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an economic policy under which nations sought to increase their wealth and power by obtaining large amounts of gold and silver and by selling more goods than they bought

Stamp Act 1765

Was issued in order to raise revenues to support the new British military force. Mandated the use of stamped paper certifying the payment of taxes. Colonist were angrily aroused and felt that this act was jeopardizing the basic right of the colonists as Englishmen.

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.

Declaratory Act 1766

this Act repealed the Stamp Act, but stated that Great Britain can rule the colonies anyway she sees fit (with date)

Boston Massacre

The first bloodshed of the Amercan Revolution, as British guards at the Boston Customs House opened fire on a crowd killing five americans

Tea Act 1773

Allowed East India Company to avoid navigation taxes when exporting tea to colonies and gave them power to monopolize tea trade; this angered colonists and threatened merchants and the colonial economy.

Coercive Acts 1774

1. Closed Boston port until destroyed tea paid for. 2. stopped town meetings. 3. Appointed a military government for Massachusetts. 4. Trials of government officials will be in England.

First Continental Congress

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

Lexington and Concord

the first battle of the American Revolution (April 19, 1775)


Another name for Loyalists

Battle of Bunker Hill

the first important battle of the American War of Independence (1775)

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.

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.

revenue tariff

tax on imports used primarily to raise government revenue without restricting imports

Admiralty Courts

in British law, special administrative courts designed to handle maritime cases without a jury.

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.

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.

General Cornwallis

the British general who defied an order and was trapped at Yorktown forcing his surrender; he called Washington an old fox

John Jay

First chief justice of the Supreme Court

Articles of Confederation

This document, the nation's first constitution, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1781 during 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.

Northwest Ordinance

Enacted in 1787, it is considered one of the most significant achievements of the Articles of Confederation. It established a system for setting up governments in the western territories so they could eventually join the Union on an equal footing with the original 13 states

James Madison

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

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


opponents of a strong central government who campaigned against the ratification of the Constitution in favor of a confederation of independant states

John Locke

English philosopher who advocated the idea of a "social contract" in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty and property.

federal system

a government that divides the powers of government between the national government and state or provincial governments

enumerated powers

The powers explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution.

tactical victory

a battle won by tactics

Declaration of Causes

a document which was a justification of their taking arms.

Richard Henry Lee

Member of the Second Continental Congress who urged Congress to support independence; signer of the Declaration of Independence.

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

A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power

Sugar Act of 1764

An act that raised tax revenue in the colonies for the crown. It also increased the duty on foreign sugar imported from the West Indies.

virtual representation

British governmental theory that Parliament spoke for all British subjects, including Americans, even if they did not vote for its members

Stamp Act Congress

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

Charles Townshend

British Prime Minister. Influenced Parliament to pass the Townshend Acts.

non-importation agreements

A form of protest against British policies; colonial merchants refused to import British goods.

committees of correspondence

Organization founded by Samuel Adams consisting of a system of communication between patriot leaders in New England and throughout the colonies

Intolerable Acts 1774

1774 closed harbor untio damage were paid and order can be ensued + British official if they killed someone they get trial by jury in Britian where they were likely not to get charged. (in response when the colonist threw the tea)

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."


American colonists who were determined to fight the British until American independence was won

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

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

Pontiac's Rebellion

A 1763 conflict between Native Americans and the British over settlement of Indian lands in the Great Lakes area

internal taxation

revenues levied directly on property (such as land or livestock), persons (such as poll taxes), or governmental functions (such as the Stamp Act).

external taxation

Britain wanted a way to tax Americans without upsetting them. They started it from outside the country

natural rights

the idea that all humans are born with rights, which include the right to life, liberty, and property

consent of the governed

the idea that government derives its authority by the sanction of the people

Baron von Steuben

volunteer, general in Prussia,offered help to Patriots after Washington won the battles at Trenton & Princeton, arrived at Valley Forge in the spring of 1778

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.

