed money that is used to purchase securities

Marshall Plan (1951) – post World War II foreign policy that provided military and financial aid to European nations in danger of becoming communist

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968) – civil rights leader who advocated non-violence and civil disobedience

Mayflower Compact – first governing document of the Plymouth colony and considered a foundation to American democracy

McCarthyism -1950’s practice of accusing people of being communist with little or no evidence. McCarthyism is often compared to the Salem Witch trials

Meat Inspection Act – as a result of Upton Sinclair’s book “”The Jungle””, Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act of 1905 which required all meat to be inspected before it was shipped to market

Mechanization of agriculture – the use of machines in farming

Medicare – guaranteed national health insurance for Americans ages 65 and older

Melting pot – a place where a variety of races, cultures, or individuals assimilate into a cohesive whole

Mercantilism – the belief that colonies existed to benefit the mother country

Mexican Cession (1848) – the U.S. gained the states of California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and most of Arizona as a part of the treaty to end the Mexican- American war

Mexican War (1848) – war between the United States and Mexico that helped fulfill Manifest Destiny

Miranda Rights – in the United States, a suspected criminal must be informed of their rights when they are taken into policy custody or before they are interrogated

Miranda v. Arizona (1966) – landmark Supreme Court decision that establishes the precedent of the accused being informed of their rights before questioning.

Missouri Compromise (1820 ) – allowed Missouri to enter as a slave started and Maine to enter as a free state. The plan also forbade slavery north of 36 degrees 30 in the Louisiana Territory

Monetary policy – the use of interest rates by the Federal Reserve to regulate the nations money supply

Monopolies, pools & trusts – business practice in which one company controls an entire industry or product in order to eliminate competition

Monopoly – exists when one business gains exclusive control of a particular market

Monroe Doctrine (1923) – isolationist doctrine that warns Europe against any further colonization of the Western Hemispheres

Monroe Doctrine – doctrine warning European nations not to colonize or interfere in North or South American affairs

Montgomery bus boycott (1955) – protest of the city’s segregation policy on its public transit system (Rosa Parks)

Muckraker – a journalist who exposed the evils of society through newspaper articles, books and photos during the Progressive Era



National nominating convention – held every four years by major political parties; nominates a presidential candidate

Nativism – the belief that ones culture is the best

Natural rights theory – people are born with the right to life, liberty and property. Government is supposed to protect these rights

Navigation acts – laws that enforced British mercantile policy. For example: forbidding colonists from manufacturing finished goods
Neutrality Acts – a series of acts created by the United States Congress that were geared toward keeping the United States out of another war

Neutrality – foreign policy in which a given nation does not take sides in conflicts between other nations

New Deal – created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression, the New Deal increased the role of the Federal Government in the economy. The “3 Rs”” – Relief , Recovery, Reform

New England town meetings – gatherings in which citizens voted on colonial legislation

New Jersey plan – plan proposed at the Constitutional Convention based on equal representation in Congress

New Jersey v. TLO (1985) – the Supreme Court upheld the schools right to search students based on reasonable suspicion

New York Times Co v. The United States (1971) – landmark Supreme Court decision that upholds freedom of the press

Nonimportation agreements (1765–75) – organized boycotts of British products

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – agreement between United States, Canada and Mexico; created a free trade area; removed trade barriers

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – an alliance of non communist nations to prevent the spread of communism

Northwest Ordinance (1787) – law that provided for admission of new states into the union; primary effect of the ordinance was the creation of the Northwest Territory, the first organized territory of the United States

Nuremberg trials (1945-1946) – international trial that held many Nazis accountable for crimes against humanity



OPEC (Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries) – an organization formed in 1961 to administer a common policy for the sale of petroleum

Open Door policy – policy that stated all countries would have equal access to trade with the Chinese Empire

Open Door policy – policy that stated all countries would have equal access to trade with the Chinese Empire. Designed to promote United States economic interests in China

Operation Desert Shield (2006) – the Iraqi takeover of Kuwait posed an immediate threat to neighboring Saudi Arabia, another major exporter of oil. The U.S. and NATO sent troops to the region to prevent Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia

Ordinance of Nullification (1832) – the state of South Carolina asserted that they would not follow a federal tariff law passed by Congress within their state because it favored the North and hurt the South: President Jackson threatened use of military force to enforce tariffs

