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.
A Pilgrim, the second governor of the Plymouth colony, 1621-1657. He developed private land ownership and helped colonists get out of debt. He helped the colony survive droughts, crop failures, and Indian attacks.
Separatists who believed that the Church of England could not be reformed. Separatist groups were illegal in England, so these people fled to America and settled in Plymouth.
Non-separatists who wished to adopt reforms to purify the Church of England. They received a right to settle in the Massachusetts Bay area from the King of England.
Massachusetts Bay Colony
1629 - King Charles gave the Puritans a right to settle and govern a colony in the Massachusetts Bay area. This colony established political freedom and a representative government.
1629 - The Puritan stockholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company agreed to emigrate to New England on the condition that they would have control of the government of the colony.
Church of England (Anglican Church)
The national church of England, founded by King Henry VIII. It included both Roman Catholic and Protestant ideas.
John Winthrop (1588-1649)
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.
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). They supported constitutional representative government and the separation of church and state.
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.
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.
This covenant applied to those members of the Puritan colonies who were the children of church members, but who hadn't achieved grace themselves. The covenant allowed them to participate in some church affairs.
Clergyman, one of the founders of Hartford. Called "the father of American democracy" because he said that people have a right to choose their magistrates.
Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
Set up a unified government for the towns of the Connecticut area (Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield). First constitution written in America.
New England Confederation
1643 - Formed to provide for the defense of the four New England colonies, and also acted as a court in disputes between colonies.
King Philip's War
1675 - A series of battles in New Hampshire between the colonists and the Wampanowogs, 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.
Dominion of New England
The British government combined the colonies of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut into a single province headed by a royal governor (Andros). This ended in 1692, when the colonists revolted and drove out Governor Andros.
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
Formed by a 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 Company eventually went bankrupt and the colony went to the crown. It did not become a successful colony until the colonists started raising and exporting tobacco.
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.
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.
House of Burgesses
1619 - the first legislative body in colonial America. Later other colonies would adopt houses of burgesses.
In the English Civil War (1642-1647), these were the troops loyal to Charles II. Their opponents were the Roundheads, loyal to Parliament and Oliver Cromwell.
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.
Georgia: reasons, successes
1733 - 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.
Founder and governor of the Georgia colony. He ran a tightly-disciplined, military-like colony. Slaves, alcohol, and Catholicism were forbidden in his colony. Many colonists felt that he was a dictator, and that (along with the colonist's dissatisfaction over not being allowed to own slaves) caused the colony to break down and him to lose his position as governor.
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 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.
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.
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. This colony allowed religious freedom.
William Penn's term for the government of Pennsylvania, which was supposed to serve everyone and provide freedom for all.
It belonged to the Dutch, but King Charles II gave the land to his brother, the Duke of York in 1664. When the British came to take the colony, the Dutch, who hated their Governor Stuyvesant, quickly surrendered to them. The Dutch retook the colony in 1673, but the British regained it in 1674.
The governor of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, hated by the colonists. They surrendered the colony to the English on Sept. 8, 1664.
The federation of tribes occupying northern New York: the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Senecca, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. The federation was also known as the "Iriquois," although in about 1720 the Tuscarora tribe was added as a sixth member. It was the most powerful and efficient North American Indian organization during the 1700s. Some of the ideas from its constitution were used in the Constitution of the United States.
Crops Produced in the Middle Colonies
The middle colonies produced staple crops, primarily grain and corn.
Printer, author, inventor, diplomat, statesman, and Founding Father. One of the few Americans who was highly respected in Europe, primarily due to his discoveries in the field of electricity.
America's first botanist; traveled through the frontier collecting specimens.
Great Awakening (1739-1744)
Puritanism had declined by the 1730s, and people were upset about the decline in religious piety. A sudden outbreak of religious fervor that swept through the colonies. One of the first events to unify the colonies.
Credited with starting the Great Awakening, also a leader of the "New Lights."
