AP US History Terms List (Complete)

The first successful settlement in colonial America, founded in May of 1607. Harsh conditions nearly destroyed the colony but in 1610 supplies arrived with a new wave of settlers. The settlement became part of the Virginia Company of London in 1620. The population remained low due to lack of supplies until agriculture was solidly established.
John Smith
Helped found and govern Jamestown. His leadership and strict discipline helped the Virginia colony get through the difficult first winter.
John Rolfe
He was one of the English settlers at Jamestown (and he married Pocahontas). He discovered how to successfully grow tobacco in Virginia and cure it for export, which made Virginia an economically successful colony.
Virginia House of Burgesses
Virginia’s government modeled after Parliament. Created in 1619. First elected legislative assembly in the New World, established in the Colony of Virginia. Served as an early model of elected government in the New World.
Mayflower Compact
This document was drafted in 1620 prior to settlement by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Bay in Massachusetts. It declared that the 41 males who signed it agreed to accept majority rule and participate in a government in the best interest of all members of the colony. This agreement set the precedent for later documents outlining commonwealth rule.
William Bradford
A Pilgrim, the second governor of the Plymouth colony, 1621-1657. He developed private land ownership and helped colonists get out of debt. He helped the colony survive droughts, crop failures, and Indian attacks.
Plymouth Plantation
Site of the first Thanksgiving in 1621. The first permanent European settlement in southern New England. Separatists were here.
Massachusetts Bay Colony
One of the first settlements in New England; established in 1630 and became a major Puritan colony. Absorbed the Plymouth community. Later became the state of Massachusetts, originally where Boston is located. It was a major trading center.
Relating to the church of England, a branch of Protestantism created by King Henry VIII that is designed to respect the government.
Proprietary Colony
Used to kick back money to the crown. The king gave land to one or more people in return for yearly payment; cash crops.
Restoration Colony
Any royal colony established after 1660, land grants in north america given by king charles II as a reward to his supporters
Halfway Covenant
A Puritan church document; In 1662, it allowed partial membership rights to the children of Visible Saints. Lessened the difference between the “elect” members of the church and the regular members.
Joint Stock Company
A business in which investors pool their wealth for a common purpose, then share the profits after success is reached.
Headright System
Parcels of land consisting of about 50 acres given to colonists who brought indentured servants into America. They were used by the Virginia Company to attract more colonists.
Bacon’s Rebellion
1676 – A group of indentured servants were angry at Virginia Governor Berkley for trying to appease the Doeg Indians after they attacked the western settlements. The frontiersmen formed an army, with ___ as its leader, which defeated the Indians and then marched on Jamestown and burned the city. The rebellion ended suddenly when the leader died of an illness.
King Phillip’s War
War between the Native American tribes of New England and British colonists that took place from 1675-1676. The war was the result of tension caused by encroaching white settlers. The chief of the Wampanoags, Metacom lead the natives. The war ended Indian resistance in New England and left a hatred of whites.
Thomas Hooker
A Puritan minister who led about 100 settlers out of Massachusetts Bay to Connecticut because he believed that the governor and other officials had too much power. He wanted to set up a colony in Connecticut with strict limits on government.
James Oglethorpe
Founder and governor of the Georgia colony. He ran a tightly-disciplined, military-like colony. Slaves, alcohol, and Catholicism were forbidden in his colony. Many colonists felt that Oglethorpe was a dictator, and that (along with the colonist’s dissatisfaction over not being allowed to own slaves) caused the colony to break down and Oglethorpe to lose his position as governor.
William Penn
A Quaker that founded Pennsylvania to establish a place where his people and others could live in peace and be free from persecution.
Sir Edmund Andros
English military man affiliation with Church of England laid heavy restrictons on the courts the press, and the schools, and revoked all land titles he tried to escape wearing women clothing when boston mob tries to catch him he was sent back to england
Benjamin Franklin
American public official, writer, scientist, and printer. After the success of his Poor Richard’s Almanac (1732-1757), he entered politics and played a major part in the American Revolution. Franklin negotiated French support for the colonists, signed the Treaty of Paris (1783), and helped draft the Constitution (1787-1789). His numerous scientific and practical innovations include the lightning rod, bifocal spectacles, and a stove.
Indentured Servants
People who could not afford their passage to the colonies could become this. A master would pay their passage, and in exchange, the ___ would serve that person for a set length of time (usually seven years) and then would be free.
