Glossary of Terms from Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Abolitionists: Men and women who campaigned for a complete end to slavery, led most notably in England by William Wilberforce in the 1770’s and in the United States by William Lloyd Garrison in the 1830’s.

Aborigines: People native to a region; in the nineteenth century, most often used to designate the native inhabitants of Australia.

Aesthetic movement: A literary and artistic movement of nineteenth century England based upon the principle of “art for art’s sake,” suggesting that the arts or a work of art need not support a larger social or moral purpose. See also Decadent movement.

Afrikaners: A distinct ethnic group inhabiting modern South Africa and Namibia, descended mainly from seventeenth century Dutch Calvinists but augmented by French Huguenots and German, Scandinavian, and English Protestants. See also Boers.

Agnosticism: The philosophical view that it is impossible to know whether or not God exists.

Agricultural Revolution: The application of new farming and animal husbandry techniques that allowed greater agricultural productivity in the eighteenth century, thus enabling more workers to move into industrial jobs. As the nineteenth century progressed, agricultural development continued, aided by the development of chemical fertilizers and the invention of mechanized farm implements.

Amir: See Emir.

Anarchism: An antiauthoritarian political ideology that argues against coercive social institutions, favoring voluntary association of citizens.

Anglican: Of or belonging to the Protestant Church of England.

Annexation: The legal incorporation of a smaller, weaker territory into a larger state or empire; in the case of imperial annexations of the nineteenth century, it implies coercion or cooperation with one indigenous group against another. See also Imperialism, Protectorate.

Anti-Semitism: Hostility toward Jews on the basis of their religion and/or ethnicity; anti-Jewish legal disabilities and prejudice were widespread throughout Europe during the nineteenth century and led to overt persecution in Russia.

Antiseptic: A substance that prevents the reproduction of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms, and thus aids in avoiding infection; became widely used in surgery from the 1860’s.

Antitrust laws: Laws designed to prohibit anticompetitive behavior in the economy; the term was used most frequently in the United States.

Archaeology: The study of the material artifacts left by a culture, including tools, buildings, daily objects, and written inscriptions.

Aristocracy: A class of hereditary nobility in Europe, established by royal grants of titles and lands. In the Middle Ages grants were made for military service; by the nineteenth century they were made for a wide range of services to a monarch. See also Gentry.

Arts and Crafts movement: An English aesthetic movement emphasizing the simplicity and virtue of crafts produced by hand, as opposed those produced by machines; spawned around 1880, it gained adherents in most European countries throughout the final two decades of the nineteenth century.

Atheism: The belief that there is no God or supernatural being.

Bābism: A religious reform movement that originated in Persia (Iran) in the mid-nineteenth century and eventually led to the development of the Baha’i religion.

Balkans: The large triangular peninsula of southeastern Europe bordered on the west by the Adriatic Sea, on the east by the Black Sea, and on the south by the Mediterranean Sea; controlled by the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century, most of the nationalities of the peninsula became independent between 1820 and 1900.

Baptists: One of the most rapidly growing Christian denominations of nineteenth century England and the United States, emphasizing congregational autonomy, separation of church and state, and the responsibility of each individual directly to God.

Bimetallism: An economic system in which the standard of currency can be fixed in either gold or silver; became the focus of controversies during the 1890’s, particularly in the United States and India.

Black codes: State and local laws passed mainly in the southern United States to restrict the freedom of former slaves. See also Jim Crow laws.

Boers: The descendants of seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch settlers in southern Africa; in the nineteenth century the term was specifically used to designate citizens of the Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. See also Afrikaners.

Bonapartists: In France, supporters of the family line of Napoleon Bonaparte as legitimate rulers of the country; they clashed with others who believed that the Bourbon family represented the legitimate royal line and with those who favored a republican form of government; Napoleon III (r. 1852-1870) was the only member of the Bonaparte family to succeed his uncle on the throne.

Bosporus: The narrow waterway connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. See also Dardanelles, Straits.

Bourbon Dynasty: The hereditary ruling family of all or parts of France from 1555 to 1792, when Louis XVI was executed during the French Revolution; throughout the nineteenth century, Monarchists supported the restoration of the Bourbon Dynasty in opposition to Bonapartists and Republicans, though only Louis XVIII (r. 1814-1824) and Charles X (r. 1824-1830) were ever raised to the throne.

Bowdlerize: To remove morally objectionable content in literature in order to make suitable for family reading; named after Thomas Bowdler, who in 1818 published The Family Shakespeare.

Boxers: Chinese members of the Righteous Harmony Society who led an unsuccessful rebellion against Western influence and extraterritoriality in China (1900).

Boyar: A Russian noble that is, a member of the landed military aristocracy ranking just below a ruling prince.

Boycott: A collective agreement to refrain from doing business with a person or firm in order to bring about social or political change; named after Captain Charles Boycott, who evicted Irish tenants and as a result was socially ostracized in 1880.

Broad constructionist: A person who accepts the doctrine of implied powers in the Constitution.

Bull: A formal papal letter or document issuing an authoritative statement or policy. Named after the pope’s lead seal, or bulla.

Bushido: The code of conduct of the samurai (Japanese warrior class), stressing martial prowess, discipline, bravery, and unwavering loyalty to one’s lord. See also Samurai, Shogun.

Cabinet: The body of secretaries or ministers appointed by a president or prime minister to head executive departments and formulate government policy.

Caliph: An Islamic ruler claiming both spiritual and secular authority as the successor of the Prophet Muḥammad. See also Imam, Islam, Sharif.

Calvinism: The theology based on the teachings of John Calvin in the sixteenth century, which places supreme faith in God and asserts human fallibility and predestination. See also Catholicism, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Canon law: The system of governing the Roman Catholic Church, its bishops, clerics, and laypersons. See also Catholicism, Clerics or clergy.

Capitalism: An economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and in which the production, value, and distribution of goods and services are regulated by supply and demand.

Carbonari: Secret revolutionary societies that promoted Italian independence during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Cardinal: A high official in the Roman Catholic Church, second only to the pope in authority. Cardinals are appointed by the pope, and the College of Cardinals is the body that elects a new pope.

Carpetbaggers: Northerners who traveled to the South after the U.S. Civil War to take advantage of business and political opportunities afforded during the period of Reconstruction. See also Reconstruction.

Caste system: In India, a system of rigid social hierarchy, rooted in Hindu teachings, in which each person is born into a specific social rank.

Categorical imperative: The internal sense of moral duty that all people possess, according to the philosophical doctrines of German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Cathedral or cathedral church: The central church in a diocese, the seat of a bishop’s cathedra, or throne.

Catholicism: From the Greek catholicos, meaning “universal,” Catholicism is a branch of Christianity organized in a strict hierarchy and subscribing to a complex body of religious dogma, including belief in transubstantiation, in papal infallibility, and in justification by faith in combination with good works. The two Catholic Churches are the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. See also Calvinism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Islam, Judaism, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Caudillo: An authoritarian politico-military leader who gains the support of the common people through populist programs of reform, relying on an attending cult of personality; most commonly applied in Latin American countries.

Cell theory: Developed in the 1830’s by German physiologist Theodor Schwann, who argued that cells are the basic unit of structure in all living things.

Centennial: A one-hundred-year anniversary.

Chartists: In Great Britain, supporters during the 1830’s and 1840’s of the People’s Charter, which called for greater public access to the political structure, including universal male suffrage, the secret ballot, and pay for members of Parliament.

Cholera: A bacterial, water-borne disease that killed millions of people in all parts of the world during the nineteenth century.

Christianity: The religion derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ and from the words of the Bible, including the New Testament, which is considered sacred scripture. Christianity is practiced by Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox bodies. See also Anglican, Baptists, Catholicism, Congregational, Congregationalists, Eastern Orthodox Church, Evangelicalism, Islam, Judaism, Protestantism, Presbyterian, Second Great Awakening, Unitarianism.

