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California Gold Rush. 401. Starting in 1848, thousands of people began traveling west to search for gold and other precious metals. Few people actually found gold, but this movement led to organized settlements and eventually statehood for the western territory. 402. Wilmot Proviso. 403.

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Starting in 1848, thousands of people began traveling west to search for gold and other precious metals. Few people actually found gold, but this movement led to organized settlements and eventually statehood for the western territory.


Proposed in 1846 before the end the Mexican War, the Wilmot Proviso stipulated that slavery be prohibited in any territory the U.S. gained from Mexico in the upcoming negotiations. With strong support from the North, the proviso passed in the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate.


The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War. It granted the U.S. control of Texas, New Mexico, and California. In return, the U.S. assumed all monetary claims of U.S. citizens against the Mexican government and paid Mexico $15 million.


In a speech that began “Four score and seven years ago,” Abraham Lincoln recast the war as an historic test of the ability of a democracy to survive. He delivered the speech on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a cemetery for casualties of the Union victory at the battle of Gettysburg


The Fugitive Slave Act, originally passed in 1793, and strengthened as part of the Compromise of 1850, allowed Southerners to send posses onto Northern soil to retrieve runaway slaves. During the early 1850s, Northerners mounted resistance to the act by aiding escaping slaves and passing personal liberty laws.


The Freeport Doctrine was a Democrat Stephen A. Douglas’s attempt to reconcile his belief in popular sovereignty with the Dred Scott decision. In the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, Douglas argued that territories could effectively forbid slavery by failing to enact the slave codes, even though the Dred Scott decision deprived government of the right to restrict slavery in the territories.


Established in 1865 and staffed by Union army officers, the Freedman’s Bureau worked to protect black rights in the South and to provide employment, medical care, and education to Southern blacks.


Ratified in July 1868 (ratification was a prerequisite for ex-Confederate states’ readmission into the Union), the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed the rights of citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States, black and white, and provided for the loss of congressional representation for any state that denied suffrage to any of its male citizens.


Washington was an African-American leader and the first principal of the Tuskegee Institute (1881). Washington adopted a moderate approach in the addressing racism and segregation, urging his fellow blacks to learn vocational skills and strive for gradual improvements in their social, political, and economic status.


A general term for the combined states of the United States during the Civil War, “Union” referred to the government and troops of the North.


The Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses and escorts established by Northern abolitionists to foil enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. The network helped escaped slaves reach freedom in the North and in Canada.


Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, portrayed the evils of the institution of slavery. Published in 1852, the novel sold over a million copies in its first eight years and reached millions more through dramatic adaptations. Uncle Tom’s Cabin aroused sympathy for runaway slaves among all classes of Northerners and hardened many Northerners against the South’s insistence upon continuing slavery.


William Marcy “Boss” Tweed was a New York City political figure who maintained his power through illegal means. In 1871, Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist, helped to expose “Boss” Tweed’s “Tweed Ring,” which stole millions of dollars from taxpayers. Future New York Governor Samuel J. Tilden also helped break up the Tweed Ring.


A former slave, Harriet Tubman helped establish the Underground Railroad, a network of safe-houses and escorts throughout the North to help escaped slave to freedom.


A former secretary of war, Davis was elected president of the Confederacy shortly after its formation. Davis was never able to garner adequate public support and faced great difficulties in uniting the Confederate states under one central authority.


Jim Crow laws were state laws that institutionalized segregation in the South from the 1880s through the 1960s. Along with segregating schools, buses, and other public accommodations, these laws made it difficult or impossible for southern blacks to vote and often forbade intermarriage.


Southern white Democrats gave the nickname “carpetbaggers” to northerners who moved South during Reconstruction in search of political and economic opportunity. These northern opportunists purportedly took so little with them that they could fit all of their belongings in rough suitcases made from carpeting materials.


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was the site of the largest battle of the Civil War. Widely considered to be the turning point of the war, the battle marked the Union’s first major victory in the East. The three-day campaign, from July 1 to 4, 1863, resulted in an unprecedented 51,000 total casualties.


In 1859, John Brown led twenty-one men in seizing a federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in a failed attempt to incite a slave rebellion.


Grant was the commanding general of the Union forces in the West for much of the war and of all Union forces during the last year of the war. Grant later became the nation’s eighteenth president, serving from 1869 to 1877 and presiding over the decline of Reconstruction. His administration was marred by corruption.


In the 1857 Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court ruled that no black, whether slave or free, could become a U.S. citizen or sue in federal court. The decision further argued that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection of property-including slaves-from being taken away without due process.


