Social Studies Vocabulary

Chapter 2 Vocabulary

  1. Reconstruction – the period following the Civil War during which the U.S. government worked to reunite the nation and to rebuild the southern states
  2. Ten Percent Plan – President Abraham Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction; once 10 percent of voters in a former Confederate state took a U.S. loyalty oath, they could form a new state government and be readmitted to the Union
  3. Thirteenth Amendment – a constitutional amendment that outlawed slavery
  4. Freedmen’s Bureau – an agency established by Congress in 1865 to help poor people throughout the South
  5. Andrew Johnson – vice president under Lincoln who was sworn in as president quickly after the assassination of Lincoln
  6. Black Codes – laws passed in the southern states during Reconstruction that greatly limited the freedom and rights of African Americans
  7. Radical Republicans – members of Congress who felt that southern states needed to make great social changes before they could be readmitted to the Union
  8. Civil Rights Act of 1866 – a law that gave African Americans legal rights equal to those of white Americans
  9. Fourteenth Amendment – a constitutional amendment giving full rights of citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States, except for American Indians
  10. Reconstruction Acts – the laws that put the southern states under U.S. military control and required them to draft new constitutions upholding the Fourteenth Amendment
  11. impeachment – the process used by a legislative body to bring charges of wrongdoing against a public official
  12. Fifteenth Amendment – a constitutional amendment that gave African American men the right to vote
  13. Hiram Revels – in 1870, he became the first African American in the U.S. Senate, taking over the seat previously held by Confederate president Jefferson Davis
  14. Ku Klux Klan – a secret society created by white southerners in 1866 that used terror and violence to keep African Americans from obtaining their civil rights
  15. Compromise of 1877 – an agreement to settle the disputed presidential election of 1876; Democrats agreed to accept Republican Rutherford B. Hayes as president in return for the removal of federal troops from the South
  16. poll tax – a special tax that a person had to pay in order to vote
  17. segregation – the forced separation of people of different races in public places
  18. Jim Crow law – a law that enforced segregation in the southern states
  19. Plessy v. Ferguson – U.S. Supreme Court case that established the “separate-but-equal” doctrine for public facilities
  20. sharecropping – a system used on southern farms after the Civil War in which farmers worked land owned by someone else in return for a small portion of the crops


Chapter 3 Vocabulary

  1. frontier – an undeveloped area
  2. Comstock Lode – Nevada gold and silver mine discovered by Henry Comstock in 1859
  3. boomtowns – a Western community that grew quickly because of the mining boom and often disappeared when the boom ended
  4. Cattle Kingdom – an area of the Great Plains on which many ranchers raised cattle in the late 1800s
  5. cattle drive – a long journey on which cowboys herded cattle to northern markets or better grazing lands
  6. Chisholm Trail – a trail that ran from San Antonio, Texas, to Abilene, Kansas, established in the late 1860s for cattle drives
  7. Pony Express – a system of messengers that carried mail between relay stations on a route 2,000 miles long in 1860 and 1861
  8. transcontinental railroad – a railroad system that crossed the continental United States; construction began in 1863
  9. Treaty of Fort Laramie – a treaty signed in Wyoming by the United States and the northern Plains nations
  10. reservations – federal lands set aside for American Indians
  11. Crazy Horse – Sioux chief who led a group of Sioux to ambush and kill 81 cavalry troops in response to the building of forts along the Bozeman trail that ran through Sioux hunting grounds. He was also a leader at the Battle of Little Bighorn
  12. Treaty of Medicine Lodge – an agreement between the U.S. government and southern Plains Indians in which the Indians agreed to move onto reservations
  13. buffalo soldiers – African American soldiers who served in the cavalry during the wars for the west
  14. George Armstrong Custer – lieutenant colonel in the U.S. cavalry whose soldiers discovered gold in the Black Hills. On June 25, 1876, his scouts found a Sioux camp on the banks of the Little Bighorn River. They attacked the Sioux without reinforcements and were defeated with almost all cavalrymen killed
  15. Sitting Bull – leader of the Lakota Sioux who protested U.S. demands for land. He also participated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
  16. Battle of the Little Bighorn – “Custer’s Last Stand”; battle between U.S. soldiers, led by George Armstrong Custer, and Sioux warriors, led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, that resulted in the worst defeat for the U.S. Army in the West
  17. Massacre at Wounded Knee – the U.S. Army’s killing of approximately 150 Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota; ended U.S.-Indian wars on the Plains
  18. Long Walk – a 300-mile march made by Navajo captives to a reservation in Bosque Redondo, New Mexico, that led to the death of hundreds of Navajo
  19. Geronimo – a Chiricahua Apache whose band of raiders avoided capture for many years. He surrendered in September 1886 ending the Apache armed resistance
  20. Ghost Dance – a religious movement among Native Americans that spread across the Plains in the 1880s
  21. Sarah Winnemucca – a Paiute Indian who called out for reform in the treatment of her people
  22. Dawes General Allotment Act – legislation passed by Congress that split up Indian reservation lands among individual Indians and promised them citizenship
  23. Homestead Act – a law passed by Congress to encourage settlement in the West by giving government-owned land to small farmers
  24. Morrill Act – a federal law passed by Congress that gave land to western states to encourage them to build colleges
  25. Exodusters – African Americans who settled western lands in the late 1800s
  26. sodbusters – the name given to Plains farmers who worked hard to break up the region’s tough sod
  27. dry farming – a method of farming used by Plains farmers in the 1890s that shifted focus from water-dependent crops to more hardy crops
  28. Annie Bidwell – one of the founders of Chico, California who used her influence to support a variety of moral and social causes such as women’s suffrage and temperance
  29. National Grange – a social and educational organization for farmers
  30. deflation – a decrease in money supply and overall lower prices
  31. William Jennings Bryan – Democratic candidate for president in 1896 who supported the free coinage of silver
  32. Populist Party – a political party formed in 1892 that supported free coinage of silver, work reforms, immigration restrictions, and government ownership of railroads and telegraph and telephone systems