Civil rights: Protections and privileges granted to citizens by law.

Civil war: War between two factions within the same country; in the United States, used to designate the rebellion of the slaveholding Southern states (Confederacy) against the federal government between 1861 and 1865. See also Confederacy.

Classical economics: The theory that economies operate according to natural, self-regulating laws such as supply and demand, and that government intervention should be strictly minimized.

Clerics or clergy: A general term for all members of the Church, including abbots, monks, priests, friars, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and others.

Colonialism: The control and subjugation by one power, such as a country or empire, over an area made up of those who become dependent upon that power. See also Annexation, Colony, Governor, Imperialism.

Colony: A territory taken, usually by force, and occupied by peoples of a different, usually distant nation in the nineteenth century, mostly countries of Western Europe. See also Colonialism, Governor.

Commerce: The exchange and buying and selling of commodities, usually on a large scale and between multiple locations. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed a rapid increase in commerce because of rising trade between countries and regions of the world, mostly by sea. See also Colonialism, Commodity, Consumption.

Commodity: Any good that circulates as an article of exchange in a money economy. See also Commerce, Consumption.

Commoner: One who is not a member of the clergy or of a noble or a royal family. See also Peasant, Serf.

Confederacy: A confederation or alliance of groups or countries; when capitalized, this term generally refers to the Confederate States of America, which sought independence from the United States of America between 1860 and 1865. See also Civil war.

Congregational: Of or relating to the Protestant churches that developed in seventeenth century England, which affirmed the critical importance and autonomy of local congregations. Final authority in church matters rested with each congregation. “Congregationalism” is the practice of those who believe in Congregational administration and worship. See also Episcopacy, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Congregationalists: Christian denomination descended from the Puritans, emphasizing the governing authority of each congregation; during the nineteenth century, various congregations evolved in a variety of generally liberal ways.

Congress system: Diplomatic system established by Great Britain, Prussia, Austria, and Russia in Vienna following the defeat of France in 1814-1815, relying upon consultation among the great powers regarding any territorial changes and emphasizing balance of power and the rule of legitimate dynastic families; France was readmitted to the status of power in 1818.

Conservatism: The nineteenth century political ideology based upon the ideas of English philosopher Edmund Burke, who argued that all historical situations are unique and should be evaluated accordingly and that change should be incremental and rooted in accepted norms and practices.

Consort: A spouse; when used in conjunction with a royal title, “consort” becomes the title of a royal spouse: queen consort, prince consort, and so forth.

Constitution: Generally, a written exposition of governing structures, principles, and protections, and one of the chief hallmarks of nineteenth century political liberalism; the British constitution, however, was not written, being the collective laws, practices, and customs related to governance.

Constitutional monarchy: See Limited (constitutional) monarchy.

Consulate: In France, a form of government replacing the Directory, which lasted until 1804. Napoleon was invited to join the Third Consul but soon became First Consul.

Consumption: The process of satisfying wants and desires through purchasing and using goods and services. The use of these goods results in their transformation, deterioration, or destruction, which ensures that individuals will continue to purchase new goods, thereby maintaining an economy. See also Commerce, Commodity.

Continental Divide: The geologically elevated line dividing the primary watersheds of North America; although there are several continental divides, this Great Divide runs from Alaska in the north to Central America, roughly along the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre Oriental, separating the waters that eventually drain into either the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean.

Corn Laws: Import tariffs imposed in 1815 in order to maintain the high wheat prices that had evolved out of the period of Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815); while the tariffs protected British farmers, they also raised the price of bread and eventually led to a split in the Tory Party during the 1840’s.

Cossack: The term “cossack” comes from the Turkic for “free warriors.” The Cossacks, frontier warriors in southern Russia, lived as free persons. Slaves and peasants fleeing serfdom often would join them. See also Hetman, Peasant, Serf.

Costumbrismo movement: A literary and artistic movement emphasizing daily life, manners, and customs; originating in Spain, it spread throughout the Latin American world during the nineteenth century.

Cotton gin (engine): A mechanical device built to separate cotton fibers from the hull, thus speeding the processing of raw cotton; developed in 1792 by Eli Whitney, it was continually improved throughout the nineteenth century.

Count: From the Latin comes (companion) and the Middle French comte, the French or continental equivalent of an earl. The office became a noble title, ranked below duke.

Coup d’état: The armed overthrow of a government by its own army.

Creed: A formal statement of belief, often religious or theological.

Creole: A person of Spanish descent born in the New World. See also Indigenous, Mestizo.

Crimea: The large peninsula extending into the northern Black Sea; during the nineteenth century, part of Russia and site of the majority of fighting during the Crimean War (1853-1856); now part of the modern state of Ukraine.

Crown: Referring to the sovereign authority of a king, queen, czar, emperor, or empress. See also Czar.

Czar: A Russian or other Slavic emperor. The word “czar” is derived from the Roman title “caesar” and suggests a ruler of equal stature to the emperors of imperial Rome.

Daguerreotype: An early type of photograph developed by Frenchman J. M. Daguerre during the 1830’s.

Daimyo: Great territorial lords in Japan. See also Samurai, Shogun.

Dardanelles: The narrow waterway connecting the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. See also Bosporus, Straits.

Darwinism: See Evolution, Social Darwinism.

Decadent movement: A literary and artistic movement of Central and Western Europe, emphasizing artistic artifice and the inherently diseased or decaying condition of life; during the late nineteenth century, the Decadents provided stinging critiques of hierarchical and bourgeois society, especially in England, France, and Germany. See also Aesthetic movement.

Deccan: The region of India between the Narmada and Krishna Rivers.

Devshirme: A levy of Christian boys, enslaved for training and recruitment to serve in various parts of the administration of the Ottoman Empire. The recruits formed the Janissary corps and also served in the sultan’s household. See also Janissaries, Sultan.

Diaspora: The collective worldwide population of a particular ethnic or cultural group after their displacement from their homeland after war or other means of oppression. See also Immigration.

Diesel engines: A type of internal combustion engine developed during the 1890’s by German engineer Rudolf Diesel. See also Internal combustion engine.

Diocese: The basic administrative and territorial unit of the Catholic Church. Each diocese is governed by a bishop. See also Cathedral, Catholicism.

Diphtheria: A highly contagious bacterial respiratory disease prevalent during the nineteenth century.

Direct representation: The selection of representatives to an assembly by citizens who vote directly for the delegates who will represent them.

Dissenters: Members of non-Anglican Protestant denominations in England, formally prohibited from serving in Parliament or taking degrees at Oxford and Cambridge, though compromises were reached throughout the century.

Divine right: The concept that God bestowed upon kings the right to rule.

Dogma: The body of beliefs and doctrines formally held and sanctioned by a church.

Domestic system of textile production: An economic system in which agents distribute wool, yarn, or other products used to manufacture textiles to laborers working in their homes; the laborers then spin yarn or weave cloth in anticipation of the return of the agent who will transport the finished product. See also Putting-out system.

Dominion: A self-governing, white settlement colony within the British empire that recognizes the authority of the British monarch.

Duke, duchess: From Roman dux, a governor, especially of a military jurisdiction; later, a member of the nobility who was lord over several counties (headed by “counts”), who could pass the title duke or duchess to offspring. See also Count.

Dynamite: An explosive utilizing nitroglycerin, developed by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel in the 1860’s.

Dynastic state: A state organized under the rule of a royal family perceived to have legitimate rule over a particular territory at odds with the organizing principle of nationalism that gained strength throughout the nineteenth century.

Dynasty: A line of rulers who succeed one another based on their familial relationships. See also Colonialism, Colony, Dynastic state, Empire.

