Key Concepts 1st Quarter APUSH

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Act of Toleration

an act passed in Maryland 1649 that granted freedom of worship to all Christians; although it was enacted to protect the Catholic minority in Maryland, it was a benchmark of religious freedom in all the colonies. It did not extend to non-Christians.


Anne Hutchinson

charismatic colonist in Massachusetts Bay who questioned whether one could achieve salvation solely by good works; she led the Antinomian controversy by challenging the clergy and laws of the colony. She was banished from Massachusetts in 1638 and was killed by Indians in 1643.


Anglican Church

Church of England started by King Henry VIII in 1533; the monarch was head of the church, which was strongest in North America in the Southern Colonies. By 1776, it was the second-largest church in America behind the Congregationalists


Board of Trade and Plantations

chief body in England for governing the colonies; the group gathered information, reviewed appointments in America, and advised the monarch on colonial policy


Bacon's Rebellion

attack by frontiersmen against the Native Americans in the Virginia backcountry; when the governor opposed the action, they attacked Jamestown, burned it, and briefly deposed the governor before the rebellion fizzled. This revolt is often viewed as the first strike against insensitive British policy, as a clash between East and West, and as evidence of the dangers of the indenturedservant system.


Congregationalists (Puritans)

believed the Anglican Church retained too many Catholic ideas and sought to purify the Church of England; they believed in predestination (man saved or damned at birth) and also held that God was watchful and granted salvation only to those who adhered to His goodness as interpreted by the church. They were strong in New England and very intolerant of other religious groups.


Dominion of New England

attempt to streamline colonial rule by combining all the New England colonies under the control of one governor in 1688; it was dissolved after the Glorious Revolution in England when its sponsors were deposed.


Edmund Andros

autocratic and unpopular governor of the Dominion of New England; he was toppled from power and was caught while trying to make his escape dressed as a woman.


First Great Awakening

religious revival in the colonies in 1730s and 1740s; George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards preached a message of dtonement for sins by admitting them to God. The movement attempted to combat the growing secularism and rationalism of mid-eighteenth century America


Halfway Covenant

Puritan response to the dilemma of what to do with
the children born to nonchurch members as fewer and fewer Puritans sought full membership (visible sainthood) in the church; leaders allowed such children to be baptized, but they could not take communion, nor could nonchurch males vote in government/church affairs


Headright system

means of attracting settlers to colonial America; the system gave land to a family head and to anyone he sponsored coming to the colony, including indentured servants. The amount of land varied from fifty to two hundred acres per person.


House of Burgesses

first popularly-elected legislative assembly in
America; it met in Jamestown in 1619.


Indentured servants

mainstay of the labor needs in many colonies, especially in the Chesapeake regions in the seventeenth century; they were "rented slaves" who served four to seven years and then were freed to make their way in the world. Most of the servants were from the ranks of the poor, political dissenters, and criminals in England.


Jonathan Edwards

Congregational minister of the 1740s who was a
leading voice of the Great Awakening; his "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" attacked ideas of easy salvation and reminded the colonists of the
absolute sovereignty of God.


John Smith

saved Jamestown through firm leadership in 1607 and 1608;he imposed work and order in the settlement and later published several
books promoting colonization of North America


John Winthrop

leader of the Puritans who settled in Massachusetts Bay in the 16305; he called for Puritans to create "a city upon a hill" and
guided the colony through many crises, including the banishments of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson


Mayflower Compact

written agreement in 1620 to create a body politic among the male settlers in Plymouth; it was the forerunner to charters and constitutions that were eventually adopted in all the colonies.



economic doctrine that called for the mother country to dominate and regulate its colonies; the system fixed trade patterns, maintained high tariffs, and discouraged manufacturing in the colonies


Navigation Acts

series of English laws to enforce the mercantile
system; the laws established control over colonial trade, excluded all of but British ships in commerce, and enumerated goods that had to be shipped to England or to other English colonies. The acts also restricted colonial manufacturing.


