American History

Joint-stock companies

an association of individuals in a business enterprise with transferable shares of stock, much like a corporation except that stockholders are liable for the debts of the business.
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Virginia Company of London

A joint-stock company that recieved a charter from King James I of England for a settlement in the New World. Like most joint-sock companies of the day, this was intended only to endure for only a few years, after which its stockholders hoped to liquidate


The first successful settlement in the Virginia colony founded in May, 1607. Harsh conditions nearly destroyed the colony but in 1610 supplies arrived with a new wave of settlers. The settlement became part of the Virginia Company of London in 1620. The p

John Smith

(1580-June 21, 1631) was an English soldier, sailor, and author. He is remembered for his role in establishing the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and his brief association with the Native American girl Pocahont

John Rolfe

He was one of the English settlers at Jamestown (and he married Pocahontas). He discovered how to successfully grow tobacco in Virginia and cure it for export, which made Virginia an economically successful colony.


A native Indian of America, daughter of Chief Powahatan, who was one of the first to marry an Englishman, John Rolfe, and return to England with him; about 1595-1617; Pocahontas' brave actions in saving an Englishman paved the way for many positive Englis


To entice new settlers to Virginia by saying that new settlers who bought a company share for their passage to the new world were granted 50 acres of land

Indentured Servants

People who could not afford passage to the colonies could become indentured servants. Another person would pay their passage, and in exchange, the indentured servant would serve that person for a set length of time (usually seven years) and then would be

Great Charter 1619


House of Burgesses

the first elected legislative assembly in the New World established in the Colony of Virginia in 1619, representative colony set up by England to make laws and levy taxes but England could veto its legistlative acts.

Bacons Rebellion

an uprising in 1676 in the Virginia Colony, led by Nathaniel Bacon. It was the first rebellion in the American colonies in which discontented frontiersmen took part; to gain more land from the indians


chief of native confederacy after brother Powhatan died, led efforts to defend Indian lands from European, 1644 led unsuccessful uprising -last time Powhatans challenged eastern regions of colony


Group of English Protestant dissenters who established Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1620 to seek religious freedom after having lived briefly in the Netherlands. (p. 487)

Mayflower Compact

This document was drafted in 1620 prior to settlement by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Bay in Massachusetts. It declared that the 41 males who signed it agreed to accept majority rule and participate in a government in the best interest of all members of the c

Plymouth Company



English Protestant dissenters who believed that God predestined souls to heaven or hell before birth. They founded Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629. (p. 487)

John Winthrop

As governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Winthrop (1588-1649) was instrumental in forming the colony's government and shaping its legislative policy. He envisioned the colony, centered in present-day Boston, as a "city upon a hill" from which Puritans wou

City on a Hill

what John Winthrop said that their Puritan model societies based on Christian principles should be (better than everyone else's societies.)


a political unit governed by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided)

Old Deluder Satan Act

In 1647, it strengthened the law passed that required parents to educate their children. Every town of fifty or more families was obligated to pay a man to teach reading and writing. It also set the precident that if parents would not or could not educate

Roger Williams

English clergyman and colonist who was expelled from Massachusetts for criticizing Puritanism, He founded Rhode Island for separation of Church and State. He believed that the Puritans were too powerful and was ordered to leave the Massachusetts Bay Colon

Anne Hutchinson

She preached the idea that God communicated directly to individuals instead of through the church elders. She was forced to leave Massachusetts in 1637. Her followers (the Antinomianists) founded the colony of New Hampshire in 1639.

Halfway Covenant.

