US History Essential Knowledge

U. S. History Essential Knowledge
***This is only designed to help. It would take too many pages for the Social Studies Department to list everything we cover
over the course of a year in U. S. History.
1. Gilded Age: late 19th century, on surface everything looked good but underneath there was corruption, etc.
2. Western expansion:
a. Country’s populations grows
b. Gold rush
c. adventure
d. force Native Americans to assimilate white man’s ways
i. Little Bighorn was huge battle in which the 7th Calvary was wiped out
3. Early American economy
a. North’s manufacturing
b. South’s economy was dependent on cotton
i. Share cropping: were farmers remain in debt to landowners
c. Sherman Antitrust act
i. Banned trust and monopolies
ii. Trust: a group of companies that illegally work together to reduce competition and control prices
iii. Monopoly: a single company controls competition and sets price
d. Pres. Taft brought many lawsuits against corporations
e. Federal trade commission was established to monitor businesses; keep from becoming monopoly.
f. Hepburn Act gave gov’t right to set and limit shipping cost
g. Banking system needed to be reformed (no central authority)
4. Plessy v. Ferguson established the doctrine of separate but equal
5. Andrew Carnegie head of steel industry; major player in developing the U.S.A.
6. Anti-Defamation League: Jewish people formed it to defend itself against verbal attacks, etc.
7. 19th amendment gave women suffrage
8. Political Machine: corrupt organizations which city officials built that gave them power and they rewarded people
9. The Jungle described working conditions in meat industry, i.e. Chicago stockyard
10. Pull factors for immigration: Religious freedom and jobs
11. Push factors for immigration: “forced” people to want to leave their country; religious persecution and military.
12. Dawes Act: Native American reservations were divided into smaller plots
13. Progressivism (mostly middle class city dwellers) is a general political philosophy advocating or favoring gradual social,
political, and economic reform through government action. It emerged as part of a more general response to the vast
social changes brought by industrialization; urged people to follow white middle class way of life. Wanted to change
education, working conditions and gov’t.
a. to make immigrants more loyal and moral citizens
14. Populists wanted reform to but were mostly farmers.
15. Unions : collective bargaining for workers (Wagner act)
a. American federation of labor (improve working conditions, wages, hours, etc.)
b. Coal miner strike Roosevelt sent troops to stop strike
16. Seward’s Folly is were secretary of state Seward bought Alaska; at that time it was not known about Alaska’s vast
17. Jim Crow Laws: segregated people by race in all facets of life after Civil War (more so in the south)
18. Stanton’s writings suggest that the status of women in industry increased during World War I.
19. Red Scare was movement after WWI that persecuted people who were believed to be communist (brought on by the
Russian Revolution)
20. Prohibition
a. Selling of alcohol illegal (18th Amendment)
b. Repealed by the 21st amendment
c. Led to growth of organized crime making it easier for bootleggers to branch into other types of illegal activity
21. Imperialism: controlling another country by means of military, economic or political.
a. Counties wanted territories to sell their goods too.
b. Open Door Policy: Countries could trade in China without controlling territories
22. Panama Canal:
a. U.S. gained control by backing rebels who soon took over panama;
b. Signed a lease with U.S. so they could build canal
c. allowed U.S. to get ships from one ocean to other more quickly
23. Teddy Roosevelt’s “big stick” diplomacy depended on a strong military to achieve America’s goals.
a. Roosevelt’s corollary said that U.S. would police western hemisphere
24. Teller Amendment: U.S. could not control Cuba
25. Spanish-American war
a. Manila Bay in Philippians was attacked because it was ruled by Spain, and the ships belonged to the Spanish.
b. gave U.S. control over Cuba and Puerto Rico
c. Platt Amendment: gave the United States the right to preserve order as needed in Cuba.
d. Jones act: said Panamanian would eventually get their own control
26. WWI
a. the Committee on Public Information specifically promoted support for the war among the American people
b. Isolationism: Policy used by the U.S. to try to stay out of WWI; not to interact with other countries.
c. Sedition Act of 1918 limited freedom of speech
d. Zimmerman Note: although other things built up tension, it was the Zimmerman note that led to Pres. Wilson to
ask congress to declare war
e. Triple Alliance: Germany, Austria-Hungry, Italy
f. Triple Entente: Britain, France, Russia
g. League of Nations: Pres. Wilson’s idea of an organization that could resolve world problems; predecessor to the
i. Unlike the U.N., it had no standing army
ii. The U.S. Senate never approved of it
27. Bonus Army was a group of WWI vets who were promised a “‘bonus” for their service; it was supposed to be paid in
a. Congress passed an act to pay early (1932) but Pres. Hoover vetoed; caused a march to D.C.