Roger Williams

Puritan who challenged the church to separate itself from the government and to give greater recognition of the rights of Native Americans; he was banished in 1635 and founded Rhode Island. (Critics called it Rogue Island.)


Salem witchhunt

period of hysteria in 1692, when a group of teenaged girls accused neighbors of bewitching them; in ten months, nineteen people were executed and hundreds imprisoned. The hysteria subsided when the girls accused the more prominent individuals in the colony, including the governor's wife.


Salutary Neglect

little control over the colonies; through this lack of control, the colonies thrived and prospered. It was an attempt to end this policy that helped create the friction that led to the American Revolution.


Society of Friends (Quakers)

church founded by George Fox which believed in "The Inner Light "-a direct, individualistic experience with God; the church was strongly opposed to the Anglican Church in England and the Congregationalist Church in America. In 1681, William Penn established Pennsylvania as a haven for those persecuted in England and in the colonies.


Stono Rebellion

slave rebellion in South Carolina in September 1739; twenty to eighty slaves burned seven plantations, killed twenty whites, and tried to escape to Florida. The rebellion was crushed. All the slaves were killed and decapitated, and their heads were put on display as a deterrent to future uprisings.



government organized and administered by the church; in Massachusetts Bay colony, only church members could vote in town meetings. The government levied taxes on both church members and
nonmembers and required attendance for all at religious services.


William Penn

Quaker founder of Pennsylvania; he intended it to be a Quaker haven, but all religions were tolerated. The colony had very good relations with Native Americans at first.


Battle of Saratoga

of 6,000 British soldiers surrendered in New York; the battle resulted from a British attempt to divide the colonies through the Hudson River Valley. The American victory convinced the French to ally with the colonies and assured the ultimate success of independence.


Battle of Yorktown

a siege that ended in October 1781 when
Washington trapped 8,000 British soldiers on a peninsula in Virginia after a British campaign in the southern colonies; this defeat caused the British to cease large-scale fighting in America and to start negotiations, which eventually led to the colonies' independence.


Ben Franklin

America's leading diplomat of the time who served as a statesman and advisor throughout the Revolutionary era. He was active in all the prerevolutionary congresses and helped to secure the French alliance of 1778 and the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the Revolution in 1783.


Boston Massacre

confrontation between British soldiers and Boston citizens in March 1770. The troops shot and killed five colonials. American radicals used the event to roil relations between England and the colonies over the next five years.


Coercive Acts (1774)

British actions to punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party; they included closing the port of Boston, revoking Massachusetts's charter, trying all British colonial officials accused of misdeeds outside-the colony, and housing British troops in private dwellings. In the colonies, these laws were known as the Intolerable Acts, and they brought on the First Continental Congress in 1774.


Declaratory Act (1766)

passed as the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act; a face-saving action, it asserted Parliament's sovereignty over colonial taxation and legislative policies


George III

king of England during the American Revolution. Until 1776, the colonists believed he supported their attempt to keep their rights. In reality, he was a strong advocate for harsh policies toward them.


George Washington

commander of the colonial army; while not a military genius, his integrity and judgment kept the army together. Ultimately, he was indispensable to the colonial cause.


John Dickinson

conservative leader who wrote Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania; he advocated for colonial rights but urged conciliation with England and opposed the Declaration of Independence. Later, he helped write the Articles of Confederation.


John Jay

lead diplomat in negotiating the Treaty of Paris (1783); he secretly dealt with the British representatives at Paris and gained all of America's goals for independence despite the deviousness and meddling of France and Spain.


John Locke

English philosopher who wrote that governments have a duty to protect people's life, liberty, and property; many colonial leaders read his ideas and incorporated them into their political rhetoric and thinking.


Loyalists (Tories)

colonists who remained loyal to England; they often were older, better educated people who were members of the Anglican Church. The British hoped to use them as a pacification force but failed to organize them properly.


Patrick Henry

an early advocate of independence who was a stron opponent of the Stamp Act and great defender of individual rights; in 1775, he declared: "Give me liberty, or give me death."


