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Sir Walter Raleigh

took part in the suppression of rebellions in Ireland, which reinforced his ideas of English superiority. He sponsored the colony of Roanoke.


the first English colony in the New World, founded near present-day Virginia in 1585. It mysteriously disappeared when Raleigh was in England getting supplies, and the next English colony in the Americas wasn't planned for 20 years.

John Smith

leader of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement. Originally the colony was planned to have several leaders, but most died or left.

John Rolfe

married Pocahantas which averted war with the Powhatans until after their deaths. He figured out that land in Virginia was perfect for growing tobacco.

Virginia (London) Company

company that sponsored Virginia in hopes of finding gold. The settler's desperate search for gold retarded development of Virginia for years until they realized they could grow cash crops.


the native tribe with territory in Virginia. While threatened at first by the militant and invasive settlers, they had good relations until around 1622.

Starving Times

period of forced starvation in Jamestown where the Powhatans tried to get the colonists to leave. At the end, there were only 60 colonists left.


major cash crop grown in Virginia and later in other Southern colonies

Indian Attack of 1622

the Powhatans rebelled against the Jamestown settlers because of land infringement and the death of Pocahantas and John Rolfe. In the initial attack, 1/3 of the settlers were killed. It turned into a war of attrition that lasted for 10 years. In 1632, the Powhatans sued for peace. The war bankrupted the Virginia Company.

indentured servants

servants that paid for their passage across the Atlantic by doing labor for masters when they arrived. They were usually in debt to the shippers as they crossed and the masters bought their debt. At the end of the term of service, the servants were given freedom dues to help them get established independently. They contributed to the social structure and provided the early necessary workforce (until it became more economic to own slaves). 40% died in service.

House of Burgesses

legislative chamber in Virginia to which citizens could elect representatives, despite the colony being royal. The big purpose was to encourage immigration to the New World.


grants of plots of land given to those willing to go to the New World. Many indentured servants gave up their grants for transportation, and the land went to wealthy planters instead.


payment for rights to resources or other uses of land that might not be included in owning the land

power of the purse

the ability of one group to control another by withholding funding. This was first used by the House of Burgesses to have control over the governor, but was later incorporated into the Constitution as a check of the legislative branch over the executive branch.


the subjugation of humans to other humans, so that slaves have no personal rights and are considered the property of their masters


chartered in 1732 by James Oglethorpe. Originally, slavery was to be banned from it to encourage small farmers to come and relieve land disputes in the Carolinas. It also served as a buffer between the British cash crop colonies and the Spanish-held Florida. It eventually became an extension of territory for wealthy South Carolina planters.

Lord Baltimore (Calvert family)

a wealthy family in England that was granted territory in the New World as a reward for its loyalty. The Calverts were Catholic, so they used their colony (Maryland) as a haven for persecuted Catholics, leading to influential acts like The Act of Toleration.

proprietary colony

colony of which someone appointed by the crown is the sole owner and leader of the government


proprietary colony chartered in 1632 and run by the Calvert family. A Maryland House of Delegates was created in 1635 to govern, which was dominated by wealthy planters. The economy was supported by headright labor and tobacco.

Maryland Act of Toleration

1649, granted religious freedom to all Christians in Maryland

Bacon's Rebellion

result of sociopolitical tensions between wealthy planters and indentured servants in Virginia. In 1676, the servants (who were angry that Governor Berkeley had friendly policies towards the natives that prevented them from getting their own land) attacked natives, chased the governor out of the colony, and torched Jamestown. This was a huge turning point in the Southern social hierarchy and the treatment of slaves, leading to the decline of indentured servitude and the rise of more slavery and harsher conditions.

Middle Passage

journey Africans took from Africa to the New World as slaves. The conditions were miserable.


Christians who wanted to separate from the Church of England (i.e. the Pilgrims)


fled from hostile conditions in England because they dissented from the Anglican Church. They went to Holland, and then to New England, where they founded the first successful English New England colony at Plymouth. They wanted to create a perfect religious society, but didn't necessarily want to be a city on a hill. They are most significant for the Mayflower Compact.

