Modern history

Glossary of Key Terms

Alamo Texas fort captured by General Santa Anna on March 6, 1836, from rebel defenders. Sensationalist accounts of the siege of the Alamo increased popular support in the United States for Texas independence.

Albany Congress June 1754 meeting in Albany, New York, of Iroquois and colonial representatives meant to facilitate better relations between Britain and the Iroquois Confederacy. Benjamin Franklin also put forward a plan for colonial union that was never implemented.

Alien and Sedition Acts 1798 security acts passed by the Federalist-controlled Congress. The Alien Act allowed the president to imprison or deport noncitizens; the Sedition Act placed significant restrictions on political speech.

American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) Abolitionist society founded by William Lloyd Garrison in 1833 that became the most important northern abolitionist organization of the period.

American Colonization Society (ACS) Organization formed in 1817 to establish colonies of freed slaves and freeborn blacks in Africa. The ACS was led by a group of white elites whose primary goal was to rid the nation of African Americans.

American Equal Rights Association Group of black and white women and men formed in 1866 to promote gender and racial equality. The organization split in 1869 over support for the Fifteenth Amendment.

American System Plan proposed by Henry Clay to promote the U.S. economy by combining federally funded internal improvements to aid farmers with federal tariffs to protect U.S. manufacturing and a national bank to oversee economic development.

American system of manufacturing Production system focused on water-powered machinery, division of labor, and the use of interchangeable parts. The introduction of the American system in the early nineteenth century greatly increased the productivity of American manufacturing.

American Woman Suffrage Association Organization founded in 1869 to support ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment and campaign for women’s suffrage.

Antifederalists Opponents of ratification of the Constitution. Antifederalists were generally more rural and less wealthy than the Federalists.

Appeal... to the Colored Citizens Radical abolitionist pamphlet published by David Walker in 1829. Walker’s work inspired some white abolitionists to take a more radical stance on slavery.

Articles of Confederation Plan for national government proposed by the Continental Congress in 1777 and ratified in March 1781. The Articles of Confederation gave the national government limited powers, reflecting widespread fear of centralized authority.

Aztecs Spanish term for the Mexica, an indigenous people who built an empire in present-day Mexico in the centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards. The Aztecs built their empire through conquest.

Bacon’s Rebellion 1676 uprising in Virginia led by Nathaniel Bacon. Bacon and his followers, many of whom were former servants, were upset by the Virginia governor’s unwillingness to send troops to intervene in conflicts between settlers and Indians and by the lack of representation of western settlers in the House of Burgesses.

Battle of Saratoga Site of key Revolutionary War battle. The patriot victory at Saratoga in October 1777 provided hope that the colonists could prevail and increased the chances that the French would formally join the patriot side.

Battle of Shiloh April 1862 battle in Tennessee that provided the Union entrance to the Mississippi valley. Shiloh was the bloodiest battle in American history to that point.

benign neglect British colonial policy from about 1700 to 1760 that relaxed supervision of internal colonial affairs as long as the North American colonies produced sufficient raw materials and revenue; also known as salutary neglect.

Beringia Land bridge that linked Siberia and Alaska during the Wisconsin period. Migrants from northeast Asia used this bridge to travel to North America.

Bill of Rights The first ten amendments to the Constitution. These ten amendments helped reassure Americans who feared that the federal government established under the Constitution would infringe on the rights of individuals and states.

black codes Racial laws passed in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War by southern legislatures. The black codes were intended to reduce free African Americans to a condition as close to slavery as possible.

Black Death The epidemic of bubonic plague that swept through Europe beginning in the midfourteenth century and wiped out roughly half of Europe’s population.

Bleeding Kansas The Kansas Territory during a period of violent conflicts over the fate of slavery in the mid-1850s. The violence in Kansas intensified the sectional division over slavery.

Boston Massacre 1770 clash between colonial protesters and British soldiers in Boston that led to the death of five colonists. The bloody conflict was used to promote the patriot cause.

carpetbaggers Derogatory term for white Northerners who moved to the South in the years following the Civil War. Many white Southerners believed that such migrants were intent on exploiting their suffering.

Church of England National church established by Henry VIII after he split with the Catholic Church.

