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18.credit mobilier:  a company created to build the union pacific railroad that then overcharged the union pacific (which also owned credit mobilier), which passed the costs on to the us government, making profits for the owners and for congressmen who were bribed.  it came to light during the grant administration, and was another of many scandals that hurt his reputation.

19.whiskey ring:  scandal during the grant administration during which politicians stole whiskey excise tax money.

20.tammany hall:  democratic political machine that controlled new york city and much of the state from the late 18th century through the mid-20th century.

21.civil service reform:  the idea that government jobs should be awarded based upon merit rather than the spoils system (rewards for political work).  this idea began to be put into force after the assassination of president garfield by a disappointed office-seeker.  it was the cause of a major split in the republican party between the reforming half-breeds (later mugwumps, later progressives) and the conservative stalwarts.

22.granger laws:  laws passed by politicians supported by farmers' groups the grangers.  most of them were attempts to regulate the railroads.

23.interstate commerce act (1887):  created the interstate commerce commission to regulate transportation.  it was weak at first, but later was able to regulate the railroads (and later other forms of transportation) effectively.

24.frederick jackson turner's frontier thesis:  according to turner, in america, the frontier was where democracy was created, and where it was born anew every time the frontier advanced.  as the edge of settlement moved westward, people were obliged to start anew, but without the trappings and conveniences of the settled world, they had to work side by side and discovered equality.  these newly democratised men, in turn, came back to the old seats of power and renewed and invigorated them with democratic ideals all over again.  furthermore, the frontier was also a safety valve.  when cities became too crowded or when some people did not fit into civilised society, they could always head west.

25.social darwinism:  the application of darwin's theories of the survival of the fittest to society, suggesting that poor and downtrodden people or races were naturally so because they were not fit to prosper, whereas it was natural that the rich and powerful be so.  furthermore, it was pointless to try to change the social order, because it was as nature made it.

26.the monroe doctrine:  america's promise (since 1824) to protect independent countries in the western hemisphere from european domination.

27.the spanish-american war (1898):  yellow journalists (sensationalist newspaper publishers) encouraged a war with spain to protect the peoples of spain's colonies, expand american trade (by providing coaling stations, opening markets, and protecting american businesses in spain's colonies), gain territory (puerto rico, the philippines, guam, and guantanamo bay), get revenge for the (probably accidental) sinking of uss maine, spread anglo-saxon culture, and sell newspapers.  this set a precedent for us military occupation of foreign--mainly caribbean--countries when it was expedient.

28.the panama canal:  canal built through panama to promote (mostly american) trade after the us helped panama gain its independence from colombia.

29.meat inspection act (1906) and pure food and drug act (1906): regulated the medical and meat-packing industries after the publication of upton sinclair's the jungle.

30.initiative:  progressive idea of the people proposing a law.

31.referendum:  progressive idea of the people voting on laws.

32.recall:  progressive idea of the people voting to remove an elected official from office.

33.muckrakers:  writers who tried to expose problems of their time (early 20th century).

34.prohibition:  outlawing alcohol.  became law nationwide with the ratification of the xviii amendment in 1919.

35.the 'perfect 36:'  term used to honour tennessee's role as the 36th state (the last one needed) to ratify the xix amendment, granting women the right to vote.

36.anne dallas dudley:  tennessean who was very active in both the national and state campaigns to get women the right to vote.

37.harry burn:  republican state representative from mcminn county who cast the deciding vote allowing tennessee to ratify the xix amendment.

this page last updated 7 december, 2011.
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