Mayflower Compact

1620, a social contract for the governance of Plymouth colony. It was the first document of self-governance in America. It was proposed by William Bradford.


felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough and advocated for religious purity. They were English followers of John Calvin that gained influence near the end of Elizabeth's reign. It placed an emphasis on enterprise, so it appealed to merchants, entrepreneurs, and commercial farmers - those driving the rapid economic and social change in England - and its followers were ironically the biggest critics of the change. They wanted to put churches at the core of every community to monitor the people and such. By the early 17th century, they had enormous influence. James I did not have the tolerance for them that Elizabeth had, and they turned to open political opposition. When Charles I married a Catholic princess, the opposition grew even larger, prompting harsher measures against them. Many migrated to the New World.

work ethic

the Puritans placed a lot of emphasis on work ethic, feeling that idleness was devilish. They tried to spend every moment being productive.


church groups that influenced social structure; churchgoing men had political power

John Winthrop

leader of the Massachusetts Bay colony, which differed from the Pilgrims at Plymouth because he wanted to make the colony as "a city on a hill" for England to model itself off of.

"City on a hill"

model religious society; leads to strict laws because failure to be perfect means failing God and the Puritan religion

joint stock companies

companies in which many people are invested so as to minimize risk


men selected to be in charge of day-to-day operations of New England towns

General Court

elected Massachusetts Assembly that had both legislative and judicial functions.

town meeting

meetings held by whole communities in New England towns. While not everyone had a say in government, they tried to be close knit.

Harvard College

voted into existence in 1636 by the General Court of Massachusetts. It was originally intended to train ministers, and it was the first college in the British American colonies.

School laws

New Englanders are responsible for the education of the children so that they can read the Bible and better contribute to the society

Halfway Covenant

permitted children of baptized people to join the church if they were of upright character and agreed to promote the welfare of the church. The colonies were running out of visible saints to be church leaders and members of the congregation, so this was a way for the church to keep control with a less pure society. It was also a sign of a change of focus in New England towns from religion to money.

Salem Witchcraft Trials

hysteria of superstition in which the rule of law was gone, at first glance. The accusers came from the wealthy, established parts of town and the accused came from the boundaries. It illustrated the divisions in what the founders had wanted to be a perfect society, and it showed the suspicion of women.

King Philip's War

There were several independent tribes (including Pokanokets, Narrangansetts, and the Abnakis) in New England. The population increase of colonists and increased hunger for land created pressure for expansion into Native territory. Metacom, who led the Pokanokets, in 1671 was pressured by the colonial authorities of Plymouth to grant them sovereign authority over his homeland. The humiliation convinced the Natives to break relations and take up armed resistance. In 1675, after Plymouth magistrates executed three Pokanokets for the murder of a Christian native, Metacom applied to the Narragansetts for a defensive alliance. The colonists took this as an act of aggression and responded by attacking and burning several Native villages, starting King Philip's War. By 1676, the Natives were losing. Metacom applied to the Iroquois for support, by instead of helping they attacked him. This war set up the Iroquois Confederation as the intermediary between the British and the Natives, and they signed a Covenant Chain with New York.

John Cotton

major New England Puritan minister. He believed in the right of the Congregational minister to dictate to the faithful, and was seen as a strong upholder of theocracy. He was responsible for the exile of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams.

Roger Williams

believed in friendly relations with natives and more mercy for sinners. He was the first to say that the business of government should not be religion and the business of religion should not be government. He was exiled to Rhode Island for his radical views.

Anne Hutchinson

believer in antinomianism, the idea that faith alone is necessary for salvation and not good works. She had church meetings of women, who were barred from participation in a lot of church affairs. She was prosecuted and exiled to Rhode Island.


the belief that faith alone is necessary for salvation. This was really scary for the Puritans, who believed that hard and good work was necessary.

Thomas Hancock

role model for what a Puritan should be. His father was a minister, but he was the third son, so he was in the middle of the social hierarchy. He had drive and ambition and expanded a bookselling business to be very profitable. Also he had a good marriage.