Over speculation – gambling on the stock market with borrowed money

Overproduction – when factories or farms produce more goods than they can sell



Pacific Railroad Act – promoted the construction of the transcontinental railroad in the United States by issuing land to the railroad companies

Palmer Raids (1919-1920) – the United States government attempted to arrest and deport suspected communists living in the United States

Panama Canal – a 48 mile ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean

Pardon – forgiveness of a crime and cancellation of a penalty associated with the crime

Passive resistance – the act of protesting a government by use of nonviolent methods

Patriot Act (2001) – an act designed at helping law enforcement combat terrorism by reducing restrictions; passed by George Bush

Peace corps – a federal government organization, set up in 1961, that trains and sends American volunteers abroad to work with people of developing countries on projects for technological, agricultural, and educational improvement

Persian Gulf War (1991) – an armed conflict in which the United States liberated Kuwait from Iraqi aggression

Philanthropy – belief of millionaires at the turn of the century that they were responsible for enhancing humanity by building museums and schools

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, et al, Casey – upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion

Plantation – a large farm or estate on which cotton, tobacco, coffee, sugar cane, or the like is grown

Plessy v. Ferguson – landmark Supreme Court decision that upholds segregation and establishes the separate but equal doctrine

Political action committee – organization that uses a variety of methods to influence elections and legislation

Political parties – group of people with similar ideas, motives and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office

Poll taxes – form of taxation used to deter African Americans from voting in the south after reconstruction

Popular sovereignty – allowed settlers of a given territory to vote on whether or not to allow slavery when applying for statehood

Popular vote – a vote for a U.S. presidential candidate made directly by registered voters

Populism – political ideology during the late 19th century geared toward Midwestern farmers that favored the coinage of silver and regulation of the railroads

Populist Party -political party based in the mid-west that sought to help improve conditions for farmers and factory workers. The farmers would benefit if the railroads were owned and operated by the government
Preamble – the introductary statement to the Constitution which states the fundamental purposes of the Constitution, as well as discusses the general principles which guide the constitution

Primary source – a document which was written or created during the time under study; written by a person at the time of the event

Proclamation of 1763 – prohibited colonial settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains

Progressive Era – between 1900 and 1914 The Progressives were a political party whose chief objective was to reform society

Progressive movement (1900 -1920) – an effort to “fix” government and “cure” American society by eliminating corruption

Progressivism – political ideology that sought to correct the abuses of industrialization

Prohibition – the 18th amendment banned the sale and production of alcohol in the United States. In 1931 it was repealed by the 21st Amendment

Pullman railcar act (1894) – massive railroad strike in the U.S. after the Pullman Palace Car Co. cut wages

Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) – act that required that companies list the ingredients on food



Quota laws – restictions on the number of immigrants allowed into the country



Rachel Carson – author of Silent Spring; book that brought attention to environmental concerns such as the use of DDT (pesticide)

Rationing – limiting the amount of resources such as food or gas that consumers could purchase during times of war

Realistic accommodation – belief that former slaves should prove themselves at lower paying occupations rather than demanding full equality

Recession – a general slowdown in economic activity; rising unemployment, household income and business profits are lower

Reconstruction (1865-77) – the period after the Civil War when the South was reorganized and reintegrated into the Union
Red Scare – an intense prejudice towards European immigrants during the 1920’s thought to be communist

Republican – political party that supports conservative values and supply side economics

Reserved powers – the tenth amendment to the United States Constitution reserves certain powers to state governments (example: marriage laws)

Right to petition – the right of citizens to address their concerns about the government to their government without punishment

Riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention – occurred during a year of violence including civil unrest, assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy

Robber Barons – ruthless businessmen who formed monopolies, pools and trusts in the late 1800’s

Roe v. Wade (1973) – landmark Supreme Court decision that establishes abortion as a right to privacy

Roosevelt Corollary – corollary to the Monroe Doctrine: states that the United States will intervene in conflicts between European nations and Latin American countries in order to keep the European countries out

Rosa Parks – an African-American civil rights activist; refused to obey bus drivers order to give up her seat to a white passenger, after the white section was filled

Rosenberg trial (1953) – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were placed on trial by the United States for selling secrets to the Soviet Union with little evidence

Rural – agricultural society



Sacco and Vanzetti trial – Massachusetts criminal trial that illustrates nativism in the 1920’s

