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


Sacajawea
Sacajawea was a Shoshone Indian woman who acted as an interpreter and guide to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Sacco and Vanzetti
Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian immigrants and anarchists. They were arrested for murder, and were tried mostly on the basis of their radicalism and alien status, not on clear facts of the case. They were found guilty and executed. The case was a cause celebre among American liberals.

"Sack of Lawrence"
The Sack of Lawrence referred to the vandalism and arson committed by a group of proslavery men in Lawrence, the free-state capital of Kansas Territory.

Sagebrush Rebellion
This political movement in the western states in the early 1980s that called for easing of regulations on the economic use of federal lands and the transfer of some or all of those lands to state ownership.

sailing packet
Sailing packets were regularly scheduled sailing ships that greatly facilitated the movement of goods and passengers across the Atlantic in the mid-nineteenth century. They accelerated the tendency for trade to concentrate in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New Orleans.

saint
A Puritan who had experienced religious conversion and had been admitted to membership in a Puritan church was referred to as a saint.

salient
A "salient" is an outward projecting part of a line of defense. The "bulge" in the Battle of the Bulge (1945) in World War II was a German salient projecting fifty miles into Allied lines in Belgium.

SALT
In 1972, the United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). They agreed to stop making nuclear ballistic missiles and to reduce the number of antiballistic missiles in their arsenals.

SALT II
In 1979, a second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, President Carter withdrew the treaty from the Senate ratification process.

salutary neglect
England's policy in the early eighteenth century, "salutary neglect" involved a relaxed and indifferent enforcement of the Navigation Acts in the colonies.

Sand Creek Massacre
Also known as the Chivington Massacre, the Sand Creek Massacre occurred in Colorado in 1864. A party of state militia commanded by John Chivington annihilated a Cheyenne Indian community in an unprovoked, vicious, and bloodthirsty raid, with his orders to "kill and scalp all, big and little."

Sandinistas
The Sandinistas were Nicaraguan leftists who successfully undermined the Somoza dictatorship in 1979. Their name derives from a revered rebel leader from Nicaraguan history.

Sanger, Margaret
Sanger was the leading American proponent of birth control in the 1920s. Her publication and distribution of birth-control literature violated the anti-obscenity Comstock Act, which banned the distribution of information about contraception from the mails, but she persisted.

Santa Fe Ring
The Santa Fe Ring was a group of lawyers and land speculators who dominated New Mexico Territory in the late nineteenth century and amassed great wealth through political corruption and financial chicanery.

Santa Fe Trail
The Santa Fe Trail was an overland trail across the Southern Plains from St. Louis to New Mexico that funneled American traders and goods to Spanish-speaking settlements in the Southwest.

Saturday Night Massacre
On Saturday, October 20, 1973, President Nixon abruptly dismissed his attorney general and an assistant in order to have Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox fired. The event caused an outburst of public indignation and calls for Nixon's impeachment.

scalawags
Scalawags were white southern Republicans--mainly small landowning farmers and well-off merchants and planters--who cooperated with the congressionally imposed Reconstruction governments set up under the Reconstruction Acts for diverse reasons.

Scarlet Letter, The
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" (1850), a grim, yet sympathetic analysis of adultery, was one of his many depictions of New England culture and history.

Schechter v. U.S.
In 1935, the Supreme Court ruled in "Schechter v. United States" (also known as the "sick chicken case") that the NIRA was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the NIRA gave too much legislative power to the executive branch and code authorities.

Schlafly, Phyllis
Schlafly rallied conservatives and traditionalists to oppose ratification of the equal rights amendment (ERA). The campaign succeeded.

Scopes trial
Also called the "monkey trial," the 1924 Scopes trial was a contest between modern liberalism and religious fundamentalism. John T. Scopes was on trial for teaching Darwinian evolution in defiance of a Tennessee law. He was found guilty and fined $100.

Scotch-Irish
The Scotch-Irish were Presbyterian immigrants from northern Ireland and Scotland who migrated to the colonial backcountry in the early eighteenth century. They felt little loyalty to England.

Scott, Thomas A.
Scott organized the Pennsylvania Railroad that originally linked Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He forged it with lines running west to Chicago and other midwestern cities, and expanded it eastward to New York City and Baltimore.

