A-D
22.1 A-D
 
22.2 E-H
 
22.3 I-L
 
 
22.4 M-P
 
22.5 Q-T
 
22.6 U-Z
 
A-D
A
John Adams
America’s second president, Adams served from 1797 to 1801. A Federalist, he supported a powerful centralized government. His most notable actions in office were the undertaking of the Quasi-war with France and the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.
John Quincy Adams
Son of John Adams and president from 1825 to 1829. As James Monroe’s secretary of state, Adams worked to expand the nation’s borders and authored the Monroe Doctrine. His presidency was largely ineffective due to lack of popular support; Congress blocked many of his proposed programs.
Samuel Adams
A leader of the Sons of Liberty. Adams suggested the formation of the Committees of Correspondence and fought for colonial rights throughout New England. He is credited with provoking the Boston Tea Party.
Jane Addams
A reformer and pacifist best known for founding Hull House in 1889. Hull House provided educational services to poor immigrants.
The Age of Reason
Written by Thomas Paine. The Age of Reason was published in three parts between 1794 and 1807. A critique of organized religion, the book was criticized as a defense of Atheism. Paine’s argument is a prime example of the rationalist approach to religion inspired by Enlightenment ideals.
Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
Created in 1933 as part of FDR’s New Deal. The AAA controlled the production and prices of crops by offering subsidies to farmers who stayed under set quotas. The Supreme Court declared the AAA unconstitutional in 1936.
Albany Plan
Submitted by Benjamin Franklin to the 1754 gathering of colonial delgates in Albany, New York. The plan called for the colonies to unify in the face of French and Native American threats. Although the delegates in Albany approved the plan, the colonies rejected it for fear of losing their independent authority. The Crown rejected the Albany Plan as well, wary of cooperation between the colonies.
Horatio Alger
Author of popular young adult novels, such as Ragged Dick, during the Industrial Revolution. Alger’s “rags to riches” tales emphasised that anyone could become wealthy and successful through hard work and exceptional luck.
Alien and Sedition Acts
Passed by Federalists in 1798 in response to the XYZ Affair and growing Republican support. On the grounds of “national security,” the Alien and Sedition Acts increased the number of years required to gain citizenship, allowed for the imprisonment and deporation of aliens, and virtually suspended freedom of speech. Popular dissatisfaction with the acts secured Republican Thomas Jefferson’s bid for presidency in 1800, and were the undoing of the Federalist Party.
Allies
The partership of Great Britain, France, and Italy during World War I. The Allies were pitted against the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. In 1917, the U.S. joined the war on the Allies’ side. During World War II, the Allies included Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the U.S., and France.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Founded in 1920. The ACLU seeks to protect the civil liberties of individuals, often by bringing “test cases” to court in order to challenge questionable laws. In 1925, the ACLU challenged a Christian fundamentalist law in the Scopes Monkey Trial.
American Federation of Labor (AFL)
Founded in 1886. The AFL sought to organize craft unions into a federation. The loose structure of the organization differed from its rival, the Knights of Labor, in that the AFL allowed individual unions to remain autonomous. Eventually the AFL joined with the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the AFL-CIO.
American System
Crafted by Henry Clay and backed by the National Republican Party. The American System proposed a series of tariffs and federally funded transportation improvements, geared toward achieving national economic self-sufficiency.
Annapolis Convention
Delegates from five states met in Annapolis in September 1786 to discuss interstate commerce. However, discussions of weaknesses in the government led them to suggest to Congress a new convention to amend the Articles of Confederation.
Susan B. Anthony
A leading member of the women’s suffrage movement. She served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 until 1900.
Anti-federalists
During ratification, anti-federalists opposed the Constitution on the grounds that it gave the federal government too much political, economic, and military control. They instead advocated a decentralized governmental structure that granted the most power to the states.
Anti-Imperialist League
Argued against American imperialism in the late 1890s. Its members included such luminaries as William James, Andrew Carnegie, and Mark Twain.
Anti-Saloon League
Founded in 1895, the league spearheaded the prohibition movement during the Progressive Era.
Articles of Confederation
Adopted in 1777 during the Revolutionary War. The Articles established the first limited central government of the United States, reserving most powers for the individual states. The Articles didn’t grant enough federal power to manage the country’s budget or maintain internal stability, and were replaced by the Constitution in 1789.
