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89 Cards in this Set

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The Great Compromise

The national legislature would be bicameral: Senate (upper house) would have two members from each state; seats in the House of Representatives (lower house) would be apportioned by population (determined by census every 10 years).

3/5ths Compromise

Agreement at the constitutional convention that each slave would count as three-fifths of a person for purposes of representation and taxation, thus giving southern planters dominance in the national legislature for decades.

Sugar Act of 1764

A 1764 British law that decreased the duty on French molasses, making it more attractive for shippers to obey the law, and at the same time raised penalties for smuggling. This law regulated trade but was also intended to raise revenue.

Jamesa Madison

The preeminent republican political theorist of this generation, this founding father was the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.


Supporters of the Constitution of 1787, which created a strong central government; their opponents, the Antifederalists, feared that a strong central government would corrupt the nation’s newly won liberty.

New Jersey Plan

A plan drafted by delegates from small states, retaining the Confederation’s single-house congress with one vote per state. It shared with the Virginia Plan enhanced congressional powers to raise revenue, control commerce, and make binding requisitions on the states


Opponents of ratification of the Constitution. They feared a powerful and distant central government would be out of touch with the needs of citizens. They also complained that it failed to guarantee individual liberties in a bill of rights.

Federalist No.10

An essay by James Madison in The Federalist (1787–1788) that challenged the view that republican governments worked only in small polities and argued that a large state would better protect republican liberty.


A system of family organization in which social identity and property descend through the female line. Children are usually raised in their mother's household, and her brother (the children's uncle) plays a central role in their lives.

Anti patriarchal


Spiritual beliefs that center on the natural world. Followers of this religion do not worship a supernatural God; instead, they pay homeage to spirits and spiritual forces that they believe dwell in the natural world.

Native and African religion


The practice of passing family land, by will or by custom, to the eldest son.


A state without a monarch or Prince that is governed by representatives of the people.

Civic humanism

The belief that individuals owe a service to their community and its government. During the Renaissance, political theorists argued that selfless service to the polity was of critical importance in a self-governing Republic

Battle of Saratoga

A multistage battle in New York ending with the surrender of British General John Burgoyne. The victor ensured the diplomatic success of American representatives in Paris, who won a military alliance with France

Philipsburg Proclamation

A 1779 declaration that any slave who deserted a rebel master would receive protection, freedom, and land from Great Britain. It contributed to the some 30,000 African Americans taking refuge behind British lines

Battle of Yorktown

A battle in which American troops and a French fleet trapped the British Army under the command of General Charles Cornwallis. The Franco-American victory broke the resolve of the British government

Treaty of Paris 1783

Ended the Revolutionary War. Great Britain formally recognized American independence and relinquished its claims to lands south of the great lakes and east of the Mississippi River the British did not insist on a separate territory for their Indian allies

Articles of Confederation

The written document defining the structure of the government from 1781 to 1788 under which the union was a confederation of equal states with no executive and limited powers existing mainly to foster a common defense

Northwest Ordinance

A land act that established a process by which settled territories would become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. it also banned slavery in the Northwest Territory. It provided guidelines for orderly settlement and the admission of new states on the basis of equality

Shay's Rebellion

An uprising led by farmers in western Massachusetts. Dissidence protested the taxation policies of the Eastern elites who controlled the States government. This uprising cause leaders to worry about the Confederations ability to handle civil disorder

Virginia Plan

A plan drafted by James Madison and presented at the opening of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention. Proposing a powerful three branch government and trying representation in both houses of the Congress to population, this plan Eclipsed the voice of small states

Vice-Admiralty courts

Tribunals presided over by a judge, with no jury. The Sugar Act of 1764 required that offenders be tried in these tribunals rather than in a common-law tribunal, where a jury decided guilt or innocence. This provoked protests from merchant-smugglers accustomed to acquittal by sympathetic local juries.

Stamp Act of 1765

A British law imposing a tax on all paper used for official documents, for the purpose of raising revenue. Widespread resistance to this law led to its repeal in 1766.

