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John Locke

believed all people have a right to life, liberty, and property; stated the government is "created by the people for the people"

Salutary Neglect

British colonial policy during the reigns of George I and George II. Relaxed supervision of internal colonial affairs by royal bureaucrats contributed significantly to the rise of American self government. Colonies did not enforce Parliament's Acts and began to believe that Parliament had no authority over them.

The Enlightenment

a philosophical movement of the 18th century, characterized by belief in the power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine.


referred to the breakdown of english rule over the american 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.

James Otis

a young lawyer in Boston, argued that colonists should not be taxed by Parliament because they could not vote for members of Parliament. "no taxation without colonist representation"

Grenville Acts (1764 - 1765)

1764-65 these acts included the stamp, sugar, and currency acts. they were designed to control trade and raise revenue. there was great opposition to these acts in the colonies, and the enforcement of these acts began a chain of events that eventually led to the Revolutionary war.

Sugar Act

(1764) British deeply in debt partly to French & Indian War. English Parliament placed a tariff on sugar, coffee, wines, and molasses. Forbade importation of rum. Colonists avoided the tax by smuggling and by bribing tax collectors.

Currency Acts

1751, 1764 the first currency act forbade Massachusetts from printing currency, while the second forbade all colonies from issuing currency. these acts drained specie from the colonies and made money scarce

Stamp Act

A law passed by the British Parliament in 1765 requiring colonists to pay a tax on newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, and even playing cards.

Stamp Act Congress

1765- roup of colonists who protested the Stamp Act, saying that Parliament couldn't tax without colonist' consent

Declaratory Act

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

Townshend Acts

Laws passed in 1767 that taxed goods such as glass, paper, paint, lead, and tea

John Dickinson (Letters from a Farmer...")

Drafted a declaration of colonial rights and grievances, and also wrote the series of "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" in 1767 to protest the Townshend Acts. Although an outspoken critic of British policies towards the colonies, Dickinson opposed the Revolution, and, as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776, refused to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Patrick Henry

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

Samuel Adams

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. Adams was crucial in spreading the principle of colonial rights throughout New England and is credited with provoking the Boston Tea Party.

Sons of Liberty

A radical political organization for colonial independence which formed in 1765 after the passage of the Stamp Act. They incited riots and burned the customs houses where the stamped British paper was kept. After the repeal of the Stamp Act, many of the local chapters formed the Committees of Correspondence which continued to promote opposition to British policies towards the colonies. The Sons leaders included Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

Massachusetts Circular Letter

Written by Samuel Adams in response to the Townshend Acts that invited the people of Massachusetts to "maintain the liberties of America" 1770

Boston Massacre (1770)

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.

Carolina Regulators

This name applies to several groups of insurgents who, in 1764, wanted to protect the rights of their community. The North Carolina Regulators threatened to rebel and not pay taxes. The South Carolina Regulators, in 1767, opposed corrupt government and cleared their homeland of outlaw bands of terrorists.

Battle of the Alamance

The North Carolina Regulators found their movement peak in this battle on May 16, 1771. With an army of 2500, these Regulators fought a band of eastern militia started up by the governor of North Carolina, and 300 casualties were inflicted. The Regulator uprising fell apart and colonies found it harder to resist British.

Lord Fredrick North

He was a Tory and a loyal supporter of King George III. While serving as Prime Minister he overreacted to the Boston Tea Party and helped precipitate the American Revolution.

King George III

Last king that ruled over American colonies. Reigned for 60 years. Lost colonies in American Revolution.

Gaspee Incident

The burning of the British naval cutter, the Gaspée by the citizens of Providence, Rhode Island in 1771. Example of colonial opposition to the enforcement of the Trade and Navigation Acts.

Somerset Case

1771 this was an English trials that involved an escaped slave and his master, the ex-slave was not deprived of his liberty.

Committees of Correspondence (1772)

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.

Tea Act (1773)

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

Boston Tea Party

demonstration (1773) by citizens of Boston who (disguised as Indians) raided three British ships in Boston harbor and dumped hundreds of chests of tea into the harbor

Intolerable Acts (Coercive 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

Quebec Act

This Act gave French Canadians self-rule. It supported Catholicism in Canada and gave colonial territory to Quebec.