Confederation of New England

military alliance of the New England Puritans of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and New Haven against the Native Americans. It was supposed to provide for the return of indentured servants and fugitive criminals and resolve intercolonial disputes, but it kinda failed except for in King Philip's War.

Dominion of New England

Royal dominion grouping together present-day Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York decreed by King James. Its governor was Sir Edmund Andros, and he was extremely unpopular. When the colonists found out about the Glorious Revolution, they revolted against the Dominion and returned to self government until charters were reissued by William and Mary.

New Netherland and New York

New Netherland was the Dutch trade post in present day New York. The Dutch were involved in the fur trade, so didn't focus on establishing roots. When the King of England gave New York to his brother James, Duke of York, the British navy surrounded Manhattan and easily took it. The Dutch settlers living there were already a melting pot and used to living without much government, and their attitude towards it helped to shape later policies.

James, Duke of York (James II)

given New York by Charles II. He replaced his brother as king and abandoned his designs of more control of New York. When he produced a Catholic heir, he was chased out of England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and replaced by William of Orange and Mary.


North and South Carolina were originally one large colony named Carolina, chartered by King Charles II in 1663 after the Restoration. In 1664 the Carolina proprietors appointed a governor and created a popularly elected assembly. In 1670, Charles Town (later, Charleston) was founded. North Carolina's population was a mix of small farmers and large tobacco planters. South Carolina's population comprised of mostly settlers from Barbados and their slaves.

Restoration colonies

colonies established after the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in England. In 1660, Charles II was recrowned and rewarded those nobles who had supported him in exile with land (6 of the 13 colonies), including New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and the Carolinas.


also known as the Society of Friends, Quakers were pacifists that did not place much import on the Bible or decrees of religious officials. Their beliefs upset people wherever they went, so William Penn tried to make Pennsylvania a refuge for them. Opposed slavery.

William Penn

Penn's father had been an admiral that the king felt he had to repay. In 1681, Charles II gave Penn a chunk of land in the New World thinking that it would be a win-win situation. With his Pennsylvania colony, Penn hoped to make some money and advertised for it around the world, helping to contribute to the idea of a beneficent America.


Restoration proprietary colony chartered in 1681. It was a refuge for religious dissenters and extremely orderly. By 1686 it had a population of 12,000 people and was very popular. Because of Penn's friendly relations with natives, settlers did not fear war while he ruled and had access to some of the best land in the world for farming. There was much less of a social hierarchy.


form of politics within party groups


there were diverse and competing centers of power and ideas in Pennsylvania, making its culture very diverse and more accepting than most

The First Great Awakening

a movement challenging the rationalist approach to religion. Many of the sub-movements were revivalist, but some were new. Churches began to be divided into Old Lights and New Lights. In any case, it was one of the things that helped to bring British colonists together. It threw open important parts of life to public discourse, involving all citizens, slaves, etc. in the movement. It challenged the hierarchy, as suddenly lowers were doubting the betterness of their betters.

George Whitfield

preacher who went from town to town lecturing. He helped to facilitate the spread of common ideas and beliefs, which was important in the colonies coming together later on. He made the Great Awakening an intercolonial movement.

Jonathan Edwards



an intellectual movement that emphasized reason and the ability of the individual. It influenced churches to be more rational, and the First Great Awakening was a revivalist movement in response to it.

John Locke

social contract theory: the power of the government is derived from the people, and if it abuses its power then the people have the right to revolt and make their own government

Benjamin Franklin

ultimate boss. If that needs more explaining, he proposed the Albany Plan of Union in 1754, was a scientist, diplomat, and agent of public service.

Thomas Jefferson

third president of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence. He was a wealthy Virginia planter who did not actually fight in the Revolutionary War. He was Secretary of State under Washington.


government regulation of the economy to set policies that get the country the greatest piece of the economic pie possible

salutary neglect

ignoring mercantilist policies to make even more money with the idea that less regulation will result in more money total even if the government gets a smaller percentage (Robert Walpole)

Albany Plan of Union

plan laid out by Benjamin Franklin in 1854 during the 7 Years War. It provided for a Grand Council in the British American colonies with representatives from each colony in charge of managing land and purchasing new land from natives. The plan was rejected by the colonies who wanted autonomy and by England which was afraid of the colonists joining together and having too much power.

