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Flashcards in Key Concepts Deck (26):

Jacksonian Era

Era of the Common Man
- Jackson's election as president in 1828 until the slavery issue became dominant after 1850 and the American Civil War dramatically reshaped American politics
- marked a new direction in American politics: second party system:
- DP declared itself to be the party of ordinary farmers and workers.
- DP opposed the special privileges of economic elites.
- To offer affordable western land to ordinary white Americans, Indians needed to be forced further westward (—> Indian Removal)
- strength of presidency
—> egalitarianism BUT ALSO masculine privilege and racial prejudice
—> manifest destiny
—> Monroe Doctrine: necessary step towards democratization


Panic of 1837

After Andrew Jackson left office and Martin Van Buren was in charge a severe depression, called the Panic of 1837, struck.
Jackson: extinguishing the national debt, “Bank War” —> creating an imbalance in the financial system
1835/36 speculative boom: banks doubled, value of bank notes in circulation tripled, commodity and land prizes went up
May 1837: prices tumbled, paper money (soft currency) could no longer be exchanged for hard coin, wages dropped —> despair


Indian Removal Act

1. signed by Jackson and passed in Congress in 1830
2. authorized the president to negotiate with Indian tribes
3. land exchange but unequal quality & relocation (1837: 46,000 east to west)
4. Five Civilized Tribes: Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida & Tennessee
5. Indian Colonization Zone (Louisiana Purchase; now: Oklahoma)


Trail of Tears

1831-1836 (by 1837: 46,000)
Tribes moved more or less voluntarily
Working on behalf of white settlers who wanted to grow cotton on the Indians’ land, the federal government forced the Natives to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles to a specially designated “Indian territory” across the Mississippi River. This difficult and sometimes deadly journey is known as the Trail of Tears.
- 1838: forcefull removal of the Cherokees from Georgia —> diseases, starvation, fatigue: about ⅓ died


Little Bighorn

The Battle of the Little Bighorn (25 June 1876)
near the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory
- federal troops led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (1839-76) vs. a band of Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors
- Tensions between the two groups had been rising since the discovery of gold on Native American lands. When a number of tribes missed a federal deadline to move to reservations, the U.S. Army, including Custer and his 7th Calvary, was dispatched to confront them. Custer was unaware of the number of Indians fighting under the command of Sitting Bull (c.1831-90) at Little Bighorn, and his forces were outnumbered and quickly overwhelmed in what became known as Custer’s Last Stand.


Wounded Knee

Ghost Dance: spiritual movement (practice of old customs, reject the ways of the white man) —> threat to American government

Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota, was the site of a conflict between North American Indians and representatives of the U.S. government. An 1890 massacre left about 200 Native Americans (men, women, children) dead, in what was the final clash between federal troops and the Sioux.


Republican Motherhood

- Abigail Adams
- academic training of mothers: family is the nucleus of society
= an attitude toward women's roles present in the emerging United States before, during, and after the American Revolution (c. 1654 to 1920)
- centered on the belief that the patriots' daughters should be raised to uphold the ideals of republicanism, in order to pass on republican values to the next generation
- Republican motherhood meant civic duty
- anachronism: Republican Motherhood and Feminism
}reinforced the idea of a domestic women's sphere separate from the public world of men
}encouraged the education of women and invested their "traditional" sphere with a dignity and importance that had been missing from previous conceptions of Women's work.


Mexican(-American) War

- Texas gained its independence from Mexico in 1836. Initially, the United States declined to incorporate it into the union, largely because northern political interests were against the addition of a new slave state. The Mexican government was also encouraging border raids and warning that any attempt at annexation would lead to war.
- annexation procedures were quickly initiated after the 1844 election of Polk (--> MANIFEST DESTINY), who campaigned that Texas should be “re-annexed” and that the Oregon Territory should be “re-occupied.” Polk also had his eyes on California, New Mexico and the rest of what is today the U.S. Southwest. When his offer to purchase those lands was rejected, he instigated a fight by moving troops into a disputed zone between the Rio Grande and Nueces River that both countries had previously recognized as part of the Mexican state of Coahuila.
- Finally, on Feb. 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, establishing the Rio Grande and not the Nueces River as the U.S.-Mexican border. Under the treaty, Mexico also recognized the U.S. annexation of Texas, and agreed to sell California and the rest of its territory north of the Rio Grande for $15 million plus the assumption of certain damages claims.



- state policy of extending power and dominion, especially by direct territorial acquisition or by gaining political and economic control of other areas.
- During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the United States pursued an aggressive policy of expansionism
- Manifest Destiny: as pioneers settled the last western frontiers, expansionists looked yet farther to the west—toward Asia and the Pacific


Manifest Destiny

- Manifest Destiny is a term for the attitude prevalent during the 19th century period of American expansion that the United States not only could, but was destined to, stretch from coast to coast. This attitude helped fuel western settlement, Native American removal and war with Mexico.
- The term manifest destiny originated in the 1840s and was coined by John L. O’Sullivan. It expressed the belief that it was Anglo-Saxon Americans’ providential mission to expand their civilization and institutions across the breadth of North America. This expansion would involve not merely territorial aggrandizement but the progress of liberty and individual economic opportunity as well.


