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Flashcards in U.S. History Deck (155)

Who were the Puritans?

A sect of Protestants in 16th and 17th centuries

The Puritans sought to "purify" Christian religious practices, and constituted a threat to the Church of England. A subset of these Puritans, known as Separatists, wanted to leave the Church of England entirely.


What was the 1620-1640 Great Migration?

The Great Migration was the first large-scale influx of settlers to the New World.

Fleeing a civil war in England, Puritan "Pilgrims" under John Winthrop established numerous settlements in Massachusetts, including Boston. The influx of new settlers led to an expanded government for what was now the colony of Massachusetts.


Describe relations between the English settlers of the New World and Native Americans.

Initially, the English settlers and Indians coexisted peacefully. The Indians taught the English farming methods and introduced them to new crops, while the English traded tools and weapons with the Indians for furs.

However, as the English sought more land, they began to view the Indians as primitive. Many believed that God had destined them to take territory from the Indians.


Which 17th-century Native American princess befriended Captain John Smith of the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia?


She is said to have prevented Smith's execution by her father by throwing herself upon him, an anecdote that has since been romanticized. She later moved to England and briefly became something of a celebrity.


What was the first permanent English colony in the New World?

Jamestown, Virginia, established in 1607, was England's first permanent colony in the New World.

The Virginia Company, a joint-stock company, received a charter from King James I. A previous colony at Roanoke, founded in 1587, had mysteriously disappeared, but the Jamestown colony survived despite disease and poor planning.


What were the different types of colonies in the New World?

  • Royal colonies, which were governed directly by the King of England. New Hampshire and Virginia were royal colonies.
  • Corporate colonies, which were operated by joint-stock companies under a charter from the King of England. Jamestown was a corporate colony.
  • Proprietary colonies, which were privately administered by individuals who received a charter from the King. Maryland and Pennsylvania were proprietary colonies.


What was the first lawmaking body in the New World?

The Virginia House of Burgesses

The House was established 12 years after the founding of the Jamestown Colony to encourage colonization in Virginia.


What was indentured servitude?

Under indentured servitude, a person's passage to the New World was paid in advance and in exchange for several years of labor.

Colonists, primarily in Maryland and Virginia, used indentured servants to fill labor shortages. Most indentured servants died before obtaining freedom.


What was Bacon's Rebellion?

In 1676, after Virginia's governor, William Berkeley, failed to respond to Indian attacks on the frontier, impoverished farmer Nathaniel Bacon led a group of former indentured servants and blacks in an attack on Jamestown, burning it to the ground.

Bacon and his followers were aggrieved that political power in the colonial government was in the hands of a few wealthy landowners. The rebellion collapsed when Bacon died of dysentery.


How did slavery develop in Virginia?

Initially, few Africans were imported into Virginia, and by 1650 there were only 400 slaves in the colony.

Over the next few decades, however, Virginia landowners began growing rice and indigo in large quantities, which required large amounts of unskilled labor, and slavery increased.


How did the triangular trade system operate?

In the triangular trade system,


  1. Europe sends guns, rum, and other goods to Africa
  2. Africa sends the slaves to North America (this was known as the Middle Passage)
  3. North America sends sugar, tobacco, and cotton, harvested from the plantation slaves, to Europe.


Between 1700 and 1750, the population in the American colonies increased from 250,000 to 1,250,000. From where did most immigrants arrive?

Although many immigrants still came from England, a significant portion of the population was Scottish, German, or Scotch-Irish.

The black population also rose, and by 1750 numbered 200,000.


What was the French and Indian War?

The French and Indian War (1754-1763) was fought by the British against France and Indian tribes that were allied to the French. The war was fought mainly for control of the colonial frontier.

The Treaty of Paris (1763) resolved the war, and the English gained control of land east of the Mississippi River Valley, inbetween Canada and Florida.


What were Writs of Assistance?

In Colonial America, Writs of Assistance were general search warrants, designed to stop smuggling. They allowed British customs agents to search wherever they pleased, and without having to pay for any damages.

Many Americans felt that Writs of Assistance impinged upon their rights as British subjects.


What was the Stamp Act?

The Stamp Act, passed in 1765 by the British Parliament, required colonists to purchase a stamp for any official document and for newspapers.

The British enacted it to raise funds to pay off debts they had incurred as a result of the French and Indian War. Colonists were not opposed to the act, but were not pleased that it was passed without their input.


What was the Boston Massacre?

On March 5, 1770, a number of Bostonians harassed British troops with snowballs and taunts. The troops fired into the crowd, killing five Americans. The British troops were tried for murder; defended by (future president) John Adams, they were acquitted or given reduced sentences.


Why did the Boston Tea Party take place?

The Boston Tea Party took place to protest the British government's taxation on the colonies, notably the Tea Act. On December 16, 1773, Americans boarded English ships and threw tea cargo overboard into Boston Harbor. The British punished the colonies in 1774 by passing the Coercive (or Intolerable) Acts, which stated that:

  1. More British soldiers were to be housed in private homes
  2. Boston Harbor was closed until the colonists paid for the tea
  3. The power of Massachusetts' colonial assembly was reduced
  4. British colonial officials would be tried in Britain instead of America


Who were the Minutemen?

