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

MacArthur, Douglas
General Douglas MacArthur commanded Allied troops in the Pacific during World War II. He was forced to surrender the Philippines in 1941 and was thereafter obsessed with its recapture, which he accomplished in 1944. He later commanded the American occupation of Japan and United Nations troops in the Korean War.

Macon's Bill No. 2
In 1810 Macon's Bill No. 2 replaced the ineffective Nonintercourse Act. It removed all restrictions on commerce with France and Britain, but it authorized the president to reapply nonintercourse to either European power if one of them ceased violating American neutral rights.

Madison, James
Madison proposed the Virginia plan to the Constitutional Convention, coauthored the Federalist Papers, and helped Jefferson organize the Republican party. He wrote the Virginia Resolves and became president in 1809.

Mahan, Alfred Thayer
In the 1880s, naval Captain Mahan applied the lessons from his "The Influence of Sea Power Upon History" to argue that the United States needed a strong navy, coaling stations, annexation of Hawaii, bases in the Caribbean, and a Central American canal, all of which would ensure the United States's future as a world power.

Mahanism refers to the ideas advanced by Alfred Thayer Mahan, stressing U.S. naval, economic, and territorial expansion.

Mailer, Norman
Mailer, who became a sharp and irreverent critic of modern American life, published one of the best novels to emerge from the experience of World War II, "The Naked and the Dead" (1948).

The United States battleship " USS Maine," sent by President McKinley to Cuba in 1898, was mysteriously blown up in Havana harbor. Popular sentiment in the United States held that the Spanish were responsible, and the incident led to the Spanish-American War. No one knows what actually happened.

Maine Law
In 1851, Maine passed the first effective law prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. This was the culmination of a movement led by Neal Dow.

Manhattan Project
In May 1943, the United States began its effort to create an atomic bomb, an undertaking code-named the Manhattan Project, under the management of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. By 1945, nearly $2 billion had been spent on the project.

Manifest Destiny
Manifest destiny was the belief of nineteenth-century Americans that their nation's territorial expansion was inevitable and ultimately a good thing, even for those being conquered. This conviction helped Americans justify the aggressive acquisition of new territories in the 1840s and later in the 1890s.

Mann, Horace
Horace Mann was, with Henry Barnard, a leader of the common school movement in early nineteenth-century America. He became the first secretary of the Massachusetts School Board. He promoted public education for all children.

Marbury v. Madison
In 1803 the Supreme Court ruled the Judiciary Act of 1789 unconstitutional. The "Marbury v. Madison" case established the precedent for judicial review of federal laws.

Marshall Plan
In 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a massive economic aid program to rebuild the war-torn economies of European nations. The plan was motivated both by humanitarian concern for the conditions of those nations' economies and by fear that their economic dislocation would promote the spread of communism in Europe, particularly Western Europe; also known as the European Recovery Program.

Marshall, John
Marshall was Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. His rulings constantly upheld the sanctity of contracts and the supremacy of federal legislation over the laws of the states.

Marshall, Thurgood
Marshall was the NAACP lawyer that challenged the "separate but equal" doctrine in 1954. He moved the Supreme Court to rule in "Brown v. Board of Education" that segregation was inherently unequal and psychologically damaging to both black and white children. He later became a member of the Supreme Court.

martial law
At times during the Civil War, President Lincoln applied martial law, the substitution of military power for ordinary civil authority, in certain areas of high antiwar dissent or pro-southern sympathies.

Marxian socialists
Marxian socialists advocated government ownership of the means of production. They argued that the interests of capital (ownership and management) were incompatible with those of labor.

Massachusetts Government Act
In 1774 the British Parliament passed this law directed at Massachusetts in response to the Boston Tea Party; one of the Coercive or Intolerable Acts. It provided for an appointed rather than an elected upper house of the legislature and restricted the number and kind of town meetings that a community might hold.

massive retaliation
The "New Look" military policy of the Eisenhower-Dulles foreign policy was to threaten "massive retaliation" with nuclear attack for any act of aggression by a potential enemy.

Mather, Cotton
Mather, a Puritan minister, was Massachusetts's resident expert on demonology and a vindictive proponent of the execution of Salem's accused witches. He also recommended inoculation during the 1721 smallpox epidemic in Boston.

Matrilineal societies are those in which family descent is traced through the mother's line.