7 Years War

1954 great global war (fought on NA, EUR, and Asia) pitting Britain and Prussia against France, Spain, and Austria. It decided the future of the territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. It also laid the foundation for the conflict between colonists and the British. Colonial leaders were involved in deciding the strategy against the French and Indians. Fighting between French Canadians and Virginians were the first blows (basically it was started by George Washington). The first two years, GB did horribly. It ended with a complete victory for the British. The war was one of the major things that forced the colonies to work together.

Navigation Acts

passed between 1651 and 1696, in response to complaints from English manufacturers that the British trading monopolies were carrying too many foreign products to the colonies. They enumerated certain goods to be sold only to England, forbade merchants from other nations to do business in English colonies, and required colonial commodities to be transported in English vessels. These were also a move against the Dutch and helped lead the to Anglo-Dutch Wars. However, these were mostly ignored with salutary neglect.

George Washington

general in the 7 Years War and later the commander of the Continental Army and the first president of the United States. He led campaigns against the French in the Ohio Valley and was forced to surrender a the beginning of the 7 Years War, but later on he was much more successful. He received all of the votes of the electoral college. He disapproved of political parties and tried to keep his office above party squabbling. He believed in a strong executive; he ran the presidency like he did his army.

Peace of Paris 1763

treaty that ended the 7 Years War. France lost all of its possessions on the North American mainland and ceded its territories east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans to the British. The Spanish ceded Florida in return for the Caribbean colonies they lost. This marked the end of the age of empirical rivalry, with Britain at the top.

Proclamation of 1763

declared the trans-Appalachian region to be Indian Country

Sugar Act

1764, Prime Minister Grenville passed this act to raise revenue to pay for the defense of the expanded empire. It differed from previous acts because the goal was to generate revenue. It made colonists angry, but not that angry, because it only really affected the merchants involved in the trade of sugar.

Stamp Act

1765 while Grenville was in power, the first direct tax on the American colonists with the sole purpose of raising revenue. It imposed a tax on all paper. It was met with strong resistance, particularly in Boston, where the Sons of Liberty were founded. In Virginia, Patrick Henry introduced 7 denunciations of the Stamp Act in the House of Burgesses. In October of 1765 delegates from 9 colonies met at the Stamp Act Congress and organized a boycott of British goods. In 1766 the Stamp Act was overturned when Grenville was replaced by Lord Rockinham (not so much to do with the boycotts).

Andrew Oliver

Bostonian who was selected by the crown to be a collector for the Stamp Act. His house was attacked by an angry mob, making Bostonians realize that rioting was an effective tool. Others who were named collectors for the act were tarred and feathered.

Sons of Liberty

groups of Americans who were willing to rebel to the utmost extremity against a Parliament in which they were not represented. It was founded in Boston under James Otis and Samuel Adams.

Stamp Act Congress

called by the Massachusetts legislature, delegates from 9 colonies met up and passed resolutions against the Stamp Act which were sent to England. They asserted that the colonies could not be taxed without their consent and that they were not virtually represented. It showed that leaders from various colonies could come together for a common cause.

Thomas Whately

defended direct tax by saying that all subjects of the British empire were at least virtually represented

Danial Dulany

argued against the idea of virtual representation and said that there was no way the colonists could be actually represented

Declaratory Act

passed with the repeal of the Stamp Act and asserted Parliament's domination of the colonies. It was vague about whether they could tax or legislate or both or neither.

Quartering Act

colonists have to house and feed the British soldiers

Townshend Duties

May 1676 a series of external taxes on traded goods. Minister Townshend (not a prime minister) took advantage of Franklin's argument against internal taxes to levy external taxes. All of the duties were to be collected in America by American customs services operated by custom officers - 1/3 of seized goods would go to the governor, 1/3 to Parliament, and 1/3 to the officer who seized it, leading to a lot of abuse of the Acts and ill will from the colonists. Townshend also suspended the NY legislature for noncompliance with the Quartering Act.

