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

Kai-shek, Chiang
Chiang was the leader of the noncommunist nationalist government in China in the 1940s. His government was corrupt and unpopular and was overthrown in 1949 by communist rebels led by Mao Tse-tung.

"Kamikazes" were Japanese suicide pilots in World War II who tried to crash their bomb-laden planes into America ships and airstrips. Literally, the word means "divine wind."

Kansas-Nebraska Act
In 1854, Senator Stephen A. Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, a proposal to organize the remaining Louisiana Purchase Territory. Since the Missouri Compromise had banned slavery in that territory, his proposal to use popular sovereignty to determine the fate of slavery in the territory outraged northerners. The bill passed, effectively repealing the Missouri Compromise, and northern opponents of slavery's expansion organized the Republican party.

Kaskaskia, Illinois, on the Mississippi River, was occupied on July 4, 1778, during the Revolutionary War, by George Rogers Clark, command troops from Virginia. Cahokia, Illinois, and Vincennes, Indiana, soon capitulated, though the Britsh later reoccupied Vincennes before Clark recaptured it on February 23, 1779. Clark's operations strengthened American claims to the areas at the end of the war.

Kasserine Pass
The Kasserine Pass was the site of the first large-scale World War II encounter between U.S. and German ground forces, in February 1942, in North Africa.

Kellogg-Briand Pact
The 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact was a moral indictment of war, an "international kiss" that outlawed war as an instrument of national policy. It contained no enforcement machinery.

Kennan, George
Foreign Service officer George Kennan was the key idea man behind the containment doctrine. His knowledge of Soviet history led him to conclude that the Soviets saw capitalist-communist conflict as inevitable. The only way to deal with that mentality, concluded Kennan, was for the United States to contain communism by resisting Soviet aggression and expansion wherever it might occur.

Kennedy, John F.
Massachusetts Senator Kennedy was elected president in 1960. He had trouble getting cooperation from Congress on his domestic policy and faced multiple complex problems in the conduct of foreign policy in Cuba, Europe, and Vietnam. He was assassinated in 1963.

Kennedy, Robert
Kennedy, as attorney general in his brother John F. Kennedy's administration, vigorously pursued civil-rights cases. He was later elected senator from New York, and he campaigned as an antiwar presidential candidate in 1968. He was assassinated just prior to the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Kent State
During a protest of the Cambodian incursion at Kent State University in 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired on the student demonstrators, killing four. The tragedy provoked larger and more frequent demonstrations on college campuses.

Kentucky and Virginia Resolves
In response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolves. They argued that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional and that each state had a right to declare them null and void.

Kerner Commission
Late in the 1960s, a special presidential commission headed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner concluded that the black ghetto riots of the previous three years were the consequence of white racism.

Kerouac, Jack
Kerouac is recognized as the exemplar and prototype of the "beat" school of post-World War II literature. He wrote "On the Road" (1957), the novel considered to be the founding testament of the "beat generation" of the 1950s.

Keynes, John Maynard
Keynes was a British economist who greatly influenced many New Deal advisors to President Roosevelt. Keynes argued that the world depression could be conquered if governments would adopt deficit spending--reducing interest rates and taxes and increasing expenditures in order to stimulate consumption and investment.

Khomeini (Ayatollah)
Khomeini was a revered Iranian religious leader who was returned from exile to take control of the Iranian government when the shah was overthrown in 1979. He was strongly anti-American.

Khrushchev, Nikita
Khrushchev was premier of the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s.

King George's War
This was the third Anglo-French war in North America (1744-1748), and was part of the European conflict known as the War of the Austrian Succession. During the North American fighting, New Englanders captured the French fortress of Louisbourg, only to have it returned to France after the peace negotiations.

King, Martin Luther, Jr.
King, a Baptist minister, emerged as the national leader of the civil-rights movement during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. He advocated nonviolent resistance as a protest strategy. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

King Philip's War
English encroachment on native lands sparked this conflict in New England (1675-1676) between Narragansetts, Wampanoags, and other Indian peoples against English settlers.

King William's War
The first Anglo-French conflict in North America (1689-1697), King William's War represented the American phase of Europe's War of the League of Augsburg. The conflict ended in negotiated peace that reestablished the balance of power.

In American political jargon, a kingmaker is a political manipulator who, usually from behind the scenes, organizes the successful election of his chosen candidate. Mark Hanna was the kingmaker behind William McKinley's election to the presidency in 1896.

Kinsey, Alfred
Alfred Kinsey's "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" (1948) showed that premarital sex, marital infidelity, homosexuality, and various forms of "perversion" were far more common than most people suspected. This "Kinsey Report" was liberating to many, both male and female, and contributed to the sexual revolution.

Kissinger, Henry
Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1976, but he played a major role in formulating U.S. foreign policy during both Nixon presidencies. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the Paris Peace Accords, which ended America's involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973.

kitchen debate
In 1959, Vice President Nixon engaged in a heated argument with Soviet Premier Khrushchev during the tour of a kitchen in a model American home set up in a Moscow fair. The incident established Nixon's credentials as being tough on communism.

A kiva is a Pueblo Indian ceremonial structure, usually circular and underground.

Knights of Labor
The Knights of Labor was organized in 1869 and headed by Uriah Stephens and Terence Powderly. It enjoyed brief success as a national labor organization, especially in the 1880s. It combined the roles of labor union and reform society, and its basic demand was for an eight-hour day. It declined when its advocacy of the eight-hour workday led to violent strikes in 1886

Know-Nothing party
The Know-Nothing (American) party was a nativist, anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic political party organized in the early 1850s in response to the recent flood of Catholic immigrants from Ireland and Germany. The party enjoyed some success in local and state elections in 1854.

Korean War
In the war between North Korea and South Korea (1950-1953), the People's Republic of China fought on the side of North Korea and the United States and other nations fought on the side of South Korea under the auspices of the United Nations.

Korematsu v. United States
In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the government's policy of detaining Japanese Americans in internment camps, even when there was no specific evidence that they posed a danger to American security. The Court justified the policy as a military necessity in wartime.

Ku Klux Klan
Southerners who objected to congressional Reconstruction policies founded several secret terrorist societies, the Ku Klux Klan was one of these. It was organized in Tennessee in 1866 and became a vigilante group dedicated to driving blacks out of politics by using intimidation and violence.

Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871
This law held the perpetrators responsible for denying a citizen's civil rights and allowed the federal government to prosecute and send military assistance if states failed to act.

Kursk Salient
This was the site of the largest tank battle in World War II (July 1943), when Germans failed to throw back Soviet forces that had pushed a huge bulge or salient into German lines.

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

Return to Top of Page