Eastern Orthodox Church: A group of self-governing national churches in Eastern Europe and the Balkan Peninsula that split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1054. While the patriarch, or leader, of each branch of Orthodoxy is ranked hierarchically in relation to the others, each branch is essentially self-governing, and the relationship among the various branches is that of a loose federation. See also Catholicism, Christianity.

Ecclesiastical: Of or relating to a church.

Edict: An order, command, or proclamation with legal authority.

Emancipation: The process of freeing or of becoming free or equal; for the nineteenth century it most often refers to the freeing of slaves in the West, the ending of serfdom in Russia, and gaining of legal equality by Catholics in Great Britain.

Emigration: The leaving or moving out of people from a region or country to settle permanently elsewhere. See also Immigration.

Emir: A general title given to Islamic military commanders, rulers, and governors.

Empire: A large realm, ruled by an emperor or empress, which consists of previously distinct political units joined together under a ruler’s central authority. See also Colonialism, Colony, Dynasty.

Empresario: An agent who received a land grant from the Spanish or Mexican government in return for settling subjects there.

Enclosure: The consolidation of common lands by British landlords to make agriculture work more efficiently; it usually required an act of Parliament.

Enlightened despotism: Rule by absolute monarchs who embraced reason and progressive reforms as means of improving their societies but who refused to accept the enlightened doctrine that sovereignty resides in the people; during the nineteenth century, this concept increasingly came under attack from proponents of liberalism. See also Divine right, Enlightenment.

Enlightenment: A European worldview progressively developed during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that rejected divine revelation and a fixed religious and social order in favor of reason, the social contract theory of government, and the desirability and potential of human progress.

Entrepreneur: One who takes risks in business with the hope of making a profit. See also Laissez-faire.

Episcopacy: A system of church governance in which the bishops hold all authority. See also Congregational, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Era of Good Feelings: In the United States, the period between 1815 and 1824, marked by the absence of serious political party divisions and a focus on nationalism and economic development.

Established church: Any church given special legal protections by a government and supported in part by public taxes.

Eugenics: A social philosophy advocating various forms of intervention (selective breeding, sterilization, gene therapy) to produce healthier human traits; during the nineteenth century this philosophy formed a pseudo-scientific basis for racism and other types of discrimination.

Evangelicalism: A conservative movement within Christianity that emphasizes personal salvation through belief in the atoning work of Jesus Christ and a commitment to sharing that message with others who are unredeemed.

Evolution: The scientific theory that all life rose from a single source, developing separate species across long periods of time according to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection: the tendency for organisms with the most adaptable traits to survive, reproduce, and pass those traits to offspring. See also Social Darwinism.

Exclusion: The process or state of omitting or not allowing entrance. Prior to 1882, the United States had an open immigration policy, but in that year passed the first measure the Chinese Exclusion Act to prohibit a specific ethnic group from entering the country.

Exposition: See World’s fair.

Fabians: British socialists who pursued education of the electorate to effect socialist changes, rejecting violence and revolution.

Famine: The absence of adequate food resources, leading to widespread starvation, disease, and death; famines killed tens of millions of people in China and India during the nineteenth century, while the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1849 led to a million deaths in Ireland and mass migration to England, Canada, and the United States. See also Potato blight.

Fatwa: A legal opinion or ruling issued by an Islamic legal scholar, or mufti. See also Imam, Mufti.

Free-Soil Party: Comprising largely antislavery U.S. Democrats after failure of the Wilmot Proviso in 1846, this group merged with the Republican Party during the mid-1850’s.

Free trade: The unrestricted exchange of goods with few or no tariffs. See also Commerce, Commodity.

Freedmen: Former slaves freed during the U.S. Civil War and protected by Reconstruction-era civil rights legislation. See also Civil rights, Civil war, Reconstruction.

Fugitive slave laws: Laws passed by the U.S. Congress before the Civil War to provide for the return of escaped slaves; a particularly stringent fugitive slave law was passed as part of the Compromise of 1850, establishing commissioners with special jurisdiction and imposing fines on those who refused to comply with the law.

Gatling gun: The first machine gun significantly used in war, introduced in the U.S. Civil War; it required hand cranking but loaded automatically and could fire at a rate of more than one thousand rounds per minute. See also Machine gun, Maxim gun.

Genetics: The study of genes and their role in hereditary variation; in 1865, the monk Gregor Mendel published the results of his study of flower color in pea plants, which led in 1900 to the beginnings of modern genetics when researchers rediscovered and followed up on his work.

Genocide: The attempt to destroy an entire ethnic or racial group.

Gentry: Landholding families ranked just below the aristocracy in terms of social status. See also Aristocracy, Noble.

Germ theory: The once controversial theory that microorganisms cause disease, supported in the nineteenth century by the work of Louis Pasteur, John Snow, and others.

German Confederation: A decentralized collection of thirty-nine German states established in 1806 from the remnants of the Holy Roman Empire. Until 1866 Austria and Prussia vied for control of the German Confederation, with Prussia gaining supremacy by its victory that year in the Austro-Prussian War.

Gold Coast: Coastal area of West Africa, corresponding roughly with the coast of modern-day Ghana. See also Ivory Coast, Transatlantic slave trade.

Gold rushes: Sudden influxes of miners and service providers to areas where large deposits of gold were discovered; significant gold rushes occurred in California (1848-1849), Australia (1851), South Africa (1886), and the Canadian Klondike (1897-1899).

Gothic: A style of European architecture between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, especially, characterized by ornateness, strong vertical lines, and pointed arches. The Gothic style strongly influenced artists and architects in the nineteenth century.

Governor: The proxy representative of an emperor or central government who rules over a colony or an imperial territory. See also Colonialism, Colony, Empire.

Grand duke: The ruler of a sovereign territory called a grand duchy.

Grand prince: The ruler of a Russian city-state. See also Czar.

Gujarat: A region of western India.

Habsburg Dynasty: The hereditary ruling family of the Austrian Empire between 1278 and 1918, and usually also of the Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806; their rule was lost as a result of defeat in World War I.

Hadith: A tradition or commentary related to the life or teachings of Muḥammad, used with varying degrees of authority as guides to the application of teachings found in the Qu՚rān. See also Islam.

Hanoverian Dynasty: The hereditary ruling family of the British Empire between 1714 and 1901; Queen Victoria (r. 1837-1901) was the last of the British Hanoverian monarchs.

Hegelianism: The philosophical system of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, supporting the concept that all aspects of reality can be expressed in rational terms; important in the development of Marxist philosophy. See also Marxism.

Hetman: A Cossack leader. See also Cossack.

Hinduism: The collective term used by Europeans to denote the variety of Indian beliefs and ritual practices.

Hohenzollerns: The hereditary ruling family of Brandenburg-Prussia (1415-1918) and the German Empire (1871-1918); their rule was lost as a result of defeat in World War I.

Holy Roman Empire: A loosely organized state established during the ninth century, incorporating most of the German and northern Italian states and dominated by Austria (Habsburg Dynasty). During the Napoleonic Wars, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished (1806), and its more than three hundred principalities were consolidated into thirty-nine larger states, banded together in the decentralized German Confederation.

Home rule: Control of most or all domestic political matters by a dependency; in the nineteenth century, the British government granted home rule or responsible self-government, as it was sometimes called to most white settlement colonies, but failed to pass a similar measure for Ireland. See also Imperialism, Responsible government.

Homesteading: Settlement of an undeveloped piece of land, usually with the expectation of gaining free or inexpensive land; in the nineteenth century many nations used homestead laws to encourage agriculturalists to settle in remote or undeveloped regions.

House: A royal or noble family. See also Aristocracy, Dynasty, Empire.

House of Commons: The lower house of the British parliament, comprising representatives elected by the most wealthy citizens in the country. See also Aristocracy, House of Lords, Parliament.

House of Lords: The upper house of the British parliament, comprising “peers” representing the aristocratic families of the land. See also Aristocracy, House of Commons, Parliament.

