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Spanish for conquerors. Men who traveled extensively through the Americas, leading small armies of men, and who established themselves as imperial rulers.

Treaty of Tordesillas

a 1494 agreement between Portugal and Spain, declaring that newly discovered lands to the west of an imaginary line in the Atlantic Ocean would belong to Spain and newly discovered lands to the east of the line would belong to Portugal.

Marco Polo

Venetian merchant and traveler. His accounts of his travels to China offered Europeans a firsthand view of Asian lands and stimulated interest in Asian trade.

Francisco Pizarro

Spanish explorer who conquered the Incas in what is now Peru and founded the city of Lima (1475-1541). Added a great amount of gold to the Spanish treasury.

Juan Ponce de Leon

Spanish Explorer who discovered and named Florida while searching for the "Fountian of Youth"

Hernando de Soto

Spanish Conquistador; explored in 1540's from Florida west to the Mississippi with six hundred men in search of gold; discovered the Mississippi, a vital North American river.


Aztec chieftan; encountered Cortes and the Spanish and saw that they rode horses; Montezuma assumed that the Spanish were gods. He welcomed them hospitably, but the explorers soon turned on the natives and ruled them for three centuries.

Christopher Columbus

Explorer whose voyage from Spain to "West Indies" in 1492 opened the Atlantic World. Never made it to North America; became a corrupt governor in Hispanola

Hernan Cortes

He was a Spanish explorer who conquered the Native American civilization of the Aztecs in 1519 in what is now Mexico.

Francisco Coronado

A Spanish soldier and commander; in 1540, he led an expedition north from Mexico into Arizona; he was searching for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold, but only found Adobe pueblos.


person of mixed American Indian and European ancestry

three sister farming

Agricultural system employed by North American Indians as early as 1000 A.D.; maize, beans and squash were grown together to maximize yields. The rich diet provided by this system led to high population densities especially among the Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee people.

Spanish Armada

the Spanish fleet that attempted to invade England, ending in disaster, due to the raging storm in the English Channel as well as the smaller and better English navy led by Francis Drake. This is viewed as the decline of Spain's Golden Age, and the rise of England as a world naval power.

Pope's Rebellion

Indians began to resist the suppression of their religious customs by the Spanish who were trying to convert them to Catholicism. In 1680, the Pueblo rebels destroyed every Catholic church in New Mexico and killed hundreds of Spanish colonists. The Indians rebuilt kivas on top of the ruins. After this, it took the Spanish almost a century to fully reclaim New Mexico.

Pueblo Indians

The Pueblo Indians lived in the Southwestern United States. They built extensive irrigation systems to water their primary crop, which was corn. Their houses were multi-storied buildings made of adobe.

encomienda system

A grant of authority over a population of Amerindians in the Spanish colonies. It provided the grant holder with a supply of cheap labor and periodic payments of goods by the Indians. It obliged the grant holder to Christianize the Indians. Essentially, it was slavery.

Vasco Nunez Balboa

Spanish explorer credited with discovering the Pacific Ocean by way of Panama in 1513.


Established in 1587. Called the Lost Colony. It was financed by Sir Walter Raleigh, and its leader in the New World was John White. All the settlers disappeared, and historians still don't know what became of them.

Joint-Stock Company

The company sold shares of stock to finance the outfitting of overseas expeditions; colonies founded by joint-stock companies included Jamestown (Virginia Company) and New Amsterdam (Dutch West India Company).

House of Burgesses

the first elected legislative assembly in the New World established in the Colony of Virginia in 1619, representative colony set up by England to make laws and levy taxes but England could veto its legistlative acts

Maryland Toleration Act

Granted religious toleration to all Christians in Maryland and was intended to protect the Catholic minority from the Protestants. Was an important precedent for religious toleration in the colonies.

Proprietary Colonies

Colonies in which the proprietors (who had obtained their patents from the king) named the governors, subject to the king's approval.

Royal Colonies

Colonies controlled by the British king through governors appointed by him and through the king's veto power over colonial laws.

Charter Colonies

Colonies established by a group of settlers who had been given a formal document allowing them to settle

James Oglethorpe

Founder of Georgia; believed he could thwart Spanish and create a new start for the poor people of London and saving them from debtor's prison.