John Dickinson

popular spokesmen for colonists. Wrote Letters from a Farmer that reiterated Dulaney's view and the propositions that the Stamp Act Congress had demanded.

Letter from a Pennsylvania Farmer

especially denied that Americans distinguished between external and internal taxes. Admitted Parliament's rights to duties, but not to revenue raising taxes. It was the first big reaction to the Townshend Duties, but it urged a restrained response from the colonists. Samuel Adams reiterated these letters in the Massachusetts Circular Letters, which really upset England.

Board of Customs Commissioners

board created to supervise the collection of the new taxes. It was stationed in Boston, and its officials were sent by Parliament. The officials in general were quite nasty which made the people hate Parliament more.

John Hancock

wealthy merchant. His ship "Liberty" was seized without probable cause, which was a huge symbol of the corruption of the British rule. Mob violence was threatened, and the customs officers asked the British military for help.

Lord North

replaced Pitt as Prime Minister (meaning he really replaced Townshend) and quickly repealed the Townshend Duties, except for the tax on tea.

Boston Massacre

1770, friction in Boston between the standing British army and the colonists led to a stand off in which 3 colonists were killed. Tension had been boiling up to this point without major incident. Bostonians surrounded a royal building and pelted the soldiers with snow balls and rocks, so the soldiers really acted in self defense. Nevertheless, Samuel Adams made a big stink about it, spreading fear of the oppressive British government to other colonies (if they are shooting in Boston, what's stopping them from shooting here?).

Thomas Hutchinson

governor of Massachusetts during the tax turmoil. He was extremely unpopular. Franklin published a bunch of letters that Hutchinson had written to the king complaining about the colonists and asking for military support, increasing sentiment against him.

Samuel Adams

one of the original Sons of Liberty and a major revolutionary. He was John Adam's cousin and known for his role in the Committee of Correspondence and leading of mob violence.

Committee of Correspondence

created in response to a British commission to find the burners of the Gaspee (off the coast of Rhode Island by unidentified colonists dressed as Native Americans). the leaders across the colonies began to communicate with each other regarding threats from the British government. They were beginning to act like they were one country and Britain was the enemy.

Tea Act

the relative peace after the end of the Townshend Duties ended in 1773 with the Tea Act. The East India company was running out of money, so the British wanted to help them by opening the colonies as a direct market. The East India company would be able to undersell the tea merchants, even those with smuggled tea, putting them out of business. Merchants got really pissed off and considered it a monopoly. This is where tar and feathering became a pass-time. In most ports, Americans did not allow the cheap tea to land, but Governor Hutchinson in Boston ordered the Royal Navy to prevent tea ships from leaving the harbor with their cargo. Thus the Boston Tea Party.

East India Company

joint stock company that was a British giant. By the 1770s it was going out of business.

Boston Tea Party

Dec. 16, 1773, colonists boarded the ships carrying tea and dumped it into the harbor. Even though most Americans didn't condone their actions, the British response was so severe that colonists united more.

Coercive (Intolerable) Acts

1. Boston Port Act - closed the port of Boston until the tea was paid for 2. Massachusetts Government Act - gave the governor more power and took power away from the legislature by paying officials from the crown and not the colonial government 3. Administration of Justice Act - try royal officers accused of breaking Massachusetts law in Britain 4. Quartering Act - Britain can house troops anywhere 5. Massachusetts was declared to be officially in a state of rebellion

Quebec Act

1774 extended the boundary of Quebec to the Ohio River, established Roman Catholicism as the official religion, and had no electorate. The Catholicism was an insult to the New England Puritans and the extension was an insult to the expanding southern states. It was a message to the colonists that if they did not stay in line, Parliament would take away all of their liberties.

First Continental Congress

met in Philadelphia in September 1774 to discuss an intercolonial response to the Intolerable Acts. In addition to petitioning Parliament, they adopted the Suffolk Resolves declaring that they did not have to obey the Acts. The delegates felt at that point that they way of 1763 was irretrievable. They also agreed to have a second congress in May of 1775.