The Minutemen was a nickname given to a particularly well-prepared subset of the colonial militia, who were trained to respond at a moment's notice to (war) threats.


What is the significance of Paul Revere's famous ride?

After the British Army was detected moving out of Boston on April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and two other riders, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, rode through the Massachusetts countryside warning that "the British are coming."

A small force of Minutemen assembled at Lexington to oppose the British advance. The next day's battles marked the first of the Revolutionary War.


What were the first two major battles of the Revolutionary War (1775-83)?

The Battles of Lexington and Concord

  • The Battle of Lexington was the first battle, in which eight Americans were killed and after which the British marched on to Concord.
  • The Battle of Concord was the second battle. The British arrived in Concord to find that the arms and ammunition they had stored there were already gone. They were ambushed by Americans on the way back to Boston.
  • These first two battles proved to be a morale boost for Americans, resulting in larger militias.


Who did the Second Continental Congress dispatch to take command of the American soldiers in 1775?

George Washington

As a Virginian, Washington's appointment signaled colonial unity. Washington was also one of the few colonial soldiers with extensive military experience.


In 1775, the Second Continental Congress sought to restore peace with Great Britain by sending the ___ ___ Petition.

Olive Branch

  • The olive branch was an ancient symbol of peace
  • The Olive Branch Petition was met with a declaration of war from the British
  • The majority of Americans now favored independence


Who won the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775?

The British were victorious, despite the loss of about 1,000 British soldiers. American soldiers withstood two British charges, and only retreated when they ran out of ammunition.


Who wrote Common Sense (1776), a pamphlet advocating for immediate independence from the British?

Thomas Paine

  • Paine's work sold hundreds of thousands of copies and persuaded many Americans to favor independence.
  • Paine later authored Rights of Man, in support of the French Revolution, and The Age of Reason, which supported deism and promoted reason.


What is natural law?

Natural law, presented by philosopher John Locke, states that merely by his existence, man is endowed with rights which cannot be taken or abridged by government.

Natural law was used as a justification for the American Revolution, and is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.


In June of 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution in the Second Continental Congress, calling for independence. Who was tasked with drafting the Declaration?

Thomas Jefferson led the team of five delegates whose task it was to write the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration set out colonists' justifications for separation from Great Britain.


Which 18th-century American politician was president of the Continental Congress and the first to sign the Declaration of Independence?

John Hancock

As a result, his name is now synonymous with a signature.


Which American Founding Father signed the Declaration of Independence and later became the second President of the United States?

John Adams


Which American Founding Father helped draft the Constitution, contributed to The Federalist Papers, and helped found the U.S. financial system as the first Secretary of the Treasury?

Alexander Hamilton

He was killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804.


Which Founding Father was the main author of the Declaration of Independence and became the third President of the United States?

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson also oversaw the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Expedition, and founded the University of Virginia.


Which Founding Father is known for simultaneously being an inventor, scientist, statesman, writer, and printer? 

Benjamin Franklin

  • Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence and made significant advances in the field of electricity.
  • He also invented bifocals, the lightning rod, and a kind of metal-lined fireplace called the Franklin stove.
  • His written works include Poor Richard's Almanack and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.


After the United States declared independence from Britain on July 4, 1776, what document was drafted to govern the new nation?

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles governed the United States from 1781 to 1789, when they were replaced by the Constitution.


___ were American Loyalists who fought on the side of the British, or otherwise aided them in the war against the American colonies.


Approximately 60,000 Tories fought for the British in the Revolutionary War, and in excess of 500,000 Tories were suspected to exist in the colonies. After the war, many Tories fled to Canada.


Which American general of the Revolutionary War famously plotted to betray the Americans and side with the British, giving up the fort at West Point?

Benedict Arnold

His name is now synonymous with betrayal.


During the Revolution, which country was America's most important ally?


Following the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga (1777), France recognized the United States and provided naval assistance, supplies, and monetary aid to the fledgling nation. French assistance proved the decisive factor in the Revolution by forcing the British into a wider war.


Which American seamstress of the 18th and 19th centuries is credited with making the first American flag?

Betsy Ross


The (second) Treaty of Paris (1783) ended the Revolutionary War. What were its key terms?

The key terms of the Treaty of Paris were:

  • Britain recognized American independence
  • Britain remained in control of Canada
  • Congress would return confiscated Tory property
  • British creditors could collect debts owed to them by Americans
  • The United States' western boundary was set at the Mississippi River, and its southern boundary at Florida


The Constitution's Preamble lists six reasons for establishing the Constitution. What are they?

The Preamble states that the Constitution was established in order to:

  1. form a more perfect Union
  2. establish Justice
  3. ensure domestic tranquility
  4. provide for the common defence [sic]
  5. promote the general Welfare
  6. secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our Posterity

Each of these principles addressed weaknesses that had arisen under the Articles of Confederation.


