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6 Most Important Dates in Early American History. 1607 Jamestown founded in the colony of Virginia 1620 Pilgrims land and founded Plymouth colony 1776 Declaration of Independence signed in Philadelphia 1787 U.S. Constitution written in Philadelphia and ratified by all the states in 1789

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6 Most Important Dates in Early American History

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6 most important dates in early american history
6 Most Important Dates in Early American History
  • 1607 Jamestown founded in the colony of Virginia
  • 1620 Pilgrims land and founded Plymouth colony
  • 1776 Declaration of Independence signed in Philadelphia
  • 1787 U.S. Constitution written in Philadelphia and ratified by all the states in 1789
  • 1803 Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson doubles the size of the U.S.
  • 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War between the Northern and Southern states

Vocabulary List #1


Group of people who settle in a distant land but are still ruled by the government of their native land Colony



1607; the first permanent English settlement in North America

joint stock company
Joint-Stock Company

Business in which investors pool their wealth to turn a profit. An example is the Virginia Company that founded Jamestown

Investors wait for news about the South Sea Company, a joint stock company formed in London in 1711.


Group of English Protestants who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Puritans in the 1700's

mayflower compact
Mayflower Compact

1620 agreement for ruling the Plymouth Colony, signed by the pilgrims before landing at Plymouth


Separatists (people who wanted to separate from the Anglican Church) who journeyed to the colonies during the 1600s for religious freedom


1620, Colony founded by separatists in Massachusetts. They called themselves pilgrims


The religious and social movement in the 16th century in Europe that began as an effort to change or reform the Roman Catholic Church and ended with founding of Protestantism


Vocabulary List #2

Colonization #2

new england colonies
New England Colonies

English colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire; economy was dependent on fishing, trade, and ship building

bacon s rebellion
Bacon’s Rebellion

Revolt against the colonial government in Virginia led by Nathaniel Bacon. Citizens in the western part of the colony, were angry over the easterners dominating the gov and believed they were not being protected from the Native Americans.

Nathaniel Bacon confronting Governor Berkeley


A form of government where people vote directly or through elected representatives

fundamental orders of connecticut
Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The first written constitution (rulebook for government) in America. It described in detail how the gov of Connecticut would be organized.

Thomas Hooker

house of burgesses
House of Burgesses

First representative assembly (legislature) in North America; created in colonial Virginia .

Held its first meeting at Jamestown Church in the summer of 1619. Its first order of business: setting a minimum price for the sale of tobacco.

representative government
Representative Government

Political system in which voters elect representatives to make laws for them.

middle colonies
Middle colonies

English Colonies of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania where the economy was dependent on grain, cattle, and iron. Also called the “breadbasket” colonies

southern colonies
Southern Colonies

English Colonies of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia where the economy was dependent on cash crops like rice, indigo and tobacco.

indentured servant
Indentured Servant

Person who agreed to work without wages for a period of time in exchange for passage to the colonies

cash crop
Cash Crop

Crop sold for money at market. (i.e. cotton, tobacco)


Vocabulary List #3

Life in the

13 Colonies

free enterprise

System in which the government plays a limited role in the economy.

trans atlantic slave trade
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Colonial trade route between New England, the West Indies, and Africa.


Trade products brought into a country

US Oil Imports


Trade products sent to markets outside a country.


A person who is forced to work for another for free

act of toleration
Act of Toleration

A law passed in the colony of Maryland in 1649 that granted Protestants and Catholics the right to worship freely.

Lord Baltimore commending his people to wisdom, justice and mercy

first great awakening
First Great Awakening

Religious movement in the English colonies in the early 1700s

magna carta
Magna Carta

English constitution in 1215 with two basic ideas: Monarchs have to obey the laws, and citizens have basic rights.

King John signing the Magna Carta

english bill of rights
English Bill of Rights

British document in 1689, that protected the rights of Englishmen. It was used as a model for our Bill of Rights

limited government
Limited Government

Belief that members of government should have to follow certain rules. Often a constitution is used to specify the powers and responsibilities of government

town meetings
Town Meetings

Held in Plymouth Colony, these meetings were considered the purest form of democracy because all freemen in the town were allowed to vote on issues facing the town.