b. Federal troops were used against the protesters (veterans)
28. Scopes trial was a clash between religion and science ideas.
29. Social Darwinists believe in survival of the fittest (people and countries)
30. “Moral diplomacy” means that the U.S. government should favor honorable diplomacy, but may still resort to military
31. Nativist: people who opposed immigration; feared it would put Americans out of work.
32. Henry Ford invented the assembly line which reduced the time it took to make a car, saved money and is considered one
of most important economic inventions of all time.
a. Automobile industry led to the increase in other businesses
33. Jazz: an American hybrid of African American and European music forms.
34. Great migration:
a. 1st was during 1920’s African Americans moved north for work during WWI
b. 2nd was during 1940’s African Americans moved north to find work
i. A million people moved to Chicago, Gary, & Detroit to work in wartime industry
ii. Wartime migration caused racial violence in Detroit
35. Harlem significance: a central place for African Americans to voice concerns about racial problems.
36. Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery incident that took place during the administration of Pres. Harding. Secretary Fall
leased Navy oil reserves to oil companies without taking bids; largest gov’t scandal until Watergate.
37. Women in the 19 & 20 century
a. Susan B. Anthony led the way for women’s rights
b. Most women wanted to challenge political, economic, social, and educational boundaries during the 1920’s;
c. Rejected Victorian morality.
38. Great depression:
a. People blamed capitalism (control of business by individuals)
b. President Hoover is viewed as a failure because:
i. he did little to try to get the country out of its economic dilemma (thought business cycle would take
care of itself)
ii. His volunteerism and trickle-down economic policies had failed.
iii. Reconstruction Finance Corporation was instituted so banks could loan money to businesses to stimulate
the economy during the depression
c. Uneven distribution of the nation’s wealth lead to the depression because:
i. Farmers had huge surpluses of crops but demand for them decreased drastically so they went into debt.
ii. Acquiring a line of credit was easy, but it caused more debt for people who could not make payments.
iii. Wealthy people grew wealthier and had money to spend on consumer products, but this spending was
not enough to keep the economy booming.
d. Farmers:
i. Dust Bowl was severe drought during the great depression. Forced many farmers and workers to head to
the city to look for jobs.
ii. Drop in price of crops and livestock
e. Hawley – Smooth tariff Act put high tariffs on imported goods which caused other countries to do the same
which worsened the economic condition in the U.S.A.
f. In the 1930’s people turned to radio and movies to forget their troubles
39. Stock market crash
a. Black Tuesday was the day the market crashed; investors sold off more than 15 million stocks
b. Effect on banks: People began to lose confidence in the economy and frightened depositors began to remove
their money from banks.
40. Prohibition
a. 18th Amendment made the use of Alcohol illegal
b. Help increase organized crime
c. 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment
41. FDR
a. The New Deal was a series of domestic economic programs enacted in the United States between 1933 and 1936.
They focused on the "3 Rs": Relief, Recovery, and Reform. That is Relief for the unemployed and poor;
Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.
Opponents of the New Deal thought it threaten individual’s freedom and made the gov’t to powerful.
i. Emergency Banking Act allows only Federal Reserve-approved banks to operate in the United States of
ii. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates the stock market
iii. Social Security Act: gave money and medical assistance to retired, disabled, etc.
b. He was elected to four terms but only served?
c. First female cabinet member was Frances Perkins who served as?
42. WWII
a. U.S. wanted to remain neutral. The U.S., along with other countries, appeased Hitler because they were
concerned with own economic problems.
b. They passed the Neutrality Act of 1939 which stated nations at war could buy supplies, etc. from U.S. as long as
they paid cash and transported it themselves.
c. Lend-lease Act allowed U.S. to send aid to allies with the expectation that they would return material or pay for
them; the Axis Powers deemed this as declaring economic war
43. WWII cont.
a. Pearl Harbor: December 7th, 1941
i. Japanese attacked because they wanted to destroy ships that effected their expansion efforts
ii. December 8th Congress declared war and peace time industry transformed to war time.
b. Allies adopted a “Europe First” strategy because Germany was considered the only long term threat
c. Although America is a toss salad (with German, Italian, & Japanese immigrants), the Japanese Americans faced
more restrictions during WWII because they were more isolated.
