American History 1492-1877

Thomas Paine
American Revolutionary leader and pamphleteer (born in England) who supported the American colonist’s fight for independence and supported the French Revolution (1737-1809)
Common Sense
1776: a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that claimed the colonies had a right to be an independent nation
Declaration of Independence
1776 statement, issued by the Second Continental Congress, explaining why the colonies wanted independence from Britain.
Deborah Sampson
At the age of 21, she dressed up as a man in order to fight in the American Revolution; is the first documented woman to impersonate a man to get into the army; was awarded an honorable discharge and pension; and proved that women could be of some use in the war. Used the name Robert Shurtliff
The Battle of Long Island
The British came to the Americas with about 34,000 troops vs. Washington’s 20,000 troops. In the battle more than 14,000 Americans were killed, wounded or captured.
Ladies Association
organization formed in 1780 by women from prominent Philadelphia families to collect money for Continental soldiers. It is an example of women’s increasing engagement in political life during the Revolution.
Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation
On November 7th, 1775 Lord Dunmore of Virginia promised freedom to any slave who fought for the British
Battle of Saratoga
(1777) Turning point of the American Revolution. It was very important because it convinced the French to give the U.S. military support. It lifted American spirits, ended the British threat in New England by taking control of the Hudson River, and, most importantly, showed the French that the Americans had the potential to beat their enemy, Great Britain.
Horatio Gates
American General whose troops defeated the British forces at Saratoga.
John Burgoyne
British general in the American Revolution who captured Fort Ticonderoga but lost the battle of Saratoga in 1777 (1722-1792)
Benedict Arnold
He had been a Colonel in the Connecticut militia at the outbreak of the Revolution and soon became a General in the Continental Army. He won key victories for the colonies in the battles in upstate New York in 1777, and was instrumental in General Gates victory over the British at Saratoga. After becoming Commander of Philadelphia in 1778, he went heavily into debt, and in 1780, he was caught plotting to surrender the key Hudson River fortress of West Point to the British in exchange for a commission in the royal army. He is the most famous traitor in American history.
Battle of Yorktown
Last major battle of the Revolutionary War. Cornwallis and his troops were trapped in the Chesapeake Bay by the French fleet. He was sandwiched between the French navy and the American army. He surrendered October 19, 1781.
General Cornwallis
British General who surrendered at Yorktown
Treaty of Paris
agreement signed by British and American leaders that stated the United States of America was a free and independent country
certificates of freedom
certificates given to African Americans who were planning to leave for the British Colonies in order to ensure their freedom
Articles of Confederation
1st Constitution of the U.S. 1781-1788 (weaknesses-no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)
Newburgh Conspiracy
The officers of the Continental Army had long gone without pay, and they met in Newburgh, New York to address Congress about their pay. Unfortunately, the American government had little money after the Revolutionary War. They also considered staging a coup and seizing control of the new government, but the plotting ceased when George Washington refused to support the plan.
Fort Stanwix
A fort in the Mohawk Valley of New York that was the site of a twenty-day siege by British forces during the Saratoga campaign in August 1777. The siege ended with the arrival of forces under the command of Benedict Arnold.
North West Ordinance
Enacted in 1787, it is considered one of the most significant achievements of the Articles of Confederation. It established a system for setting up governments in the western territories so they could eventually join the Union on an equal footing with the original 13 states
Republican Motherhood
An idea linked to republicanism that elevated the role of women. It gave them the prestigious role as the special keepers of the nation’s conscience. Educational opportunities for women expanded due to this. Its roots were from the idea that a citizen should be to his country as a mother is to her child.
Shay’s Rebellion
A 1787 rebellion in which ex-Revolutionary War soldiers attempted to prevent foreclosures of farms as a result of high interest rates and taxes, 1786- Led by Captain Daniel Shays, Revolutionary war veteran. An uprising that flared up in western Massachusetts. Impoverished backcountry farmers, many of them Revolutionary war veterans, were losing their farms through mortgage foreclosures and tax delinquencies. They demanded cheap paper money, lighter taxes, and a suspension of mortgage fore closures. Hundreds of angry agitators attempted to enforce these demands. Massachusetts authorities, supported by wealthy citizens, raised a small army under General Lincoln.
Virginia Plan
“Large state” proposal for the new constitution, calling for proportional representation in both houses of a bicameral Congress. The plan favored larger states and thus prompted smaller states to come back with their own plan for apportioning representation.
New Jersey Plan
A framework for the Constitution proposed by a group of small states; its key points were a one-house legislature with one vote for each state, the establishment of the acts of Congress as the “supreme law” of the land, and a supreme judiciary with limited power.
3/5 compromise
A compromise between Southern and Northern states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in which three-fifths of the population of slaves would be counted for enumeration purposes regarding both the distribution of taxes and the apportionment of the members of the United States House of Representatives.
Henry Knox
In 1775 George Washington ordered him, the nation’s first secreatry of war, to bring the British artillery back to the siege of Boston that was captured at Fort Ticonderoga.