Idea that a nation’s economic strength came from protecting and increasing its home economy by keeping strict control over its colonial trade


Vocabulary List #5

Road to Revolution

french and indian war
French and Indian War

A war between England and France from 1754 to 1763. Both sides had Native American allies, with the British Colonies helping the British.

george washington
George Washington

LT. Col. during the French and Indian War; became a hero when he led British survivors to safety in the battle at Fort Duquesne.

proclamation of 1763
Proclamation of 1763

law passed after the French and Indian War by King George III forbidding colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains

king george iii
King George III

King of Great Britain leading up to and during the American Revolution.

navigation acts
Navigation Acts

Laws passed by the English Parliament in the 1650s; regulated trade between England and its colonies


Refusal to buy certain goods and services

sugar act 1764
Sugar Act 1764

Law passed by Parliament in 1764 placing a tax on sugar, molasses, and other goods shipped to the colonies; called for harsh punishment of smugglers.

stamp act 1765
Stamp Act 1765

1765 law that placed new duties on legal documents and taxed newspapers, almanacs, playing cards, and dice

non importation agreements
Non-Importation Agreements


Agreements made by merchants in the colonies not to import British goods.

stamp act congress
Stamp Act Congress

Meeting called to organize the colonies resistance to the Stamp Act passed by the British Parliament

tariff tax duty

Tax on foreign goods brought into a country. Problems started between Great Britain and the 13 Colonies when Britain started collecting taxes in the colonies.

townshend acts
Townshend Acts

Laws passed in 1767 that taxed goods such as glass, paper, paint, lead, and tea.


Vocabulary List #6

Road to Revolution

boston tea party
Boston Tea Party
  • a 1773 protest in which colonists dressed up as Indians dumped British tea in Boston harbor
sam adams
Sam Adams
  • Famous patriot and leader of the Son’s of Liberty (a secret society formed to oppose British policies)
patrick henry
Patrick Henry
  • famous patriot from Virginia. The famous quote, “Give me liberty or give me death!” is attributed to him
paul revere
Paul Revere
  • Famous member of Son’s of Liberty who helped warned the colonists that the British were marching towards Concord.
quartering act
Quartering Act

LET US IN !!!!

  • law passed by the English Parliament requiring colonists to house (quarter) British soldiers
intolerable acts
Intolerable Acts
  • series of laws passed in 1774 to punish Boston for the Tea Party. Also known as the Coercive Acts
boston massacre
Boston Massacre
  • a 1770 conflict between colonists and British troops in which 5 colonists were killed.
first continental congress
First Continental Congress
  • in 1774, a meeting in Philadelphia of delegates from 12 colonies to decide what the colonies should do in response to the Intolerable Acts
committee of correspondence
Committee of Correspondence
  • letter writing campaign that became a major tool of protest in the colonies.
tea act
Tea Act
  • a 1773 law that let the British East India Company bypass tea merchants and sell directly to colonists giving the company a monopoly in the colonial tea market
lexington concord
  • Lexington was a village in Massachusetts where the first clash between minutemen and British troops occurred as the British headed to Concord to look for ammunition.
  • Concord was a village in Massachusetts where a battle occurred between the British and Americans at the start of the American Revolution

Vocabulary List #7

American Revolution



Colonial militia volunteers who prepare to fight in a minutes notice.

  • System of government in which citizens choose representatives to govern them
battle of breed s hill bunker hill
Battle of Breed’s Hill (Bunker Hill)
  • The site of first major battle of the American Revolution; a victory for the British but they suffered their greatest losses of the entire war.
second continental congress
Second Continental Congress
  • A governing body whose delegates agreed, in May 1775, to form the Continental Army and later approved the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776.
olive branch petition
Olive Branch Petition
  • Peace petition sent to King George by colonial delegates after Lexington/Concord: they declared loyalty to the King and asked him to repeal the Intolerable Acts.
declaration of independence 1776
Declaration of Independence, 1776
  • A document stating that the 13 English Colonies were a free and independent nation; Drafted by Thomas Jefferson
john adams
John Adams
  • Delegate from Mass.; helped draft Dec of Ind. And became 2nd President of the US
  • Colonist who supported the American Revolution and favored war against Great Britain
loyalist tory
Loyalist / Tory
  • Colonist who remained loyal to Great Britain during the American Revolution
thomas jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
  • Principle writer of the Dec. of Ind.; 3rd President of the USA; made the Louisiana Purchase
  • Army of citizens who serve as soldiers during an emergency.
american revolution 1776 1783
American Revolution, 1776 - 1783
  • War fought by the American colonies to gain Independence from Great Britain

Vocabulary List #8

American Revolution 2

thomas paine s pamphlet common sense
Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, “Common Sense”
  • Papers that caught the attention of the colonists by calling for complete independence from England.
abigail adams
Abigail Adams

“Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors”.

Wife of John Adams (2nd president) and mother of John Quincy Adams (6th president) who was in favor of equal rights for women.