Mayflower Compact
The Mayflower Compact was an agreement among the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation (1620) to establish a body politic and to obey the rules of the governors they chose. The compact was signed by all adult males before their ship reached land.

Maysville Road veto
In 1830, President Jackson vetoed a bill providing federal aid for the construction of the Maysville Road because the route was wholly within Kentucky. Jackson generally favored internal improvements, but preferred that local projects like this be left to state funding.

McCarran Internal Security Act
In 1950, Congress passed the McCarran Act making participation in any effort to create a totalitarian government in America illegal, required the registration of all communist organizations, banned suspected communists from defense work, and denied immigration to anyone from a communist country.

McCarthy, Eugene
Minnesota Senator McCarthy ran against President Johnson for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968. He challenged Johnson's policy on the war in Vietnam and was supported by many liberal Democrats.

McCarthy, Joseph
In the early 1950s, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy conducted a witch-hunt of government employees that he charged with being communists or communist sympathizers. His unscrupulous tactics have been labeled "McCarthyism"--smearing someone's reputation by telling a "big lie" about them.

McClellan, George
President Lincoln appointed General McClellan commander of Union forces in 1861. Lee's forces repelled his army in the Peninsular Campaign in 1862. Lincoln replaced him when he failed to take advantage of the Confederate withdrawal from Antietam in 1862. Northern Democrats nominated him for president in 1864, but Lincoln won reelection.

"McClure's" magazine gave progressive muckraker journalists like Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell their start.

McCormick, Cyrus
McCormick developed a mechanical, horse-drawn reaper that multiplied several times over the acreage of wheat that a farmer could harvest in a given time.

McCoy, Joseph
McCoy was an Illinois cattle dealer who established Abilene, Kansas, as the railhead of the long drive on the Chisholm Trail from south Texas in 1867.

McCulloch v. Maryland
In "McCulloch v. Maryland" (1819), the Supreme Court ruled that the second Bank of the United States was constitutional, thus affirming the doctrine of implied powers. The case also determined that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy," thus state governments could not tax a federal agency like the Bank.

McGovern, George
South Dakota Senator McGovern was the Democratic nominee for president in 1972. He was opposed to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He was defeated in a landslide reelection of President Nixon.

McKinley Tariff Act
This Republican enactment of 1890 sharply raise tariff rates to protect American manufacturers but thereby provoked a political backlash against the GOP.

McKinley, William
New York Republican Senator William McKinley won the presidential election in 1896. He was a noted expert on tariff policy (he was pro-protectionist) and was a solid supporter of the gold standard. He won reelection in 1900, but was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in 1901.

McNary-Haugen bill
The McNary-Haugen bill passed Congress in 1927 and again in 1928. It proposed a plan to raise farm prices by having the government purchase price-depressing farm surpluses and sell them in foreign markets. Farmers would pay an "equalization fee" for losses the government might incur in the sale. President Coolidge twice vetoed the bill as unconstitutional and contrary to the free-enterprise system.

me generation
By the 1960s, most Americans were more preoccupied with their own immediate interests and less willing to suspend judgment and follow leaders. They were also less willing to look on others as better qualified to decide what they should do. This focus on individual gratification and away from social responsibility characterized the "me generation."

Meade, George G.
General Meade commanded the victorious Union forces at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. This was the turning point battle of the Civil War.

The 1965 Medicare Act provided for grants to the states to help pay the medical expenses of poor people under the age of sixty-five.

The 1965 Medicare Act provided Social Security funding for hospitalization insurance for retired people, and a voluntary plan to cover doctor bills paid in part by the federal government.

Mellon, Andrew
Mellon was secretary of the treasury in the 1920s. He supported low taxes for the rich, higher tariffs, a return to laissez-faire policies, and cutting government expenses through more efficient administration. His policies balanced the federal budget and reduced the national debt.

Melville, Herman
Novelist Herman Melville was acutely aware of the existence of evil in the world and his works reflected that insight. His classic "Moby Dick" dealt symbolically with the problem of good and evil, courage and cowardice; and with faith, stubbornness and pride.

Memorial Day Massacre
The Memorial Day Massacre was a murderous attack on striking steelworkers and their families by Chicago police in 1937.