In the context of the federal government, what is meant by the term "separation of powers"?

The separation of powers is part of the Constitution's division of power among the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial).

Each branch has particular rights and responsibilities. The Constitution uses checks and balances to diffuse power between the branches and make sure no branch becomes too powerful. As an example, while the president is the commander-in-chief of the military, only Congress has the power to declare war.


Between the President and Congress, the Constitution created three essential checks and balances, to prevent each from gaining too much power. What were they?

The three key checks and balances were:

  1. The President can exercise a veto over acts of Congress
  2. Congress can override a Presidential veto only with a 2/3 vote in each house
  3. Treaties negotiated by the President must be ratified by the Senate


What was the Three-Fifths Compromise?

A critical agreement passed during the 1787 Constitutional Convention, between the northern and southern states, stating that three-fifths of the slave population would be counted for purposes of taxation and representation.


The last section of Article II in the Constitution describes the removal of the President, Vice President, and all civil officers from their offices. What is the removal process called?


Actual removal requires a conviction in the Senate of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Only two Presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached, but neither was removed.


Those in favor of the new Constitution were known as ___.


The Federalists, led by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, thought that a strong central government was essential to the survival of the United States.


What did the Anti-Federalists believe?

The Anti-Federalists believed that a strong federal government would impinge upon the rights of the states and the people.

The Anti-Federalists, led by George Mason and John Hancock, appealed to the fear of a strong government stemming from the colonial period.


Opponents of the new Constititution (the Anti-Federalists) contended that the new Constitution was a threat to individual liberty. How did Hamilton, Madison, and the Federalists respond to this concern?

The Federalists proposed a series of 12 constitutional amendments, giving a guarantee of individual liberty. The first 10 amendments were passed and ratified by 1790 and are known as the Bill of Rights.

The proposed 11th amendment (dealing with congressional pay) was finally ratified in 1992, as the 27th Amendment. The 12th proposed amendment has never been ratified.


John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton wrote a series of 85 newspaper articles advocating for the new Constitution. Collectively, what are these documents known as?

The Federalist Papers


Which two Americans led a two-year expedition to explore the American west to study the terrain, wildlife, natural resources, and geography?

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

Their expedition lasted from 1804 to 1806.


What was the Louisiana Purchase (1803)?

The Louisiana Purchase was the American acquisition of the Louisiana territory from France, for $15 million. The Purchase doubled the size of the United States, and removed a potentially troubling foreign presence from the American frontier. The newly acquired land contained parts of what would eventually become 15 states.


Who fought in the War of 1812?

The United States fought the United Kingdom, which had allies such as its Canadian colonies, Tecumseh's (Native American) Confederacy, and Spain.

The war lasted from 1812-1815 and involved old issues that resurfaced from the Revolutionary War, but it also served as part of the larger Napoleonic Wars. It ended with a peace treaty that restored the pre-war situation.


Which 18th- and 19th-century American lawyer and author is best known for writing the lyrics to the American national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner"?

Francis Scott Key


___ ___ invented the steamboat, revolutionizing travel on the nation's waterways.

Robert Fulton

Fulton's invention made it possible for farmers in the West to get their products to Eastern ports inexpensively and quickly, and for manufacturers to get their goods to the West.


Eli Whitney's invention of the ___ ___ made it economical to use cotton to manufacture clothes.

cotton gin

Short for "engine," the gin automatically separated cotton fibers from cotton seed, and greatly sped up the production of cotton. The gin made slavery more profitable, allowed cotton to replace wool as the dominant material in clothing, and revolutionized the Southern economy.


What was the major source of power for the earliest American factories?

water power

Early factories were located by rivers and water power was used to operate the mills. Water mills were especially useful in early textile mills.



Sectionalism is having excessive interest in one's own local region over the country as a whole. Beginning in the 1820s, the interests of the north, south, and west United States began to diverge.


In Antebellum America, which section of the country saw the largest influx of immigrants?

Most immigrants settled in the American North. The majority were Irish and German.


Between 1845 and 1852, a million immigrants fled Ireland due to what?

the Irish Potato Famine

Most of the immigration between 1845 and 1852 can be attributed to the Irish Potato Famine. The potato was an Irish dietary staple, and another million inhabitants of Ireland died of starvation.


Cotton was the South's largest product, but the South did grow other agricultural products, including ___ and ___.

tobacco and rice

Both tobacco and rice also required large amounts of slave labor. Cotton, however, took precedence over both.


The Era of Good Feelings

The Era of Good Feelings began with James Monroe's election to the Presidency in 1816. The Democratic-Republicans dominated, the Federalist party was collapsing, and there was a renewed optimism brought about by a revived American economy and peace in Europe.


After William Henry Harrison died in office (after one month), John Tyler succeeded to the Presidency. What was unique about Tyler's position as President?

Tyler was the first Vice President to become President following the death of a sitting President.

