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American Revolution

Vocab for our unit on the American Revolution

TermDefinition
Mercantilism a country should sell more to other countries than it buys
Navigation Acts laws passed by Parliament restricting the trading rights of the colonists
Salutary neglect A hundred-fifty year period when England ignored the colonies and they became more independent
French and Indian War A war between England and France & their Indian allies, started in the colonies, England won but had a huge debt, the end of England ignoring the colonies
Representation speaking for someone
Sons of Liberty a group of colonists who organized to resist Parliament’s new taxes
Boycott not buying (or doing) something for a political purpose, a form of protest/resistance
Committees of Correspondence organized by the Sons of Liberty, these were groups that wrote letters to other colonies to improve unity, communication, and resistance to English laws/taxes
Taxation without representation being taxed without having someone speak for you, the colonists accused Parliament of this
Repeal to get rid of (annul) a law
Duties taxes on imports (goods brought into a country)
Crispus Attucks the “first” martyr of the Revolution, he died in the Boston Massacre and was leading the colonists
Boston Massacre an event where redcoats fired on a crowd in Boston, 5 colonists died, controversy over which side was responsible
Intolerable Acts Also called Coercive Acts, these were punishments put on Boston after the Tea Party. Until the problems were fixed, these acts would remain active.
Monopoly a person or group that has complete control over something; you are the only one that can sell, buy, or transport something (ie: Woodside has a monopoly over selling lunches in the lunch room)
Stamp Act A tax from Parliament on any good that is paper: letters, playing cards, etc. It was the first time that the colonists had to pay a tax on a particular item that they bought, very upsetting. Eventually repealed due to colonial boycotts.
Townshend Acts A series of laws placing taxes on goods such as: lead, paper, glass, tea, and paint. They also made the governor and all colonial judges chosen by the king and not the colonists.
Tea Act A law that gave the East India Company a monopoly to sell their tea in the colonies (this act did NOT create a tax on tea, that was still around from the Townshend Acts)
First Continental Congress A meeting of 12 of the 13 colonies (Georgia did not attend), to discuss the Intolerable Acts and other complains about Parliament, ended with the creating of the Declaration of RIGHTS
Lexington and Concord The first shots of the Revolutionary War, did not declare war and the colonists would still try for peace—unsuccessfully. The colonists lost Lexington (which started because of a random gunshot that no one knows who fired) but won Concord
Patrick Henry A representative to the 1st Continental Congress from Virginia. Believed that the only path to liberty/restored rights was through violence. He made a famous speech including the phrase “give me liberty or give me death”
Declaration of Rights A document created by the 1st Continental Congress and sent to the king and Parliament. It was a list of complaints and rights that the colonists insisted they had.
militia/minutemen Colonial fighters, they were not professional soldiers but instead local citizens who knew how to fight. They could easily organize and move, hence earning the name "minutemen." They were better at guerrilla warfare than traditional tactics.
Patriots/rebels Colonists who fought against England in the revolution or supported the revolution. What they were called depended on who was talking.
Loyalists Colonists who fought for England in the revolution or did not support the revolution.
Fence Sitters Colonists who did not choose sides in the revolution.
General Howe British general who was in command during the battles of Bunker Hill, Dorchester Heights, and Long Island.
Bunker Hill A battle where the patriots seized a hill north of Boston with the goal of taking back the city. Battle is misnamed as they took Breed’s Hill. Patriots forced redcoats to retreat twice but finally lost due to lack of ammo.
Dorchester Heights Similar to Bunker Hill, only this time George Washington and supplies from Ticonderoga had arrived and so the colonists were successful in taking back Boston—no shots fired.
Second Continental Congress Met in Philadelphia and was the government of the colonies for most of the war. Elected George Washington as leader of the army, send representatives to other countries for help, created money. Led by many different Presidents of the Congress.
George Washington Leader of the Continental Army and representative at the Second Continental Congress.
Thomas Paine Propagandist who wrote Common Sense.
Common Sense A series of pamphlets written by Thomas Paine that encouraged colonists to break away from England.
Olive Branch Petition Created by the Second Continental Congress after Lexington and Concord to try and make peace with England before war officially started.
Declaration of Independence The announcement of the official break between England and America. It also includes some of the basic ideas of government and the rights of people.
Natural/unalienable rights Rights given to people by a power stronger than government (seen by a number of colonists to be rights given either by nature or by a god) and therefore rights that no one can take away
Self-evident something that needs no explanation; obvious
Consent of the governed The idea that government gets its power from the people with their permission and that the people can withdraw their permission at any time
Thomas Jefferson Writer of the Declaration of Independence, representative to the Second Continental Congress
King George III King of England
Benjamin Franklin Representative to the Second Continental Congress, created the “unite or die” flag, edited the Declaration of Independence, ambassador to France during the war
Friedrich von Steuben German “general” who trained the colonial soldiers at Valley Forge in 1777-1778. Hugely responsible for the later successes of the Continental Army.
Marquis de Lafayette A nobleman from France who joined the patriots during the war. Donated soldiers, ships, and money to the cause.
Valley Forge where the Continental Army trained during the winter of 1777-1778. Terrible conditions, but the turning point in their abilities as an army.
Battle of Trenton A battle where Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Eve to launch a surprise attack on the mercenaries that King George had hired. A huge victory and the turning point in the war as the Americans had a successful offensive battle.
Battle of Saratoga A battle in northern New York where the Continental Army defeated a British invasion from Canada. This was the battle that finally convinced France to join on the side of the patriots.
Bernardo de Galvez Spanish governor of Louisiana. Led Spanish troops and American Indians against English supplies and ports in the Southern colonies.
John Paul Jones A Scottish sailor, fought for the patriots in the revolution leading attacks against English supply ships off the coast of England and France. Was given many ships by France to attack the English.
George Rogers Clark Half American Indian, Clark gathered woodsmen and attacked English supplies and caravans out in the west. Most famous for his march along the frozen Wabash River and capture Fort Sackville (modern day-Vincennes, Indiana) despite being quite outnumbered.
General Cornwallis English general who led a very successful series of attacks in the southern colonies. Eventually defeated at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. After his army surrendered, the largest British army in the colonies was no more.
Created by: mhaff