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D-Day was June 6, 1944, the day Allied troops crossed the English Channel and opened a second front in Western Europe. The "D" stands for "disembarkation"--to leave a ship and go ashore. D-Day saw the first paratroop drops and amphibious landings on the coast of Normandy, France, in the first stage of Operation OVERLORD during World War II.

Daley, Richard

In 1968, Chicago Mayor Daley surrounded the Democratic National Convention hall with police. During the convention, Chicago police rioted in response to antiwar demonstrations and hundreds of protestors were beaten and arrested.

Darrow, Clarence

Darrow, a noted defense lawyer for radical and lost causes, was John Scopes's defense attorney in the "monkey trial" in 1924. His defense rested on exposing the childlike faith and naive ignorance of religious fundamentalists like William Jennings Bryan.

Dartmouth College v. Woodward

In the Dartmouth College case (1819), the Supreme Court prohibited states from interfering with the privileges granted to a private corporation. In its ruling, the Supreme Court mandated that a charter granted by a state was a contract and could not be canceled or altered without the consent of both parties. The ruling caused states to spell out the limitations of corporate charters in greater detail.

Davis, Jefferson

Davis became the first (and only) president of the Confederate States of America. He had been a respected Senator from Mississippi and former Secretary of War, but Davis proved unable to provide strong national leadership for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Dawes Act

The Dawes Act was an 1887 law terminating tribal ownership of land and allotting some parcels of land to individual Indians with the remainder opened for white settlement.

Dawes Plan

The Dawes Plan (1924) and Young Plan (1929) were international arrangements to help European nations pay their war debts to the United States and help Germany pay is reparations obligations. The onset of the depression in the 1930s ruined chances that either war debts or reparations would continue to be paid.

de Gaulle, Charles

French General de Gaulle organized a government in exile after the collapse of France to German invasion in 1940. He later became president of the Fifth French Republic (1959-69).

de Lùme, Dupuy

De Lùme was the Spanish minister to the United States in the 1890s. In a private letter to a friend, he made several insulting remarks about President McKinley. The letter was published in February 1898 and inflamed American anti-Spanish sentiment, moving the United States and Spain closer to war.

de Tocqueville, Alexis

Tocqueville was a French visitor to the United States in the early 1830s. He was impressed by the relative equality of opportunity and condition in America and wrote of it in his classic description of Jacksonian America, "Democracy in America."

Dean, John

During the Watergate hearings in 1973, President Nixon's lawyer, John Dean, gave extensive testimony implicating the president in a cover-up of the Watergate break-in.

Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms

This declaration, issued by the Second Continental Congress, was a comprehensive condemnation of everything the British had done since 1763. Colonists now claimed they had to make a choice between submission to tyranny and resistance by force.

Declaration of Independence

Written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence justified the American Revolution by reference to republican theory and to the many injustices of King George III toward the colonies. The declaration's indictment of the king provides a remarkably full catalog of the colonists' grievances, and Jefferson's eloquent and inspiring statement of the contract theory of government makes the document one of the world's great state papers.

Declaration of London

This statement drafted by an international conference in 1909 clarified international law and specified the rights of neutral nations.

Declaration of Rights and Grievances

These resolves, adopted by the Stamp Act Congress at New York in 1765, asserted that the Stamp Act and other taxes imposed on the colonists without their consent, given through their colonial legislature, were unconstitutional.

Declaration of Sentiments

These resolutions passed at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 called for full female equality, including the right to vote.

Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms
This document, written mainly by John Dickinson of Pennsylvania and adopted on July 6, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress allowed the Congress to justify its armed resistance against British measures.

Declaratory Act

Parliament passed the 1766 Declaratory Act when it repealed the Stamp Act. It stated that the colonies were entirely subordinate to Parliament's authority, and that Parliament had the authority to legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." Whether "legislate" meant tax was not clear to Americans.


Declension was the decline of the Puritan experiment in Massachusetts Bay. It began in the 1660s and was marked by the loss of religious intensity. It was manifested in the adoption of the Half-Way Covenant in 1662.

Deere, John

Deere was a blacksmith who, in 1839, invented the steel plow. His plow cut easily through the tough and sticky prairie sod of the upper Mississippi Valley and opened it to extensive farming.

defensive perimeter

In 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson excluded Korea from the U.S. defensive perimeter in Asia. Included within the perimeter were Japan, the Philippines, and Formosa (Taiwan). Acheson's exclusion of Korea may have helped invite the communist North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950.


