151. Battle of the Alamance
May 1771 - An army recruited by the North Carolina government put down the rebellion of the Carolina Regulators at Alamance Creek. The leaders of the Regulators were executed.
152. Gaspée Incident
In June, 1772, the British customs ship Gaspée ran around off the colonial coast. When the British went ashore for help, colonials boarded the ship and burned it. They were sent to Britain for trial. Colonial outrage led to the widespread formation of Committees of Correspondence.
153. Governor Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts
A Boston-born merchant who served as the Royal Governor of Massachusetts from 1771 to 1774. Even before becoming Governor, Hutchinson had been a supporter of Parliament's right to tax the colonies, and his home had been burned by a mob during the Stamp Acts riots in 1765. In 1773 his refusal to comply with demands to prohibit an East India Company ship from unloading its cargo percipitated the Boston Tea Party. He fled to England in 1774, where he spent the remainder of his life.
154. Committees of Correspondence
These started as groups of private citizens in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York who, in 1763, began circulating information about opposition to British trade measures. The first government-organized committee appeared in Massachusetts in 1764. Other colonies created their own committtees in order to exchange information and organize protests to British trade regulations. The Committees became particularly active following the Gaspee Incident.
155. Lord North
Prime Minister of England from 1770 to 1782. Although he repealed the Townshend Acts, he generally went along with King George III's repressive policies towards the colonies even though he personally considered them wrong. He hoped for an early peace during the Revolutionary War and resigned after Cornwallis’ surrender in 1781.
156. Tea Act, East India Company
The Tea Act gave the East India Company a monopoly on the trade in tea, made it illegal for the colonies to buy non-British tea, and forced the colonies to pay the tea tax of 3 cents/pound.
157. Boston Tea Party, 1773
British ships carrying tea sailed into Boston Harbor and refused to leave until the colonials took their tea. Boston was boycotting the tea in protest of the Tea Act and would not let the ships bring the tea ashore. Finally, on the night of December 16, 1773, colonials disguised as Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea overboard. They did so because they were afraid that Governor Hutchinson would secretly unload the tea because he owned a share in the cargo.
158. Coercive Acts / Intolerable Acts / Repressive Acts
All of these names refer to the same acts, passed in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party, and which included the Boston Port Act, which shut down Boston Harbor; the Massachusetts Government Act, which disbanded the Boston Assembly (but it soon reinstated itself); the Quartering Act, which required the colony to provide provisions for British soldiers; and the Administration of Justice Act, which removed the power of colonial courts to arrest royal officers.
159. Boston Port Act
This was one of the Coercive Acts, which shut down Boston Harbor until Boston repaid the East India Company for the lost tea.
160. Massachusetts Government Act
This was another of the Coercive Acts, which said that members of the Massachusetts assembly would no longer be elected, but instead would be appointed by the king. In response, the colonists elected a their own legislature which met in the interior of the colony.
161. Quebec Act, First Continental Congress, 1774
The Quebec Act, passed by Parliament, alarmed the colonies because it recognized the Roman- Catholic Church in Quebec. Some colonials took it as a sign that Britain was planning to impose Catholicism upon the colonies. The First Continental Congress met to discuss their concerns over Parliament's dissoltions of the New York (for refusing to pay to quarter troops), Massachusetts (for the Boston Tea Party), and Virginia Assemblies. The First Continental Congress rejected the plan for a unified colonial government, stated grievances against the crown called the Declaration of Rights, resolved to prepare militias, and created the Continental Association to enforce a new non-importation agreement through Committees of Vigilence. In response, in February, 1775, Parliament declared the colonies to be in rebellion.
162. Suffolk Resolves
Agreed to by delegates from Suffolk county, Massachusetts, and approved by the First Continental Congress on October 8, 1774. Nullified the Coercive Acts, closed royal courts, ordered taxes to be paid to colonial governments instead of the royal government, and prepared local militias.
163. Galloway Plan
A plan proposed at the First Continental Congress which would have created an American parliament appointed by colonial legislatures. It was defeated by one vote.
