1620 - The first agreement for self-government in America. It was signed by the 41 men on the Mayflower and set up a government for the Plymouth colony.
Massachusetts Bay Colony
1629 - King Charles gave the Puritans a right to settle and govern a colony in the Massachusetts Bay area. The colony established political freedom and a representative government.
John Winthrop (1588-1649), his beliefs
1629 - He became the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and served in that capacity from 1630 through 1649. A Puritan with strong religious beliefs. He opposed total democracy, believing the colony was best governed by a small group of skillful leaders. He helped organize the New England Confederation in 1643 and served as its first president.
Non-separatists (which included the Puritans) believed that the Church of England could be purified through reforms. Separatists (which included the Pilgrims) believed that the Church of England could not be reformed, and so started their own congregations.
Protestant sect founded by John Calvin. Emphasized a strong moral code and believed in predestination (the idea that God decided whether or not a person would be saved as soon as they were born). Calvinists supported constitutional representative government and the separation of church and state.
Contrast Puritan colonies with others
Puritan colonies were self-governed, with each town having its own government which led the people in strict accordance with Puritan beliefs. Only those members of the congregation who had achieved grace and were full church members (called the "elect," or "saints") could vote and hold public office. Other colonies had different styles of government and were more open to different beliefs.
Anne Hutchinson, Antinomianism
She preached the idea that God communicated directly to individuals instead of through the church elders. She was forced to leave Massachusetts in 1637. Her followers (the Antinomianists) founded the colony of New Hampshire in 1639.
Roger Williams, Rhode Island
1635 - He left the Massachusetts colony and purchased the land from a neighboring Indian tribe to found the colony of Rhode Island. Rhode Island was the only colony at that time to offer complete religious freedom.
Massachusetts School Law
First public education legislation in America. It declared that towns with 50 or more families had to hire a schoolmaster and that towns with over 100 families had to found a grammar school.
1636 - Founded by a grant form the Massachusetts general court. Followed Puritan beliefs.
King Philip's War
1675 - A series of battles in New Hampshire between the colonists and the Wompanowogs, led by a chief known as King Philip. The war was started when the Massachusetts government tried to assert court jurisdiction over the local Indians. The colonists won with the help of the Mohawks, and this victory opened up additional Indian lands for expansion.
Joint stock company
A company made up of a group of shareholders. Each shareholder contributes some money to the company and receives some share of the company's profits and debts.
Virginia: purpose, problems, failures, successes
Virginia was formed by the Virginia Company as a profit-earning venture. Starvation was the major problem; about 90% of the colonists died the first year, many of the survivors left, and the company had trouble attracting new colonists. They offered private land ownership in the colony to attract settlers, but the Virginia Company eventually went bankrupt and the colony went to the crown. Virginia did not become a successful colony until the colonists started raising and exporting tobacco.
Headrights were parcels of land consisting of about 50 acres which were given to colonists who brought indentured servants into America. They were used by the Virginia Company to attract more colonists.
Helped found and govern Jamestown. His leadership and strict discipline helped the Virginia colony get through the difficult first winter.
John Rolfe, tobacco
He was one of the English settlers at Jamestown (and he married Pocahontas). He discovered how to successfully grow tobacco in Virginia and cure it for export, which made Virginia an economically successful colony.John Rolfe, tobacco
House of Burgesses
1619 - The Virginia House of Burgesses formed, the first legislative body in colonial America. Later other colonies would adopt houses of burgesses.
1676 - Nathaniel Bacon and other western Virginia settlers were angry at Virginia Governor Berkley for trying to appease the Doeg Indians after the Doegs attacked the western settlements. The frontiersmen formed an army, with Bacon as its leader, which defeated the Indians and then marched on Jamestown and burned the city. The rebellion ended suddenly when Bacon died of an illness.
Led by Culperer, the Alpemark colony rebelled against its English governor, Thomas Miller. The rebellion was crushed, but Culperer was acquitted.
Georgia: reasons, successes
1733 - Georgia was formed as a buffer between the Carolinas and Spanish-held Florida. It was a military-style colony, but also served as a haven for the poor, criminals, and persecuted Protestants.
1665 - Charles II granted this land to pay off a debt to some supporters. They instituted headrights and a representative government to attract colonists. The southern region of the Carolinas grew rich off its ties to the sugar islands, while the poorer northern region was composed mainly of farmers. The conflicts between the regions eventually led to the colony being split into North and South Carolina.
John Locke, Fundamental Constitution
Locke was a British political theorist who wrote the Fundamental Constitution for the Carolinas colony, but it was never put into effect. The constitution would have set up a feudalistic government headed by an aristocracy which owned most of the land.
Staple crops in the South
Tobacco was grown in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Rice was grown in South Carolina and Georgia. Indigo was grown in South Carolina.