Deism was the faith of the Enlightenment that revered God for the marvels of the universe rather than for His power over humankind. This religious orientation rejects divine revelation and holds that the workings of nature alone reveal God's design for the universe.

Democracy in America

In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States and prepared material for his book, "Democracy in America," which was published in 1835. It is a classic, though not altogether accurate, description of the "equality of conditions" he found in America.

Democratic party

1) Sometimes called the Jeffersonian Democrats, this party organized in opposition to Federalist policies in the 1790s and gained control of the national government in the election of 1800.
2) The Democratic Party was reorganized on a popular basis during the 1820s under the leadership of Andrew Jackson. From the 1830s through the early decades of the twentieth century, the party generally favored states' rights and a limited role for the federal government.

Denmark Vesey's conspiracy

As part of this slave revolt, the most carefully devised slave revolt, the rebels planned to seize control of Charleston in 1822 and escape to freedom in Haiti, a free black republic, but they were betrayed by other slaves, and seventy-five conspirators were executed. The revolt was named for its leader, a free black in Charleston.


Deregulation refers to the reduction or removal of government regulations and encouragement of direct competition in many important industries and economic sectors.

Desert Shield

Desert Shield was the U.S. and Allied military operation to protect Saudi Arabia from possible attack after Iraq's invasion >of Kuwait in 1990; this set the stage for the military offensive in 1991 code-named Desert Storm.

Desert Storm
Desert Storm was the code name for the successful offensive against Iraq by the United States and its allies in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.


Deskilling refers to a decline in work force skills due to discrimination, as for southern blacks in the late nineteenth century, or to mechanization, as for white industrial workers in the same period.

destroyers-for-bases deal

In 1940, President Roosevelt arranged to trade fifty old American naval destroyers to Britain in exchange for six Caribbean naval bases. It was a shrewd deal that helped save Britain's fleet and bolster U.S. defenses in the Atlantic.


"Détente" is a French term meaning the relaxation of tensions. The word was used to identify U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-Chinese relations in the 1970s, as the superpowers pursued friendlier relations with each other.

Dewey, George

Commodore Dewey, commander of the navy's Asiatic Squadron, steamed from Hong Kong to Manila as the Spanish-American War began in 1898. He quickly defeated the Spanish fleet and gained control of Manila in the Philippines.

Dewey, John

The "father" of progressive education, John Dewey published "The School and Society" (1899) to suggest the need for an education that was practical and useful. He insisted that education should be child centered and that schools should build character, teach good citizenship, and be instruments of social reform.

Dewey, Thomas E.

Dewey, a successful governor of New York, was the Republican candidate for president in 1944, when he lost to Roosevelt, and in 1948, when he lost to Truman.

Dickinson, John

Dickinson published the "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" denying that Parliament had the right to tax the colonies, although he was loyal to the empire and searched for a peaceful solution to colonial problems.

Diem, Ngo Dinh

Diem was the president of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1963. He was a Catholic in a largely Buddhist nation, and an intense anticommunist. The United States backed his increasingly ineffective government until Diem was killed during a 1963 coup.

Dien Bien Phu

In 1954, French troops were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam. This effectively ended French colonial rule in Vietnam and bolstered the cause of Vietnamese nationalism. Vietnam's most popular nationalist leader, Ho Chi Minh, was a communist.

Direct Tax of 1798

The Direct tax of 1798 was a national tax levied on land, slaves, and dwellings.


Disenfranchisement refers to the use of legal means to bar individuals or groups from voting.

direct taxes

The Stamp Act was a direct tax, an excise tax on all kinds of printed matter. It was designed to raise revenue to defray British imperial expenses in America. Indirect taxes, like the Navigation Acts, were taxes on colonial imports, and were designed to regulate imperial trade.


To disestablish means to withdraw exclusive government recognition or support. The final disestablishment of America's churches in the 1830s reflected the Jacksonian dislike of special privilege.


President Jackson, who generally held to Jeffersonian views of states' rights and limited government, suggested that once the federal debt was paid off, the surplus revenues of the federal government should be distributed among the states.

Distribution Act

The 1841 Distribution Act called for distributing the proceeds from federal land sales to the states. Its political purpose was to reduce federal revenues in order to justify raising tariff rates, the chief source of federal revenue.

Divine Ceation

Religious fundamentalists in the 1920s insisted that the only explanation for the origin of the human species was divine creation. A Tennessee law to that effect was tested in the 1924 Scopes trial when biology teacher John Scopes tried to teach a class on Darwinian evolution.

