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


U-2 plane
A planned four-power summit conference in 1960 was canceled when the Soviets, to the embarrassment of the United States, shot down an American U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union and captured its pilot.

U.S.A.
"U.S.A." was a trilogy written by John Dos Passos, trying to capture the mood of the Great Depression. An utterly realistic work by a disillusioned liberal, it expressed an anticapitalist and pessimistic point of view.

Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852) in response to the Fugitive Slave Act. In it she presented slaves as real people to a northern audience that was moved by the trials and tribulations of Uncle Tom and his family. Many heretofore disinterested northerners now began to question the justness of slavery.

Underground Railroad
This support system set up by antislavery groups in the Upper South and the North assisted fugitive slaves in escaping the South.

Underwood-Simmons Tariff Act
This 1913 reform law lowered tariff rates and levied the first regular federal income tax.

undocumented aliens
"Undocumented aliens" is a euphemism for illegal immigrants living in the United States.

unicameral legislature
A unicameral legislature is a legislative body composed of a single house.

Union League
The Union League was a Republican party organization in northern cities that became an important organizing device among freedmen in southern cities after 1865.

union shop
Although it outlawed the closed shop, the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act allowed union shop contracts that required new workers to join the union after accepting employment.

United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC)
This organization was founded in 1892 to preserve southern history and honor its heroes; it reflected the growing role of middle-class white women in public affairs.

United Nations
During World War II, the "United Nations" was the name adopted by the United States, Britain, and their allies against Germany and Italy; after 1945, an international organization joined by nearly all nations.

United States v. Cruikshank
In this 1876 case, the U.S. Supreme Court nullified the Enforcement Act of 1870, overturning the convictions of whites accused of violence against blacks in Louisiana and declaring that the Fifteenth Amendment did not sanction federal interference in matters that were clearly reserved for the states.

United States v. Nixon
In "United States v. Nixon" (1974), the Supreme Court ruled that President Nixon was required to turn over to the Watergate special prosecutor sixty-four White House audiotapes that the prosecutor had subpoenaed.

universal manhood suffrage
Universal manhood suffrage referred to the right of all male U.S. citizens to vote; a key element of Radical Republican policy in the South after 1867.

Universal Negro Improvement Association
Founded by black nationalist Marcus Garvey, the UNIA was popular with poor urban blacks. It advocated a "Back to Africa" movement and stimulated racial pride among African Americans.

University of Chicago
Founded and financed by John D. Rockefeller in 1892, the immediately prestigious University of Chicago raided the nation's colleges for top-flight faculty and offered a first-class higher education.

upland cotton
Green seed or upland cotton flourished throughout the South, but, until Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, it had little commercial value. The cotton gin enabled a more cost effective cleaning of the fiber and made its cultivation enormously profitable.

upward mobility
Upward mobility indicates a person or group's economic or social improvement. In late nineteenth-century America, general economic growth and compulsory public education boosted the upward mobility of many Americans.

U.S. Sanitary Commission
This private, voluntary medical organization founded in May 1861 was dedicated to tending Union wounded and improving soldier comfort and morale during the Civil War.

utopian
A utopianist is an idealist who envisions the possibility of a perfect society. Both the National Labor Union and Knights of Labor were utopian rather than practical labor unions.


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