When taking notes about these significant terms it may be helpful to make sure you are writing down information that answers the following questions:

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. When?
  4. Where?
  5. Historical Significance (aka. So what? Why is this important?)


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Stamp Act Riots

  • The British government was in debt after the 7 Years' War. In an attempt to recover from debt in 1765 taxes were increased in the colonies. The Stamp Act was the second tax enacted, after the Sugar Act, and placed a tax on all paper items used (e.g., playing cards). Any paper item had to be stamped as proof the tax was paid. Through these acts of taxation, the British government made a distinction between internal (taxing items the colonists sold to each other) and external (taxes for items purchased outside of the colonies) taxes. The Stamp Act primarily effected colonists in the large cities, which was only 5% of the colonists since 95% were farmers. In Boston, Andrew Oliver, brother-in-law of Governor Hutchinson, became a stamp collector. A group of Boston citizens held a mock hanging and funeral of Oliver. Oliver's office was then ransacked and items were set afire. Governor Hutchinson denounced the riot and ordered the constables to arrest the rioters; however, many of the rioters were constables. Governor Hutchinson then became a target of the riot as well. His home was ransacked, and items were set on fire in his front lawn. The Stamp Tax was later rescinded by the British government. Historical Significance: The colonists begin to show a divide between those who stand with the British and those who stand with the colonists.

Coercive Acts

  • In 1774, the British government responded to the Boston Tea Party by enacting new laws that were specifically meant to weaken the authority of the Massachusetts assembly. First was the Boston Port Act, which shut down all activity at the Boston Port until the financial losses of the Boston Tea Party were repaid. This ruined Boston's economy because all importation and exportation of goods depended on the Boston Port. British Parliament also allowed for people to be tried outside of the colonials when British officials were accused of serious crimes. The colonials deemed the coercive acts the "Intolerable Acts". Riots began and eventually spread to other colonies. Historical Significance: Led to the First Continental Congress and boycott against British goods

First Continental Congress

  • In 1774, delegates from 12 of the thirteen colonies (Georgia was not involved) met in Philadelphia to discuss the Intolerable Acts and recent events in Boston. During this meeting they set up the biggest boycott possible, which involved no importation of goods from or exportation of goods to Great Britain. This placed all the colonies in the same position as what Boston was currently experiencing with the port being closed. A committee of exportation was created to ensure that all colonists abided by the guidelines of the boycott. Everyone was required to sign that they agreed with this boycott, although some did not (approximately 30%). This brought the colonies together in support of Boston. The delegates agreed to reconvene in a year to assess where things were at with regards to relations with Great Britain. Historical Significance: The Colonists come together for the first time as a unified group rather than individual colonies.

Lexington & Concord



Common Sense

Declaration of Independence



Treaty of Paris

  • Who/What: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay; this treaty ended the war between Great Britain and the Colonies; the Americans suggested that in order to keep good terms between the two countries Great Britain should give Canada to America; the British would have to abandon all Native American allies; all British troops would be removed from the U.S.; the boarder of the U.S. would run through the Great Lakes; Florida was given back to Spain; the Americans would get full independence from Great Britain; Americans would also agree to honor their prewar debt and to compensate those who were loyal to Great Britain; the loyalists were sent to Canada
  • When: September 1783
  • Where: Paris, France
  • Historical Significance: Created the U.S. and Canada that we know today; ended the Revolutionary War; would later on lead to the War of 1812

Articles of Confederation

  • Who/What: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, John Adams; first form of government in independent America; government had power to wage war and conduct diplomacy, borrow and coin money; Federal government did not have the ability to tax the states, had to ask the states for donations; no executive branch; unicameral (one house); Each state would get 1 vote, all votes were equal, all 13 states had to unanimously agree to make any changes to the document; 9 out of 13 had to agree in order for a treaty to put into place; allowed for the federal government to handle relations with Native Americans; set up a weak central (federal) government and gave states the majority of the rights; when the country was at war, the poorest tended be the ones fighting; ultimately failed because the federal government was too weak and did not have enough power, especially the ability to tax; states had the right to say no when asked for money to fund the government; this meant the Revolutionary War could not be funded because states would not give the federal government money to do so
  • When: Drafted 1777, Ratified 1781, Died 1787
  • Where:
  • Historical Significance: After the war, the economy collapsed due to in part the Articles not providing the Federal government the ability to be funded; First form of American government; failure led to Shays' Rebellion

Antifederalists vs Federalists

  • Who/What: These were factions and not political parties; Federalists wanted a new form of government that had a strong federal/central government and weak state governments, also wanted radical change from Articles of Confederation, modeled after the British government minus a monarch; some Federalists were John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay; Antifederalists were the smaller faction, wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation but with some changes, weak central government with strong state governments, wanted the central government to have the power to tax and create an army, were opposed to the constitution; worried about government tyranny; notable Antifederalists were Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry; Antifederalist plan was the New Jersey Plan; the Federalists had the Virginia Plan
  • When: 1774-1178
  • Where: Virginia, Massachusetts, Philadelphia
  • Historical Significance: shows the political tension that existed in the new U.S.; this led to a two party system later on; divided the political U.S.; their discussions led to the development of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; led to the first successful large republic; led to the Great Compromise