Assembly line
Industrialist Henry Ford installed the first assembly line while developing his Model T car in 1908, and perfected its use in the 1920s. Assembly line manufacturing allowed workers to remain in one place and master one repetitive action, maximizing output. It became the production method of choice by the 1930s.
Atlantic Charter
Issued on August 14, 1941 during a meeting between President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The charter outlined the ideal postwar world, condemned military aggression, asserted the right to national self-determination, and advocated disarmament.
Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
After World War II, the AEC worked on developing more effective ways of using nuclear material, such as uranium, in order to mass-produce nuclear weapons.
The Awakening
Written by Kate Chopin in 1899. The Awakening portrays a married woman who defies social convention first by falling in love with another man, and then by committing suicide when she finds that his views on women are as oppressive as her husband’s. The novel reflects the changing role of women during the early 1900s.
Axis powers
During World War II, the Axis powers included Germany, Italy, and Japan. The three powers signed the Tripartite Pact in September 1940.
B
Baby boom
Nickname for the 1950s, when economic prosperity caused U.S. population to swell from 150 million to 180 million.
Bacon’s Rebellion
In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon, a Virginia planter, accused the royal governor of failing to provide poorer farmers protection from raiding tribes. In response, Bacon led 300 settlers in a war against local Native Americans, and then burned and looted Jamestown. The rebellion highlighted the increasing rift between rich and poor in the Chesapeake region.
Bank of the United States
Chartered in 1791, the bank was a controversial part of Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist economic program.
Bank veto
Andrew Jackson’s 1832 veto of the proposed charter renewal for the Second Bank of the United States. The veto marked the beginning of Jackson’s five-year battle against the national bank.
Battle of Antietam
Fought in Maryland on September 17, 1863. Considered the single bloodiest day of the Civil War, casualties totalled more than 8,000 dead and 18,000 wounded. Although Union forces failed to defeat Lee and the Confederates, they did halt the Confederate advance through Northern soil.
Battle of Britain
Conducted during the summer and fall of 1940. In preparation for an amphibious assault, Germans lauched airstrikes on London. Hitler hoped the continuous bombing would destroy British industry and sap morale, but the British successfully avoided a German invasion.
Battle of the Bulge
The final German offensive in Western Europe, lasting from December 16, 1944, to January 16, 1945. Hitler amassed his last reserves against Allied troops in France. Germany made a substantial dent in the Allied front line, but the Allies recovered and repelled the Germans, clearing the way for a march toward Berlin.
Battle of Gettysburg
The largest battle of the Civil War. Widely considered to be the war’s turning point, the battle marked the Union’s first major victory in the East. The three-day campaign, from July 1 to 4, 1863, resulted in an unprecedented 51,000 total casualties.
Battle of Tippecanoe
Led by future president William Henry Harrison, U.S. forces defeated Shawnee forces in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The U.S. victory lessened the Native American threat in Ohio and Indiana.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
A failed attempt by U.S.-backed Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist government in April 1961.
The Beats
Nonconformist writers such as Allan Ginsberg, the author of Howl (1956), and Jack Kerouac, who penned On the Road (1957). The Beats rejected uniform middle-class culture and sought to overturn the sexual and social conservatism of the period.
Berlin Blockade
In June 1948, the Soviets attempted to cut off Western access to Berlin by blockading all road and rail routes to the city. In response, the U.S. airlifted supplies to the city, a campaign known as “Operation Vittles.” The blockade lasted until May 1949.
Berlin Wall
Constructed by the USSR and completed in August 1961 to prevent East Berliners from fleeing to West Berlin. The wall cemented the political split of Berlin between the communist and authoritian East and the capitalist and democratic West. The Berlin wall was torn down on November 9, 1989, setting the stage for the reunification of Germany and signifying the end of the Cold War.
Big stick diplomacy
Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy summed up his aggressive stance toward international affairs with the phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Under this doctrine, the U.S. declared its domination over Latin America and built the Panama Canal.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the Constitution, which guarantee the civil rights of American citizens. The Bill of Rights was drafted by anti-federalists, including James Madison, to protect individuals from the tyranny they felt the Constitution might permit.
