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SparkNotes AP US History Study Cards


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Taft-Hartley Act
Centerpiece act of a congressional effort to restrict union power. Banned certain union practices and allowed the President to call for an 80-day "cooling off" period to delay strikes thought to pose risks to national safety
Judiciary Act (1789)
1789 act which created the court system, establishing a federal district court in each state and affirming the Supreme Courts power to exercise final jurisdiction in all legal matters
Elizabeth (Cady) Stanton
Prominent advocate of women's rights who organization the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention with Lucretia Mott
Freeport Doctrine
Stephen A. Douglas's argument in support of popular sovereignty
Federal Reserve Act
Woodrow Wilson's most notable legislative success, this 1913 act reorganize the American banking system by creating a network of twelve federal reserve banks authorzied to distribute currency.
Great Debate
Nickname for the eight-month long discussion in Congress over Henry Clay's proposed compromise to admit California as a free state and alow the remainder of the Mexican cession to be decided by popular sovereignty. Became known as the Compromise of 1850
Great Society
Lyndon B. Johnson's program for domestic policy
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Positions created by FDR in 1942 to oversee the rapidly growing military. Included representatives of the army, navy and air force
New York Times Co. V. U.S.
Supreme Court case protecting the freedom of the press by allowing the New York Times to publish the "Pentagon Papers" despite the Justice Department's order to restrict it
Erie Canal
Begun in 1817 and finished in 1825, this was America's first major canal project
Sugar Act (1764)
This 1764 act lowered the duty on foreign-produced molasses as an attempt to discourage colonial smuggling. Further said that Americans could export whatever as long as it passed through British ports first
Siege of Yorktown
1781 battle in which French and American forces encircled and trapped British General Cornwallis's army, forcing the surender of 8,000 troops
Dawes Plan
Plan devised by U.S. banker to scale back reparation payments for WWI and establish a cycle of loans to Germany which let is pay off outstanding war debts to the Allies.
Jefferson Davis
President of the Confederacy
Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
Established by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1942 to conduct espionage, collect information crucial to strategic planning, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy
Truman Doctrine
Declaration that the U.S. would support people anywhere in the world facing "attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
Mexican War
War declared in 1846 after Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande into Texas. Was ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which gave the U.S. Texas, New Mexico, and California in exchange for $15 million to Mexico
Horatio Alger
Popular novelist during the Industrial Revolution who wrote "rags to riches" books praising the values of hard work
Second continental Congress
Meeting in May 1775 this convention opposed the drastic move toward complete independence from Britain.
Tehran Conference
First major meeting between the Big Three (United States, Britain, Russia) at which they planned the 1944 assault on France and agreed to divide Germany into zones of occupation after the war
Opponents of the constitutions during the period of ratification. They opposed the Constitution's powerful centralized government.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty that ended the Mexican War, granting the U.S. control of Texas, New Mexico, and California in exchange for $15 million
Schechter Poultry Corporation V. U.S.
Supreme Court case which declared the NRA (National Recovery Administration) unconstitutional
Selective Service Act
Instituted a draft to build up U.S. military forces. Required all men aged 21 to 30 to register for military duty
Stokely Carmichael
A leader of the Black Nationalist movement in 1966, he coined the phrase "Black Power". Broke off from the nonviolent movements.
First Continental Congress
First political body that convened in 1774 to protest the Intolerable Acts. The congress ended up endorsing the Suffolk Resolves, urging a boycott of British imports and sending a petition to King George III
Church system set up by the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wherein each local church served as the center of its own community
Underwood Tariff
Pushed through Congress by Woodrow Wilson, this 1913 tariff reduced average tariff duties by almost 15% and established a graduated income tax
The Rosenbergs
Liberal Jews who were prosecuted in the 1950's over accused spying for the Soviets. Were convicted and senteced to death, and killed in 1953
Douglas MacArthur
Commander of the U.S. army in the Pacific during WWII
Charles Lindbergh
First person to complete a non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Samuel Gompers
Founding leader of the American Federation of Labor
Immigration Acts
Set of laws starting in 1921 that set qoutas for the number of immigrants let in.