Scott, Winfield
General Scott was placed in command of the campaign to capture Mexico City during the Mexican War. After an amphibious landing at Veracruz, Scott's army marched overland and captured Mexico City in September 1847.

Scripps, Edward W.
Scripps was the first publisher to amass a chain of newspapers.

SDS
The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was founded in 1962. It was a popular college-student organization, a vehicle to protest the shortcomings of American life from their perspective. It advocated political activism to protest the Vietnam War, racial bigotry, and other problems.

search and destroy
Search and destroy was a U.S. military tactic in South Vietnam, using small detachments to locate enemy units and then massive air, artillery, and ground forces to destroy them.

search for order
The phrase "search for order" summarizes the goal of early-twentieth-century progressives. They put a premium on order, efficiency, cooperation, and organization as solutions to the complex problems brought by industrialization.

SEATO
In 1954, Secretary of State Dulles oversaw the creation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). The alliance was a mutual-defense pact among the United States, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan.

SEC
The 1934 Securities and Exchange Act required all stock exchanges to be licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); later, commodity exchanges and investment trusts were included. It was designed to regulate the issue of new securities, the conduct of stockbrokers, and stock-market speculation.

secession
The concept of secession was based on the logic of John C. Calhoun. In his compact theory of government, states retained the essence of their sovereignty when they joined the Union, and they had constitutional authority to leave, or secede from the Union when it served their interests to do so. South Carolina seceded in 1860.

Second Bank of the United States
Congress chartered the Second Bank of the United States in 1816. The Bank had extensive regulatory powers over currency and credit. It came under heavy criticism during the Panic of 1819. In 1832, President Jackson vetoed a bill to recharter the bank, and thus provoked the Bank War.

Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress gathered in May 1775. It was immediately faced with the pressure of rapidly unfolding military events. It organized the Continental Army and commissioned George Washington to lead it, then began requisitioning men and supplies.

second front
The opening of a second front was a major controversy among the Allies in World War II. The Soviets wanted a British-American invasion of Western Europe as early as 1942 to relieve Russia of the pressure of invading German armies. Britain wanted to delay the second front, capture North Africa, and invade the "soft underbelly" of Europe through Italy. The British preference prevailed and the second front was not opened until D-Day in June 1944.

Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening began as an emotional counteroffensive to the deism identified with the French Revolution. Second Great Awakening ministers assaulted Calvinism by stressing the mercy, love, and benevolence of God. They emphasized the ability of people to control their own fate, even achieve their own salvation.

Second New Deal
The policies adopted by the Roosevelt administration from 1935 to 1937 that emphasized social and economic reform comprised the Second New Deal.

second party system
The second party system referred to the national two-party competition between Democrats and Whigs from the 1830s through the early 1850s.

Second Treaty of Fort Laramie
The Second Treaty of Fort Laramie acknowledged the U.S. defeat in the Great Sioux War in 1868 and supposedly guaranteed the Sioux perpetual land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

Second Vatican Council (Vatican II)
This 1965 meeting of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church liberalized many church practices.

Secret Six
This group of prominent New England abolitionists financially supported John Brown's scheme to attack the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and foment a slave rebellion in the South.

sectionalism
The War of 1812, Panic of 1819, and Missouri Crisis agitated political relations among the North, South, and West after 1820. The three sections divided over such issues as tariff policy, slavery, land policy, banking, and internal improvements.

Security Council
As created at the San Francisco Conference in 1945, the United Nations Security Council was the locus of authority in the new organization. It had five permanent members (U.S., Soviet Union, China, France, and Great Britain) and six others elected for two-year terms. Permanent members were given veto power over UN action.

Sedition Act
This law passed by Congress in 1798 provided fines and imprisonment for anyone found guilty of saying or writing anything false or malicious about the government or one of its officers; one of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Sedition Act of 1918
The wartime Sedition Act loosely defined sedition and invited repression of freedom of speech for dissenters. Under the act, Socialist Eugene V. Debs was sent to prison for making an antiwar speech.

segregation
Segregation was a system of racial control that separated the races, initially by custom but increasingly by law during and after Reconstruction.

Selective Service Act of 1917
This law established the military draft for World War I.