Salutary neglect – from 1607 to 1763, the unwritten British policy for governing the American colonies; this included not enforcing strict laws on the American colonies. This would allow the colonies to flourish

Samuel Gompers) – union leader who founded the AFL (American Federation of Labor

Schenck v. United States 1919 – landmark Supreme Court decision that established limits on free speech and upheld the idea that the government may limit civil rights during times of war

Scopes Trial (1925) – teacher John Scopes was fined for teaching the theory of evolution in Tennessee

Search warrant – court order that allows authorities to search a person or a specific location for evidence connected to a crime

Securities and Exchange Commission – government agency that regulates the securities markets (stocks or bonds)

Sedition Act (1918) – forbade disloyal or abusive language toward the government or the war effort

Segregation – racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life

Seneca Falls Convention (1848) – held in Seneca Falls, New York; American women debated for the right to vote

Separation of powers – the United States government is separated into three branches; legislative, executive and judicial. The idea is to prevent one branch from having all of the power

Service industries – occupations that provide services rather than produce goods

Settlement house– community centers built in urban areas to assist the urban poor through education and other programs

Sharecropper – former slave who remained on plantation as a tenant farmer

Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890) – act passed to prohibit unfair business practices (monopolies, pools and trusts)

Social Contract – the theory that there is an agreement between the government and the governed. There are rights, responsibilities and limitations that both the government and the governed must agree to

Social Darwinism – 19th century philosophy which said that wealth was distributed via survival of the fittest

Socialism – economic system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles

Social security – a program of old-age, unemployment, health, disability, and survivors insurance maintained by the U.S. federal government

Soil Conservation Act of 1935 – enacted in an attempt to address farm erosion problems by bringing within its policy and purposes, the improvements and preservation of national soil resources

Southern colonies – colonies south of Delaware such as Virginia the Carolinas and Georgia

Sovereign – independent self rule

Space Race – a competition during the Cold War between the United States and Russia for supremacy in space exploration

Spanish-American War (1898) – conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America

Speakeasy – secret bars that one needed a password to get into during prohibition

Spheres of Influence – an area of a given nation exclusively controlled by a foreign power. For example, by 1890 China had been carved into various spheres of influence controlled by foreign nations

Spoils system – a system that rewards political supporters with government jobs

Spoils system – system whereby politicians, after winning an election, reward their supporters with government jobs. President Jackson spoiled his supporters!

Sputnik (1957) – Russian satellite launched into outer space

Square Deal – President Theodore Roosevelt’s domestic program formed upon three basic ideas: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection, aimed at helping middle class citizens

Stock market crash (1929) – on Black Tuesday (October 29), the stock market saw dramatic losses in the price of stocks; this signaled the beginning of the Great Depression

Strike – work stoppage whereby workers refuse to work. Strikes can include picket lines

Submarine warfare – a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink merchant ships without warning

Suffrage – the right to vote

Supply-Side economics – economic theory that the economy will grow through policies designed to help businesses increase their production (supply) and profits

Supply side economic policies include:
– lowering income tax
– lowering capital gains tax rates
– reducing regulation (rules for businesses)

Survival of the fittest – a struggle for life in which only those organisms best adapted to existing conditions are able to survive



Taliban – political group that ruled parts of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001

Tariff – taxes on imported goods; passed in order to raise the prices of imports
– Higher prices on imports encourage consumers to purchase domestic goods
– Tariffs protect U.S. businesses from foreign competition by raising prices on imports

Tax cuts – a reduction in taxes paid by American citizens

Teapot Dome scandal – a bribery scandal involving oil companies and some key cabinet members during the 1920’s

Temperance movement – movement intending to stop the production, consumption and distribution of alcohol

Tenement – overcrowded apartments in cities during the industrial revolution; slums

Tennant Farmer – farmer who signed a contract agreeing to pay landlord through labor

Tennessee Valley Authority – a federally owned corporation created to improve economic development in the Tennessee Valley during the Great Depression

Terrorism – use of violence or force to intimidate or inflict damage for coercion purposes (usually for political purposes)

Tet Offensive (1968) – the Vietcong and North Vietnamese forces launched surprise attacks on cities and towns throughout South Vietnam

Theodore Roosevelt – 26th President of the United States, whose domestic policies included environmental conservation and progressivism

Thomas Jefferson – author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) – English writer who wrote “Common Sense”; contributed to the American Revolution; advocate of colonial independence

