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Historical Glossary

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Antinomian controversy

In 1636 the New England clergy came under strong criticism from Rev. John Wheelwright and his sister-in-law Anne Hutchinson, who insinuated that most ministers had not received saving grace and had no right to exercise authority over church members that had been born again. John winthrop and other critics likened these views to the heresy of Antinomianism (against the rule of order), which asserted that saving grace freed the elect to judge morality for themselves. After being convicted of contempt and sedition on 20 January 1637, Wheelwright left Mass. Hutchinson was banished on 17 November after discrediting herself with claims that she and God communicated directly with one another.

Antirent War

This was the only significant tenant uprising in the US after the 1766 outbreak on the New York manors. It began in 1839 when leaseholders opposed efforts to collect $400,000 in unpaid rents due to the Rennselaerwyck manor near Albany, N.Y. After being suppressed by militia, tenants opposed efforts to seize their property for rent or evict them, by secret societies that harassed landlords and their loyal tenants. The disturbances spread through much of the Hudson valley and ended in 1846 with legislation granting tenants more legal rights.

Antisaloon League of America

In 1893 Rev. Howard H. Russell of Oberlin, Ohio, founded the first local chapter of this interdenominational (but primarily Protestant) body to press for Prohibition. It was organized on a national basis in 1895 at Washington, D.C. By 1900 the league had become a major political lobbying group because of its $2,000,000 budget and publications. It played the most influential role in eliminating alcoholic consumption through state laws and the Eighteenth Amendment. It remained active in the 1920s, when it opposed the “wet” candidacy of Alfred Smith and pressured Congress for the Jones Act (1929). It declined after ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment.

Anzio, battle of (Italy)

On 22 January 1944, Major General John P. Lucas's US VI Corps (50,000 men) landed behind German lines at Anzio, 30 miles south of Rome. The enemy bottled up the US beachhead by 30 January, inflicted heavy losses during 16 February–2 March, and kept the US perimeter besieged until May, when Allied forces resumed their drive on Rome.

Apache campaigns

(1) In February 1862, fighting broke out with the Chiricahuas after the army wrongfully accused them of kidnaping a boy, and then killed five Apache hostages; under Cochise, they raided whites until late 1872. From 1862 to 1865, Major General James Carleton's Calif. and N.Mex. volunteers forced 500 Mescaleros onto a reservation, which they fled in December 1865 to raid the southwest. Between 1866 and 1870, the army fought 170 skirmishes against Apaches; it claimed to have killed 741 Indians at a loss of 26 dead and 58 wounded.
(2) On 4 September 1879, Victorio's Apaches (up to 150 warriors) began raiding N.Mex., Tex., and Mexico; they were wiped out by Mexican troops on 15 October 1880. On 30 September 1881, Geronimo and Chato led 74 Chiricahuas off their reservation to raid Ariz. and Mexico, but they surrendered and returned to their reservation in July 1883. In November Geronimo and 133 followers ran for Mexico, from which they killed 38 US settlers. After being pursued for 2,000 miles through Mexico, Geronimo surrendered to General Nelson Miles on 4 September 1886. On 8 September Miles serenaded Geronimo's Apaches with “Auld Lang Syne” as he put them on trains to prison in Fla.

Apache Indians

The Zuni word apachu, meaning “enemy,” has been used since the 17th century in reference to several bands of speakers of Athapaskan languages in N.Mex. and Ariz.: the Lipan, Western Apache, Mescalero, Chiricahua, Jicarilla, and Kiowa-Apache. The earliest estimate of their population was 6,500 about 1680. By the 19th century they had engaged in frequent conflict with Mexicans and mission Indians, who later retaliated with the Camp Grant massacre. The US Army's Apache campaigns began in 1862 and ended in 1886. The Lipans merged with other bands. The Western Apache were settled at Fort Apache (White Mountains) and San Carlos reservations in Ariz. Most Chiricahua now live at their Fort Sill, Okla., reservation or at the Mescalero reservation in Otero County, N.Mex. The Jicarilla were put on a reservation in Sandoval and Rio Arriba counties, N.Mex. The Kiowa-Apache lived on the southern plains and most settled on a reservation in Caddo County, Okla., headquartered at Anadarko.