Chapter 4 Social Studies Vocabulary

  1. Second Industrial Revolution – a period of rapid growth in manufacturing and industry in the late 1800s
  2. Bessemer process – a process developed in the 1850s that led to faster, cheaper steel production
  3. Thomas Edison – man who held more than 1,000 patents and had a research center in Menlo Park, New Jersey
  4. Alexander Graham Bell – inventor who patented the telephone
  5. Henry Ford – first to implement  the use of the assembly line making his Model T affordable by reducing the cost
  6. Wilbur and Orville Wright – built a lightweight airplane powered by a small gasoline engine
  7. corporations – a business that sells portions of ownership called stock shares
  8. Andrew Carnegie – one of the most admired businessmen of his time, he focused on making steel
  9. John D. Rockefeller – owner of the Standard Oil Company, the country’s largest oil refiner
  10. horizontal integration – owning all the businesses in a certain field
  11. trust – a number of companies legally grouped under a single board of directors
  12. Leland Stanford – founder of the Central Pacific Railroad who founded a university named after him
  13. social Darwinism – a view of society based on Charles Darwin’s scientific theory of natural selection
  14. monopoly – a complete control over the entire supply of goods or a service in a particular market
  15. Sherman Antitrust Act – a law that made it illegal to create monopolies or trusts that restrained free trade
  16. Frederick W. Taylor – an efficiency engineer who published The Principles of Scientific Management
  17. Knights of Labor – secret society that became the first truly national labor union in the United States
  18. Terence V. Powderly – became leader of the Knights of Labor in 1879
  19. American Federation of Labor – an organization that united skilled workers into national unions for specific industries
  20. Samuel Gompers – leader of the American Federation of Labor
  21. collective bargaining – a technique used by labor unions in which workers act collectively to change working conditions or wages
  22. Mary Harris Jones – Irish immigrant who worked for better working conditions for miners
  23. Haymarket Riot – a riot that broke out at Haymarket Square in Chicago over the deaths of two strikers
  24. Homestead strike – a labor-union strike at Andrew Carnegie’s Steel factory in Pennsylvania that erupted in violence between strikers and private detectives
  25. Pullman strike – a railroad strike that ended when President Grover Cleveland sent in federal troops



Chapter 5 Social Studies Vocabulary

  1. old immigrants – a term often used for an immigrant who arrived in the United States before the 1880s
  2. new immigrants – a term often used for an immigrant who arrived in the United States beginning in the 1880s
  3. steerage – the area of a ship in the lower levels where the steering mechanisms were located and where cramped quarters were provided for people who could only afford cheap passage
  4. benevolent societies – aid organizations formed by immigrant communities
  5. tenements – poorly built, overcrowded housing
  6. sweatshops – hot, stuffy workshops in which workers prepare materials for low wages
  7. Chinese Exclusion Act – a law passed by Congress that banned Chinese from immigrating to the United States for 10 years
  8. mass transit – public transportation
  9. suburbs – neighborhoods outside of a downtown area
  10. mass culture – leisure and cultural activities shared by many people
  11. Joseph Pulitzer – publisher who added a color comic to his New York World newspaper in 1896 to compete for readers
  12. William Randolph Hearst – publisher of the New York Journal who saw that comics helped sell newspapers, so he added a color comic strip as well
  13. Department stores – giant retail shops
  14. Frederick Law Olmstead – landscape architect who became nationally famous when he designed Central Park in New York City
  15. Jacob Riis – journalist and photographer who became famous for exposing the horrible conditions in New York City tenements
  16. settlement houses – neighborhood centers staffed by professionals and volunteers for education, recreation, and social activities in poor areas
  17. Jane Addams – one of the founders of Hull House, she also started a kindergarten and public playground, became involved in housing safety and sanitation issues, factory inspection, and immigrants’ rights
  18. Hull House – a settlement house founded by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr in 1889
  19. Florence Kelly – an important reformer at Hull House who visited sweatshops and wrote about problems there and later became Illinois’ chief factory inspector





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