A Puritan church document; In 1662, the Halfway Covenant allowed partial membership rights to persons not yet converted into the Puritan church; It lessened the difference between the "elect" members of the church from the regular members; Women soon made

Salem Witch Trials

in the 1680's and 1690's adolescent girls of Salem, Massachusetts, accused several West Indian servants of voodoo lore, and hundreds of people (mostly women) of witchcraft (exercising of satanic powers), ending with 19 being put to death, and the girls wh

King Phillip's War

War between the Native American tribes of New England and British colonists that took place from 1675-1676. The war was the result of tension caused by encroaching white settlers. The chief of the Wampanoags, King Philip lead the natives. The war ended In

James Oglethorpe

Founder and governor of the Georgia colony1733. He ran a tightly-disciplined, military-like colony. Slaves, alcohol, and Catholicism were forbidden in his colony. Many colonists felt that Oglethorpe was a dictator, and that (along with the colonist's diss


an economic system (Europe in 18th C)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

Navigation Acts

A series of British regulations which taxed goods imported by the colonies from places other than Britain, or otherwise sought to control and regulate colonial trade. Increased British-colonial trade and tax revenues. The Navigation Acts were reinstated a

Salutary Neglect

british colonial policy during the reigns of George I and George II. relaxed supervision of internal colonial affairs by royal bureacrats contributed significantly to the rise of American self government

French Indian War

The war in North America between France and Britain for territory and power between 1754 - 1763. Involved land to the west of the colonies. The French recruited local Indians to help fight for them.

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.

Edward Braddock

a British commander during the French and Indian War. He attempted to capture Fort Duquesne in 1755. He was defeated by the French and the Indians. At this battle, Braddock was mortally wounded.

William Pitt

The Prime Minister of England during the French and Indian War. He increased the British troops and military supplies in the colonies, and this is why England won the war.

Treaty of Paris 1763

Ended French and Indian War, France lost Canada, land east of the Mississippi, to British, New Orleans and west of Mississippi to Spain

Proclamation of 1763

A proclamation from the British government which forbade British colonists from settling west of the Appalacian Mountains, and which required any settlers already living west of the mountains to move back east.

Sugar Act

(1764) British deeply in debt partl to French & Indian War. English Parliament placed a tariff on sugar, coffee, wines, and molasses. colonists avoided the tax by smuggling and by bribing tax collectors.

John Locke

Wrote Two Treatises on Government as justification of Glorious Revolution and end of absolutism in England. He argued that man is born good and has rights to life, liberty, and property. To protect these rights, people enter social contract to create gove

Natural Rights

Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on governments, which include life, liberty, and property. The concept of natural rights was central to English philosopher John Locke's theories about government and was widely accepted among America's Found

Taxation without Representation

Primary grief of the American colonists pre-Revolutionary War. The English Bill of Rights in 1689 set forth that no taxes could be collected without consent of Parliament. SInce the colonists had no representation, they believed that the taxes violated th

Virtual Representation

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

Direct Representation

a system of choosing delegates to a representative assembly in which citizens vote directly for the delegates who will represent them

Common Law

a legal system based on custom and court rulings

Currency Act

an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain (citation 4 Geo. III c. 34) which prohibited the American colonies from issuing paper currency of any form. Additionally, Britain had coined almost no silver or copper between 1760 and 1816 and discouraged any Ame

Stamp Act

an act passed by the British parliment in 1756 that raised revenue from the American colonies by a duty in the form of a stamp required on all newspapers and legal or commercial documents

Stamp Act Congress

group of colonists who protested the Stamp Act, saying that Parliament couldn't tax without colonist' consent--meeting of representatives of nine of the thirteen colonies held in New York City in 1765, during which representatives drafted a document to se

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 l

Declaratory Act

Passed in 1766 just after the repeal of the Stamp Act, the Declaratory Act stated that Parliament could legislate for the colonies in all cases. Most colonists interpreted the act as a face-saving mechanism and nothing more. Parliament, however, continual

Townshend Acts

In 1767 "Champagne Charley" Townshend persuaded Parliament to pass the Townshend Acts. These acts put a light import duty on such things as glass, lead, paper, and tea. The acts met slight protest from the colonists, who found ways around the taxes such a

Samuel Adams

Massachusetts Revolutionary leader and propagandist who organized opposition to British policies after 1764; radical member of Sons of Liberty, worried that violence of group would discredit it; proposed united plea for repeal of Townshend Duties and anot