A strong Presbyterian minister and leader during the Great Awakening. Founded a college for the training of Presbyterian ministers in 1726.
The established congregational church.
New religious movements formed during the Great Awakening and broke away from the congregational church in New England.
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.
: features, rationale, impact on Great Britain, impact on the colonies
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.
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 these were heard by judges without a jury.
The backbone of New England's economy during the colonial period. Ships from New England sailed first to Africa, exchanging New England rum for slaves. The slaves were shipped from Africa to the Caribbean (this was known as the Middle Passage, when many slaves died on the ships). In the Caribbean, the slaves were traded for sugar and molasses. Then the ships returned to New England, where the molasses were used to make rum.
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.
Currency Act, 1751
This act applied only to Massachusetts. It was an attempt to ban the production of paper money in Massachusetts, but it was defeated in Parliament.
Currency Act, 1764
This act applied to all of the colonies. It banned the production of paper money in the colonies in an effort to combat the inflation caused by Virginia's decision to get itself out of debt by issuing more paper money.
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. Required that a man's real property pass in its entirety to his oldest son. Entail required 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, they would serve that person for a set length of time (usually seven years) and then would be free.
Petition of Right, 1628
A document drawn up by Parliament's House of Commons listing grievances against King Charles I and extending Parliament's powers while limiting the king's. It gave Parliament authority over taxation, declared that free citizens could not be arrested without cause, declared that soldiers could not be quartered in private homes without compensation, and said that martial law cannot be declared during peacetime.
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. The Act imposed strict penalties on judges who refused to issue this writ when there was good cause, and on officers who refused to comply with the writ
Bill of Rights, 1689
Drawn up by Parliament and presented to King William II and Queen Mary, it listed certain rights of the British people. It also limited the king's powers in taxing and prohibited the maintenance of a standing army in peacetime.
Prime minister of Great Britain in the first half of the 1700s. His position towards the colonies was salutary neglect.
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 this time tended to focus on government, ethics, and science, rather than on imagination, emotions, or religion. Many members of this time rejected traditional religious beliefs in favor of Deism, which holds that the world is run by natural laws without the direct intervention of God.
Virtual vs. Actual representation
Virtual representation means that a representative is not elected by his constituents, but he resembles them in his political beliefs and goals. Actual representation mean that a representative is elected by his constituents. The colonies only had virtual representation in the British government.
Rise of the Lower House
Most of the colonial legislatures had two houses: a lower house elected by the people of the colony and an upper house appointed by the governor. Over time, the lower house became more powerful because it reflected the needs and desires of the people, while the upper house was merely a figurehead.
Proprietary, charter, and royal colonies
Proprietary colonies were founded by a proprietary company or individual and were controlled by the proprietor. Charter colonies were founded by a government charter granted to a company or a group of people. The British government had some control over charter colonies. Royal (or crown) colonies were formed by the king, so the government had total control over them.
A purely democratic form of government common in the colonies, and the most prevalent form of local government in New England. In general, the town's voting population would meet once a year to elect officers, levy taxes, and pass laws.
John Peter Zenger trial
Zenger published articles critical of British governor William Cosby. He was taken to trial, but found not guilty. The trial set a precedent for freedom of the press in the colonies.
Glorious Revolution, 1688
King James II's policies, such as converting to Catholicism, conducting a series of repressive trials known as the "Bloody Assizes," and maintaining a standing army, so outraged the people of England that Parliament asked him to resign and invited King William of the Netherlands (who became known as William II in England), to take over the throne. King James II left peacefully (after his troops deserted him) and King William II and his wife Queen Mary II took the throne without any war or bloodshed, hence the revolution was termed "glorious."
John Locke's Theories
Locke was an English political philosopher whose ideas inspired the American revolution. He wrote that all human beings have a right to life, liberty, and property, and that governments exist to protect those rights. He believed that government was based upon an unwritten "social contract" between the rulers and their people, and if the government failed to uphold its end of the contract, the people had a right to rebel and institute a new government.