Coercive Acts (Intolerable Acts) 1774 act of Parliament passed in response to the Boston Tea Party. The Coercive Acts were meant to force the colonists into submission, but they only resulted in increased resistance. Colonial patriots called them the Intolerable Acts.

Columbian exchange The biological exchange between the Americas and the rest of the world. Although the initial impact of the Columbian exchange was strongest in the Americas and Europe, it was soon felt all over the world.

committee of correspondence Type of committee first established in Massachusetts to circulate concerns and reports of protests and other events to leaders in other colonies in the aftermath of the Sugar Act.

Common Sense Pamphlet arguing in favor of independence written by Thomas Paine and published in 1776. Common Sense was widely read and had an important impact on the debate over declaring independence from Britain.

Compromise of 1850 Series of acts following California’s application for admission as a free state. Meant to quell sectional tensions over slavery, the act was intended to provide something for all sides but ended up fueling more conflicts.

Compromise of 1877 Compromise between Republicans and southern Democrats that resulted in the election of Rutherford B. Hayes. Southern Democrats agreed to support Hayes in the disputed presidential election in exchange for his promise to end Reconstruction.

Confederate States of America Nation established in 1861 by the eleven slave states that seceded between December 1860 and April 1861.

conquistadors Spanish soldiers who were central to the conquest of the civilizations of the Americas. Once conquest was complete, conquistadors often extracted wealth from the people and lands they now ruled.

Continental Congress Congress convened in Philadelphia in 1774 in response to the Coercive Acts. The delegates hoped to reestablish the freedoms colonists had enjoyed in earlier times.

contraband Designation assigned to escaped slaves by Union general Benjamin Butler in May 1861. By designating slaves as property forfeited by the act of rebellion, the Union was able to strike at slavery without proclaiming a general emancipation.

Copperheads Northern Democrats who did not support the Union war effort. Such Democrats enjoyed considerable support in eastern cities and parts of the Midwest.

Corps of Discovery Expedition organized by the U.S. government to explore the Louisiana Territory. Led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the expedition set out in May 1804 and journeyed to the Pacific coast and back by 1806 with the aid of interpreters like Sacagawea.

cotton gin Machine invented by Eli Whitney in 1793 to deseed short-staple cotton. The cotton gin dramatically reduced the time and labor involved in deseeding, facilitating the expansion of cotton production in the South and West.

Crusades Eleventh- and twelfth-century campaigns to reclaim the Holy Land for the Roman Catholic Church. The Crusades were, on the whole, a military failure, but they did stimulate trade and inspire Europeans to seek better connections with the larger world.

Declaration of Independence Document declaring the independence of the colonies from Great Britain. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson and then debated and revised by the Continental Congress, the Declaration was made public on July 4, 1776.

Declaration of Sentiments Call for women’s rights in marriage, family, religion, politics, and law issued at the 1848 Seneca Falls convention. It was signed by 100 of the 300 participants.

Democratic-Republican Party Political party that emerged out of opposition to Federalist policies in the 1790s. The Democratic-Republicans chose Thomas Jefferson as their presidential candidate in 1796, 1800, and 1804.

Democrats and National Republicans Two parties that resulted from the split of the Democratic- Republicans in the early 1820s. Andrew Jackson emerged as the leader of the Democrats.

deskilling The replacement of skilled labor with unskilled labor and machines.

Dred Scott decision 1857 Supreme Court case centered on the status of Dred Scott and his family. In its ruling, the Court denied the claim that black men had any rights and blocked Congress from excluding slavery from any territory.

Dunmore’s Proclamation 1775 proclamation issued by the British commander Lord Dunmore that offered freedom to all enslaved African Americans who joined the British army. The proclamation heightened concerns among some patriots about the consequences of independence.

Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863, proclamation that declared all slaves in areas still in rebellion “forever free.” While stopping short of abolishing slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation was, nonetheless, seen by blacks and abolitionists as a great victory.

Embargo Act 1807 act that prohibited American ships from leaving their home ports until Britain and France repealed restrictions on U.S. trade. The act had a devastating impact on American commerce.

encomiendas System first established by Columbus by which Spanish leaders in the Americas received land and the labor of all Indians residing on it. From the Indian point of view, the encomienda system amounted to little more than enslavement.

Enlightenment European cultural movement that emphasized rational and scientific thinking over traditional religion and superstition. Enlightenment thought appealed to many colonial elites.