Pontiac's Rebellion (1763)

Indian uprising in the Ohio Valley region that killed 2,000 settlers; as a result, the British sought peace with the Indians by prohibiting colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains (the Proclamation of 1763). The Americans saw this ban as an unlawful restriction of their rights and generally ignored it.


Salutary neglect

British policy before 1763 of generally leaving the colonies alone to conduct their own internal affairs; the abandonment of this policy after 1763 was a major factor leading to revolution and independence


Samuel Adams

agitator and leader of the Sons of Liberty, who supported independence as soon as the British veered from salutary neglect; he was the primary leader of the Boston Tea Party and later a delegate to the Continental Congress.


Seven Years War

fought between England and France, 1756-1763; known as the French and Indian War in the colonies, it started in 1754, over control of the Ohio River Valley and resulted in France's withdrawal from North America. It was the impetus for Parliament's taxing policy that led to the American Revolution.


Sons of Liberty

street gangs that formed during the Stamp Act crisis to enforce the boycotts and prevent the distribution and sale of the tax stamps; they were the vanguard of the Revolution as they intimidated British officials with violence.


Stamp Act (1765)

a tax on over fifty items such as pamphlets, newspapers, playing cards, and dice; it set off a strong protest among the colonists, who claimed it was an internal tax designed only to raise revenue and therefore unlawful for Parliament to levy.


Stamp Act Congress (1765)

met in New York City to protest the Stamp Act; nine of the thirteen colonies petitioned the king and organized a boycott that eventually helped to force the repeal of the tax. This meeting and action was d major step to colonial unity and resistance of British authority.


Sugar Act (764)

designed to raise revenue by stiffening the Molasses Act (1733), establishing new customs regulations, and trying smugglers in British vice-admiralty courts; this was the first attempt to tax the colonies in order to raise revenue rather than regulate trade. It actually lowered the tax on imported sugar in hopes of discouraging smugglers and thereby increasing collection of the tax.


Thomas Jefferson

lead author of the Declaration of Independence; in it, he explained the colonists' philosophy of government and the reasons for independence. He wrote that governments that did not protect unalienable rights should be changed.


Thomas Paine

writer of Common Sense, an electrifying pamphlet of January 1776 calling for a break with England; written with great passion and force, it swept the colonies and provided a clear rationale for colonial independence.


Townshend Acts (1767)

levied taxes on imported items such as paper, glass, and tea; these taxes were designed to address colonial resistance to "internal taxation" like the Stamp Act, which had no connection to trade and was intended only to raise revenue. However, the colonials viewed Parliament's action as revenue-raising measures and refused to pay these taxes as well.


Virtual representation

idea offered by Britain to colonists' demands for representation in Parliament and to establish lawful authority to tax them; the explanation was that Parliament was a collective representation of all Englishmen regardless of where they lived. According to this argument, a group's interest was represented in London by being English. Colonial leaders rejected this position.


Alexander Hamilton

strong nationalist, first secretary of the treasury; he supported a strong central government and was founder of the Federalist Party.


Alien and Sedition Acts

series of acts designed to suppress perceived French agents working against American neutrality; the acts gave the president power to deport "dangerous" aliens, lengthen the residency requirement for citizenship, and restrict freedoms of speech


Annapolis Convention

meeting held atin Maryland, in 1786 to discuss interstate commerce; only five states sent delegates, but Alexander Hamilton used the forum to issue a call for the states to meet the next spring to revise the Articles of Confederation. The meeting was a stepping-stone to creation of the Constitution



persons who opposed ratification of the U.S. Constitution by the states; in general, they feared the concentration of power the Constitution would place in the national government


Democratic Republican Party

political party led by Thomas Jefferson; it feared centralized political power, supported states' rights, opposed Hamilton's financial plan, and supported ties to France. It was heavily influenced by agrarian interests in the southern states.


Farewell Address

presidential message in which Washington warned the nation to avoid both entangling foreign alliances and domestic "factions" (political parties); the ideas of the address became the basis of isolationist arguments for the next 150 years.


Federalist Papers

85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay and published in newspapers to convince New York to ratify the Constitution; taken together, they are seen as a treatise on the foundations of the Constitution.