Mercantilism was a loose system of economic organization designed, through a favorable balance of trade, to guarantee the economic self-sufficiency of the British empire and the growth of its wealth and power.Mercantilists advocated possession of colonies as places where the mother country could acquire raw materials not available at home.

Mesabi range
The Mesabi mountain range (Minnesota) is one of the world's richest stores of iron ore. When railroads made the ore cheap to transport, Pittsburgh became the steel capital of the nation.

A mestizo is a person of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry.

Mexican Cession of 1848
The Mexican Cession of 1848 was the ceding of New Mexico and Alta California to the United States by Mexico as a result of the U.S. victory in the Mexican War. See also Guadalupe Hidalgo, Treaty of.

Mexican War
The Mexican War was fought between the United States and Mexico from May 1846 to February 1848. See also Mexican Cession of 1848 and Guadalupe Hidalgo, Treaty of.

middle passage
The term middle passage referred to the voyage between West Africa and the New World slave colonies.

Middletown study
The Middletown study was a sociological study of small-town America (Muncie, Indiana) in the 1920s. Among other things, the study exposed the pervasive racism and racial segregation in northern towns.

Milan Decree
Napoleon's Berlin and Milan decrees supported his Continental System that was designed to isolate England economically. They made U.S. neutral vessels liable to seizure if they traded with Britain or submitted to Britain's maritime rules.

Miles, Nelson A.
General Miles, a noted Indian fighter, criticized the Sand Creek massacre of helpless Cheyenne Indians as a foul and unjustifiable crime.

Military Reconstruction Acts
The Military Reconstruction Acts were the first major legislation in the period known as Congressional Reconstruction. Passed in March 1867 over President Johnson's veto, these laws divided the ten remaining ex-Confederate states into five military districts each headed by a general who was charged to conduct voter registration drives among blacks and bar whites who had held office before the Civil War and who had supporteed the Confederacy. The remaining voters would elect a constitutional convention to write a new state constitution that guaranteed universal male suffrage. If a majority of voters ratified both the new constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment, their state would be readmitted into the Union.

Millet, Kate
Millet, author of "Sexual Politics" (1970), called for a sexual revolution to end traditional sexual assumptions. She denounced male supremacy and the expectations of female domesticity.

Millis, Walter
Historian Walter Millis wrote "The Road to War: America, 1914-1917" (1935). He argued that the United States was dragged into World War I, a war he thought could have been avoided, by British propaganda, Allied purchases of American arms, and President Wilson's pro-British bias.

Minh, Ho Chi
Ho Chi Minh was North Vietnam's intensely nationalist, and communist, leader during the Vietnam War. He died in 1970.

The Minutemen were special companies of militia formed in Massachusetts and elsewhere beginning in late 1744. These units were composed of men who were to be ready to assemble with their arms at a minute's notice.

Miranda v. Arizona
In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled in "Miranda v. Arizona" that those accused of committing a crime had the right to have a lawyer present while being questioned by law authorities.

mission system
The mission system was a chain of missions estalbished by Franciscan monks in the Spanish Southwest and California that forced Indians to convert to Catholicism and work as agricultural laborers.

missionary diplomacy
President Wilson's approach to foreign policy was well intentioned and idealistic: to help other nations achieve stable democratic governments and improved standards of living. His diplomatic mission was to spread the gospel of democracy. He could not always live up to his ideals.

Missouri Compromise
In 1820, after angry debate in Congress, Missouri entered the Union as a slave state, and Maine was admitted as a free state to preserve the balance of slave and free states in the Union. Also, slavery was banned from that part of the Louisiana Territory north of 36° 30'.

Moby Dick
Herman Melville who, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, had a pessimistic view of human nature, wrote "Moby Dick" (1851). It was a powerful novel that dealt with the problems of good and evil, courage and cowardice; and with faith, stubbornness, and pride.

Model Cities Program
The Model Cities Program was an effort to target federal funds to upgrade public services and economic opportunity in specifically defined urban neighborhoods between 1966 and 1974.

Molasses Act
This law passed by Parliament in 1733 taxed sugar products from foreign sources in order to encourage British colonists to buy sugar and molasses only from the British West Indies.

Mondale, Walter
Mondale was vice president from 1977 to 1981. He was the Democratic party candidate for president in 1984 and made a highly unusual (and unpopular) promise to raise taxes if elected. He was not elected.