Idealism: A philosophical approach that suggests that reality is primarily found in the mind, rather than in physical circumstances.

Imam: An Islamic religious and political leader. Also, an Islamic ruler in East Africa. In the Shīՙite tradition, the imam is a perfect guide for the people and can be appointed only by Allah. See also Caliph, Fatwa, Sultan, Ulama.

Immigration: The voluntary influx of people into a country not of their birth or citizenship, usually for the purpose of gaining economic opportunities or personal freedoms. See also Diaspora, Emigration.

Imperialism: Imposed rule over a people or country not in the ruling nation’s jurisdiction. European nations, the United States, and Japan became increasingly imperialistic after 1880. See also Annexation, Colonialism.

Impressionism: A late nineteenth century style of painting characterized by extensive use of light, treatment of ordinary themes, and use of visible brushstrokes. See also Post-Impressionism.

Indigenous: A person or thing native to a particular region. “Indigenous” has replaced the terms “Indian” or “American Indian” in many contexts that refer to the early peoples of the Americas. See also Creole, Mestizo.

Industrial Revolution: The mechanization of Western economies that began with textile production in Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century and continued throughout the nineteenth century. See also Agricultural Revolution.

Influenza: One of a group of infectious viral diseases that spread rapidly, causing regional and global epidemics that during the nineteenth century killed millions of people.

Internal combustion engine: An engine that burns (usually fossil) fuel in a confined space to produce energy. See also Diesel engine, Steam engine.

Invisible hand: A term used by Adam Smith to illustrate the natural law of supply and demand, which works to allocate resources in a given market; understood in the nineteenth century as the basis for free trade policies.

Irredenta: An area outside a state’s borders, claimed on the basis of common ethnicity with the population; irredentist areas become points of international contention in periods of heightened nationalism.

Islam: The religion founded by the Prophet Muḥammad, which, after his death in 632, began to spread throughout the world and contribute to intellectual advancement and the blending of the arts. A person who practices Islam is a Muslim. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Jihad, Judaism, Muslim, Protestantism.

Ivory Coast: The coastal area of West Africa corresponding roughly with the coast of the modern-day republic of Côte d’Ivoire. See also Gold Coast, Transatlantic slave trade.

Janissaries: From the Turkish for “new corps” or “new soldier,” an elite corps of non-Muslim children, usually Christians from the Balkans, recruited as slaves of the sultan in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Janissaries played a key role in the rise of the Ottoman Empire, with some holding high governmental positions. The corps eventually declined in significance beginning in the early eighteenth century. See also Devshirme.

Jihad: A holy “war” waged by Muslims against those who do not follow Islam, considered by many Muslims a duty imposed by holy law. See also Fatwa, Islam.

Jim Crow laws: State and local laws enacted in the American South after Reconstruction to limit the civil rights of freed slaves. See also Civil rights, Reconstruction.

Judaism: The religion characterized by belief in one transcendent God who has revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets. Judaism is practiced in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Eastern Orthodox Church, Islam, Protestantism.

Judicial review: An implied constitutional power by which federal (U.S.) courts review and determine the constitutionality of acts passed by Congress and state legislatures. See also Separation of powers.

Kabuki: A popular Japanese drama developed in the seventeenth century by Izumo no Okuni, which combines song, dance, and other varieties of performance. Elaborate, detailed, and ornately costumed and designed, Kabuki plays are based not only on legends and myths but also on historical subjects.

Kinetoscope: An early version of the motion-picture projector. See also Vitascope.

King: A male monarch who ruled a large region and under whom ruled subordinate lords. A king’s title was usually hereditary and most often for life. See also Czar, Dynasty, Empire, Queen, Sultan.

Knights of Labor: One of the earliest successful labor unions in the United States, founded in 1869 and characterized by open membership not restricted by skill level, trade, gender, or race. See also Labor union, Trade(s) union.

Know-Nothings: A secretive U.S. political movement of the 1850’s, organized in response to massive immigration, and particularly to the role of Irish immigrants in the Democratic Party; its antislavery elements generally merged with the Republican Party from 1856.

Ku Klux Klan: White supremacist organization founded by former Confederates in 1866 to oppose the civil rights measures afforded to freed slaves during Reconstruction. See also Civil rights, Confederacy, Reconstruction.

Kulturkampf: The “culture struggle” waged by Otto von Bismarck to strengthen the power of the new unified German state at the expense of the Roman Catholic Church; most prominent between 1871 and 1878.

Labor union: A voluntary association of laborers, organized for the purpose of enhancing work conditions or benefits by collective action. See also Knights of Labor, Strike, Trade(s) union.

Laissez-faire: French phrase meaning “allow to do.” In economics the doctrine of minimal government interference in the working of an economy. See also Commerce, Entrepreneur.

Lamarckianism: A theory based on the work of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) suggesting that individual organisms (plants and animals, including humans) could pass acquired traits to offspring through inheritance; the theory was debunked and superseded by the work of Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel, and later geneticists. See also Evolution, Genetics.

Land-grant colleges: Colleges and universities in the United States funded by grants of federal lands to the states, initially by the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862; designed to provide education in agriculture, mechanics, military, and other “practical” arts.

Liberalism: A dominant political ideology of the nineteenth century, founded upon individualism and free trade, favoring representative government, rule of law, and written constitutions.

Limited (constitutional) monarchy: A system of government in which the powers of the monarch are subject to legislation passed by representative assemblies. See also House of Commons, House of Lords, Parliament, Separation of powers.

Low Countries: Informally used in the nineteenth century to refer to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, though historically covering the broad, low-lying regions near the coastal areas of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse Rivers.

Luddites: English opponents of the free market economy and the growing influence of machinery, known for destroying textile machinery between 1811 and 1813.

Machine gun: A firearm with fully or partially automatic features; the manually cranked Gatling gun was introduced as an important weapon during the U.S. Civil War. See also Civil war, Gatling gun, Maxim gun.

Mahdi: The prophesied redeemer of Islam; more specifically, the title taken by Muhammad Ahmad in the Sudan during the 1880’s and 1890’s.

Mail-order trade: The buying and selling of goods by mail; although practiced to a small degree in the eighteenth century, the mail-order trade did not become widespread until after the mid-nineteenth century, when communication and transportation technologies enhanced profitability.

Malaria: A debilitating, infectious disease occurring mainly in tropical regions; it proved to be a temporary barrier to European imperial expansion during the nineteenth century.

Mamlūks: Originally non-Muslim slaves who were converted and specially trained to serve the Ottoman sultan; they formed an elite military caste that challenged Ottoman and Egyptian rule in the nineteenth century.

Manifest destiny: The belief, commonly held in the United States during the expansionistic 1830’s and 1840’s, that God or fate had predetermined America’s greatness and thus established a basis for expansion into Mexican, Native American, and other territories.

Maoris: The indigenous peoples of New Zealand, descended from Polynesian settlers.

Maroon: A runaway or rebellious slave. More specifically, a member of a community of runaway slaves in the West Indies and South America.

Marxism: A political ideology founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 1840’s, based upon concepts of class struggle, material reality, and ultimate worldwide revolution of the proletariat (workers) against the owners and managers of capital; the foundation of modern socialist and communist political movements. See also Socialism, Utopian socialism.

Maxim gun: The first fully automatic machine gun, introduced by Britain during the 1880’s. See also Gatling gun, Machine gun.

Mecca: An Arabian city and spiritual capital of the Islamic world; the Qu՚rān requires that all Muslims who have sufficient wealth make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca.

Meiji Restoration: The 1868 restoration of the authority of the emperor in Japan after 265 years of rule by the Tokugawa shoguns; more generally indicates the beginning of economic and social modernization in Japan. See also Tokugawas.

Mennonites: A communitarian Protestant sect committed to nonviolence and pacifism; thousands of Mennonites immigrated to the United States and Canada from various parts of Europe during the nineteenth century, primarily in search of religious tolerance.

