Unit 7 - Key Terms
A. Philip Randolph — labor and civil rights leader in the 1940s who led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; he demanded that FDR create a Fair Employment Practices Commission to investigate job discrimination in war industries. FDR agreed only after Randolph threatened a march on Washington by African Americans.
Agricultural Adjustment Administration (1933) — New Deal program that paid farmers not to produce crops; it provided farmers with income while reducing crop surpluses and helped stabilize farm production. The Supreme Court declared major parts of this law unconstitutional in 1936, helping lead FDR to his court-packing plan.
Alfred (Al) Smith — first Catholic ever nominated for president; he lost in 1928 because of the nation’s prosperity, but his religion, urban background, and views on Prohibition (he was a “wet”) cost him votes as well.
Alfred Thayer Mahan — naval officer, writer, teacher, and philosopher of the new imperialism of the 1890s; he stressed the need for naval power to drive expansion and establish America’s place in the world as a great power.
American Liberty League — a conservative anti–New Deal organization; members included Alfred Smith, John W. Davis, and the Du Pont family. It criticized the “dictatorial” policies of Roosevelt and what it perceived to be his attacks on the free enterprise system.
Atlantic Charter (1941) — joint statement issued by President Roosevelt and Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill of principals and goals for an Allied victory in World War II; it provided for self-determination for all conquered nations, freedom of seas, economic security, and free trade. Later, it became the embodiment of the United Nations Charter.
Big Stick policy — Theodore Roosevelt’s method for achieving American goals in the Caribbean; it featured the threat and use of military force to promote America’s commercial supremacy, to limit European intervention in the region, and to protect the Panama Canal.
Bonus Army (1932) — group of jobless World War I veterans who came to Washington to lobby Congress for immediate payment of money promised them in 1945; Hoover opposed payment, and when he used the U.S. Army to drive the veterans out of the capital, he was portrayed as cruel and cold-hearted.
Booker T. Washington — influential black leader; his “Atlanta Compromise” speech (1895) proposed blacks accept social and political segregation in return for economic opportunities in agriculture and vocational areas. He received money from whites and built Tuskegee Institute into a powerful educational and political machine.
Brain(s) Trust — name applied to college professors from Columbia University such as Rexford Tugwell, Adolf Berle, and Raymond Moley who advised Roosevelt on economic matters early in the New Deal; the Brain Trust took on the role of an “unofficial Cabinet” in the Roosevelt Administration.
Calvin Coolidge — taciturn, pro-business president (1923–1929) who took over after Harding’s death, restored honesty to government, and accelerated the tax cutting and antiregulation policies of his predecessor; his laissez-faire policies brought short-term prosperity from 1923 to 1929.
Carrie Chapman Catt — president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association; Catt led the organization when it achieved passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 and later organized the League of Women Voters.
Charles Coughlin — Catholic priest who used his popular radio program to criticize the New Deal; he grew increasingly anti-Roosevelt and anti-Semitic until the Catholic Church pulled him off the air.
Charles Lindbergh — mail service pilot who became a celebrity when he made the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927; a symbol of the vanishing individualistic hero of the frontier who was honest, modest, and self-reliant, he later became a leading isolationist.
Dollar Diplomacy — President Taft’s policy that encouraged American business and financial interests to invest in Latin American countries to achieve U.S. economic and foreign policy goals and maintain control; if problems persisted, the United States reverted to the Big Stick option of the Roosevelt administration, turning to military intervention and employment of force to restore stability and peace.
Eighteenth Amendment (1919) — prohibited the sale, transportation, and manufacture of alcohol; part of rural America’s attempt to blunt the societal influence of the cities, it was called the “Noble Experiment” until it was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment (1933).
Emilio Aguinaldo — Filipino patriot who led a rebellion against both Spain and the United States from 1896 to 1902, seeking independence for the Philippines; his capture in 1901 helped break the resistance to American control of the islands.
Federal Reserve Act (1913) — established a national banking system for the first time since the 1830s; designed to combat the “money trust,” it created 12 regional banks that regulated interest rates, money supply, and provided an elastic credit system throughout the country.
Fireside chats — Roosevelt’s informal radio addresses throughout his presidency; they gave the people a sense of confidence that he understood their problems and was trying to help solve them. With these “chats,” FDR was the first president to use the electronic media to spread his message.
Fourteen Points (1918) — Woodrow Wilson’s vision for the world after World War I; it called for free trade, self-determination for all peoples, freedom of the seas, open diplomacy, and a League of Nations. Wilson hoped his Fourteen Points would be the basis for a negotiated settlement to end the war. However, they were not harsh enough on Germany for the other Allies to accept. Only a few of them were incorporated into the treaty.
Frances Perkins — Roosevelt’s secretary of labor (1933–1945); the first woman to serve as a federal Cabinet officer, she had a great influence on many New Deal programs, most significantly the Social Security Act.
Francis Townsend — retired physician who proposed an Old Age Revolving Pension Plan to give every retiree over age 60 $200 per month, provided that the person spend the money each month in order to receive their next payment; the object of Townsend’s plan was to help retired workers as well as stimulate spending in order to boost production and end the Depression.