Apollo Project

On 25 May 1961, after the USSR orbited the first man of the space race, John F. Kennedy declared the US intention of landing on the moon before 1970. On 20 February 1962, John Glenn became the first US astronaut to orbit the earth. In 1964 unmanned Ranger missions circled the moon for photographic reconnaissance. Lunar Orbiter missions began in August 1966 and eventually photographed the moon's entire surface. The first US unmanned lunar landing was Surveyor I in June 1966. Following NASA's Mercury Program to gain experience in weightless flight by single astronauts, the Gemini Program began sending two-man crews into outer space in March 1963, to perfect techniques of docking and extravehicular activities.
The Apollo Project, which would conduct the moon landings, was set back on 27 January 1967 when faulty wiring caused a fire that left Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chafee dead in a simulated launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla. From 21 to 27 December 1968, Apollo 8 carried the first three men to leave the earth's gravitational pull and orbit the moon. Apollo missions 9 and 10 conducted manned lunar orbits in 1969. On 16 July 1969, Apollo 11 left Cape Canaveral for the moon. On 20 July, with Michael Collins hovering in Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong (first) and Edwin Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon; they returned to earth on 24 July. Five more lunar landings were conducted (another was aborted), with the last such mission from 7 to 19 December 1972. Apollo's final exercise was a joint docking with USSR cosmonauts orbiting the earth from 26 July to 7 August 1975. Putting an American on the moon required efforts by 420,000 NASA employees or contractors in 1969, when the project absorbed almost 1 percent of US GNP, and ultimately cost $25 billion.


appellate adj having power to review decisions of lower courts.

Appomattox Court House, surrender at

On 9 April 1865 (Palm Sunday), outnumbered by Union forces by over four to one, General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia's 26,765 men to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac. The surrender made further CSA resistance futile and effectively ended the Civil War.


apportion v. to distribute proportionately Source: NMW

In the context of the Constitution, apportionment means that each state gets a number appropriate to its population. For example, Representatives are apportioned among the states, with the most populous getting the greater share. Direct taxes (of which there are none today) were to be charged to the states in this manner as well.

The need for apportionment of taxes, and the reason for it, is difficult for us to imagine today, but there were good reasons for it. The following is an explanation of the need for the Direct Tax Apportionment clause. It was written by Supreme Court Justice Paterson in Hylton v US (3 US 171 [1796]):

The constitution declares, that a capitation tax is a direct tax; and both in theory and practice, a tax on land is deemed to be a direct tax... The provision was made in favor of the southern states; they possessed a large number of slaves; they had extensive tracts of territory, thinly settled, and not very productive. A majority of the states had but few slaves, and several of them a limited territory, well settled, and in a high state of cultivation. The southern states, if no provision had been introduced in the constitution, would have been wholly at the mercy of the other states. Congress in such case, might tax slaves, at discretion or arbitrarily, and land in every part of the Union, after the same rate or measure: so much a head, in the first instance, and so much an acre, in the second. To guard them against imposition, in these particulars, was the reason of introducing the clause in the constitution.

Arapaho Indians

Speakers of one of the Algonquian languages, the Arapahos numbered about 3,000 in 1780 and were closely allied with the Cheyenne Indians. Under attack by the Sioux, they migrated from Minn. to Nebr.-Wyo. in the early 1800s, and split into northern and southern bands. After fighting against the US in the Cheyenne campaigns, Red River War, and third Sioux War, they accepted reservation status along the Canadian River in Okla. (headquartered at Concho) and on the Wind River Reservation in Wyo. with the Northern Shoshonis, who were once their enemies. Wind River now contains 5,124 Indians.

Arikara Indians

This Caddoan language group migrated from the lower Great Plains to the Missouri Riv. in S.Dak., where they established contact with French fur traders about 1770. They allied with the Hidatsa and Mandan, as the “three affiliated tribes.” They defeated a party of William Ashley's fur traders in 1823, and then briefly engaged in small-scale hostilities against the US before a lasting peace was made. Smallpox and other epidemics cut their numbers from around 3,000 in 1780, to 1,650 in 1871, to 500 in 1888, and 380 in 1904. The survivors merged with Mandans and Hidatsa at the Fort Berthold Reservation, N.Dak.


From the ancient Greek meaning "rule by the best." A government in which the decisive power is in the hands of a minority qualified by its virtue or excellence.