Missouri Compromise

In the years leading up to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, tensions began to rise between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions within the U.S. Congress and across the country. They reached a boiling point after Missouri’s 1819 request for admission to the Union as a slave state, which threatened to upset the delicate balance between slave states and free states. To keep the peace, Congress orchestrated a two-part compromise, granting Missouri’s request but also admitting Maine as a free state. It also passed an amendment that drew an imaginary line across the former Louisiana Territory, establishing a boundary between free and slave regions that remained the law of the land until it was negated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.



- Abolitionism in the United States was the movement prior to the American Civil War to end slavery in the United States.
- The goal of the abolitionist movement was the immediate emancipation of all slaves and the end of racial discrimination and segregation
vs. more moderate anti-slavery advocates (gradual emancipation) and from free-soil activists (restrict slavery to existing areas and prevent its spread further west)
- Radical abolitionism was partly fueled by the religious fervor of the Second Great Awakening, which prompted many people to advocate for emancipation on religious grounds. Abolitionist ideas became increasingly prominent in Northern churches and politics beginning in the 1830s, which contributed to the regional animosity between North and South leading up to the Civil War.


Plantation System

is an economy based on agricultural mass production:
In the 17th century Europeans began to establish settlement in the Americas. The division of the land into smaller units under private ownership became known as the plantation system. Starting in Virginia the system spread to the New England colonies. Crops grown on these plantations such as tobacco, rice, sugar cane and cotton were labour intensive. Slaves were in the fields from sunrise to sunset and at harvest time they did an eighteen hour day. Women worked the same hours as the men and pregnant women were expected to continue until their child was born.


Emancipation beyond the U.S.

As the Civil War faded into history, the term Manifest Destiny experienced a brief revival. In the 1892 U.S. presidential election, the Republican Party platform proclaimed: "We reaffirm our approval of the Monroe doctrine and believe in the achievement of the manifest destiny of the Republic in its broadest sense." What was meant by "manifest destiny" in this context was not clearly defined, particularly since the Republicans lost the election. In the presidential election of 1896, however, the Republicans recaptured the White House and held on to it for the next 16 years. During that time, Manifest Destiny was cited to promote overseas expansion. Whether or not this version of Manifest Destiny was consistent with the continental expansionism of the 1840s was debated at the time, and long afterwards.[17]
For example, when President William McKinley advocated annexation of the Territory of Hawaii in 1898, he said that "We need Hawaii as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is manifest destiny." On the other hand, former President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat who had blocked the annexation of Hawaii during his administration, wrote that McKinley's annexation of the territory was a "perversion of our national destiny." Historians continued that debate; some have interpreted the overseas expansion of the 1890s as an extension of Manifest Destiny across the Pacific Ocean; others have regarded it as the antithesis of Manifest Destiny.


Compromise of 1850

Divisions over slavery in territory, gained in the Mexican-American (1846-48) war, were resolved in the Compromise of 1850.
The laws proposed by Senator Henry Clay, challenged by President Zachary Taylor and supported by his successor Millard Fillmore:
1. admitting California as a free state
2. creating Utah and New Mexico territories with the question of slavery in each to be determined by popular sovereignty
3. settling a Texas-New Mexico boundary dispute in the former’s favor
4. assume the considerable public debt of Texas
5. ending the slave trade in Washington, D.C.
6. a more effective fugitive slave law, making it easier for southerners to recover fugitive slaves


Dred Scott Case

In March 1857, in one of the most controversial events preceding the American Civil War (1861-65), the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford. The case had been brought before the court by Dred Scott, a slave who had lived with his owner in a free state before returning to the slave state of Missouri. Scott argued that his time spent in these locations entitled him to emancipation. In his decision, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a staunch supporter of slavery, disagreed: The court found that no black, free or slave, could claim U.S. citizenship, and therefore blacks were unable to petition the court for their freedom. The Dred Scott decision incensed abolitionists and heightened North-South tensions, which would erupt in war just three years later



Secession, as it applies to the outbreak of the American Civil War, comprises the series of events that began on December 20, 1860, and extended through June 8 of the next year when eleven states in the Lower and Upper South severed their ties with the Union. The first seven seceding states of the Lower South set up a provisional government at Montgomery, Alabama. After hostilities began at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861, the border states of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina joined the new government, which then moved its capital to Richmond, Virginia. The Union was thus divided approximately on geographic lines. Twenty-one northern and border states retained the style and title of the United States, while the eleven slave states adopted the nomenclature of the Confederate States of America.