An economic system to increase a nation’s wealth by government regulation of all of the nation’s commercial interests. The amount of gold and silver you own defines how powerful you are. (Europe in 18th C)
Navigation Acts
Laws that governed trade between England and its colonies. Colonists were required to ship certain products exclusively to England. These acts made colonists very angry because they were forbidden from trading with other countries.
The Great Awakening
Religious revival in the 1730-40s, helped by Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield; inspired controversy over emotionalism/revivalism versus traditionalist Protestantism; nevertheless united the colonists as a people.
George Whitefield
One of the key preachers of the great awakening. Had seven revival tours, very popular man. “New Light” preacher, known for his talented voice inflection and ability to bring many a person to their knees.
The Enlightenment
A philosophical movement; Started in Europe in the 1700’s and spread to the colonies. Emphasized reason and the scientific method. Writers of the enlightenment tended to focus on government, ethics, and science, rather than on imagination, emotions, or religion. Many members of the Enlightenment rejected traditional religious beliefs in favor of Deism, which holds that the world is run by natural laws without the direct intervention of God.
The religion of the Enlightenment (1700s). Followers believed that God existed and had created the world, but that afterwards He left it to run by its own natural laws. Denied that God communicated to man or in any way influenced his life.
John Locke
English philosopher who advocated the idea of a “social contract” in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty and property.
French and Indian War
Was a war fought on American soil over control of the Ohio River Valley– English defeated the French in 1763. Historical significance: established England as number one world power and began to gradually change attitudes of the colonists toward England for the worse.
The Albany Congress
Meeting called by Great Britain of 13 colonial representatives in New York in order to develop a treaty with Native Americans and plan the defense of the colonies against France – exceeding these limited objectives, the assembly adopted the ___ Plan of Union
Proclamation of 1763
A proclamation from the British government which forbade British colonists from settling west of the Appalacian Mountains, and which required any settlers already living west of the mountains to move back east. 1763.
Stamp Act of 1765
Was issued in order to raise revenues to support the new British military force. Mandated the use of stamped paper certifying the payment of taxes. Colonist were angrily aroused and felt that this act was jeopardizing the basic right of the colonists as Englishmen. 1765.
Sons of Liberty
A radical political organization formed after the passage of the Stamp Act to protest various British acts; organization used poth peaceful and violent means of protest
Coercive Acts
This series of laws were very harsh laws that intended to make Massachusetts pay for its resistance. It also closed down the Boston Harbor until the Massachusetts colonists paid for the ruined tea. Also forced Bostonians to shelter soldiers in their own homes.
Olive Branch Petition
On July 8, 1775, the colonies made a final offer of peace to Britain, agreeing to be loyal to the British government if it addressed their grievances (repealed the Coercive Acts, ended the taxation without representation policies). It was rejected by Parliament, which in December 1775 passed the American Prohibitory Act forbidding all further trade with the colonies.
“Common Sense”
A pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that criticized monarchies and convinced many common men the imminent need to break away from Britain.
Second Continental Congress
They organized the continental Army and called on the colonies to send troops; selected George Washington to lead the army, and appointed the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence.
Treaty of Paris 1783
This treaty ended the Revolutionary War, recognized the independence of the American colonies, and granted the colonies the territory from the southern border of Canada to the northern border of Florida, and from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River. 1783.
The Northwest Ordinance
Provided the basis for governing much of western territory. The law created a new territory north of the Ohio River which would eventually be divided into three to five states.
Shay’s Rebellion
___ and his farmer followers demanded that the state issue more paper money and less taxes. The gov gives in.
The Constitution
Written to explain the rights of the people and the powers of the federal government, by James Madison.
James Madison
Intellectual known as “The Father of the Constitution”.
Group of people that believed in the peoples’ vote, and having strong state governments.
The Federalist Papers
Written and put in newspapers to be used as propaganda towards the general public.
Alexander Hamilton
Strong federalist leader with a high intensity for war.
Loose Interpretation
Not exactly what the constitution states but along the general outline; Hamilton
Strict Interpretation
Follow the constitution word for word; Jefferson
Strong central government and bank; the wealthy people; Hamilton.