Franklin D. Roosevelt — president (1933–1945); elected four times, he led the country’s recovery from the Depression and to victory in World War II. He died in office, however, just weeks before Germany’s surrender. He is generally considered the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.
George Dewey — naval hero of the Spanish-American War; his fleet defeated the Spanish at Manila Bay and gave the United States a tenuous claim to the Philippine Islands.
Harlem Renaissance — black artistic movement in New York City in the 1920s, when writers, poets, painters, and musicians came together to express feelings and experiences, especially about the injustices of Jim Crow; leading figures of the movement included Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Duke Ellington, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes.
Harry S. Truman — vice president who became president when FDR died in April 1945; he was elected on his own in 1948. Truman ordered the use of atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II, set the course of postwar containment of Communism in the Cold War, and created a Fair Deal program to carry on the New Deal’s domestic agenda.
Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930) — raised the duties on imported foreign goods to all-time highs; intended to boost American industry and employment, it actually deepened the Depression when European countries could not repay their loans (World War I war debts) and retaliated against American exports.
Henry Cabot Lodge — chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who accepted the Treaty of Versailles and membership in the League but demanded reservations to the League to maintain congressional authority in foreign affairs; Wilson’s unwillingness to accept these conditions caused the Senate to reject the treaty.
Herbert Hoover — president (1929–1933) who is blamed for the Great Depression; although he tried to use government power to bring on recovery, his inflexibility and refusal to give direct relief doomed his programs and his presidency.
Hoovervilles — camps and shantytowns of unemployed and homeless on the outskirts of major cities during the early days of the Depression; they were symbols of the failure of Hoover’s program and the way the nation held him responsible for the hard times.
Huey Long — flamboyant Louisiana governor and U.S. senator; he challenged FDR to do more for the poor and needy and proposed a popular “Share-Our-Wealth” program to tax the wealthy in order to provide a guaranteed income for the poor. He was assassinated in 1935.
Hundred Days — term applied to the first weeks of the Roosevelt Administration, during which Congress passed 13 emergency relief and reform measures that were the backbone of the early New Deal; these included the Civilian Conservation Corp, the Glass Stegal Act (FDIC), Agricultural Adjustment Act, Federal Emergency Relief Act, and the National Industrial Recovery Act.
Jane Addams — social worker and leader in the settlement house movement; she founded Hull House in 1889, which helped improve the lives of poor immigrants in Chicago, and in 1931 shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
John Hay — secretary of state in the McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt administrations; he was the author of the Open Door Notes, which attempted to protect American interests in China in the early 20th century by asking European countries to pledge equal trading rights in China and the protection of its territory from foreign annexation.
John Pershing — American commander in France during World War I; his nickname of “Black Jack” resulted from his command of black troops earlier in his career. Before being dispatched to France, Pershing led an American incursion into Mexico in 1916 in a failed attempt to capture Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.
Josiah Strong — expansionist who blended racist and religious reasons to justify American expansion in the 1880s and 1890s; he saw the Anglo-Saxon race as trained by God to expand throughout the world and spread Christianity along the way.
Ku Klux Klan — Reconstruction-era organization that was revived in 1915 and rose to political power in the mid-1920s when membership reached 4 to 5 million; opposed to blacks, Catholics, Jews, and immigrants, its membership was rural, white, native-born, and Protestant.
Lend Lease (1941) — program authorizing the president to lend or lease equipment to nations whose defense was deemed vital to the U.S. security; it was designed to help a bankrupt Britain continue fighting the Nazis. By 1945, the United States had extended $50 billion in wartime aid to Britain and the Soviet Union.
Lusitania — British passenger liner sunk by a German submarine in May 1915; among the 1,200 deaths were 128 Americans. This was the first major crisis between the United States and Germany and a stepping-stone for American involvement in World War I.
Marcus Garvey — black leader in early 1920s who appealed to urban blacks with his program of racial self-sufficiency/separatism, black pride, and pan-Africanism; his Universal Negro Improvement Association ran into financial trouble, however. He was eventually arrested for mail fraud and deported to his native Jamaica in 1927.
National Labor Relations Act (1935) — created a National Labor Relations Board that could compel employers to recognize and bargain with unions; this law helped promote the growth of organized labor in the 1930s and for decades thereafter.
National Recovery Administration (1933) — agency that created a partnership between business and government to fight the Depression; it allowed major industries to fix prices in return for agreeing to fair practice codes, wage and hour standards, and labor’s right to organize. Major parts of the law that created the NRA were declared unconstitutional in 1935.
Neutrality Acts (1935, 1936, 1937) — series of laws that provided Americans could not ship weapons, loan money, travel on belligerent ships, extend credit, or deliver goods to any belligerent countries; they were high tide of isolationism, and all were repealed between 1939 and 1941.
New Deal (1933–1938) — Roosevelt’s program of domestic reform and relief; the three Rs of Relief, Reform, and Recovery did not end the Depression, but they gave hope and security and made government more responsive to the people in bad economic times.