164. Continental Association
Created by the First Continental Congress, it enforced the non-importation of British goods by empowering local Committees of Vigilence in each colony to fine or arrest violators. It was meant to pressure Britain to repeal the Coercive Acts.
165. Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1774
General Gage, stationed in Boston, was ordered by King George III to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The British marched on Lexington, where they believed the colonials had a cache of weapons. The colonial militias, warned beforehand by Paul Revere and William Dawes, attempeted to block the progress of the troops and were fired on by the British at Lexington. The British continued to Concord, where they believed Adams and Hancock were hiding, and they were again attacked by the colonial militia. As the British retreated to Boston, the colonials continued to shoot at them from behind cover on the sides of the road. This was the start of the Revolutionary War.
166. Paul Revere, William Dawes
They rode through the countryside warning local militias of the approach of the British troops prior to the Battles of Lexington and Concord, although Revere was detained by the British shortly after setting out, and never completed his portion of the planned ride. Thanks to the advance warning, the militias were able to take the British by surprise.
167. Second Continental Congress
It met in 1776 and drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence, which justified the Revolutionary War and declared that the colonies should be independent of Britain.
168. George Washington
He had led troops (rather unsuccessfully) during the French and Indian War, and had surrendered Fort Necessity to the French. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and was much more successful in this second command.
169. Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill)
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the British troops were based in Boston. The British army had begun to fortify the Dorchester Heights near Boston, and so the Continental Army fortified Breed’s Hill, north of Boston, to counter the British plan. British general Gage led two unsuccessful attempts to take this hill, before he finally seized it with the third assault. The British suffered heavy losses and lost any hope for a quick victory against the colonies. Although the battle centered around Breed’s Hill, it was mistakenly named for nearby Bunker Hill.
170. 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.
171. Thomas Paine: Common Sense
A British citizen, he wrote Common Sense, published on January 1, 1776, to encourage the colonies to seek independence. It spoke out against the unfair treatment of the colonies by the British government and was instrumental in turning public opinion in favor of the Revolution.
172. Natural Rights Philosophy
Proposed by John Locke, it said that human beings had by nature certain rights, such as the rights to life, liberty, and property.
173. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
He wrote that all human beings have a right to life, liberty, and property and that governments exist to protect those rights. He rejected the theory of the Divine Right of the monarchy, and believed that government was based upon a "social contract" that existed between a government and its people. If the government failed to uphold its end of the contract by protecting those rights, the people could rebel and institute a new government.
174. George III
Became King of England in 1760, and reigned during the American Revolution.
175. Richard Henry Lee’s Resolution of June 7, 1776
Stated that the colonies should be independent and sever all political ties with Britain. It was adopted by Congress and was the first step towards independence.
176. Thomas Jefferson
He was a delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States.
177. Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livington
These men, along with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, made up the committee which drafted the Declaration of Independence.
178. July 4, 1776 and the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was signed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4. It dissolved the colonies’ ties with Britain, listed grievances against King George III, and declared the colonies to be an independent nation.
179. Somerset Case (in Great Britain)
A slave named James Somerset was purchased in Virginia, then taken to London by his master. In London, he tried to escape. Judge Mansfield ruled that a slave who escaped in England couldn’t be extradited to the colonies for trial.
180. Quock Walker case, Massachusetts
1783 - Helped end slavery in Massachusetts.
181. 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.
182. Mercy Otis Warren
A 19th century American historian who wrote a 3-volume history of the American Revolution.
183. Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
A conservative British politician who was generally sympathetic to the colonists' greivances, and who felt that Britain's colonial policies were misguided. He also opposed the early feminist movements. He once said, "A woman is but an animal, and not an animal of the highest order."
Marquis de Lafayette was a French major general who aided the colonies during the Revolutionary War. He and Baron von Steuben (a Prussian general) were the two major foreign military experts who helped train the colonial armies.
185. George Rogers Clark (1752-1818)
Frontiersman who helped remove the Indians from the Illinois territory in May, 1798.