Fort Washington
This was the operational base for campaigns against Indians in the Northwest Territory
Battle of Fallen Timbers
The U.S. Army defeated the Native Americans under Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket and ended Native American hopes of keeping their land that lay north of the Ohio River
Treaty of Greenville
Gave America all of Ohio after General Mad Anthony Wayne battled and defeated the Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. 1795 Allowed Americans to explore the area with peace of mind that the land belonged to America and added size and very fertile land to America.
French Revolution
A major change in government that began in 1789; it brought an end to the absolute monarchy and a start to a representative government
Neutrality Proclamation 1789
Washington’s declaration that the U.S. would not take sides after the French Revolution touched off a war between France and a coalition consisting primarily of England, Austria and Prussia. Washington’s Proclamation was technically a violation of the Franco-American Treaty of 1778.
The Jay Treaty
treaty in which Britain agreed to evacuate its posts on the western frontier (1) pay for recently confiscated American ships (1) trade with British India (1) and use ports in the West Indies (1) but did not address the issue of British impressment of American sailors (1)
Sedition Acts
Limited the freedom of Press and Speech of the citizens. If a citizen “bad mouthed” the government they were imprisoned and fined.
Alien Acts
These consist of four laws passed by the Federalist Congress and signed by President Adams in 1798: the Naturalization Act, which increased the waiting period for an immigrant to become a citizen from 5 to 14 years; the Alien Act, which empowered the president to arrest and deport dangerous aliens; the Alien Enemy Act, which allowed for the arrest and deportation of citizens of countries at was with the US; and the Sedition Act, which made it illegal to publish defamatory statements about the federal government or its officials. The first 3 were enacted in response to the XYZ Affair, and were aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were considered subversives. The Sedition Act was an attempt to stifle Democratic-Republican opposition, although only 25 people were ever arrested, and only 10 convicted, under the law. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which initiated the concept of “nullification” of federal laws were written in response to the Acts.
Toussant L’Ouverture
led slave revolution in haiti
Haitian Revolution
Toussaint l’Ouverture led this uprising, which in 1790 resulted in the successful overthrow of French colonial rule on this Caribbean island. This revolution set up the first black government in the Western Hemisphere and the world’s second democratic republic (after the US). The US was reluctant to give full support to this republic led by former slaves.
Louisiana Purchase
1803 purchase of the Louisiana territory from France. Made by Jefferson, this doubled the size of the US.
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.
non-intercourse act
1809 – Replaced the Embargo of 1807. Unlike the Embargo, which forbade American trade with all foreign nations, this act only forbade trade with France and Britain. It did not succeed in changing British or French policy towards neutral ships, so it was replaced by Macon’s Bill No. 2.
Rush-Bagot Disarment
Limited U.S & British naval vessels
Horace Mann
(AJ) , late 1830s, MA, United States educator who introduced reforms that significantly altered the system of public education (1796-1859)
The Missouri Compromise
1820 agreement calling for the admission of Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state and outlawing slavery in future states to be created north of the 36, 30 parallel
Nat Turner Rebellion
Nat Turner, and overseer, minister, and slave, had a divine call and revolted, killing families of masters and 35 more whites, Turner and 16 others slaves were hanged; results: stricter laws, creative ways to defend slavery, new period of abolition
Monroe Doctrine
1823 – Declared that Europe should not interfere in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere and that any attempt at interference by a European power would be seen as a threat to the U.S. It also declared that a New World colony which has gained independence may not be recolonized by Europe. (It was written at a time when many South American nations were gaining independence). Only England, in particular George Canning, supported the Monroe Doctrine. Mostly just a show of nationalism, the doctrine had no major impact until later in the 1800s.
1818 Treaty
Treaty between Britain and America, that allowed Americans to share the Newfoundland fisheries with Canada, and gave both countries a joint occupation of the Oregon Territory for the next 10 years.
Treaty of Gudalupe Hidalgo
ended the Mexican War; gave the United States control of Texas, California, and most other Spanish lands in the west
Compromise of 1850
(1) California admitted as free state, (2) territorial status and popular sovereignty of Utah and New Mexico, (3) resolution of Texas-New Mexico boundaries, (4) federal assumption of Texas debt, (5) slave trade abolished in DC, and (6) new fugitive slave law; advocated by Henry Clay and Stephen A. Douglas
Fugitive Slave Act
(1850) a law that made it a crime to help runaway slaves; allowed for the arrest of escaped slaves in areas where slavery was illegal and required their return to slaveholders
The Kansas-Nebraska Act
1854; sponsored by Senator Stephen Douglas, this would rip open the slavery debate; and create the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opened new lands, repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and allowed settlers in those territories to determine if they would allow slavery within their boundaries.
Dred Scott
A black slave, had lived with his master for 5 years in Illinois and Wisconsin Territory. Backed by interested abolitionists, he sued for freedom on the basis of his long residence on free soil. The ruling on the case was that He was a black slave and not a citizen, so he had no rights.