  • City in eastern New York, the turning point battle in the Revolutionary War. The Americans won the battle and therefore the respect of France and Spain.
valley forge
Valley Forge
  • Revolutionary War camp northwest of Philadelphia in the winter of 1777-1778. Most of the men lacked blankets, shoes and shirts and many deserted and died.
  • Town in Virginia, which was the site of the British surrender in 1781. It effectively ended the American Revolution
george washington1
George Washington
  • Commander of Continental Army during the American Revolution
marquis de lafayette
Marquis de Lafayette
  • French soldier who aided the Americans in the fight for Independence from Great Britain
unalienable rights
Unalienable Rights
  • Rights a person is born with that cannot be taken away, like freedom
us constitution 1787
US Constitution - 1787
  • Document that explains the rules and responsibilities the government must follow. written in 1787 and ratified (or approved) in 1789.
articles of confederation
Articles of Confederation
  • First constitution of the United States, used from 1776 to 1789 until the current constitution (the United States Constitution) was ratified.
treaty of paris 1783
Treaty of Paris, 1783
  • Agreement between the United States and Great Britain that recognized the United States as an independent nation and ended the American Revolution.
northwest ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
  • 1787 article that set up a government for the Northwest territory, gave basic rights to settlers, outlawed slavery in that territory, AND SET UP THE PROCEDURE FOR ADMITTING NEW STATES TO THE UNION.

Vocabulary List #9

Early Republic

constitutional convention 1787
Constitutional Convention, 1787
  • Convention where the delegates got rid of the Articles of Confederation and wrote a new U.S. Constitution.

George Washington addressing the

Constitutional Convention in

Philadelphia, 1787.

shays rebellion
Shays’ Rebellion
  • a 1786 revolt in Massachusetts led by Daniel Shay and farmers in reaction to high taxes.
  • a system of government where power is shared and a country is united under a centralized form of government
  • supporters of the new U.S. Constitution, who favored a strong federal or national government
anti federalists
  • People opposed to the Constitution and a strong national government.
  • They feared the government would abuse the rights of the people; forced the addition of the Bill of Rights.

Thomas Jefferson

Patrick Henry

federalist papers
Federalist Papers
  • a series of articles written by Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay, to convince Americans to support and ratify the U.S. Constitution.
george mason
George Mason
  • Anti Federalist who fought against the constitution, eventually compromising with the addition of the Bill of Rights; he is called the "Father of the Bill of Rights
alexander hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
  • Main writer of a defense of the proposed Constitution, known as the Federalist Papers.
ben franklin
Ben Franklin
  • Old and wise politician who earned the respect of delegates.
george washington2
George Washington
  • Served as President of the Constitutional Convention.

Vocabulary List #10

Early Republic Government

checks and balances
Checks and Balances

Principle of the US Constitution that prevents abuse of power by giving each branch of government the power to check the other branches.

separation of powers
Separation of Powers

Belief by our Founders that power should be divided between the three branches to prevent one branch from abusing their power.

virginia plan
Virginia Plan

Plan presented by James Madison and favored by larger states; called for a strong national Gov. with three branches and a bicameral legislature based on population.

new jersey plan
New Jersey Plan

Plan of government

proposed and favored

by smaller states;

called for a one-house

legislature in which

each state got one vote.

connecticut or great compromise
Connecticut (or Great) Compromise
  • Roger Sherman’s plan at the Constitutional Convention for a two-house legislature. It settled the differences between large and small states.
three fifths compromise
Three-Fifths Compromise

Agreement by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention that three fifths of the slaves in any state would be counted in that states’ population.


Anything not allowed under the Constitution.

bill of rights
Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments

to the United States



To change, add to or take away from a document.


President - Enforces

the laws


House of Representative

and Senate (also known

as Congress) - Writes

the bills (proposed laws)


United States

Supreme Court –

Determines the

constitutionality of

a law


Vocabulary List #11

Early Republic

Government 2

  • To reject, as when the president rejects a law passed by Congress
  • To overrule, like when Congress overrules a presidential veto.
habeas corpus
Habeas Corpus
  • The right that no person can be held in prison without first being charged with a specific crime.
  • To bring charges of serious wrongdoing against a public official

President Richard Nixon

due process
Due Process
  • Fair treatment under the law
popular sovereignty
Popular Sovereignty
  • A principle of the U S Constitution that states that the people have the right to create, alter, and abolish their government
house of representatives
House of Representatives
  • legislative body of the United States government with a total of 435 members elected by the states on the basis of population
  • legislative body of the United States government with a total of 100 members, with 2 each being elected by the states
  • The head of the executive branch and the Chief Executive of the United States.
supreme court
Supreme Court

The highest court in the judicial branch of the United States

founding fathers
Founding Fathers
  • George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Monroe, and others who laid the groundwork for the United States.
george washington3
George Washington
  • 1st President of United States from 1789 – 1797.