Suffolk Resolves

made by the leaders of Suffolk County, Massachusetts in 1774 declaring that there was no need to obey the Coercive Acts. They were adopted by the First Continental Congress.

Lexington and Concord

because Massachusetts was considered to be in official rebellion, more troops were sent. General Gage was supposed to provoke an action by the Americans that would allow a British attack if the leaders could not be brought in, so he decided to seize munitions being stockpiled in Concord in April of 1775. A group of about 70 Minutemen awaited them on the Lexington Green as a show of force, but there was confusion on both sides and a skirmish in which several Americans were killed. The British continued on to Concord, where they discovered most of the materiel had been moved, and many more Minutemen awaited them. The Minutemen chased them back to Boston, and the war had begun. Bunker Hill followed in May.

Second Continental Congress

by the time of the Second Continental Congress, most New Englanders were ready to declare independence from Britain, but southern and middle colonists didn't want to go that far. They drafted and sent the Olive Branch Petition to the king as a last resort and commissioned the Continental Army under the command of George Washington (which was sent to Boston).

George III

king at the time of the American Revolution

Olive Branch Petition

a final petition sent to the king, issued by the Second Continental Congress. They begged for him to use his power to restore their rights and pledged their loyalty to him over Parliament. The king treated it with contempt and declared all of the colonies to be in a state of rebellion.

Thomas Paine and Common Sense

a catalyst for the people realizing that they did not need a king. It was published in January of 1776 and decried monarchy as contrary to the republican principles the colonists adored.

Declaration of Independence

Thomas Paine (Common Sense), John Locke (if the gov does not do what is best for the people they are putting themselves at war with the people and the people have a right and responsibility to no longer follow the rules and set up a new government), and James Harrington (philosopher who thought that whoever owns property should be able to run the government - the colonists own the land in America [property = power and independence]) pushed them towards the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was written by Thomas Jefferson, who was handpicked by his best friend John Adams, almost a year after fighting had started.

General William Howe

replaced General Gage in the summer of 1776 and took command of the British forces. He made poor strategical moves, wanting to move slowly to avoid casualties and at the same time terrify the colonists into submission.


the key battle that proved the colonists had a chance to win the war. Afterwards, France gave its support to the colonists and Spain sideways did. 1777

General John Burgoyne

the leader of the British forces that came down from Canada and were supposed to meet up with forces coming north from New York. When he got to Saratoga, he found himself overpowered by the colonists. He had to surrender in October of 1777, a huge defeat for the British.

French Alliance

the French had been waiting to support the colonists in order to undermine the British (they were pretty bitter about the whole 7 Years War thing). After Saratoga, they made an alliance giving the Americans supplies, troops, money, and a navy (June 1778).

Lord Cornwallis

British commander. He came out of 1780 having had a really good year, but in 1781 he decided to stop his troops at Yorktown. The problem for him was that at the same time, the French brought their navy over and George Washington found out they were there. So they were sieged and had to surrender.


Cornwallis' loss at Yorktown was the surrender of the largest group of British soldiers on American soil, so it was a pretty big deal. After that, the war was basically over.

Peace of Paris 1783

America got independence and land west to the Mississippi River. Southern boundary went to the top of Florida. Britain made them agree to pay back pre-war debts and compensate Loyalists for damaged property.


people who did not want independence from Britain

John Jay

1784 appointed the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He tried to guide America to a place of respect, but mostly failed because the Articles of Confederation did not give him enough power to do anything.

state constitutions

1776 11 states set up constitutions. Almost all of bicameral legislatures, judiciaries, weak executive branch, no hereditary titles

Articles of Confederation

Committee appointed on June 12, 1776, presented to Congress on November 17, 1777
Colonial suspicion of central government delayed ratification (feared central power would overshadow state power), weakened central government (no president, just congress, gave states too much independence, had too many differences, made states seemingly separate entities instead of a single nation)
BIGGEST ROADBLOCK was issue of western land (territorial claims on the land won in Peace of Paris between the states majorly delayed ratification, states feared those with more land and greater population would have more power than the smaller states, especially with representation in legislature, also feared the immigration of people to new land because of the resources there -> depopulation of pre-existing states, new states could sell land instead of having high taxes for people-> other states would tax even higher to compensate for the depopulation of their states)
Created checks for both large and small states (Virginia gave up land claim, Maryland followed suit as well as all other states, made western territories into entirely new states instead of tacking on more land to pre-existing states)

Western Land Problem

Maryland would not join the Confederation unless the western territories were put under the power of the national government

Critical Period

the period under the Articles of Confederation after the Revolutionary War. The national government was extremely weak because the states were too strong and it had no authority to enforce anything it did. Spain and England were waiting to pounce on the territories.