Differences between French and British colonization
The British settled mainly along the coast, where they started farms, towns, and governments. As a general rule, whole families emigrated. The British colonies had little interaction with the local Indians (aside from occasional fighting). The French colonized the interior, where they controlled the fur trade. Most of the French immigrants were single men, and there were few towns and only loose governmental authority. The French lived closely with the Indians, trading with them for furs and sometimes taking Indian wives.
Queen Anne's War, 1702-1713
The second of the four wars known generally as the French and Indian Wars, it arose out of issues left unresolved by King Williams' War (1689-1697) and was part of a larger European conflict known as the War of the Spanish Succession. Britain, allied with the Netherlands, defeated France and Spain to gain territory in Canada, even though the British had suffered defeats in most of their military operations in North America.
Peace of Utrecht, 1713
Ended Queen Anne's War. Undermined France's power in North America by giving Britain the Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia.
King George's War (1744-1748)
Land squabble between France and Britain. France tried to retake Nova Scotia (which it had lost to Britain in Queen Anne's War). The war ended with a treaty restoring the status quo, so that Britain kept Nova Scotia).
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.
Albany Plan of Union
During the French and Indian War, Franklin wrote this proposal for a unified colonial government, which would operate under the authority of the British government.
British commander in the French and Indian War. He was killed and his army defeated in a battle at the intersection of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers, known as the Battle of Fallen Timbers. After his death, his colonial second-in-command, Col. George Washington, temporarily lead the British forces.
Fort Pitt, Fort Duquesne
Fort Duquesne became one of the principal French outposts in the northern Ohio Valley, and, in 1754 the French troops in Fort Dusquesne destroyed nearby British Fort Necessity, after Washington and the colonial army surrendered it to them. The British rebuilt Fort Necessity as Fort Pitt in 1758.
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 ceding 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 Appalachian 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.
As Prime Minister, he passed the Sugar Act in 1764 and the Stamp Act in 1765 to help finance the cost of maintaining a standing force of British troops in the colonies. He believed in reducing the financial burden on the British by enacting new taxes in the colonies.
Sugar Act, 1764
Part of Prime Minister Grenville's revenue program, the act replaced the Molasses Act of 1733, and actually lowered the tax on sugar and molasses (which the New England colonies imported to make rum as part of the triangular trade) from 6 cents to 3 cents a barrel, but for the first time adopted provisions that would insure that the tax was strictly enforced; created the vice-admiralty courts; and made it illegal for the colonies to buy goods from non-British Caribbean colonies.
March 22, 1765 - British legislation passed as part of Prime Minister Grenville's revenue measures which required that all legal or official documents used in the colonies, such as wills, deeds and contracts, had to be written on special, stamped British paper. It was so unpopular in the colonies that it caused riots, and most of the stamped paper sent to the colonies from Britain was burned by angry mobs. Because of this opposition, and the decline in British imports caused by the non- importation movement, London merchants convinced Parliament to repeal the Act in 1766.
May 30, 1765 - Patrick Henry's speech which condemned the British government for its taxes and other policies. He proposed 7 "resolves" to show Virginia's resisitence to the British policies, 5 of which were adopted by the Virginia legislature. 8 other colonies followed suit and had adopted similar resolves by the end of 1765.
Stamp Act Congress, 1765
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 (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.
Taxes which arose out of activities that occurred "internally" within the colonies. The Stamp Act was considered an internal tax, because it taxed the colonists on legal transactions they undertook locally. Many colonists and Englishmen felt that Parliament did not have the authority to levy internal taxes on the colonies.
Taxes arose out of activities that originated outside of the colonies, such as cusotms duties. The Sugar Act was considered an external tax, because it only operated on goods imported into the colonies from overseas. Many colonists who objected to Parliament's "internal" taxes on the colonies felt that Parliament had the authority to levy external taxes on imported goods.
