a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Eastern Front
The Eastern Front referred to the area of military operations in World War II located east of Germany in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Eastman, George B.

Eastman developed a mass-produced photographic film roll that could be easily used in his simple but efficient Kodak camera.

economic czar

In 1943, Justice James F. Byrnes left the Supreme Court to become head of the Office of War Mobilization. That agency had complete control over economic priorities and prices during World War II, hence Byrnes was called an "economic czar."

Economic Recovery and Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA)

RTA represented a major revision of the federal income tax system.

economic royalists

During the 1936 presidential campaign, President Roosevelt abandoned any effort to court the business community, which had not been cooperative with his New Deal, and took to referring to businessmen as "economic royalists." By this he meant to gain political support from the popular dislike of "greedy" businessmen in the 1930s.

Ederle, Gertrude

Ederle was the first woman to swim the English Channel, doing so in 1926 in record time.

edge city

An edge city refers to a suburban district that has developed as a center for employment, retailing, and services comparable to a traditional downtown.

Edison, Thomas A.

Edison, a prolific inventor, organized a modern research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. He eventually acquired over 1000 patents. Among his major inventions was the electric light bulb.

Edwards, Jonathan

Edwards was an American revivalist of the Great Awakening. He was both deeply pious and passionately devoted to intellectual pursuits.

Eisenhower Doctrine

Following the Suez Crisis in 1956, President Eisenhower announced his doctrine that the United States was prepared to use armed force in the Middle East against aggression by any country controlled by communism. It, like the Truman Doctrine, was an affirmation of the containment doctrine.

Eisenhower, Dwight

General Eisenhower, or "Ike," commanded Allied forces in Europe in World War II and planned the Normandy invasion for D-Day. He was later elected president and served two terms from 1953 to 1961.

elastic clause

The elastic clause in the Constitution grants Congress the right to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers specifically granted to Congress by the Constitution. This clause was the source of Hamilton's implied powers doctrine.

Election of 1800

In the Election of 1800 both Jefferson and Aaron Burr received 73 votes in the Electoral College. Because of the tie, the Constitution required that the House of Representatives (voting by states) choose between the two and Jefferson was elected. The Twelfth Amendment was adopted to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

Election of 1828

In 1828, Andrew Jackson defeated John Quincy Adams who was seeking reelection to the presidency. The campaign was filled with personal attacks on both candidates, but the mud-slinging turned out an unusually high number of voters.

Election of 1840

In 1840, the newly organized Whig party adopted the campaign tactics of the Jacksonians and elected William Henry Harrison president. Like Jackson, Harrison was a popular military hero who concealed or ignored the issues. He, like Jackson, was presented to the voters as a common man.

elective system

Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard, introduced the elective system in 1869. It gradually eliminated required courses and expanded offerings in languages, economics, and laboratory sciences. Its adoption sometimes led to a superficial education.

Electoral College

The Constitutional Convention adopted the Electoral College system as a method of electing presidents. Each state had electors equal in number to its representation in Congress. Each elector cast two votes for president, but if no candidate received a majority, the election would be decided in the House of Representatives.

electoral commission

In 1877, Congress created a special electoral commission to decide the disputed outcome of the electoral vote in the 1876 presidential election. The eight Republicans and seven Democrats on the commission awarded all twenty disputed votes to Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes and he won the electoral vote and the presidency, 185 to 184.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act

This federal legislation in 1965 provided the first large-scale federal aid for needy public school districts.

Eliot, Charles W.

Eliot was the president of Harvard University who replaced required courses with the elective system. He also expanded course offerings and encouraged innovative teaching methods among his faculty.

Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863. It freed all slaves in areas then in rebellion against the United States (i.e., the Confederacy). It made emancipation a war goal and speeded the destruction of slavery.

Embargo Act

The 1807 Embargo Act was provoked by the "Chesapeake" incident and prohibited all exports from U.S. ports. President Jefferson hoped to pressure Britain and France into recognizing neutral rights, but the embargo damaged the economy and was bitterly resented, especially in New England.

Emergency Banking Act of 1933

This law stabilized the banking system through government aid and supervision.

Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935

This law authorized a massive program of public work projects for the unemployed.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Emerson was the leading transcendentalist thinker of the early nineteenth century. Optimism and self-confidence marked his philosophy, and, like other romantics, he glorified individualism and self-reliance. He wrote "The American Scholar."