15th Amendment
Gave blacks the vote
Enforcement Acts (1870 and 1871)
Passed largely in response to the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, these 1870 and 1871 acts protected black suffrage
Margaret Sanger
Leader of the birth control movement, she was found guilty of obscenity for promoting contraceptions in the mail in 1914
Stamp Act Congress
1765 meeting of representatives of the nine colonies in New York City.
Personal Liberty Laws
Laws passed by nine northern states during the 1850s to counteract the Fugitive Slave Act
Gag Rule
1835 law passed by Southern congress which made it illegal to talk of abolition or anti-slavery arguments in Congress
Ferdinand Magellan
Portuguese explorer who found a sea route to the Spice Island by sailing around the American continent. His crew was the first to circumnavigate the world.
Marcus Garvey
African American leader durin the 1920s who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and advocated mass migration of African Americans back to Africa. Was deported to Jamaica in 1927.
Meat Inspection Act
1906 act which set federal regulations for meatpacking plants and established a system of federal inspection
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
1957 group founded by Martin Luther King Jr. to fight against segregation using nonviolent means
Non-Intercourse Act
After the repeal of the Embargo Act, this 1809 law restricted trade with Britain and France only, opening up trade with all other foreign ports
McKinley Tariff
1890 tariff that raised protective tariff levels by nearly 50%, making them the highest tariffs on imports in the United States history
The Liberator
Abolitionist paper published by William Lloyd Garrison from 1831 to 1865. Influence greatly the growing abolitionist movement
Mann-Elkins Act (1910)
Act giving the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) the power to regulate telephone and telegraph lines, along with cable and wireless establishments.
Korematsu V. U.S.
1944 Supreme Court case which upheld FDR's 1942 executive order for teh evacuation of all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast into internment camps which operated until 1945
Homestead Strike
1892 steelworker strike near Pittsburgh against the Carnegie Steel Company. Ten workers were killed in a riot when "scab" labor was brought in to force an end to the strike.
Annapolis Convention
Delegates from fives states met in Annapolis in 1786 and ended up suggesting another convention to amend the Articles of Confederation
Smith-Connolly War Labor Dispute Act
1943 act which limited the right to strike in key industries and authorized the president to intervene in any strike
Treaty of Ghent
Treaty signed on Christmas Eve in 1814 that ended the War of 1812
Mao Zedong
Chinese political leader who founded the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 and later the People's Republic of China
Liberal Republicans
Party formed in 1872 (split from the ranks of the Republican Party) which argued that the Reconstruction task was complete and should be set aside. Significantly dampered further Reconstructionist efforts.
War Production Board
Created in 1942, this organization oversaw the production of planes, tanks, artillery pieces, and munitions needed for entering WWII
Daniel Webster
Leader of the Whig Party, and one of America's leading statesmen in the first half of the nineteenth century
Term widely used to describe French and American naval conflicts between 1798 to 1800. Neither nation declared war, although they carried out naval operations against each other
Fair Labor Standards Act
1938 act which provided for a minimum wage and restricted shipments of goods produced with child labor
Embargo Act
1807 act which ended all of America's importation and exportation. Jefferson hoped the act would pressure the French and British to recognize U.S. neutrality rights in exchange for U.S. goods. Really, however, just hurt Americans and our economy and got repealed in 1809.
Shoot-on-Sight Order
This order was a response to German submarine attacks on American ships in the Atlantic. Authorized navy patrols to fire on any Axis ships found between the U.S. and Iceland.
Virginia Resolves
Resolutions adopted by the Virginia House of Burgesses in response to the 1765 Stamp Act that denied Parliament's right to tax the colonies
Ho Chi Minh
Leader of the Vietnamese revolutionaries called the Viet Cong
Viewpoint that held religious beliefs should not simply be accepted but should instead be acquired through investigation and reflection
Macon's Bill No. 2
Jame's Madison's 1810 ploy to get either Britain or France to lift trade restrictions. The Bill stated that if either country agreed to free trade with the U.S., sanctions would be re-imposed against the other country.