Declaratory 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.
Drafted a declaration of colonial rights and grievances, and also wrote the series of "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" in 1767 to protest the Townshend Acts. Although an outspoken critic of British policies towards the colonies, Dickinson opposed the Revolution, and, as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776, refused to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Massachusetts Circular Letter
A letter written in Boston and circulated through the colonies in February, 1768, which urged the colonies not to import goods taxed by the Townshend Acts. Boston, New York, and Philadelphia agreed to non-importation. It was followed by the Virginia Circular Letter in May, 1768. Parliament ordered all colonial legislatures which did not rescind the circular letters dissolved.
Sam Adams (1722-1803)
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, and is believed to have lead the Boston Tea Party. He served in the Continental Congress throughout the Revolution, and served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1794-1797.
A military organization formed by Benjamin Franklin which formed fighting units in Pennsylvania and erected two batteries on the Delaware River.
Repeal of the Townshend Acts, except tax on tea
1770 - Prime Minister Lord North repealed the Townshend Acts, except for the tax on tea.
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.
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. He helped draft and pass the Declaration of Independence. Adams later served as the second President of the United States.
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.
This 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.
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.
Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1774
General Gage, stationed in Boston, was ordered by King George III to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The British marched on Lexington, where they believed the colonials had a cache of weapons. The colonial militias, warned beforehand by Paul Revere and William Dawes, attempeted to block the progress of the troops and were fired on by the British at Lexington. The British continued to Concord, where they believed Adams and Hancock were hiding, and they were again attacked by the colonial militia. As the British retreated to Boston, the colonials continued to shoot at them from behind cover on the sides of the road. This was the start of the Revolutionary War.
Paul Revere, William Dawes
They rode through the countryside warning local militias of the approach of the British troops prior to the Battles of Lexington and Concord, although Revere was detained by the British shortly after setting out, and never completed his portion of the planned ride. Thanks to the advance warning, the militias were able to take the British by surprise.
Second Continental Congress
It met in 1776 and drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence, which justified the Revolutionary War and declared that the colonies should be independent of Britain.
He had led troops (rather unsuccessfully) during the French and Indian War, and had surrendered Fort Necessity to the French. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and was much more successful in this second command.
Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed's Hill)
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the British troops were based in Boston. The British army had begun to fortify the Dorchester Heights near Boston, and so the Continental Army fortified Breed's Hill, north of Boston, to counter the British plan. British general Gage led two unsuccessful attempts to take this hill, before he finally seized it with the third assault. The British suffered heavy losses and lost any hope for a quick victory against the colonies. Although the battle centered around Breed's Hill, it was mistakenly named for nearby Bunker Hill.
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.
A British citizen, he wrote Common Sense, published on January 1, 1776, to encourage the colonies to seek independence. It 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.
John Locke's Second Treatise of Government
He wrote that all human beings have a right to life, liberty, and property and that governments exist to protect those rights. He rejected the theory of the Divine Right of the monarchy, and believed that government was based upon a "social contract" that existed between a government and its people. If the government failed to uphold its end of the contract by protecting those rights, the people could rebel and institute a new government.
Richard Henry Lee's Resolution of June 7, 1776
Stated that the colonies should be independent and sever all political ties with Britain. It was adopted by Congress and was the first step towards independence.
He was a delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States.
The Declaration of Independence
Signed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4. It dissolved the colonies' ties with Britain, listed grievances against King George III, and declared the colonies to be an independent nation.
Wife of John Adams. During the Revolutionary War, she wrote letters to her husband describing life on the homefront. She urged her husband to remember America's women in the new government he was helping to create.
Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
A conservative British politician who was generally sympathetic to the colonists' greivances, and who felt that Britain's colonial policies were misguided. He also opposed the early feminist movements. He once said, "A woman is but an animal, and not an animal of the highest order."