Strong state powers; the common people; Jefferson
Jay’s Treaty
John Jay, sent by Washington, goes to England to negotiate
Whiskey Rebellion
Angry farmers got mad because a tax was put on their whiskey, so no profit was made
XYZ Affair
Three shady French men said the US would have to pay a large sum of money to talk to French leaders
Alien and Sedition Acts
Raise naturalization to 15 years and the president and deport any dangerous citizen; also the current party can’t be basked in writing
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
Madison and Jefferson encouraged the states to nullify the alien and sedition acts because the federal government had exceeded their power
Revolution of 1800
End of the Federalist party; start of Jefferson’s presidency (aka Jeffersonian Revolution)
Marbury vs. Madison
first large court case, Marbury sues Madison for ; establishes judicial review
John Marshall
chief justice; makes decisions that strengthen the central government
Embargo of 1807
Prohibits trade with and cargo from leaving the US going to England or France; Jefferson’s way of punishing England
The War of 1812
Started over neautrality and impressment; ends with the Treaty of Ghent
Clay’s American System
Makes the US economically self-sufficient; high protective tariff, strong national bank, internal improvements (transportation)
Hartford Convention
End of the Federalist party; They complain about the war, states’ rights and the president’s term length
Monroe Doctrine
The US won’t mess in EU’s business if they stay out of our’s; Neutralize the threat of Europe
National road (Cumberland Road)
After the War of 1812 people migrated to the Old Northwest on the new central road
McCullough vs. Maryland
Maryland cannot tax the national bank, the power to tax is the power to destroy; establishes judicial review
Missouri Compromise
11 free states, 11 slave states; created by Henry Clay
John Quincy Adams
Awesome Secretary of State; Federalist; likes tariffs and improvements; hates slavery
Worcester vs. Georgia
Cherokee’s are told they can stay on their land and won’t be forced out
Gibbons vs. Ogden
New York monopoly for a shipping company; Marshall says “no” and strengthens Fed power
Lowell System
Women work in mills to get money for the family; There is one manager
Tariff of Abominations
Raised taxes on imported manufactured goods; economically protected the North but harmed the South
John C. Calhoun
South Carolina politician; wanted each section of the country to share federal power equally; senator
Daniel Webster
Great American Orator; several important speeches as a lawyer and a congressman; representative of North in pre-civil war
Specie Circular
Andrew Jackson’s policy that required hard gold to be used in all land transactions with the federal government
Second Great Awakening
An early 1800’s spiritual movement that emphasized personal salvation and perfection from sin; Charles Finney
Tocqueville’s Democracy in America
When Tocqueville came to America and wrote his observations in a popular novel
Ralph Waldo Emerson; each person had direct communication with God; churches aren’t necessary
The idea of anti-slavery; many people in the North support this movement
Nat Turner’s Rebellion
The largest slave uprising in American history; occurred in Virginia and left 55 white southerners dead
Whig Party
Supported industry; favored protective tariffs and Clay’s American system; Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun are members of this party
Seneca Falls
Large meeting of women to gain womens’ rights- such as voting
Manifest Destiny
Divine right to settle the land from coast to coast
Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo
Mexico gave the US Teas and Southern lands, we paid Mexico $15 million in exchange
Free Soil Party
Party containing mostly Northerners, formed because they wanted slavery banned- it competes with small farms
Republican Party
Free soil + Know-Nothings + Whigs + Northerners merged into a purely sectional party. Liberal and anti-slave
Popular Sovereignty
The people of the new territories should decide for themselves if the state should be free or slave
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin; helped bring along the civil war
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Repealed the Missouri Compromise; Popular Sovereignty would decide slavery in these states
Stephen Douglas
One of the masterminds of the Compromise of 1850 and a man who introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Is for popular sovereignty
Know Nothing Party
Nativist political party; opposed immigrants and catholics; founded in the 1840’s; also known as the American Party, Star Spangled Banner Party
Dred Scott decision
MO slave that achieves freedom, then is re-enslaved. Supreme court rules him as a slave. Also says all states are legally slave states (5th amendment) and that all slaves are private property, forever unable to become freed.
John Brown
Radical abolitionist; believed God wanted him to end slavery. Led Harper’s Ferry and Pottawatomie Creek massacre
Emancipation Proclamation
Lincoln freed all slaves in states that had seceded. Released after Union’s win at Antietam. Law not enforced.
Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction
Pardoned the confederates, put them out of office and government, not paying for damages.
Homestead Act
offered 160 acres of land to any settler who would pay a $10 registration fee and live there for 5 years, cultivate, improve it.
