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mercantilism

an economic theory designed to increase a nation's wealth through the development of commercial industry and a favorable balance of trade.

separation of powers

A way of dividing the power of government among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, each staffed separately, with equality and independence of each branch ensured by the Constitution.

Albany Plan of Union*

..., Plan proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1754 that aimed to unite the 13 colonies for trade, military, and other purposes; the plan was turned down by the colonies and the Crown

Coercive Acts

(1774) Four punitive measures enacted by the British Parliament against the American colonies. Boston's harbour was closed until restitution was made for the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party; the Massachusetts colony's charter was annulled and a military governor installed; British officials charged with capital offenses could go to England for trial; and arrangement for housing British troops in American houses was revived. The Quebec Act added to these oppressive measures. The acts, called "intolerable" by the colonists, led to a convening of the Continental Congress.

French & Indian War

North American phase of a war between France and Britain to control colonial territory (1754-63). The war's more complex European phase was the Seven Years' War. Earlier phases of the quest for overseas mastery were King William's War (1689-97), Queen Anne's War (1702-13), and King George's War (1744-48). The North American dispute was whether the upper Ohio River valley was a part of the British empire or part of the French Empire; the bigger question was which national culture would dominate the heart of North America. British settlers were the majority in the coveted area, but French exploration, trade, and Indian alliances predominated. In 1754 the French ousted a British force, including a colonial militia under Col. George Washington, at Fort Necessity, Pa. Until 1757 the French continued to dominate, but in 1758 Britain increased aid to its troops and won victories at Louisbourg, Fort Frontenac, and Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh). The final British victory at the Battle of Quebec (1759) led to the fall of New France (1760). In the Treaty of Paris (1763) France ceded its North American territory to Britain.

Bill of Rights

a document containing a formal statement of rights <a patients' bill of rights>; specifically : a summary of fundamental rights and privileges guaranteed to a people against violation by the state —used especially of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution

confederation

Type of government where the national government derives its powers from the states; a league of independent states.

constitution

A document establishing the structure, functions, and limitations of a government.

Checks and Balances

A constitutionally mandated structure that gives each of the three branches of government some degree of oversight and control over the actions of the others.

federal system

System of government where the national government and state governments share power, derive all authority from the people, and the powers of the government are specified in a constitution.

enumerated powers

Seventeen specific powers granted to Congress under Article i, section 8, of the Constitution.

implied powers

Powers derived from the enumerated powers and the necessary and proper clause. These powers are not stated specifically but are considered to be reasonably implied through the exercise of delegated powers.

Treaty of Paris (1763)

(1763) Treaty concluding the Seven Years' War (including the French and Indian War). It was signed by Britain and Hanover on one side and France and Spain on the other. France renounced to Britain the mainland of North America east of the Mississippi, its conquests in India since 1749, and four West Indian islands. Britain restored to France four other West Indian islands and the West African colony of Gorée (Senegal). In return for recovering Havana and Manila, Spain ceded Florida to Britain and received Louisiana from the French.

Sugar Act

(1764) British legislation to raise revenue from North American colonies. A revision of the unenforced Molasses Act of 1733, it imposed new duties on sugar and molasses imported into the colonies from non-British Caribbean sources and provided for the seizure of cargoes violating the new rules. The act was the first attempt to recoup from the colonies the expenses of the French and Indian War and the cost of maintaining British troops in North America. The colonists objected to the act as taxation without representation, and some merchants agreed not to import British goods. Protests increased with passage of the Stamp Act.

Stamp Act

(1765) British parliamentary measure to tax the American colonies. To pay for costs resulting from the French and Indian War, the British sought to raise revenue through a stamp tax on printed matter. A common revenue device in England, the tax was vigorously opposed by the colonists, whose representatives had not been consulted. Colonists refused to use the stamps, and mobs intimidated stamp agents. The Stamp Act Congress, with representatives from nine colonies, met to petition Parliament to repeal the act. Faced with additional protests from British merchants whose exports had been reduced by colonial boycotts, Parliament repealed the act (1766), then passed the Declaratory Act.

Quartering Act

March 24, 1765 - Required the colonials to provide food, lodging, and supplies for the British troops in the colonies.