3/5 Compromise

  • Who/What: Law that was passed that stated that each enslaved person would count as 3/5 of one person when counting the population of a state; it gave Southern states more power politically because they were able to have more representatives and electors in the electoral college because the percentage of enslaved people was so high in these states; enslaved people were not counted as a whole person because they could not vote; Virginia started the conversation because of the huge population of enslaved people located there
  • When: 1787
  • Where: Constitutional Convention
  • Historical Significance: Southern states had much more political power which made it much more difficult to change laws or regulations regarding slavery; resulted in approximately 40 years of Southerners in the presidency; factor in the Civil War

Hamilton's Economic Plan

  • Who/What: Head of the Federal Treasury (Treasurer) under President Washington; wanted to model the U.S. economy after the British economy; He wanted to create a national bank to stabilize the economy and allows for bigger projects; federal government should assume state debt to help the U.S. build credit - if debts are paid back then it shows you honor them; encouraged manufacturing (industrial society); viewed the Constitution broadly, specifically Article 1 Section 8
  • When: passed in 1798 with a 10 year charter
  • Historical Significance: Established a political party - Federalists; creates a powerful role for the national government

Jefferson's Revolution of 1800

  • Who/What: Jefferson wanted to build an empire of liberty; defeated Adams; prior to this Federalists had been in office for 12 years; wanted to expand west across the continent; decentralized the government by cutting spending in a lot of areas; cut taxes and kept tariffs; cut the military to about 3000, especially the navy, said we just needed a Coast Guard; took apart the Naval ships and had them stored; wanted people to be independent farmers; believed in equality among people; he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase; cuts all embassies except for Britain, France, and Spain; change in political party from Federalists to Antifederalists (Jeffersonians), this was significant because there was no conflict or war due to republic being so new; more power for states; compared it to the American Revolution; cut federal debt in half
  • When: 1800
  • Where:
  • Historical Significance: the size of the country doubled; able to decentralize the government; cut debt in half; neutrality led to boom in tariff income (re-export trade); destroyed the Navy and decreased the army which left the U.S. vulnerable for a period of time (takes time to train soldiers)

Re-export Trade

  • Who/What: France, U.S., and Great Britain; U.S. was trying to give supplies to Great Britain and France, but Great Britain was upset by this because they were at war with France; Great Britain blocked the U.S. from sending France supplies by capturing U.S. ships traveling to France with supplies, they would impress the American sailors and force them to serve Great Britain as members of the Navy; so in order to get around this France would pick up sugar from the Caribbean islands, take it to the U.S., and then export it to France; this made it legal to transport sugar from the Caribbean to France; also caused the U.S. to be the number one exporter of sugar at that time; sugar was a highly valued commodity at that time
  • When: 1790's-early 1800's
  • Where: Caribbean, U.S., France
  • Historical Significance: was a factor leading to the War of 1812; first attempt by U.S. to remain neutral in European wars; resulted in Jefferson embargo

War of 1812

  • Who/What: British, Native Americans, U.S.; started with Napoleonic war; Jefferson's embargo was one of the factors leading to this war; this was a response to the impressment of U.S. sailors by the British and the confiscation of ships and cargo that were coming from the French Caribbean sugar islands (re-export trade) to the U.S., a part of the U.S. neutrality; the U.S. was making a lot of money on this sugar because they were taxing it before selling it back to France; as a part of the war Washington D.C. was burned except for the patent office; this was a war of attrition; the U.S. did not accomplish their goals; served as confidence towards protecting themselves; U.S. did not have much of an army so the militia was used to fight, some refused to go when they realized they were going to Canada; known as the poor man's war; Native Americans fought on the British side; Battle of Ft. McKinley? ended the war, led to Treaty of Ghent; Battle of New Orleans fought about 1 month after the treaty was signed, led by Andrew Jackson; Americans thought this meant the U.S. won
  • When: 1812-1815
  • Where: Primarily in modern day Canada, Great Lakes, Atlantic Ocean, Northern U.S., New Orleans
  • Historical Significance: established the U.S. as a legitimate power; boosted U.S. confidence; last war fought against Britain; led to the establishment of industrial factories because of trade being shut down with Britain


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Eerie Canal

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Seneca Falls Convention

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Missouri Compromise

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1. In the thirteen years between the end of the Seven Years’ War and the Declaration of Independence some American colonists developed a political and economic argument in favor of independence from Great Britain. Why do you think the colonial leaders waited so long to declare independence? For full credit on the exam, be sure to describe in detail the arguments made both for and against independence from Great Britain.

Essay 1 Outline

2. In 1776 the American colonists declared independence from Great Britain and the powerful government of the empire centered in London. Do you believe that America’s political leaders stayed true to the political goals they set out during the Revolution or whether they turned away from them during the four decades after the Declaration of Independence (from 1776 to 1816)? For full credit on the exam, be sure to discuss the Articles of Confederation; the Constitution; and the political parties formed in this era.

Essay 2 Outline