Federalist Party

political party led by Alexander Hamilton; it favored a strong central government, commercial interests, Hamilton's financial plan and close ties to England. Its membership was strongest among the merchant class and property owners.



persons who favored ratification of the U.s. Constitution by the states.


Great Compromise

broke the impasse at the Constitutional Convention over congressional representation. Congress would consist of two houses. Seats in the lower assigned according to each state's population and states having equal representation in the upper chamber.


James Madison

Strong nationalist who organized the Annapolis Convention, authored the Virginia Plan for the Constitution, and drilfted the constitutional amendments that became the Bill of Rights; he was also a founding member of the Democratic Republican Party.


Jay's Treaty (1794)

agreement that provided England would evacuate a series of forts in U.S. territory along the Great Lakes; in return, the United States agreed to pay pre-Revolutionary War debts owed to Britain. The British also partially opened the West Indies to American shipping. The treaty was barely ratified in the face of strong Republican opposition


Loose constructionist

person who believes that the "elastic clause" of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, paragraph 18) gives the central government wide latitude of action; loose constructionists hold that even powers not explicitly set forth in the Constitution may be exercised if it is "necessary and proper" to carry out powers that are specifically stated


New Jersey Plan

offered by William Paterson to counter the Virginia Plan; it favored a one-house of Congress with equal representation for each state. It maintained much of the Articles of Confederation but strengthened the government's power to tax and regulate commerce


Northwest Ordinance (1787)

the major success of Congress under the Articles of Confederation that organized the Northwest Territory for future statehood; the law provided territorial status for a region when its population reached 5,000. At 60,000, the territory could petition .or statehood with the same rights as existing states. It set into law the procedure for expanding the nation that eventually led to the admission of many other new states. Also, by outlawing slavery in the Northwest Territory, it represented the first action by the national government against that institution.


Pinckney'S Treaty (1795)

agreement with Spain that opened the Mississippi River to American navigation and granted Americans the right of deposit in New Orleans; Spain agreed to the treaty because it feared that Jay's Treaty included an Anglo-American alliance.


Shays's Rebellion

an uprising in western Massachusetts between August 1786 and February 1787 that closed the courts and threatened revolution in the state; the central government's inability to suppress the revolt reinforced the belief that the Articles of Confederation needed to be strengthened


Strict constructionist

person who interprets the Constitution very narrowly; belier that a power not explicitly stated in the Constitution could not be exercised by government. Historically, they have hoped to restrict authority of the central government and preserve states' rights.


Thomas Jefferson

first secretary of state, who led opposition to the Hamilton/Washington plan to centralize power at the expense of the states; after founding the Democratic Republican Party to oppose these plans, he was elected vice president in 1796 and president in 1800.


Three-Fifths Compromise

agreement at the Constitutional Convention that broke the impasse over taxation and representation in the House of Representatives; the formula delegates agreed upon to count slaves.


Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

reaction against the Sedition Act;
written by Madison for Virginia and Jefferson for Kentucky, they stated that when the national government exceeded its powers under the Constitution, the states had the right to nullify the law. Essentially, they held that the Constitution was a compact among the states and they were its final arbiter.


Virginia Plan

Edmund Randolph's and James Madison's proposal for a new government that would give Congress increased taxing and legislative power; it called for two houses of Congress-an elected lower house and an upper house appointed by the lower house. Because seats in Congress would be apportioned according to the states' populations, this plan was favored by the large states.


Whiskey Rebellion

Uprising in western Pennsylvania in 1794 over a levied excise tax;; farmers saw the tax as an unjust and illegal levy, like the Stamp Act. President Washington crushed the rebellion with overwhelming force and thereby demonstrated the power of the new government to maintain order and carry out the law.


XYZ Affair

diplomatic effort by President John Adams to soothe the French, who were upset over Jay's Treaty and American neutrality in their conflict with Britain; three American delegates to France were told they must offer a bribe before any negotiations could begin. They refused, and the humiliation heightened tensions between the two countries and set off war hysteria in the United States.