Frederick Douglass is perhaps the most famous of all abolitionists. An escapes slave, Douglass worked closely with William Lloyd Garrison to promote abolitionism in the 1830s.


James Buchanan, a moderate Democrat with support from both the North and South, served as president of the United States from 1857 to 1861. He could not stem the tide of sectional conflict that eventually erupted in the Civil War


Stephen A. Douglas first rose to national prominence as Speaker of the House, when he pushed the Compromise of 1850 through Congress. Douglass became the leading Northern Democrat and supporter of popular sovereignty and authored the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He battled Abraham Lincoln for a seat in the Senate (successfully) in 1858, and for president (unsuccessfully) in 1860.


The Maine was a U.S. battleship sunk by an explosion in Havana Harbor in February 1898. Though later investigations suggested that an onboard fire had caused the blast, at the time the American people believed that a Spanish mine was responsible. The sinking of the Maine combined with the effect of yellow journalism led the American public to push strongly for war against Spain.


The Klan was founded in 1866 in Tennessee, and was soon controlled by Democratic politicians. By 1868, the Klan operated in all Southern states, conducting raids to intimidate black voters and Republican officials. It faded away, but then made a resurgence beginning in 1915. the Klan was dominated by white native-born Protestants and advocated white supremacy. The Klan was investigated in 1964 for civil rights violations.


Johnson became president upon Lincoln’s death in 1865 and remained in office until 1869. Johnson’s plan for presidential Reconstruction was too lenient in the eyes of a Congress heavily influenced by Radical Republicans. Congress fought his initiatives and undertook a more stringent and retributive Reconstruction plan. Johnson’s relationship with Congress declined steadily during his presidency, culminating in impeachment proceedings in 1868.


The Homestead Act, passed in 1862, encouraged settlement of the West by offering 160 acres of land to anyone who would pay ten dollars, live on the land for five years, and cultivate and improve it.


The compromise resolved the conflicted presidential election of 1876. Republican leaders contested election returns of some states thus ensuring the victory of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden-who won the popular vote. To minimize protest from the Democrats, Republicans agreed to remove federal troops from the last two occupied states in the South thus ending Reconstruction.


Formed as a party in 1872, the Liberal Republicans split from the ranks of the Republican Party in opposition to President Ulysses S. Grant. Many Liberals argued that the task of Reconstruction was complete and should be put aside. The defection of the Liberals served a major blow to the Republican Party and shattered what congressional enthusiasm remained for Reconstruction.


Known as the “ten percent plan,” Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction was more lenient than many members of Congress, especially the Radical Republicans, hoped to impose. Under Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, Southern states would be readmitted to the Union once ten percent of the state’s voting population took an oath on loyalty to the Union and the states established new non-Confederate governments.


On May 10, 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed when the Union pacific and Central pacific railroads joined their tracks at Promontory Point, Utah. The railroad dramatically facilitated western settlement, shortening to a single to a single week a coast-to-coast journey that had once taken six to eight months by wagon.


In July 1864, Congress passed the Wade-Davis Bill, setting forth stringent requirements for Confederate states’ readmission to the Union. President Lincoln, who supported a more liberal Reconstruction policy, vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill by leaving it unsigned more than ten days after the adjournment of Congress.


The Radical Republicans emerged in Congress in the years leading up to the Civil War. Led by Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner, the Radicals demanded a strict Reconstruction policy in order to punish the Southern states. They also called for extended civil rights in the South. The Radicals, often aligned with moderate Republicans, were a dedicated and powerful force in Congress until the mid 1870s.


Franklin Pierce, a Democrat, served as president of the United States from 1853 to 1857. He was the last president until 1932 to win the popular and electoral vote in both the North and South. Pierce’s performance in office can best be described as perfunctory. He was little more than a caretaker in the years leading up to the Civil War.


“Bleeding Kansas” as the popular name for the Kansas Territory during 1856, when violence broke out between representatives of the free- state government in Topeka and the fraudulently elected proslavery government in Lecompton. Bleeding Kansas represented a major setback for the doctrine of popular sovereignty , as the doctrine failed to provide a clear resolution to the question of slavery’s expansion in Kansas.


John Brown was extreme abolitionist who believed God had ordained him to end slavery. In 1856, he led an attack against proslavery government officials in Kansas, killing five and sparking months of violence that earned the territory the name “Bleeding Kansas.” In 1859, Brown led 21 men in seizing a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia , in a failed attempt to incite a slave rebellion. He was caught and hanged.