Virtual representation

The claim made by British politicians that the interests of the American colonists were adequately represented in Parliament by merchants who traded with the colonies and by absentee landlords who owned estates in the West Indies.

Quartering Act of 1765

A British law passed by Parliament at the request of General Thomas Gage, the British military commander in America. It required colonial governments to provide barracks and food for British troops.

Stamp Act congress

Delegates from nine assemblies that met in New York City in October 1765 to protest the loss of American “rights and liberties,” especially the right to trial by jury. The congress challenged the constitutionality of both the Stamp and Sugar Acts by declaring that only the colonists’ elected representatives could tax them.

Sons of liberty

Colonists—primarily middling merchants and artisans—who banded together to protest the Stamp Act and other imperial reforms of the 1760s. The group originated in Boston in 1765 but soon spread to all the colonies.

Declaratory Act of 1766

A law issued by Parliament to assert Parliament’s unassailable right to legislate for its British colonies “in all cases whatsoever,” putting Americans on notice that the simultaneous repeal of the Stamp Act changed nothing in the imperial powers of Britain.

Townshed Act of 1767

A British law that established new duties on tea, glass, lead, paper, and painters’ colors imported into the colonies. Imposition of these duties led to boycotts and heightened tensions between Britain and the American colonies.

Nonimportation movement

A February 1768 boycott of British goods by Boston and New York merchants. American women became crucial to the movement by reducing their households’ consumption of imported goods and producing large quantities of homespun cloth.

Committees of correspondence

A communications network established among towns in Massachusetts and also among colonial capital towns in 1772 and 1773 to provide for rapid dissemination of news about important political developments. This politicized ordinary townspeople, sparking a revolutionary language of rights and duties.

Tea Act of May 1773

A British act that lowered the existing tax on tea to entice boycotting Americans to buy it. Resistance to this act led to the passage of the Coercive Acts and imposition of military rule in Massachusetts.

Coercive Acts

Four British acts of 1774 meant to punish Massachusetts for the destruction of three shiploads of tea. Known in America as the Intolerable Acts, they led to open rebellion in the northern colonies.

First Contental Congress

The September 1774 gathering of colonial delegates in Philadelphia to discuss the crisis precipitated by the Coercive Acts. The congress produced a declaration of rights and an agreement to impose a limited boycott of trade with Britain.

Continental Association

A group established in 1774 by the First Continental Congress to enforce a boycott of British goods. The group’s boycotts of 1765 and 1768 raised the political consciousness of rural Americans.

Dunmore's War

A 1774 war led by Virginia’s royal governor against the Ohio Shawnees, who had a long-standing claim to Kentucky as a hunting ground. They fought a single battle, at Point Pleasant; the Shawnees were defeated, and Dunmore and his militia forces claimed Kentucky.


Colonial militiamen who stood ready to mobilize on short notice during the imperial crisis of the 1770s. These volunteers formed the core of the citizens’ army that met British troops at Lexington and Concord in April 1775.

Second continental congress

The legislative body that governed the United States from May 1775 through the war’s duration. It established an army, created its own money, and declared independence once all hope for a peaceful reconciliation with Britain was gone.

Declaration of Independence

A document containing philosophical principles and a list of grievances that declared separation from Britain. Adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, it ended a period of intense debate with moderates still hoping to reconcile with Britain.


The rental of property. To attract tenants in New York’s fertile Hudson River Valley, Dutch and English manorial lords granted long leases, with the right to sell improvements—houses and barns, for example—to the next tenant.


The ability of a family to keep a household solvent and independent and to pass that ability on to the next generation. New England migrants wanted farms for their families that would provide a living for themselves and ample land for their children

Household mode of production

The system of exchanging goods and labor that helped eighteenth- century New England freeholders survive on ever-shrinking farms when available land became scarcer.


People who settle on land they do not own. Many eighteenth-century settlers established themselves on land before it was surveyed and entered for sale, requesting the first right to purchase the land when sales began.


