Glossary - The Road to Secession

arsenal – an establishment for the manufacture or storage of military arms (weapons) and/or equipment

artisan – one who practices a trade, such as blacksmithing or cabinetmaking; a craftsperson

cash crop – a crop grown for sale and profit such as cotton and tobacco

cataclysmic – describes an event that brings about great change and upheaval

chattel – an item of property not real estate, that is, not buildings or land

common whites – white social class made up of small farmers, skilled workers and artisans

Confederate States of America – the name of the government formed by the southern states that seceded from the Union in 1860-1861.

Democrats - members of the Democratic Party which dominated national politics until the Civil War. This party supported states’ rights and popular sovereignty in determination of expansion of slavery.

Dred Scott v. Sanford – Supreme Court case in 1857 that protected southern rights to own slaves and denied citizenship rights to slaves. Dred Scott was a slave that sued for his freedom based on the fact that his owner had moved him and his family into free territories where slavery was prohibited.

due process of law – following legal proceedings in accordance with established rules and principals; protection of legal rights

emancipation – the act or process of freeing from restraint, control or the power of another; to free from bondage; manumission

enslaved person – a person who is subjugated to another; a person held in servitude as chattel to another

Fort Sumter – a federal fort located in Charleston harbor where the first shots of the Civil War occurred.

free states – states in which slavery was prohibited

gentry – the upper or ruling class of a society, usually of great wealth or aristocratic birth

hierarchy – a classification of a group of people based on economic, social and/or professional standing

imperialism – the policy of a government to extend its authority, power and/or influence over another territory through direct (physical acquisition) or indirect (economic or political pressure) means

insurrection – rebellion, uprising; an act or instance of revolting against civil authority, an established government or those in control.

internal improvements – improvements in transportation, like better roads and bridges, improved navigation of waterways, and eventually construction of railroads.

investment – an outlay of money for income or profit

manumission – the act or process of setting a person free from slavery; emancipation

martyr – a person who sacrifices their life for a cause or principle they believe in

middle class – a class of people who have attained a high standard of living but are not considered as wealthy or quite as influential as the upper class

Missouri Compromise – compromise passed by Congress in 1820 which allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, Maine to enter as a free state and prohibited the expansion of slavery in any territory (other than Missouri) north of the 36˚30’ parallel.

Nat Turner Rebellion - slave uprising in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831 led by a slave preacher named Nat Turner. Accounts vary as to the number of fatalities ranging from 55 to 60 white men, women and children killed by the mob. Authorities regained control and subsequently captured Turner and other leaders, 16 of whom were tried, convicted and executed along with Turner.

plantation – a large farm or estate whose lands are usually cultivated by a resident labor force

planter class – a class of people in the 19th century that were defined by the owning and operation of plantations; to be considered members of this class, individuals had to own a certain amount of land and at least 20 slaves.

poor whites - white social class made up of landless farmers and unskilled workers

popular sovereignty - the right of the people living in a newly organized territory to decide by vote on an issue, such as whether or not slavery would be permitted there

Republican Party – a political party formed nationally in 1854 mainly as a party to opposed slavery; formed in North Carolina in 1867.

Rip Van Winkle – a character in a short story by Washington Irving who takes a nap that lasts 20 years, thus missing the entire American Revolution. In the early antebellum period, North Carolina was compared to Rip Van Winkle because its lack of progress in economic, political and social areas made it seem "asleep" as compared to other states.

"sold South" - the process of selling slaves to a larger plantation in one of the states in the lower South.

staple crop – a crop grown primarily for necessary consumption such as wheat or corn

suffrage – the right to vote

Three-Fifths Compromise - a compromise between southern and northern states reached during the Constitutional Convention in 1787 which allowed three-fifths of the population of slaves to be counted for purposes of taxation and for determining the number of representatives per state to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Union – the northern states that fought to restore the country to its former status after the Confederate states seceded; those states that remained loyal to the federal government at the time of the war.

Unionists – those individuals before and during the Civil War that opposed secession and wanted North Carolina to remain in the Union

universal white manhood suffrage – the right of all adult white males to vote regardless of property or wealth

"Watch and Wait" policy – policy established by North Carolina’s Unionist (conservative) leaders to see what effect Lincoln’s election would have on the state and the sectional crisis of the time.

Whigs – members of the Whig Party. This party was formed in opposition to Pres. Andrew Jackson in 1833 and it promoted internal improvements, a national bank, and a tariff on foreign goods. The party eventually died when it split over the issue of the expansion of slavery into new territories.

Wilmot Proviso – a rider introduced to a $2 million Mexican War funding bill in 1846 by David Wilmot of Pennsylvania which prohibited slavery in any of the territory acquired as a result of the war with Mexico. The proviso did not pass.

Yeoman farmer/skilled labor class - class composed of small farmers and men who worked in an occupation requiring mechanical or manual skills.


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