Three Fifths Compromise – as a result of the Great Compromise, there was a disagreement as to how slaves would be counted. The Southern States wanted slaves to be counted as part of the population thus increasing their membership in the House of Representatives. The Northern States wanted them to count as taxable property thus increasing the nations income. The Three Fifths Compromise stated that for every five slaves, three would count as both population and property

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) – landmark Supreme Court decision that upholds students rights to freedom of expression in schools

Title IX – an education amendment of 1972 requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding

Trade deficit – when a given nations spending exceeds its income

Trail of Tears – forced march of Cherokee’s from Georgia to reservations west of the Mississippi river. Approximately 4,000 Native Americans died during this march

Transcontinental Railroad – railroad built in the late 1800’s that connected the east and west coast of the United States

Treaty of Versailles (1919) – the peace settlement between Germany and the Allied Powers that officially ended World War I

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (1911) – industrial disaster that killed 146 people and drew national attention to worker safety

Triangular trade – a pattern of colonial trade in which slaves were purchased in Africa with New England rum and then sold in the West Indies for sugar and molasses which was brought back to New England to be manufactured into rum

Triangular trade – trading that is done among three ports

Truman Doctrine – post World War II foreign policy that provided financial and military aid to Greece and Turkey in order to contain the spread of communism



U2 incident (1960) – the Soviet Union shot down an American U2 spy plane over their air space during the Cold War

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) – an anti-slavery novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe that depicted the life of a slave

United Farm Workers – a trade union, that began articulating the grievances of western agricultural workers and Mexican Americans in the mid-1960s

United Nations – international organization that was created to promote world peace, economic development, social progress and human rights

United States Constitution (1787) – Supreme law of the United States of America

United States v. E.C Knight Co. – the American Sugar Refining company acquired several companies including E. C. Knight Company . This gave them a monopoly. The government sued under the Sherman Act. The Supreme Court declared that manufacturing (i.e., refining) was a local activity not subject to congressional regulation of interstate commerce. The decision put most monopolies beyond the reach of the Sherman Antitrust Act

Unrestricted submarine warfare – a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink merchant ships without warning

Unwritten constitution – customs and traditions used in government that do not appear in the written Constitution (example: the Presidents Cabinet)

Upton Sinclair – author of “The Jungle”; exposed unsanitary conditions in the meat packing plants

Urbanization – the development of cities; growth of urban areas



Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995) – the Supreme Court upheld random drug testing of students

Veto – the power of one branch of government to reject the legislation (bills) of another branch

Virginia House of Burgesses – colonial government of the Virginia colony and considered a foundation of American representative democracy

Virginia Plan – plan proposed at the Constitutional Convention that based legislative representation proportional to population



W.E.B. Dubois (1969 – 1963) – civil rights pioneer and founding member of the NAACP

Wabash, St Louis & Pacific R.R v Illinois – limited the rights of states to control interstate commerce. Federal Goverment assumed responsibility for economic affairs previously controlled by states

Wagner Act – protected workers rights to form unions and bargain collectively

War bonds – people lending money to the government to help fund the war effort

War Powers Act 1973 – limits powers on the Presidents ability to keep troops in hostile situations:
– Congress can cut off funding to troops
– Congress can demand troops be called back within 30 days”

War Powers Act 1973 – limits the presidents power as commander and chief

Washington’s Proclomation of Neutrality (1793) – the United States should remain neutral in European affairs

Washington’s Farewell Address (1796) – when leaving office President Washington warned the United States against entangling alliances with other nations. Involvement in European affairs could lead to war

Watergate (1973) – scandal allegedly involving President Nixon

Watkins v. the United States (1957) – landmark Supreme Court case that declared the power of Congress is limited in conducting investigations; it is unconstitutional to expose individuals’ private affairs

William Lloyd Garrison – famous abolitionist who published a newspaper called The Liberator; dedicated to ending slavery

Womens suffrage – the right for women to vote and run for office

Works Progess Administration (WPA) – New Deal program that employed people on public works projects



Yalta Conference (1945) – Roosevelt (U.S.), Stalin (Soviet Union), and Churchill (United Kingdom) met to plan Europes post war reorganization

Yellow journalism – exaggerated news reports designed to sway public opinion



Zimmerman note – note intercepted by Britain in which Germany urged Mexico to attack the U.S.