Enrollment Act March 1863 Union draft law that provided for draftees to be selected by an impartial lottery. A loophole in the law that allowed wealthy Americans to escape service by paying $300 or hiring a substitute created widespread resentment.

Enterprise of the Indies Columbus’s proposal to sail west across the Atlantic to Japan and China. In 1492 Columbus gained support for the venture from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.

Erie Canal Canal built in the early 1820s that made water transport from the Great Lakes to New York City possible. The success of the Erie Canal inspired many similar projects and ensured New York City’s place as the premier international port in the United States.

Exodusters Blacks who migrated from the South to Kansas in 1879 seeking land and a better way of life.

Federalists Supporters of ratification of the Constitution, many of whom came from urban and commercial backgrounds.

Field Order Number 15 Order issued by General Sherman in January 1865 setting aside more than 400,000 acres of Confederate land to be divided into plots for former slaves. Sherman’s order came in response to pressure from African American leaders.

Fifteenth Amendment Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the abridgment of a citizen’s right to vote on the basis of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” From the 1870s on, southern states devised numerous strategies for circumventing the Fifteenth Amendment.

Fort Sumter Union fort that guarded the harbor in Charleston, South Carolina. The Confederacy’s decision to fire on the fort and block resupply in April 1861 marked the beginning of the Civil War.

Fourteenth Amendment Amendment to the Constitution defining citizenship and protecting individual civil and political rights from abridgment by the states. Adopted during Reconstruction, the Fourteenth Amendment overturned the Dred Scott decision.

Freedmen’s Bureau Federal agency created in 1865 to provide ex-slaves with economic and legal resources. The Freedmen’s Bureau played an active role in shaping black life in the postwar South.

Fugitive Slave Act of1850 Act strengthening earlier fugitive slave laws, passed as part of the Compromise of 1850. The Fugitive Slave Act provoked widespread anger in the North and intensified sectional tensions.

gag rule Rule passed by the House of Representatives in 1836 to table, or postpone action on, all antislavery petitions without hearing them read in order to stifle debate over slavery. It was renewed annually until it was rescinded in 1844.

Gettysburg Key July 1863 battle that helped turn the tide for the Union. Union victory at Gettysburg, combined with a victory at Vicksburg that same month, positioned the Union to push farther into the South.

Glorious Revolution 1688 rebellion that forced James II from the English throne and replaced him with William and Mary. The Glorious Revolution led to greater political and commercial autonomy for the British colonies.

gold rush The rapid influx of migrants into California after the discovery of gold in 1848. Migrants came from all over the world seeking riches.

Great Awakening Series of religious revivals in colonial America that began in 1720 and lasted to about 1750.

greenbacks U.S. treasury notes issued by the federal government during the Civil War. Using its new control over the currency and banking systems, the federal government issued large quantities of greenbacks during the war, contributing to inflation.

Haitian Revolution Revolt against French rule by free and enslaved blacks in the 1790s on the island of Saint Domingue. The revolution led in 1803 to the establishment of Haiti, the first independent black-led nation in the Americas.

Harpers Ferry, Virginia Site of the federal arsenal that was the target of John Brown’s 1859 raid. Brown hoped to rouse the region’s slave population to a violent uprising.

Hartford Convention 1814 convention of Federalists opposed to the War of 1812. Delegates to the convention considered a number of constitutional amendments, as well as the possibility of secession.

Hopewell people Indian people who established a thriving culture near the Mississippi River in the early centuries C.E.

horticulture A form of agriculture in which people work small plots of land with simple tools.

House of Burgesses Local governing body in Virginia established by the English crown in 1619.

import duty Tax imposed on goods imported into the colonies, paid by the importer rather than directly by the consumer; also known as a tariff.

impressment The forced enlistment of civilians into the army or navy. The impressment of residents of colonial seaports into the British navy was a major source of complaint in the eighteenth century.

Incas Andean people who built an empire in the centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards. At the height of their power in the fifteenth century, the Incas controlled some sixteen million people.

indentured servants Servants contracted to work for a set period of time without pay. Many early migrants to the English colonies indentured themselves in exchange for the price of passage to North America.