Mestizo: In Spanish America, a person of mixed Spanish and indigenous ancestry. See also Creole, Indigenous.

Methodism: A pietistic movement within the Church of England led by the brothers John and Charles Wesley, which developed into a separate denomination late in the eighteenth century. See also Anglican, Pietism, Protestantism.

Metis: The descendants of seventeenth and eighteenth century relationships between mainly indigenous women and French Canadian and Scottish men; by the nineteenth century a distinct Metis ethnicity had emerged in Western Canada, challenging efforts to unify Canada.

Mfecane: An African term roughly meaning “the crushing,” used to designate the tumultuous period of rapid Zulu expansion throughout parts of southern Africa between about 1815 and 1835.

Militia: Nonmilitary citizens organized to provide paramilitary services.

Minstrelsy: A form of entertainment popular in the United States during the nineteenth century, including songs, skits, dances, and comedy, often performed in blackface. See also Vaudeville.

Mission: A colonial ministry whose task is to convert indigenous peoples to Christianity. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Colonialism, Indigenous, Mission system, Missionary.

Mission system: A chain of missions (usually centered on compounds that included a church, housing, and gardens) established by Spain in the American Southwest to convert indigenous peoples to Catholicism. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Colonialism, Indigenous.

Missionary: An agent of the Catholic or other Christian church commissioned to travel to a colony or other “distant” location to gain converts from among indigenous populations. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Colonialism, Indigenous, Mission.

Missouri Compromise (1820): A complicated agreement between proslavery and antislavery forces in the United States, admitting Maine to the Union as a free state and Missouri as a slave state and dividing the remainder of the Louisiana Purchase territory between areas that would remain free and areas that were or could become slaveholding.

Modernism: A late nineteenth century artistic and aesthetic style characterized by fragmentation, abstraction, dissonance, decadence, and experimentation; elements were adopted throughout the arts, including painting, sculpting, music, poetry, and literature.

Monastery: A place where monks or nuns lived a religious life, frequently including a chapter house for meetings as well as sleeping quarters and various other facilities depending on the work of the monastery.

Monroe Doctrine: The 1823 declaration by President James Monroe that the Western Hemisphere was no longer open to European colonization, aimed at curbing the possible restoration of Spanish and Portuguese influence in Central and South America and tacitly supported by Great Britain.

Monsoon: Strong and predictable seasonal winds in the Indian Ocean that enabled merchants to engage in regular trade between South Asia and the east coast of Africa.

Mormons: The common name for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Christian religious sect established by Joseph Smith in upstate New York in 1830; considered heretical by most orthodox Christian denominations because of the sect’s belief in a new revelation in the Book of Mormon and the early church’s practice of polygamy. Mormons were attacked, and they eventually trekked to Utah under the leadership of Brigham Young in the 1840’s.

Morse code: A method developed by Samuel F. B. Morse in the 1830’s for transmitting written messages electrically across wires; the code employed a standard set of short and long pulses (dots and dashes), tapped out on a device at the sender’s end, to indicate specific letters and numbers. See also Telegraph.

Mufti: A specialist in Islamic law who is not a public official but a private scholar who functions as a consultant. See also Fatwa, Imam.

Mulatto: In Spanish America, a person of mixed African and European descent. See also Creole, Indigenous, Mestizo.

Muslim: One who practices the religion of Islam. See also Islam.

Mysticism: The practice within many religious faiths, including Christianity and Islam, which emphasizes the nonrational, spiritual, and felt rather than intellectual aspects of religious truth as an emotional or transcendent experience. See also Quietism, Sufism.

Nationalism: One of the dominant ideologies of the nineteenth century, based on the doctrine that ethnic or historical unity is the soundest basis for state organization; the rise of nationalism worked against the dynastic state structure that was common throughout central and eastern Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century and, along with colonialism, transformed the world geopolitically by the beginning of the twentieth century. See also Colonialism.

Nativism: A strong mistrust of ethnic, religious, or political minorities within one’s own culture; massive immigration into the United States, Canada, Argentina, and other Western Hemispheric countries led to a variety of nativist movements in these countries during the nineteenth century. See also Immigration, Know-Nothings.

Natural rights: As part of enlightened thought, an understanding that all human beings possessed rights such as life, liberty, property, freedom of speech and religion, and equality before the law, simply by virtue of their humanity; a foundation of nineteenth century liberalism. See also Enlightenment.

Naturalism: An artistic style emphasizing an extremely precise realistic portrayal of an object as it appears in nature, emphasizing the importance of environment in shaping one’s reality. See also Realism.

Nawab: A semiautonomous Muslim prince who cooperated with British colonialists in British India.

Neoclassicism: An aesthetic approach based upon Greek and Roman models, emphasizing balance and order. Neoclassicism developed during the eighteenth century in response to the ornamentation of the Baroque period.

Nobel Prizes: Annual awards established in 1895 through the bequest of Alfred B. Nobel, Swedish inventor of dynamite, to promote discoveries from all nations in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace; the first awards were made in 1901.

Noble: A member of the landed aristocracy. See also Aristocracy, Gentry.

Nullification: The legal concept that a state within the United States of America has the authority to declare a federal measure unconstitutional; the issue was settled substantially but not finally in favor of federal authority during the nullification crisis of 1832-1833.

Old Believers: Conservative members of the Russian Orthodox Church who were labeled dissidents for opposing church reforms; by the late nineteenth century they comprised about one quarter of Russian Christians. See also Eastern Orthodox Church, Patriarch.

Open door policy: An international policy recognizing equal access to free commercial transactions in a region, usually as a pretext for the extension of imperial influence; though suggested as applying generally throughout the colonial world during the nineteenth century, the term most often refers to the accepted international policy toward China proposed by U.S. secretary of state John Hay in 1899-1900. See also Imperialism.

Orthodox Church: A type of Eastern Catholicism that formally broke with the Roman Catholic Church in the eleventh century, organizing itself along national rather than international lines; prominent Eastern Orthodox churches developed in Russia, Greece, and Serbia.

Ottomans: Turkish rulers of large parts of the Islamic world from the thirteenth century until 1922. Their conquest in 1453 of the seat of the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Christian Orthodoxy, Constantinople, marked their ascendant power. The Ottoman Empire was a significant geopolitical entity during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, waning in the latter part of the nineteenth century. See also Islam, Ṣafavids, Sultan.

Palatinate: A county or principality ruled by a lord whose rights included those of a king, such as the right to coin money or appoint judges. Also, in Germany, the proper name of a principality. See also Palatine.

Palatine: The lord of a palatinate or a resident of the (German) Palatinate. See also Palatinate.

Pan-American congresses: Meetings of many states of the Western Hemisphere to address common problems; one met in Panama in 1826, but was not attended by the United States because of divisions over slavery; eighteen American states, including the United States, attended the first International Conference of American States which met in Washington, D.C.

Panic: A fear of economic instability similar to a depression; panics became more common in the nineteenth century as industrialization and accumulation of capital spread.

Papal infallibility: The doctrine that Papal statements on faith and morals are without error and binding on all Roman Catholics; formally proclaimed at the Vatican Council in 1870.

Papal States: Until 1870, a sovereign Italian city-state, which was based in Rome and ruled by the pope and served as the spiritual seat of his papacy; after 1870 the papal territory was reduced to the tiny Vatican City, also sovereign. See also Catholicism, Pope.

Paris Commune: The socialist government that briefly ruled in Paris between March and May, 1871, in the aftermath of France’s defeat at the hands of Germany.

Parliament: An assembly of representatives, usually a mix of nobles, clergy, and commoners, which functions as a legislative body serving under the sovereignty of a monarch. See also House of Commons, House of Lords.