Hartford Convention
Meeting of Federalists near the end of the War of 1812 in which the party listed it's complaints against the ruling Republican Party. These actions were largley viewed as traitorous to the country and lost the Federalist much influence
Gospel of Success
Ideology that attempted to justify the enormous and growing gap between rich and poor in the U.S. during the Industrial Revolution. Supported by writers like Horatio Alger
Federal Home Loan Bank Act
A late effort by Hoover to address the problems of the destitute. Established a series of banks to make loans to other banks, in a circle of bankyness.
Clarence Darrow
Chicago trial lawyer, defended John Scopes in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial
Potsdam Conference
Final meeting between the Big Three powers (U.S., Russia and Britain) under the pretense of a wartime alliance
Federal Emergency Relief Act (1933)
One of the New Deal's most comprehensive measures, this 1933 act appropriated $500 million to support state and local treasuries that had run dry
Virginia Plan
Plan presented to the Constitutional Convention that proposed the creation of a bicameral legislature with representation in both houses proportional to population. The plan favored large states as such.
Limited Test-Ban Treaty
Agreement between JFK and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev prohibiting undersea and atmospheric testing of nuclear weaponry
Panic of 1819
Economic panic caused by extensive speculation and a decline of Europena demand for American goods along with mismanagement within the Second Bank of the United States. Often cited as the end of the Era of Good Feelings.
John Rolfe
English settler in Jamestown who married the daughter of the chief of the Native American Powhatan tribe ... (wait for it) ... (wait for it) ... Pocahontas! He also introduced Jamestown colonists to tobacco, which became their lifeblood (but not like in the vampire sense)
The Warren Commission
Commission created by Lyndon Johnson to look into the Kennedy assassination.
Transcontinental Treaty
Treaty signed in 1819 between the U.S. and Spain in which Spain ceded Florida to the U.S. and agreed to a southern border of the U.S. west extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Farmers' Alliance
Took the place of the Grange during the 1880s as a support group for the nation's farmers. Became politically active in the Midwest and South and helped found the Populist Party
Henry Kissinger
Served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Nixon. Often met secretly with communist leader to improve East-West cooperation.
Pendleton (Civil Service) Act
1883 act which established a civil service exam for government jobs and made hiring processes based upon merit rather than political favors
J. Edgar Hoover
Head of the FBI from 1924 until 1972, aggresively investigated suspected subversives during the Cold War
House of Burgesses
Established in Jamestown in 1619, is considered the first represtantive government in the New World. It consisted of 22 representatives from 11 districts of colonists
Thurgood Marshall
Black attorney who successfully argued the case of Brown V. Board of Eduction in front of the Supreme Court
National Origins Act
Act which restricted immigration from any one nation to two percent of the number of people already in the U.S. of that national origin in 1890. Severely restricted immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, and excluded Asians entirely
Worcester V. Georgia
Supreme Court case in which it ruled that the Cherokee tribe was its own nation (inside Georgia) and deserved protection from harassment. Andrew Jackson said whatever, meet my friend the trail of tears.
Anti-Imperialist League
Group that argued against American imperialism in the late 1890s. It's members included Andrew Carnegie and Mark Twain
Black Power
Term for the more militant faction of Civil Rights groups that sprang up in the late 1960s
Women's Christian Temperance Union
Group founded in 1874 that worked with the Anti-Saloon League to push for nation-wide temperance
Free-Soil Party
A political party formed in 1848 from a merger between the northern Democratic Party, abolitionist Liberty Party and Antislavery Party. It supported abolition and nominated Martin Van Buren has their candidate for president
John Marshall
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835. Presided over cases such as Marbury V. Madison
Charles Sumner
Leading Radical Republican senator throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction periods
Reconstruction Finance Corportation
Created by Hoover in 1932 this organization made loans to large economics institutions such as railroads and banks.