Indian Removal Act 1830 act by which Indian peoples in the East were forced to exchange their lands for territory west of the Mississippi River. Andrew Jackson was an ardent supporter of Indian removal.

Intolerable Acts See Coercive Acts.

Jamestown The first successful English colony in North America. Settled in 1607, Jamestown was founded by soldiers and adventurers under the leadership of Captain John Smith.

Jay Treaty 1796 treaty that required British forces to withdraw from U.S. soil, required American repayment of debts to British firms, and limited U.S. trade with the British West Indies.

Joint Electoral Commission Commission created by Congress to resolve the disputed presidential election of 1876. The commission consisted of five senators, five House members, and five Supreme Court justices—seven Republicans, seven Democrats, and one independent. The commission sided with the Republican presidential candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes.

Judiciary Act of 1801 Act passed by the Federalist-controlled Congress to expand the federal court system by creating sixteen circuit (regional) courts, with new judges appointed for each, just before Democratic-Republicans took control of the presidency and Congress.

Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854 act creating the territories of Kansas and Nebraska out of what was then Indian land. The act stipulated that the issue of slavery would be settled by a popular referendum in each territory.

King Philip’s War 1675—1676 conflict between New England settlers and the region’s Indians. The settlers were the eventual victors, but fighting was fierce and casualties on both sides were high.

King William’s War 1689—1697 war that began as a conflict over competing French and English interests on the European continent but soon spread to the American frontier. Both sides pulled Indian allies into the war.

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Organization formed in 1865 by General Nathan Bedford Forrest to enforce prewar racial norms. Members of the KKK used threats and violence to intimidate blacks and white Republicans.

Liberal Republicans Political group organized to challenge the reelection of President Grant in 1872. The Liberal Republicans called for an end to federal efforts at Reconstruction in the South.

Liberator Radical abolitionist newspaper launched by William Lloyd Garrison in 1831. Through the Liberator, Garrison called for immediate, uncompensated emancipation of slaves.

Liberty Party Antislavery political party formed in 1840. The Liberty Party, along with the Free-Soil Party, helped place slavery at the center of national political debates.

Louisiana Territory Vast territory stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from New Orleans to present-day Montana that the United States purchased from France in 1803, doubling the size of the nation.

loyalist A colonial supporter of the British during the Revolutionary War. Loyalists came from all economic backgrounds and had a variety of motives for siding with the British.

manifest destiny Term coined by John L. O’Sullivan in 1845 to describe what he saw as the nation’s God-given right to expand its borders. Throughout the nineteenth century, the concept of manifest destiny was used to justify U.S. expansion.

Marbury v. Madison 1803 Supreme Court decision that established the authority of the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of federal laws.

Maya People who established large cities in the Yucatan peninsula. Mayan civilization was strongest between 300 and 800 C.E.

Mayflower Compact Written constitution created by the Pilgrims upon their arrival in Plymouth. The Mayflower Compact was the first written constitution adopted in North America.

McCulloch v. Maryland 1819 Supreme Court decision that reinforced the federal government’s ability to employ an expansive understanding of the implied powers clause of the Constitution.

mercantilism Economic system centered on the maintenance of a favorable balance of trade for the home country, with more gold and silver flowing into that country than flowed out. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British colonial policy was heavily shaped by mercantilism.

Middle Passage The brutal voyage of slave ships laden with human cargo from Africa to the Americas. The voyage was the middle segment in a triangular journey that began in Europe, went first to Africa, then to the Americas, and finally back to Europe.

Missouri Compromise 1820 act that allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state and Maine to enter as a free state and established the southern border of Missouri as the boundary between slave and free states throughout the Louisiana Territory.

Monroe Doctrine Assertion by President James Monroe in 1823 that the Western Hemisphere was part of the U.S. sphere of influence. Although the United States lacked the power to back up this claim, it signaled an intention to challenge Europeans for authority in the Atlantic world.

multiplier effect The diverse changes spurred by a single invention, including other inventions it spawns and the broader economic, social, and political transformations it fuels.

Nat Turner’s rebellion 1831 slave uprising in Virginia led by Nat Turner. Turner’s rebellion instilled panic among white Southerners, leading to tighter control of African Americans and reconsideration of the institution of slavery.

National Republicans See Democrats and National Republicans.