On 28 April 1700, Fr Eusebio Kino dedicated the first mission in Ariz. with a resident priest at San Javier del Bac near Tucson. The area contained fewer than 2,000 Spanish-speaking people when acquired by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Gadsden Purchase added its southern border. Anglo-American settlement was stimulated when silver mines were opened at Tubac in 1856. In the Civil War, CSA troops briefly occupied Ariz. in 1862 on an invitation from pro-CSA citizens at Tucson and Mesilla. Washington detached Ariz. from N.Mex. as a separate territory on 24 February 1863, when it had about 4,200 whites. Apache campaigns were waged in 1862–86. Mining for silver and copper, cattle ranching, and sheep grazing dominated the economy.
In 1900 Ariz. was 48th in population with 122,931 residents (approx. 40 percent white, 35 percent Hispanic, 1 percent black, 22 percent Indian, and 1 percent Chinese), of whom 84 percent were rural, 11 percent Mexican-born, and 9 percent other foreign-born; it ranked 47th in farm produce and 41st in manufactures. It became the 48th state on 14 February 1912. Rapid urbanization doubled the population and diversified the economy from 1950 to 1970. In 1990 Ariz. was the 25th state in size and had 3,665,228 inhabitants (72 percent white, 3 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Indian, and 1 percent Asian), of whom 79 percent were urban and 7.6 percent foreign-born. Manufacturing employed 13 percent of workers and mining 8 percent.


In 1686, near the mouth of the Arkansas River, the French built Fort Arkansas, the first permanent white settlement. It became part of the US by the Louisiana Purchase, a territory on 2 March 1819, and the 25th state on 15 June 1836. Cotton dominated its economy and by 1860 Ark. had 435,450 inhabitants, of whom 26 percent were slaves and under 1 percent were foreign-born; it ranked 23rd among the states in the value of its farmland and livestock and 33rd in manufactures.
It became the eighth CSA state on 6 May 1861. In the Civil War, it furnished 60,000 CSA troops and 13,815 USA soldiers (8,289 white and 5,526 black). Ark. was the site of 336 military engagements. Union forces won control over much of the state after the battle of Pea Ridge.
By March 1864, a tenth of voters had sworn Union allegiance and Abraham Lincoln instituted a provisional civilian government, which abolished slavery. White supremacists took over the legislature in 1866 and passed a black code (see black codes). Congress imposed military rule on 2 March 1867, then restored congressional representation and self-government on 22 June 1868. Republican control of Ark. ended six-and-a-half years later, on 10 November 1874. The state disfranchised most blacks by poll tax and legislated racial segregation after 1900.
In 1900 it was the 25th state in size and had 1,311,564 inhabitants, of whom 92 percent were rural, 28 percent were black, and 1 percent were foreign-born; it ranked 22nd among states in the value of its agricultural goods and 38th in manufactures. From 1920 to 1970, it lost 1,239,100 residents, mostly blacks moving to northern cities, and its racial composition shifted significantly. During the civil rights movement, it actively resisted integration under Governor Orval Faubus and US troops were dispatched in the Little Rock desegregation violence. Statewide school desegregation was not achieved until the late 1960s. Ark. ranked 33rd among states by 1990, when its population was 2,350,725 (82 percent white, 16 percent black, 1 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Asian), of whom 40 percent were urban and 1.1 percent were foreign-born. Manufacturing and mining employed 29 percent of workers.


Combat in World War I was ended by an armistice signed at 5 a.m. 11 November, and designed to end fighting at the symbolic moment of 11 a.m.: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Its terms stipulated: (1) German withdrawal from France, Belgium, and the west bank of the Rhine; (2) German surrender of Rhine crossings at Cologne, Koblenz, and Mainz; (3) destruction of German planes, tanks, and heavy artillery; (4) surrender of German submarines and internment of surface warships; (5) continued blockade of German ports until a formal peace; (6) exchange of prisoners of war and civilian deportees; (7) transfer of 150,000 rail cars, 5,000 locomotives, and 5,000 trucks to the Allies; (8) German renunciation of treaties with its military allies; (9) recognition of Allied rights to demand war reparations.

Army Appropriations Act

(2 March 1867) Congress added a rider to this law (which Andrew Johnson vetoed) intended to forestall the president from hindering its policies on Reconstruction by forbidding him to issue any orders for military forces in the field except through the army's commander in chief. (This rider was an unconstitutional infringement of presidential powers.) Two of the 11 charges in Johnson's impeachment trial alleged that he violated this law by giving direct orders to General William Emory.