Wilmot Proviso
Provision that stipulated that slavery be prohibited in any territory the U.S. gained from Mexico. Did not end up passing through the Senate
John Winthrop
Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, envisioned colony as a "city upon a hill"
Kitchen Cabinet
Nickname for the informal circle of advisors president Andrew Jackson relied on.
James (Fennimore) Cooper
Influential American writer whose books include "The Last of the Mohicans" and "The Pioneers"
Shawnee chief who tried to united Native American tribes in Ohio and Indiana against encroaching white rule. Failed.
Medgar Evers
NAACP leader in Mississippi, who was assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963
Martin Van Buren
Served as secretary of state during Andrew Jackson's first term, vice president during Jackson's second term, and won the presidency in 1836
Derogatory term for the more liberal members of the Republican party who supported Grover Cleveland in 1884 over Republican candidate James G. Blaine
Palmer Raids
A 1920 operation coordinated by Attorney General Mitchel Palmer in which federal marshals raided the homes of suspected radicals and the headquarters of radical organization in 32 cities
Medical Care Act
Part of President Johnson's "Great Society" program this act created Medicare and Medicaid
Indpendent Treasury Bill
Law signed in 1840 that established an independent treasury to hold public funds in reserve and prevent excessive lending by state banks, thus guarding against inflation. Response to the Panic of 1837
To Secure These Rights
Report produced by the Committee of Civil Rights in 1957 that called for the elimination of segregation
William Jennings Bryan
Democratic candidate for president in 1896 under the banner of "free silver coinage" which won him support of the Populist Party. Later a witness in the Scopes Monkey Trial
Panic of 1893
Sharp economic downturn that began when the railroad industry faltered during the early 1890s followed by the collapse of many related industries
Henry Cabot Lodge
Led a group of senators during Woodrow Wilson's presidency known as the "reservationists" during the 1919 debate over the League of Nations.
Women's Strike For Equality
Strike in August of 1970 in which tens of thousands of women held demonstrations to demand legal abortions and the right to equal employment
Term refering to a relaxation of tensions between the U.S. and USSR in the '60s and '70s when the two powers signed treaties limiting nuclear arms productions and opened up economic relations
Suffolk Resolves
Declared that the colonies need not obey the 1773 Coercive Acts, since they infringed upon basic liberties
British policy practiced in the early 1800s whereby the British boarded American ships in search of British naval desserts, whom they would force back into service. Many times natural born Americans were also taken. Helped spark the War of 1812.
Watts Race Riots
1964 riots which started in an African-American ghetoo of Los Angeles and left 30 dead and 1,000 wounded. Riots lasted a week, and spurred hundreds more around the country.
Treaty of Paris (1783)
Treaty that ended the Revolutionary War and granted the U.S. its independence
Bacon's Rebellion
Rebellion of 300 Virginia settlers against local Native Americans after the local government refused to act
Roger Williams
A dissenter who clashed with the Massachusetts Puritans over separation of church and state and was banished in 1636, after which he founded the colony of Rhode Island to the south
Helsinki Convention
Treaties signed in 1975 between Gerald Ford and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev (along with 31 other, not important, leaders) which solidified European boundaries, and promised to respect human rights+freedom of travel
Tariff of Abominations
Name given to the 1828 tariff because of its serious negative impact on the South's economy, while benefiting Northern and Western industrial interests. Led to the nullification crisis.
Shay's Rebellion
1780's Massachusets rebblion in which farmers tried to shut down three county courthouses to prevent foreclosure proceedings. Uprising showed need for a stronger central government under the Articles of Confederation
Boris Yeltsin
President of the Russian Republic in 1991. Helped end the USSR and force Gorbachev to resign.
Mayflower Compact
A compact sign by the Mayflower Pilgrims to create a "civil body politic" under the sovereignty of James I
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Act passed in 1854 which divided the Nebraska territory into two parts, Kansas and Nebraska and left the issue of slavery up to popular sovereignty.