Boston Massacre

a riot in Boston (March 5, 1770) arising from the resentment of Boston colonists toward British troops quartered in the city, in which the troops fired on the mob and killed several persons. British soldiers fired into a crowd of colonists who were teasin

Gaspee Incident

The Gasp�e Affair was a significant event in the American Revolution. HMS Gasp�e, a British revenue schooner that had been vigorously enforcing unpopular trade regulations, ran aground in shallow water, on June 9, 1772 near what is now known as Gaspee Poi

Committees of Correspondence

first established in Boston in 1772, the committees became a way for the colonies to state and communicate their grievances against Great Britain.

British East India Co.

the non-importation acts issued by the colonists were almost sending them into bankruptcy, so england made them a monopoly in America

Boston Tea party

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

Coercive Acts

This series of laws were very harsh laws that intended to make Massachusetts pay for its resistance. It also closed down the Boston Harbor until the Massachusetts colonists paid for the ruined tea. Also forced Bostonians to shelter soilders in their own h

First Continental Congress

The First Continental Congress convened on September 5, 1774, to protest the Intolerable Acts. The congress endorsed the Suffolk Resolves, voted for a boycott of British imports, and sent a petition to King George III, conceding to Parliament the power of

Gen. Thomas Gage

Commanding General of British Army; Led attack on Breed's Hill

Lexington Concord

Where was the first battle of the War of Independence fought. In April 1775 fighting began at ________ and _______

Second Continental Congress

the Continental Congress that convened in May 1775, approved the Declaration of Independence, and served as the only agency of national government during the Revolutionary War.

Breed's Hill

a hill in charlestown, a section of boston massachusetts, it was site of the battle of bunker hill on june 17, 1775.Spotted by Paul Revere, hill in Boston, place of a large battle. British conquered this place, but lost double the people than the American

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

Common Sense

a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that criticized monarchies and convinced many American colonists of the need to break away from Britain

Declaration of Independence

This document wasadopted 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.


The Tories were colonists who disagreed with the move for independence and did not support the Revolution.

William Howe

British Commander, technically a Lord, 1775, British commander during one of the first Battles of Revolutionary War, Battle of Bunker Hill, lost many casualties, but took the hill. Old fashioned general who fights as if he's in Europe


In this battle, General Cornwallis chased Washington. Washington went around the British flank and attacked another British garrison.Americans had victory which helped restore the American's faith in their troups Americans had victory which helped restore

Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne

surrendered army to Gates


what battle was the turning point of the war?, October 17, 1777, General Gates led troops to surround the British and make them surrender. After the surrender at Saratoga caused the British to generally keep their troops along the coast.

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 v

Franco American Alliance

as early as 1775, the Continental Congress had sent agents to France arranging a trickle of loans and shipments; Sent Franklin in 1776 to Paris to negotiate an alliance; King Louis XVI hesitated since his government was nearly bankrupt and his Spanish all

Valley Forge

Place where Washington's army spent the winter of 1777-1778, a 4th of troops died here from disease and malnutriton, Steuben comes and trains troops


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.

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

Ben Franklin

Pennsylvanian who helped write the Declaration of Independence and helped large and small states compromise at the Constitutional Convention


Washington attacked the British here leaving them to flee to New York, In 1778, the British and American armies fought hard until the British General gave up and ordered his army off the field at this spot.

Nathaniel Greene

the American general who helped defeat Cornwallis by having Cornwallis chase him around the colonies, wearing down his army

General Cornwallis

a British General who surrendered his troops at Yorktown. He brought new naval and land forces, with General Clinton, southward to join a massive amphibious attack that bottled up an American force led by General Benjamin Lincoln on the Charleston peninsu

Count Rochambeau

Led French reinforcments at Yorktown


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!

Treaty of Paris 1783

1783 Februrary 3; American delegates Franklin, Adams, John Jays; they were instructed to follow the lead of France; John Jay makes side treaty with England; Independence of the US End of Loyalist persecution; colonies still had to repay its debt to Englan