During the 1850s, nine northern states passed personal liberty laws to counteract the Fugitive Slave Act. These state laws guaranteed all alleged fugitives the right to trial by jury and to lawyer and prohibited state jails holding alleged fugitives


In 1873, because of overexpansion and over-speculation, the largest bank in the nation collapse of many smaller banks, business firms, and even the stock market. The panic of 1873 precipitated a five-year national depression.


Held between August 21 and October 15, 1858 between senatorial candidates, the Lincoln-Douglas debates pitted Abraham Lincoln, a free soil republican, against Stephen A. Douglas, a Democrat in favor of popular sovereignty. The debates were hard-fought, highly attended, and in the end, inconclusive. They crystallized the two dominant positions of the North in regard to slavery and propelled Lincoln onto the national scene.


Under direction of Secretary of State William H. Seward, the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million in 1867. At first, this purchase was called “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox,” but later, when oil was found in Alaska , people realized Alaska’s value. Seward had envisioned expanding the U.S. to include Canada, South America and other nearby countries, but only succeeded with Alaska.


“Scalawags” is derisive term that Democrats used to designate Southern moderates who cooperated with Republicans during Reconstruction.


Redemption was the term used to describe the return of Democratic rule in the South. It meant not only the transition of power in state governments from Republican to Democratic hands, but also the undoing of Republican legislature and the oppression of freedmen.


The central law passed during congressional Reconstruction, the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 invalidated state governments established under Lincoln’s and Johnson’s plans, provided for military occupation of the former Confederacy, and bound state governments to vote for black suffrage.


After the Union’s victory in the Civil War, the nation needed to reintegrate the South into the Union and reconstruct the nation. President Lincoln created a more forgiving and flexible plan known as the “ten percent plan,” while the Radical Republicans in Congress wanted to pass the more punitive Wade-Davis Bill. Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877.


The leader of the Radical Republicans in Congress, Thaddeus Stevens was a gifted orator and an outspoken legislature devoted to stringent and punitive Reconstruction. Stevens worked toward social and political equality for Southern blacks.


Sitting bull and Crazy Horse were Sioux chiefs who resisted and killed Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and his troops at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.


Union general William T. Sherman led his forces on a march form Atlanta to Savannah and then to Richmond. General Sherman brought the South “to its knees” by ordering large-scale destruction.


After the Civil War, sharecropping replaced the plantation system as the primary method of agricultural production in the south. Plantations were subdivided into small farms that were rented to freedmen for leases paid in the form of a share (usually half) of the crop produced. The system ostensibly gave freedmen a measure of independence, but often terms that ensured that whites retained control of land and labor.


Sumner was the leading Radical Republican senator throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction. Perhaps the most distinguished member of the radical faction, he ensured the faction’s position in the federal government and argued ardently for civil rights for blacks. Sumner went on to lead the defection of the Liberal Republicans.


Lincoln emerged during the late 1850s as the nation’s top Republican. His victory in the presidential election of 1860 precipitated the secession of the first southern states, paving the way for the Civil War. Lincoln’s primary goal during and after the Civil War was to restore the Union. He was assassinated in 1863 before he could realize his goal.


Radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison published The Liberator from 1831 until 1865. An influential newspaper within the growing abolition movement, The Liberator expressed new and controversial opinions such as the belief that blacks deserved legal rights equal to those of whites.


The commanding general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Lee was a brilliant strategist, an excellent commander, and a brave fighter. Many historians believe that the Confederacy held out as long as it did only because of Lee’s skill and the loyalty he earned from his troops.


The Battle of Antietam made September 17, 1862, the single bloodiest day of the Civil War, resulting in some 25,000 casualties. Although Union forces failed to defeat Lee’s Confederate forces, they did halt Lee’s advance through Northern soil at Maryland.


All Southern state governments established under Andrew Johnson’s plan for presidential Reconstruction enacted black codes, which granted the freedmen some basic rights, but also enforced heavy civil restrictions based on race.


The Anti-Imperialist League argued against American imperialism in the late 1890s. Its members included such luminaries as William James, Andrew Carnegie, and Mark Twain.


The 1876 Munn v. Illinois case state that Congress could not regulate commerce within a state and that the federal government did not have the right to regulate private businesses even when “public interests” are involved. This ruling has since been modified.


Beginning in 1895, many Southern states established the Grandfather Clause, exempting anyone who was able to vote before 1867, or their descendants, from having to meet strict literacy or property requirements for voting. Blacks did not have the right to vote until 1870, and so were subject to strict voting requirements. As a result, the Grandfather Clause was symbolic of inequalities between blacks ad whites.