Dix, Dorothea

In the early nineteenth century, Dix devoted herself to a campaign to improve the care of the insane. She traveled extensively inspecting asylums and poorhouses, but in the long run, her hopes for reform were not realized.


Southern Democrats who broke from the party in 1948 over the issue of civil rights and ran a presidential ticket as the States' Rights Democrats were referred to as dixiecrats.

dollar diplomacy

Dollar diplomacy was a foreign policy associated with the presidency of William Taft. It reasoned that American economic penetration would bring stability and safety to underdeveloped nations (particularly in Latin America and Asia), and bring profit and power to the United States without the need to for actual U.S. control of the region.

Dominion of New England

The Dominion was a governing scheme of James II in the 1680s designed to bring greater imperial supervision of the New England colonies and New York. James II planned to combine eight northern colonies intoa single large province, to be governed by a royal appointee (Sir Edmund Andros) with an appointed council but no elective assembly. Andros made himself obnoxious to the Massachusetts Bay Puritans, who rebelled against his rule, and James II was ousted from the English throne, ending the plan.

domino theory

The domino theory held that the loss of one nation to communist control would start a chain reaction that would inevitably lead to communist domination of all its neighboring nations. The theory was used to justify U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

double-digit inflation

The most disturbing problem that troubled the United States during the Carter presidency was soaring inflation. Double-digit inflation (10 percent and up) had a devastating effect on those living on fixed incomes, and it reduced the inclination to save and invest.


The doughboys were American troops of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) who served in Europe in World War I. Their presence boosted the morale of British and French troops and was decisive in the outcome of the war.


"Doughface" was the pejorative appellation Republicans pinned on President Buchanan. It was their belief that he lacked the force of character to stand up against southern proslavery extremists.

Douglas, Stephen A.

Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois managed the congressional maneuvering that resulted in the Compromise of 1850. He championed popular sovereignty in the 1850s and introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in 1854. He and Abraham Lincoln engaged in a classic political debate in 1858, and he was the Northern Democratic presidential candidate in 1860.

Douglass, Frederick

Douglass was a former slave who escaped to the North and became active in the abolitionist movement. He was a determined campaigner against both slavery and racial prejudice.


The term "doves" identified those Americans who opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. They generally believed that the United States was unjustifiably meddling in a Vietnamese civil war.

Dred Scott decision

In the Dred Scott decision (1857), the Supreme Court ruled that blacks were not citizens and could not sue in a federal court, and that Congress had no constitutional authority to ban slavery from a territory, that, in effect, the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. The decision threatened both the central plank of the Republican party platform and the concept of popular sovereignty. Scott, a slave, had brought the lawsuit demanding his freedom based on his residence in a free state and a free territory with his master.

Du Bois, Willia E. B.

Du Bois was America's foremost black intellectual at the turn of the twentieth century, and an outspoken leader of the black cause. He disagreed with Booker T. Washington's accommodationist posture and called upon blacks to insist on equal rights. He was a founder of the NAACP and editor of its journal, "The Crisis."

Dukakis, Michael

Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1988.

Duke of York

James, Duke of York, and the brother of King Charles II, became the proprietor of the English colony of New York in 1664 when it was seized from the Dutch.

Dulles, John Foster

Dulles was President Eisenhower's secretary of state in the 1950s. He was a very experienced diplomat, a moralist, and an intense anticommunist. He proposed a more aggressive policy to combat communism, but the Eisenhower administration generally adhered to the containment doctrine.

dust bowl

In the 1930s, the combination of long droughts and unscientific farming methods on the Great Plains created frequent dust storms that blew away valuable topsoil. Thousands of indebted farmers left this "dust bowl" to seek opportunities in the West

Dutch West India Company

The Dutch West India Company established and governed the Dutch colony of New Netherlands from its first permanent settlement at Fort Orange in 1624 until it was seized by the English in 1664.

Dwight, Morrow

Morrow was President Coolidge's appointee as ambassador to Mexico. A patient and sympathetic man, Morrow helped improve U.S.-Mexican relations. He also helped Mexicans complete their social and economic revolution without interference from the United States.

dynamic conservatism

President Eisenhower characterized his views as "dynamic conservatism" and "progressive moderation." He claimed he was liberal toward people, but conservative about spending public money. He sought to balance the federal budget and lower taxes without destroying existing social programs or hurting military spending.

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