Paşa: The highest title of rank or honor in the Ottoman Empire. The title evolved to include governors of foreign territories and viziers of a domestic government. See also Ottomans, Sultan, Vizier.

Pasteurization: A process for heating food in order to destroy harmful bacteria and other organisms; named for French chemist Louis Pasteur, who perfected the process in the 1860’s.

Patriarch: The head of one of the self-governing branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church. See also Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Pope.

Patron: One who financially or materially supports an artist, composer, poet, or other creative individual.

Patronage: The practice of awarding titles and making appointments to government and other positions to gain political support.

Peasant: The lowest rank of commoner, who works the land in order to subsist. See also Aristocracy, Commoner, Noble, Serf.

Peninsulares: Persons born in Spain who settled in the New World.

Penny press: Inexpensive tabloid newspapers that became possible in the mid-nineteenth century because of improvements in mechanized printing and papermaking.

Periodic table of elements: A systematic, tabular method of displaying the chemical elements according to several of their properties, such as atomic weight; first proposed by Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev in the 1860’s.

Persia: A term used by Westerners until the early twentieth century to describe the region always known to Iranians as Iran.

Pietism: A way of Christian worship and belief that promoted religion of the heart rather than of the mind. Pietism is closely associated with the rise of Methodism. See also Methodism.

Pilgrimage: A journey to a sacred shrine by Christians seeking to show their piety, fulfill vows, or gain absolution for sins. Other religions also have pilgrimage traditions, such as the pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims, the pilgrimages made by early Chinese Buddhists to India, and the pilgrimages made by Jews to the Holy Land. See also Christianity, Islam.

Plantation economy: An economic system organized for producing cash crops such as sugar, cotton, tobacco, rice, coffee, and tea, and most commonly utilizing slave labor. See also Commerce, Transatlantic slave trade.

Political economy: The branch of knowledge related to the relationship between economies and knowledge.

Pony Express: A system of horse riders and stations that enabled mail to be carried rapidly from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean in 1860 and 1861; it declined with the advent of the telegraph, the rapid development of transcontinental railways, and competition from coach-borne services.

Pope: The spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church and temporal ruler of the Papal States. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Papal States, Patriarch.

Populism: A political ideology based upon the premise that the interests of the masses are best served when common men (and sometimes women) are given access to the political process; populism spawned the People’s Party in the United States in the 1890’s.

Positivism: A philosophy recognizing scientific knowledge as the only acceptable basis for understanding; Auguste Comte, who developed positivism, suggested that scientific explanations for phenomena superseded the supernatural and metaphysical explanations that had been common in earlier ages.

Post-Impressionism: An artistic style named for its reaction to preceding and contemporary Impressionist artists. Post-Impressionists highlighted use of vivid colors, pronounced brushstrokes and heavy layers of paint, and distortion of forms for effect; most often associated with artists including Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, and Paul Gaugin. See also Impressionism.

Potato blight: A water mold known as Phytophthora infestans that frequently caused failure in potato crops across Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; it was the cause of the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1849 in Ireland.

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: An artistic reform movement founded in England in 1848 that rejected mechanistic approaches to painting.

Presbyterian: A Protestant Christian church that is mostly Calvinistic in doctrine. “Presbyterianism” is a system of church governance favored as more democratic than Episcopalianism because it is characterized by a graded system of representative ecclesiastical bodies. See also Calvinism, Catholicism, Christianity, Congregational, Ecclesiastical, Episcopacy, Presbytery, Protestantism.

Presbytery: The ruling body in Presbyterian churches. Also, the part of a church reserved for clergy who officiate. See also Clerics or clergy, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Presidio: In Spanish America, a military post.

Protectorate: A form of imperial control in which native rulers govern their lands with support from a technologically superior country. See also Colony, Imperialism, Sphere of influence.

Protestantism: A branch of Christianity, incorporating many different churches, which “protests” and rejects Catholic tradition, especially its doctrine of papal infallibility, and believes instead in a religion of all believers who read the Bible for themselves rather than having it interpreted to them by clergy. See also Calvinism, Catholicism, Christianity, Clerics or clergy, Ecclesiastical, Episcopacy, Presbyterian, Quakerism.

Prussia: One of two large and powerful German states (the other being Austria) that vied for influence with the thirty-nine German principalities that existed in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars; under Otto von Bismarck in the 1860’s, Prussia unified all German states except Austria and remained the dominant force in the new German Empire.

Putting-out system: An early system of manufacturing in which merchants furnished households with raw materials that would be processed by workers in their own homes; the system declined throughout Europe as the Industrial Revolution spread during the early decades of the nineteenth century. See also Domestic system of textile production, Industrial Revolution.

Qing Dynasty: The last ruling dynasty in China, ruling from 1644 until 1911; China reached its peak under the Qing Dynasty in the late eighteenth century but gradually fell under European and Japanese influence as the nineteenth century progressed. Also known as the Manchu Dynasty.

Quakerism: A Protestant group that began in seventeenth century England and rejected ritualized forms of worship. Traditional Quaker worship services are not led by ordained ministers and do not involve the recitation of a religious creed. Women play a major role in Quakerism, since Quakers believe that men and women are equally suited to preach the word of God. Quaker religious beliefs are egalitarian and humanitarian. See also Protestantism.

Queen: A female monarch who rules a large region. A queen’s title, unlike that of the king which was usually hereditary was often gained upon marriage to a king. Some wives of kings were called “consorts,” or “queen consorts,” instead of “queens.” Also, queens would become “regents” if they lived after the death of their husband-kings and were pronounced virtual rulers during the minority of a monarch to be, usually the queen’s son. See also Consort, King, Queen-mother, Regent.

Queen-mother: A former queen who is the mother of a current ruler. See also Queen, Regent.

Quietism: In religion, quietism refers to a mysticism that teaches, among other things, suppression of the will to obtain spiritual peace and perfection. Politically, quietism is the withdrawn or passive attitude or policy toward world affairs. See also Mysticism.

Raison d’état: The concept that the interests of the state (“reasons of state”), rather than moral or philosophical concerns, may justify a course of action.

Rajputs: Members of a Hindu warrior caste from northwest India.

Realism: In art, the attempt to depict objects, human figures, or scenes as they appear in real life, that is, without distortion or stylization; in literature it was characterized by a depiction of ordinary people or events without authorial commentary. See also Naturalism.

Realpolitik: A commitment to pursuing realistic or practical political solutions, rather than idealistic or ideological ones.

Reconstruction: The period of political, economic, and social reconstruction of the union following the U.S. Civil War, generally 1865-1877; characterized by military occupation of the South by the North and passage of a number of civil rights measures and programs to assist freed slaves and bring them into political equality, but ineffective in the face of Southern opposition and given up by the federal government by 1877.

Recusant: An English Roman Catholic, especially from the sixteenth century until Catholic emancipation (1828), who refused to obey the teachings of and participate in the services of the Church of England, thereby committing a statutory offense. See also Catholicism, Protestantism.

Redshirts: Informal name given to the soldiers of Giuseppe Garibaldi in the 1850’s and early 1860’s as they fought for Italian unification and independence; the red shirt was easily distinguished in the absence of a more expensive, formal uniform.

Regent: One who temporarily governs in place of a monarch or other ruler when the latter is too young or infirm to govern for himself or herself. Often, a regent is the monarch’s mother. See also Queen, Queen-mother.

Republic: A political unit not ruled by a monarch, especially one governed by a group of representatives chosen by and responsible to its citizens. See also Parliament.

Republican Party: Founded in the United States in 1854 as a coalition between antislavery Whigs, Northern Democrats, and Free-Soilers who sought to limit the extension of slavery; Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be elected as a Republican.

Responsible government: Home rule, or self-government, granted by the British government to various of its colonies. See also Home rule.