Black codes
Granted freedmen a few basic rights but also enforced heavy civil restrictions based on race. The codes were enacted in Southern states under Andrew Johnson’s Reconstruction plan.
Black Panthers
Organized in 1966 in Oakland, California by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The Black Panthers stressed a black pride, economic self-sufficiency, and armed resistance to white oppression.
Black Power
Coined by Stokely Carmichael, and adopted by Malcom X, the Black Panthers, and other civil rights groups. The term embodied the fight against oppression and the value of ethnic heritage.
Black Thursday
The stock market crash of October 24, 1929. After a decade of great prosperity, on “Black Thursday” the market dropped in value by an astounding 9 percent, kicking off the Great Depression.
Bleeding Kansas
The popular name for the Kansas Territory in 1856 after abolitionist John Brown led a massacre at a pro-slavery camp, setting off waves of violence. Brown’s massacre was in protest to the recent establishment of Kansas as a slave state. Pro-slavery sympathizers had crossed into Kansas in order to vote illegally in the elections set up by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, resulting in the ousting of antislavery legislators.
Bootleggers
Smugglers of alcohol into the United States during the Prohibition Era (1920–1933), often from Canada or the West Indies.
Boston Massacre
In March 1770, a crowd of colonists protested against Boston customs agents and the Townsend Duties. Violence flared and five colonists were killed.
Boston Tea Party
A protest against the 1773 Tea Act, which allowed Britain to use the profits from selling tea to pay the salaries of royal governors. In December 1773, Samuel Adams gathered Boston residents and warned them of the consequences of the Tea Act. Following the meeting, approximately fifty young men dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded the ships and dumped the cargo into the harbor.
Boxer Rebellion
A group of zealous Chinese nationalists terrorized foreigners and Chinese Christians, capturing Beijing (Peking) in June 1900 and threatening European and American interests in Chinese markets. The United States committed 2,500 men to an international force that crushed the rebellion in August 1900.
John Brown
A religious zealot and an extreme abolitionist who believed God had ordained him to end slavery. In 1856, he led an attack against pro-slavery government officials in Kansas, killing five and sparking months of violence that earned the territory the name “Bleeding Kansas.” In 1859, he led twenty-one men in seizing a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in a failed attempt to incite a slave rebellion. He was caught and hanged.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
A 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision that reversed the “separate but equal” segregationist doctrine established by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision. The Court ruled that separate facilities were inherently unequal and ordered public schools to desegregate nationwide. This decision was characteristic of the Supreme Court rulings under liberal Chief Justice Earl Warren.
William Jennings Bryan
Democratic candidate for president in 1896. His goal of “free silver” (unlimited coinage of silver) won him the support of the Populist Party. Though a gifted orator, Bryan lost the election to Republican William McKinley. He ran again for president and lost in 1900. In the 1920s, Bryan made his mark as a leader of the fundamentalist cause and the key witness in the Scopes Monkey Trial.
James Buchanan
A moderate Democrat with support from both the North and South who served as president of the United States from 1857 to 1861. Buchanan could not stem the tide of sectional conflict that eventually erupted into Civil War.
Bull Moose Party
The nickname of the Progressive Republican Party, led by Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. The Bull Moose Party had the best showing of any third party in the history of the United States. Its emergence dramatically weakened the Republican Party and allowed Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson to win the election with only 42 percent of the popular vote.
George Bush
Republican, vice president to Ronald Reagan and president of the United States from 1989 to 1993. His presidency was marked by economic recession and U.S. involvement in the Gulf War.
C
John Cabot
Explored the northeast coast of North America in 1497 and 1498, claiming Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the Grand Banks for England.
John C. Calhoun
Political figure throughout the Era of Good Feelings and the Age of Jackson. Calhoun served as James Monroe’s secretary of war, as John Quincy Adams’s vice president, and then as Andrew Jackson’s vice president for one term. A firm believer in states’ rights, Calhoun clashed with Jackson over many issues, most notably nullification.
Camp David Accords
Negotiaged by President Carter, the Camp David Accords were signed by Israel’s leader, Menachem Begin, and Egypt’s leader, Anwar el-Sadat, on March 26, 1979. The treaty, however, fell apart when Sadat was assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists in 1981.
