Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

Republicanism

Idea that a just society as one in which all citizens willingly subordinated their private, selfish interests to the common good. Therefore, the stability of society and the authority of government depended on the virtue citizenry. This mid-eighteenth century idea was opposed to hierarchical and authoritarian institutions such as aristocracy and monarchy.

"Radical Whigs"

Derived from a group of British political commentators, this idea feared the threat to liberty posed by the arbitrary power of the monarch and his ministers relative to elected representatives in Parliament. The Whigs attacked the use of patronage and bribes by the king's ministers- "corruption". The Whigs warned citizens to be aware against corruption and to be eternally vigilant against possible conspiracies which would alter their liberties.

Mercantilism

The belief that wealth was power and that a country's economic wealth (military and political power) could be measured by the amount of gold or silver in its treasury. In order to obtain gold and silver, a country needed to export more than it imported. Parliament passed laws to regulate the mercantilist system (Navigation Laws).

Navigation Laws 1650

The first laws to regulate the mercantilist system by Parliament. This law was aimed at rival Dutch shippers trying to elbow their way into the American carrying trade. Ultimately all commerce flowing to and from the colonies could be transported only in British vessels. Merchants must ship certain "enumerated" products exclusively to Britain, even if prices were better elsewhere. Loosely enforced, therefore no intolerable burden.

George Greenville

Prime Minister of Britain, who aroused the resentment of the colonist in 1763 by ordering the British navy to begin strictly enforcing the Navigation Laws. He also secured from Parliament the Sugar Act of 1764, the first law ever passed by that body for raising tax revenue in the colonies for the crown. He imposed the stamp tax, to raise revenues to support the new military force.

Sugar Act of 1764

The first law passes by Parliament for raising tax revenue in the colonies for the crown. It increased the duty on foreign sugar imported from the West Indies.

Quartering Act of 1765

Act that kept colonial resentment on the crown. This measure required certain colonies to provide food and quarters for British troops.

Stamp Act of 1765

Imposed by Greenville to raise revenues to support the new military force. It mandated the use of stamped paper or the affixing of stamps, certifying payment of tax. Stamps were required on bills, commercial and legal documents, payment cards, pamphlets, newspapers, diplomas, bills of lading, and marriage licenses. The colonists were angrily aroused, which they regarded as Grenville's fiscal aggression.

Admiralty Courts

British courts that tried involving smuggling or violations of the Navigation Acts, which the British government sometimes abused when trying American criminals in the colonies. Trials were heard by judges without juries. The burden of proof was on the defendants, who were assumed to be guilty until proven innocent.

Virtual Representation

The theory created by Grenville, claiming that every member of Parliament represented all British subjects, even those Americans in Boston or Charleston who had never voted for a member of Parliament. The Americans scoffed at this notion, because they did not want direct representation in Parliament.

Stamp Act Congress of 1765

The most conspicuous assemblage of colonial outcries against the hated stamp tax. It brought together in New York City twenty-seven distinguished delegates from nine colonies. This congress was largely ignored in England and made little significance in America. It brought sectional suspicions, for it brought together around the same table leaders from different and rival colonies. It was a halting and significant step toward intercolonial unity.

Non-Importation Agreements

Widespread adoption of non-importation agreements against British goods. They were a promising stride toward union and spontaneously united the American people for the first time in common action. This gave ordinary American men and women new opportunities to participate in colonial protests.

Sons and Daughters of Liberty

Ardent spirits, who took the the law into their own hands. Crying "Liberty, Property and No Stamps," they enforced the nonimportation agreements against violators. These patriotic mobs ransacked the house of unpopular officials, confiscated their money and hanged effigies of stamp agents on liberty poles.

Declaratory Act of 1766

Provocatively passed after the withdraw of the Stamp Act. It reaffirmed Parliament's right "to blind" the colonies "in all case whatsoever." The British government defined the constitutional principle of absolute and unqualified sovereignty over its North American colonists.