Revolutions of 1848: A series of liberal revolutions against autocratic rule that broke out across Europe in the wake of revolt in Paris in February, 1848; although many of these uprisings were briefly successful, only the revolution in the Piedmont against Austrian control led to the establishment of a permanent liberal government.

Romanov Dynasty: The hereditary ruling family of Russia from 1613 to 1917 (Oldenburg-Romanov from 1762); the last Romanov czar, Nicholas II, abdicated in 1917 and was executed by the newly installed communist government.

Romanticism: A broad artistic and cultural movement that influenced most Western countries, reaching its peak between 1800 and 1850; decrying the Enlightenment (late eighteenth and early nineteenth century) emphasis on reason, the movement instead valued intuition and emotion, nature, the supernatural, and the unique qualities of the individual.

Royalist: One who favors monarchical government and the power of a ruler. See also Divine right, Tory, Whig.

Ṣafavids: An Islamic empire in Iran (Persia), founded in 1501 and ended in 1722. Shīՙite Islam, developed by the early Ṣafavids, continues to be the dominant religion of Iran into the twenty-first century. See also Islam.

Samurai: A member of the Japanese warrior caste, especially a warrior who served a daimyo and who subscribed to a strict code of conduct called Bushido. See also Bushido, Daimyo, Shogun.

Satire: A literary style that uses wit, sarcasm, humor, irony, parody, and other literary devices to point out human vices, follies, and immorality.

Scientific socialism: See Marxism.

Scramble for Africa: The period between 1880 and 1914, when European countries gained control of virtually the entire continent, excepting only Liberia and Abyssinia (Ethiopia); marked by increasingly direct forms of control, rather than simply by economic influence.

Second Empire: The antiparliamentary, imperial regime of French emperor Napoleon III (r. 1852-1870), who was driven from power when Prussia invaded France in 1870.

Second Great Awakening: A great spiritual revival that swept through the United States during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, leading to greater piety, involvement in reform movements, the strengthening of evangelical denominations including Baptists and Methodists, and the creation of new denominations including the Disciples of Christ and the Mormons.

Second Republic: The constitutional republican government in France (1848-1852), formed in the wake of revolution in 1848 and ended by Napoleon III’s coup d’état. See also Bonapartists.

Secular: Nonreligious, either in content or in context. Thus, “secular” can be a simple antonym of “religious,” but it can also refer to members of the clergy who live and act in the public sphere rather than spending their lives in religious seclusion in a monastery or abbey.

Segregation: Social separation of races or ethnic groups, particularly in housing, education, and public facilities; most widely applied to freed slaves in the American South and Jews in Russia during the nineteenth century. See also Jim Crow laws, Anti-Semitism.

Separation of powers: Any system of divided governmental powers, advocated by Montesquieu in his De l’esprit des loix (1748; The Spirit of the Laws, 1750). Influential in the development of the U.S. Constitution. See also Direct representation, Judicial review, Limited (constitutional) monarchy, Parliament.

Serf: A peasant bound to the land through contract. Serfs were given a parcel of land on which to live and work, but any surplus they produced was owed to their landlord as rent, tax, or tribute; serfdom was gradually abolished in Europe throughout the nineteenth century. See also Commoner, Gentry, Peasant.

Settlement houses: Housing settlements established in poor, urban neighborhoods to enable social workers to assist the poor; these developed generally after 1884, sparked by growing urban populations and rapid increases in immigration.

Settler colony: A colonial territory of a European state, suited by climate and local conditions, for large-scale immigration and settlement according to European patterns; Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were settler colonies in the British Empire. See also Dominion.

Sharia: Islamic holy law. See also Caliph, Fatwa, Islam, Ulama.

Sharif: A Muslim who claims descent from the Prophet Muḥammad. See also Caliph, Imam, Islam.

Shia: The Muslims of the Shīՙite branch of Islam. See also Imam, Shīՙite, Sunni.

Shīՙite: The branch of Islam that holds that ՙAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib and the imams are the only rightful successors of the Prophet Muḥammad and that the last imam will someday return. See also Imam, Shia, Sunni.

Shintoism: The traditional animistic religion of Japan.

Shogun: A Japanese military ruler. See also Bushido, Daimyo, Samurai.

Shogunate system: The system of government in Japan in which the emperor exercised only titular authority while the shoguns (regional military dictators) exercised actual political power.

Sino-: A prefix used in the West and Japan to designate association with China; taken from an early transliteration of China into English.

Sioux: A group of plains Indian tribes of the northern United States and Southern Canada.

Smallpox: A contagious viral disease responsible for killing millions of people around the world; the main disease responsible for the destruction of Native American cultures following the arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth century; vaccines to protect against smallpox became increasingly common in the West during the nineteenth century.

Social Darwinism: The social theory that Charles Darwin’s evolutionary biological ideas, founded upon the doctrine of “survival of the fittest,” could also be applied to competing social and national groups. The main promulgator of this notion was social philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903); Darwin himself would recognize that the application of his theory of natural selection to sociological situations made no sense from an evolutionary perspective. See also Evolution.

Social reform movements: A variety of Western liberal efforts to provide more just and humane treatment to the poor, handicapped, prisoners, and others without access to sources of wealth and power; the Progressive movement in the United States and temperance movements in many Western countries also emphasized moral purification. See also Temperance movements.

Socialism: An economic system in which the major means of economic production are controlled by the people or the state that represents them, rather than by individuals.

Sociology: The academic discipline devoted to the study of human society and social institutions; the term was coined by Frenchman Auguste Comte in the 1830’s.

Sphere of influence: A form of imperial control in which the economic interests of a technologically dominant state indirectly influence the governance of a region by an indigenous ruler.

State: An autonomous, self-governing, sovereign political unit. See also Parliament.

States’ rights: The belief that ultimate political sovereignty rests with state, rather than central, governments; frequently applied in the United States to the Southern belief that federal coercion in a variety of matters was unconstitutional.

Steam engine: An external combustion engine that uses the thermal power of steam to drive machinery; one of the most important industrial developments of the nineteenth century. See also Thermodynamics.

Steamships: Ships powered by steam engines, and thus not dependent upon variable wind power.

Straits: The two narrow waterways (Bosporus and Dardanelles) connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea; “the Straits question” was of supreme importance throughout the nineteenth century as Russia sought to gain control of these strategic waterways from a weakening Ottoman Empire. See also Bosporus, Dardanelles.

Strike: A collective decision by laborers to withhold work from employers in order to gain better work conditions, higher wages, or other concessions; an important tactic of socialist movements. See also Socialism.

Succession: The passing of sovereign authority from one person or group to another person or group, or the rules governing that process.

Suffrage: The political right to vote; during the nineteenth century, Western liberal socialist movements generally promoted a broad extension of suffrage to free males, and in some cases to women.

Sufism: Islamic mysticism. A Sufi is one who practices Sufism. See also Islam, Mysticism, Quietism.

Sultan: Beginning in the eleventh century, any political and military ruler of an Islamic state or emirate (as opposed to the caliph, the religious authority of the Islamic state). Applied mostly to Ottoman rulers. See also Caliph, Ottomans.

Sunni: Muslims who adhere to the orthodox tradition of Islam, which acknowledges the first four caliphs, the religious authorities of Islam, as rightful successors of the Prophet Muḥammad. See also Imam, Islam, Shia, Shīՙite.

Suttee: The Indian custom of a wife being burned on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband; never common, the practice was banned by the British in 1829.

Swahili: A Bantu language spoken in coastal East Africa that incorporates many Arabic words.

Symbolism: A late nineteenth century artistic style characterized by subjectivity and symbolic representation of an artist’s insight and inner vision.

Tammany Hall: A New York political society originating in the 1790’s and dominating city politics from the 1850’s through the early twentieth century; closely affiliated with the rising tide of immigration from mid-century.

Tariff: A tax levied on imported goods.

Telegraph: The long-distance, electrical transmission of written messages by wire, most often using a code of dots and dashes. See also Morse code.

