American Revolution, 1754-1789 Flashcards Preview

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salutary neglect

Salutary neglect describes the hands-off policy the British adopted towards the colonies prior to 1763. The British did not enforce parliamentary law or interfere in trade.

This resulted in the colonists becoming more self-reliant and independent.


What was the French and Indian War?

The French and Indian War (1754-1763) was fought by the British against France and Indian tribes that were allied to the French. The war was fought mainly for control of the colonial frontier. Victory in the war gave the English control of Canada and the entire Mississippi River valley.


Describe George Washington's most important role in the French and Indian War.

After a British defeat at the Battle of Monongahela, Washington successfully led the retreat to safety of the British and colonial troops. He also led the Virginia Regiment in the attack on Fort Duquesne.

Washington's experience in the French and Indian War gave him valuable training which he used in the Revolutionary War, and also made him the colonies' best-known soldier.


The _____ __ _____ resolved the French and Indian War in 1763.

Treaty of Paris (1763)

The Treaty gave control of North America up to the Mississippi River and the entirety of Canada to the British. 


What was Pontiac's Rebellion?

Pontiac's Rebellion was an attack by a group of allied Indian tribes against British outposts west of the Appalachian Mountains. 

In response, the British issued the Proclamation of 1763, which banned colonization west of the Appalachian Mountains.


What was the Proclamation of 1763?

In response to Pontiac's Rebellion, the Proclamation of 1763 banned colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. The area from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River was set aside as reserved for the Indians.


How did the Proclamation of 1763 mark a change in relations between Britain and the American colonies?

The Proclamation of 1763 marked the end of the period of salutary neglect, and marked the first time the British directly interfered with colonial affairs.

Further British interference would come in the form of taxation, as the British government sought to have the American colonies pay for some of the costs of the French and Indian War.


Who was Lord George Grenville?

Grenville was Prime Minister of Great Britain between 1763-1765. As Prime Minister, he was responsible for the Stamp Act, Sugar Act, and Quartering Act.

Grenville believed that since the French and Indian War had been waged partly for the benefit of the North American colonists, it was reasonable to expect them to pay some of the debts associated with it.


What were Writs of Assistance?

Writs of Assistance were general search warrants, designed to stop smuggling. They allowed British customs agents to search wherever they pleased, and without having to pay for any damages.

James Otis argued that the Writs violated natural law, and many Americans felt that Writs of Assistance imfringed upon their rights as British subjects.


What was the Stamp Act?

The Stamp Act required the purchase of a revenue stamp for newspapers, advertisements, and legal documents.

The first direct tax on the American colonies, the Stamp Act stirred colonial anger because Americans felt they were being taxed without any say.


What were the terms of the Sugar Act?

The Sugar Act increased taxes on luxuries such as sugar. It also provided for stronger enforcement of the Navigation Acts; any smugglers caught would be tried by an admiralty court, without a jury.


The _____ _____ required that Americans house and feed British troops. 

Quartering Act


Between 1764-1765, the British government passed the Sugar Act, the Quartering Act, and the Stamp Act, which met with hostility in the American colonies. Why did the British government pass these acts?

The three acts were passed to increase revenue from and decrease costs of the North American colonies to the British government after the British amassed a large debt from the French and Indian War.

The Sugar Act and the Stamp Act increased colonial taxes (revenues). The Quartering Act, which required colonists to house and feed British soldiers, decreased costs.


What were the Virginia Resolves?

Passed by Virginia's House of Burgesses, the Virginia Resolves were a response to the Stamp Act, and stated unequivocally that Britain did not have the power to enact taxes without the colonies' consent.

The British disagreed, and contended that the colonies had "virtual representation" in Parliament; thus their interests were represented.


What was the Stamp Act Congress?

Called in 1765 by James Otis of Massachusetts, representatives of nine colonial governments attended the Stamp Act Congress to protest the British government's taxes on the American colonies.

The Stamp Act Congress resolved that only elected representatives had the power to tax citizens.


Who were the Sons and Daughters of Liberty?

The Sons and Daughters of Liberty were a secret society opposed to the Stamp Act.

The Sons regularly intimidated and tarred and feathered British tax agents, and as the Revolutionary War approached, served as a shadow government dedicated to independence.


How did most Americans respond to the Stamp Act?

American outrage at the Stamp Act proved a unifying force throughout the colonies. Some examples include:

  • In Virginia, Patrick Henry demanded that the King recognize the rights of citizens not to be taxed without their consent ("no taxation without representation")
  • James Otis in Massachusetts organized the Stamp Act Congress
  • In Massachusetts, the Sons and Daughters of Liberty regularly tarred and feathered British tax collectors
  • An organized group boycott in the colonies provoked a sharp dropoff in trade


From 1764-1765, many American colonists boycotted British goods in response to the Stamp Act. How did the British react?

The boycott severely impacted British trade and merchants pressured the British government into repealing the Stamp Act. Britain repealed the Stamp Act in 1766, although the British government also passed the Declaratory Act at the same time.


