American History Vocab

Unit 1


a single company or group owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product.


an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.


a new method, idea, product, etc.


to organize into a labor union; bring into or incorporate in a labor union.


a policy or attitude of letting things take their own course, without interfering.

Spoil System

is a practice in which a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its supporters, friends and relatives as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party

Merit System

is the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections. It is the opposite of the spoils system.

Vertical Integration

is an arrangement in which the supply chain of a company is owned by that company.

Horizontal Integragation

is the process of a company increasing production of goods or services at the same part of the supply chain.

Bessemer Process

a steel-making process, now largely superseded, in which carbon, silicon, and other impurities are removed from molten pig iron by oxidation in a blast of air in a special tilting retort.


a factory or workshop, especially in the clothing industry, where manual workers are employed at very low wages for long hours and under poor conditions.


is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another.

Gospel of Wealth

is an article written by Andrew Carnegie in June of 1889 that describes the responsibility of philanthropy by the new upper class of self-made rich.

Robber Barons

an unscrupulous plutocrat, especially an American capitalist who acquired a fortune in the late nineteenth century by ruthless means.

Craft Union

a labor union of people of the same skilled craft.

Trade Union

an organized association of workers, often in a trade or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.


a dry, rough protective crust that forms over a cut or wound during healing.


the exclusion of employees by their employer from their place of work until certain terms are agreed to.


  1. a list of people or products viewed with suspicion or disapproval.

Yellow dog contract

a contract between a worker and an employer in which the worker agrees not to remain in or join a union.

National Labor Union

was the first national labor federation in the United States.

Knights of Labor

secure and maintain the rights of workingmen in respect to their relations to their employers.

Haymarket Bombing

On May 4, 1886, a labor protest rally near Chicago's Haymarket Square turned into a riot after someone threw a bomb at police.

Homestead Act

was an industrial lockout and strike which began on June 30, 1892, culminating in a battle between strikers and private security agents on July 6, 1892.

Pullman Strike

was a nationwide railroad strike in the United States.