Arnold, Benedict

(b. Norwich, Conn., 14 January 1741; d. London, England, 14 June 1801)    He served as a private in the Seven Years' War. He was co-commander at Fort Ticonderoga's capture (1775), wounded at the second battle of Quebec, and made brigadier general in January 1776. He won important victories at Valcour Island and Bemis Heights, at which he was seriously wounded. Although a major general with a distinguished war record, Arnold was not rewarded with a major command, but stationed in Philadelphia (where he married a girl with Tory connections, see Tories) and then assigned to a fortress at West Point, N.Y. Frustrated by lack of US recognition, Arnold schemed to surrender West Point to the British, but fled to enemy lines when his plot was discovered on 25 September 1780. Arnold was made a British brigadier general and led Tory raids on Conn. and Va. He became a merchant in Canada after the war, then moved to England in 1791.

Aroostook War

Because Britain and the US had never agreed on Maine's boundary with Canada, title to the Aroostook valley was in doubt in the 1830s. During the winter of 1838–9, Canadian loggers began cutting trees there and sparked conflict with Yankees holding land claims to the valley. Violence remained bloodless and small-scale, but Maine and New Brunswick called out their militia, Congress voted $10,000,000 in contingency funds, and General Winfield Scott was sent there with troops. Tensions eased when Scott negotiated a truce in March 1839. The Webster–Ashburton Treaty ended the dispute.

Arthur, Chester Alan

(b. Fairfield, Vt., 5 October 1830; d. New York, N.Y., 18 November 1886)    In 1853 Arthur opened a law office at New York City. An abolitionist and early Republican, he was N.Y.'s quartermaster general in the Civil War. Arthur was deeply enmeshed in patronage politics and became a leading stalwart in N.Y.'s Republican party machine. Although not personally corrupt, he was removed from the N.Y. Customs Collectorship in 1878 by Rutherford Hayes for ignoring an executive order forbidding presidential appointees to engage in partisan politics. Placed on the Republican ticket in 1880 to help James Garfield carry N.Y., Arthur became president on 19 September 1881 upon Garfield's death. He shocked the Republican party bosses by signing the Pendleton Act, vetoing wasteful pork barrel appropriations, and prosecuting corrupt Republicans for graft. He also opened diplomatic relations with Korea and began the navy's modernization. He lost the bosses' support and was not renominated.

Articles of Confederation

On 12 June 1776, Congress named John Dickinson to chair a committee for drafting a plan of national union. On 12 July, Dickinson transmitted the first US constitution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Congress sent them to the states for ratification on 17 November 1777, but official adoption did not come until 1 March 1781, due to efforts by small states to force the cession of land claims north of the Ohio River.
The articles established a government in which the states kept their sovereignty. National government consisted of a unicameral Congress, but no chief executive and no judicial system. Diplomacy, warfare, and finance were supervised by congressional committees. Major issues required the approval of nine states in Congress, and no tax could be levied without unanimous consent. The Ordinance of 1785 and Northwest Ordinance were the articles' most important accomplishments. The articles functioned poorly after peace came in 1783, and their weaknesses—especially in financial affairs—led to the Constitutional Convention's calling.

Articles of Confederation: powers, weaknesses, successes

The Articles of Confederation delegated most of the powers (the power to tax,to regulate trade, and to draft troops) to the individual states, but left thefederal government power over war, foreign policy, and issuing money. TheArticles’ weakness was that they gave the federal government so little powerthat it couldn’t keep the country united. The Articles’ only major success was that they settled western land claims with the Northwest Ordinance. The Articles were abandoned for the Constitution.

Arver v. United States

On 7 January 1918, the Supreme Court upheld the Selective Service Act (1917) as a constitutional exercise of federal sovereignty and a legitimate power under Article I, Section 8's authority for Congress “to declare war . . . to raise and support armies” and under Article I, Section 8's authority to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper.” The Court denied that a military draft was involuntary servitude as understood by the Thirteenth Amendment. Arver was later clarified by Rostker v. Goldberg.

Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority

On 17 February 1936, the Supreme Court ruled (5–4) that the US could legally build dams under the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) law by its authority to control navigable waterways and provide for national defense. It denied a motion to prevent the sale of surplus electricity generated from TVA dams by declaring that the US had unrestricted authority to dispose of government property.

Assiniboine Indians

Speakers of one of the Siouan languages, the Assiniboines were possibly the most numerous Great Plains Indians, numbering perhaps 20,000 about 1780. They divided between a Canadian band and groups inhabiting the Missouri River basin in Mont. Their early involvement in the fur trade made them among the earliest Plains Indians to acquire guns. They fought with neighboring Sioux Indians, but had peaceful relations with whites. Smallpox epidemics in 1837–8 cut their population to just 4,000, and they had declined further by 1885, when they settled on the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck reservations in Mont.

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