Basic Land Ordinance

made it a lot easier for the Americans to get land. It divided the territories up into plots and towns of 6 miles square, then further divided those towns into 36 subsections for sale. It was a very methodical and easy way to distribute the new American West.

Northwest Ordinance

outlines government for the new territories. There is an appointed governor and 3 judges and a secretary. There is a bill of rights and slavery is outlawed. Once there are 5000 adult white males with 50 acres of land, there can be an elected assembly. Once there are 60000 adult white males, it can apply for statehood.

Barbary Pirates

pirates in the colonial age. The empires of the world paid them off to protect their ships, but the US couldn't afford to do that, nor could they raise a military to protect it, so merchants were losing capital very quickly.

Navigation of the Mississippi

basically impossible to do during the Critical Period because the Spanish owned the Port of New Orleans. It was detrimental to Western settlers who wanted a way to sell their crops or goods in the East.

British forts in the NW

the British had agreed to vacate their forts in the Treaty of Paris of 1783, but they did not

Shays' Rebellion

1786 economic depression and high taxes intended to pay off the state's war debt led Massachusetts farmers (led by Daniel Shays) to violently shut down courts to prevent foreclosure or condemning people to debtor's prison. It was one of the major events in the Critical Period that provoked the Annapolis Convention.

Constitutional Convention

1787. George Washington was elected to preside over the proceedings, bringing legitimacy to the meeting. A bunch of new plans for the government were presented, and eventually the Constitution was hammered out.

Annapolis Convention

1786, only 5 states showed up. They decided to call for a convention of all of the states to meet the following summer in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.

Virginia (Randolph) Plan

executive branch and bicameral legislature based on population (ideas came from Madison, but he was too shy to present them to everyone, so his friend Edmund Randolph did it for him)

New Jersey (Patterson) Plan

proposed by William Patterson, called for unicameral legislature with equal representation for each state, but with sharply increased national power

Hamilton Plan

eliminate state sovereignty and consolidate all of the states into one nation; executive would serve for life; upper house serves for life and elected by electors; lower house elected by the people and serves 3 years

Great (Connecticut) Compromise

provided for a presidency, a senate with equal representation for the states, and a house of representatives with representation proportional to population

3/5 Compromise

each slave counts for 3/5 of a person for purposes of representation and taxation; prohibited from stopping the slave trade until 1808

separation of power

independent branches for executive, legislative, and judicial functions

checks and balances

independent branches would check each other in some way

electoral college

electorate that votes for the president; supposed to reflect what the people want

Charles Beard's Thesis

Charles Beard was a very influential historian at the turn of the 20th century, and his economic analysis of the motives of the founding fathers had never before been considered


people who supported the Constitution

Federalist Papers

the beautiful coordinated series of publications advocating the ratification of the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton wrote 55 of them, Madison 29, and John Jay 5. Hamilton wrote the first in response to anti-federalist publications in New York. The papers were circulated in newspapers.


federalism and republicanism were the first big political types of thought after the constitution was ratified. Literally, federalism is a system of government in which power is shared between a national government and regional (state) governments. Later the federalist party was a party that put more emphasis on a strong central government (Hamilton).


system of government in which power is delegated to a small number of people by the whole. Later, the republican party was a party that put more emphasis on state power (Jefferson).


the heads of executive departments that advise the president. Washington appointed Hamilton to the Treasury and Jefferson to the Department of State.