Selective Service System
This federal agency coordinated military conscription before and during the Vietnam War.

selectmen
Selectmen are groups of men (usually seven) selected annually to run local affairs in New England towns.

self-determination
As the Civil War began in 1861, southerners claimed the right of self-determination, the right to establish their own independent government. Since the majority of southerners desired independence for the Confederacy, they believed the North's effort to prevent their secession was contrary to its own professed belief in democracy.

Seneca Falls Convention
The Seneca Falls Convention was held in 1848. It drafted the Declaration of Sentiments, patterned on the Declaration of Independence, but declared that "all men and women are created equal."

separate spheres
In the middle-class family of early nineteenth-century America, the wife, who had earlier shared in the family's enterprise, now left earning a living entirely to her husband. His sphere was public, hers was private, singularly devoted to the care of her husband and children.

Separatists
An offshoot branch of Puritanism, separatists were radical religious dissenters who rejected membership in the Church of England, on the grounds that the Church was too corrupt to be reformed; it was critical, then, that they separate from the Church to save their souls. They drafted the Mayflower Compact and founded Plymouth Plantation in 1620.

settlement house
Settlement houses were community centers located in poor urban districts of major cities. They were usually run by single, young, college-educated women. They tried to Americanize immigrant families and provided social services and a political voice for their neighborhoods.

Seven Days' Battles
These weeklong series of fierce engagements in June and July 1862 along Virginia'bs peninsula resulted in a Federal retreat during the Civil War.

Seven Sisters
The Seven Sisters were the leading women's colleges of the late nineteenth century. They were Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Barnard, and Radcliffe. Prevailing attitudes about women's role in society limited their graduates to careers in nursing, teaching, and social work.

Seven Years' War
This conflict (1756-1763) pitted France, Austria, and Russia against England and Prussia; in 1762, Spain entered the war on France's side. Often called the first "world war" because fighting occurred in Europe, India, the Philippines, and North America. The American phase was known as the French and Indian War.

Seventeenth Amendment
This Constitutional change in 1913 established the direct popular election of U.S. senators.

seventeenth parallel
The 1954 Geneva Conference divided Vietnam temporarily into a communist-controlled North Vietnam and a non-communist South Vietnam along the seventeenth parallel. Reunion elections were supposed to be held in 1956, but, because of objections by South Vietnam and the United States, they were never held.

severalty
In the Dawes Severalty Act (1887) Indian tribal lands were split up into individual land allotments. Provisions were made for Indian education and eventual citizenship. The law led to corruption, exploitation, and the weakening of Indian tribal culture. It was reversed in 1934.

Seward, William
New York Senator William Seward appealed to a "higher law" than the Constitution to oppose the Fugitive Slave Act. In the 1850s he helped found the Republican party. In the 1860s he served as President Lincoln's secretary of state.

Shakers
The Shakers, a religious commune founded by Ann Lee, practiced celibacy because they believed the millennium was imminent. Shakers made a special virtue of simplicity.

Share Our Wealth
Louisiana Senator Huey Long criticized the New Deal as too half-hearted in its effort to help the poor. He proposed a "Share Our Wealth" redistribution program calling for the confiscation of fortunes and heavy taxes on millionaires. He proposed the money be used to provide the poor with homesteads, annual incomes, pensions, and to pay for educational and veterans benefits.

sharecropping
During Reconstruction, southerners adopted the sharecropping system. In it, the landowners provided land, tools, housing, and seed to a sharecropping farmer who provided his labor. The resulting crop was divided between them (i.e., shared).

Shays's Rebellion
Daniel Shays, a veteran of the Battle of Bunker Hill, led an armed rebellion of western Massachusetts farmers to prevent state courts from foreclosing on debtors unable to pay their taxes. The rebellion convinced nationalists that to suppress or inhibit such rebellions, the nation needed a stronger national government.

Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Act of 1921
This was the first federal social welfare law; funded infant and maternity health care programs in local hospitals.

Sherman Antitrust Act
The 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, the nation's first antitrust act, made any concentration (monopoly) in restraint of trade illegal. This already weak law was emasculated when the Supreme Court ruled in "U.S. v. E. C. Knight" (1895) that manufacturing was excluded from the antitrust law. The Sherman Act was often used to break up labor unions.