He had been a Colonel in the Connecticut militia at the outbreak of the Revolution and soon became a General in the Continental Army. He won key victories for the colonies in the battles in upstate New York in 1777, and was instrumental in General Gates victory over the British at Saratoga. After becoming Commander of Philadelphia in 1778, he went heavily into debt, and in 1780, he was caught plotting to surrender the key Hudson River fortress of West Point to the British in exchange for a commission in the royal army. He is the most famous traitor in American history.
French Alliance of 1778
The colonies needed help from Europe in their war against Britain. France was Britain's rival and hoped to weaken Britain by causing her to lose the American colonies. The French were persuaded to support the colonists by news of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga.
Treaty of Paris, 1783
This treaty 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.
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay
They were the American delegates who signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
Articles of Confederation: powers, weaknesses, successes
Delegated most of the powers (the power to tax, to regulate trade, and to draft troops) to the individual states, but left the federal government power over war, foreign policy, and issuing money. The Articles' weakness was that they gave the federal government so little power that it couldn't keep the country united. The Articles' only major success was that they settled western land claims with the Northwest Ordinance. The Articles were abandoned for the Constitution.
The document which established the present federal government of the United States and outlined its powers. It can be changed through amendments.
One of the three branches of government, the legislature makes laws. There are two parts to the legislature: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Constitution: Bills become law
In order for a bill to become a law, it must be introduced to committee and be approved. Then it must be voted on by the House of Representatives, and then voted on by the Senate, or vice versa, depending on the branch in which the bill was first introduced. Finally, it must be signed by the President.
Constitution: House of Representatives
One of the two parts of Congress, considered the "lower house." Representatives are elected directly by the people, with the number of representatives for each state determined by the state's population.
The other of the two parts of Congress, considered the "upper house." Senators were originally appointed by state legislatures, but now they are elected directly by the people. Each state has two senators.
Constitution: Executive branch
One of the three branches of government, the executive enforces laws. It is headed by the president, who has the power to veto legislation passed by Congress.
Constitution: Judiciary branch
One of the three branches of government, the judiciary interprets laws. The highest authority in the judiciary is the Supreme Court, which determines the constitutionality of laws.
Constitution: Interstate relations
No state is allowed to form a compact with another state or with a foreign power without the consent of Congress.
Constitution: The amendment process
An amendment to the Constitution may be proposed if 2/3 of the members of Congress or 2/3 of state legislatures vote for it. The amendment may then be added to the Constitution by a 3/4 vote of state legislatures, or special state conventions elected for that purpose.
The Constitution had to be ratified (approved) by at least 9 of the 13 original states in order to be put into effect.
Constitution: Checks and balances
Each of the three branches of government "checks" (ie, blocks) the power of the other two, so no one branch can become too powerful. The president (executive) can veto laws passed by Congress (legislative), and also chooses the judges in the Supreme Court (judiciary). Congress can overturn a presidential veto if 2/3 of the members vote to do so. The Supreme Court can declare laws passed by Congress and the president unconstitutional, and hence invalid.
Constitution: Separation of power
The powers of the government are divided between three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary.
Land Ordinance of 1785
A major success of the Articles of Confederation. Provided for the orderly surveying and distribution of land belonging to the U.S.
Northwest Ordinance, 1787
A major success of the Articles of Confederation. Set up the framework of a government for the Northwest territory. The Ordinance provided that the Territory would be divided into 3 to 5 states, outlawed slavery in the Territory, and set 60,000 as the minimum population for statehood.
Occurred in the winter of 1786-7 under the Articles of Confederation. Poor, indebted landowners in Massachusetts blocked access to courts and prevented the government from arresting or repossessing the property of those in debt. The federal government was too weak to help Boston remove the rebels, a sign that the Articles of Confederation weren't working effectively.
