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Whigs vs Tories

The American rebels, Patriots of Whigs, fought against the British red coats and Americans loyal to the king, loyalists or Tories.

New York Summer of 1776

After evacuating Boston in March 1776, New York City became the new base of British in America. A fleet composed of 500 ships and 35,000 men appeared off New York and largest armed force seen in America at that point. Washington was defeated with his army of 8,000 ill trained troops. Washington lost at Battle of Long Island.

Trenton and Princeton

Washington led 2,400 troops across the Delaware River and on December 26, 1776, he captured a thousand Hessians and a week later, he defeated a smaller British detachment at Princeton.

General Burgoyne

Surrendered to america at Saratoga, lost to Horatio Gates. Wanted three British armies to march on Albany, New York, from different directions. They would crush American forces there once they controlled the Hudson River, the British could stop the flow of soldiers and supplies from New England to Washington's army.

General Howe

He took command of British troops in North America after the Battle of Bunker Hill. He captured New York and Philadelphia, but did not support Burgoyne in the plan to capture the Hudson River, which led to British loss at Saratoga.

Valley Forge

Place in Pennsylvania where George Washington and his Continental Army spent the winter. It allowed for Washington to regroup and retrain his rag-tag army due to Baron von Steuban, a Prussian drillmaster, that turned Washington's army into a professional one.

Importance of Saratoga

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.

Foreign Aid

Saratoga victory helped convince France to help America. France sent money, equipment, and troops. France, Spain, and Hollan joined the revolution by starting wars against England in Europe, therefore distracting England's war efforts against the colonies

Benjamin Franklin in Paris

Benjamin Franklin traveled to Paris and did not dress in a fancy way. He dressed different from a British person and it showed the French what America hoped to accomplish, to be separate from Britain and be independent and different. He wore homespun garments and a simple cap of fur.

Treaty of alliance with France

In 1778 France offered Franklin a treaty of alliance that bound both parties to wage war until the United States had fully secured its freedom and until both agreed to terms with the common enemy, England.

Spain and Holland against Britain

In 1779 Spain and Holland entered the fray against Britain. Combined Spanish and French fleets outnumbered those of Britain, and on two occasions the British Isles seemed to be at the mercy of hostile warships.

Catherine the Great of Russia, Armed Neutrality

Complete refusal to trade or aid England while the revolutionary war took place. Russia remained neutral, but it also refused to help England in any way.

Benedict Arnold

He was an American General during the Revolutionary War (1776). He prevented the British from reaching Ticonderoga. He was instrumental in General Gates victory in Saratoga. 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.

Britain overrun South

British devised a new plan in 1778-1779, in which to overrun the colonies starting from the south. Georgia quickly fell and soon after Charleston, South Carolina in 1780. The capture of that city resulted in capture of 5,000 men and 400 cannons and was a big loss for colonists.

American Bankrupt

From 1780-1781 were the dark days of the American Government. Inflation of the currency led to a virtually bankrupt government. During this unity withered and mutinous sentiments infected the army.


British commander. blundered into a trip by falling back to Chesapeake Bay at Yorktown for seaborne supplies and reinforcements. It was during such time that the British naval superiority slipped away and French and American troops seized the opportunity to launch a powerful assault. Washington and and French Rochambeau beat Britain by land and Admiral de Grasse blockaded them by sea after beating off the British fleet. Surrender at Yorktown on Oct 19, 1781 of 7,000 men.

Treaty of Paris

In 1783, under this agreement, the British recognized the United States as an independent nation, the borders of the new nation extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and the southern border stopped at Florida, which was returned to Spain. The west of the Mississippi River also went to Spain.

British professional army

Britain boasted about 50 thousand men. Also, King George III, hired 30 thousand German soldiers, and also enlisted about 50 thousand American Loyalists and many Indians.


German soldiers hired by King George III to bolster his army.

American Loyalists

British also enlisted in about 50 thousand of these to help strengthen the army.

