When taking notes about these significant terms it may be helpful to make sure you are writing down information that answers the following questions:

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. When?
  4. Where?
  5. Why?
  6. How?
  7. Historical Significance (aka. So what? Why is this important?)


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1. Nativism

  • The white colonists were seen as natives to the U.S. This dealt with the defense of the native born people and their rights. This arose due to the high amount of immigration of Irish, who were also Catholic, into the U.S.

2. Erie Canal

  • It was built in upstate New York. It ran from Lake Eerie to the Hudson River and cost $7.5 million to build. It was 364 miles in length, from Albany to Buffalo. Engineers were needed to assist in the designing and building because it ran uphill. It opened in 1825. It was an immediate success because all of the interior U.S. became open to trade and travel. Goods were able to be moved to the East Coast without going over the Appalachian Mountains. Horses assisted in dragging boats through the water. The canal was only 3 to 4 feet deep. In the 1820s there were hundreds of miles of canals.

3. Cotton Gin

  • This device was created by Eli Whitney. This device made it easier to work with cotton. Cotton became more profitable therefore slavery boomed. Slaves fed cotton into the machines. Significance: Led to the rebirth of slavery due to the high demand for cotton.

4. Coverture

  • A law that stated that when a woman was young their father ruled over them. When a women married their husband then ruled over them. Their father or husband was their legal representative to the outside world. Women could not vote, make a contract, or be sued. They had no public identity outside of their fathers or husbands. When a woman purchased an item on credit, this was done under her husband's name. Women had no legal right to money. In the 19th century is when the laws began to change.

5. Republican Motherhood

  • Only those who vote are virtuous, voting with the best interest of the community in mind. Morality and virtue were seen to be taught by the mothers. Therefore, mothers make good voters. Virtuous mothers equaled to virtuous citizens. Women needed to understand the concepts of liberty and government in order to raise good voters and citizens. This both limited and created options. It limited the duties that women had at home. The opportunities created were that women were now open to speaking in public, provided that they were speaking about the home. If they were talking about the role of women in the domestic sphere then they could speak in public. Women also spoke about temperance- limiting alcohol consumption- because this affected the domestic sphere. This was a significant change in the way women were viewed.

6. Wilmot Proviso

  • The Mexican-American War created a division in the country because new land became available. All of the new land opens up debates about slavery. In 1846 David Wilmot created an add-on to the spending law which would keep slavery out of all territories taken from Mexico. Southerners kill this bill because they want this new land in present day Texas for slavery. Northerns continue to attempt to get this proviso passed. The proviso led to the creation of the Free Soil Party.

7. Free Soil Party

  • Came out of the Wilmot Proviso. This party wanted to prevent the expansion of slavery, not to be confused with abolitionists. They were not looking to end slavery that currently existed. The Constitution did not provide room for Congress to end slavery, but they can keep it from spreading to the territories. The free soilers were not doing this for humanitarian reasons. Rather they wanted to open the territories to free, white men and fair society. Slave owners have a large amount of labor and can produce more. The free soilers wanted a fair economy of competition between free white men. They were afraid Southerners would dominate the economy with slaves, which would decrease the amount of jobs available to free, white men. Slave owners are seen as tyrannical leaders who want to rule over all others. The Free Soil party was made up of people form both the Democrats and the Whigs.

8. Compromise of 1850

  • This was all about what could be given to the North and the South in order to bring California into the Union. This agreement fell apart right away. The agreement was as follows:
    • California would join the Union as a free state. In the California constitution both slavery and African Americans were outlawed. California was only meant for free, white men.
    • Utah and New Mexico territories were formed out of Mexico. These territories could choose whether they wanted to allow slavery. Both of these territories were primarily desert, which meant the land was not good for farming.
    • The Fugitive Slave Law was put into place. The South liked this law. This meant that when slave ran away to the North they could be sent back to the South to their previous owners. Before it was difficult for slave owners to get their slaves back. There would not be a trial for this process to take place. Instead there was a group of commissioners who presided over these cases. If they made the decision that someone was an escaped slave they received $10 compensation. If they decided someone was free they received $5 compensation.
    • Texas gets its boarders. $10 million is paid to Texas for a specific piece of land which became part of another state.
    • The slave trade is outlawed in Washington DC. Since it is a dependent district of the federal government and not a state congress can make decisions about slavery there, although they cannot do so for the rest of the U.S. People could have slaves in DC, but slaves could not be purchased/sold there.

9. Dred Scott

  • He was a slave owned by an Army surgeon who lived in Missouri. His owner moved all over the country and took Scott with him on his travels. Some of the territories traveled were free. In 1847, Scott, with the help of anti-slavery advocates, sues claiming that once his owner crossed into free territory Scott should have been freed. The first time he sues he loses. Scott appeals and gets a second trial in St. Louis, Missouri. The courts decide in his favor. His case goes all the way to the Supreme Court and in 1857 there is a 7 to 2 ruling against Scott. Chief Justice Roger Taney stated that congress had no legal right to keep slavery out of the northwest territories. He also said that slaves are property and Scott's case should never have been heard in the lower courts in the first place. This means that Scott is covered under the 5th Amendment (protection of private property) and cannot be unlawfully seized. This was a rare experience because the Supreme Court ruled a decision by Congress to be unconstitutional. This decision also led to the uprising of John Brown in Ferry, VA.

10. Election of 1860

  • One year after John Brown's raid, there was very little middle ground between the North and South. The people in the South were concerned with having a president who was against slavery, a Free Soiler, because this might affect the future slavery. There had never been a Free Soiler in the presidency. The candidates on the ballot: William Sewart (Republican); Shanon Chase (Republican); Douglas Lonce (Northern Democrat); Breckenridge (Southern Democrat); John Bell (Whigs); and Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln did not believe that the country could exist with a divide for/against slavery. In November 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president. He won 180 electoral college votes, 40% of the popular vote, including most of the North. White southerners were terrified of Lincoln's election because they were afraid their slaves would rise up against them. Abolitionists might get literature to slaves. The South feels insulted by the rest of the nation because Lincoln was not a candidate on their ballot. Significance: Showed a divide between the North and South democrats. Parties are now sectional. Significance 2: While Lincoln is president elect the southern states begin to secede from the Union, beginning with South Carolina. The biggest reason is they do not think Lincoln will allow slavery to continue. By April 1861 seven states have left the Union and formed the Confederacy.

11. Emancipation Proclamation

  • In September 1862, President Abraham Lincoln declared that effective January 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederacy would be free. This did NOT include the slaves who were in states that were still part of the Union. They would still remain slaves. The Confederacy did not acknowledge President Lincoln as their president since seceding from the Union. The slaves do hear about this proclamation and they will act. Significance: The focus of the war shifts from bringing the confederacy back into the Union. The focus becomes slavery. Significance 2: The Union begins to accept blacks as members of the army who fight in the war. They will be in their own units, which will be made up of free blacks from the Union and escaped slaves from the Confederacy.

Essay Question 1 Outline

Essay Question 2 Outline