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Writs of Assistance

Search warrants issued by the British government that allowed officials to search houses and ships for smuggled goods. 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

James Otis

A colonial lawyer who defended colonial merchants who were accused of smuggling; argued against the writs of assistance and the Stamp Act

Paxton Boys

A mob of Pennsylvania frontiersmen who massacred a group of non-hostile Indians

Stamp Act

Required that all legal or official documents used in the colonies, such as wills, deeds and contracts, had to be written on special British paper. It was so unpopular in the colonies that it caused riots, and most of the paper sent to the colonies from Britain was burned by angry mobs. Because of this opposition, and the decline in British imports, it was repealed in 1766

Stamp Act Congress

27 delegates from 9 colonies met from October 7-24, 1765 and drew up a list of declarations and petitions against the new taxes imposed on the colonies

Patrick Henry

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; served as Governor of Virginia, and was instrumental in causing the Bill of Rights to be adopted as part of the U.S. Constitution; "Give me liberty or give me death."

Sons of Liberty

a radical political organization for colonial independence which formed after the passage of the Stamp Act; incited riots and burned the customs houses where the stamped British paper was kept; leaders included Samuel Adams and Paul Revere

Declaratory Act of 1766

declared that Parliament had the power to tax the colonies both internally and externally, and also had absolute power over the colonial legislatures

Quartering Act

required the colonials to provide food, lodging, and supplies for the British troops in the colonies

Townshend Acts

taxed quasi-luxury items imported into the colonies, including paper, lead, tea, and paint; the colonial reaction was outrage and they instituted another movement to stop importing British goods

Massachusetts Circular Letter

circulated through the colonies in February, 1768; urged the colonies not to import goods taxed by the Townshend Acts

Sam Adams

a Massachusetts politician who was a radical fighter for colonial independence; helped organize the Sons of Liberty and the Non-Importation Commission, which protested the Townshend Acts; believed to have lead the Boston Tea Party; served in the Continental Congress throughout the Revolution; served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1794-1797

Boston Massacre

the colonists hated the British soldiers in the colonies because they worked for very low wages and took jobs away from colonists; On March 4, 1770, a group of colonists started throwing rocks and snowballs at some British soldiers; the soldiers panicked and fired their muskets, killing a few colonists. This outraged the colonies and increased anti-British sentiment

Gaspee Incident

in June 1772, a British customs ship 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 and colonial outrage led to increased use of Committees of Correspondence

Thomas Hutchinson

a supporter of Parliament's right to tax the colonies; his home had been burned by a mob during the Stamp Acts riots in 1765; refused to comply with demands to prohibit an East India Company ship from unloading its cargo; fled to England, where he spent the rest of his life

Committees of Correspondence

groups of private citizens in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York who began circulating information about opposition to British trade measures; the first government-organized committee appeared in Massachusetts in 1764, but other colonies created their own committees in order to exchange information and organize protests to British trade regulations

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

British ships carrying tea sailed into Boston Harbor and refused to leave until the colonists 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, colonists disguised as Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea overboard

Intolerable Acts

passed in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party; included the Boston Port Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, the Quartering Act, and the Administration of Justice Act

Boston Port Act

shut down Boston Harbor until Boston repaid the East India Company for the lost tea

Massachusetts Government Act

said that members of the Massachusetts assembly would no longer be elected and instead would be appointed by the king; in response, the colonists elected their own legislature which met in the interior of the colony

1st Continental Congress

met to discuss their concerns over Parliament's dissolutions of the New York (for refusing to pay to quarter troops), Massachusetts (for the Boston Tea Party), and Virginia Assemblies; 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 Vigilance; in response, Parliament declared the colonies to be in rebellion

Suffolk Resolves

agreed to by delegates from a county in Massachusetts and approved by the First Continental Congress, this nullified the Coercive(Intolerable) Acts, closed royal courts, ordered taxes to be paid to colonial governments instead of the royal government, and prepared local militias

Olive Branch Petition

on July 8, 1775, the colonies made a final offer of peace to Britain, agreeing to be loyal to the British government if it addressed their grievances (repealed the Coercive Acts, ended the taxation without representation policies) but it was rejected by Parliament, which in turn passed the American Prohibitory Act forbidding all further trade with the colonies

Thomas Paine

a British citizen who wrote Common Sense to encourage the colonies to seek independence. His literature spoke out against the unfair treatment of the colonies by the British government and was instrumental in turning public opinion in favor of the Revolution

Richard Henry Lee's Resolution of June 7, 1776

stated that the colonies should be independent and sever all political ties with Britain; adopted by Congress and was the first step towards independence

Quock Walker Case

helped end slavery in Massachusetts

John Adams

a Massachusetts attorney and politician who was a strong believer in colonial independence; argued against the Stamp Act and was involved in various patriot groups; as a delegate from Massachusetts, he urged the Second Continental Congress to declare independence and helped draft and pass the Declaration of Independence; later served as the second President of the US

Mercy Otis Warren

a 19th century American historian who wrote a 3-volume history of the American Revolution

Edmund Burke

a conservative British politician who was generally sympathetic to the colonists' grievances and felt that Britain's colonial policies were misguided; also opposed the early feminist movements. He once said, "A woman is but an animal, and not an animal of the highest order."

French Alliance of 1778

the colonies needed help from Europe in their war against Britain. France was Britain's rival and hoped to weaken the British by causing them to lose the American colonies. The French were persuaded to support the colonists by news of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga

George Rogers Clarke

frontiersman who helped remove the Indians from the Illinois territory in May, 1798

Lafayette

a French major general who aided the colonies during the Revolutionary War. He and Baron von Steuben (a Prussian general) were the two major foreign military experts who helped train the colonial armies

Treaty of Paris 1783

ended the Revolutionary War, recognized the independence of the American colonies, and granted the colonies the territory from the southern border of Canada to the northern border of Florida, and from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River

Primogeniture

the right of inheritance belongs exclusively to the eldest son

Newburgh Conspiracy

officers of the Continental Army had long gone without pay so they met in New York to address Congress about their pay. Unfortunately, the American government had little money after the Revolutionary War. They also considered staging a coup and seizing control of the new government, but the plotting ceased when George Washington refused to support the plan

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