Betty Friedan

author of The Feminine Mystique (1963), which raised the issue of a woman's place in society and how deadening suburban "happiness" could be for women; her ideas sparked the women's movement to life in the 1960s.


Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

proposed amendment to the U. S. Constitution passed by Congress and submitted to the states for ratification in 1971; outlawing discrimination based on gender, it was at first seen as a great victory by women's-rights groups. The amendment fell 3 states short of the 38 required for ratification. However, many states have adopted similar amendments to their state constitutions.


George McGovern

unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 1972; he called for immediate withdrawal from Vietnam and a guaranteed income for the poor. When his vice presidential choice got into trouble, he waffled in his defense, which cost him further with the electorate.


Gerald Ford

president, 1974-1977, who served without being elected either president or vice president; appointed vice president under the terms of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment when Spiro Agnew resigned, he assumed the presidency when Nixon resigned.


H. R. Haldeman

a key aide to President Nixon who ordered the CIA and FBI not to probe too deeply into the Watergate break-in; he helped provide money to keep the burglars quiet and was later sentenced to prison for his role in Watergate.



members of the youthful counterculture that dominated many college campuses in the 1960s; rather than promoting a political agenda, they challenged conventional sexual standards, rejected traditional economic values, and encouraged the use of drugs.


John Dean

White House aide who participated in the Watergate cover-up; in a plea bargain, he testified that President Nixon knew and participated in the cover-up. Many did not believe his testimony until the White House tapes surfaced


John Mitchell

Nixon's first attorney general and his close friend and adviser; many people believe he ordered the Watergate break-in. He participated in the cover-up and served nineteen months in prison for his role.


Kate Millett

author of Sexual Politics (1969), a book that energized the more radical elements in the women's liberation movement with its confrontational messages about the male-dominated power structure in American society.


New Left

label for the political radicals of the 1960s; influenced by "Old Left" of the 1930s, which had criticized capitalism and supported successes of Communism, they supported civil rights and opposed American foreign policy, especially in Vietnam


Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

cartel of oil exporting nations, which used oil as a weapon to alter America's Middle East policy; it organized a series of oil boycotts that roiled the United States economy throughout the 1970s.


National Organization for Women (NOW)

founded by Betty Friedan in 1966; it focused on women's rights in the workplace, fought against legal and economic discrimination against women, and lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment.


Reagan Revolution

the policies of the first Reagan administration, which "* increased defense spending, reduced social programs, and cut taxes; they were based on "supply side" theory of growing the economy by cutting government interference and taxes.


Saturday Night Massacre (October 1973)

name given to an incident in which Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who was relentlessly investigating Watergate; Richardson refused and resigned along with his deputy, who also refused to carry out Nixon's order. A subordinate then fired Cox. The incident created a firestorm of protest in the country.


Silent Majority

label Nixon gave to middle-class Americans who supported him, obeyed the laws, and wanted "peace with honor" in Vietnam; he contrasted this group with students and civil rights activists who disrupted the country with protests in the late 1960s and early 1970s.



name given the economic condition throughout most of the 1970s in which prices rose rapidly (inflation) but without economic growth (stagnation). Unemployment rose along with inflation. In large part, these conditions were the economic consequences of rising oil prices.


Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) (1962)

radical political organization founded by Tom Hayden and others; it set forth its ideals in the Port Huron Statement: government should promote equality, fairness, and be responsive to people. It was probably the most important student protest group of the 1960s.


Warren Burger

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 1969-1986; although considered more conservative in leadership than Earl Warren, his court upheld school busing, a woman's right to an abortion, and ordered Nixon to surrender the Watergate tapes.


Watergate scandal

name applied to a series of events that began when the Nixon White House tried to place illegal phone taps on Democrats in June 1972; the burglars were caught, and rather than accept the legal and political fallout, Nixon and his aides obstructed the investigation, which cost him his office and sent several of his top aides to prison.



a three-day rock music festival (August 15-17, 1969) held on a farm in New York's Sullivan County; attended by some 300,000 young people, this remarkable and unusually peaceful event is considered the high point of the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s.