Pennsylvania, William Penn
1681- William Penn received a land grant from King Charles II, and used it to form a colony that would provide a haven for Quakers. His colony, Pennsylvania, allowed religious freedom.
Crops in the Middle Colonies
The middle colonies produced staple crops, primarily grain and corn.
1689 - When King James II was dethroned and replaced by King William of the Netherlands, the colonists of New York rebelled and made Jacob Leiser, a militia officer, governor of New York. Leisler was hanged for treason when royal authority was reinstated in 1691, but the representative assembly which he founded remained part of the government of New York.
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island - founders established churches
Pennsylvania: Founded by William Penn, a Quaker, to provide protection for Quakers. Maryland: Formed as a colony where Catholics would be free from persecution. Rhode Island: Formed to provide a haven for all persecuted religions, including all Christian denominations and Jews.
Great Awakening (1739-1744)
Puritanism had declined by the 1730s, and people were upset about the decline in religious piety. The Great Awakening was a sudden outbreak of religious fervor that swept through the colonies. One of the first events to unify the colonies.
Founded the colony of Maryland and offered religious freedom to all Christian colonists. He did so because he knew that members of his own religion (Catholicism) would be a minority in the colony.
Maryland Act of Toleration (Act of Religious Toleration)
1649 - Ordered by Lord Baltimore after a Protestant was made governor of Maryland at the demand of the colony's large Protestant population. The act guaranteed religious freedom to all Christians.
French Protestants. The Edict of Nantes (1598) freed them from persecution in France, but when that was revoked in the late 1700s, hundreds of thousands of Huguenots fled to other countries, including America.
Mercantilism: features, rationale, impact on Great Britain, impact on the colonies
Mercantilism was the economic policy of Europe in the 1500s through 1700s. The government exercised control over industry and trade with the idea that national strength and economic security comes from exporting more than is imported. Possession of colonies provided countries both with sources of raw materials and markets for their manufactured goods. Great Britain exported goods and forced the colonies to buy them.
Navigation Acts of 1650, 1660, 1663, and 1696
British regulations designed to protect British shipping from competition. Said that British colonies could only import goods if they were shipped on British-owned vessels and at least 3/4 of the crew of the ship were British.
British courts originally established to try cases involving smuggling or violations of the Navigation Acts which the British government sometimes used to try American criminals in the colonies. Trials in Admiralty Courts were heard by judges without a jury.
Molasses Act, 1733
British legislation which taxed all molasses, rum, and sugar which the colonies imported from countries other than Britain and her colonies. The act angered the New England colonies, which imported a lot of molasses from the Caribbean as part of the Triangular Trade. The British had difficulty enforcing the tax; most colonial merchants ignored it.
Salem witch trials
Several accusations of witchcraft led to sensational trials in Salem, Massachusetts at which Cotton Mather presided as the chief judge. 18 people were hanged as witches. Afterwards, most of the people involved admitted that the trials and executions had been a terrible mistake.
These were the two British legal doctrines governing the inheritance of property. Primogeniture requried that a man's real property pass in its entirety to his oldest son. Entail requried that property could only be left to direct descendants (usually sons), and not to persons outside of the family.
People who could not afford passage to the colonies could become indentured servants. Another person would pay their passage, and in exchange, the indentured servant would serve that person for a set length of time (usually seven years) and then would be free.
Poor Richard's Almanack, first published 1732
Written by Benjamin Franklin, it was filled with witty, insightful, and funny bits of observation and common sense advice (the saying, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise," first appeared in this almanac). It was the most popular almanac in the colonies.
Habeas Corpus Act, 1679
British law had traditionally provided a procedure that allowed a person who had been arrested to challenge the legality of his arrest or confinement, called the Writ of Habeus Corpus, or the Great Writ. The Act imposed strict penalties on judges who refused to issue a writ of habeus corpus when there was good cause, and on officers who refused to comply with the writ.
Prime Minister Robert Walpole's policy in dealing with the American colonies. He was primarily concerned with British affairs and believed that unrestricted trade in the colonies would be more profitable for England than would taxation of the colonies.
A philosophical movement which started in Europe in the 1700's and spread to the colonies. It emphasized reason and the scientific method. Writers of the enlightenment tended to focus on government, ethics, and science, rather than on imagination, emotions, or religion. Many members of the Enlightenment rejected traditional religious beliefs in favor of Deism, which holds that the world is run by natural laws without the direct intervention of God.
French and Indian War (1756-1763)
Part of the Seven Years' War in Europe. Britain and France fought for control of the Ohio Valley and Canada. The Algonquins, who feared British expansion into the Ohio Valley, allied with the French. The Mohawks also fought for the French while the rest of the Iroquois Nation allied with the British. The colonies fought under British commanders. Britain eventually won, and gained control of all of the remaining French possessions in Canada, as well as India. Spain, which had allied with France, ceeded Florida to Britain, but received Louisana in return.