Lord de la Warr

New governor of Jamestown who arrived in 1610, immediately imposing a military regime in Jamestown and declaring war against the Powhatan Confederacy. Employed "Irish tactics" in which his troops burned houses and cornfields.


A native Indian of America, daughter of Chief Powahatan, who was one of the first to marry an Englishman, John Rolfe, and return to England with him; about 1595-1617; Pocahontas' brave actions in saving an Englishman paved the way for many positive English and Native relations.

John Rolfe

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.

Lord Baltimore

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.

Walter Raleigh

Received a charter from Queen Elizabeth I to explore the American coastline. His ships landed on Roanoke, which became a "lost colony."

Humphrey Gilbert

An English explorer and the half-brother of Walter Raleigh, he spearheaded England's efforts to colonize Newfoundland. Sadly, before he could accomplish this, he lost his life while at sea in 1583

John Smith

Helped found and govern Jamestown. His leadership and strict discipline helped the Virginia colony get through the difficult first winter.

slave codes

In 1661 a set of "codes" was made. It denied slaves basic fundamental rights, and gave their owners permission to treat them as they saw fit.

indentured servitude

the system of temporary servitude, where young men and women bound themselves to masters for fixed terms of servitude (four to five years), in exchange for passage to America, food and shelter. This method of labor was one of the largest elements of colonial population in America.

Barbados Slave Code

The harsh system of laws governing African labor, first developed in Barbados and later officially adopted by South Carolina in 1696

First Anglo-Powhatan War

when Lord de la Warr introduced Irish tactics against Indians (raiding villages, burned houses, took provisions, and torched fields) ended in 1614 and sealed peace by the marriage of John Rolfe and Pocahontas

Second Anglo-Powhatan War

Indians last effort to dislodge Virginians, they were defeated. Peace treaty of 1646 stopped any hope of creating native peoples into Virginia society or peace with coexisting.


The primary staple crop of early Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Used up large amounts of land, which led to westward expansion.


English Separatists who first sought refuge from the Church of England in the Netherlands and then in the New World; one such group traveled in 1620 on the Mayflower and established Plymouth.


Those who wanted to break all connections with the Church of England as opposed to most Puritans who believed it was possible to reform the church


A religious group who wanted to purify the Church of England. They came to America for religious freedom and settled Massachusetts Bay.

Mayflower Compact

an agreement established by the men who sailed to America on the Mayflower, which called for laws for the good of the colony and set forth the idea of self-government

Great Puritan Migration

When continuing turmoil in England brought waves of people to New World; about 75,000 left England, not all Puritans, only about 14,000 came to Massachusetts, many went to West Indies

City on a Hill

Biblical ideal, invoked by John Winthrop, of a society governed by civil liberty (where people did only that which was just and good) that would be an example to the world

William Bradford

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.

John Winthrop

As governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Winthrop (1588-1649) was instrumental in forming the colony's government and shaping its legislative policy. He envisioned the colony, centered in present-day Boston, as a "city upon a hill" from which Puritans would spread religious righteousness throughout the world.

King Philip's War

1675 - A series of battles in New Hampshire between the colonists and the Wompanowogs, 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

1686-The British government combined the colonies of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut into a single province headed by a royal governor (Andros). Ended in 1692, when the colonists revolted and drove out Governor Andros

William Penn

An English Quaker, founded Pennsylvania in 1682, after receiving a charter from King Charles II the year before. He launched the colony as a "holy experiment" based on religious tolerance.

Society of Friends

a Christian religious movement, whose members are known as Friends or Quakers. The roots of this movement lie in 17th century English dissenters. Stressed personal inspiration as the source of faith and all action.


Idea spread by Anne Hutchinson, considered high heresy. Those who believed they were truly saved, did not believe they had to obey the law

Anne Hutchinson

Puritan - Attended church services in Mass., and after illegally held private meetings at her house. Puritan leaders got mad because they thought women didn't have the right to discuss religion, so they forced her out of her colony and she fled to Rhode Island

Roger Williams

A dissenter, clashed with Massachusetts Puritans over the issue of separation of church and state. After being banished from Massachusetts in 1636, he traveled south, where he founded the colony of Rhode Island, which granted full religious freedom to its inhabitants.