Sherman Silver Purchase Act
This 1890 law required the government to increase silver purchases sharply, but other provisions restricted its inflationary effect; its repeal in 1894 caused a political uproar.

Sherman's march to the sea
In September 1864, General William Sherman's army captured Atlanta and began marching toward Savannah on the Georgia coast. His march to the sea was designed to defeat the enemy's forces, destroy its economic resources, and break its will to resist.

Sherman, William
Union General Sherman's forces captured Atlanta in 1864, then marched through Georgia to the sea at Savannah. He is known for his remark that "[War] is . . . hell."

Shiloh Church
Shiloh Church was the site of a Union victory along the Tennessee-Mississippi border in April 1862 that enabled Federal forces to capture Corinth, Mississippi, an important rail junction, during the Civil War.

Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is the region of California between San Jose and San Francisco that holds the nation's greatest concentration of electronics firms.

Simms, William Gilmore
Simms was an unusually versatile and prolific southern romantic who wrote scores of novels, essays, poems, and biographies. His work is often melodramatic and overly reverential toward early nineteenth-century America's planter class.

Sinclair, Harry
Sinclair bribed Secretary of the Interior Fall to lease oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, to his Mammoth Oil Company. He was convicted of jury tampering and contempt of the Senate.

Sister Carrie
"Sister Carrie" was author Theodore Dreiser's first and most famous novel. Firmly set in the genre of naturalism, the novel treated the subject of sex so forthrightly that it was withdrawn after its publication.

sit-down strike
In a sit-down strike, workers barricade themselves inside the factories. The objective is to shut down the factory by not allowing employers to continue production with strikebreakers. Sit-down strikes were popular with industrial unions in the 1930s, but not with employers or the public.

sit-in
A sit-in was a nonviolent resistance technique associated with the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. It was used effectively by blacks protesting racism in public lunch counters in the South in the early 1960s.

Sixteenth Amendment
This Constitutional revision in 1913 authorized a federal income tax.

Slater, Samuel
Slater was an English immigrant who, in 1790, set up the first factory in the United States. It was a textile factory in Rhode Island. He is sometimes called the "father of the the American factory system."

Slaughterhouse cases
Slaughterhouse cases were a group of cases resulting in one sweeping decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1873 that contradicted the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment by decreeing that most citizenship rights remained under state, not federal, control.

Slave codes
Sometimes known as "black codes," this series of laws passed mainly in the southern colonies in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries defined the status of slaves and codified the denial of basic civil rights to them. Also, after American independence and before the Civil War, state laws in the South defining slaves as property and specifying the legal powers of masters over slaves.

slave power
Slave power was a key concept in abolitionist and northern antislavery propaganda that depicted southern slaveholders as the driving force in a political conspiracy to promote slavery at the expense of white liberties.

slave stereotypes
Slaveowners developed contradictory stereotypes (racial images) of slave nature ranging from lazy and subservient to super potent and aggressive, and from nurturing and faithful to wanton and seductive.

slavery
Slavery was the system of labor codified into law in the English colonies after 1650. It was lifetime inheritable servitude. The English successfully enslaved only black Africans.

Slidell, John
President Polk commissioned Slidell to offer to purchase California and New Mexico from Mexico. He was also to try to purchase the territory then in dispute between Texas and Mexico north of the Rio Grande. Mexico rejected both offers.

slum
A slum is a poor neighborhood with many dwellings in bad repair.

Smith, Alfred E.
In 1928, New York's Democratic governor Alfred Smith was the first Catholic to be nominated for the presidency by a major party. Herbert Hoover soundly defeated him, but the distribution of the vote suggested a major realignment in national parties was occurring.

Smith, John
Smith was a soldier of fortune who, as governor, supplied the early Jamestown settlement with leadership, without which the colony would have quickly perished.

Smith, Joseph
In the 1820s, Smith founded the Mormon religion based on his discovery and translation of the Book of Mormon. He was murdered by a mob in 1844.

SNCC
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) became a radical black-rights group that was scornful of integration and interracial cooperation. Its leader, Stokeley Carmichael, was an advocate of black separatism.

