To abolish; to put out of existence. The Emancipation Proclamation
led to the abolition of slavery.
A person who believes in ending slavery. Those people active
in the Anti-Slavery Movement were known as abolitionists.
People who live in the United States who can trace their
ancestry back to Africa.
To change for the better.
Any object fired or launched from a gun or
some other weapon; these include cartridges, shells, and
Weapons such as guns and rockets.
The murder of a famous person or public
official. President Lincoln was assassinated while attending
a performance at Ford's Theatre.
A military attack on enemy strongholds.
A sale of property to the highest bidder. Slaves
were sold at auction to plantation owners.
A large formal gathering for social dancing. Everyone
had a wonderful time at the ball held at the Academy of
A person belonging to a dark-skinned race; African-Americans.
African-Americans can trace their ancestry back to Africa.
See also the definitions for African-American, Colored,
To isolate enemy forces, to prevent persons,
goods, etc. from getting in or out of an enemy region. In
the Civil War, the North blockaded Southern ports.
A costume for women consisting of a short skirt
and long loose trousers gathered closely about the ankle.
Amelia Bloomer invented the bloomer costume and was widely
criticized for insulting womanhood, because pants were considered
men's clothing only.
A name applied to slave states that remained
in the Union or those that were neutral and bordered the
Northern states. Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri
were considered border states.
A reward or payment offered by the government.
In the Civil War an extra payment was made to encourage
men to volunteer for the Army.
A person of a race other than white. African-Americans
were called colored people (or Negroes) in the 19th century.
This term is rarely used now, and is usually considered
An alliance between two or more people, states,
or countries with a common belief or goal.
A member of a confederacy. In the Civil War,
those citizens of the Confederate States of America. The
Confederate States of America included Alabama, Arkansas,
Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The part of the United States government that
is responsible for making laws. It is made up of the Senate
and the House of Representatives.
Compulsory enrollment of a person, especially
for military service.
To join together into one whole. In 1898,
the two cities of Brooklyn and New York were consolidated
into one city (called New York City).
A major political group in the United States. In the Civil
War era, members of the Democratic Party believed that states
should control their own affairs, and individuals should
control their own lives without interference of state or
The nickname for the Southern states (the Confederacy).
To select a person for some purpose, usually for
military service, usually without the person giving consent.
When President Lincoln saw that many more soldiers were
needed to fight the Confederacy than were volunteering,
he issued the draft.
A contest left undecided or deadlocked. Another
word is tie. The ironclad ships the Monitor and the Merrimack
fought to a draw.
Due Process (of law)
A basic principle of the American
legal system which requires fairness in the government's
dealings with persons. In the 5th and 14th Amendments to
the Constitution of the United States, federal, state, and
local governments are forbidden to deprive a person of "life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law."
African-Americans were often treated unfairly and denied
the right to due process of law.
An infection of the intestines which causes
diarrhea. Many Civil War soldiers suffered from dysentery
because of dirty drinking water and spoiled food.
The selection by vote of an individual who wishes
to serve in public office, such as the presidency or Congress.
To free a person or group from control or
In 1863, President Abraham
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed
all slaves in the Confederate States that were rebelling
against the Union.
Equal Protection (of the laws)
The 14th Amendment to
the Constitution (1868) guarantees that no state government
can deny a person within its boundaries the equal protection
of the laws. The purpose was to ensure equal treatment of
the emancipated (freed) slaves after the Civil War.
A government in which political power is divided
between a central (national) government (in the United States,
called the federal government) and small governmental units
(in the United States called states).
A group, such as ships, planes, or trucks, under
the command of a single officer.
A person who has been a slave and has been set
free. After the end of the Civil War, slaves were freed
and became known as freedmen.
A person who enjoys civil or political liberty;
a person who is not a slave. Although most African-Americans
in early Brooklyn were slaves, there were many freeman who
owned businesses and property and served in the militia.
a runaway. The Fugitive Slave Law said that
all runaway slaves must be returned to the state from which
they fled or face large fines or imprisonment.
Fugitive Slave Law
In 1850 Congress ordered that all
runaway slaves must be returned to the state from which
they fled. Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave herself, assisted
many fugitive slaves to freedom in the North and in Canada.
A bag, similar to a knapsack but worn over
one shoulder. In the Civil War, soldiers carried their food
and possessions in a haversack.
An official ceremony inducting an individual
into office. President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as
President of the United States on March 4, 1861.
Persons in a contract that forces
one person to work for another for a given period of time.
In addition to slaves, the farmers of early Brooklyn used
indentured servants to work their land.
