Civil War Through 1900: Vocabulary

Social Studies American History Civil War Through 1900 Civil War Through 1900: Vocabulary
Students interact with vocabulary words that they will encounter throughout Unit 6: Civil War Through 1900.

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In this experience, students interact with vocabulary words that they will encounter throughout Unit 6: Civil War Through 1900.

Estimated duration: 30–40 minutes

Vocabulary words:

  • abolition
  • amendment
  • assimilation
  • civil war
  • compromise
  • federal
  • innovation
  • invention
  • reservation
  • secession
  • sectionalism
  • segregation
  • sharecropping
  • suffrage
  • tariff


  • Learn vocabulary related to the Civil War and the later nineteenth century.

Unit Vocabulary

The tensions continued to grow between free states and slaves states, between the industrial North and the agricultural South, between those who wanted a stronger central government and those who put their state’s interests first. The United States was heading towards a serious division.


  • Learn vocabulary related to the Civil War and the later nineteenth century.

U.S. flag and Confederate flag with two groups of soldiers

The U.S. Civil War

This lesson builds your vocabulary with words you will use in this unit. The words are:

  • abolition: actions to end slavery
  • amendment: an official change made to a legal document, such as a contract or a constitution
  • assimilation: a process in which a minority group adopts the majority group’s values, behaviors, and beliefs
  • civil war: a war between two different groups or regions of the same country
  • civilian: a person who is not in the military or a member of a police force
  • compromise: an agreement between two sides where each side gives up something that it wanted
  • federal: a government where power is shared between a national, centralized government and smaller state governments; the federal government refers to the national government
  • innovation: a new way of doing something, usually for the better
  • invention: the development of a new, unique device
  • reservation: special land set aside for American Indians to live on
  • secession: the withdrawal of a state from the union
  • sectionalism: state’s concern for regional needs instead of national interests
  • segregation: the separation of people based on race, religion, ethnicity, or gender
  • sharecropping: a system of farming in which families farm small plots of land and pay the landowner with some of the crop grown
  • suffrage: the right to vote
  • tariff: a tax on imports or exports of goods

Several of the words on this vocabulary list appeared in earlier units as well. Let’s see how well you remember what they mean.

1. Which of the following words is a synonym of compromise?

A) disagreement
B) complaint
C) trade-off
D) sudden major change

2. Which of the following belongs to the federal government?

A) the Atlantic Ocean
B) Yellowstone National Park
C) the University of Texas campus
D) Chicago O’Hare International Airport

3. Which of the following words means “a change made to a law or formal agreement”?

A) abolition
B) innovation
C) secession
D) amendment

If students struggle with any of the words, ask a few volunteers to define the problematic word and to use it in a sentence.

When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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