Townshend Duties
Popular name for the Revenue Act of 1767 which taxed glass, lead, paint, paper and tea entering the colonies
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Organization founded in 1920 which seeks to protect the civil liberties of individuals in the U.S. often by bringing "test cases" against the court to challenge questionable laws
Strict Constructions
Favored a strict reading of the constitution in order to limit the powers of the central government. Formed the core ideology of the Republican Party which was led by Thomas Jefferson.
Smoot-Hawley Tariff
One of Herbert Hoover's earliest efforts to protect the nation's farmers following the onset of the Great Depression. Tariff raised rates to an all-time high.
Missouri Compromise
1820 compromise of the admission of MIssouri into the United States. Admitted Missouri as a slave state, and Maine as a free state
14th Amendment
Gave blacks citizenship
Voting Rights Act
1965 act which guaranteed the right to vote to all Americans, and allowed the federal government to intervene in order to ensure that minorities could vote
English Protestants wh owould not accept allegiance in any form to the Church of England. Included the Pilgrims and Quakers
Loving V. Virginia
1867 court case that declared all laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional
Thaddeus Stevens
Leader of the Radical Republicans in Congress who was devoted to a stringent and punitive Reconstruction effort. Worked towards equality for Southern blacks.
McCullough V. Maryland
Supreme Court case in which it ruled that states could not tax federal institutions such as the Second Bank of the United States
Declaratory Act
Act passed in 1766 just after the repeal of the Stamp Act. Stated that Parliament could legislate for the colonies in all cases.
Battle of Antietam
Civil War battle in which the North suceedeed in halting Lee's Confederate forces in Maryland. Was the bloodiest battle of the war resulting in 25,000 casualties
Eugene Debs
Prominent socialist leader (and five time presidential candidate) who founded the American Railroad Union and led the 1894 Pullman Strike
War of 1812
War between the U.S. and Great Britain which lasted until 1814, ending with the Treaty of Ghent and a renewed sense of American nationalism
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)
Group which emerged from the American Federation of Labor in 1938 which became and influential labor group. Merged with the AFL in 1955
Panic of 1837
Ecnomic downturn caused by loose lending practices of stat banks' and overspeculation. Martin Van Buren spent most of his time in office attempting to stablize and lessen the economic situation
Polio Vaccine
Vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1995
Ronald Reagan's economic beliefs that a captitalist system free from taxation and government involvement would be most productive
Smith Act
1940 act which made it illegal to speak of or advocate overthrowing the U.S. government. Was used by Truman 11 times to prosecute suspected Communists
Spanish-American War
War that broke out in 1898 over U.S. concers for the Cuban independence movement. The U.S. decisively won the war, gaining the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines from Spain along with securing independence for Cuba
Horace Mann
Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, he was a prominent proponent of public school reform, and set the standard for public schools throughout the nation.
Engle V. Vitale
1962 case in which the court rule that school prayer was unconstitutional
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT)
Treaty signed in 1972 by Nixon which limited each of the superpowers to 200 antiballistic missiles and set qoutas for intercontinenal and submarine missiles
Earl Warren
Chief Justice on the Supreme Court from 1953 to 1969, presided over the Brown V. Board of Education case
Toussaint l'Ouverture
Led the Haitan Revolution, resulting in an overthrow of French colonial rule in Haiti.
Plessy V. Ferguson
Supreme Court decision that upheld separate but equal segregation
Hayes-Tilden Compromise
Also known as the Compromise of 1877, it resolved the disputed presidential election of 1876, giving Republican Hayes the presidency in exchange for removing troops from the South and ending reconstruction
Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer
Series of letters by John Dickinson denoucing the Townshend Duties. Inspired anti-British sentiment throughout the colonies.