Lord Dunmore

Royal governor of Virginia. Issued a proclamation offering freedom to any enslaved black in Virginia who joined the British army. British kept their word to some, evacuating about 14 thousand Black Loyalists.

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.

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.

Marquis de Lafayette

Wealthy young French nobleman who loved both liberty and glory. He was appointed a major general in the colonial army at age 19, and he helped secure further aid from France.

Baron von Steuben

A German who took a few thousand regular American soldiers and whipped them into shape. He helped them gain more experience, and the soldiers held their own against British troops.

Second Continental Congress, May 1775

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

General Washington

He was appointed by the Second Continental Congress as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in 1775. He was appointed more for his boost in moral and gift in leadership rather than his military genius. At the end of the war in 1783, he was the most famous man in America.

Ethan Allen

In May 1775, a tiny force under him and Benedict Arnold surprised and captured the British garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on the scenic lakes of upper New York.

Benedict Arnold

In May 1775, a tiny force under him and Ethan Allen surprised and captured the British garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on the scenic lakes of upper New York.

Ticonderoga and Crown Point

It was captured by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen in May 1775. It is located on the scenic lakes of upper New York. This was a priceless store of gunpowder and artillery.

Battle of Bunker Hill

Colonists captured this in June 1775 that they used for a strategic position against the British enemy in Boston. It showed that the Americans could hold their own, but the British were also not easy to defeat. Ultimately, the Americans were forced to withdraw after running out of ammunition, and Bunker Hill was in British hands. However, the British suffered more deaths.

Olive Branch Petition Rejected

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.

Failed Invasion of Canada

U.S. General Richard Montgomery forced the British to evacuate Montreal in 1775 and invade Canada. A second force led by Benedict Arnold invaded the land by combining an attack on Quebec; however, it was a failure in that Montgomery was killed, Benedict was shot, and one-third of the colonial troops were killed or captured.

Richard Montgomery

Irish born, formerly British General, he led the colonists. He led a successful attack into Montreal, then on to Quebec. Montgomery's attack on Quebec failed and he was killed, thus, the whole invasion into Canada failed.

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.

Evacuation of Boston

Also known as Evacuation Day in March 1776, the day when the British leave Boston after realizing that they cannot take Boston Harbor, due to the cannons on Dorchester Heights. General William Howe flees with thousands of redcoats and loyalists.

Thomas Paine

Patriot and writer whose pamphlet Common Sense, published in 1776, convinced many Americans that it was time to declare independence from Britain.

Richard Henry Lee

a member of the Philadelphia Congress during the late 1770's. On June 7, 1776 he declared, "These United colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states." This resolution was the start of the Declaration of Independence and end to British relations.

Thomas Jefferson

Virginian lawyer, 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.

King George III

King of England during the American Revolution who disbanded the colonial legislatures, taxed the colonies, and refused the Olive Branch Petition leading to the final break with the colonies

Lord North

1770's-1782 King George III's prime minister in the 1770's, reacting with the intolerable acts and he repealed the Townshend acts. His stern response to the Boston Tea Party helped unite the American colonists against England.

Samuel Adams

Played a key role in the defense of colonial rights. He had been a leader of the Sons of Liberty and formed the first Committees of Correspondence, which was in Boston. Adams was crucial in spreading the principle of colonial rights throughout New England and is credited with provoking the Boston Tea Party..

Committees of Correspondence 1772

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.

British East India Company

Stuck with 17 million pounds of unsold tea and no way to get rid of it, The ministry of London assisted the company by giving it a monopoly of the American tea business. This allowed them to sell tea cheaper to American merchants. This led to the Boston Tea Party.

Thomas Hutchinson

Governor of M.A. and he believed the tea tax was unjust, but disagreed that the colonists had a right to rebel. He angered Bostons radicals when he ordered the tea ships not to clear the Boston harbor until they had unloaded their cargoes

Boston Tea Party

Occurred December 16, 1773. 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

Collective name for British legislation that closed Boston Harbor, restricted town meetings, and required even private citizens to lodge British soldiers

Quebec Act

Act that Guaranteed French Canadians their Catholic religion and many of their old customs and institutions, but they did not have a representative assembly or trial by jury in civil cases. Also, extended Quebec southward all the way to the Ohio River.