New England Confederation

a Union of four colonies consisting of the two Massachusetts colonies (The Bay colony and Plymouth colony) and the two Connecticut colonies (New Haven and scattered valley settlements) in 1643. The purpose of the confederation was to defend against enemies such as the Indians, French, Dutch, and prevent intercolonial problems that affected all four colonies.

Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

This document was the first written constitution in the American colonies. It was prepared as the covenant for the new Puritan community in Connecticut, established in the 1630s. This document described a system of government for the new community.

Thomas Hooker

Puritan minister who led settlers out of Massachusetts Bay to Connecticut because he believed that the governor and other officials had too much power. He wanted to set up a colony in Connecticut with strict limits on government.

Salutary Neglect

British policy before 1763 of generally leaving the colonies alone to conduct their own internal affairs; the abandonment of this policy after 1763 was a major factor leading to revolution and independence.

Navigation Laws

Series of laws passed, beginning in 1651, to regulate colonial shipping; the acts provided that only English ships would be allowed to trade in English and colonial ports, and that all goods destined for the colonies would first pass through England.

Edmund Andros

He was the royal governor of the Dominion of New England. Colonists resented his enforcement of the Navigation Acts and the attempt to abolish the colonial assembly.


In Calvinist doctrine, those who have been chosen by God for salvation. "But neither could the elect count on their predetermined salvation...."

visible saints

A religious belief developed by John Calvin held that a certain number of people were predestined to go to heaven by God. This belief in the elect, or "visible saints," figured a major part in the doctrine of the Puritans who settled in New England during the 1600's.

Dutch West India Company

Maintained profitable enterprises in the Caribbean. At times it was less interested in trading than in raiding. Established New Netherland for its quick-profit fur trade, it was never more than a secondary interest of the founders. The company bought Manhattan Island from the Indians.

Middle Passage

Segment of the forced journey that slaves made from Africa to America throughout the 1600's; it consisted of the dangerous trip across the Atlantic Ocean; many slaves perished on this segment of the journey.

Indentured Servants

People who could not afford passage to the colonies could become indentured servants. Another person would pay their passage, and in exchange, the indentured servant would serve that person for a set length of time (usually seven years) and then would be free.

Bacon's Rebellion

In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon, a Virginia planter, led a group of 300 settlers in a war against the local Native Americans. When Virginia's royal governor questioned Bacon's actions, Bacon and his men looted and burned Jamestown. Bacon's Rebellion manifested the increasing hostility between the poor and wealthy in the Chesapeake region.

Headright System

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.

Salem Witch Trials

In the 1680's and 1690's adolescent girls of Salem, Massachusetts, accused several West Indian servants of voodoo lore, and hundreds of people (mostly women) of witchcraft, ending with 19 being put to death, and the girls who had been the accusers, admitting that they fabricated their story. This was one of the many examples of hysteria and chaos that broke out due to the tensions that built in Puritan communities.

Halfway Covenant

This Puritan doctrine responded to the declining religious fervor of second and third generation Puritans by providing partial church membership for the children and grandchildren of church members. Puritan preachers hoped that this plan would maintain some of the church's influence in society.

Congregational Church

A church grown out of the Puritan church, was established in all New England colonies but Rhode Island. It was based on the belief that individual churches should govern themselves.

Harvard College

Founded in 1636, it resides in Cambridge Massachusetts and was created to educate the young men of the Americas, specifically in the ways of religion. However, as time passed and the enlightenment came, more and more subjects were introduced.

Stono Rebellion

1739; Slave rebellion in South Carolina where over 75 slaves killed white citizens and marched through the countryside with captured guns. After the rebellion was crushed, discipline imposed by many slave owners was much harsher. This was the largest slave rebellion of the 1700s in the colonies.

First Families of Virginia

group of Virginians who were among the first to settle in the colony, had lots of land and power in the House of Burgesses, comprised 70% of leaders in VA


Combination of English and West African languages spoken by African Americans in the South Carolina colony

Nathaniel Bacon

a planter who led a rebellion with one thousand other Virginians in 1676; the rebels were mostly frontiersmen forced toward the backcountry in search of fertile land

William Berkeley

He was a British colonial governor of Virginia from 1642-52. He showed that he had favorites in his second term which led to the Bacon's rebellion in 1676 ,which he ruthlessly suppressed. He had poor frontier defense.