Morill Act
Provided a generous gift of land for education purposes
Military Reconstruction Act
(1867) This legislation divided the south into five districts and were placed under direct control of Northern troops
Freedman’s Bureau
Gave food, clothing, education and jobs tot he freed slaves
13th Amendment
(1865) Freed all slaves and abolished slavery
14th Amendment
This granted, in the constitution, the full citizenship to all native-born or naturalized Americans, including slaves
15th Amendment
Guaranteed suffrage to all men of any color and class
Solid South
The idea that the South would not change from their original beliefs of government and economy
Compromise of 1877
20 disputed votes in electoral college. Rutherford B. Hayes is president, reconstruction over, federal troops removed
Turner’s Frontier Thesis
Americans moving away from European ideas
Dawes Act
Struck directly at tribal organization and tried to make rugged individuals out of the indians
The government’s hands-off policy towards expanding business and the economy
Greenback Party
Anti-corporation, wanted greenbacks as the national currency
Social Darwinism
The belief that only the fittest could last in society (the poor and blacks not made for society)
Andrew Carnegie
Starts off as a work for Hill in the RR business, but becomes richest man in America with the steel industry
John D. Rockefeller
Makes a fortune in the oil business, became philanthropist in later years
Horatio Alger
A dime novel writer in the industrial age, this man wrote about rags to riches opportunities in America
Interstate Commerce Commission
1885, board that monitors the business operation of carries transporting goods and people between states
Sherman Anti-Trust Act
A federal law that committed the American government to opposing monopolies; prohibits contracts and other combinations restricting trade
American Federation of Labor
Led by Samuel Gompers, this organization was a successful trade for skilled-laborers
Knights of Labor
Allow both skilled and unskilled laborers, ended with the Haymarket square bombing
Great Railroad Strike
A collection of seperate strikes of RR workers who stop all RR traffic for two weeks until militia is called in
Pullman Strike
In Chicago of 1894; a RR strike over the factory workers’ wages being slashed
Chinese Exclusion Act
A race-based law supported by American workers who worried about losing their jobs to immigrants
“New” Immigration
Immigration after 1890 that involved Eastern and Southern Europe; many were anarchists or socialists
Social Gospel
A movement that emphasized charity and social responsibility as a means of slavation
Cult of Domesticity
A group of women who fought for prohibition, child labor laws, and suffrage for women
Jane Addams
Created the Hull House to unite immigrants and keep crime out of the poorer neighborhoods
Populist Party
The western farmers who wanted government owned RR and telephones, one term for the president, and the silver standard
William Jennings Bryan
The democratic candidate who ran against McKinley; sticks with the gold vs. silver debate, an old issue
Eugene V. Debs
Leader of the Pullman Strike who was later thrown into jail; the AF of L didn’t support this strike because of this man
Yellow Journalism
Writers wrote sensational stories about events; encouraged the Spanish-American war
People who studied all that was wrong in society and published it in the papers and magazines
Pure Food and Drug Act
Mislabeled and/or contaminated food could not be sold or shipped
Ida Tarbell
A Muckraker who wrote about the corruption of Rockefeller and the Standard Oil business
Robert M. LaFollette
The govenor of Wisconsin who is very progressive; tries to fix his state
Roosevelt Corollary
A step up from the Monroe Doctrine, the US will get involved if a problem is soon going to arise; makes the US the ‘policemen’ of the Western hemisphere
Dollar Diplomacy
US threw money at failing/troubled Latin countries in the hopes that it improves problems; still had to send the Marines anyways because problems were not being fixed by the money
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; led by W.E.B. du Bois
Federal Reserve Act of 1913
Created by Wilson, 12 districts of banks; helps make a more elastic currency
Schenk vs. United States
Court case in which the Supreme Court upheld the Espionage and Sedition Acts
Pancho Villa
A rebel of Mexico who crosses the border back and forth killing American citizens and Mexican citizens; 130,000 troops can’t find him
Selective Service Act
Drafted men into WWI between the ages of 20 and 35
War Industries Board
Bought war supplies and encouraged mass production
Espionage and Sedition Acts
Prohibited any attempt to interfere with the US war operations; made it illegal for netizens to talk bad about the US
Article X
Established the League of Nations and part of the Treaty of Versailles
Palmer Raids
“Communism” was spreading in the laborers was were rounded up
19th Amednment
Written into the constitution to grant women’s suffrage
Teapot Dome Scandal
Albert B. Fall sold priceless naval oil to Sinclair and Doheny after a bribe of $100,000
Marcus Garvey
A Jamaican politician who founded the United Negro Improvement Association to settle blacks
Langston Hughes
Attended Columbia University them moved to Harlem where he wrote many famous pieces of literature
Sacco and Vanzetti Case
Two Italian men convicted of a crime they probably didn’t commit, found guilty and killed
Kellog-Briand Pact
The Secretary of State signed what was known as the Pact of Paris to ensure peace
Smoot-Hawley Tariff
Started as a small tariff to help farmers but ended up as the highest one yet
Reconstruction Finance Corporation
In response to Hoover’s appeal as a government lending bank providing relief
Bonus Marchers
WWI veterans that camped out in front of the White House to get more money
The 1st Hundred Days
Time when FDR was initially judged and created many relief programs
Civilian Conservation Corps; for men 18-25 to work in forestry programs; “Roosevelt’s Tree Planting Army”
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; protected up to $5000 in the bank if the bank failed
Series of codes created by businesses for biz to follow; minimum wage, max hours, child labor; Blue eagle seal= following the codes; eventually failed because there was no binding rule
Huey Long
Governor of Louisiana; wanted a socialistic society for the whole of the US
John Maynard Keynes
Created the Keynesian economic system
Social Security Act
For workers to get a pension when they retire; paid for by younger workers’ payrolls
Wagner Act
Aka NLRA; prohibits unfair labor practices and protects unions and their right to collectively bargain
Neutrality Acts of 1935
After Hitler gains power in Europe; US becomes isolated through these acts, promising our neutrality if a war is thought to be happening somewhere (1935-1937)
The US lent “old” ships to the allies as long as they were given back (they weren’t- FDR purposefully gave them these new ships)
Office of Price Administration
Looks at goods and controls the prices, stops inflation, controls rent rates, some rationing
Korematsu v. U.S.
