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.
Boston Massacre (1770)
Clash between unruly Bostonian protesters and locally-stationed British redcoats, who fired on the jeering crowd, killing or wounding eleven citizens.
Boston Tea Party (1773)
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.
committees 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.
Sons/Daughters of Liberty
Patriotic groups that played a central role in agitating against the Stamp Act and enforcing non-importation agreements.
Declaratory Act (1766)
Passed alongside the repeal of the Stamp Act, it reaffirmed Parliament's unqualified sovereignty over the North American colonies.
First Continental Congress (1774)
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.
Intolerable Acts (1774)
Series of punitive measures passed in 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 private homes. In response, colonists convened the First Continental Congress and called for a complete boycott of British goods.
Battles of Lexington and Concord (1775)
First battles of the Revolutionary War, fought outside of Boston. The colonial militia successfully defended their stores of munitions, forcing the British to retreat to Boston.
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.
Boycotts against British goods adopted in response to the Stamp Act and, later, the Townshend and Intolerable Acts. The agreements were the most effective form of protest against British policies in the colonies.
Quartering Act (1765)
Required colonies to provide food and quarters for British troops. Many colonists resented the act, which they perceived as an encroachment on their rights.
Quebec Act (1774)
Allowed the French residents of Québec to retain their traditional political and religious institutions, and extended the boundaries of the province southward to the Ohio River. Mistakenly perceived by the colonists to be part of Parliament's response to the Boston Tea Party.
Eighteenth-century British political commentators who agitated against political corruption and emphasized the threat to liberty posed by arbitrary power. Their writings shaped American political thought and made colonists especially alert to encroachments on their rights.
Political theory of representative government, based on the principle of popular sovereignty, with a strong emphasis on liberty and civic virtue. Influential in eighteenth century American political thought, it stood as an alternative to monarchical rule.
Stamp Act Congress (1765)
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 and promote intercolonial unity.
stamp tax (1765)
Widely-unpopular tax on an array of paper goods, repealed in 1766 after mass protests erupted across the colonies. Colonists developed the principle of "no taxation without representation" which questioned Parliament's authority over the colonies and laid the foundation for future revolutionary claims.
Sugar Act (1764)
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 widespread protests.
The Association (1774)
Non-importation agreement crafted during the First Continental Congress calling for the complete boycott of British goods.
Townshend Acts (1767)
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.
Encampment where George Washington's poorly-equipped army spent a wretched, freezing winter. Hundreds of men died and more than a thousand deserted. The plight of the starving, shivering soldiers reflected the main weakness of the American army-a lack of stable supplies and munitions.