Ratified December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment prohibited slavery in the U.S.


The Gospel of Success was one justification for the enormous and growing gap between rich and poor in the U.S. during the so-called Industrial Revolution. The Gospel of Success centered on the claim that anyone could become wealthy with enough hard work and determination. This ideology supported by writers like Horatio Alger.


Passed in 1887, the Dawes Severalty Act called for the breakup of the reservations and the treatment of Native Americans as individuals. Any Native American who accepted the act’s terms received 160 acres of farmland or 320 acres of grazing land and was guaranteed U.S. citizenship in 25 years. Intended to help Native Americans integrate into white society, in practice the Dawes Act caused widespread poverty and homelessness.


Custer, a Civil War hero, was sent to the hills of South Dakota in 1874 to fight off Native American threats. When gold was discovered in the region, the government ordered Custer’s forces to hunt down all Sioux not in reservations after January 31, 1876. At the Battle of Little Bighorn, the Sioux wiped out an overconfident Custer and his men.


Crédit Mobilier was a railroad construction company that was created to build the Union Pacific Railroad. In the 1870s, Crédit Mobilier’s tactics were found to be fraudulent –its stockholders were taking congressional funds meant for railroad construction for their personal use. They also gave stock in Crédit Mobilier to congressional members and the vice president to avoid being convicted.


In 1887, Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act, which forbade price discrimination and other monopolistic practices of the railroads.


In 1892, steelworkers near Pittsburgh staged the Homestead strike against the Carnegie Steel Company to protest a pay cut and the 70-hour work-week. Ten workers were killed in a riot that began when 300 “scabs” from New York (Pinkerton detectives) arrived to break the strike. Federal troops were called in to suppress the violence.


Hearst bought the New York Journal in the late 1890s. His paper, along with Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, engaged in yellow journalism, printing sensational reports to Spanish activities in Cuba designed to win a circulation war between the two newspapers.


In 1886, workers held a rally in Chicago to protest police brutality against strikers. The riot erupted in violence after someone threw a bomb, killing seven policeman and prompting a police backlash. After the riot, leaders of the Knights of Labor were arrested and imprisoned, and public support for the union cause plunged.


The Patrons of Husbandry, known as “the Grange,” was formed in 1876 as support system for struggling western farmers. The Grange offered farmers education and fellowship, providing a forum for homesteaders to share advice and emotional support at biweekly social functions. The Grange also represented farmers’ needs in dealings with big business and the federal government.


Founded in 1869, the Knights were one of the first major labor organization in the U.S. The Knights fell into decline after one of several leaders was executed for killing a policeman in the Haymarket Riot of 1886.


In 1884, Grover Cleveland was elected president in part because of support from the Mugwumps. Mugwumps was a derogatory term for the more liberal members of the Republican party. James G. Blaine, the presidential candidate opposing Cleveland, and other conservative Republicans used this name during the 1884 election.


Morgan was a Wall Street financier and business leader involved in many of the most profitable business ventures during the era of industrialization. In 1901, he brought Carnegie Steel and established the world’s first billion-dollar corporation, U.S. Steel Corporation.


Machine politics refers to means by which political parties during the Industrial Revolution controlled candidates and voters through networks of loyalty and corruption. In machine politics, party bosses exploited their ability to give away jobs and benefits (patronage) in exchange for voters.


The 1896 supreme court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson ruled that segregation was not illegal as long as facilities for each race were equal. This “separate but equal” doctrine served to justify southern laws separating blacks and whites on trains and in restaurants, schools, and other public facilities. In 1954, the supreme court overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case.


Passed in 1883, the Pendleton Act established a civil service exam for many public posts and created hiring systems based on merit rather than on political favors, or patronage. The act aimed to eliminate the corrupt hiring practices that had so long plagued the U.S. government.


The panic of 1893 began when the railroad industry faltered during the early 1890s, followed by the collapse of many related industries. Confidence in the U.S. dollar plunged. The depression lasted roughly four years.


Developed by Secretary of State John Hay, the Open Door policy aimed to combat the European spheres of influence that threatened to squeeze American business interests out of Chinese markets. The Open Door policy consisted of pressuring European powers to open key ports within their spheres of influence to U.S. businessmen.


In 1882, the Northern Pacific Railroad, which joined Chicago and Seattle, was complete.


“Robber Barons” was the name given to wealthy entrepreneurs and businessmen during the Industrial Age. Among the more famous robber barons were Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.


