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

Immigrant Restriction League (IRL)
This New England-based organization was formed in 1894 to restrict immigration from southern and eastern Europe by mandating a literacy test for every immigrant.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
This federal legislation replaced the national quota system for immigration with overall limits of 170,000 immigrants per year from the Eastern Hemisphere and 120,000 per year from the Western Hemisphere.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
This legislation granted legal status to 2,650,000 undocumented immigrants and established penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Impeachment generally means to bring charges against a public official for misbehavior in office. The House of Representatives impeached President Johnson in 1867 for violating the Tenure of Office Act, but a Senate trial failed to convict him of the impeachment charges.

Imperialism is the policy and practice of exploiting nations and peoples for the benefit of an imperial power either directly through military occupation and colonial rule or indirectly through economic domination of resources and markets.

implied powers
Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton defended his recommendation for the creation of a central Bank of the United States by arguing that although the Constitution granted no explicit power to Congress to create a bank, the authority could be implied from Congress's authority to tax, regulate trade, and provide for defense.

"Impoundment" means to seize and hold. In the early 1970s, President Nixon refused to spend, or impounded, money appropriated by Congress for purposes that he disapproved of.

Impressionism was a style of painting characterized by short brush strokes and bright colors used to recreate the impression of light on objects. Mary Cassatt was a leading American impressionist, though her work was ignored in her lifetime.

The British navy used press gangs to commandeer manpower for naval service. During the Napoleonic Wars British captains impressed seamen from neutral vessels, even naturalized American citizens. America's sense of national honor was outraged and impressment became a cause of war in 1812.

Income Tax Act of 1986
In 1986, Congress reduced tax rates on personal and corporate incomes. The act eliminated many tax loopholes, shelters, and credits. It also relieved many low-income Americans from having to pay taxes, but undermined the principle of progressive taxation that had been a feature of the personal income-tax code since its original enactment in 1913.

Indenture is a contract binding a person to the legal service of another for a specified period.

indentured servitude
Indentured servitude was a form of apprenticeship or bonded (contract) labor. It provided a way for Europeans who could not afford to pay their own passage to get to America. In return for payment of their transportation, servants--usually male but occasionally female--agreed to work for several years. They were often abused and exploited by their masters, but most eventually became free landowners. Indentured servitude was the primary labor system in the Chesapeake colonies for most of the seventeenth century.

Independent Treasury Act
To ensure the absolute safety of federal funds, President Van Buren proposed, and Congress passed legislation creating an Independent Treasury. This took the federal government out of banking. All payments to the government were to be made in hard cash and it was to be stored in government vaults until needed.

Indian Removal Act
This legislation passed by Congress in 1830 provided funds for removing and resettling eastern Indians in the West. It granted the president the authority to use force if necessary.

Indian Reorganization Act of 1934
This law reversed previous Indian policy by guaranteeing religious freedom and tribal self-government and providing economic assistance.

Indian Self-Determination Act
In 1975, responding to AIM and public sympathy, Congress passed the Indian Self-Determination Act. It gave individual tribes greater control over matters of their education, welfare programs, and law enforcement.

indirect taxes
Indirect taxes, like the Navigation Acts, were taxes on colonial imports, and were designed to regulate imperial trade. 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.

individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
These personal saving and investment accounts allow workers and their spouses to accumulate retirement savings on a tax-deferred basis.

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
This militant labor organization founded in 1905 attracted mostly recent immigrants and espoused a class-conscious program and ideology. Its members were known as Wobblies.

An initiative is defined as the procedure by which citizens can introduce a subject for legislation, usually through a petition signed by a specific number of voters.

An injunction is a court order restraining someone from acting. In the late nineteenth century, the courts frequently issued injunctions against striking workers, thus weakening their unions.

institutional economics
Members of the institutional school of economics, like Richard Ely, declared that the concepts of social Darwinism and laissez faire were outmoded and dangerous. Institutional economists called for government regulation and planning of the economy, and for analyzing actual economic conditions rather than applying abstract laws and principles.

insular cases
In a series of cases, federal courts held that, in effect, the Constitution does not follow the flag and that Congress had the power to determine the rights of those who lived in American possessions, in this instance, those gained from the Spanish-American War. The name of the cases derives from the fact that they dealt with island possessions, i.e., territories detached from the U.S. mainland.

