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Louisiana Purchase and Lewis & Clark Terms

Yeoman's Republic , Yeomen, Yeoman

Thomas Jefferson's idea of an agrarian society, populated entirely by independent small farmers, whose freedom from economic dependency on others would make them ideal democratic citizens.

Age Of Enlightenment, Enlightenment

An eighteenth-century European and American intellectual movement, in which reason, science, and rationality were held to be the cornerstones of society.

Strict Construction, Strict Constructionist

A legal and constitutional doctrine which holds that the Constitution should be read narrowly, that judges should not interpret the Constitution to imply rights or powers not specifically described in the document.


The inland region that supplies products to a particular port.

Plantation, Plantations

Plantations were large farms organized in New World colonies to grow valuable cash crops like sugar, tobacco, cotton, and indigo. Plantation labor was typically provided by indentured European servants or African slaves. The profitability of plantation agriculture was the most important economic force that drove European settlement of America.

Slaveocracy, The Slave Power

Sometimes also called "the slave power," the slaveocracy was the politically powerful class of prominent southern slaveholders in early nineteenth-century America. Antislavery activists criticized the slaveocracy as an antidemocratic force in American life.

Saint-Domingue, Haiti

France's most valuable colony in the late eighteenth century, Saint-Domingue—located on the western half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola—was home to the world's most productive and powerful sugar plantations. A huge slave insurrection on Saint-Domingue in 1791 grew into a full-fledged revolutionary war that lasted more than ten years and ended with the island's ex-slave black population winning independence as the Republic of Haiti.


The Constitution of the United States is, in its own words, the "supreme Law of the Land." That means that no other law can counteract or override the Constitution itself. If Congress passes a law (or the President undertakes an executive action) that runs afoul of the Constitution, the Supreme Court can use its power of judicial review to rule that such a law (or executive action) is unconstitutional and therefore should be overturned.

A legislative act or executive action which violates the terms of the constitution is said to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has the authority to overturn laws or executive orders that it finds to be unconstitutional.

Founding Fathers, Founding Father

The group of American political leaders who led the young nation through the Revolutionary War and developed the United States Constitution. Several of the most prominent Founding Fathers—George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison—went on to become presidents.

Continental Divide

A line running north to south along the summit of the Rocky Mountain chain. Rivers to the west of the Divide flow downhill into the drainage of the Pacific Ocean; rivers to the east flow downhill into the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean.

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