Townshend Acts of 1767

"Champagne Charley" Townshed, Persuaded Parliament to pass this act in 1767. A light import duty on glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea became the most important of these new regulations. It was an indirect customs duty payable at American ports. Difficulty remained in taxes, without representation.

Crispus Attucks

One of the first innocent black laborer would died during the Boston Massacre in March, 1770. He was described by contemporaries as a powerfully built runaway "mulatto" and as a leader of the American mob. Killed by the British soldiers.

Samuel Adams

(1772-1803) Master propagandist and engineer of rebellion who contributed a potent pen and tongue to the American Revolution as a political agitator and organizer of the American Revolution. He was the leading spirit in hoisting the Boston Tea Party. A failure in the brewing business, he was sent to the First Continental Congress of 1774. He signed the Declaration of Independence and served in Congress until 1781. His signal contribution was to organize in Massachusetts the local committees of correspondence.

Committees of Correspondence

Organized by Samuel Adams, to spread the spirit of resistance by interchanging letters, therefore keeping alive opposition to British policy. Eventually, every colony had established a central committee through which it could exchange ideas and information with other colonies. They evolved directly into the first American congress.

British East India Company

(1773) This powerful company, overburdened with 17 million pounds of unsold tea, began to face bankruptcy. In order to avoid losing tax revenue, the ministry decided to assist the company by awarding it a complete monopoly of the American tea business. Therefore, it was able to sell the coveted leaves more cheaply than ever before, even with the three-pence tax. This was greatly refused by American colonists.

Thomas Hutchinson

Massachusetts governor who received the fury from the American mob, when Stamp Act protesters destroyed his home in 1765. He agreed that the tea tax was unjust, but that the colonists had no right to flout the law. He infuriated Boston's radicals when he ordered the tea ships to unload their cargoes in Boston harbors. He fled to Britain, never to return.

Boston Tea Party

(1773) Crying "Boston harbor a teapot this nights," Sons of Liberty disguised as Indians hurled chests of teas into the sea to protest the tax on tea, and to insure that its cheap price did not prove an "invincible temptation" to the people.

Intolerable Acts

The response of the irate Parliament to the Boston Tea Party. These acts were designed to chastise Boston. Many of the chartered rights of colonial Massachusetts were taken away.

Boston Port Act

The most dramatic Intolerable Act, which closed the tea-stained harbor until damages were paid and order could be ensured. Restrictions were placed on town meetings. And enforcing officials who killed a colonist could be sent to Britain for trial.

Quebec Act

(1774) Passes at the same time as the "Intolerable Acts." It was erroneously regarded in English-speaking America as part of British reaction to the turbulence in Boston. A good law in bad company. The French were guaranteed their Catholic religion, and permitted to retain many of their old customs and institutions. The old boundaries of the province of Quebec was not extended southward to the Ohio River. Had a wider range than other Massachusetts based acts.

First Continental Congress

(1774) A consultative body- a convention rather than a congress. It was he the most memorable response to the "Intolerable Acts." Dignified paper included a ringing Declaration of Rights, as well as solemn appeals to other British American colonies, to the king, and to the British people. Their most significant action was the creation of The Association.

The Association

The most significant action of the Congress. It called for a complete boycott of British goods: nonimportation agreements, nonexportation and nonconsumption. The sought to repeal the offensive legislation and return to the joyful days before parliamentary taxation.

"Minute Men"

Rapidly mobilized colonial militiamen who refused to disperse, which sparked the first battle of the Revolution. Shots were fired and killed eight Americans and wounded several more. It was more a "Lexington Massacre" than a battle.

Hessians

German soldiers hired by George III to destroy Colonial rebellion. It proved to be good in mechanical sense, however concern for money, rather that duty was more important.

Marquis de Lafayette

A wealthy, young French nobleman who volunteered his sword for payment. He gave America military service and $200,000 of his private funds, He returned to France after the American Revolution to play a conspicuous role in the French Revolution.

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again

Example:

Reload the page to try again!

Reload

Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording

Create Set