First Continental Congress

The First Continental Congress convened on September 5, 1774 with all colonies except Georgia, to protest the Intolerable Acts. 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.

The Association

A document produced by the Continental Congress in 1775 that called for a complete boycott of British goods. This included non-importation, non-exportation and non-consumption. It was the closest approach to a written constitution yet from the colonies. It was hoped to bring back the days before Parliamentary taxation. Those who violated The Association in America were tarred and feathered

Lexington and Concord

The first battle of the American Revolution. April 8, 1775: Gage leads 700 soldiers to confiscate colonial weapons and arrest Adam, and Hancock; April 19, 1775: 70 armed militia face British at Lexington (shot heard around the world); British retreat to Boston, suffer nearly 300 casualties along the way (concord)


Term used to define a just society in which citizens subordinate self interest for the common good

Radical Whigs

A group of British political commentators. They were very nervous about the power of Parliament and the arbitrary powers of the monarch. They warned the colonists to be always on the lookout for a violation of their rights.


an economic system to increase a nation's wealth by government regulation of all of the nation's commercial interests, mercantilists believed in increasing their wealth and power by obtaining large amounts of gold and silver and by selling more goods than they bought

Navigation Law of 1650

Law passed by Parliament to regulate the mercantilist system. Said that all commerce flowing to and from the colonies could only be transported in British/colonial vessels

Royal veto

British right to nullify any legislation passed by the colonial system if it went against Mercantalism

Perpetual State of Economic Adolescence

An idea of Britain's control of the colonies described by Ben Franklin as, "We have an old mother that peevish is grown; She snubs us like children that scarce walk alone; She forgets we're grown up and have a sense of our own." The idea that the colonies aren't allowed to grow up and make their own decisions.

Prime Minister George Grenville

British Prime Minister. Architect of the Sugar Act; his method of taxation and crackdown on colonial smuggling were widely disliked by Americans. He passed the Stamp Act arguing that colonists received virtual representation in Parliament

Sugar Act 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.

Quartering Act 1765

Act forcing colonists to provide food and quarters for British forces in the colonies; created more resentment; seen as assault on liberties.

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.

Admiralty Courts

British courts originally established to try cases involving smuggling or violations of the Navigation Acts which the British government sometimes used to try American criminals in the colonies. Trials in Admiralty Courts were heard by judges without a jury.

"No taxation without representation"

Reflected the colonists' belief that they should not be taxed because they had no direct representatives in Parliament

Virtual Representation

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

Legislative authority vs taxing authority


Salutary or benign neglect


Stamp Act Congress

A meeting of delegations from 9 of the colonies held in New York City in 1765, 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.

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. Spontaneously united the American people for the first time in common action.

Sons of Liberty

Secret societies formed to protest new taxes passed by Parliament. Led the Boston Tea Party and threatened tax collectors. Leaders include Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

Repeal of Stamp Act

Day when Stamp Act would go into effect the machinery for collecting the stamp tax broke down. Stamp agents were forced to resign and the law was openly nullified. 1766 Parliament repealed the Stamp Act.

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.

Champagne Charley Townshend

Controlled the British ministry. Known for brilliant speeches even while drunk. Pushed Parliament into passing Townshend acts

Townshend Acts 1767

New regulations on a light import duty of glass, white lead paper, paint, and tea. An indirect customs duty payable at American ports.

More British Regiments 1768

In 1768 two regiments of troops arrived in Boston to face with a breakdown of law and order, which lead to a clash between citizens and the troops.

Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770

Crowd of around 60 townspeople, angry over the earlier death of an 11 year old boy started taunting and throwing snowballs at a squad of ten redcoats. The troops then open fired and killed or wounded 11 citizens.

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