Camp meetings
Religious revivals on the frontier during the Second Great Awakening. Hundreds or even thousands of people—members of various denominations—met to hear speeches on repentance and sing hymns.
Stokely Carmichael
Once a prominent member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Carmichael abandoned his nonviolent leanings and became a leader of the Black Nationalist movement in 1966. He coined the phrase “Black Power.”
Andrew Carnegie
A Scottish immigrant who in 1901 founded Carnegie Steel, then the world’s largest corporation. In addition to being an entrepreneur and industrialist, Carnegie was a philanthropist who donated more than $300 million to charity during his lifetime.
Carpetbaggers
Nickname given to northerners who moved South during Reconstruction in search of political and economic opportunity. The term was coined by Southern Democrats, who said that these northern opportunists had left home so quickly that they were able to carry all their belongings in rough suitcases made from carpeting materials.
Jimmy Carter
Democratic president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. Carter is best known for his commitment to human rights. During his term in office, he faced an oil crisis, a weak economy, and severe tension in the Middle East.
Jacques Cartier
A French sailor who explored the St. Lawrence River region between 1534 and 1542. Cartier searched for a Northwest Passage, a waterway through which ships could cross the Americas and access Asia. He found no such passage but opened the region up to future exploration and colonization by the French.
Cash-and-carry
In September 1939, FDR persuaded Congress to pass a new, amended Neutrality Act, which allowed warring nations to purchase arms from the U.S. as long as they paid in cash and carried the arms away on their own ships. This cash-and-carry program allowed the U.S. to aid the Allies but stay officially out of the war.
Fidel Castro
A communist revolutionary. Castro ousted an authoritarian regime in Cuba in 1959 and established the communist regime that remains in power to this day.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Primarily concerned with international espionage and information gathering. In the 1950s, the CIA became heavily involved in many civil struggles in the Third World, supporting groups likely to cooperate with the U.S. rather than the USSR.
Central Powers
Germany and Austria-Hungary during World War I. The Central powers fought against the Allies (Great Britain, France, and Italy). In 1917, the U.S. joined the war effort against the Central Powers.
A Century of Dishonor
Written by Helen Hunt Jackson and published in 1881, A Century of Dishonor attempted to raise public awareness of the harsh and dishonorable treatment of Native Americans at the hands of the United States.
Samuel de Champlain
A Frenchman who explored the Great Lakes and established the first French colony in North America at Quebec in 1608.
Checks and balances
The principles established by the Constitution to prevent any one branch of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) from gaining too much power. Checks and balances represent the solution to the problem of how to empower the central government while also protecting against corruption and despotism.
Chesapeake-Leopard affair
In June 1807, the British naval frigate HMS Leopard opened fire on the American naval frigate USS Chesapeake, killing three men and wounding twenty. British naval officers then boarded the American ship, seized four men who had deserted the Royal Navy, hanged them from a yardarm, and sailed away. Outraged, Thomas Jefferson responded with the Embargo Act in an attempt to force Britain to respect American neutrality rights.
Chinese Exclusion Act
Passed by Congress in 1882 amid a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment among American workers. The act banned Chinese immigration for ten years.
Winston Churchill
Prime minister of England from 1940 to 1945. Churchill was known for his inspirational speeches and zealous pursuit of war victory. Together he, FDR, and Stalin mapped out the post-war world order as the “Big Three.” In 1946, Churchill coined the term “iron curtain” to describe the USSR’s division of eastern Europe from the West.
Civil Rights Act
Passed in 1964, the act outlawed discrimination in education, employment, and all public accommodations.
Civil Works Administration (CWA)
Created by FDR to cope with the added economic difficulties brought on by the cold winter months of 1933. The CWA spent approximately $1 billion on short-term projects for the unemployed but was abolished in the spring of that year.
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
Created in 1933 as part of FDR’s New Deal, the CCC pumped money into the economy by employing the destitute in conservation and other projects.
Henry Clay
An important political figure during the Era of Good Feelings and the Age of Jackson. Clay engineered and championed the American System, a program aimed at economic self-sufficiency for the nation. As speaker of the house during Monroe’s term in office, he was instrumental in crafting much of the legislation that passed through Congress. A gifted negotiator, Clay helped resolve the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and designed the Compromise of 1833 and Compromise of 1850. He led the Whig Party until his death in 1852.