Leisler's Rebellion

Jacob Leisler seized control of lower New York from 1689 to 1691. The uprising, which occurred in the midst of Britain's "Glorious Revolution," reflected colonial resentment against the policies of King James II. Royal authority was restored in 1691 by British troops.


Ethnic group that had already relocated once before immigrating to America and settling largely on the Western forntier of the middle and southern colonies

Anglican Church

Church of England started by King Henry VIII in 1533; the monarch was head of the church, which was strongest in North America in the Southern Colonies. By 1776, it was second-largest church in America behind the Congregationalists.

Great Awakening

It was a revival of religious importance in the 17th century. It undermined older clergy, created schisms, increased compositeness of churches, and encouraged missionary work, led to the founding new schools. It was first spontaneous movement of the American people (broke sectional boundaries and denominational lines).

George Whitefield

English clergyman who was known for his ability to convince many people through his sermons. He involved himself in the Great Awakening in 1739 preaching his belief in gaining salvation.

Jonathan Edwards

This theologian was an American revivalist of the Great Awakening. He was both deeply pious and passionately devoted to intellectual pursuits. His most popular sermon titled, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," appealed to thousands of re-awakened Christians.

Triangular Trade

A three way system of trade during 1600-1800s Africa sent slaves to America, America sent Raw Materials to Europe, and Europe sent Guns and Rum to Africa

Phyllis Wheatley

A former slave born in Senegal, who was the first African-American woman with published writings, and the first published African-American poet. She was purchased by the Wheatley family in Boston who taught her to read, write and encouraged poetry.

Zenger Trial

This 1735 trial of a New York newspaper editor resulted in a not guilty verdict, since his articles were based on fact. This acquittal was the first important victory for freedom of the press in the colonies and set an important precedent for the libel cases of the future.


an eating/drinking establishment that was used as a gathering place for information, rumor, and gossip. These were important in crystallizing public opinion as the Revolutionary movement gathered momentum in the colonies.

Poor Richard's Almanack

by Benjamin Franklin (1732-1758) it contained many sayings called from the thinkers of the ages, emphazised such homespun virtues as thrift, industry, morality and common sense. Was well known in Europe and was more widely read in America than anything except the Bible.

Benjamin Franklin

American public official, writer, scientist, and printer. After the success of his Poor Richard's Almanac (1732-1757), he entered politics and played a major part in the American Revolution. Franklin negotiated French support for the colonists, signed the Treaty of Paris (1783), and helped draft the Constitution (1787-1789). His numerous scientific and practical innovations include the lightning rod, bifocal spectacles, and a stove.

Phillis Wheatley

First African American female writer to be published in the United States. Her book Poems on Various Subjects was published in 1773, pioneered African-American literature. One of the most well- known poets in America during her day; first African American to get a volume of poetry published.

Paxton Boys

They were a group of Scots-Irish men living in the Appalachian hills that wanted protection from Indian attacks. They made an armed march on Philadelphia in 1764. They protested the lenient way that the Quakers treated the Indians. Their ideas started the Regulator Movement in North Carolina.

Regulator movement

It was a movement during the 1760's by western North Carolinians, mainly Scots-Irish, that resented the way that the Eastern part of the state dominated political affairs. They believed that the tax money was being unevenly distributed. Many of its members joined the American Revolutionists.

new lights

Revivalist ministers who emphasized emotive spirituality and encouraged missionary work among the natives, as well as founding many long-standing educational institutes, such as Princeton, Brown, and Dartmouth.

old lights

orthodox clergymen who rejected the emotionalism of the great awakening in favor of a more rational spirituality.

French and Indian War

Was a war fought by French and English on American soil over control of the Ohio River Valley-- English defeated French in 1763. Historical Significance: established England as number one world power and began to gradually change attitudes of the colonists toward England for the worse.

Albany Plan

1754--Delegates from seven colonies meet in New York; Ben Franklin proposed a yearly congress of delegates to address issues of common defense against Indians and the French, trade and customs duties. Was not approved.

Iroquois Confederacy

Group of several Indian tribes that formed defensive alliance; traded with French but especially British while avoiding close relations with both groups; sided with British in French and Indian War.

Treaty of Paris 1763

Ended the Seven Years War in Europe and the parallel French and Indian War in North America. Under the treaty, Britain won all of Canada and almost all of the modern United States east of the Mississippi.