Annapolis Convention, 1786
A precursor to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. A dozen commissioners form New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia met to discuss reform of interstate commerce regulations, to design a U.S. currency standard, and to find a way to repay the federal government's debts to Revolutionary War veterans. Little was accomplished, except for the delegates to recommend that a further convention be held to discuss changes to the form of the federal government; the idea was endorsed by the Confederation Congress in February, 1878, which called for another convention to be held in May that year in Philadelphia.
Noah Webster (1758-1843)
Wrote some of the first dictionaries and spellers in the U.S. His books, which became the standard for the U.S., promoted American spellings and pronunciations, rather than British.
Philadelphia Convention for the Constitution (Constitutional Convention)
Beginning on May 25, 1787, the convention recommended by the Annapolis Convention was held in Philadelphia. All of the states except Rhode Island sent delegates, and George Washington served as president of the convention. The convention lasted 16 weeks, and on September 17, 1787, produced the present Constitution of the United States, which was drafted largely by James Madison.
English philosopher who believed that people are motivated mainly by greed and fear, and need a strong government to keep them under control. He developed the theory that kings are given their position by divine right, and thus should have absolute power.
"Father of the Constitution". His proposals for an effective government became the Virginia Plan, which was the basis for the Constitution. He was responsible for drafting most of the language of the Constitution.
At the Constitutional Convention, larger states wanted to follow the Virginia Plan, which based each state's representation in Congress on state population. Smaller states wanted to follow the New Jersey Plan, which gave every state the same number of representatives. The convention compromised by creating the House and the Senate, and using both of the two separate plans as the method for electing members of each.
Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, Connecticut Plan
The Virginia Plan called for a two-house Congress with each state's representation based on state population. The New Jersey Plan called for a one-house Congress in which each state had equal representation. The Connecticut Plan called for a two-house Congress in which both types of representation would be applied, and is also known as the Compromise Plan.
The North was given full federal protection of trade and commerce. The South was given permanent relief from export taxes and a guarantee that the importation of slaves would not be halted for at least 20 years, plus the national capitol was placed in the South. Slaves were also deemed to be counted as 3/5 of a person when determining the state population, thus giving the Southern states a greater number of representatives in the House.
They opposed the ratification of the Constitution because it gave more power to the federal government and less to the states, and because it did not ensure individual rights. Many wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation. The Antifederalists were instrumental in obtaining passage of the Bill of Rights as a prerequisite to ratification of the Constitution in several states. After the ratification of the Constitution, the Antifederalists regrouped as the Democratic-Republican (or simply Republican) party. They included Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams.
Supporters of the Constitution
Known as Federalists, they were mostly wealthy and opposed anarchy. Their leaders included Jay, Hamilton, and Madison, who wrote the Federalist Papers in support of the Constitution.
Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
One of the main opponents of the Constitution, he worked against its ratification in Virginia.
He was opposed to the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added, and then he supported it.
The Federalist Papers
This collection of essays by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, explained the importance of a strong central government. It was published to convince New York to ratify the Constitution.
Bill of Rights adopted
The first ten amendments to the Constitution, which guarantee basic individual rights.
President George Washington
He established many of the presidential traditions, including limiting a president's tenure to two terms. He was against political parties and strove for political balance in government by appointing political adversaries to government positions.
Judiciary Act, 1789
Created the federal court system, allowed the president to create federal courts and to appoint judges.
Sec. of the Treasury Hamilton
A leading Federalist, he supported industry and strong central government. He created the National Bank and managed to pay off the U.S.'s early debts through tariffs and the excise tax on whiskey.
Sec. of State Jefferson
A leading Democratic-Republican, he opposed Hamilton's ideas. Washington tended to side with Hamilton, so Jefferson resigned.
Designed to pay off the U.S.'s war debts and stabilize the economy, he believed that the United States should become a leading international commercial power. His programs included the creation of the National Bank, the establishment of the U.S.'s credit rate, increased tariffs, and an excise tax on whiskey.