What was the Declaratory Act?

The Declaratory Act (1766) reaffirmed the power of the British government to tax and make laws for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." Passed along with the repeal of the Stamp Act, few noticed the reaffirmation of the British taxing power.


In 1767, the British government passed the _____ _____, which established new taxes on paper, tea, and glass, suspended New York's colonial government, and gave British customs officials the power to issue writs of assistance.

Townshend Acts

The Acts were named for Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was responsible for raising revenue for the British government. 


Who wrote Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer in 1767?

John Dickinson wrote Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer. In it, Dickinson argued that even though the Townshend Acts were indirect taxes, they violated English law. They were impermissible because they were enacted by a government body in which the colonies were not represented.


What was the Massachusetts Circular Letter?

Written by James Otis and Samuel Adams, the Massachusetts Circular Letter went to every colonial legislature, and urged them to petition Parliament to repeal the Townshend Acts.


How did the British colonial government respond to the Massachusetts Circular Letter?

In response to the Massachusetts Circular Letter, British colonial officials

  • threatened to suspend the Massachusetts legislature
  • increased the number of British troops in Boston
  • ordered that the Circular Letter be recalled


Parliament repealed most of the Townshend Acts in 1770, after pressure from a new Prime Minister, Lord North. What was the only tax retained?

As a face-saving measure, Parliament retained a small tax on tea.


What led up to the Boston Massacre in 1770?

In response to the Massachusetts Circular Letter and the activities of the Sons and Daughters of Liberty, the British increased the number of troops stationed in Boston. 

In March, 1770, a number of Bostonians harassed the British troops with snowballs and taunts. British troops fired into the crowd, killing five Americans. The British troops were tried for murder. Defended by John Adams, the troops were acquitted.


What were the Committees of Correspondence?

The Committees of Correspondence were groups organized in 1772, by Samuel Adams, in several Massachusetts towns to keep an eye on British activities.


In 1772, colonists disguised as Indians set fire to the _____, a British ship which ran aground off Rhode Island.


The Gaspee was a British customs ship that regularly stopped smugglers, and as such was resented by the colonists. The Gaspee's activities had regularly been reported by the Committees of Correspondence.


Why did Parliament pass the Tea Act of 1773?

Tea was an important component of the British economy. After the American colonies began boycotting tea from Britain (instead using smuggled Dutch tea), the British East India Company suffered a financial crisis.

Hoping to ease the crisis, the British government passed the Tea Act, which made the price of British tea, plus the tax, cheaper than Dutch tea.


What is the difference between direct and indirect taxation?

Direct taxation is a payment directly to the government by the persons upon whom it is imposed. The Stamp Act was an example of direct taxation.

Indirect taxation is a tax collected by an intermediate party. The Townshend Act's taxes on tea, glass, and paper were an indirect tax, because the taxes were not paid directly to the British government.

Direct taxes were strongly opposed by the colonists as impermissible under the principle of "no taxation without representation."


Why did the Boston Tea Party take place?

The Tea Act lowered the price of British tea, but purchasing the tea would have required the American colonists to recognize the British government's power to tax the colonies.

To protest the British government's actions, Americans disguised as Indians boarded the ship carrying the tea on December 16, 1773, and threw the cargo overboard.


How did the British government respond to the Boston Tea Party?

Profoundly angered by the Boston Tea Party, the British government passed the Coercive Acts in 1774 to punish the colonies, specifically Massachusetts.


What were the four Coercive Acts passed in 1774?

The four Coercive Acts were:

  1. An expansion of the Quartering Act housed British soldiers in private homes
  2. The Port Act closed Boston Harbor until colonists paid for the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party
  3. The Massachusetts Government Act reduced the power of Massachusetts' colonial assembly
  4. The Administration of Justice Act provided that British colonial officials would be tried in Britain instead of America


What was the Quebec Act?

Passed along with the Coercive Act in 1774, the Quebec Act provided for direct government of Quebec without any local government, and extended Quebec's territory to the Ohio River. Further the Act established Roman Catholicism as the official religion of Quebec.


How did the colonists feel about the Quebec Act?

Americans found the Quebec Act intolerable because it gave Quebec the territory along the Ohio River that the colonists had claimed. Protestants viewed the establishment of official Catholicism in Quebec as a threat, and feared that the British government would take away their representative assemblies.


What did the colonists term the Coercive Acts and the Quebec Act?

The Coercive Acts and the Quebec Act were jointly termed the Intolerable Acts by disgruntled colonists.


What resulted from the meeting of the First Continental Congress in 1774?

The First Contintental Congress agreed to petition Parliament for relief from the Intolerable Acts. In addition, it passed the Suffolk Resolves, which called for the organization of local militias and an increased boycott. The members of the Congress agreed to meet again in May of 1775, and a Continental Association was formed.


What was the Galloway Plan of Union?

Similar to the Albany Plan of Union, the Galloway Plan (named for Joseph Galloway) would have created a colonial Parliament to act in concert with the British Parliament, and was put forward during the First Continental Congress in 1774.