Social Darwinism
Natural scientist Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was thought by some to apply to business and social relationships. The "fittest" business or individual would succeed if left unrestricted. Social Darwinism promoted the values of competition and individualism.

Social Gospel
The Social Gospel that was preached by many urban Protestant ministers focused on improving living conditions for the city's poor rather than on saving souls. They advocated civil service reform, child labor laws, government regulation of big business, and a graduated income tax.

socialism
Socialism is a social order based on government ownership of industry and worker control over corporations as a way to prevent worker exploitation.

Socialist Party of America
This political party formed in 1901 with a strong representation from immigrants and provided a political outlet for worker grievances, but fared poorly beyond a few local elections in industrial areas.

Social Security Act
The 1935 Social Security Act established a system of old-age, unemployment, and survivors insurance funded by wage and payroll taxes. It did not include health insurance and did not originally cover many groups and individuals, especially the poor and minorities.

Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children
This female benevolent organization was founded in New York City in 1797 to assist widows and orphans.

soft social sciences
As the need for specialized training in a more complex society arrived, Americans began to make significant contributions to both the relatively new soft social sciences like psychology, political science, and sociology and the traditional hard sciences like chemistry and physics.

Soil Conservation Service
Created in 1935, this branch of the Department of Agriculture undertook conservation projects on individual farms as well as on a broader national basis.

solid South
The term "solid South" referred to the one-party (Democratic) political system that dominated the South from the 1890s to the 1950s.

Sons of Liberty
The Sons of Liberty were extralegal organizations that agitated in resistance to the Stamp Act in 1765 and continued to speak, write and demonstrate against British measures until independence. They frequently resorted to threats and the use of violence to dramatize their protest. Their actions often intimidated stamp distributors and British supporters in the colonies.

sound money
This misleading slogan referred to a conservative policy of restricting the money supply and adhering to the gold standard.

Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)
SEATO was the mutual defense alliance signed in 1954 by the United States, Britain, France, Thailand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
The SCLC was the black civil rights organization founded in 1957 by Martin Luther King Jr. and other clergy.

Southern Farmers' Alliance
The Southern Farmers' Alliance was the largest of several organizations that formed in the post-Reconstruction South to advance the interests of beleaguered small farmers.

Southern Homestead Act
This largely unsuccessful law passed in 1866 gave blacks preferential access to public lands in five southern states.

Southern Manifesto
This document signed by 101 members of Congress from southern states in 1956 argued that the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka itself contradicted the Constitution.

southern strategy
President Nixon adopted a special strategy to seek political support from conservative southern Democrats in the 1972 campaign. For example, he stopped further federal efforts to force school desegregation and he attempted to appoint southern-conservative "strict constructionists" to the Supreme Court.

Southwest Ordinance of 1790
This legislation passed by Congress set up a government with no prohibition on slavery in U.S. territory south of the Ohio River.

Spanish-American War
The Spanish-American War was a brief 1898 conflict in which the United States defeated Spanish forces in Cuba and the Philippines and forced Spain to relinquish control over Cuba and cede the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and other territories to the United States.

speakeasy
With the coming of Prohibition, the speakeasy replaced the saloon. It was a supposedly "secret" bar or club that illegally served "bootleg" liquor.

Specie Circular
In 1836, President Jackson issued the Specie Circular to halt a speculative land mania fueled by the easy availability of paper currency issued by state banks. The Circular provided that purchasers must pay for public land in gold and silver. It abruptly halted the speculative boom.

spheres of influence
A sphere of influence is usually taken to be a geographical area over which a nation exercises control, particularly economic control. Around 1900, Japan and various European nations were carving China into spheres of influence. The United States, through the Open Door notes, called for free trade and recognition of the territorial integrity of China.

Spock, Benjamin
Dr. Spock wrote "Baby and Child Care" (1946), a book that became the bible for raising the children of the baby boom. Spock insisted that raising children successfully required both professional skills and loving care.

spoils system
The spoils system, a term usually used derisively, identifies the practice of elected officials who appoint loyal members of their own party to public office. Jackson was accused of initiating the spoils system (which he called rotation-in-office) when he was elected to the presidency in 1828.

Sputnik
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first man-made earth satellite, "Sputnik." It was a tremendous technological achievement and stimulated an embarrassed and frightened United States to redouble its efforts to win the "space race."

