Iran-Contra affair -scandal which occurred late in Ronald Reagan's presidency, in which members of the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran in exchange for help freeing hostages and then, illegally funneled the money from the sales to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, who were fighting against the Communist Sandinista government.
Iranian hostage crisis -crisis that began in 1979 after Iranian revolutionaries stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took everyone inside hostage. In exchange for their release, the Iranians demanded that the U.S. government hand over the Shah of Iran to stand trial When Carter refused, the hostage standoff lasted the remainder of Carter's time in office and included a failed attempt at a military rescue. Carter's handling of the situation contributed greatly to his defeat in the 1980 election.
Irving Berlin -famous composer associated with Tin Pan Alley who composed over three thousand songs during his career. Among his famous hits are the traditional Christmas favorite "White Christmas," the patriotic theme "God Bless America," and "There's No Business Like Show Business" from the Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun.
island hopping ,-strategy used by U.S. forces in the Pacific that involved conquering one group of islands, then moving on to another, as the U.S. military made its way to Japan.
isolationism -philosophy that the United States should stay out of international conflicts and should not desire expansion.
Jackie Robinson -became famous as the first African American during the modern era to play baseball in the Major League.
Jacksonian Democracy -Jackson's brand of politics and the changes he inspired. It included a strong belief in western expansion and the rights of white frontier settlers, Jacksonian Democracy featured: universal suffrage, the spoils system, laissez-faire economics, Indian removal, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution,
Jacksonian interpretation of theConstitution -Jackson had a strict interpretation of the Constitution, Although he often pushed the bounds of presidential power (Jackson believed the president should have more power and say than Congress) and was even accused by his enemies of acting more like a king than a president, Andrew Jackson believed that the federal government should be restricted to only those powers the Constitution specifically gave it.
James Madison -Federalist leader who played a key role in drafting the Constitution and who is often referred to as the "Father of the Constitution."
James Meredith '"-first African American admitted to the University of Mississippi.
Jamestown -first successful English colony in North America (founded in Virginia).
Jane Addams -progressive who opened Hull House as a settlement house in Chicago.
Japan -island nation in Southeast Asia whose military aggression and desire to expand its empire led to the start of WWII in the Pacific,
jazz -a popular form of music after ,World War I that arose out of the African American community as musical artists from Louisiana and Mississippi brought their talents to the northern cities. Its fast-paced rhythm inspired new dances like the "Charleston" and helped create a thriving nightlife. Crossing ethnic boundaries, jazz found a receptive audience among both blacks and young whites.
Jefferson Davis -first and only president of the Confederate States of America.
Jim Crow Laws --laws passed in the South after Reconstruction that required blacks and whites to use separate public facilities.
Jimmy Carter -Democrat and former governor of Georgia who was elected president in 1976. Despite being praised for the success of the Camp David Accords, he was viewed by many as being weak due to his handling of the Iranian hostage crisis and the manner in which he dealt with the Soviet Union. He was also blamed by many for the state of the U.S. economy. He was soundly beaten by Ronald Reagan in the election of 1980.
John Adams -Federalist who became the second president of the United States after Washington did not run for a third term,
John Brown's Raid -plot led by John Brown, in which he and a band of radical abolitionists attacked the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry. They hoped to seize weapons and give them to slaves, who could then rise up in armed rebellion. Their plan failed, however, when U.S. troops under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee surrounded the arsenal and forced Brown's surrender. Although Brown was hanged, his actions intensified southern resentment of the abolitionist movement, and many saw it as proof that the South would have to shed blood to protect its way of life.
John C. Calhoun -One of South Carolina's senators during the 1800s (and, for a time, Andrew Jackson's vice president) who became a champion of state's rights and a southern regional hero.
John F. Kennedy -President after Dwight Eisenhower. He was president during the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also issued a challenge to NASA to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. He was assassinated and was succeeded by Lyndon Johnson.
John Locke -British political philosopher who challenged the old view that monarchs possess a God-given right to rule with citizens obligated to obey, He believed that people were born with certain "natural rights" that no government could morally take away, He also advocated social contract theory, which holds that there is an implied contract between government and citizens,
Johnson's Great Society -President Johnson's domestic programs- which were meant to end poverty and involved large amounts of government spending.