Taxes placed on manufactured products. The excise tax on whiskey helped raise revenue for Hamilton's program.
Tariff of 1789
Designed to raise revenue for the federal government, resulted in a government surplus.
In 1794, farmers in Pennsylvania rebelled against Hamilton's excise tax on whiskey, and several federal officers were killed in the riots caused by their attempts to serve arrest warrants on the offenders. In October, 1794, the army, led by Washington, put down the rebellion. The incident showed that the new government under the Constitution could react swiftly and effectively to such a problem, in contrast to the inability of the government under the Articles of Confederation to deal with Shay's Rebellion.
Washington's Farewell Address
He warned against the dangers of political parties and foreign alliances.
Election of 1796: President Adams, Vice-president Jefferson
The first true election (when Washington ran, there was never any question that he would be elected). Adams was a Federalist, but Jefferson was a Democratic-Republican.
Federalists and Democratic-Republicans
The first two political parties. Many of the Democratic-Republicans had earlier been members of the Antifederalists, which had never organized into a formal political party.
Federalists / Democratic-Republicans: Party leaders
The leading Federalists were Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. The leading Democratic- Republicans were Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Federalists / Democratic-Republicans: Programs
Federalist programs were the National Bank and taxes to support the growth of industry. The Democratic-Republicans opposed these programs, favoring state banks and little industry.
Federalists / Democratic-Republicans: Philosophies
Federalists believed in a strong central government, a strong army, industry, and loose interpretation of the Constitution. Democratic-Republicans believed in a weak central government, state and individual rights, and strict interpretation of the Constitution.
Alien and Sedition Acts
These consist of four laws passed by the Federalist Congress and signed by President Adams in 1798: the Naturalization Act, which increased the waiting period for an immigrant to become a citizen from 5 to 14 years; the Alien Act, which empowered the president to arrest and deport dangerous aliens; the Alien Enemy Act, which allowed for the arrest and deportation of citizens of countries at was with the US; and the Sedition Act, which made it illegal to publish defamatory statements about the federal government or its officials. The first 3 were enacted in response to the XYZ Affair, and were aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were considered subversives. The Sedition Act was an attempt to stifle Democratic-Republican opposition, although only 25 people were ever arrested, and only 10 convicted, under the law. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which initiated the concept of "nullification" of federal laws were written in response to the Acts.
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
Written anonymously by Jefferson and Madison in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, they declared that states could nullify federal laws that the states considered unconstitutional.
Doctrine of Nullification
Expressed in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, it said that states could nullify federal laws.
Election of 1800, Jefferson and Burr
The two Democratic-Republicans Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr defeated Federalist John Adams, but tied with each other. The final decision went the House of Representatives, where there was another tie. After a long series of ties in the House, Jefferson was finally chosen as president. Burr became vice-president. This led to the 12th Amendment, which requires the president and vice-president of the same party to run on the same ticket.
Revolution of 1800
Jefferson's election changed the direction of the government from Federalist to Democratic- Republican, so it was called a peaceful "revolution."
Second Great Awakening
A series of religious revivals starting in 1801, based on Methodism and Baptism. Stressed a religious philosophy of salvation through good deeds and tolerance for all Protestant sects. The revivals attracted women, Blacks, and Native Americans.
French Alliance of 1778
France aided the U.S. in the American Revolution, and the U.S. agreed to aid France if the need ever arose. Although France could have used American aid during the French Revolution, the U.S. didn't do anything to help. The U.S. didn't fulfill their part of the agreement until World War I.
The second great democratic revolution, taking place in the 1790s, after the American Revolution had been proven to be a success. The U.S. did nothing to aid either side. The French people overthrew the king and his government, and then instituted a series of unsuccessful democratic governments until Napoleon took over as dictator in 1799.
Federalists / Democratic-Republicans: Foreign relations
Federalists supported Britain, while the Democratic-Republicans felt that France was the U.S.'s most important ally.