Nineteenth Amendment (1920) — granted women the right to vote; its ratification capped a movement for women’s rights that dated to the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. Although women were voting in state elections in 12 states when the amendment passed, it enabled 8 million women to vote in the presidential election of 1920.
Pearl Harbor — United States naval base in Hawaii that was attacked by Japan on December 7, 1941, with serious U.S. losses: 19 ships sunk or destroyed and over 2,000 deaths; the attack brought the United States into World War II.
Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) — law that regulated the food and patent medicine industries; some business leaders called it socialistic meddling by the government.
Reconstruction Finance Corporation (1932) — Hoover’s economic recovery program that provided government loans to businesses, banks, and railroads; it was “pump priming,” but it was too little ($300 million) too late to make any real improvement in the economy.
Red Scare — period of hysteria after World War I over the possible spread of Communism to the United States; aroused by the Russian Revolution (1917), the large number of Russian immigrants in the United States, and a series of terrorist bombings in 1919, it resulted in the denial of civil liberties, mass arrests and deportations, and passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1920.
Roosevelt Corollary (1903) — addendum to the Monroe Doctrine issued after the Dominican Republic got into financial trouble with several European nations; the United States assumed the right to intervene in Latin American countries to promote “civilized” behavior and protect American interests.
Rugged individualism — Hoover’s philosophy that called on Americans to help each other during the Depression without direct government relief; he feared too much government help would weaken the American character, endanger liberty, and lead to totalitarianism in the United States.
Sacco and Vanzetti — Italian radicals who became symbols of the Red Scare of the 1920s; arrested (1920), tried, and executed (1927) for a robbery/murder, they were believed by many to have been innocent but convicted because of their immigrant status and radical political beliefs.
Scopes Trial (1925) — “Monkey Trial” over John Scopes’s teaching of evolution in his biology classroom in violation of a Tennessee law; it pitted the Bible, fundamentalism, and William Jennings Bryan against evolution, modernism, and Clarence Darrow. Scopes was convicted, but fundamentalism was damaged and discouraged by the trial.
Second Front — proposed Anglo-American invasion of France to relieve the Soviets, who were fighting a German invasion of the USSR; originally scheduled for 1942, it was not delivered until D-Day in June 1944. This was a divisive issue in Soviet relations with the United States and Britain during the war and after.
Social Security Act (1935) — required both workers and their employer to contribute to a federally run pension fund for retired workers; it also provided federal disability and unemployment assistance. Although benefits were meager, it was the first significant government program to provide for retired, disabled, or unemployed Americans.
Tea Pot Dome Scandal — biggest scandal of Harding’s administration; Secretary of Interior Albert Fall illegally leased government oil fields in the West to private oil companies; Fall was later convicted of bribery and became the first Cabinet official to serve prison time (1931–1932).
Theodore Roosevelt — assistant secretary of the navy, who headed a volunteer regiment in the Spanish-American War; nicknamed the Rough Riders by the press, the First Volunteer Cavalry consisted of Roosevelt’s colorful friends from the West and his Harvard days. After the war, Roosevelt “rode” his Rough Riders image to the vice presidency and then the presidency of the United States.
Treaty of Versailles (1919) — ended World War I; it was much harder on Germany than Wilson wanted but not as punitive as France and England desired. It was harsh enough, however, to set stage for Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in the 1930s.
Upton Sinclair — socialist muckraker who wrote The Jungle (1906), in which he hoped to indict the capitalist system but instead helped convince Congress to pass the Meat Inspection Act (1906), which cleaned up the meat industry.
USS Maine — U.S. battleship sent to Havana in early 1898 to protect American interests; it blew up mysteriously in February 1898, killing 266 men. American newspapers blamed the Spanish, helping to cause the war. In 1976, it was discovered that the ship blew up accidentally.
W. E. B. DuBois — black intellectual who challenged Booker T. Washington’s ideas on combating Jim Crow; he called for the black community to demand immediate equality and was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP).
Warren Harding — weak but affable president (1921–1923) who allowed his appointees to loot and cheat the government; after his death, political and personal scandals tarnished his presidency. Harding is rated as a failure as president by most historians.
William Borah — led a group of senators who were irreconcilably opposed to joining the League of Nations; he promoted ideals of traditional isolationism and believed the League was “an entangling foreign alliance.”
William McKinley — president of the United States, 1897–1901; a reluctant expansionist, he led America during the Spanish-American War. His assassination in 1901 brought “that damn cowboy” Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency.
Woodrow Wilson (New Freedom) — successful Democratic presidential nominee in 1912 and his progressive program that viewed trusts as evil and called for their destruction rather than their regulation; his social and political philosophy drew heavily on the ideas of Louis Brandeis. As president (1913–1921), Wilson led the nation through World War I.
Zimmermann Note (1917) — a secret German proposal to Mexico for an alliance against the United States; Germany offered to help Mexico get back territories it lost to the United States in 1848. Britain alerted the Wilson administration to the plan, and Mexico refused the idea.