Proclamation of 1763

British government forbade British colonists from settling west of the Appalachians; angered American colonists and helped cause American Revolution

Pontiac's Rebellion

After the French and Indian War, colonists began moving westward and settling on Indian land. This migration led to Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763, when a large number of Indian tribes banded together under the Ottawa chief Pontiac to keep the colonists from taking over their land. Pontiac's Rebellion led to Britain's Proclamation of 1763, which stated that colonists could not settle west of the Appalachian Mountains.

William Pitt

The Prime Minister of England during the French and Indian War. He increased the British troops and military supplies in the colonies, and this is why England won the war.

Robert de la Salle

Frenchman who followed the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, claiming the region for France and naming it Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV


According to this doctrine, the colonies existed for the benefit of the mother country; they should add to its wealth, prosperity, and self-sufficiency. The settlers were regarded more or less as tenants. They were expected to produce tobacco and other products needed in England and not to bother their heads with dangerous experiments in agriculture or self-government.

Sugar Act of 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.

Vice Admiralty Courts

In these courts, British judges tried colonists in trials with no fair juries. Colonists questioned this process since there was no "jury of their peers"

Virtual Representation

Virtual representation means that a representative is not elected by his constituents, but he resembles them in his political beliefs and goals. The colonies only had virtual representation in the British government.

no taxation without representation

the rallying cry of the colonists; it was unfair that Britain was taxing them even though the colonies had no one in Parliament to represent them

Non-Importation 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.

Committees of Correspondence

Organized by patriot leader Samuel Adams, was a system of communication between patriot leaders in New England and throughout the colonies. They provided the organization necessary to unite the colonies in opposition to Parliament. The committees sent delegates to the First Continental Congress.

Stamp Act

A means of raising revenue in the colonies, and was passed by Parliament. It stated that all legal documents, contracts, licenses, pamphlets, and newspapers must carry a stamp that is taxed. It angered the colonists greatly, and led to the creation of the Stamp Act Congress.

Stamp Act Congress

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

Boston Massacre

British soldiers fired into a crowd of colonists who were teasing and taunting them. Five colonists were killed. The colonists blamed the British and the Sons of Liberty and used this incident as an excuse to promote the Revolution.

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. Leaders included Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

First Continental Congress

First political body that convened in 1774 to protest the Intolerable Acts. The congress ended up endorsing the Suffolk Resolves, urging a boycott of British imports and sending a petition to King George III

Intolerable Acts

In response to Boston Tea Party, 4 acts passed in 1774, Port of Boston closed, reduced power of assemblies in colonies, permitted royal officers to be tried elsewhere, provided for quartering of troop's in barns and empty houses.

Boston Tea Party

A group, disguised as Indians boarded the ships and dumped all the tea into Boston Harbor in protest of the Tea Act. It angered the British, and led to the closure of Boston harbor as well as the other Coercion Acts.

Declaratory Act

Passed in 1766 just after the repeal of the Stamp Act, the Declaratory Act stated that Parliament could legislate for the colonies in all cases. Most colonists interpreted the act as a face-saving mechanism and nothing more. Parliament, however, continually interpreted the act in its broadest sense in order to legislate in and control the colonies.

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.

Direct Tax

British-imposed tax directly on the colonies that was intended to raise revenue; the Stamp act was the first attempt by Parliament to impose a direct tax on the colonies.

Indirect Tax

A measure that raised revenue through the regulation of trade--the Sugar Act, for

Quartering Act

It allowed for British officers to be permitted to stay in the homes of colonials to cut down maintenance cost of the colonial garrison. It angered many colonists, and influenced the third amendment.

Townshend Acts

These acts of Parliament, passed in 1767, imposed duties on colonial tea, lead, paint, paper, and glass. Designed to take advantage of the supposed American distinction between internal and external taxes, these duties were to help support government in America. The act prompted a successful colonial nonimportation movement. Parliament gradually rescinded the tax on all of the items enumerated in the laws except tea. The episode served as another important step in the coming of the American Revolution.

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

Samuel Adams

Played a key role in the defense of colonial rights. He had been a leader of the Sons of Liberty and suggested the formation of the Committees of Correspondence. Was crucial in spreading the principle of colonial rights throughout New England and is credited with provoking the Boston Tea Party..