National Road Road constructed using federal funds that ran from western Maryland through southwestern Pennsylvania to Wheeling, West Virginia; also called the Cumberland Road. Completed in 1818, the road was part of a larger push to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

National Woman Suffrage Association Organization founded in 1869 to support women’s voting rights. Founders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton objected to the Fifteenth Amendment because it did not provide suffrage for women.

nativists Anti-immigrant Americans who launched public campaigns against foreigners in the 1840s. Nativism emerged as a response to increased immigration to the United States in the 1830s and 1840s, particularly the large influx of Catholic immigrants.

Navigation Acts Acts passed by Parliament in the 1650s and 1660s that prohibited smuggling, established guidelines for legal commerce, and set duties on trade items. In the 1760s, British authorities sought to fully enforce these laws, leading to resistance by colonists.

Neutrality Act 1793 act prohibiting ships of belligerent nations—including France and Great Britain—from using American ports. The act was meant to help keep America out of the conflict between France and Great Britain and to enhance U.S. commerce.

New Light clergy Colonial clergy who called for religious revivals and emphasized the emotional aspects of spiritual commitment. The New Lights were leaders in the Great Awakening.

Non-Intercourse Act Act passed by Congress in 1809 allowing Americans to trade with every nation except France and Britain. The act failed to stop the seizure of American ships or improve the economy.

Northwest Land Ordinance (1785 and 1787) Act of the confederation congress that provided for the survey, sale, and eventual division into states of the Northwest Territory. The 1787 act clarified the process by which territories could become states.

nullification The doctrine that individual states have the right to declare federal laws unconstitutional and, therefore, void within their borders. South Carolina attempted to invoke the doctrine of nullification in response to the tariff of 1832.

Old Light clergy Colonial clergy from established churches who supported the religious status quo in the early eighteenth century.

Oregon Trail The route west from the Missouri River to the Oregon Territory. By 1860, some 350,000 Americans had made the three- to six-month journey along the trail.

panic of 1819 The nation’s first severe recession. The panic of 1819 lasted four years and resulted from irresponsible banking practices and the declining demand for American goods, including cotton, abroad.

panic of 1837 Severe economic recession that began shortly after Martin Van Buren’s presidential inauguration. The panic of 1837 started in the South and was rooted in the changing fortunes of American cotton in Great Britain.

patriarchal family Model of the family in which fathers have absolute authority over wives, children, and servants. Most colonial Americans accepted the patriarchal model of the family, at least as an ideal.

Peace of Paris 1763 peace treaty that brought the Seven Years’ War to a close. Under the terms of the treaty, Britain gained control of North America east of the Mississippi River and of present-day Canada.

Pequot War 1636—1637 conflict between New England settlers, their Narragansett allies, and the Pequots. The English saw the Pequots as both a threat and an obstacle to further English expansion.

Petticoat Affair 1829 political conflict over Jackson’s appointment of John Eaton as secretary of war. Eaton was married to a woman of allegedly questionable character, and the wives of many prominent Washington politicians organized a campaign to snub her.

Pietists German Protestants who decried the power of established churches and urged individuals to follow their heart rather than their head in spiritual matters. Pietism had a profound influence on the leaders of the Great Awakening.

Pilgrims Group of English religious dissenters who established a settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. Unlike more mainstream Protestants, the Pilgrims were Separatists who aimed to sever all connections with the Church of England.

Pinckney Treaty 1796 treaty that defined the boundary between U.S. and Spanish territory in the South and opened the Mississippi River and New Orleans to U.S. shipping.

Powhatan Confederacy Large and powerful Indian confederation in Virginia. The Jamestown settlers had a complicated and contentious relationship with the leaders of the Powhatan Confederacy.

Proclamation Line of1763 Act of Parliament that restricted colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Proclamation Line sparked protests from rich and poor colonists alike.

Proclamation ofAmnesty and Reconstruction 1863 proclamation that established the basic parameters of President Lincoln’s approach to Reconstruction. Lincoln’s plan would have readmitted the South to the Union on relatively lenient terms.

proprietary colonies Colonies granted to individuals, rather than held directly by the crown or given to chartered companies. Proprietors of such colonies, such as William Penn of Pennsylvania, had considerable leeway to distribute land and govern as they pleased.