Nicknamed "His Accidency," John Tyler governed not as a caretaker, but as a viable President, setting the standard for future Vice Presidents in the same situation.


civil disobedience

Argued by Henry David Thoreau, civil disobedience is the belief that one has a duty to disobey when the government enacts laws that violate one's conscience. It is often seen as being a form of nonviolent resistance.

The idea of civil disobedience went on to influence historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.


What were the two most popular textual resources in American schools in the 1800s? 

Noah Webster's Blue-Backed Speller and the McGuffey Readers


___ ___ was the belief that the United States was intended by God to rule the entirety of North America.

Manifest Destiny 


In 1831, ___ ___ led a band of slaves in a revolt in Virginia.

Nat Turner

Turner and his followers killed some 50-60 whites before being put down by state militia. His actions exacerbated fears of further slave rebellions and ended all discussion of slavery reform within the South.


What was the significance of the siege at Alamo

In early 1836, during the Texas Revolution, Santa Anna's Mexican forces lay siege to the Alamo, a mission in modern-day San Antonio. 

Although some civilians survived the Battle of the Alamo, no Texan soldiers did. The dead included famous Americans such as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie.

Strengthened by their desire for vengeance, the Texans defeated the Mexican Army six weeks later, ending the revolution.


What was the Seneca Falls Convention?

The first organized women's rights conference, held in Seneca Falls, New York, marking the beginning of the women's rights movement.

It was called in 1848 by local female Quakers along with Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Every prominent women's rights advocate (and quite a few men) attended.


Gold was discovered in California in 1848, and by 1849 a large influx of settlers had arrived, hoping to strike it rich. What nickname applied to these settlers?


In their wake came thousands of more permanent settlers, who followed the overland trails from Missouri to Oregon and California. This movement was collectively known as the (California) Gold Rush, and contributed to California's rapid entry into the union in 1850.


What was the 19th-century network that guided escaped slaves along secret routes and to safe houses until they reached freedom?

The Underground Railroad, directed by opponents to slavery such as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.


Which escaped slave and abolitionist of the 19th and 20th centuries helped dozens of slaves to freedom using the Underground Railroad?

Harriet Tubman

During the Civil War, she served as a spy for the Union.


Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 book ___ ___ ___ is credited with bringing the attention of the North to the injustices of slavery.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Stowe's work illustrated the cruelties of plantation life and the harsh workings of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Banned in the South, Stowe's work convinced many Northerners of slavery's intrinsic evil.


What was the significance of Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)?

This Supreme Court decision held that African Americans could not be American citizens, and therefore could not bring suit in federal court. 

Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri whose master had taken him to Illinois and Wisconsin (free territories) and then returned with him to Missouri. Contending that he'd become liberated once he had crossed into a state where slavery was illegal, Scott sued for his freedom.

Although Scott and his family were eventually liberated from slavery, the Dred Scott Decision overturned the Missouri Compromise and outraged abolitionists in the years leading up to the Civil War.


Who was elected in early 1861 as President of the Confederacy?

Jefferson Davis of Mississippi

Davis was a former Senator, Secretary of War, and Mexican-American War soldier. Davis did not want the job, preferring instead to lead the Confederate troops into the combat he suspected was coming.


What is the significance of Fort Sumter?

Fort Sumter is in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina and was built to protect the harbor from foreign enemies. The first shots of the Civil War (1861-65) were fired on the fort, by Confederate forces on April 12, 1861.


Which 19th-century American politician served as President of the United States from 1861-1865?

Abraham Lincoln

He is also famous for overseeing the Union during the Civil War, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, and delivering the Gettysburg Address.


The ___ ___ was issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and freed millions of slaves.

Emancipation Proclamation

Lincoln announced the Proclamation after the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam.


Which 19th-century military and political leader served as general of the Union Army during the Civil War, and later became the 18th President of the United States?

Ulysses S. Grant


Which American general commanded the Confederate troops during the Civil War?

Robert E. Lee


Which Civil War battle marked the end of the Confederacy's offensive capabilities?

The Battle of Gettysburg (1863)

With over 50,000 casualties, it was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee's forces were nearly destroyed, and for the remainder of the War the Confederacy was on the defensive.


Where did General Lee surrender to General Grant?

Appomattox Court House, Virginia

After abandoning Richmond under pressure, Lee was cornered and forced to surrender his Army at the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865. Over the next few weeks, the remaining Confederate forces laid down their arms, and the Civil War ended.


Which American actor and Confederate assassinated Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865?

John Wilkes Booth

He was tracked down and killed 12 days later.


John Wilkes Booth's assassination of President Lincoln was part of a larger conspiracy. Who else was targeted?

The conspiracy was an attempt to completely disable the Union government and targeted Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward.

The man charged with attacking Johnson spent the evening drinking and never attempted his task. Seward was stabbed, but narrowly survived.


In response to the South's Black Codes, Congress passed the first ___ ___ Act in 1866.

Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 deemed that blacks were citizens, directly contradicting the Dred Scott Decision. The Act's terms were later embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment.


___ were Northerners who moved to the South after the War to operate the Reconstruction governments; ___ were Southerners who cooperated with them.

Carpetbaggers; scalawags

  • Both groups met with widespread derision from the local populace
  • The term "carpetbaggers" refers to carpetbags, a popular suitcase of the time
  • Critics contended that carpetbaggers tossed their few possessions in a bag, then headed South to take advantage of the defeated Confederacy
  • "Scalawags" originally referred to low-grade farm animals


In the context of the Reconstruction Era, what was the Ku Klux Klan?

The Klan was a secret organization in the South that sought during the post-war years to intimidate and suppress newly freed blacks and carpetbaggers. 

Led by former Confederate lieutenant general Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK was responsible for lynchings, whippings, and burning black-owned buildings.

Although the Klan disbanded in the late 1860s, a second, more widespread incarnation would come about in the early 20th century.


Which American writer and abolitionist of the 19th century was an escaped slave known both for his oratory, his autobiographies, and his support of women's suffrage?

Frederick Douglass


Who was Booker T. Washington?

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was an African American educator who founded the Tuskegee Institute (now University), a vocational school for blacks in Alabama. The Tuskegee Institute taught skilled trades, preached the value of hard work, and, like Washington himself, contended that long-term black empowerment would come through employment and self-advancement.


How did George Washington Carver affect Southern agriculture?

Carver's work at the Tuskegee Institute in the post-Civil War era emphasized agricultural products such as peanuts and soybeans, which could restore nitrogen to soil depleted by years of cotton farming.


Which American author, professor, and civil rights activist of the 19th and 20th centuries co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)?

W.E.B. DuBois

DuBois insisted that blacks should receive full civil rights and political representation, contrary to the position of Booker T. Washington, who argued that blacks should avoid confrontation over segregation and submit to white political rule. 


What is meant by the term "Separate but Equal"?

The South used "Separate but Equal" to justify segregation under the Constitution. The Supreme Court condoned Separate but Equal in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), holding that racial segregation was legal, as long as the facilities offered to blacks were roughly equal to those offered to whites.

In reality, the separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, schools, railroad cars, and myriad other facilities were never equal. In 1954, the Court overturned Plessy in Brown v. Board of Education.


Which laws were passed in the South after Reconstruction to discriminate against and disenfranchise blacks, and included school segregation, poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses?

The Jim Crow Laws


What is the importance of Promontory Summit, Utah?

At Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, 1869, the tracks of the Central Pacific Railroad were joined to those of the Union Pacific Railroad, completing the first Transcontinental Railroad. The last spike was made of gold, and is now kept at Stanford University.


Who was Cornelius Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt was a 19th-century American industrialist who made his fortune in railroads and shipping. The patriarch of the wealthy Vanderbilt family, he helped found Vanderbilt University and was commonly known as "Commodore."


Who was Andrew Carnegie?

Carnegie was a poor Scottish immigrant who became one of the wealthiest and most important American industrialists and philanthropists during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

He founded the Carnegie Steel Company and later sold it to J.P. Morgan, eventually resulting in the creation of U.S. Steel. He is also known for founding Carnegie Hall and Carnegie Mellon University.


Who was known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park"?

Thomas Alva Edison

Working in his laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ, Edison was the most prolific inventor of the late 1800s, inventing the light bulb, phonograph, and movie camera, as well as hundreds of other items.


What was Tammany Hall?

Tammany Hall was a political organization within New York City's Democratic Party. Between the 1860s and the early 1900s, Tammany Hall was the headquarters of New York's machine politics, where political bosses such as Boss Tweed distributed political patronage in exchange for votes and large amounts of cash.


Who was Boss Tweed?

Boss Tweed was a notorious political boss in New York City in the 1860s and 1870s. Through his control of Tammany Hall, Tweed was able to bilk New York City out of at least $45 million.

Most of Tweed's support came from newly arrived Irish immigrants, whom he courted by giving them food and clothing. Tweed and other political bosses represented the corruption that led Mark Twain to call the period "The Gilded Age."


What artist proved instrumental in bringing down Boss Tweed's political machine in New York City?

Thomas Nast

Nast's political cartoons in Harper's Weekly, a popular magazine of the day, spurred an investigation into Tweed's "Ring" (his group of supporters). Auditors of the city books discovered millions in fraudulent charges. Tweed fled to Spain, but was captured when Spaniards recognized Tweed's face from Nast's cartoons.


Which 19th- and 20th-century American author and activist was deaf and blind but learned to write, read, and communicate through sign language?

Helen Keller


Which American war hero and politician known as "Teddy" was President of the United States from 1901-1909?

Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt led a group of volunteer cavalrymen called the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, famous for their victory at the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba. Known as an adventurous outdoorsman and hunter, Roosevelt was the youngest person to become president, expanded the system of national parks, and oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal.


Who were the early leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), formed in 1890?

