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British Colonial System

the colonies held the initiative in local affairs, while the Crown reserved the right to veto actions it deemed to be against national interest. Each colony had a Crown/proprietor-appointed governor and a legislature made up of two houses (one elected and one appointed)

proprietary colonies

colonies owned by and under the authority of persons who had been given a royal charter to own the land

Royal colonies

colonies that were owned and governed by the King


an economic system to increase a nation's wealth by government regulation of all of the nation's commercial interests

favorable balance of trade

an economic situation in which a country sells more goods abroad than it buys from abroad. Colonists supplied raw materials to England and bought large amts of England's manufactured goods in an effort to balance trade

Navigation Acts

(1660) Laws that governed colonial trade. They controlled exportation of some goods, only to England, and the importation of some goods, only from England. In an effort to create a favorable balance of trade

enumerated articles

Under the English Navigation Acts, those commodities that could be shipped only to England or other English colonies; originally included sugar, tobacco, cotton, and indigo

Wool, Hat and Iron Acts

(1699, 1732, 1750) English laws designed to restrict colonial manufacturing, in an effort to create a balance of trade

Molasses Act of 1733

British legislation which had taxed all molasses, rum, and sugar which the colonies imported from countries other than Britain and her colonies. The British had difficulty enforcing the tax; most colonial merchants did not pay it.

"Salutary neglect"

England's policy of looking the other way when Americans violated the Navigation Acts; resulted from complacency and bowing to the inevitable

George Whitefield

Preacher who traveled throughout the colonies during the Great Awakening-set off a surge of religious enthusiasm. His different preaching style garnered an emotional response

Jonathon Edwards

powerful preacher during Great Awakening, his message was of hell and an angry God. 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Albany Plan of Union

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

Iroquois Confederation

The league of 5 Indian tribes in the Northeast that fought with the English in the French-Indian War and supported the Loyalists in the America Revolution.

French and Indian War

a war in North America between France and Britain (both aided by Indian tribes). Turned into the worldwide Seven Years' War

William Pitt

English statesman who brought the Seven Years' War to an end through funding and an increase in troops


The capital of the French Empire in America, taken by England after the French and Indian War

Treaty of Paris

(1763) Treaty that ended the French and Indian War; Britain claimed all of North America east of the Mississippi; ended French power in North America

Writs of Assistance

It was part of the Townshend Acts. It said that the customs officers could inspect a ship's cargo without giving a reason. Colonists protested that the Writs violated their rights as British citizens.

Pontiac's Rebellion

a 1763 conflict between Native Americans and the British over settlement of Indian lands in the Great Lakes area

Proclamation of 1763

A proclamation from the British government which forbade British colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains, and which forbade colonist from buying land from Indians. Angered influential colonists

George Grenville

British minister who raised a storm of protest by passing the Sugar Act and later the Stamp Act

James Otis

First colonist to raise the issue of taxation without representation (in protest of the Sugar Act)

John Locke

Enlightenment philosopher who advocated the idea of a "social contract" in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty and property.

Virtual Representation

every member of parliament represented all British subjects even though they are not from a specific geographical area; used in defense of the lack of colonial representatives

Actual Representation

In order to be taxed by Parliament, the Americans rightly should have actual legislators seated and voting in London, reps that were elected from the colonies

Stamp Act

an act passed by the British Parliment in 1756 that raised revenue from the American colonies by a duty in the form of a stamp required on all newspapers and legal or commercial documents, infuriated the colonies

direct tax

a tax paid directly by the person or organization on whom it is levied

indirect tax

a tax levied on goods or services rather than on persons or organizations, so it will be paid indirectly

Stamp Act Congress

A meeting of delegations from many of the colonies, the congress was formed to protest the newly passed Stamp Act in 1765. It adopted a declaration of rights as well as sent letters of complaints to the king and parliament; the first sign of colonial unity and organized resistance.

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.

Quartering Act

(1765) Required the colonists to provide food, lodging, and supplies for the British troops in the colonies.

nonimportation agreements

Agreements not to import goods from Great Britain. They were designed to put pressure on the British economy and force the repeal of unpopular parliamentary acts.

Declaratory Act

Act passed in 1766 just after the repeal of the Stamp Act. Stated that Parliament could legislate for the colonies in all cases.


English meaning: the totality of laws, customs and institutions under which the nation functioned. American meaning: a written contract spelling out and limiting the powers of government


English meaning: ultimate political power cannot be divided, but must reside in a final authority (Parliament). the Declaratory Acts asserted this

Townshend Duties

Popularly referred to as the Townshend Duties, the Revenue Act of 1767 taxed glass, lead, paper, paint, and tea entering the colonies. The colonists strongly objected and boycotted British goods

Massachusetts Circular Letter

Written by Samuel Adams in response to the Townshend Acts that invited the people of Massachusetts to "maintain the liberties of America"

Samuel Adams

Founder of the Sons of Liberty and one of the most vocal patriots for independence; organized the Boston Tea Party and signed the Declaration of Independence

Boston Massacre

The first bloodshed of the American Revolution, as British guards at the Boston Customs House opened fire on a crowd killing five Americans


The british ship that crashed offshore and was burned by colonists, whom no one would testify against in a trial

Tea Act

Law passed by parliament allowing the British East India Company to sell its low-cost tea directly to the colonies - undermining colonial tea merchants; led to the Boston Tea Party

Boston Tea Party

(1773) in protest of the Tea Act, a band of colonists, led by Sam Adams, disguised as Indians, rowed out to the boat and dumped the tea chests into the harbor. Generally approved by colonists

Coercive/Intolerable Acts

(1774) passed in response to the Boston Tea Party; Port Bill: closed Boston Harbor until the E IND Co was paid for its tea. Mass. Govt Act: annulled the MA charter and prohibited most local town meetings. Adm of Justice Act: allowed trials for capital crimes to be transferred to other colonies or to ENG. Helped create firm sense of unity among Patriots.

First Continental Congress

September 1774, delegates from twelve colonies (not Georgia) sent representatives to Philadelphia to discuss a response to the Intolerable Acts. Sent a petition to King George III and urged a boycott of British imports

Minute Men

Fighters, made up of colonists, created by the Patriots


a skirmish between Minute Men and Redcoats, 8 MM died and the British marched on to Concord


a battle between militiamen in Mass and Redcoats; the British sustained heavier casualties than the Patriots and the colonists proved that they were able foes

Second Continental Congress

(May 1775) Delegates organized the Continental Army, called on the colonies to send troops, selected George Washington to lead the army, and appointed the comittee to draft the Declaration of Independence

Continental Army

The official army of the colonies, created by Second Continental Congress and led by George Washington

Bunker Hill

British and American troops poured into the Boston area. Americans killed over one thousand British soldiers and the British killed nearly four hundred. The Americans had to fled because they were nearly out of supplies. Not a glorified victory for the British

Olive Branch Petition

An offer of peace, if their requests are met, sent by the Second Continental Congress to King George lll. It was rejected and all colonies were named to be in an open act of rebellion

Common Sense

a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that claimed the colonies had a right to be an independent nation, major event because it convinced many of the good of the revolution


German mercenaries who fought against the Americans for the British

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