To charge with a fault or offense; to charge
with a crime by the finding or presentment of a jury (as
a grand jury) in due form of law.
Soldiers who were trained to fight on foot.
A warship that is covered completely in iron.
In the Civil War, the Monitor and the Merrimack were called
Ku Klux Klan
A secret society, organized after the Civil
War, whose belief was in white supremacy.
Poor food or the lack of food that causes
weakness in the body.
To release from slavery; manumission is the state of being
released from slavery. Early New York State law allowed
for the manumission of slaves by 1827.
A part of an organized army that is usually called
for service only in an emergency.
An ironclad warship, built in Greenpoint, Brooklyn,
with a low flat deck and one or more turrets (towers) -
affectionately known as "a cheesebox on a raft."
Another word for ammunition. See Ammunition.
An act of assembling, specifically: formal military
inspection; muster out - to discharge from service; muster
roll - a register of the officers and men in a military
unit or ship's company.
A person belonging to a dark-skinned race; another
name for African-Americans, used in the 19th century and
early 20th century. Since the 1960s, the terms Black and
African-American have replaced the word Negro.
The act or process of pacifying (making
Love for one's country.
A very large farm where crops such as cotton
or tobacco are grown and harvested by the inhabitants. In
the southern states of America before the Civil War, those
inhabitants were generally slaves.
The total number of people living in a particular
An official, formal public announcement.
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation,
which freed slaves in the southern states.
Opposing or taking arms against a government or
ruler. In the Civil War those persons who lived in the Confederate
States or served in the Confederate Army were called rebels
because they opposed the United States government.
With the end of the Civil War, it was
the process by which the seceded states (Confederacy) were
returned to the Union.
A military unit consisting of a great number
of battalions (troops trained to act together on the battlefield).
A major political party organized in
1854 to oppose the spread of slavery. President Abraham
Lincoln was a member of the Republican Party.
A disease caused by a lack of ascorbic acid in
the diet. Civil War soldiers suffered from this disease,
which caused bleeding gums and the loosening and loss of
To leave an organization. In the Civil War those
states that chose to withdraw from the United States to
form the Confederate States of America "seceded"
from the Union.
One who joins in a secession or maintains
that secession is a right. After the southern states seceded,
supporters were called secessionists.
The separation of a race or group from the
rest of society.
A person who is the property of another person.
Slaves worked for their owners without pay or the freedom
The state of one person being the property of
another person. One of the arguments by the Confederacy
for slavery was the importance of slaves to the Southern
economy. Slavery was known as the "peculiar institution"
of the South.
The right to vote (also called franchise). In the Civil
War era, African-Americans and women did not have the right
to vote. After the Civil War, Congress gave African-American
men the right to vote with passage of the 15th Amendment
in 1870. Women did not get the right to vote until 1920
with the passage of the 20th Amendment.
A woman who advocates the right to vote for
The state of being supreme (superior, the highest
in rank, authority). Members of the Ku Klux Klan are white
supremacists. They believe that the white race is better
than all others, including the Negro race.
The state of moderation, especially moderation
in or abstinence from the use of intoxicating drink. The
Temperance Movement wanted to outlaw alcohol, and succeeded
with the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919.
One who betrays another's trust. In the Civil
War, both Confederate and Union spies who stole secrets
from the other side were called traitors and brought to
trial for their crimes.
A highly infectious disease that is transmitted
by food or water. Many soldiers in the Civil War died of
this terrible disease.
A secret system set up by opponents
of slavery to help runaway slaves from the south to escape
to the free states in the north and Canada. After the Fugitive
Slave Law of 1850, Harriet Tubman, a fugitive slave herself,
led over 300 slaves to freedom.
Used during the Civil War, the Union was another
name for the United States of America (also the Northern
The power of one branch of a government to forbid
the carrying out of projects attempted by another department;
for example, the power of a chief executive (in the United
States, the president) to prevent permanently or temporarily
the enactment of laws passed by a legislature (in the United
States, the Congress). This power can be overrode by a vote
of the majority of Congress.
The successful overcoming of an enemy, especially
in a struggle of great difficulty. The Northern states defeated
the Southern states in the long hard Civil War. This was
a victory for the North.
One who offers him/herself for a service of
his/her own free will; for example, one who enters into
military service voluntarily. When President Lincoln called
for volunteers for the militia, many young men of Brooklyn
were eager to join.
A Union soldier in the Civil War or anyone who
is from the North.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Merriam-Webster Word Central
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield,
MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1990.
The World Book Encyclopedia, Chicago: World Book,