NAWSA's leaders were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


Who was Susan B. Anthony?

Anthony was a civil rights leader of the 19th and 20th centuries who is best known for her central role in the women's suffrage movement.


Who was Elizabeth Cady Stanton?

Cady Stanton was a 19th-century American activist who, along with Lucretia Mott, helped organize the first women's rights convention in America, held at Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. She was an active abolitionist and suffragist.


Who led the New York Journal, a rival to Joseph Pulitzer's New York World?

William Randolph Hearst

Hearst and Pulitzer engaged in a newspaper war, fighting for subscribers with ever-escalating sensationalism. Critics dubbed their conduct "yellow journalism," a term stemming from The Yellow Kid comic strip, which was published in both the Journal and the World.


Who was the 28th President of the United States, known for fighting to keep the U.S. out of World War I (1914-18)?

Woodrow Wilson

Wilson emphasized neutrality during his first term, but the U.S. finally entered the war in 1917. In 1918 he issued his Fourteen Points, his goals for peace and the prevention of further conflict. After the war, in 1919, he was instrumental to both the Treaty of Versailles and the creation of the League of Nations.


During the first few years of World War I, which nations were the primary Allied Powers?

At WWI's outbreak in 1914, the primary Allied Powers were France, Great Britain, and Russia, known as the Triple Entente. Italy joined the alliance in 1915.


What nations were known as the Central Powers in World War I?

The alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.


What treaty formally ended the First World War?

The Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty issued crushing terms on Germany, designed to impair its ability to wage war.


Which method was adopted by Henry Ford and other industrialists to streamline production?

assembly line production

Workers stood in a single spot and performed the same task repetitively. Assembly line production greatly increased the speed of production, and consequently lowered the cost of the goods produced.


In 1919, the production, transport, and sale of alcohol became illegal through the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. What was the effect of Prohibition on drinking during the 1920s?

Alcohol use continued, and it was fashionable to drink in speakeasies or to purchase alcohol from bootleggers who either brewed liquor themselves or imported it from Canada. As bootlegging grew into a lucrative profession, it was taken over by gangsters, such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, who thrived in the illegal climate.


Which Chicago-based American gangster led a crime syndicate in the late 1920s and early 1930s, primarily focused on the illegal sale of alcohol?

Al Capone

He was sent to prison in 1931 for tax evasion.


Which pair of outlaws gained considerable attention in the 1930s for robberies in the central United States?

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow

The couple was ambushed and killed by authorities in Louisiana in 1934.


Which 20th-century aviator was the first woman to fly an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932?

Amelia Earhart

She disappeared in 1937 while flying over the Pacific Ocean.


The ___ ___ was a 1920s, New York City-based artistic and intellectual movement that expressed pride in African American culture.

Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance artists and intellectuals expressed both African American pride and the pain of racism in their artistic, literary, and musical works. The Harlem Renaissance included prominent artists like musicians Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, writer James Weldon Johnson, and poet Langston Hughes.


Who was the 32nd President of the United States, elected four times and President for longer than anyone else in American history, from 1933 until his death in 1945?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

He took office during the Great Depression and instituted major legislative changes as part of the New Deal, establishing government programs (like the FDIC, SEC, and Social Security) meant to reform and boost the economy. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he declared war on Japan and Germany, began the Manhattan Project, and helped lead the Allies to eventual victory, though he died before WWII ended.


Which historic event in 1929 led to the Great Depression?

the Stock Market Crash

Many banks had invested in the market and faced significant shortfall; several faced insolvency. The Crash also prompted a run on gold deposits, further reducing the amount of deposits banks had on hand. As a result, banks curtailed their lending activities, contributing to an economic slowdown.


What were the important components of FDR's New Deal?

In response to the Great Depression, President Roosevelt announced a "New Deal," composed of the three Rs:

  1. relief for the unemployed
  2. recovery of the economy as a whole, and
  3. reform of America's economic institutions


What did President Franklin Roosevelt term "a date which will live in infamy"?

The surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which took place on December 7, 1941 (as did attacks on other U.S. bases).

Japan's intent was to destroy America's three Pacific aircraft carriers, crippling the U.S. Navy. Fortunately, all the American carriers were at sea, and not present for the attack, which claimed 2,400 American lives. The next day, President Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan. One week later, Italy and Germany declared war against the United States.


Which event took place in Normandy, on the coast of France, on June 6, 1944?


This is the term for the Allied landing and invasion of Normandy, the largest seaborne invasion in world history. By December, almost all of France was freed from German forces, and British, Free-French, and American forces were preparing to drive deep into Germany.


What was the last major German offensive of World War II (1939-45)?

the Battle of the Bulge (Dec. 1944-Jan. 1945)

The Battle earned the nickname "Bulge" from the large salient the Germans created in the Allied line. By early January, the offensive was contained, and that month the Western Allies crossed the Rhine River into Germany.


In 1944, in anticipation of the return of millions of servicemen and servicewomen, Congress passed the G.I. Bill. What did the Bill provide?