Admiral de Grasse

the French naval commander/ helped the troops in the Navy trap and cut off Cornwallis

Treaty of Paris 1783

The British recognized the independence of the United States. It granted boundaries, which stretched from the Mississippi on the west, to the Great Lakes on the north, and to Spanish Florida on the south. The Yankees retained a share of Newfoundland.

Land Ordinance of 1785

A law that divided much of the United States into a system of townships to facilitate the sale of land to settlers.

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

Virginia Plan

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

Three fifths Compromise

the agreement by which the number of each state's representatives in Congress would be based on a count of all the free people plus three-fifths of the slaves

The Federalist

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

salutary neglect

idea that the colonies benefited by being left alone, without too much British interference

confederal system

A system consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such a league has only limited powers over the states.

reserved powers

powers that the Constitution does not give to the national government that are kept by the states

moral victory

At the Battle of Bunkerhill the colonists lost but proved they could fight well

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.

Virginia Resolution

Written anonymously by Jefferson and Madison in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, they declared that states could nullify federal laws that the states considered unconstitutional.

Constitutional Convention

meeting of delegates in 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation, which produced the new U.S. Constitution

strict constructionism

a judicial approach holding that the Constitution should be read literally, with the framers' intentions uppermost in mind


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

Quartering Act of 1765

Act forcing colonists to house and supply British forces in the colonies; created more resentment; seen as assault on liberties.

direct representation

citizens individually choose their representatives in a legislature

Proclamation Act 1763

Act passed by England prohibiting colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains

Townshend Acts 1767

Taxed luxury items imported into the colonies; colonists outraged and started another movement to stop importing Br. goods

George III

English monarch at the time of the revolution. He was the main opposition for the colonies due to his stubborn attitude and unwillingness to hear out colonial requests/grievances.

Samuel Adams

Founder of the Sons of Liberty and one of the most vocal patriots for independence; signed the Declaration of Independence

Quebec Act

Signed in 1774, intended to reorganize the way these British territories were governed


German soldiers who fought for the British


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

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.

Common Sense

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

power of the purse

Constitutional power given to Congress to raise and spend money

protective tariff

a tax on imported goods that raises the price of imports so people will buy domestic goods

Social Contract Theory

A voluntary agreement between the government and the governed

circular letter

A letter circulated in 1767 in reaction to the Townshend Act. It urged colonists to jointly sign a petition of protest and was influential in causing colonists to work together against the British.

Battles of Trenton and Princeton

Washington crossed Delaware, surprised Hessians at Trenton, went on to win at Princeton...gave new hope to Americans after defeats in New York

Nathaniel Greene

Quaker-raised American general who employed tactics of fighting and then drawing back to recover, then attacking again. Defeated Cornwallis by thus "fighting Quaker".


The last major battle of the war in which Charles Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington. The French helped us. The was over, and colonists had won!


seniority by birth; state of being the first-born child; right of the eldest child (to inherit the entire property of one or both parents)

Shay's Rebellion

was led by Daniel Shays it was a protest against the land being taken away and the taxes that they had just worked so hard to get rid of

Alexander Hamilton

Delegate to the Constitutional Convention and leader of the Federalists; first secretary of the treasury.

New Jersey Plan

Opposite of the Virginia Plan, it proposed a single-chamber congress in which each state had one vote. This created a conflict with representation between bigger states, who wanted control befitting their population, and smaller states, who didn't want to be bullied by larger states.


supporters of the stronger central govt. who advocated the ratification of the new constitution

Thomas Hobbes

wrote "Leviathan" and believed people were naturally cruel, greedy, and selfish; he also believed only a powerful governemnt could keep an orderly society


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

unitary system

a government that gives all key powers to the national or central government

concurrent powers

powers that are shared by both the federal and state governments

Conciliatory Proposition

If you voluntarily contribute to upkeep of the colonies, then they will not tax America anymore

Prohibitory Act

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.

defensive war

a war in which the army stays in its own area and defends that area from attack, rather than advancing into enemy territory

separation of powers

the division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government

loose constructionism

Courts should read the Constitution expansively and should not limit themselves to what is explicitly stated

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