i. Executive Order 9066 allowed gov’t to move people from what they designated as war zones (Japanese
internment camps)
d. D-Day: invasion of Europe by allies and a step toward Berlin
e. Atomic Bomb: ordered by President Thurman because it was thought to save over a million American lives
44. Post WWII
a. After WWII, the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. became 2 of the most powerful nations (superpowers)
b. United Nations was formed which is still in existence today. The encourage cooperation between nations and
police the world. 5 counties form the security force in which U.S. is one
c. Iron curtain is a term give to an imaginary line dividing Europe’s communist and democratic countries. Phrase
was coined by Winston Churchill.
d. NATO and Warsaw Pact were military alliances for security reasons
e. Belin Wall: after WWII, Germany was divided up into military regions. The U.S.A. refused to recognize a
divided Germany so Soviets built a wall dividing Germany (east & west). The fall of Berlin Wall symbolizes the
end of communism in Europe.
f. Marshall Plan: American program to aid Europe, in which it economic support to help rebuild European
economies after the end of WWII in order to prevent the spread of Communism; The goals of the United States
were to rebuild a war-devastated region, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, and make Europe prosperous
again. In other words, buy American products.
45. Cold War
a. Between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. and was heighten in 1949 when soviets set off an atomic bomb letting the world
know they had nuclear power
b. CIA was created to spy on counties
c. Major hot spot of the Cold War was Korea
d. Korean War: South (democratic) backed by U.S.A. and North (communist) backed by Soviets. The North
invaded South Korea at the 38th parallel
e. China’s civil war: U.S.A. backed the nationalist led by Jiang Jieshi against Mao’s communist
f. President Eisenhower introduced a doctrine that stated “U.S.A. will use force to help any Middle Eastern country
threatened by communism.
46. 1950’s
a. Baby Boomer: population in U.S. increased because men returning home from war
b. Television shows centered around the ideal family (father: income earner; mother: homemaker)
c. Hugh investment in highway system
i. Many middle class people moved to suburbs which hurt large cities because they paid the majority of the
d. Jackie Robinson Breaks the colored barrier in baseball
47. Vietnam Area
a. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, & Nixon
b. Fear of communism: Domino Theory is that if one country would fall to communism, more would follow
c. Operation Rolling Thunder was an increase in bombing to cause N. Vietnam to surrender
d. Agent orange was used to kill foliage and food supply; many vets are suffering from it now
e. Selected Service was used and because of deferment abuses started using lottery system
f. African Americans were more likely used in combat positions
Tet Offensive was large scaled attack by N. Vietnam; in military terms, the United States was the victor of the
Tet Offensive for the Communists did not succeed in maintaining control over any part of South Vietnam. The
Communist forces also suffered very heavy losses (an estimated 45,000 killed). However, the Tet Offensive
showed another side of the war to Americans, one which they did not like. The coordination, strength, and
surprise instigated by the Communists led the U.S. to realize that their foe was much stronger than they had
expected and had not lost the ability to fight.
Ho Chi Minh Trail was a food trial for the N. Vietnam from Cambodia; Pres. Nixon ordered the bombing of it
My Lai was a village in Vietnam where a massacre of civilian occurred by U.S. forces led by Lt. Calley
Unlike WWI & WWII vets, Vietnam Veterans were treated poorly
48. 1960’s
a. Counterculture (Hippy) Movement:
i. Protest (war, gov’t, etc.) a defining characteristic that many other movements started to use
ii. Increase in drug use
b. Sexual revolution: people started talking openly about sex
c. Motor vehicle safety act passed which is still in use today that protects consumers
d. President Kennedy
i. New Frontier was a term used by President Kennedy during his campaign; the phrase developed into a
label for his administration’s domestic and foreign programs. ”We stand today on the edge of a New
Frontier -— the frontier of 1960s, the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, the frontier of
unfilled hopes and unfilled dreams. ... Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space,
unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered
questions of poverty and surplus.