The G.I. Bill provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). Benefits included low-cost mortgages, loans to start a business or farm, and tuition aid to attend vocational school, high school, or college.

Approximately 2.2 million veterans used the G.I. Bill's education benefits in order to attend colleges or universities, and an additional 6.6 million used the benefits for some kind of training program.


Which American president led the United States in the final months of World War II, and made the controversial decision to use atomic weapons against Japan to end the war?

Harry S. Truman

He oversaw the Berlin Airlift, the creation of NATO, and the start of the Cold War. He also instituted the Marshall Plan to help Europe in its post-war recovery and gained approval for the Korean War in 1950.


Who was the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)?

J. Edgar Hoover

He is considered a pioneer in law enforcement for his innovations to police technology, but he is also seen as a controversial figure who abused his power and used illegal and secretive methods to collect evidence.


Between 1946 and approximately 1957, the United States experienced a massive growth in population, which historians and demographers term the ___ ___.

Baby Boom

Between 1948 and 1953 more babies were born than in the previous 30 years combined.


Who was the President of the United States from 1953-1961? 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Before his presidency, he served as a general and commanded Allied forces in Europe during World War II. His presidency was marked by booming prosperity, the end of McCarthyism, the end of the Korean War, the Suez Crisis, and the ongoing Cold War. Known as Ike, Eisenhower also served as President of Columbia University for five years.


Which historic event, often dated from 1945-1991, was a longstanding state of political and military tension between the Soviet Union and its allies and the West, primarily the United States and the NATO nations?

The Cold War

Neither sides' allies were limited to the Western world, as both sides had defense arrangements with countries in Africa and Asia as well.


Which American politician led efforts to identify Communists in the American government and society in the 1940s and 1950s?

Joseph R. McCarthy

His extreme opposition to Communism led to many accusations of treason or disloyalty without sufficient regard for evidence. The term "McCarthyism" has come to mean a practice of making allegations via investigative techniques that are unfair or unfounded.


After the Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" was unconstitutional in 1954's Brown v. Board of Education, several school districts refused to integrate. How did President Eisenhower respond?

When Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus used troops from the Arkansas National Guard to block nine black students from registering at Little Rock's Central High, Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to force the school to integrate. After a further standoff, in which the Little Rock schools closed for a year, desegregation was finally established.


Which 20th-century African American clergyman and political leader was the most prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement?

Martin Luther King, Jr.

He combatted racial inequality through nonviolence, promoting the use of boycotts or sit-ins. He is most famous for his 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and for organizing the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. He was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968.


What famous boycott did Martin Luther King Jr. lead in 1955?

King was instrumental in leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott in December 1955. The Boycott ended over a year later, when a court ordered the public transportation system to be desegregated.


Which African American civil rights activist famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white passenger in 1955?

Rosa Parks

She was arrested for civil disobedience, but she and the ensuing Montgomery Bus Boycott became symbols of the Civil Rights Movement.


Which 20th-century American politician was President of the United States from 1961-1963 and was, at age 43, the youngest person to be elected President?

John F. Kennedy

He supported the Space Race and the Civil Rights Movement, negotiated the Cuban Missile Crisis, oversaw the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion, and was in office for the building of the Berlin Wall and the early years of the Vietnam War. He was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963; Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime. Note that while JFK is the youngest person to ever be elected as president at age 43, Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest to become president following McKinley's assassination at age 42. 


During the 1960 presidential election, John F. Kennedy's religion troubled some potential voters. Why?

Kennedy was one of the first Roman Catholic candidates running for President from a major party (Al Smith of the Democratic Party was first in 1928). Although anti-Catholic sentiment had faded since the 1800s, Kennedy was still forced to publicly clarify that, as President, he would not take direction from the Pope. He is still the only Roman Catholic to become President.


What was the Bay of Pigs Invasion?

In April 1961, Cuban dissidents, funded by the CIA, invaded Cuba to overthrow Fidel Castro's Communist government in an operation approved by President Kennedy. The attack was a miserable failure, embarrassing Kennedy and his administration.


What was the Cuban Missile Crisis?

In 1962, an Air Force U-2 spy plane discovered the Soviets preparing to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, 90 miles from the U.S. Kennedy responded by placing a blockade around Cuba, and threatening war if any Soviet ship crossed the blockade line. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev backed down when Kennedy vowed not to invade Cuba. It was the closest the two superpowers came to nuclear war.


Which 20th-century African American Muslim minister and political leader broke with the Nation of Islam in 1964 and worked with civil rights leaders?

Malcolm X

He was assassinated in 1965 by three members of the Nation of Islam.


The ___ ___ advocated militant self-rule for blacks, and were characterized by distinct all-black attire.

Black Panthers

The Black Panther Party initially focused on monitoring police behavior, but it also organized health clinics and literacy and food campaigns for inner-city blacks. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover led a program to undermine the Party, and by the late 1970s its membership had waned.


Who was the alleged killer of President John F. Kennedy?