Patrick Henry

(born May 29, 1736, Studley, Va.—died June 6, 1799, Red Hill, near Brookneal, Va., U.S.) American Revolutionary leader. Admitted to the bar in 1760, he soon built a large and profitable practice. His skill as an orator was displayed in the Parson's Cause trial (1763). Elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1765, he opposed the Stamp Act; during the next decade he became a leader of the radical opposition to British rule. He was a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence and a delegate to the Continental Congress. At a Virginia assembly in 1775 he delivered his famous speech in defense of liberty, which concluded with the words "Give me liberty or give me death." He helped draft the state's first constitution in 1776 and was elected governor the same year (1776-79, 1784-86). As wartime governor, he ably supported Gen. George Washington; during his second term, he authorized the expedition of George Rogers Clark to invade the Illinois country. In 1788 he opposed ratification of the U.S. Constitution, which he felt did not sufficiently secure the rights of states and individuals. He was later instrumental in the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

Samuel Adams

(born Sept. 27, 1722, Boston, Mass.—died Oct. 2, 1803, Boston, Mass., U.S.) American Revolutionary leader. A cousin of John Adams, he graduated from Harvard College in 1740 and briefly practiced law. He became a strong opponent of British taxation measures and organized resistance to the Stamp Act. He was a member of the state legislature (1765-74), and in 1772 he helped found the Committees of Correspondence. He influenced reaction to the Tea Act of 1773, organized the Boston Tea Party, and led opposition to the Intolerable Acts. A delegate to the Continental Congress (1774-81), he continued to call for separation from Britain and signed the Declaration of Independence. He helped draft the Massachusetts constitution in 1780 and served as the state's governor (1794-97).

Stamp Act Congress

A meeting of delegations from many of the colonies, the congress was formed to protest the newly passed Stamp Act. It adopted a declaration of rights as well as sent letters of complaints to the king and parliament, and it showed signs of colonial unity and organized resistance.

Boston Massacre

Skirmish on March 5, 1770, between British troops and a crowd in Boston. After provocation by the colonists, British soldiers fired on the mob and killed five men, including Crispus Attucks. The incident was widely publicized by Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and others as a battle for American liberty, and it contributed to the unpopularity of the British in the years before the American Revolution.

Committees of Correspondence

Groups appointed by the legislatures of all 13 American colonies to provide a means of intercolonial communication. The first standing group was formed by Samuel Adams in Boston (1772), and within three months 80 others were formed in Massachusetts. In 1773 Virginia organized a committee with 11 members, including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. The committees were instrumental in promoting colonial unity and in summoning the First Continental Congress in 1774.

Tea Act

(1773) British legislation giving a tea monopoly in the American colonies to the British East India Co. It adjusted the duty regulations to allow the failing company to sell its large tea surplus below the prices charged by colonial competitors. The act was opposed by colonists as another example of taxation without representation. Resistance to the act resulted in the Boston Tea Party.

Boston Tea Party

Incident on Dec. 16, 1773, in which American patriots dressed as Indians threw 342 chests of tea from three British ships into Boston Harbour. Their leader was Samuel Adams. The action was taken to prevent the payment of a British-imposed tax on tea and to protest the British monopoly of the colonial tea trade authorized by the Tea Act. In retaliation, Parliament passed the punitive Intolerable Acts, which further united the colonies in their opposition to the British.

First Continental Congress

The First Continental Congress convened on September 5, 1774, to protest the Intolerable Acts. The congress endorsed the Suffolk Resolves, voted for a boycott of British imports, and sent a petition to King George III, conceding to Parliament the power of regulation of commerce but stringently objecting to its arbitrary taxation and unfair judicial system.

Second Continental Congress

Convened in May 1775, the Congress opposed the drastic move toward complete independence from Britain. In an effort to reach a reconciliation, the Congress offered peace under the conditions that there be a cease-fire in Boston, that the Coercive Acts be repealed, and that negotiations begin immediately. King George III rejected the petition.

Shot heard 'round the World

This was a metaphor because the first shot was not heard around the world. This means that as soon as we started our own rebellion other countries were inspired to become independent themselves. The first shot fired of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord when a group of armed minutemen confronted a British column.

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). It was rejected by Parliament, which in December 1775 passed the American Prohibitory Act forbidding all further trade with the colonies.

