Chapter 8 - America Secedes from the Empire, 1775-1783 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 8 - America Secedes from the Empire, 1775-1783 Deck (38)
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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.


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.


Ethan Allen

Leader of forces that won control of Fort Ticonderoga from the British, which gave the colonists huge stores of weapons that they could use to fight the war.


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.


Fort Ticonderoga

Located in upper New York, it was taken over by colonial forces under the leadership of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. The win gave the colonists their initial cannons and heavy weapons that they would use to fight the British early in the war.


Bunker 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.



Colonists’ name for the British troops because of the color of the uniforms.


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.



Prussian mercenaries hired by the British army to fight in the American Revolution.


Richard Montgomery

Colonial general who led the invasion of Canada. It was eventually turned back at the Battle of Quebec.


Thomas Paine

A British citizen, he wrote Common Sense, published on January 1, 1776, to encourage the colonies to seek independence.


Common Sense

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.



The concept of the power of a government being derived from those who are ruled, not a monarch who ruled under the concept of “divine right.” The government’s job should be to protect those citizens, not to empower a ruler.


Natural Aristocracy

Unlike a hereditary aristocracy in Britain, some more conservative colonists felt that there should still be a ruling class that controlled the country. These people would naturally rise to the top because they were “better” than the common rabble.


Richard Henry Lee

Made the motion at the Continental Congress to declare independence.


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.


Declaration of Independence

1776 - 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.


Natural Rights

Radical concept from John Locke, that all people were born with the rights to life, liberty, and property. The government’s sole job should be to protect those rights.



About 16% of the colonists remained loyal to the British crown. Mostly these people were the wealthy, older and educated. Loyalist support was largest in New York City, Charleston, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (minus Philadelphia).


Patrick Henry

One of the leading revolutionaries. He is famous for his quote “Give me liberty, or give me death!”


William Howe

First English military commander. Based in New York City, he was responsible for the “win” at Bunker Hill, and was very cautious in pursuing the Continental Army early in the war when they would have been easier to beat.



Washington’s Delaware river crossing happened on December 26th, 1776. He surprised the Hessian troops there, and was considered the first real win of the war for the colonists.



The follow up to Trenton, Washington captured a detachment of British troops in Princeton. These two wins save the Colonial cause from collapse.


John Burgoyne

Commander of the British Army of the North in the American Revolution.



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.


Horatio Gates

American general who defeated British General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga.


Armed Neutrality

Catherine the Great of Russia organized many of the lesser powers in Europe who were resentful of the British domination of the seas. This was passive resistance to the British on the oceans of the world.


Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene, was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, known for his successful command in the Southern Campaign, forcing British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis to abandon the Carolinas and head for Virginia.


Charles Cornwallis

Commander of the British Army of the South. Was beat at the Battle of Yorktown, which ended all major warfare in the American Revolution.


Treaty of Fort Stanwix

First treaty between the United States and a native tribe. The treaty forced the native to cede huge amounts of land to the east of the Appalachians in the north.

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