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House of Burgess

representative parliamentary assembly created to govern Virginia, establishing a precedent for government in the english colonies.


economic theory that closely linked a nation's political and military power to its bullion reserves. Mercantilists generally favored protectionism and colonial acquisition as means to increase exports.

Navigation Acts

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.

Proclamation of 1763

decree issued by parliament in the wake of pontiac's rebellion, prohibiting settlement beyond the appalachians. Contributed to rising resentment of british rule in the american colonies.

Virtual Representation

concept by which a group of people are theoretically spoken for in a government body.

"no taxation w/o representation"

saying that the colonists used to protest against the new taxes being put into place by the british parliament.

Sugar Act

duty on imported sugar from the west indies. It was the first tax levied on the colonists by the crown and was lowered substantially in response to the wide-spread protests.

Quartering Act

required colonies to provide food and shelter for british troops. Many colonists resented the act, which they perceived as an encroachment on their rights.

Stamp Act/ Stamp Act Congress

assembly of delegates from nine colonies who met in New York City to draft a petition for the repeal of the Stamp Act. Helped ease sectional suspicions andq promote intercolonial unity. 7/13 colonies showed

Currency Act

name of several Acts of the Parliament of Britain that regulated paper money issued by the colonies of British America.

Declaratory Act

passed along side the repeal of the Stamp Act, it reaffirmed Parliament's unqualified sovereignty over the North American colonies.

Townshend Acts

external, or indirect, levies on glass, white lead, paper, paint and tea, the proceeds of which were used to pay colonial governors, who had previously been paid directly by colonial assemblies. Sparked another round of protests in the colonies.

Boston Tea Party

rowdy protest against the british east india company's newly acquired monopoly on the tea trade. colonists, disguised as indians, dumped 342 chests of tea into boston harbor, prompting harsh sanctions from the british parliament.

Boston Massacre

clash between unruly bostonian protestors and locally stationed british redcoats, who fired on the jeering crowd, killing or wounding eleven citizens.

Admiralty Courts

used to try offenders for violating the various navigation acts passed by the crown after the french and indian war. colonists argued that the courts encroached on their rights as englishmen since they lacked juries and placed the burden of proof on the accused.

Intolerable Acts/ Coercive Acts

series of punitive measures passed in the retaliation for the boston tea party, closing the port of boston, revoking a number of rights in the Massachusetts colonial charter and expanding the quartering act to allow for the lodging of soldiers in the private homes. in response colonists convened the first continental congress and called for a complete boycott of british goods.

First Continental Congress

convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies that convened in Philadelphia to craft a response to the intolerable acts. delegates established association, which called for a complete boycott of british goods.

"Committee of Correspondence"

local committees established across massachusetts, and later in each of the thirteen colonies, to maintain colonial opposition to british policies through the exchange of letters and pamphlets.

First Continental Congress

Delegates from all colonies except georgia met to discuss problems with britain and to promote independence

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 comittee to draft the Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

This document was
adopted on July 4, 1776. It
established the 13 American colonies as independent states, free from rule by Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson wrote the
majority of this document.

Common Sense

a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that claimed the colonies had a right to be an independent nation

Lexington and Concord

the first battle of the Revolution in which British general Thomas Gage went after the stockpiled weapons of the colonists in Concord, Massachusetts.

Battles of the Revolutionary War

between colonies and britain. trenton. princeton. saratoga. yorktown

Patriots and Loyalist

patriots, who supported rebellion and were called "Whigs" ; Loyalist, who supported the king and who often went to battle against fellow Americans and were called "Tories"

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

John Hancock

Patriot leader and president of the Second Continental Congress; first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Sam Adams

A member of the Sons of Liberty who started the Committee of Correspondence to stir public support for American independence.

Charles Townshend

Charles Townshend was control of the British ministry and was nicknamed "Champagne Charley" for his brilliant speeches in Parliament while drunk. He persuaded Parliament in 1767 to pass the Townshend Acts. These new regulations was a light import duty on glass, white lead, paper, and tea. It was a tax that the colonist were greatly against and was a near start for rebellions to take place.

Crispus Attucks

Killed in Boston Massacre, black laborer, only African-American person killed in Boston Massacre

Thomas Paine

Revolutionary leader who wrote the pamphlet Common Sense (1776) arguing for American independence from Britain. In England he published The Rights of Man

King George III

King of England, stubborn, stupid, levied taxes even though he knew colonist would hate it, poor ruler, passed Quartering Act, hated colonists, wanted to show who's in charge

George Washington

American commander-in-chief; first president, set precedents for future presidents, put down Whiskey Rebellion (enforced Whiskey Tax), managed first presidential cabinet, carefully used power of executive to avoid monarchial style rule

John Dickenson

Philadelphia lawyer; reacted to "external" duties of Townshend Acts in Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer with argument that external taxation was legal only when designed to regulate trade, not raise a revenue. Wrote the Olive Branch Petition.

Thomas Jefferson

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. clashed with john adams while vice presidents and constantly left to france.

Patrick Henry

Outspoken member of House of Burgesses; inspired colonial patriotism with "Give me liberty or give me death" speech

Colonial Governments

Form of government for 13 colonies in which they were separated into 3 classes: The joint-stock, The Royal, and the Proprietary.

State Governments

The had the most power under the Articles of Confederation.