Protestantism Religious movement initiated in the early sixteenth century that resulted in a permanent division within European Christianity. Protestants differed with Catholics over the nature of salvation, the role of priests, and the organization of the church.

Pueblo revolt 1680 uprising of Pueblo Indians against Spanish forces in New Mexico that led to the Spaniards’ temporary retreat from the area. The uprising was sparked by mistreatment and the suppression of Indian culture and religion.

Puritans Radical English Protestants who hoped to reform the Church of England. The first Puritan settlers in the Americas arrived in Massachusetts in 1630.

Redeemers White, conservative Democrats who challenged and overthrew Republican rule in the South during Reconstruction.

redemptioners Immigrants who borrowed money from shipping agents to cover the costs of transport to America, loans that were repaid, or “redeemed,” by colonial employers. Redemptioners worked for their “redeemers” for a set number of years.

Regulators Local organizations formed in North and South Carolina to protest and resist unpopular policies. After first seeking redress through official institutions, Regulators went on to establish militias and other institutions of self-governance.

Renaissance The cultural and intellectual flowering that began in Italy in the fifteenth century and then spread north. The Renaissance occurred at the same time that European rulers were pushing for greater political unification of their states.

Republican Party Party formed in 1854 that was committed to stopping the expansion of slavery and advocated economic development and internal improvements. Although their appeal was limited to the North, the Republicans quickly became a major political force.

scalawags Derisive term for white Southerners who supported Reconstruction.

seasoning The period of time in which newly arrived slaves regained their strength, adapted to their new environments, and were absorbed into American slave culture.

Second Continental Congress Assembly of colonial representatives that served as a national government during the Revolutionary War. Despite limited formal powers, the Continental Congress coordinated the war effort and conducted negotiations with outside powers.

Second Great Awakening Evangelical revival movement that began in the South in the early nineteenth century and then spread to the North. The social and economic changes of the first half of the nineteenth century were a major spur to religious revivals, which in turn spurred social reform movements.

Second Seminole War 1835—1842 war between the Seminoles, including fugitive slaves who had joined the tribe, and the U.S. government over whether the Seminoles would be forced to leave Florida and settle west of the Mississippi River. Despite substantial investments of men, money, and resources, it took seven years for the United States to achieve victory.

separate spheres The notion that men and women should occupy separate social, economic, and political spheres. According to this middle-class ideal, men were best suited for the public world of business and politics, while women were meant to manage the home.

sharecropping A system that emerged as the dominant mode of agricultural production in the South in the years after the Civil War. Under the sharecropping system, sharecroppers received tools and supplies from landowners in exchange for a share of the eventual harvest.

Shays’s Rebellion 1786 rebellion by western Massachusetts farmers caused primarily by economic turmoil in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War.

Sons of Liberty Boston organization first formed to protest the Stamp Act. The Sons of Liberty spread to other colonies and played an important role in the unrest leading to the American Revolution.

spectral evidence Evidence given by spirits acting through possessed individuals. A number of the accused in the 1692 Salem witch trials were convicted on the basis of spectral evidence.

spoils system Patronage system introduced by Andrew Jackson in which federal offices were awarded on the basis of political loyalty. The system remained in place until the late nineteenth century.

Stamp Act 1765 act of Parliament that imposed a duty on all transactions involving paper items. The Stamp Act prompted widespread, coordinated protests and was eventually repealed.

Stono rebellion 1739 uprising by African American slaves in South Carolina. In the aftermath of the uprising, white fear of slave revolts intensified.

Sugar Act 1764 act of Parliament that imposed an import tax on sugar, coffee, wines, and other luxury items. The Sugar Act sparked colonial protests that would escalate over time as new revenue measures were enacted.

syncretic culture A hybrid culture that combines elements of previously distinct cultures. Enslaved African Americans created a syncretic culture by combining elements of African, West Indian, and European cultures.

Tejanos Mexican residents of Texas. Although some Tejano elites allied themselves with American settlers, most American settlers resisted the adoption of Tejano culture.

temperance The movement to moderate and then ban the sale and consumption of alcohol. The American temperance movement emerged in the early nineteenth century as part of the larger push for improving society from the 1820s to the 1850s.

Tenure of Office Act Law passed by Congress in 1867 to prevent President Andrew Johnson from removing cabinet members sympathetic to the Republican Party’s approach to congressional Reconstruction without Senate approval. Johnson was impeached, but not convicted, for violating the act.