1. Goal was to eradicate poverty and to increase the space program.
2. Unemployment benefits were expanded, aid was provided to cities to improve housing and
transportation, funds were allocated to continue the construction of a national highway system
started under Eisenhower, an agricultural act to raise farmers’ incomes was made law. A
significant amount of anti-poverty legislation was passed by Congress, including increases in
social security benefits and in the minimum wage, food stamps for low-income Americans were
reintroduced, food distribution to the poor was increased, and there was an expansion in school
milk and school lunch distribution.
ii. Bay of Pigs was invasion of Cuba to overthrow Castro; it failed
iii. Cuban Missile Crisis occurred when U.S.S.R. put a missile on Cuba; President Kennedy gave them an
ultimatum to remove it. Caused Khrushchev to loose political power. How close was the world to a
nuclear war?
iv. Nuclear Test Ban Treaty resulted in over 30 counties ceasing above ground testing
v. Warren Commission (named after Chief Justice Earl Warren) was established to investigate the
assignation of President Kennedy. It concluded that Oswald acted alone. The Warren Court rulings up
held many rulings that supported civil liberties.
e. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson push for better education
i. Laws passed to guaranteeing people with disabilities access to education
ii. Because of the Soviet’s space program
49. 1960’s cont.
a. Civil Rights
i. Civil Rights Bill of 1964:
1. The bill was called for by President John F. Kennedy; introduced to congress by Pres. Johnson
after Kennedy was shot; legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities
which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar
establishments," as well as "greater protection for the right to vote." Cannot discriminate by race
for employment
ii. Martin Luther King, Jr. prominent leader of civil rights; targeted Birmingham because it was deemed the
most segregated city in the U.S.
b. The Great Society
i. was a set of domestic programs announced by President Johnson
ii. Two main goals: elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
50. 1970’s
a. SALT I: (Strategic Arms Limitations Talks): An agreement signed in 1972 by U.S. President Nixon and Soviet
leader Brezhnev. It slowed the arms race and reduced tension between U.S.A. and soviets
b. Women’s movement
i. Women not only wanted the right to vote but full equality with men
ii. Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 made it illegal to deny credit based on gender
c. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created to protect environments from such things as the Whitehall
Tannery and the Love Canal
d. Nixon
i. Was impeached but resigned
ii. Believed executive privileges kept him from having to turn over tapes (supreme court ruled he had to
turn them over)
e. President Ford
i. Pardon Nixon
ii. His Presidency faced high inflation and high unemployment
iii. He pursued Détente (a relaxing of tension, especially between nations, as by negotiations or agreements)
with Soviets much like Nixon.
f. President Carter
i. Issued an oil embargo and asked citizens to conserve oil
ii. Imposed sanctions on Soviets when they invaded Afghanistan; relations cooled because of the invasion
iii. Many of his bills passed only with his own party’s major changes
iv. His greatest foreign policy achievement was when he was able to get Egypt and Israel to sign the Camp
David Accords
51. 1980’s
a. President Reagan
i. Cut taxes by cutting social programs
ii. Said he would institute a new era of prosperity
iii. Introduced the “Star Wars” program which was putting weapons in space (scared the soviets)
iv. Reaganomics:
1. Tax cuts, deregulation of industry. Trickle-down economics (spaced money on defense)
v. Reagan administration committed the U.S. massive arms build up
vi. START I Treaty (STrategic Arms Reduction Treaty)
1. U.S. and Soviets on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. The treaty barred its
signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads.
b. Number of working poor increased despite economic improvements
c. Economic Recovery Act of 1981
i. Was to revamp and lower the income tax rate for individual. Thought it would stimulate the economy.
The wealthiest received the largest tax cuts
d. s
52. 1990’s
a. President George H. Bush
i. Cracked down on drug trafficking in Latin America
ii. Sent troops in the 1991 Persian Gulf War (short with few American casualties)
b. Globalization lead to decline manufacturing jobs in U.S. which caused a down turn in economy
i. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) between U.S., Canada, & Mexico which removed
trade restrictions
53. conservatives tend to favor relying on private organizations to help those in need
54. 2000’s
a. President Clinton
i. Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a law requiring employers to provide employees job-protected
and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Qualified medical and family reasons include:
personal or family illness, family military leave, pregnant, adoption, or the foster care placement of a
child. It guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave
ii. Was impeached for lie to congress but it was clear at the trial that there was not enough votes to convict
b. President George W. Bush
i. Florida’s votes were decisive to the election results in 2000 which was finally settled by the Supreme
ii. No Child Left Behind Act requires all public schools receiving federal funding to administer a state-wide
standardized test annually to all students. This means that all students take the same test under the same
conditions. Schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in test scores if not they lose money.
iii. War in Afghanistan which lead to the removal of the Taliban
iv. On September 11, 2001 the U.S. was attacked by a terrorist group known as al Qaeda