Temperance movements: Movements organized to limit or prohibit the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages; although common in many Western countries in the latter part of the nineteenth century, extreme limitations were never the majority view. See also Social reform movements.

Textile: Material made from fibers such as wool, cotton, or linen; the spinning and weaving of such fibers became the first widely mechanized industry during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Thermodynamics: The physical laws governing the movement and effect of dynamic energy, and the study of these as a subdiscipline of physics; the discovery and investigation of these principles is associated in the nineteenth century especially with the development of the steam engine. See also Steam engine.

Third Republic: The ruling government of France between invasions by Germany in 1870 and 1940; the first sustained and stable republic in France. See also Second Empire, Second Republic.

Tokugawas: The family name of the shoguns who ruled Japan between 1603 and 1868. See also Meiji Restoration.

Tory: In England, the party that supported royal power in the face of challenges by Parliament. Opposed by the Whigs, and one of the two dominant political parties until the present; during the nineteenth century they were more commonly called the Conservative Party. See also Parliament, Royalist, Whig.

Trade(s) union: A voluntary association of laborers, organized by skill or trade, for the purpose of enhancing work conditions or benefits by collective action; in Europe, often they were heavily involved in the political process. See also Knights of Labor, Labor union, Strike.

Trail of Tears: Refers to the forced relocation of Native Americans from the southeastern states to Indian Territory (later primarily Oklahoma Territory) between 1830 and 1838 as a result of the Indian Removal Act (1830); the removal led to some four thousand deaths as Native Americans were forced to trek on foot toward their new, unfamiliar home.

Transatlantic slave trade: The trade in slaves, mostly from Africa, that crossed the Atlantic Ocean from and between East Africa, Europe, North America, and South America.

Transcendentalism: A philosophical and cultural movement that originated in New England during the 1830’s, suggesting that true spiritualism transcends rational and physical proofs; Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were noted Transcendentalists.

Transportation: The British policy from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century of shipping persons convicted of the most serious offenses to Australia as an alternative to capital punishment.

Transvaal: The region of southern Africa “beyond the Vaal” River, occupied by Boer settlers in the 1830’s and 1840’s as British administrators and settlers began to occupy the region around Cape Town. See also Boers.

Treaty: An agreement or arrangement, made by negotiation, between nations, especially two nations.

Tributary system: A system in which countries in East and Southeast Asia not under the direct control of empires based in China nevertheless enrolled as tributary states, acknowledging the superiority of the emperors in China in exchange for trading rights or strategic alliances.

Tsar: See Czar.

Tuberculosis: An infectious bacterial disease that most commonly affects the lungs and progresses toward death when untreated; the disease afflicted many during the nineteenth century, when it was also called “consumption.”

Tweed Ring: William Marcy Tweed and his political associates, who dominated New York politics and systematically looted the New York City treasury between 1860 and Tweed’s conviction in 1873. See also Tammany Hall.

Typhoid fever: A bacterial disease common in most parts of the world, transmitted through food or water contaminated with human feces.

Uitlanders: The Afrikaans word for “foreigner,” used to denote the wave of immigrants who swamped the Transvaal in the wake of the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand in 1885.

Ulama: Muslim religious scholars who serve as interpreters of Islamic law. See also Caliph, Imam, Islam, Sharia.

Umma: The community of all Muslims, as distinguished from kinship affiliations common in early Middle Eastern lands. See also Islam.

Underground Railroad: The network of secret routes and safe houses for transporting slaves from the slaveholding states of the U.S. South to freedom in Canada; the most prominent routes crossed Ohio and Indiana, and it is estimated that between thirty thousand and eighty thousand slaves reached freedom by this means.

Unitarian Church: A variety of religious movements that accept the unity of God, as opposed to Christian Trinitarianism; Unitarians in the nineteenth century tended to be rationalists.

Unitarianism: A religious system that teaches the unity of God, as opposed to a Trinitarian godhead; recognizes Jesus as a moral teacher and is generally committed to understanding a kind of humanistic wisdom common to all cultures; prominent in the mid-nineteenth century, but declined rapidly in the twentieth.

Urdu: A Persian-influenced literary form of the Hindi language, written in Arabic characters and widely spoken along the trade routes of southern Asia.

Utilitarianism: A philosophy of ethics that calculates action based upon the greatest happiness for the greatest number; it was first given coherence by Jeremy Bentham at the end of the eighteenth century and was developed in the nineteenth century by John Stuart Mill.

Utopian socialism: The early and unsuccessful forms of egalitarian and collective social organization designed to produce ideal societies; Karl Marx introduced the term as opposed to his version of “scientific” socialism.

Vatican: The seat of papal authority, Vatican City is a tiny independent state of about 108 acres completely surrounded by Rome, Italy; the term also refers to an important council of 1869-1870, in which the doctrine of papal infallibility was proclaimed.

Vaudeville: A form of American entertainment that included a wide range of acts, including song, dance, acrobatics, animal acts, magic, and lectures; unlike minstrelsy, vaudeville was directed toward mixed audiences among the middle classes and was performed in nondrinking halls designed specially for the entertainments. See also Minstrelsy.

Vitascope: The prototype of the modern film projector; developed by Charles Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat in the 1890’s. See also Kinetoscope.

Vizier: A title given to high officials of Islamic nations. In the Ottoman Empire beginning around 1453, the viziers were specifically ministers to the sultan. The chief minister was known as the grand vizier, and members of the council who assisted and filled in for the grand vizier were called dome viziers. Use of the title was later expanded to include other important domestic officials, as well as provincial governors. See also Caliph, Imam, Islam, Sultan.

Wahhābīism: A fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam named for the Wahhābī movement in the Arabia peninsula, beginning in the eighteenth century that sought to restore the pure form of the religion; adherents were often at odds with the Ottoman government.

Wall Street: The heart of the financial district in lower Manhattan, and home to the first permanent New York Stock Exchange in 1817; more generally refers to American financial markets as a whole.

Whig: In seventeenth century England, a political party opposed to absolute royal authority and favoring increased parliamentary power; one of two dominant political parties through the 1850’s, when it combined with philosophic radicals and Conservative free traders to form the modern Liberal Party. See also Parliament, Royalist, Tory.

World’s fair: The display of a range of internationally manufactured goods, handicrafts, artwork, and inventions in order to promote a nation’s commerce, usually lasting several months or years. Also referred to as expositions. There were thirteen officially sanctioned events between 1851 and 1900, including fairs in London (1851), Paris (1867), Philadelphia (1876), Melbourne (1880), and Chicago (1893).

X rays: A form of electromagnetic radiation that could be used in conjunction with photographic techniques to make it possible to see through soft objects such as skin in order to observe underlying hard objects such as bones; first described by German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895, the use of X rays became the basis of modern medical imaging.

Yellow fever: An acute viral disease of mainly tropical regions, often leading to widespread epidemics.

Yellow journalism: A term frequently used to designate the use of sensationalism by many U.S. newspapers in the 1880’s and 1890’s, with little professional regard for truth or verification; taken from the cartoon “The Yellow Kid,” which appeared in a number of prominent newspapers, including Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal.

Young Turk movement: A revolutionary movement against the autocratic rule of Abdül Hamid II, who had suspended the Ottoman constitution in 1878; the successful revolt of 1908 did not lead to political consensus among the revolutionaries.

Zen: A Japanese form of Buddhism based on disciplined meditation and closely associated with the samurai code of Bushido. See also Bushido, Samurai.

Zionism: A political ideology developed during the 1880’s and characterized by a commitment to the creation of a Jewish national state; orthodox Zionists would accept only Palestine as a location, while some romantic Zionists considered locations in Argentina and Uganda. See also Anti-Semitism.

Zulu: A Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa that became the dominant native military state of the region under the leadership of Shaka between 1816 and 1828.

Categories: History