A royally appointed government official in New France was referred to as an intendant.

interest group democracy
Some historians describe the New Deal as "interest-group democracy" because it responded to special interest groups (farmers, unions, trade associations, etc.) that were well organized and could articulate their interests and lobby Congress. While it responded to interest-group pressure, the New Deal slighted the unorganized majority--consumers.

Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF)
According to this disarmament agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, an entire class of missiles would be removed and destroyed and on-site inspections would be permitted for verification.

internal improvements
Following the War of 1812, federal aid to finance internal improvements became a divisive political issue. Internal improvements were various construction enterprises such as turnpikes, canals, river and harbor clearing projects, and so on. The National Road was the first federally funded internal improvements project.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)
This international organization established in 1945 was intended to assist nations in maintaining stable currencies.

internment camps
Fearing they might be disloyal, the U.S. government segregated and detained over 110,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps in interior western states during World War II.

interstate commerce
Interstate commerce is trade between states (Intrastate commerce is trade within a state.). The Constitution empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and, in "Gibbons v. Ogden" in 1824, the Supreme Court ruled that a state government can regulate intrastate commerce, but not when the transaction involves crossing a state line.

Interstate Commerce Commission
When the Supreme Court ruled in the Wabash case that a state's power to regulate railroads was limited, Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act (1887) creating the ICC, America's first regulatory agency. Originally, it had little real authority.

interstate highways
In 1956, Congress began funding a limited-access interstate highway system that has enormously increased long-distance travel in America and shifted population away from the central city to the suburbs.

Intolerable Acts
Parliament responded to the Boston Tea Party by passing the Coercive Acts in 1774. They were unjust acts in that they intended to punish Boston and Massachusetts generally for the crime committed by a few individuals. Colonists called these (combined with the Quartering and Quebec acts) the Intolerable Acts.

Iran-Contra affair
The Iran-Contra affair involved high officials in the Reagan administration secretly selling arms to Iran (in return for the release of Western hostages in the Middle East) and illegally using the proceeds to finance the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The transaction violated the Boland Amendment's ban on U.S. military aid to the Contras.

Iron Act
Another part of the British mercantilistic system, the Hat, Iron, and Wool Acts restricted and rechanneled infant colonial manufacturing.

Iron Curtain
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill coined the term "Iron Curtain" to refer to the "boundary" that divided Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe from Western European nations not under Soviet domination.

Iroquois League
This union of five Indian nations (Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas) formed around 1450; it was alternately known as the League of Five Nations. Essentially a religious organization, the league's purpose was to maintain peace among the five nations and unite them to fight against other enemies. After the Tuscarora War (1713-1715), the Tuscaroras joined the league, thereafter known as the League of Six Nations.

The handful of Senate "irreconcilables," led by Senator Borah of Idaho, were basically isolationists uncompromising in their opposition to the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and U.S. membership in the League of Nations.

Irving, Washington
Irving, author of "Rip Van Winkle" (1819) wrote many humorous accounts of the tales and legends of the Dutch in the Hudson Valley.

island hopping
Island hopping was the American strategy in the Pacific during World War II. It involved a leapfrogging movement of American forces from one strategic island to the next until American forces were in control of the Pacific and prepared to invade Japan.

"Isolationism" is the label given to America's nineteenth-century foreign policy. It was based on President Washington's warning not to form alliances or become politically entangled with European nations in peacetime, and was announced as policy in the Monroe Doctrine of 1823.

Iwo Jima
In March 1945, the strategic island of Iwo Jima was captured by U.S. forces. Okinawa was taken in June 1945 and, except for the Japanese home islands, this completed the island hopping campaign in the Pacific that had begun at Guadalcanal in August 1942.

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