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AM HIST 15 Vocab Coursemate

Quiz yourself by thinking what should be in each of the black spaces below before clicking on it to display the answer.

abolitionist   An individual who condemns slavery as morally wrong and seeks to abolish (eliminate) slavery.  
Abraham Lincoln   (1809–1865) Sixteenth president of the United States, who presided over the Union during the Civil War, initiated Reconstruction, and was assassinated shortly after beginning his second term as president.  
amnesty   A general pardon granted by a government, especially for political offenses.  
Andrew Johnson   (1808–1875) Seventeenth president of the United States, who was elected vice president in 1864, became president after Lincoln’s assassination, and was impeached, but not removed from the presidency, owing to conflicts with Congress.  
autonomy   Control of one’s own affairs.  
benevolent society   An organization dedicated to some charitable purpose.  
black codes   Laws passed by the southern states after the Civil War restricting freed people; in general, the black codes limited the civil rights of freed people and defined their status as subordinate to whites.  
Black Reconstruction   The period of Reconstruction when African Americans took an active role in state and local government.  
capital   Money, especially the money invested in a commercial enterprise.  
carpetbagger   Derogatory term for the northerners who came to the South after the Civil War to take part in Reconstruction.  
chattel slavery   The condition in which one person is legally defined as the personal property of another person.  
civil rights   The rights, privileges, and protections that are a part of citizenship.  
Civil Rights Act of 1875   Law passed by Congress in 1875 prohibiting racial discrimination in selection of juries and in transportation and other businesses open to the general public.  
coalition   An alliance, especially a temporary one of different people or groups.  
coercion   Use of threats or force to compel action.  
Compromise of 1877   Name applied by historians to resolution of the disputed presidential election of 1876; it gave the presidency to the Republicans and made concessions to southern Democrats.  
crop lien   A legal claim to a farmer’s crop, similar to a mortgage, based on the use of crops as collateral for extension of credit by a merchant.  
depression   A period of economic contraction, characterized by decreasing business activity, falling prices, and high unemployment.  
discrimination   Denial of equal treatment based on prejudice or bias.  
disfranchisement   The taking away of an individual’s or group’s right to vote.  
Elizabeth Cady Stanton   A founder and leader of the American woman suffrage movement from 1848 (date of the Seneca Falls Conference) until her death in 1902.  
emancipation   The release from slavery.  
empower   To increase the power or authority of some person or group.  
enfranchise   To grant the right to vote to an individual or group.  
equal access   The right of any person to a public facility, such as streetcars, as freely as any other person.  
Fifteenth Amendment   Constitutional amendment, ratified in 1870, that prohibited states from denying the right to vote because of a person's race or because a person had been a slave.  
Fourteenth Amendment   Constitutional amendment, ratified in 1868, defining American citizenship and placing restrictions on former Confederates.  
fraternal order   A men’s organization, often with a ceremonial initiation, that typically provided rudimentary life insurance; many fraternal orders had auxiliaries for female relatives of members.  
Frederick Douglass   (c. 1818–1895) Escaped slave who became a leader of the abolition movement and later an important African American leader and Republican politician.  
freed people   Former slaves; freed people is the term used by historians to refer to former slaves, whether male or female.  
Freedmen’s Bureau   Agency established in 1865 to aid former slaves in their transition to freedom, especially by administering relief and sponsoring education.  
impeach   To charge a public official with improper, usually criminal, conduct.  
Ku Klux Klan   A secret society organized in the South after the Civil War to restore white supremacy by means of violence and intimidation.  
land redistribution   The division of land held by large landowners into smaller plots that are turned over to landless people.  
Mississippi Plan   Use of threats, violence, and lynching by Mississippi Democrats in 1875 to intimidate Republicans and bring the Democratic Party to power.  
moderates   People whose views are midway between two extreme positions; in this case, Republicans who favored some reforms but not all the Radicals’ proposals.  
nativity   Place of birth.  
New Departure   Strategy adopted by some leading southern Democrats of cooperating with some Reconstruction measures in the hope of winning compromises favorable to their party.  
pardon   A governmental directive canceling punishment for a person or people who have committed a crime.  
pass system   Laws that forbade slaves to travel without written authorization from their owners.  
patrollers   During the era of slavery, white guards who made the rounds of rural roads to make certain that slaves were not moving about the countryside without written permission from their masters.  
provisional   Temporary.  
public accomodations   Hotels, bars and restaurants, theaters, and other places set up to do business with anyone who can pay the price of admission.  
racial integration   Equal opportunities to participate in a society or organization by people of different racial groups; the absence of race-based barriers to full and equal participation.  
Radical Republicans   A group within the Republican Party during the Civil War and Reconstruction that advocated abolition of slavery, citizenship for the former slaves, and sweeping alteration of the South.  
Reconstruction   Term applied by historians to the years 1865–1877, when the Union was restored after the Civil War; important changes were made to the federal Constitution; and relations between the races were transformed in the South.  
Redeemers   Southern Democrats who hoped to bring the Democratic Party back into power and to suppress Black Reconstruction.  
repudiate   The act of rejecting the validity or authority of something; to refuse to pay.  
Rutherford B. Hayes   (1822–1893) Seventeenth president of the United States; Ohio governor and former Union general, president when Reconstruction ended.  
scalawag   Derogatory term for white southerners who aligned themselves with the Republican Party during Reconstruction.  
secede   To withdraw from an organization; the attempted withdrawal of eleven southern states from the United States in 1860–1861, giving rise to the Civil War.  
segregation   Separation on account of race or class from the rest of society, such as the separation of blacks from whites in most southern school systems.  
sharecropping   A system for renting farmland in which tenant farmers give landlords a share of their crops, rather than cash, as rent.  
states’ rights   A political position favoring limitation of the federal government’s power and the greatest possible self-government by the individual states.  
suffrage   The right to vote.  
Susan B. Anthony   Tireless campaigner for woman suffrage and close associate of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  
Terrorists   Those who use threats and violence to achieve ideological or political goals.  
Thirteenth Amendment   Constitutional amendment, ratified in 1865, that abolished slavery in the United States and its territories.  
underwrite   To assume financial responsibility for; here, to guarantee the purchase of bonds so that a project can go forward.  
vagrancy   The legal condition of having no fixed place of residence or means of support.  
white supremacy   The racist belief that whites are inherently superior to all other races and are therefore entitled to rule over them.  


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