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Historical Glossary

There are 2268 entries in this glossary.
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Albany Plan of Union

As delegates to the Albany Congress, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Hutchinson offered a proposal to unite the thirteen colonies on 19 June 1754. Their plan would have established a grand council composed of members elected by their legislatures in proportion to tax collections in each province, plus a president general named by the king to perform executive duties between council sessions. The government would have authority over Indian affairs and military defense, and could require the colonies to provide funds (in emergencies) according to a prearranged formula. Approved at Albany on 10 July, this plan of union was rejected (or ignored) by all the colonies. Despite the imminence of a war with the French, no assembly was willing to surrender any of its local autonomy—especially over taxes—to an outside legislative body.

Albany Regency

This was a political organization that evolved around Martin Van Buren and kept the N.Y. state government Democratic for most of 1820–50. By perfecting the method of winning votes with contracts and patronage, the Regency served as a model for later government machines managed by political bosses. The hunkers and barnburners fought over the Regency's control after 1844.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

De Tocqueville came from France to America in 1831. He observeddemocracy in government and society. His book (written in two parts in 1835 and 1840) discusses the advantages of democracy and consequences of the majority's unlimited power. First to raise topics of American practicality over theory, the industrial aristocracy, and the conflict between the masses and individuals 

Alger, Horatio

(b. Chelsea, Mass., 13 January 1832; d. Natick, Mass., 18 July 1899) A former Unitarian minister and bohemian expatriate in Paris, Alger authored nearly a hundred books for boys that sold 800,000 copies from 1866 to his death. His characters and plots popularized the American myth that perseverance, dedication, and thrift will inevitably overcome poverty and lead to success.

Algonkin Indians

Speakers of one of the Algonquian languages. They lived along the eastern Great Lakes. They traded furs with the French and were their allies against the English. They now live in Ontario.