Clayton Antitrust Act
Spearheaded by Woodrow Wilson in 1914. The act improved upon the vague Sherman Antitrust Act by enumerating a series of illegal business practices.
Bill Clinton
A Democrat, Clinton served as president from 1993 to 2001, during a period of intense partisanship in the U.S. government. Clinton’s few major domestic and international successes were overshadowed by the sex scandal that led to his impeachment and eventual acquittal.
Christopher Columbus
Sailed to the New World under the Spanish flag in 1492. Although not the first European to reach the Americas, he is credited with the journey across the Atlantic that opened the New World to exploration. In 1493, he established Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola as a base for further exploration.
Committee to Defend America First
Advocated isolationism and opposed FDR’s reelection in 1940. Committee members urged neutrality, claiming that the U.S. could stand alone regardless of Hitler’s advances on Europe.
Committees of Correspondence
Organized by New England patriot leader Samuel Adams. The Committees of Correspondence comprised a system of communication between patriot leaders in the towns of New England and provided the political organization necessary to unite the colonies in opposition to Parliament. These committees were responsible for sending delegates to the First Continental Congress.
Common Sense
Written by Thomas Paine in 1776. Paine argued that the colonists should free themselves from British rule and establish an independent government based on Enlightenment ideals. Common Sense became so popular and influential that many historians credit it with dissolving the final barriers to the fight for independence.
Compromise of 1833
In response to the escalating Nullification Crisis, Andrew Jackson signed two laws aimed at easing the crisis. Together, these laws were known as the Compromise of 1833. The first measure provided for a gradual lowering of import duties over the next decade, and the second measure, known as the Force Bill, authorized the president to use arms to collect customs duties in South Carolina.
Compromise of 1850
Designed by Henry Clay and pushed through Congress by Stephen A. Douglas. The Compromise of 1850 aimed to resolve sectional conflict over the distribution of slave-holding versus free states. It stipulated the admission of California as a free state; the division of the remainder of the Mexican cession into two separate territories, New Mexico and Utah, without federal restrictions on slavery; the continuance of slavery but abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia; and a more effective Fugitive Slave Law. The compromise, however, proved incapable of stemming controversy over slavery’s expansion.
Confederate States of America
States that seceded during the Civil War.
Congregationalism
Church system set up by the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in which each local church served as the center of its own community. This structure stood in contrast to the Church of England, in which the single state church held sway over all local churches. Congregationalism assured colonists a role in directing the individual congregations, which became the center of religious, and often political, life in New England communities.
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)
Emerged from within the American Federation of Labor in 1938. The CIO became an influential labor group, operating during an era of government and business cooperation. In 1955, it merged with the AFL to become the AFL-CIO.
Congressional caucus
Met during the early years of the United States to choose presidential candidates. The caucus is significant in that it denied the public any voice in the nomination process, instead leaving the choice up to a centralized group of politicians based in Washington, DC. By the election of 1824, the congressional caucus had become a symbol of undemocratic elitist rule. Resented by much of the American public, the caucus lost its political influence in the early 1820s.
Connecticut Compromise
Reconciled the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan for determining legislative representation in Congress. The Connecticut Compromise established equal representation for all states in the Senate and proportional representation by population in the House of Representatives.
Conquistador
A general term for any one of a group of Spanish explorers in the New World who sought to conquer the native people, establish dominance over their lands, and prosper from natural resources. The Conquistadors established a large Hispanic empire stretching from Mexico to Chile and wreaked havoc among native populations.
Constitution
The Constitution is the document that outlines the operation and central principles of American government. As opposed to the Articles of Confederation, which it replaced, the Constitution created a strong central government with broad judicial, legislative, and executive powers, though it purposely restricted the extent of these powers through a system of checks and balances. Written at the Constitutional Convention, the Constitution was ratified by the states in 1789.
Constitutional Convention
A meeting to amend the Articles of Confederation. Delegates came to the convention from every state except Rhode Island in May 1787, and decided to draft an entirely new framework of government that would give greater powers to the central government. This document became the Constitution.
Containment
A policy established during Truman’s presidency, at the start of the Cold War, that called for the prevention of further Soviet expansion by any means. Containment soon evolved into a justification for U.S. global involvement against communism.