Thirteenth Amendment Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was passed in January 1865 and sent to the states for ratification.

three-fifths compromise Compromise between northern and southern delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention to count enslaved persons as three-fifths of a free person in apportioning representation in the House of Representatives and taxation by the federal government.

total war The strategy of attacking civilian as well as military targets. Engaging in a war of attrition to wear down the Confederacy, General Grant and his commanders used this strategy in 1864 and 1865.

Townshend Act 1767 act of Parliament that instituted an import tax on a range of items including glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. The Townshend Act prompted a boycott of British goods and contributed to violence between British soldiers and colonists.

Trail of Tears The forced march of some 15,000 Cherokees from Georgia to Indian Territory. Inadequate planning, food, water, sanitation, and medicine led to the deaths of thousands of Cherokees.

transcendentalism A movement founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 1830s that proposed that individuals look inside themselves and to nature for spiritual and moral guidance rather than to the dogmas of formal religion. Transcendentalism attracted a number of important American writers and artists to its vision.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 1848 treaty ending the Mexican-American War. By the terms of the treaty, the United States acquired control over Texas north and east of the Rio Grande plus the New Mexico territory, which included present-day Arizona and New Mexico and parts of Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. The treaty also ceded Alta California, which had declared itself an independent republic during the war, to the United States.

Treaty of New Echota 1836 treaty in which a group of Cherokee men agreed to exchange their land in the Southeast for money and land in Indian Territory. Despite the fact that the treaty was obtained without tribal sanction, it was approved by the U.S. Congress.

Treaty of Paris 1783 treaty that formally ended the conflict between Britain and its North American colonies. The newly established United States gained benefits from the treaty.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Novel published in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Meant to publicize the evils of slavery, the novel struck an emotional chord in the North and was an international best seller.

underground railroad A series of routes from southern plantation areas to northern free states and Canada along which abolitionist supporters, known as conductors, provided hiding places and transportation for runaway slaves seeking freedom.

U.S. Sanitary Commission Federal organization established in June 1861 to improve and coordinate the medical care of Union soldiers. Northern women played a key role in the commission.

utopian societies Communities formed in the first half of the nineteenth century to embody alternative social and economic visions and to create models for society at large to follow.

Valley Forge Site of Continental Army winter encampment in 1777—1778. Despite the harsh conditions, the Continental Army emerged from its encampment at Valley Forge as a more effective fighting force.

Virginia Plan Plan put forth at the beginning of the 1787 Constitutional Convention that introduced the ideas of a strong central government, a bicameral legislature, and a system of representation based on population.

Walking Purchase 1737 treaty that allowed Pennsylvania to expand its boundaries at the expense of the Delaware Indians. The treaty, quite possibly a forgery, allowed the British to add territory that could be walked off in a day and a half.

War of the Spanish Succession 1702—1713 war over control of Spain and its colonies; also called Queen Anne’s War. Although the Treaty of Utrecht that ended the war in 1713 was intended to bring peace through the establishment of a balance of power, imperial conflict continued to escalate.

Whig Party Political party formed in the 1830s to challenge the power of the Democratic Party. The Whigs attempted to forge a diverse coalition from around the country by promoting commercial interests and moral reforms.

Whiskey Rebellion Uprising by western Pennsylvania farmers who led protests against the excise tax on whiskey in the early 1790s.

Wilmot Proviso 1846 proposal by Democratic congressman David Wilmot of Pennsylvania to outlaw slavery in all territory acquired from Mexico. The proposal was defeated, but the fight over its adoption foreshadowed the sectional conflicts of the 1850s.

Women’s National Loyal League Organization founded by abolitionist women during the Civil War to press Lincoln and Congress to enact universal emancipation.

XYZ affair 1798 incident in which French agents demanded bribes before meeting with American diplomatic representatives.

yeomen farmers Southern independent landowners who did not own slaves. Although yeomen farmers had connections to the South’s plantation economy, many realized that their interests were not always identical to those of the planter elite.

Yorktown Site of decisive patriot victory. The surrender of British forces on October 19, 1781, at Yorktown, Virginia, effectively sealed the patriot victory in the Revolutionary War.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!
Previous
Page
Next
Page