Gaspee Affair

A custom ship which was known for searching ships without warrants, and stealing food from colonists, ran aground and was burned by colonists. The British then sent a commission to investigate and take suspects to England for trial. Caused Thomas Jefferson to suggest committees of correspondence for each colony.

Currency Act

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.


Term used to define a just society in which citizens subordinate self interest for the common good. The stability of society and the authority of the government depend on the virtue of the citizenry. Opposed to hierarchical and authoritarian institutinos such as aristocracy and monarch.

John Hancock

Nicknamed "King of the Smugglers" ; He was a wealthy Massachusetts merchant in 1776 who was important in persuading the American colonies to declare their independence from England. He was the ring leader in the plot to store gunpowder which resulted in the battles in Lexington and Concord. These battles began the American Revolution.

George Grenville

Became prime minister of Britain in 1763 he persuaded the Parliament to pass a law allowing smugglers to be sent to vice-admiralty courts which were run by British officers and had no jury. He did this to end smuggling.

Quebec Act

Extended boundaries of Quebec and granted equal rights to Catholics and recognized legality Catholic Church in the territory; colonists feared this meant that a pope would soon oversee the colonies.

John Adams

America's first Vice-President and second President. Sponsor of the American Revolution in Massachusetts, and wrote the Massachusetts guarantee that freedom of press "ought not to be restrained."

Crispus Attucks

The African-Native American man who was the first man to die in the Boston Massacre, also considered the first death in the Revolutionary War

Marquis de Lafayette

Young patriot from France who became George Washington's aide durng the Revolution. Gave money to the colonial cause and became like a son to George Washington.

King George III

the king of England in the 1770's.Though he was a good man he was not a good ruler. He lost all of the 13 American colonies and caused America to start to gain its freedom.

Baron von Steuben

German commander who came to Valley Forge to help George Washington; trained the colonists and taught them discipline


German mercenaries that were hired by the British for putting down the rebellion of the colonies. The hiring of these men showed to the colonists that the British had only military action in mind as a solution to the current problems.


Colonists who opposed American independence and remained loyal to Great Britain during the American Revolution.

Charles Townshend

favored restrictions on colonial assemblies; created Townshend Act: imposed taxes on colonial imports of glass, paper, paint, and tea; created Revenue Act: created Board of American Customs Commissioners and vice-admiralty courts;

Thomas Paine

Revolutionary leader who wrote the pamphlet Common Sense (1776) arguing for American independence from Britain.

Common Sense

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


Colonists who opposed American independence and remained loyal to Great Britain during the American Revolution.

Declaration of Independence

Statement of the Second Continental Congress that defined the colonists' rights, outlined their complaints against Great Britain, and declared the colonies' independence

John Locke

He argued that man is born good and has rights to life, liberty, and property. To protect these rights, people enter social contract to create government with limited powers. If a government did not protect these rights or exceeded its authority, Locke believed the people have the right to revolt. The ideas of consent of the governed, social contract, and right of revolution influenced the United States Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Annapolis Convention

A convention held in September 1786 to consider problems of trade and navigation, attended by five states and important because it issued the call to Congress and the states for what became the Constitutional Convention

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.

Battle of Saratoga

Turning point of the American Revolution. It was very important because it convinced the French to give the U.S. military support. It lifted American spirits, ended the British threat in New England by taking control of the Hudson River, and, most importantly, showed the French that the Americans had the potential to beat their enemy, Great Britain.

Treaty of Alliance

A defensive alliance between France and the United States of America, formed in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, which promised military support in case of attack by British forces indefinitely into the future.

Second Continental Congress

They organized the continental Army, called on the colonies to send troops, selected George Washington to lead the army, and appointed the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence

Benedict Arnold

He was an American General during the Revolutionary War (1776). He prevented the British from reaching Ticonderoga. Later, in 1778, he tried to help the British take West Point and the Hudson River but he was found out and declared a traitor.

Marquis de LaFayette

Young patriot from France who became George Washington's aide durng the Revolution. Gave money to the colonial cause and became like a son to George Washington.

General Cornwallis

This British general was second in command to Henry Clinton. His 1781 defeat by a combined American-French force at the Siege of Yorktown is generally considered the de-facto end of the war, as the bulk of British troops surrendered with him.

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