Emergency Committee for Unemployment
Herbert Hoover's principal effort to lower the unemployment rate. Organization sought to consolidate unemployment relief by voluntary agencies, but was granted only limited resources
Roger B. Taney
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1836 to 1864, presided over the Dred Scott case among others
Leif Ericson
Alleged leader of a group of Icelandic people who sailed to the eastern coast of Canada and unsuccessfully attempted to colonize the area around the year 1000
Popular Front
Political group active in aiding the leftist forces in the Spanish Civil War. Earnest Hemingway and other prominent American intellectuals and writers joined the group
Battle of Gettysburg
Largest battle of the Civil War, usually considered the turning point for the North
Writs of Assistance
Search warrants which allowed British customs officers to search any colonial building or ship that they believed might contain smuggled goods (even without probable cause for suspicion.)
Munn V. Illinois
1876 case that stated Congress could not regulate commerce within a state and the federal government did not have the right to regulate private businesses
Equal Rights Amendment
Supported by the National Organization for Women, this amendment would prevent all gender-based discrimination practices. However, it never passed the ratification process.
US V. E.C. Knight Co.
Supreme Court case which said that the Sherman Antitrust Act did not apply to manufacturing
Treaty of Paris (1763)
Ended the Seven Years War in Europe and the French and Indian war in North America. Britain won all of Canada.
Force Bill
Part of the Compromise of 1833 the bill authorized President Andrew Jackson to use arms to collect customs duties in South Carolina
Paris Accords
1973 treaties that settle the terms for a U.S. withdrawal from Indochina, ending the war between the U.S. and North Vietnam. Left the North V. South Vietnam conflict unresolved.
The Age of Reason
A book by Thomas Paine in which he critiqued organized religion.
Pullman Strike
An 1894 strike again the Pullman Palace Car Company led by Eugene Debs. Crippled chicago railroad traffic, and was crushed by federal troops. 13 deaths, 53 injuries
Domino Theory
Theory that if one nation fell to Communism, all the surrounding nations would likely fall as well. Justification for Vietnam War (in part, obviously)
Nat Turner
Leader of a slave rebellion in 1831 in Virginia. Revolt led to the deaths of 20 whites and 40 blacks and led to the "gag rule' outlawing any discussion of slavery in the House of Representatives
Sir Francis Drake
English explorer/pirate who circumnavigated the globe from 1577 to 1580 and was sent by Queen Elizabeth I to raid Spanish ships/settlements for gold
Loose Constructionists
People who favored a loose reading of the Constitution, especially the elastic clause in order to expand central government powers. Mindset formed the core of the Federalist Party, led by Alexander Hamilton.
Panic of 1873
Economic panic caused by overexpansion and overspeculation, causing the nation's largest bank to collapse (and bringing with it many smaller banks, business firms and the stock market)
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Resolution passed by the Senate in 1964 that allowed President Lyndon Johnson borad war-time powers whthout explicitily declaring war
Tea Act
1773 act which eliminated import tariffs on tea entering England and allowed the British East India Company to sell directly to consumers rather than through merchants. Led to the Boston Tea Party.
Office of War Information
Organization that employed artists, writers and advertisers to shape public opinion concerning World War II. A big propaganda machine.
Oil Embargo
Economic crisis of 1973 that occurred when OPEC nations refused to export oil to Western nations. Ensuing economic crisis plagued Gerald Ford's time in office.
Mason-Dixon Line
Line created in the 1760's to separate the colonial charters of William Penn and Lord Baltimore. Also served as a divider between free and slave states before the Civil War.
Henry Hudson
English explorer (for the Dutch East Indian company) who sailed up the Hudson river in 1609 nearly reaching (present day) Albany.
Stephen A. Douglas
Speaker of the House who pushed the Compromise of 1850 through Congress. Became the leading Northern Democrat and supporter of popular sovereignty, and authored the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Wade-Davis Bill
Bill passed in 1864 which set forth stringent requirements for Confederate states readmission to the Union. Vetoed by President Lincoln who favored a more lenient plan
The Federalist Papers
Series of newspaper articles written by John Hay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton which enumerated arguments in favor of the Constitution and refuted the arguments of the anti-federalists
Committees of Correspondence
Organization founded by Samuel Adams consisting of a system of communication between patriot leaders in New England and throughout the colonies

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