Lee Harvey Oswald

He was captured but was never tried because he was killed by Jack Ruby two days after the assassination while being moved by police.


In 1968, two political leaders were assassinated within only a few days of each other. Who were they?

Martin Luther King Jr. was killed outside a hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray, whose motive remains unclear.

In Los Angeles, where he was campaigning in the California presidential primary, Robert F. Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian angered by Kennedy's pro-Israel stance.


Which American engineer, pilot, Navy officer, and astronaut became the first person to walk on the Moon in 1969?

Neil Armstrong


Who was the 37th President of the United States, whose term was embroiled in the Watergate scandal that eventually led to his resignation in 1974?

Richard Nixon

During his presidency the United States withdrew troops from Vietnam and opened diplomatic relations with China.


What was the Watergate Scandal?

The uncovering of Richard Nixon's plot to spy on his opponents for political gain. Nixon was found guilty, but resigned before being impeached. Gerald Ford was sworn in as President and promptly pardoned Nixon.


Vice President Gerald Ford succeeded President Nixon in August 1974. One of Ford's first acts proved highly unpopular, and ruined any chances he had to run for President in his own right in 1976. What was the act?

Ford pardoned Nixon.

The new President sought to move the country beyond Watergate and declared that "our long national nightmare is over." Although unpopular at the time, Ford's actions are now widely praised. In 2001, Ford won the Kennedy Library Foundation's Profile in Courage Award. "In pardoning Nixon," said the Foundation, "Ford placed his love of country ahead of his own political future and brought needed closure to the divisive Watergate affair."


Which German-born American writer and diplomat served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford?

Henry Kissinger

He helped open relations with the People's Republic of China and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, putting an end to American involvement in the Vietnam War. Some of his foreign policy decisions remain controversial, most notably the secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos.


Which 20th-century American film actor began his political career in the 1960s, becoming Governor of California, and later, the 40th President of the United States (1981-89)?

Ronald Reagan


Which attorney and judge was the first African American justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from 1967 to 1991?

Thurgood Marshall

Marshall had worked as a lawyer for the NAACP and argued against segregation in Brown v. Board of Education.


In 1981, President Reagan appointed ___ ___ ___ to the Supreme Court, making her the first woman to serve on the Court.

Sandra Day O'Connor

She retired in 2006.


Which American politician served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993-2001?

Bill Clinton

During his presidency Clinton gained considerable popularity thanks in large part to the booming American economy. He also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement and passed welfare reform, but his second term was marred by a sex scandal and subsequent impeachment.


Which former First Lady and Senator served as the U.S. Secretary of State from 2009-2013?

Hillary Clinton

A graduate of Yale Law School, she was a Senator for New York from 2001-2009 and a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. She has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 election.


Which Czech-born American diplomat and professor was the first woman to become United States Secretary of State (1997-2001)?

Madeleine Albright


Which American military leader and statesman served as the Secretary of State from 2001-2005 and was the first African American to hold the position?

Colin Powell

He served in the Vietnam War then rose through the American military ranks, becoming a general in the U.S. Army and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Which American political leader and professor was the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor (2001-05) and the second African American to serve as United States Secretary of State (2005-09)?

Condoleezza Rice


Who was elected governor of Texas in 1994, then served as President of the United States from 2001-2009?

George W. Bush

A Republican and the son of former President George H.W. Bush, he narrowly defeated Al Gore in the controversial 2000 election, plagued by charges of irregularities in the counting of votes. Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, he launched the War on Terror, resulting in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He signed into law the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and general tax cuts.


On September 11, 2001, the terrorist organization al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes. What were their targets?

Two planes were to fly directly into the World Trade Center buildings, in downtown Manhattan. Both attacks were successful, and the Twin Towers fell that morning.

Two other planes were directed at the Pentagon and the White House. While the Pentagon attack was a success, passengers on the fourth plane, Flight 93, fought back and the plane crashed in Pennsylvania.


After the Democratic Party's landslide victory in the 2006 Congressional elections, who became the first female Speaker of the House?

Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Party's victory stemmed from dissatisfaction with the War in Iraq and Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina.


Who is the 44th President of the United States and the first African American to hold the office?

Barack Obama

His main policy initiatives have been in response to the American economic recession, but he has also sought to reform healthcare via the Affordable Care Act. In 2010 he repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and in 2012 he publicly supported the legalization of same-sex marriage. He ordered the operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. He was reelected in 2012.


Name the historical figures on each piece of U.S. currency.


  • penny (1¢): Abraham Lincoln (16th president)
  • nickel (5¢): Thomas Jefferson (3rd president)
  • dime (10¢): Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd president)
  • quarter (25¢): George Washington (1st president)

Dollar bills:

  • $1: George Washington
  • $5: Abraham Lincoln
  • $10: Alexander Hamilton (1st Secretary of the U.S. Treasury)
  • $20: Andrew Jackson (7th president)
  • $50: Ulysses S. Grant (18th president)
  • $100: Benjamin Franklin