Bill of Rights

10 amendments immediately passed through the first Congress. 1. Free speech, religion, press, assembly, petition
2. Bear arms
3. No quartering/billeting of soldiers in private citizens' homes
4. Unreasonable search and seizure
5. Rights of the accused: indictments, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, due process, just compensation
6. Fair and speedy trial, confrontation by witnesses, and the right to call witnesses on one's own behalf
7. Jury trial
8. Cruel and unusual punishment
9. All rights not enumerated are retained by the people
10. All powers not enumerated are retained by the states

Judiciary Act of 1789

the Constitution provided for a Supreme Court with lower courts to be set up at Congress' discretion, so the Judiciary Act of 1789 fleshed out the judicial system. It assigned 6 justices to the Court: 1 chief justice and 5 other justices. The Act set the number of Supreme Court justices at six: one Chief Justice and five Associate Justices. The Supreme Court was given exclusive original jurisdiction over all civil actions between states, or between a state and the United States, as well as over all suits and proceedings brought against ambassadors and other diplomatic personnel; and original, but not exclusive, jurisdiction over all other cases in which a state was a party and any cases brought by an ambassador. The Court was given appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the federal circuit courts as well as decisions by state courts holding invalid any statute or treaty of the United States; or holding valid any state law or practice that was challenged as being inconsistent with the federal constitution, treaties, or laws; or rejecting any claim made by a party under a provision of the federal constitution, treaties, or laws.

Neutrality Proclamation

1793, announcement by George Washington that America is neutral in the conflict between Great Britain and France, and any citizen aiding one of the countries could face legal action. It was critical because the United States was too young and tired and broke to get dragged into another conflict.

Citizen Genet

Edmund-Charles Genet was the French ambassador to the United States during the French Revolution. In 1793 he was sent to the US to rally support for the French in their skirmish with Britain, and he landed in South Carolina and began working his way up to Washington, recruiting seamen to come fight for the French. He defied Washington and the federal government behind him when told that the US was neutral and would not help the French, and his privateers were active against the British. In 1794, the Jacobins wanted him to come back to France to kill him, so Washington (at Hamilton's request) decided to grant him asylum.

General Anthony Wayne

selected by George Washington to lead the Legion of the United States. He led a force in the Northwest Indian War and was the leader at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. He then negotiated the Treaty of Greenville.

Battle of Fallen Timbers

the final battle in the Northwest Indian War. The war was started because in the Treaty of Paris, Britain ceded a lot of Northwestern territory to the US without consulting the natives. They refused to vacate the land, but they could not put up much of a fight.

Treaty of Greenville

Ended the Northwest Indian War, after the Battle of Fallen Timbers. In exchange for $20000 worth of goods, the Native Americans ceded the lands in the Ohio River Valley. It established the Greenville Treaty Line dividing white settlements from native lands, but the line was ignored by the settlers.


Britain and France began to impress sailors from American ships into service for their navies. A lot of Americans started to call for war, but Washington, Adams, and Jefferson were determined to avoid it.

Jay's Treaty

1794 John Jay was sent to England to deal with the rising tensions between Britain and the US, mostly caused by impressment. They came up with Jay's Treaty, which resolved some of the conflicts remaining from the Revolutionary War. Britain agreed to withdraw its soldiers from the forts it was occupying in the Northwest, arbitrate property disputes with former Loyalists and Canada, and improve trade relations. It did not address impressment.

Pinckney's Treaty

1795, a treaty between the US and Spain resolving the conflict over the border of Florida and opening the Mississippi to navigation by US citizens. They agreed to not incite native tribes into war with the other and to not detain the other's citizens for entering their territory.

Alexander Hamilton

general in the Revolutionary War, he became Secretary of Treasury and Washington's right hand man during his presidency. He was born in the West Indies and worked his way up the ladder, making him love America as a whole and have no loyalties to one specific state, like Jefferson. He favored very strong nationalist policies, and his Report on Public Credit caused a stir.

Report on Public Credit

unveiled by Hamilton with the aim of improving the credit of the United States in order to encourage investment and capital flow, thereby improving the economy. There were three parts to his plan: pay back Revolutionary debts (war bonds, promissary notes, etc) at face value, assume state debt, and create a national bank. Every step was controversial.

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