Monroe Doctrine
At the suggestion of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, President Monroe announced in the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 that the American continents were no longer open to colonization, and the United States would look with disfavor on any attempt to extend European control over independent nations in the Western Hemisphere. At the same time, the United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of European nations.

Monroe, James
Monroe was elected president in 1816 and served two terms. He was a weak leader, but his presidency succeeded in achieving several important foreign policy goals with Britain and Spain. He announced the Monroe Doctrine in 1823.

Montgomery bus boycott
In 1955, leaders of the black community in Montgomery, Alabama, organized a boycott of the city's buses to protest the racial policy of requiring blacks to ride in the back of the bus. Clergyman Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged as the leader of the boycott.

Moody, Dwight L.
Moody was a lay evangelist who urged slum dwellers to cast aside their sinful ways. He preached that faith in God would enable the poor to transcend the material difficulties of life.

Moral Majority
In 1979, the Reverend Jerry Falwell found Moral Majority to combat "amoral liberals," drug abuse, "coddling" of criminals, homosexuality, communism, and abortion. The Moral Majority represented the rise of political activism on the part of organized religion's radical right.

A moratorium is a period of delay. October 15, 1969, was Vietnam Moratorium Day, declared by student antiwar leaders. It produced an unprecedented outpouring of antiwar protest.

Morgan, J. Pierpont
Morgan was a financial banker and masterful reorganizer of businesses, especially railroads. He also bought out Andrew Carnegie and organized the U.S. Steel Company.

The Mormons were the most important of the religious communes founded in the early nineteenth century. Joseph Smith founded the religion in western New York in the 1820s based on the revelations in a sacred book he called the Book of Mormons. Mormons were resented because of their unorthodox religious views and exclusivism. They finally located near Great Salt Lake (Utah) in the 1840s where they have flourished ever since.

Morrill Land Grant Act
This law passed by Congress in July 1862 awarded proceeds from the sale of public lands to the states for the establishment of agricultural and mechanical (later engineering) colleges; the grants were awarded at the rate of 30,000 acres for each member that state had in Congress. The law was named after its sponsor, Congressman Justin Morrill of Vermont.

Mott, Lucretia
Like many women who began their public careers in the abolitionist movement, Mott subsequently turned to advocate women's rights. She and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the Seneca Falls Convention for women's rights in 1848.

Muckrakers were progressive investigative journalists who exposed the seamy side of American life at the turn of the twentieth century. They were named by President Roosevelt who disapproved of their "raking in the muck."

In the 1884 presidential election, a group of eastern Republicans, disgusted with corruption in the party, campaigned for the Democrats. These Mugwumps thought corruption brought inefficiency to government, but were conservative on the money question and government regulation.

Muhammad Reza Pahlavi
Muhammad Reza Pahlavi was the shah (king) of Iran from 1941 to 1979. He was forced to flee Iran when revolutionary followers of religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini took control of the government.

Muller v. Oregon
In the 1918 Supreme Court case "Muller v. Oregon," Louis Brandeis, lawyer for the Consumers' League, prepared a brief stuffed with economic and sociological evidence showing that long working hours were dangerous to the health of women and society. The Court's decision encouraged states to enact legislation to protect women and limit child labor.

Mulligan letters
The 1884 presidential election campaign produced considerable mud-slinging, including the Mulligan letters controversy. The letters exposed Republican candidate James G. Blaine's corrupt dealing with the railroads. He lost the election to Democrat Grover Cleveland.

multinational corporation
Multinational corporations are business firms based elsewhere that produce goods in Asia and Latin America to take advantage of low labor costs. Such practices increase corporate profits, but pose a problem for American workers whose jobs are being exported.

Munich Conference
At a conference in Munich, Germany, in 1938, Britain and France yielded to Hitler's demands and persuaded Czechoslovakia to surrender the Sudetenland to Germany. It was looked upon by some as an act of appeasement that merely encouraged further German aggression.

Munn v. Illinois
In "Munn v. Illinois," the Supreme Court ruled that a business that served a public interest (like a railroad or grain elevator) could be regulated by state laws. The decision seemed to hold that Granger laws were constitutional.

My Lai
My Lai was a tiny Vietnamese hamlet where, in 1970, frustrated U.S. troops massacred dozens of Vietnamese, including women and children. It raised further questions about the morality of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

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