Man convicted of not going to the internment camps, upheld by the Supreme Court
General, leader of the war against Japan in WWII, leads the “island-hopping”
Yalta Conference
Dominated by Stalin who will not give up his conquered land, works with FDR and Churchill
Truman wanted to stop the USSR from expanding his communist influence any further
Truman Doctrine
Put the US in the global position of stopping the spread of communism
Marshall Plan
A plan to provide aid to rebuild Europe and restart economies and governments
Taft-Hartley Act
Gave the president the power to stop unions and strikes, Truman vetoes it
McCarthy goes after democrats in the government and declares they are communist
People who were “suspects” were put on trial for being an un-loyal communist; “House Un-American Activities Committee”
Modern Republicanism
Supported by the South more and more; more smilar to the old democrats
National Defense Education Act
Provided better scientific education for students due to the arms race
Brown vs. Board of Education
Supreme court repealed Plessy vs. Ferguson and declared “separate but equal” is not equal; things can’t be separate anymore
Little Rock 9
Nine black kids tried to integrate a white high school but the governor wouldn’t allow it
Bay of Pigs
Makes JFK look bad; 14,000 Cuban exiles are sent to Cuba to start a revolution, becomes a disaster
Cuban Missile Crisis
Soviet Union beings to build up their missiles in Cuba, US and Russia barely avoid conflict
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Passed by LBJ as a tribute to JFK, outlaws discrimination against blacks and women
Medicare Act of 1965
Not passed, supposed to give people money when they are injured
Immigration Act of 1965
Revoked any previous restrictions on immigration into the US
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Ensures federal intervention in blacks registered voters, focuses on the South
Fighting forces for North Vietnam but on the S.Viet side, fights against the US
Ho Chi Minh
The communist leader of China that helps N.Viet against the French
“Domino Theory”
If one nation falls to communism then all of them will
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Gave LBJ permission to unofficially declare war on south east Asia
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
MLK, Jr. calls on southern churches to help with civil rights
a black youth group; start out with peaceful sit-ins but eventually become violent
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Very influential black priest; the clear leader of the civil rights movement
Montgomery Bus Boycotts
Started by Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat
March on Washington
A non-violent march led by MLK, Jr. to ask the gov for civil rights more directly
Black Panthers
A leftist African American revolutionary group; related to Malcolm X
Malcolm X
Assassinated in 1965 after he realized that MLK was right during his trip to Mecca, had a large mouth and a gap in his teeth
Tet Offensive
The Vietcong and the N.Viet invaded S.Viet; the US “won” physically but were defeated psychologically– the public now questioned what was really happening
Kent State
A college riot over the fact that bombs were still being dropped in Viet after the ceasefire, four people die.
Nixon’s policy of de-escalating the war and pulling troops gradually out
Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT)
The US and the USSR promise to limit the amount of nuclear weapons
A cooling of cold war tensions that start when Nixon visits the USSR and China
Nixon thought he wouldn’t win so he hired the FBI to make false evidence against the Democrats
War Powers Act
Congress passed a law that checked Nixon’s power as president because of his Vietnam calls
Camp David Accords
President Jimmy Carter got Israel and Egypt to come to an agreement over land
A policy used by president Reagan to cut deficit spending and taxes to fix the economy

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