Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo
U.S. History

Key Terms

U.S. HistoryKey Terms

Army of the Potomac
the Union fighting force operating outside Washington, DC
Army of the West
the Union fighting force operating in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Mississippi River Valley
the new nation formed by the seceding southern states, also known as the Confederate States of America (CSA)
enslaved people who escaped to the Union army’s lines
Democrats who opposed Lincoln in the 1864 election
Crittenden Compromise
a compromise, suggested by Kentucky senator John Crittenden, that would restore the 36°30′ line from the Missouri Compromise and extend it to the Pacific Ocean, allowing slavery to expand into the southwestern territories
Emancipation Proclamation
signed on January 1, 1863, the document with which President Lincoln transformed the Civil War into a struggle to end slavery
Fort Sumter
a fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, where the Union garrison came under siege by Confederate forces in an attack on April 12, 1861, beginning the Civil War
general in chief
the commander of army land forces
Gettysburg Address
a speech by Abraham Lincoln dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863
paper money the United States began to issue during the Civil War
habeas corpus
the right of those arrested to be brought before a judge or court to determine whether there is cause to hold the prisoner
Sherman’s March to the Sea
the scorched-earth campaign employed in Georgia by Union general William Tecumseh Sherman
total war
a state of war in which the government makes no distinction between military and civilian targets, and mobilizes all resources, extending its reach into all areas of citizens’ lives
Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Jan 11, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.