A type of indentured servant, common in the Middle colonies in the eighteenth century. Unlike other indentured servants, these servants did not sign a contract before leaving Europe. Instead, they found employers after arriving in America.


An eighteenth-century philosophical movement that emphasized the use of reason to reevaluate previously accepted doctrines and traditions. The ideas of this period emphasized the power of human reason to understand and shape the world.


A Christian revival movement characterized by Bible study, the conversion experience, and the individual’s personal relationship with God. It began as an effort to reform the German Lutheran Church in the mid-seventeenth century.

Natural rights

The rights to life, liberty, and property. According to the English philosopher John Locke in Two Treatises of Government (1690), political authority was not given by God to monarchs. Instead, it derived from social compacts that people made to preserve their rights.


The Enlightenment-influenced belief that the Christian God created the universe and then left it to run according to natural laws.


An outburst of religious enthusiasm, often prompted by the preaching of a charismatic Baptist or Methodist minister. The Great Awakening of the 1740s was significant, but the religious fervor that swept across the United States between the 1790s and 1850s imparted a deep religiosity to the culture.

Old lights

Conservative ministers opposed to the passion displayed in revivalist meetings by New Lights, or followers of George Whitefield. They attacked the New Lights for allowing women to speak in public and persuaded the legislature in Connecticut to prohibit evangelists from speaking to a congregation without the minister’s permission.

New lights

Followers of English minister George Whitefield, who in 1739 carried the fervent message of John Wesley, the founder of English Methodism, to America.

Consumer revolution

An increase in consumption in English manufactures in Britain and the British colonies, fueled by the Industrial Revolution. Although Britain’s economic success raised living standards, it landed many consumers—and the colonies as a whole—in debt.


Landowning elites who began a series of movements in North Carolina in 1763. They demanded that the eastern-controlled government provide western districts with more courts, fairer taxation, and greater representation in the assembly.


A colony created through the grant of land from the English monarch to an individual or group, who then set up a form of government largely independent from royal control. Maryland, the Carolinas, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania were all proprietary colonies.


An epithet for members of the Society of Friends. Their beliefs that God spoke directly to each individual through an “inner light” and that neither ministers nor the Bible were essential to discovering God’s Word put them in conflict with orthodox Puritans.

Dominion of new England

A royal province founded by King James II in 1686 consisting of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, New York, and New Jersey. It extended to America the authoritarian model of colonial rule that the English government had imposed on Catholic Ireland.

Glorious Revolution

A quick nearly bloodless coup in 1688 in which James II of England was overthrown by William of Orange and his supporters in the Whig Party. Whig politicians forced King William and Queen Mary to accept the Declaration of Rights, thus creating a constitutional monarchy.

Constitutional monarchy

A monarchy limited in its rule by a constitution. In the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, Whig politicians forced King William and Queen Mary to accept the Declaration of Rights, thus enhancing the powers of the House of Commons at the expense of the crown.

Second Hundred Years' war

An era of warfare beginning with the War of the League of Augsburg in 1689 and lasting until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. In that time, England fought in seven major wars; the longest era of peace lasted only twenty-six years.


The adaptation of stateless peoples to the demands imposed on them by neighboring states. In North America, this adaptation occurred in the context of devastating diseases that decimated Native communities.

Covenant chain

The alliance of the Iroquois with the French and English empires, whereby the Iroquois declared their intention to remain neutral in future conflicts between the empires. Their neutrality made the Iroquois more sought after as allies.

Stono Rebellion

A slave uprising in South Carolina in 1739 in which a group of slaves armed themselves, plundered six plantations, and killed more than twenty whites. Whites quickly suppressed the rebellion.

South Atlantic system

A new agricultural and commercial order that produced sugar, tobacco, rice for an international market. Its plantation societies were ruled by European planter-merchants and worked by hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans.

Navigation Acts

English laws passed in the 1650s and 1660s requiring that English colonial goods be shipped through English ports on English ships in order to benefit English merchants, shippers, and seamen.