Johnson's impeachment -Congress impeached President Johnson after he tried to fire Secretary of War Edwin Stanton because such a move violated the Tenure in Office Act. The impeachment was led by a fiery Radical Republican congressman named Thaddeus Stevens and brought to a head the conflict between Congress and the president over Reconstruction. The Senate voted to spare Johnson's presidency by just one vote.
Joseph McCarthy -Wisconsin Senator who was convinced that Communists had infiltrated high levels of government and the U.S. military. Initially popular, he eventually had to defend his views in a series of televised hearings in which most U.S. citizens viewed him as paranoid at best and downright crazy at worst.
Joseph Stalin -was leader of the Soviet Union during WWII.
Kansas-Nebraska Act -This act allowed the previously free and unorganized territories of Kansas and Nebraska to choose whether or not to permit slavery by popular sovereignty. Its guidelines effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise and reignited the slavery issue. It resulted in a bloody civil war within Kansas.
Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate -first televised presidential debate in history. It changed politics because it demonstrated that candidates would now have to worry about how they looked and presented themselves on television,
Kent State University -site of a student antiwar protest that resulted in National Guardsmen shooting and killing four people and wounding nine others.
King Philip's War -confrontation between Native Americans and white settlers in New England that resulted in settlers gaining firmer control over the region.
Korean War -war fought between North and South Korea that also involved U.S. troops and other nations backed by the UN. It ended in a cease-fire that left Korea divided at almost the exact same point as it was before the fighting started.
Ku Klux Klan -A secretive organization whose members often dressed in hooded white robes, the Klan used violence, murder, and threats to intimidate blacks and those who favored giving African Americans equal rights. The Klan practiced lynchings and other acts of violence against blacks throughout the remainder of the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century.
labor laws -laws governing working conditions.
labor unions -organizations of workers formed to protect the interests of its members.
laissez-faireeconomics -the belief that the government should regulate business or pass policies to help U.S. businessmen.
Langston Hughes -influential writer of the Harlem Renaissance who wrote memorable poetry, short stories, and plays about the black experience and reminded black Americans of their African heritage.
League of Nations -organization proposed by President Wilson and established by the Treaty of Versailles, which was intended to provide a place where countries could peacefully discuss solutions to their differences rather than go to war,
Lend-Lease Act -law which allowed the president to send aid to any nation whose defense was considered vital to the United States' national security. If the country had no resources to pay for the aid, the United States could send it and defer payment until later. It allowed the United States to help nations like Great Britain, even though it was still not involved in the war,
Letter from Birmingham Jail-famous letter written by Dr. King from the jail in Birmingham, Alabama, where he had been arrested following a peaceful civil rights protest. His letter was a response to several white ministers who wrote a statement arguing that the battle for civil rights should be waged in the courts rather than by protests. King's public response eloquently expressed the reasons he disagreed and proclaimed that civil disobedience was a necessary and acceptable method for achieving equality.
Levittowns -nickname for the new suburbs that developed after WWII. They were so named for the developer who came up with innovation ways to provide mass amounts of affordable housing: William Levitt.
Lewis and Clark Expedition -expedition authorized by President Jefferson and led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for the purpose of finding a water route to the Pacific Ocean. It provided valuable information about the Oregon and Louisiana territories and led to the rapid migration of settlers to the Pacific Northwest.
Lexington and Concord -where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.
limited government -the principle that even governments must obey a set of laws and respect the rights of citizens .
literacy tests --tests designed to keep blacks from voting by requiring predominantly uneducated African Americans to prove they could read and write before allowing them to vote. They were designed to disfranchise educated blacks as well by asking questions most people, white and black, could not answer.
Little Rock Central High School-high school which gained national attention after the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision when the governor refused to obey a federal court order to integrate the school The governor called in the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering the school, prompting President Eisenhower to nationalize the Guard and send them home. Eisenhower then mobilized elements of the 101st Airborne to enforce the court's ruling and make sure that the African American students safely gained admittance to the school.