Squanto
Squanto was an English-speaking Indian who helped the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation by showing them where to fish and how to cultivate corn.

squatter's rights
Squatters had the right to buy land from its legal owner without paying for the improvements they made on it. Squatters were those who settled on frontier land before it was legally claimed.

stagflation
Stagflation referred to the economic condition of the 1970s in which price inflation accompanied slow economic growth.

Stalin, Joseph
Stalin was premier of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953. He was one of the Big Three in the Allied coalition with Churchill and Roosevelt during World War II.

Stalwarts
Led by New York Senator Roscoe Conkling, the Stalwart, anti-reform faction on the Republican party believed in the blatant pursuit of the spoils of office. Their main party rivals were the more circumspect Half-Breeds.

Stamp Act
The 1765 Stamp Act was the first purely direct (revenue) tax Parliament imposed on the colonies. It was an excise tax on printed matter, including legal documents, publications, and playing cards, and the revenue produced was supposed to defray expenses for defending the colonies. Americans opposed it as "taxation without representation" and prevented its enforcement; Parliament repealed it a year after its enactment.

Stamp Act Congress
In October 1765, delegates sent by nine colonies met in New York City to adopt the Declaration of Rights and Grievances and petition against the Stamp Act.

Standard Oil Company
John D. Rockefeller organized Standard Oil in Cleveland in 1870. Through ruthless competition and superb organization, the Standard Oil Trust controlled 90 percent of oil refining in the United States by 1879.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady
Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the Seneca Falls Convention for women's rights in 1848. She campaigned for women's right to vote, own property, attend college, and enter the professions.

states' rights
The states' right perspective favored the rights of individual states over rights claimed by the national government.

status quo ante bellum
In the 1814 Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812, Britain and the United States simply agreed to end the state of hostilities and reestablish the status quo ante bellum--the way things were before the war.

statute of limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit after which a person cannot be prosecuted for an alleged crime. In 1948, the statute of limitations prevented the prosecution of Alger Hiss for espionage; instead, he was tried and convicted of perjury.

stay law
In the mid-1780s several states yielded to demands of debtors to enact stay laws that were designed to make it difficult to collect debts. Farmers were especially supportive of the laws because deflation lowered prices on their products, thus lowering their incomes and their ability to pay taxes as well.

Steffens, Lincoln
Steffens was a muckraking journalist, an investigative and crusading reporter who exposed the graft and corruption of boss and machine politics in city and state government.

Steinbeck, John
Novelist John Steinbeck wrote "The Grapes of Wrath" which brilliantly portrayed the plight of millions impoverished by the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Stevens, John L.
Stevens, U.S. minister to Hawaii, helped stage a coup that overthrew the nationalist government of Queen Liliuokalani. The coup leaders, American sugar growers, then applied for annexation of Hawaii by the United States.

Stevens, Thaddeus
Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens was the leader of the Radical Republicans in the House of Representatives during the Civil War and Reconstruction. He insisted on making emancipation a war goal, and granting full political and civil rights to blacks.

Stevenson, Adlai
Illinois Governor Stevenson was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 1952 and 1956. He later was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Cuban missile crisis.

Stimson Doctrine
When Japan invaded Manchuria (northern China) in 1931 and set up the puppet state of Manchukuo, U.S. Secretary of State Stimson issued a doctrine announcing that the United States would not recognize the legality of Japan's action nor extend recognition to Manchukuo. The Stimson Doctrine irritated the Japanese.

Stono Rebellion
Spanish officials' promise of freedom for American slaves who escaped to Florida inspired this uprising of South Carolina slaves against whites in 1739.

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)
This agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1991 substantially reduced the number of long-range nuclear weapons held by each side.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
Stowe, wife and daughter of abolitionists, wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in response to the Fugitive Slave Act. The emotional story presented slaves as real people and evoked sympathy for slaves among previously disinterested northerners. It was a best seller.

Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)
Popularly known as "Star Wars," President Reagan's strategic defense initiative (SDI) proposed the construction of an elaborate computer-controlled defense system capable of destroying enemy missiles in outer space where they would do no harm.

strict accountability
In February 1915, President Wilson warned the Germans that he would hold them to "strict accountability" for any loss of American lives or property resulting from their submarine warfare and its violation of neutral rights at sea.

strict construction
Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson held a strict construction of the Constitution claiming Congress was limited to making only laws that were necessary. Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton held a loose construction of the Constitution (implied powers) claiming that Congress had the authority to pass all laws that were proper.

Strong, Josiah
A social Darwinist, Strong wrote "Our Country," a racist and religious justification for American expansion. He argued that the Anglo-Saxon people were divinely ordained to dominate mankind--a case of survival of the fittest.

Stuart, Gilbert
Stuart is best known for his many studies of George Washington. He was probably the most technically accomplished of the early nineteenth-century portrait painters.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
This black civil rights organization founded in 1960 drew heavily on younger activists and college students.

Sturges v. Crowninshield
In the case of "Sturges v. Crowninshield" (1819), the Supreme Court ruled that debts were contracts, thus a state could not make bankruptcy laws retroactive to debts incurred before the laws were passed.

submarine warfare
Knowing they were no match for the British fleet on the surface of the sea, Germany turned to submarines (U-boats) to threaten British shipping. The Germans' use of unrestricted submarine warfare was a major cause of U.S. intervention in World War I.

subtreasury plan
In response to low cotton prices and tight credit, in 1892 the Omaha platform of the new Populist party adopted a subtreasury plan that would have farmers hold their crops off the market when prices were low. The federal government would make low-interest greenback loans to the farmers secured by the withheld crops stored in government warehouses (or "subtreasuries"). When prices rose, farmers could sell their crops and pay back their loans.

Suffolk Resolves
With these militant resolves adopted in September 1774, representatives from the towns in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, including Boston, responded to the Coercive Acts. They termed the Coercive Acts unconstitutional, advised the people to arm, and called for economic sanctions against Britain. The First Continental Congress endorsed these resolves.

suffrage
Suffrage is the right to vote in a political election.

Sugar Act
The 1764 Sugar Act initiated prime minister George Grenville's plan to place tariffs on some colonial imports as a means of raising revenue needed to finance England's expanded North American empire. It also called for more strict enforcement of the Navigation Acts.

Sullivan, John L.
Sullivan, who won the world's heavyweight championship in 1882, was the most popular professional boxer of his day.

Sullivan, Louis
Sullivan, a leading architect of skyscrapers in the late nineteenth century, stressed the need for building designs that followed function. His works combined beauty, modest cost, and efficient use of space.

summit conference
A summit conference is one involving the heads of state of conferring nations. That is, the nations' top leaders get together. In 1955, a summit conference between Eisenhower and Khrushchev in Geneva generated a "spirit of Geneva" that reduced world tensions.

Sumner, Charles
Sumner was an abolitionist senator from Massachusetts who, in 1856, was brutally beaten by a proslavery congressmen for his "Crime Against Kansas" speech, an abusive blast against proslavery politicians.

Sun Belt
The Sun Belt consists of Florida and the states of the Southwest. The population increase in those states has been the major demographic trend of recent decades.

Superfund
This federal fund was created to clean up the nation's most severely contaminated industrial and toxic waste sites.

supply-side economics
The theory of supply-side economics claims that tax cuts leave people with more money, and that they will invest some of that money rather than spend it all on consumer goods. These investments will stimulate economic growth and, ultimately, produce more revenue for the government despite the lower tax rates. This is historically related to the "trickle-down" theory.

survival-of-the-fittest
Survival-of-the-fittest is a view of social policy derived from Charles Darwin's natural selection and evolutionary theory (social Darwinism). It helped justify ruthless competition and rugged individualism in business and personal relationships.

Sussex pledge
After the French channel steamer "Sussex" was sunk by a German submarine in May 1916, protests pressured Germany to pledge to stop sinking merchant vessels with submarine warfare.

Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
This U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1971 upheld cross-city busing to achieve the racial integration of public schools.

sweatshops
Sweatshops are small, poorly ventilated shops or apartments crammed with workers, often family members, who piece together garments.

swing around the circle
In the 1866 election campaign, President Johnson traveled widely trying to rally public support for his Reconstruction program. His "swing around the circle" failed as many Republicans won election.


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