Calvin Coolidge
President from 1923 to 1929, nicknamed “Silent Cal.” The reticent Coolidge believed that government should interfere with the economy as little as possible and spent his time in office fighting congressional efforts to regulate business.
James Fenimore Cooper
An influential American writer in the early nineteenth century. His novels, The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), and others, employed distinctly American themes.
Corrupt bargain
Although Andrew Jackson won the most popular and electoral votes in the 1824 election, he failed to win the requisite majority and the election was thrown to the House of Representatives. Speaker of the House Henry Clay backed John Quincy Adams for president, ensuring Adams’s victory, and Adams rewarded Clay by making him secretary of state. Jackson and his supporters, enraged that the presidency had been “stolen” from them, denounced Adams and Clay’s deal as a “corrupt bargain.”
Cotton gin
Invented in 1793 by Eli Whitney. The cotton gin separated the fibers of short-staple cotton from the seeds. The mechanization of this task made cotton plantations much more efficient and profitable, giving rise to a cotton-dominated economy in the South.
Court Packing scheme
A court reform bill proposed by FDR in 1937. It was designed to allow the president to appoint an additional Supreme Court justice for each current justice over the age of seventy, up to a maximum of six appointments. Though he claimed the measure was offered in concern for the workload of the older justices, the proposal was an obvious attempt to dilute the power of the older, conservative justices. The Senate voted against the proposal later that year. Many historians argue that the proposed bill resulted in a loss of credibility for FDR, helping slow the New Deal to a standstill.
Jim Crow laws
State laws that institutionalized segregation in the South from the 1880s through the 1960s. Along with segregating schools, buses, and other public accommodations, these laws made it difficult or impossible for Southern blacks to vote.
Cuban Missile Crisis
In 1962, a year after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion, the U.S. government learned that Soviet missile bases were being constructed in Cuba. President John F. Kennedy demanded that the USSR stop shipping military equipment to Cuba and remove the bases. U.S forces set up a naval blockade, preventing Soviet ships from reaching Cuba without inspection. After a stressful waiting period during which nuclear war seemed imminent, Soviet Premier Khrushchev backed down and began dismantling the bases in return for a U.S. promise not to invade Cuba.
George Armstrong Custer
A Civil War hero. Custer was dispatched to the hills of South Dakota in 1874 to fight off Native American threats. When gold was discovered in the region, the federal government announced that Custer’s forces would hunt down all Sioux not in reservations beginning January 31, 1876. Many Sioux refused to comply, and Custer mobilized his troops. At the Battle of Little Bighorn, the Sioux wiped out an overconfident Custer and his men.
D
Clarence Darrow
A Chicago trial lawyer. Darrow earned fame in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. Although Darrow’s client, the teacher John Scopes, lost the case, Darrow argued masterfully in court, and in so doing weakened the influence and popularity of fundamentalism nationwide.
Dartmouth College v. Woodward
The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the state of New Hampshire could not convert Dartmouth College to a state university because doing so would violate the college’s contract, granted by King George III in 1769, and the Constitution forbids states from interfering with contracts. Republicans interpreted the decision and phrasing of the opinion as a shocking defeat for states’ rights. Their reaction exposed political conflicts concealed under the facade of cooperation during the Era of Good Feelings.
Jefferson Davis
Former secretary of war, Davis was elected president of the Confederacy shortly after its formation. Davis was never able to garner adequate public support and faced great difficulties in uniting the Confederate states under one central authority.
Dawes Plan
Devised by banker Charles G. Dawes in 1924. The Dawes plan scaled back U.S. demands for debt payments and reparations from World War I, and established a cycle of U.S. loans to Germany. These loans provided Germany with funds for its payment to the Allies, thus funding Allied debt payments to the U.S.
Dawes Severalty Act
Passed in 1887. The Dawes Severalty Act called for the breakup of Indian reservations and the treatment of Native Americans as individuals rather than as tribes. Any Native American who accepted the act’s terms received 160 acres of farmland or 320 acres of grazing land and was guaranteed U.S. citizenship in twenty-five years. Intended to help Native Americans integrate into white society, in practice the Dawes Act caused widespread poverty and homelessness.