Treaty of Paris, 1763
Treaty between Britain, France, and Spain, which ended the Seven Years War (and the French and Indian War). France lost Canada, the land east of the Mississippi, some Caribbean islands and India to Britain. France also gave New Orleans and the land west of the Mississippi to Spain, to compensate it for ceeding Florida to the British.
1763 - An Indian uprising after the French and Indian War, led by an Ottowa chief named Pontiac. They opposed British expansion into the western Ohio Valley and began destroying British forts in the area. The attacks ended when Pontiac was killed.
Proclamation of 1763
A proclamation from the British government which forbade British colonists from settling west of the Appalacian Mountains, and which required any settlers already living west of the mountains to move back east.
Writs of Assistance
Search warrants issued by the British government. They allowed officials to search houses and ships for smuggled goods, and to enlist colonials to help them search. The writs could be used anywhere, anytime, as often as desired. The officials did not need to prove that there was reasonable cause to believe that the person subject to the search had committed a crime or might have possession of contraband before getting a writ or searching a house. The writs were protested by the colonies.
Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
An American orator and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses who gave speeches against the British government and its policies urging the colonies to fight for independence. In connection with a petition to declare a "state of defense" in virginia in 1775, he gave his most famous speech which ends with the words, "Give me liberty or give me death." Henry served as Governor of Virginia from 1776-1779 and 1784-1786, and was instrumental in causing the Bill of Rights to be adopted as part of the U.S. Constitution.
Sons of Liberty
A radical political organization for colonial independence which formed in 1765 after the passage of the Stamp Act. They incited riots and burned the customs houses where the stamped British paper was kept. After the repeal of the Stamp Act, many of the local chapters formed the Committees of Correspondence which continued to promote opposition to British policies towards the colonies. The Sons leaders included Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.
Declatory Act, 1766
Passed at the same time that the Stamp Act was repealed, the Act declared that Parliament had the power to tax the colonies both internally and externally, and had absolute power over the colonial legislatures.
March 24, 1765 - Required the colonials to provide food, lodging, and supplies for the British troops in the colonies.
Boston Massacre, 1770
The colonials hated the British soldiers in the colonies because the worked for very low wages and took jobs away from colonists. On March 4, 1770, a group of colonials started throwing rocks and snowballs at some British soldiers; the soldiers panicked and fired their muskets, killing a few colonials. This outraged the colonies and increased anti-British sentiment.
Crispus Attucks (1723-1770)
He was one of the colonials involved in the Boston Massacre, and when the shooting started, he was the first to die. He became a martyr.
In June, 1772, the British customs ship Gaspée ran around off the colonial coast. When the British went ashore for help, colonials boarded the ship and burned it. They were sent to Britain for trial. Colonial outrage led to the widespread formation of Committees of Correspondence.
Committees of Correspondence
These started as groups of private citizens in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York who, in 1763, began circulating information about opposition to British trade measures. The first government-organized committee appeared in Massachusetts in 1764. Other colonies created their own committtees in order to exchange information and organize protests to British trade regulations. The Committees became particularly active following the Gaspee Incident.
Tea Act, East India Company
The Tea Act gave the East India Company a monopoly on the trade in tea, made it illegal for the colonies to buy non-British tea, and forced the colonies to pay the tea tax of 3 cents/pound.
Boston Tea Party, 1773
British ships carrying tea sailed into Boston Harbor and refused to leave until the colonials took their tea. Boston was boycotting the tea in protest of the Tea Act and would not let the ships bring the tea ashore. Finally, on the night of December 16, 1773, colonials disguised as Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea overboard. They did so because they were afraid that Governor Hutchinson would secretly unload the tea because he owned a share in the cargo.
Coercive Acts / Intolerable Acts / Repressive Acts
All of these names refer to the same acts, passed in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party, and which included the Boston Port Act, which shut down Boston Harbor; the Massachusetts Government Act, which disbanded the Boston Assembly (but it soon reinstated itself); the Quartering Act, which required the colony to provide provisions for British soldiers; and the Administration of Justice Act, which removed the power of colonial courts to arrest royal officers.
Boston Port Act
This was one of the Coercive Acts, which shut down Boston Harbor until Boston repaid the East India Company for the lost tea.
Quebec Act, First Continental Congress, 1774
The Quebec Act, passed by Parliament, alarmed the colonies because it recognized the Roman- Catholic Church in Quebec. Some colonials took it as a sign that Britain was planning to impose Catholicism upon the colonies. The First Continental Congress met to discuss their concerns over Parliament's dissoltions of the New York (for refusing to pay to quarter troops), Massachusetts (for the Boston Tea Party), and Virginia Assemblies. The First Continental Congress rejected the plan for a unified colonial government, stated grievances against the crown called the Declaration of Rights, resolved to prepare militias, and created the Continental Association to enforce a new non-importation agreement through Committees of Vigilence. In response, in February, 1775, Parliament declared the colonies to be in rebellion.