Annapolis Convention

Originally planning to discuss the promotion of interstate commerce, delegates from five states met at Annapolis in September 1786 and ended up suggesting a convention to amend the Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation

this document, the nations first constitution, was adopted by the second continental congress in 1781during the revolution. the document was limited because states held most of the power, and congress lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, or control coinage


Political groups that agree on objectives and policies; the origins of political parties.

Shay's Rebellion

this conflict in Massachusetts caused many to criticize the Articles of Confederation and admit the weak central government was not working; uprising led by Daniel Shays in an effort to prevent courts from foreclosing on the farms of those who could not pay the taxes on whiskey

Constitutional Convention

The meeting of state delegates in 1787 in Philadelphia called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It instead designed a new plan of government, the US Constitution.



Equal Representation

The idea that each state should have the same number of representatives in Congress. The number of representatives in the Senate is based on this

Federal System (federalism)

A system of govenrment made up of a national government and a series of provincial governments. Each level of government has specific powers to make laws that relate to their areas of responsibility.

NJ Plan

in favor of smaller states. didn't want central gov, unicameral equal representation. congress can regulate trade and tax

Virginia Plan

Virginia delegate James Madison's plan of government, in which states got a number of representatives in Congress based on their population

Great Compromise

Compromise made by Constitutional Convention in which states would have equal representation in one house of the legislature and representation based on population in the other house

Slave Compromise

In 1787 some northern states had banned slave trade in their borders, urged that slave trade should be banned in the entire nation, southerners-no, Compromised that congress could not outlaw slave trade for at least 20 years. Northerners agreed that no state could stop a fugitive slave from being returned to someone who claimed that slave

3/5 Compromise

the decision at the Constitutional convention to count slaves as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of deciding the population and determining how many seats each state would have in Congress

Enumerated Powers

The powers explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution.

"Necessary and Proper Clause"

Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) setting forth the implied powers of Congress. It states that Congress, in addition to its express powers, has the right to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers the Constitution vests in the national government

Supremacy Clause

The constitutional provision that makes the Constitution and federal laws superior to all conflicting state and local laws.


a formal accusation of misconduct in office against a public official

Electoral College

Group of persons chosen in each state and the district of columbia every four years who make a formal selection of the president and vice president

Judicial review

the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional


If the President vetoes a bill, the Congress may override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses. The bill would then become law, the President's objections notwithstanding.

Terms of office/age for Senators

6 years, 30 years old, natural born citizens

Terms of office/age for Representatives

2 years, 25 years old, natural born citizens

Article I

Defines power of legislative branch

Amendment Process

step 1: amendment proposed by 2/3 vote of both houses of congress OR a constitutional convention called by congress on petition of 2/3 out of 50 states. THEN amendment ratified by 3/4 of the 50 state legislatures OR 3/4 of special constitutional conventions called by 50 states THEN the new amendment!

Ratifying Conventions

meetings held in the states to approve the constitution.


ability of a state to govern its territory free from control of its internal affairs by other states

Bill of Rights

the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.

Checks and Balances in the Federal System

system where three branches of government can limit the power any specific branch so that they don't become to powerful.

Delegated Powers

Those powers, expressed, implied, or inherent, granted to the National Government by the constitution


Formal approval, final consent to the effectiveness of a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty

The Federalist Papers

Essays promoting ratification of the Constitution, published anonymously by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in 1787 and 1788.


a member of a former political party in the United States that favored a strong centralized federal government


Opposed to a strong central government; saw undemocratic tendencies in the Constitution and insisted on the inclusion of the Bill of Rights. Included Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Patrick Henry.

James Madison

Strict constructionist, 4th president, father of the Constitution, leads nation through War of 1812

William Patterson

delegate of New Jersey, proposed an alternative to the Virginia Plan, whose plan changed little about the government system, and was rejected at the convention.

George Washington

Virginian, patriot, general, and president. Lived at Mount Vernon. Led the Revolutionary Army in the fight for independence. First President of the United States.

Roger Sherman

He helped draft the Great Compromise that determined how states would be represented in Congress

Benjamin Franklin

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.

Search and Seizure

must have probable cause to search personal affects; can only take what they went into search for

Probable Cause

reasonable cause for issuing a search warrant or making an arrest; more than mere suspicion

Freedom of Speech

the right to express oneself, with words or actions (verbally or symbolically). This freedom is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the US Constitution; although the Supreme Court has ruled that this freedom is not absolute: it should not be applied when it endangers or harms the lives, liberty or property of others.

5th Amendment

right to grand jury, indictment, no double jeopardy, freedom from self-incrimination, due process of law

6th Amendment

Right to a fair, speedy trial

8th Amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

9th Amendment

rights not mentioned in the constitution belong to the people

10th Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Judiciary Act of 1789

In 1789 Congress passed this Act which created the federal-court system. The act managed to quiet popular apprehensions by establishing in each state a federal district court that operated according to local procedures.

National Bank

Hamilton's big idea; fiercely opposed by Jefferson and Democratic-Rep. The bank would regulate money and draw investors; showed that the constitution could be construed in many a way.


the states'-rights doctrine that a state can refuse to recognize or to enforce a federal law passed by the United States Congress

John Jay

United States diplomat and jurist who negotiated peace treaties with Britain and served as the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court (1745-1829)

Thomas Jefferson

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.

Alexander Hamilton

1789-1795; First Secretary of the Treasury. He advocated creation of a national bank, assumption of state debts by the federal government, and a tariff system to pay off the national debt.

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."

northwest ordiance

declared how states will join the union
5,000 people=territory
60,000 people=state application
western states make a more gridded map

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