Eugene Debs
A prominent socialist leader and five-time presidential candidate. Debs formed the American Railway Union in 1893 and led the Pullman Strike a year later. He helped found the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, in 1905. A pacifist, Debs opposed the government’s involvement in World War I. In 1918, he was imprisoned for denouncing the government’s aggressive tactics under the Espionage Act and Sedition Amendment; he was released in 1921.
Declaration of Independence
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress on July 4, 1776. The document enumerated the reasons for the split with Britain and laid out the Enlightenment ideals (best expressed by John Locke) of natural rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” upon which the American Revolution was based.
Declaration of the United Nations
Prompted by American entry into World War II, representatives from 26 nations signed the declaration on January 1, 1942. The signing countries vowed not to make separate peace agreements with the enemy and to uphold the Atlantic Charter.
Declaratory Act
Passed in 1776 just after the repeal of the Stamp Act. The Declaratory Act stated that Parliament could legislate for the colonies in all cases. Most colonists interpreted the act as a face-saving mechanism and nothing more. Parliament, however, continually interpreted the act in its broadest sense in order to control the colonies.
Deep Throat
The informant who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they delved into the Watergate scandal. Deep Throat’s true identity remains a mystery to this day.
Deists
Influenced by the spirit of rationalism, Deists believed that God, like a celestial clockmaker, had created a perfect universe and then stepped back to let it operate according to natural laws.
Democratic Party
Andrew Jackson’s party, organized at the time of the election of 1828. Throughout the mid- and late 1800s, the Democrats championed states’ rights and fought against political domination by the economic elite. They opposed tariffs, federal funding for internal improvements, and other extensions of the power of the federal government. The party found its core support in the South. The party underwent a major transformation in the 1930s during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency, when Democrats began to embrace a more aggressive and involved federal government. FDR’s New Deal policies cost Democrats the support of the white South—their traditional stronghold—and won them the support of many farmers, urban workers, blacks, and women. This Democratic support base remains in place today.
Détente
The relaxation of tensions between the U.S. and USSR in the 1960s and 1970s. During this period, the two powers signed treaties limiting nuclear arms productions and opened up economic relations. One of the most famous advocates of this policy was President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger.
Dollar diplomacy
William Howard Taft’s foreign policy. Taft sought to address international problems by extending American investment overseas, believing that such activity would both benefit the U.S. economy and promote stability abroad.
Dorothea Dix
A Massachusetts schoolteache. Dix studied the condition of the insane in poorhouses and prisons. Her efforts helped bring about the creation of asylums, where the mentally ill could receive better treatment.
Domino theory
The theory that if any nation fell to communism, the surrounding nations would likely fall as well. Expounded by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the domino theory served to justify U.S. intervention in Vietnam.
Stephen A. Douglas
Rose to national prominence as Speaker of the House, when he pushed the Compromise of 1850 through Congress. Douglas was the leading Northern Democrat of his day, a supporter of popular sovereignty and the author of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He battled Abraham Lincoln for a seat in the Senate (successfully) in 1858, and for president (unsuccessfully) in 1860.
Frederick Douglass
Perhaps the most famous of all abolitionists. An escaped slave, Douglass worked closely withWilliam Lloyd Garrison to promote abolitionism in the 1830s.
Dred Scott v. Sandford
In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled that no black, whether slave or free, could become a citizen of the United States or sue in federal court. The decision further argued that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection of property, including slaves, from being taken away without due process.
W.E.B. Du Bois
An African American leader opposed to the gradual approach of achieving equal rights argued by Booker T. Washington. Du Bois advocated immediate equal treatment and equal educational opportunities for blacks. He was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
Dust bowl
The name given to the southern Great Plains region (Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma) during the 1930s, when a severe drought and fierce winds led to violent dust storms that destroyed farmland, machinery, and houses, and led to countless injuries. Roughly 800,000 residents migrated west from the dust bowl toward California during the 1930s and 1940s.
Dynamic conservatism
President Eisenhower’s philosophy of government. He called it “dynamic conservatism” to distinguish it from the Republican administrations of the past, which he deemed backward-looking and complacent. He was determined to work with the Democratic Party rather than against it and at times opposed proposals made by more conservative members of his own party.
Help | Feedback | Make a request | Report an error