Middle Passage

The brutal sea voyage from Africa to the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that took the lives of nearly 1.5 million enslaved Africans.


A refined style of living and elaborate manners that came to be highly prized among well-to-do

Salutary Neglect

A term often used to describe British colonial policy during the reigns of George I (r. 1714–1727) and George II (r. 1727–1760). By relaxing their supervision of internal colonial affairs, royal bureaucrats inadvertently assisted the rise of self-government in North America.


The power of elected officials to grant government jobs and favors to their supporters; also the jobs and favors themselves.

Land banks

Institutions, established by a colonial legislature, that printed paper money and lent it to farmers, taking a lien on their land to ensure repayment.

Chattel Slavery

A system of bondage in which a slave has the legal status of property and so can be bought and sold like property.


Land grants in Spanish America given in the sixteenth century by the Spanish kings to privileged landholders. These land grants also gave the landholders legal control over native peoples who lived on or near their estates.


A person of mixed blood; specifically, the child of a European and a Native American.

Columbian Exchange

The transfer in the sixteenth century of agricultural products and diseases from the Western Hemisphere to other continents, and from those other continents to the Western Hemisphere.


The Protestant Christian belief that God chooses certain people for salvation before they are born. Sixteenth-century theologian John Calvin was the main proponent of this doctrine, which became a fundamental tenet of Puritan theology.


A system of manufacturing, also known as putting out, used extensively in the English woolen industry in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Merchants bought wool and then hired landless peasants who lived in small cottages to spin and weave it into cloth, which the merchants would sell in English and foreign markets.


A system of political economy based on government regulation. Beginning in 1650, Britain enacted Navigation Acts that controlled colonial commerce and manufacturing for the enrichment of Britain.

House of Burgesses

Government body in colonial Virginia made up of an assembly of representatives elected by the colony’s inhabitants. It was established by the Virginia Company and continued by the crown after Virginia was made a royal colony.


Land owned in its entirety, without feudal dues or landlord obligations. Owners of this land have the legal right to improve, transfer, or sell their landed property.

Headright system

Fifty acres of free land granted by the Virginia Company to planters for each indentured servant they purchased.

Royal colony

A colony ruled by a king or queen and governed by officials appointed to serve the monarchy and represent its interests.

Indentured servant

A system whereby workers were contracted for service for a specified period. In exchange for agreeing to work for four or five years without wages, the workers received passage across the Atlantic, room and board, and status as a free person at the end of the contract period.

Joint-stock corporation

A financial organization devised by English merchants around 1550 that facilitated the colonization of North America. In these companies, a number of investors pooled their capital and received shares of stock in the enterprise in proportion to their share of the total investment.


The allowance of different religious practices. Lord Baltimore persuaded Maryland’s assembly to enact the Toleration Act (1649), which granted all Christians the right to follow their beliefs and hold church services.

Town meeting

A system of local government in New England in which all male heads of households met regularly to elect selectmen; levy local taxes; and regulate markets, roads, and schools.


One of the first Protestant groups to come to America; they sought a separation from the Church of England. They founded Plymouth, the first permanent community in New England, in 1620.


Dissenters from the Church of England who wanted a genuine Reformation rather than the partial Reformation sought by Henry VIII. They emphasized the importance of an individual’s relationship with God developed through Bible study, prayer, and introspection.

Trans-Saharan Trade

The primary avenue for trade for West Africans that passed through the Ghana, Mali, and Songhai empires. Caravans carried West African goods—including gold, copper, salt, and slaves—from the south to the north across the Sahara, then returned with textiles and other foreign goods.


A cultural transformation in the arts and learning in Italy from 1300 to 1450. During this period, Italian moneyed elites sponsored great artists—Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and others—who produced an unprecedented flowering of genius.

Protestant Reformation

The reform movement that began in 1517 with Martin Luther’s critiques of the Roman Catholic Church, which precipitated an enduring schism that divided Protestants from Catholics.