Lord Cornwallis -Southern British commander who fought the American army in the Carolinas and ultimately surrendered to Washington at Yorktown,
Los Alamos, New Mexico - location where the atomic bomb was constructed and tested.
Louisiana Purchase -the United States' largest land purchase, roughly doubling the country's size. It marked a turning point for the new nation economically as it began to pursue prosperity within its own borders rather than from foreign nations.
Lusitania -commercial cruise liner also carrying military supplies which was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915. Twelve hundred people died in the attack, including 128 U.S. citizens. People in the United States were furious! A wave of anti-German feeling swept across the country.
Lyndon B. Johnson -became president following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Johnson pushed through civil rights legislation, proposed domestic programs designed to end poverty known as the "Great Society," and supported affirmative action.
Lyndon B. Johnson -president after Kennedy. Johnson escalated U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
manifest destiny -the belief held by many U.S. leaders that it was God's sovereign will for the United States to expand and possess territory all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Mao Tse-tung -leader of China's Communist revolution.
march on Washington -civil rights march held in 1963 that consisted of 200,000 civil rights activists demanding equality for all citizens. It culminated in Dr. King's famous "I have a dream" speech.
march to the sea -Sherman's march from Atlanta to Savannah in which his army burned buildings, destroyed rail lines, set fire to factories, and demolished bridges in an attempt to cripple the South's ability to make and ship supplies, so that it could not keep fighting.
Marquis de Lafayette -Frenchman who made his way to America to fight for the revolution. Although only nineteen years old, he proved to be a talented and valiant soldier who quickly won the confidence of General Washington. Congress eventually gave Lafayette his own command. He finally asked to return to France in 1778 in order to fight for his homeland against the British, following France's treaty of alliance with the United States.
Marshall Plan -plan proposed by George Marshall which served to spark economic revival and prosperity in European countries devastated by WWII, thereby helping to stop the spread of Communism.
Massachusetts legislature -Under the Crown, Massachusetts established a new representative legislature and abolished the requirement that every member must be a member of the Puritan church.
Massachusetts losing its charter --Massachusetts lost its charter in 1684 after years of unrest over religious disagreements. It then became a royal colony in 1691.
Medicare and Medicaid - important programs introduced as part of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." Medicare provides elderly citizens with medical care and is funded by the federal government. Medicaid provides medical care for lower-income families and is partially funded by the states.
mercantilism -theory common in the colonial period which taught that countries needed to export more goods than they imported in order to gain wealth and remain secure.
Middle Colonies·-British colonies consisting of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware.
Middle Passage -over-ocean route traveled by slaves from Africa to the Americas.
Mikhail Gorbachev -young, progressive leader of the Soviet Union who came to power while Reagan was president and who helped bring about an end to the Cold War.
mining industry - became important out West as discoveries of gold like those in California meant that people of nearly every background headed west to make their fortunes.
Miranda v. Arizona-1966 Supreme Court ruling in which the Court ruled that criminal defendants must be informed when they are arrested that they have the right to an attorney and the right not to incriminate themselves.
Missouri Compromise -political compromise that arose out of the debate surrounding the expansion of slavery into new territories in 1833. It called for the admission of Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. In addition, the southern boundary of Missouri, 36°30' N, would become a dividing line for any new states admitted to the Union. All new states north of that line would be free states, while those to the south would be slave states. It was designed to maintain the balance of power in Washington, D.C.
monopolies -markets in which there is only one supplier of a product and no market competition.
Monroe Doctrine - doctrine issued under President James Monroe which stated that the United States would not tolerate European intervention in the affairs of any independent nation in the Americas, nor were the American continents open to European colonization any longer. The United States would view any future attempts to colonize them as acts of aggression. Finally, the president promised that the United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of other American countries, nor in those of European nations.
Montesquieu -French political philosopher who believed that the best form of government was one that featured a separation of powers, He advocated three branches of government as well as a system of checks and balances" in order to prevent anyone branch from abusing the rights of citizens,
Montgomery bus boycott -early civil rights protest led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in which African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, boycotted public transportation in response to the arrest of Rosa Parks. African Americans refused to use public buses until they were finally integrated. The event made Dr. King a nationally known figure and established him as the recognized leader of the civil rights movement.