First Continental Congress

Convened on September 5, 1774, to protest the Intolerable Acts. The congress endorsed the Suffolk Resolves, voted for a boycott of British imports, and sent a petition to King George III, conceding to Parliament the power of regulation of commerce but stringently objecting to its arbitrary taxation and unfair judicial system.

Suffolk Resolve (1774)

Drafted by representatives of Boston area and approved by First Continental Congress; more radical statements in response to Coercive Acts; claimed they were no longer subject to British rule because they had been violated.

Declaration of Rights and Grievances

At First Continental Congress, it promised obedience to the king, but denied parliament's right to tax the colonies.

Continental Association

1774: Created by the First Continental Congress, it enforced the non-importation of British goods by empowering local Committees of Vigilance in each colony to fine or arrest violators. It was meant to pressure Britain to repeal the Coercive Acts.

Resolution of Conciliation

Proposed by Lord North, it promised any colony that would provide for its own government and defense virtual immunity from taxation. Rejected by the colonies.

Lexington and Concord

first "battles"; meant to get suppies from militia, but shots exchanged between minutemen and the british as the british continued to concord; Americans ambushed british, killing 300

Second Continental Congress (1775)

the Continental Congress that convened in May 1775, approved the Declaration of Independence, and served as the only agency of national government during the Revolutionary War.

Olive Branch Petition (1775)

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.

Bunker Hill (1775)

British and American troops poured into the Boston area. Americans killed over one thousand British soldiers and the British killed nearly four hundred. The Americans had to fled because they were nearly out of supplies. King George III suspended trade between Britain and the American colonies.

Declaration of Independence

the document recording the proclamation of the Second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain

Richard H. Lee

During the Second Continental Congress he declared "These United Colonies are... free and independent states..."

Thomas Jefferson

Virginian, architect, author, governor, and president. Lived at Monticello. Wrote the Declaration of Independence. Second governor of Virgina. Third president of the United States. Designed the buildings of the University of Virginia.

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

Loyalists (Tories)

American colonists who remained loyal to Britain and opposed the war for independence

Saratoga (1777)

A battle that took place in New York where the Continental Army defeated the British. It proved to be the turning point of the war. This battle ultimately had France to openly support the colonies with military forces in addition to the supplies and money already being sent. Turning point in war.

French Alliance

1778 the French formed an alliance with America. The french promised the colonists independence and supplies, and gave the U.S. commercial privileges in french ports to avenge the British for the French defeat in the French and Indian war. in return, the U.S. promised to continue fighting until France was ready for peace.

George R. Clark

captured Kaskaskia and Vincennes in 1778

Conway Cabal

Major general who said that Washington was incompetent. After being wounded in a duel with Washington, Cabal apologized.

League of Armed Neutrality

The empress of Russia, Catherine II, made a declaration in 1780, restricting the category of contrabands to munitions and essential instruments of war. She also secured the freedom of the navigation of neutral nations, even to ports of belligerents. The U.S. could not join because it was fighting in the Revolutionary war.

Benedict Arnold

Successful American general during the Revolution who turned traitor in 1780 and joined the British cause.

John P. Jones

Father of the U.S. navy

Bonhomme Richard

John Paul Jones' ship that defeated to Serapis, named after Ben Franklin's POOR RICHARD ALMANAC

Yorktown (1781)

Washington traps Cornwallis in the Chesapeake Bay with the help of the French fleet. American victory and British surrenders war.

Robert Morris

an American merchant and a signer to the United States Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. Significance: He played an important role in personally financing the American side in the Revolutionary War from 1781 to 1784. Hence, he came to be known as the 'Financier of the Revolution'.

Abigail Adams

Wife of John Adams. During the Revolutionary War, she wrote letters to her husband describing life on the homefront. She urged her husband to remember America's women in the new government he was helping to create.

Mercy Q. Warren

Known as the nonpolitical poet of the Revolutionary War, but afterwards turned to political satire.

Newburgh Conspiracy

The officers of the Continental Army had long gone without pay, and they met in Newburgh, New York to address Congress about their pay. Unfortunately, the American government had little money after the Revolutionary War. They also considered staging a coup and seizing control of the new government, but the plotting ceased when George Washington refused to support the plan.

Treaty of Paris (1783)

Agreement signed by British and American leaders that stated the United States of America was a free and independent country. Ended 7 years war.

John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay

Negotiated Treaty of Paris

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