Employment Act of 1946

This federal legislation committed the United States to the goal of "maximum employment, production, and purchasing power."


An empresario was an agent who received a land grant from the Spanish or Mexican government in return for organizing settlements.


In the Spanish colonies, an encomienda was a grant to a Spanish settler of a certain number of Indian subjects, who would pay him tribute in goods and labor.

Enforcement Act of 1870

This largely ineffectual law was passed in response to growing political violence in the South, enabling the federal government to appoint supervisors wher estates failed to protect citizens' voting rights.

Engel v. Vitale

This 1962 Supreme Court decision found that reading a nondenominational prayer in public schools violated the First Amendment to the Constitution.


The Enlightenment was an intellectual awakening of the eighteenth century that celebrated human reasoning powers. This major intellectual movement was inspired by recent scientific advances; Enlightenment thinkers emphasized the role of human reason in understanding the world and directing its events. Their ideas placed less emphasis on God's role in ordering worldly affairs. Enlightened rationalism had a major impact on American political thought.

Enola Gay

"Enola Gay" was the nickname of the B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945.

Enrollment Act

This law passed by the U.S. Congress in 1863 during the Civil War subjected all able-bodied men between the ages of twenty and forty-five to the draft. Its unpopularity contributed to the New York Draft Riot later than year.

enumerated articles

The enumerated articles were specific goods, including sugar, cotton, and tobacco, that, under the Navigation Act of 1660, colonists could ship only to British ports.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

This federal agency was created in 1970 to oversee environmental monitoring and cleanup programs.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

This federal commission was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to monitor and enforce nondiscrimination in employment.

equal representation

Delegates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 debated having a national legislature chosen on the basis of equal representation with each state having equal voting strength, or proportional representation with each state's representation based on the size of its population. The debate ended in the Great Compromise.

equal rights amendment

In 1967, the National Organization for Women (NOW) advocated an equal rights amendment (ERA) to the Constitution that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sex. Congress proposed the amendment in 1972, but it was never ratified.

equality of opportunity

Jacksonians revered the concept of equal opportunity--that all special privileged barriers to social and economic mobility and opportunity should be removed so that all might have the chance to succeed.

Era of Good Feelings

The Era of Good Feeling lasted from 1817 to 1823 in which the disappearance of the Federalists enabled the Republicans to govern in a spirit of seemingly nonpartisan harmony.

Erdman Act

This law provided for the voluntary mediation of railroad labor disputes and recourse to a board of arbitration. Congress passed the law in 1898 in response to growing public opposition to the use of federal troops to put down strikes.

Erdman Actf

Ericson was a Norse seafarer (from Scandinavia) who was probably the first European to reach America (about 1000).

Erie Canal

The construction of the 363-mile long Erie Canal began the canal boom of the 1820s and 1830s. It was financed by the state of New York with public funds. Begun in 1817, it was completed in 1825 and was an immediate financial success.

Espionage Act of 1917

The vague prohibition of this law, against obstructing the nation's war effort, was used to crush dissent and criticism during World War I.

Essex Junto

The Essex Junto was a group of die-hard Federalists led by Timothy Pickering who in 1804 organized a scheme to lead the northeastern states out of the Union. The Essex Junto had little support even within the Federalist party.

established church

An established church is one supported in part by public taxes.


Eugenics is a science that deals with the "improvement" of hereditary qualities of a people. The 1920s birth-control movement was supported by eugenicists who saw birth control as a way of "weeding-out" the "unfit" types from the population.

Executive Order 8802

In 1943, Executive Order 8802 required racial nondiscrimination clauses in war contracts and subcontracts.

Executive Order 9066

Executive Order 9066 in February 1942 authorized the forcible relocation of Japanese Americans from portions of four western states.

Executive Order 9835

Executive Order 9835 implemented a loyalty program for federal employees.

executive privilege

The doctrine of executive privilege holds that discussions and communication within the executive branch are confidential and therefore immune from congressional scrutiny. President Nixon applied the doctrine broadly and tried to use it to protect himself from implication in the Watergate scandal

Exposition and Protest

In 1828, Vice-President John C. Calhoun was provoked by the Tariff of Abominations to write an essay, the "South Carolina Exposition and Protest," repudiating the nationalist philosophy he had previously championed. He denounced protective tariffs, argued for the right of states to reject a law of Congress (nullification), and outlined a procedure for a state to nullify a federal law.

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