Galloway's plan failed by one vote.


How did the British government react to the actions of the First Continental Congress?

The British basically ignored the First Continental Congress. Massachusetts was declared to be in an open state of rebellion, and troops under British General Gage were dispatched to Boston.


Who were the Minutemen?

The Minutemen was a nickname given to the colonial militia, who were trained to respond at a moment's notice.


What was the background of Paul Revere's ride?

After the British Army was detected moving out of Boston, Paul Revere and another rider, William Dawes, rode through the Massachusetts countryside warning that "the British are coming."

A small force of Minutemen assembled at Lexington to oppose the British advance.


In 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord started the Revolutionary War. Why were the British marching through Lexington to Concord?

British General Gage believed that there were guns and ammunition stored in Concord.


The battle of _____ was the first battle of the Revolutionary War.


At Lexington, some seventy Minutemen were waiting for the British Army that was marching to Concord. When the British Army ordered the troops to disperse, the Americans did so, only to be shot at by the British. Eight Americans were killed, and many were wounded, and the British continued towards Concord.


What happened when the British Army arrived in Concord?

When the British arrived in Concord, the arms and ammunition stored there were already gone. As the British Army marched back to Boston, they were attacked by the Minutemen from natural cover.

Unlike the British soldiers, the Minutemen were well trained to fight from cover from hunting experience.


What were the results of the Battles of Lexington and Concord?

After the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the British Army retreated to Boston. As a result of the battles, American militiamen swarmed to join the ragtag forces besieging General Gage's army.

The defeat of British regulars by informal militia provided a morale boost to the Americans.


In May 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. The Congress was divided into two factions. What were they?

The Second Continental Congress' two factions:

  1. One group, mainly from New England, advocated for immediate independence
  2. The other group, mainly from the Middle Colonies, sought to reconcile with the British: led by John Dickinson, this group convinced Congress to send the Olive Branch Petition


The Second Continental Congress sought to restore peace with Great Britain by sending the _____ _____ Petition.

Olive Branch

An olive branch was an ancient symbol of peace.


Why did the British pass the Prohibitory Act?

Britain passed the Prohibitory Act in August 1775 in response to the Olive Branch Petition. The Act was virtually a declaration of war against the American colonies. All commerce and trade with the colonies was forbidden.

Having made efforts for peace in the Olive Branch Petition, most members of the Second Continental Congress now began to favor independence.


Who won the Battle of Bunker Hill in June, 1775?

As part of the American siege of Boston, the Battle of Bunker Hill was a British victory, although some 1,000 British soldiers died. American soldiers withstood two British charges, and only retreated when they ran out of ammunition.

Despite their victory over the Americans, the British remained bottled up in Boston.


Who wrote Common Sense, a pamphlet advocating for immediate independence?

Thomas Paine

Paine's Common Sense sold hundreds of thousands of copies and persuaded many Americans to favor independence.


After the Second Continental Congress "adopted" the New England troops surrounding Boston, who did they dispatch to take command?

George Washington

As a Virginian, Washington's appointment signaled colonial unity. Washington was also one of the few colonial soldiers with extensive military experience.


In June of 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution in the Second Continental Congress, calling for independence. Who was tasked with drafting the Declaration?

Thomas Jefferson led the team of five delegates whose task it was to write the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration set out colonists' justifications for separation from Great Britain.


How did Thomas Jefferson justify independence from Great Britain in the Declaration of Independence?

Although Jefferson set out specific grievances (for example, that the King had "dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people"), he also established the right of the people to declare independence when their government violates the people's natural rights.


George Washington's Continental Army suffered continual recruiting problems. Why?

Many Americans were willing to serve in the colonial militia which served close to their homes. On the other hand, the Continental Army served throughout the 13 colonies, and many potential soldiers were concerned about leaving their farms for an extended period.



Tories were American Loyalists who fought on the side of the British, or otherwise aided them in their war against the American colonists.

Approximately 60,000 Tories fought for the British in the Revolutionary War, and in excess of 500,000 Tories were suspected to exist in the colonies. After the war, many Tories fled to Canada.


What offer did the American and British Armies make to black soldiers?

Black soldiers fought on both sides of the War; each side promised freedom to any slave that enlisted.


During the Revolution, which country was America's most important ally?


Following American victory at the Battle of Saratoga (1777), France recognized the United States and provided naval assistance, supplies, and monetary aid to the fledgling nation. French assistance proved the decisive factor in the Revolution by forcing the British into a wider war.


During the Revolutionary War, many states established new constitutions which contained bills of rights. What were bills of rights?

Bills of rights are lists of things that a government is forbidden to do. For example, a bill of rights may establish that a government is forbidden from establishing a state religion.


A second Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War. What were the key terms?

The key terms of the Treaty of Paris were:

  1. Britain recognized American independence
  2. Britain remained in control of Canada
  3. Congress would return confiscated Tory property
  4. British creditors could collect debts owed to them by Americans
  5. The United States western boundary was set at the Mississippi River, and its southern boundary at Florida