Common Sense

a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that criticized monarchies and convinced many American colonists of the need to break away from Britain

Declaration of Independence

(July 4, 1776) Document approved by the Continental Congress that announced the separation of 13 North American British colonies from Britain. The armed conflict during the American Revolution gradually convinced the colonists that separation from Britain was essential. Several colonies instructed their delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence. On June 7, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution for independence. The congress appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to draft a declaration. Jefferson was persuaded to write the draft, which was presented with few changes on June 28. It began with a declaration of individual rights and then listed the acts of tyranny by George III that formed the justification for seeking independence. After debate and changes to accommodate regional interests, including deletion of a condemnation of slavery, it was approved on July 4 as "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America." It was signed by Congress president John Hancock, printed, and read aloud to a crowd assembled outside, then engrossed (written in script) on parchment and signed by the 56 delegates.

Articles of Confederation

Early U.S. constitution (1781-89) under the government by the Continental Congress, replaced in 1787 by the U.S. Constitution. It provided for a confederation of sovereign states and gave the Congress power to regulate foreign affairs, war, and the postal service, to control Indian affairs, and to borrow money. Under the Articles, Congress settled state claims to western lands and established the Northwest Ordinances. But Congress had no power to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops, and by late 1786 the government had ceased to be effective, as was demonstrated by Shays's Rebellion (1786-87) against courts that had been enforcing seizures of property for debt. Delegates to the Annapolis Convention called a meeting of all the states to amend the Articles.

Shays' Rebellion

(1786-87) Uprising in western Massachusetts. In a period of economic depression and land seizures for debt collection, several hundred farmers led by Daniel Shays (1747?-1825), who had served as a captain in the Revolutionary army, marched on the state supreme court in Springfield, preventing it from carrying out foreclosures and debt collection. Shays then led about 1,200 men in an attack on the nearby federal arsenal, but they were repulsed by troops under Benjamin Lincoln. As a result of the uprising, the state enacted laws easing the economic condition of debtors.

Framers

Group of delegates who drafted the United States Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787

Virginia Plan

The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for representation of each state in Congress in proportion to that state's share of the U.S. population.

New Jersey Plan

Opposite of the Virginia Plan, it proposed a single-chamber congress in which each state had one vote. This created a conflict with representation between bigger states, who wanted control befitting their population, and smaller states, who didn't want to be bullied by larger states.

Great Compromise

Popular term for the measure, which reconciled the New Jersey and Virginia plans at the constitutional convention, giving states proportional representation in the House and equal representation in the Senate. The compromise broke the stalemate at the convention and paved the way for subsequent compromises over slavery and the Electoral College.

Commerce and Slave

An agreement during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 protecting the interests of slaveholders by forbidding Congress the power to tax the export of goods from any State, and, for 20 years, the power to act on the slave trade.

Trade Compromise*

Federal regulations of interstate (between states) and international trade, State regulation of intrastate (within states) trade, No export duties to be passed for 20 years, No ban on slave trade for 20 years.

Three-Fifths Compromise

Determined that each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of apportioning taxes and representation. The compromise granted disproportionate political power to Southern slave states.

Elastic Clause

the part of the Constitution that permits Congress to make any laws "necessary and proper" to carrying out its powers

Full Faith and Credit

A clause in Article IV, Section 1, of the Constitution requiring each state to recognize the official documents and civil judgments rendered by the courts of other states.

Supremacy Clause

The supremacy clause is the section of the United States Constitution stating that the constitution is the "supreme law of the land," and no other laws will supersede it. The clause was a departure from the previous federal system in the United States, which was enacted under the Articles of the Confederation. That system included a weak federal government, and was later found to be impractical, which led to the development of the United States Constitution and the inclusion of this clause.

Federalists

supporters of the U.S. Constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption

Anti-Federalists

U.S. leaders who opposed the strong central government envisioned in the Constitution of the United States of 1787. Their agitation led to the creation of the Bill of Rights. While admitting the need for changes in the Articles of Confederation, they feared that a strong federal government would infringe on states' rights. The group's adherents, including George Mason, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, and George Clinton, were as numerous as the members of the Federalist Party, but their influence was weak in urban areas, and only Rhode Island and North Carolina voted against ratification of the Constitution. Anti-Federalists were powerful during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, when they formed the nucleus of what later became the Democratic Party.

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