John Brown
Abolitionist who was hanged after leading an unsuccessful raid at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (1800-1858)
Charles Sumner
A leader of the Radical republicans along with Thaddeus Stevens. He was from Massachusetts and was in the senate. His two main goals were breaking the power of wealthy planters and ensuring that freedmen could vote
Lincoln vs. Douglas
1858 battle for senate position; douglas was already a senator for 2 yrs and lincoln was a successful lawyer; lincoln challenged him to debated for people to watch, and he accepted; douglas didnt think slavery was immoral- just not needed on the praries and wanted pop sov; lincoln thought slavery was immoral and greedy; douglas though pop sov would eventually end slavery; lincoln thought it would never end unless gov outlawed it; douglas tried to make lincoln look like an abolitionist and lincoln tried to make douglas look like a proslavery person; douglass won senate seat but tore apart democratic party
Harpers Ferry
John Brown’s scheme to invade the South with armed slaves, backed by sponsoring, northern abolitionists; seized the federal arsenal; Brown and remnants were caught by Robert E. Lee and the US Marines; Brown was hanged
The Minie Ball
the mini ball was a deadly, hollow based, round nose bullet.
Robert E Lee
Confederate general who had opposed secession but did not believe the Union should be held together by force
General Ulysses S Grant
The lead general of the Union Army. He was brave and bold. His daring attacks and recklessness lost him many men.
Contraband of War
Lincoln’s Civil War policy of treating runaway slaves as enemy war property. He accepted the slaves as a way to hurt the Southern cause. They were freed and employed as aides to the Union army until Lincoln started recruiting black troops after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Militia Act of 1862
as legislation enacted by the United States Congress in 1862 during the American Civil War to draft 300,000 eligible soldiers into the Union Armies. It also allowed African Americans to join the Union Army.
Emancipation Proclamation
Lincoln’s order that slaves in Confederate states would be forever free. *Changes focus of the war from being about preserving the Union to ending slavery.
Belle Boyd
female spy who informed Confederate generals of Union army movements in the Shenandoah Valley
Election of 1864
Lincoln vs. McClellan, Lincoln wants to unite North and South, McClellan wants war to end if he’s elected, citizens of North are sick of war so many vote for McClellan, Lincoln wins
Confiscation Acts
Series of laws passed by federal government designed to liberate slaves in seceded states; authorized Union seizure of rebel property, and stated that all slaves who fought with Confederate military services were freed of further obligations to their masters; virtually emancipation act of all slaves in Confederacy
The Freedman’s Bureau
Reconstruction agency established in 1865 to protect the legal rights of former slaves and to assist with their education, jobs, health care, and landowning.
Black Codes
Laws denying most legal rights to newly freed slaves; passed by southern states following the Civil War
The president may pardon persons of crimes against the government
Civil Rights Act 1866
Passed by Congress on 9th April 1866 over the veto of President Andrew Johnson. The act declared that all persons born in the United States were now citizens, without regard to race, color, or previous condition.
14th Amendment
1) Citizenship for African Americans, 2) Repeal of 3/5 Compromise, 3) Denial of former confederate officials from holding national or state office, 4) Repudiate (reject) confederate debts
American Equal Rights Association
Organization founded in 1866 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to secure equal rights for all citizens regardless of race or sex.
Military Reconstruction Act
1867; divided the South into five districts and placed them under military rule; required Southern States to ratify the 14th amendment; guaranteed freedmen the right to vote in convention to write new state constitutions
15th Amendment
Citizens cannot be denied the right to vote because of race, color , or precious condition of servitude, all males can vote.
Stands for Ku Klux Klan and started right after the Civil War in 1866. The Southern establishment took charge by passing discriminatory laws known as the black codes. Gives whites almost unlimited power. They masked themselves and burned black churches, schools, and terrorized black people. They are anti-black and anti-Semitic. Started in Tenn.
was one of several important civil rights acts passed by Congress during Reconstruction, the period following the Civil War when the victorious northern states attempted to create a new political order in the South. The act was intended to protect African Americans from violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a white supremacist group.
Civil Rights Act 1875
Prohibited discrimination against blacks in public place, such as inns, amusement parks, and on public transportation. Declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Slaughterhouse Cases
A series of post-Civil War Supreme Court cases containing the first judicial pronouncements on the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The Court held that these amendments had been adopted solely to protect the rights of freed blacks, and could not be extended to guarantee the civil rights of other citizens against deprivations of due process by state governments. These rulings were disapproved by later decisions.
U.S. vs Cruikshank
1875 he wanted to reestablish white gov. in Louisiana. The Supreme Court ruled that due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th protected citizens only from the action of the state and not from the actions of the citizens.
Compromise of 1877
…, Ended Reconstruction. Republicans promise 1) Remove military from South, 2) Appoint Democrat to cabinet (David Key postmaster general), 3) Federal money for railroad construction and levees on Mississippi river: this made Hayes president vs. Tilden
The Battle of Little Big Horn
Sioux forces led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull surrounded and defeated Custer and his troops.

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