Morehouse College -college founded in 1867 to train African American men to be ministers and/or teachers. The school eventually became Atlanta Baptist Seminary and, later, Atlanta Baptist College. Finally, in 1913, the institution changed its name to Morehouse College and has traditionally been one of the most prestigious African American colleges in the nation.
motion-picture camera -invention by Thomas Edison that recorded motion pictures and eventually made the movie industry possible,
muckrakers -writers of the Progressive Era who exposed scandal and corruption in U.S. businesses and government. They were labeled "muckrakers" by President Roosevelt because they stirred up and uncovered much of the "muck" in U.S. society.
NAACP -National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; it was founded as an organization devoted itself to the progress of the African American community during the early twentieth century and remains a prominent political voice among the African American community.
NAFTA -North American Fair Trade Agreement. NAFTA promoted free trade (no trade restrictions) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and caused considerable controversy in the United States. Many labor unions feared that the agreement would encourage U.S. businesses to relocate to Mexico, where they'd face fewer restrictions and be able to pay lower wages. This, of course, would result in a loss of U.S. jobs. Proponents of NAFTA, however, argued that it would create jobs in the United States by increasing foreign markets for U.S. businesses.
Nat Turner's Rebellion -Slave rebellion that occurred in Virginia in 1831. Turner, a preacher as well as a slave, believed that he had a divine mission to deliver his people from slavery. He organized a revolt in which 160 people (both black and white) were killed. As a result, the few abolitionist societies that had existed in the South came to an end and slave codes (laws restricting the conduct and activities of slaves) were made tighter and strictly enforced, Turner and nineteen others were hanged for their roles in the uprising, and slaves were no longer allowed to become ministers.
national debt -the amount of money a country owes as a result of spending more than it takes in as revenue.
National Highway Act -law passed by Congress in the 1950s that authorized the building of a system of interstate highways.
national identity -national pride and respect felt by U.S. citizens after the War of 1812.
natural rights - rights which no government can morally take away.
Neutrality Act-law passed by Congress in 1935 which prohibited the sale of weapons to warring nations and was meant to keep the United States from farming alliances that might drag the nation into war.
New Amsterdam-key Dutch settlement at the mouth of the Hudson River that served as a key trading post.
New Deal-Roosevelt's domestic programs that involved government spending and were designed to give the nation relief from the Great Depression.
New Deal's effect on women and minorities -Overall, women and minorities did not benefit from the New Deal as much as white males because programs tended to show favoritism towards men and allowed businesses to pay women less money than male employees. They also did nothing to regulate domestic work, which was still the largest female occupation during the 1930s. As for minorities, many of them still worked as farmers and migrant workers. As a result, their lack of government payroll records often excluded them from programs like Social Security. In addition, New Deal work programs sanctioned racial segregation. What jobs African Americans did get, however, were credited to Roosevelt and his programs. As a result, the African American community began to shift its political loyalty to the Democratic Party.
New England Colonies -British colonies including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut.
New York City -northeastern city which became a key economic center of the country in the years following the War of 1812.
New York -English name given to New Amsterdam after the English took the city from the Dutch.
Newt Gingrich -conservative Republican congressman from Georgia who championed the "Contract with America" and who served as speaker of the House during the latter part of the Clinton presidency.
Nikita Khrushchev -leader of the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin. He was leader of the U.S.S.R. during the U-2 incident, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Nineteenth Amendment -constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote.
Nixon's relations with China -Nixon became the first president to publicly acknowledge the Communist government of China and even visited that nation during his first term. Nixon also realized that, although both the U.S.S.R. and China were Communist, the two nations disagreed with one another on some major issues. For this reason, Nixon believed that good relations with the Chinese would give him more bargaining power with the Soviets.
Noah Webster -key leader in the early education movement, who compiled the first U.S. dictionary that included words and spellings distinct to the United States rather than traditional British versions. Webster played a major role in forging a national language.
Northwest Ordinance-law that divided the area north of the Ohio River into smaller territories and established guidelines for settlement in the region.
NOW -National Organization for Women. Organization founded by Betty Friedan which was devoted to political activism and feminist causes.