Emancipation Proclamation

When the American Civil War (1861-65) began, President Abraham Lincoln carefully framed the conflict as concerning the preservation of the Union rather than the abolition of slavery. Although he personally found the practice of slavery abhorrent, he knew that neither Northerners nor the residents of the border slave states would support abolition as a war aim. But by mid-1862, as thousands of slaves fled to join the invading Northern armies, Lincoln was convinced that abolition had become a sound military strategy, as well as the morally correct path. On September 22, soon after the Union victory at Antietam, he issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
—> While the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave, it was an important turning point in the war, transforming the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom.



1863 – 1877
13th: abolition of slavery
14th: broadened the definition of citizenship, granting “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves
15th: guaranteed that a citizen’s right to vote would not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
Under President Andrew Johnson’s Presidential Reconstruction the southern state governments were given free reign to rebuild themselves and thus to establish the status quo from before the war.
- all land from the freed slaves to its prewar owners
- successfully enacted a series of laws known as the “black codes,” which were designed to restrict freed blacks’ activity and ensure their availability as a labor force
—> enraged many in the North, including numerous members of Congress – the Civil Rights Act became the first major bill to become law over presidential veto.
Republicans in Congress took firm hold of Reconstruction in the South: Reconstruction Act of 1867
- temporarily divided the South into five military districts
- outlined how governments based on universal (male) suffrage were to be organized
- required southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment
By 1870, all of the former Confederate states had been admitted to the Union, and the state constitutions during the years of Radical Reconstruction were the most progressive in the region’s history: African-American participation in southern public life after 1867



After 1867, an increasing number of southern whites turned to violence in response to the revolutionary changes of Radical Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations targeted local Republican leaders, white and black, and other African Americans who challenged white authority. Though federal legislation passed during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871 took aim at the Klan and others who attempted to interfere with black suffrage and other political rights, white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South after the early 1870s as support for Reconstruction waned. Racism was still a potent force in both South and North, and Republicans became more conservative and less egalitarian as the decade continued.


Jim Crow / Segregation

The term “Jim Crow” refers to repressive laws and customs once used to restrict black rights
- originated in the early 1830s, the white actor Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice was propelled to stardom for performing minstrel act where he donned blackface and performed jokes and songs in a stereotypical slave dialect. Jim Crow became a widely used derogatory term for blacks
With the collapse of the radical Reconstruction era and the spread of democratic idealism, began a region-wide passage of 'Jim Crow' segregation laws, mandating the segregation of whites and blacks in the public sphere.

The legitimacy of laws requiring segregation of blacks was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson and sustained the constitutionality of a Louisiana statute that required railroad companies to provide "Separate but equal" accommodations for white and black passengers and prohibited whites and blacks from using railroad cars that were not assigned to their race.


Native American Activism1

In November 1969, some 200 Native Americans seized the abandoned federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. For 19 months, Indian activists occupied the island to draw attention to conditions on the nation's Indian reservations. Alcatraz, the Native Americans said, symbolized conditions on reservations: "It has no running water; it has inadequate sanitation facilities; there is no industry, and so unemployment is very great; there are no health care facilities; the soil is rocky and unproductive." The activists, who called themselves Indians of All Tribes, offered to buy Alcatraz from the federal government for "$24 in glass beads and red cloth."


Native American Activism2

Native Americans remained the poorest minority in the U.S. Unemployment during the 1950s reached 70-86%. Between 1954 and 1962 Congress moved away from the New Deal efforts to reassert Indian sovereignty and cultural autonomy and back towards the goal of assimilation.
terminated treaties
withdrew financial support
to increase „Indian self-sufficiency"
- pushed Indian off their lands to sell it and lured them into urban areas (Voluntary Relocation Program)


Civil Rights Movements

Nearly 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans in Southern states still inhabited a starkly unequal world of disenfranchisement, segregation and various forms of oppression, including race-inspired violence. “Jim Crow” laws at the local and state levels barred them from classrooms and bathrooms, from theaters and train cars, from juries and legislatures.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine that formed the basis for state-sanctioned discrimination, drawing national and international attention to African Americans’ plight.
Civil rights activists used nonviolent protest and civil disobedience to bring about change, and the federal government made legislative headway with initiatives such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Many leaders from within the African American community and beyond rose to prominence during the Civil Rights era, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Andrew Goodman and others.


Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, or commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is sometimes, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance.
The initial phase of the black protest activity in the post-Brown period began on December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks of Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her seat to a white bus rider, thereby defying a southern custom that required blacks to give seats toward the front of buses to whites. When she was jailed, a black community boycott of the city’s buses began. The boycott lasted more than a year, demonstrating the unity and determination of black residents and inspiring blacks elsewhere.


Black Power

Black Power is a political slogan and a name for various associated ideologies aimed at achieving self-determination for people of African/Black descent.
It is used by African Americans in the United States.The movement was prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s, emphasizing racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests and advance black values.
"Black Power" expresses a range of political goals, from defense against racial oppression, to the establishment of social institutions and a self-sufficient economy. The earliest known usage of the term is found in a 1954 book by Richard Wright entitled Black Power.