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Historical Glossary

There are 116 entries in this glossary.
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Baby Boom

Refers to the generation born in the period 1946–65, which followed a period of delayed marriages for young adults and suppressed normal population growth due to World War II. Almost 74,000,000 babies arrived in that period, which peaked between 1 April 1959 and 2 April 1960, when the US recorded its greatest number of births. Fertility declined steadily from then until 1972, when the birth rate barely sufficed to replace losses from death. As the baby boom ended, immigration contributed a greater share to population growth, including 32.8 percent of total growth in the 1980s.

Bacon's Rebellion

Panicked by hostilities with Susquehannock Indians from September 1675 to January 1676, settlers from northern Va. joined forces under Nathaniel Bacon to retaliate for 36 whites killed in raids. In May 1676, Bacon began attacking all Indians within reach, including the Occaneeches, who had just attacked three Susquehannock towns. Governor William Berkeley, who had forbidden any Indian campaigns, declared Bacon a traitor on 10 May and had him arrested on 7 June, but pardoned him five days later when Bacon's supporters seemed likely to rescue him. Berkeley approved another Indian offensive, but called back Bacon and his 1,300 men when they advanced on peaceful Pamunkeys.
After killing and capturing many Pamunkeys in August, Bacon drove Berkeley and his 300 followers from Jamestown, which he entered on 19 September, and burned that night. Widespread lawlessness ensued as 1,600 Baconians plundered the plantations of the governor and his followers. The rebellion soon collapsed after Bacon died on 26 October of chronic diarrhea. Berkeley hanged 14 rebels under martial law before Bacon's death, and nine later. Fighting between the rebels and loyalists took about 25 lives, besides hundreds of Indians enslaved or killed by rebels.


A sum of money given to a court to secure an accused person's temporary release from arrest and to guarantee the person will appear in court at a later date. If the person fails to appear in court on the date set, the money is forfeited.

Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Company

On 15 May 1922, in a case related to Hammer v. Dagenhart, the Supreme Court struck down (8–1) the Child Labor Act's (1919) 10 percent tax on profits of companies using child labor to make goods for interstate sale (see child labor laws), because the tax was neither a proper use of federal police power nor a legitimate means of raising revenue, but rather a selective penalty. The Court reversed Bailey in United States v. Darby Lumber Company.

Baker v. Carr

On 26 March 1962, the Supreme Court ruled (6–2) that federal courts had jurisdiction over challenges to how state legislatures were apportioned, to protect the constitutional rights of voters. Baker overturned Colegrove v. Green (10 June 1946), which declared (4–3) that redistricting disputes were political issues over which the courts had no authority. This ruling laid the basis for increasing federal involvement with apportionment controversies. See Wesberry v. Sanders and Reynolds v. Sims.