The railroad strike of 1877 was the first major nationwide strike in the U.S., spreading from New York to Pittsburgh to St. Louis, Chicago, and San Francisco. Railroad workers for nearly every rail line struck to protest wage cuts and firings. The riots provoked widespread violence and resulted in more than 100 deaths. President Hayes sent federal troops to subdue the angry mobs and restore order.


In 1894 in Chicago, Eugene Debs led a strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company. The boycott crippled railroad traffic in Chicago. The courts ruled that the strikers had violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and issued an injunction against them. When the strikers refused to obey the injunction, Debs was arrested and federal troops marched in to crush the strike. In the ensuing frenzy, thirteen died and fifty- three were injured.


Joseph Pulitzer owned the New York World, the main competitor of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal at the time of the Spanish- American War. Though the World was the slightly more reputable of the two papers, both engaged in “yellow journalism,” exaggerating facts and sensationalizing stories about Spanish atrocities in Cuba.


The Farmer’s Alliance in the Midwest and South joined with poor laborers to form the core of the Populist Party in 1892. The Party advocated various reforms that supported farmers and the poor, including “free silver” (unlimited coinage of silver). In 1896, the Democrats appropriated parts of the Populist platform and nominated William Jennings Bryan for president. Bryan lost the election despite the joint backing of the Democrats and Populists.


The Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 over U.S. concerns for the Cuban independence movement. The U.S. decisively won the war, gaining the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, and securing independence for Cuba. The victory also marked the entrance of the United States as a power onto the world stage.


Social Darwinism applies Darwin’s theories of evolution and survival of the fittest to human societies. Andrew Carnegie and others cited Social Darwinist theories to justify the widening disparities in wealth between the rich and the poor during the era of industrialization.


This 1890 law made illegal “every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in the restraint of trade.” Although intended to break up monopolies, the Sherman Antitrust Act was used to break up union strikes in the 1890s. Not until the early 1900s did the government invoke the act to launch an aggressive antitrust campaign.


Formed in England, the Salvation Army was imported to the U.S. in 1880. The organization provides food, shelter, and employment to the urban poor while preaching temperance and morality.


Ratified in March 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment prohibited the denial of voting rights to any citizen based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”


Rockefeller served as chairman of the Standard Oil Trust, which grew to control nearly all of the United States’ oil production and distribution.


Passed largely in response to the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, the Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871 protected black suffrage.


Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, to free all slaves under Confederate control. It did not affect the slave states within the Union or the parts of the Confederacy in Union hands, and therefore in practice freed very few slaves. Nevertheless, the proclamation gave the war a new objective-emancipation.


The exponentially increasing population of urban poor during the era of industrialization led to the construction of tenements-narrow, four or five-story buildings with few windows and limited electricity and plumbing. The poor, mostly ethnic minorities and immigrants, were packed into crowded, dirty apartments.


The U.S. adopted the Teller Amendment just before the Spanish- American War, in 1898. the Teller Amendment declared that the U.S. would not acquire Cuba and would allow it to become an independent country once Spain was defeated.


Gompers was the founding leader of the American Federation of Labor. Under Gompers, the AFL rarely went on strike, but rather took a more pragmatic approach based on negotiating for gradual increases in pay and benefits.


During the 1880s, the Farmers Alliance took the place of the Grange as a support group for the nation’s farmers. The alliances were politically active in the Midwest and South, and were central to the founding of the Populist Party.


Yellow journalism refers to the exaggerated and sensationalized stories about Spanish military atrocities against Cuban rebels that the New York World and New York Journal, among other newspapers, published in the period leading up to the Spanish-American War (1898). Yellow journalism swayed American public opinion in favor of war against Spain.


Republican William McKinley defeated Democratic and Populist candidate William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 election, becoming the nation’s twenty-fifth president. A supporter of big business, McKinley pushed for high protective tariffs. Under his leadership, the U.S. became an imperial power. He was assassinated by an anarchist in 1901.


As a congressman, William McKinley wrote and engineered passage of this tariff that bears his name in 1890. The act raised protective tariffs by nearly 50 percent. These tariffs are the highest the U.S. has ever placed on imports.


In June 1900, anti-foreign sentiment in China erupted in the Boxer Rebellion. A group of zealous Chinese nationalists terrorized foreigners and Chinese Christians, capturing Beijing (Peking) and threatening European and American interests in Chinese markets. The U.S. committed 2,500 men to an international force that crushed the rebellion in August 1900.


William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic candidate for president in 1896 whose goal of “free silver” (unlimited coinage of silver) won him support from the Populist Party. Bryan lost the election to Republican William McKinley. In the 1920s, Bryan made his mark as a leader of the fundamentalist cause and the key witness in the Scopes Monkey Trial.