186. Benedict Arnold
He had been a Colonel in the Connecticut militia at the outbreak of the Revolution and soon became a General in the Continental Army. He won key victories for the colonies in the battles in upstate New York in 1777, and was instrumental in General Gates victory over the British at Saratoga. After becoming Commander of Philadelphia in 1778, he went heavily into debt, and in 1780, he was caught plotting to surrender the key Hudson River fortress of West Point to the British in exchange for a commission in the royal army. He is the most famous traitor in American history.
187. Robert Morris (1734-1806)
A delegate to the Second Continental Congress. He agreed that Britain had treated the colonies unfairly, but he didn’t believe that the colonies should dissolve ties with Britain. He argued against the Declaration of Independence.
188. John Paul Jones (1747-1792)
Revolutionary War naval officer. His ship, the Bonhomme Richard, was sunk in a battle with the British ship Serapis, but he managed to board and gain control of the Serapis.
189. Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis
The Bonhomme Richard was John Paul Jones’ ship, which was named for Benjamin Franklin's pseudonym, Poor Richard. The Serapis was the British ship he captured.
190. Conway Cabal
The name given to the New England delegates in the Continental Congress who tried to wrest control of the Continental Army and the Revolution away from George Washington. Named after Major General Thomas Conway.
191. French Alliance of 1778, reasons for it
The colonies needed help from Europe in their war against Britain. France was Britain’s rival and hoped to weaken Britain by causing her to lose the American colonies. The French were persuaded to support the colonists by news of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga.
192. Major battles: Saratoga, Valley Forge
In 1777, British General John Burgoyne attacked southward from Canada along the Hudson Valley in New York, hoping to link up with General Howe in New York City, thereby cutting the colonies in half. Burgoyne was defeated by American General Horatio Gates on October 17, 1777, at the Battle of Saratoga, surrendering the entire British Army of the North. Valley Forge was not a battle; it was the site where the Continental Army camped during the winter of 1777- ’78, after its defeats at the Battles of the Brandywine and Germantown. The Continental Army suffered further casualties at Valley Forge due to cold and disease. Washington chose the site because it allowed him to defend the Continental Congress if necessary, which was then meeting in York, Pennsylvania after the British capture of Philadelphia.
193. Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis
Because of their lack of success in suppressing the Revolution in the nothern colonies, in early 1780 the British switched their strategy and undertook a series of campaigns through the southern colonies. This strategy was equally unsuccessful, and the British decided to return to their main headquarters in New York City. While marching from Virginia to New York, British commander Lord Cornwallis became trapped in Yorktown on the Chesapeake Bay. His troops fortified the town and waited for reinforcements. The French navy, led by DeGrasse, blocked their escape. After a series of battles, Cornwallis surrendered to the Continental Army on October 19, 1781, which ended all major fighting in the Revolutionary War.
194. League of Armed Neutrality
Catherine I of Russia declared that the Russian navy would defend neutral trade throughout the world. They were not successful.
195. Treaty of Paris, 1783
This treaty ended the Revolutionary War, recognized the independence of the American colonies, and granted the colonies the territory from the southern border of Canada to the northern border of Florida, and from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River.
196. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay
They were the American delegates who signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
197. French and British Intrigue over U.S. boundaries
The Treaty of Paris set the colonial boundaries as being the southern border of Canada, the northern border of Florida, the Atlantic coast, and the Mississippi River.
198. Social impact of the war
The Revolutionary War saw the emergence of the first anti-slavery groups, and many of the northern states abolished slavery after the war. Women gained a small status increase for their efforts in the war, but they were primarily valued as mothers of future patriots.
199. Disestablishment, Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom
1779 - Written by Thomas Jefferson, this statute outlawed an established church and called for separation of Church and State.
200. New state constitutions (Massachusetts adopted by popular vote)
The first set of constitutions drafted by the individual states placed most of the government’s power in the legislature, and almost none in the executive in order to promote democracy and avoid tyranny. However, without the strong leadership of the executive, the state legislatures argued among themselves and couldn’t get anything done. After the Constitution was written, the states abandoned these old constitutions and wrote new ones that better balanced the power between the legislative and the executive.
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