APUSH- Chapter 5: The American Revolution, Terms and Review
Terms to Know: Define these terms and demonstrate why each person, event,
concept, or issue is important. Include page numbers please!
1. Tyranny: a government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power (The
American Heritage Dictionary)
2. Common Sense and John Locke: Common Sense, published January 1776 by Thomas
Paine and English immigrant who became a brilliant Revolutionary propagandist. He
argued in Common Sense the it was simple common sense for America to break
completely with a government that could produce so so corrupt a monarch as George III,
a government that could inflict such brutality on its own people, a government that could
drag Americans into wars in which America had no interest. The island kingdom of
England was no more fit to rule the American continent, he claimed, than a satellite was
fit to rule the sun. John Locke was a English political philosopher whose ideas of
democracy were heavily borrowed from during the Revolutionary Period. He wrote The
Social Contract Theory and the Natural Rights of men with the belief that governments
were formed to protect the rights of life, liberty and property. (pg.133)
3. Declaration of Independence: Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal
declaration of independence. On July 2, 1776, it adopted a resolution: “That these United
Colonies are, and, of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved
for all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connextion between them and
the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved”. Two days later, July 4,
1776, Congress approved the Declaration, which provided the formal justification for the
actions the delegates had in fact take two days prior. Written primarily by Thomas
Jefferson, with help from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. (pg. 133)
4. Loyalists/Tories : Not everyone in America was “on the independence bandwagon”.
Some disapproved of the war from the beginning. Other had been willing to support it
only so long as its aims did not conflict with their basic loyalty to the king. They were a
minority and called themselves Loyalists. Supporters of independence called them Tories
5. George Washington: In spring of 1775, Congress created a Continental army with a
single commander in chief (GW), 43 years old from VA, a planter-aristocrat, had
experience commanding colonial troops during the French and Indian War, and more
experience than any other American-born officer, an early advocate for independence, he
was admired, respected, trusted and was the unanimous choice. He dealt with serious
problems of morale, short rations, low pay, and mutinies. For the most part he was a
great war leader. (pg. 142)
6. Iroquois Confederacy: The Iroquois wanted to involve themselves in British military
efforts in hopes that a British victory would help stem white movement onto tribal lands.
The Confederacy declared itself neutral in the war in 1776, but not all wanted to be
neutral, Mohawk brother and sister, Joseph and Mary Brant wanted to expand the native
role in the war. The Confederacy played an important role in Burgoyne’s unsuccessful
campaign in the north the Confederacy ended up divided between those tribes that
worked alongside the British and those who worked with the Colonists.
7. French intervention in the war: In order for the war to be successful, America need to
win support overseas, most of the support came from France. As the new King Louis
XVI and his foreign minister the count de Vergennes, were eager to see Britain to lose a
crucial part of its empire. Benjamin Franklin went to France to represent the US. Along
with the colonial victory at Saratoga and Franklins popularity France formally recognized
the US as a sovereign nation and laid the ground work for greatly expanded assistance to
the American war effort. The intervention made the war an international war and
contributed to the American victory. (pg.142-43)
8. Female “camp followers”: sometimes by choice, but more out of economic necessity or
because they were driven out of their homes by the enemy (smallpox/ dysentery) women
flocked in increasing numbers to the camps of the Patriot armies. Either to join their
male relatives. Geo Washington disapproved convinced that they were disruptive and
distracting, other officers were more hostile, voicing complaints that reflected a high
level of anxiety over the seeming violation of traditional gender roles. Women were of
significant value to the new army, it profited greatly from the presences of women who
increased army morale and performed such necessary tasks as cooking, laundry and
nursing. Some became involved in combat, few women disguised themselves as men in
order to fight. The experience of combat had little impact on how society defined female
roles but it did allow women to questions their role in other was, it was a modest
expansion of women’s rights. (pg. 150)
9. Republicanism: a political system in which all power came from the people, rather than
from some supreme authority (a king). The success of such a government depended on
the nature of its citizenry. If the population consisted of sturdy, independent property
owners imbued with civic virtue, then the republic could survive another important factor
was equality in opportunity. (pg. 153)
10. State constitutions: CT and RI had governments that were republican in all but name
even before the Revolution, but the first and perhaps most basic decision was that the
constitutions were to be written down,, because Americans believed the vagueness of the
England’s’ unwritten constitution had produced corruptions. The second decision was
that the power of the executive must be limited. (pg 153-54)
11. Land Ordinance of 1785: 1784, based on a proposal by Tho Jefferson, divided the
western territory into ten self-governing districts, each of which could petition Congress
for statehood when its population equaled the number of free inhabitants of the smallest
existing state. These reorganized territories would eventually become states reflected the
desire of the Revolutionary generation to avoid creating second-class citizens in
subordinate territories. 1785, Congress created a system for surveying and selling the
western lands. The territory north of the OH River was to be surveyed and marked. This
eventually became known as the Northwest Ordinances.
12. Public domain: The Confederation had to find a way to include new settlements in the
political structure of the new nations. States yielded their claims to the national
government in 1781, and by 1784 the Confederation controlled enough land to permit
Congress to begin making policy for the national “public” domain. (pg. 155-56)
13. Shay’s Rebellion: The states had war debts, and generally relied on increased taxation
to pay them. Poor farmers we now burdened by new taxes they considered such policies
unfair and tyrannical. They demanded that the state governments issue paper currency to
increase the money supply and make it easier for them to meet their obligations.
Resentment was especially high among farmers in New England, who felt that the states
were squeezing them to enrich already wealthy bondholders in Boston. In the late 1780s
mobs of distressed farmers rioted in various parts of New England, rallied behind Daniel
Shays a former captain in the Continental army. He issued a set of demands that included
par money, tax relief, a moratorium on debts, and the relocation of the state capital from
Boston to the interior and the abolition of imprisonment for debt. Samuel Adams
denounced Shays and his men as rebels and traitors; in winter the rebels advanced on
Springfield hoping to seize weapons form the arsenal. An army of state militia men
confront them, In January 1787, this army met Shay’s band and dispersed his ragged
troops. The Rebellion was a failure it did produce some concessions, the rebellion had an
important consequences for the US, it added urgency to a movement to produce a new
national government. (pg. 159).
14. Continental Congress: Three weeks after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the
Second Continental Congress met in the State House in Philadelphia, with delegates from
every colony except Georgia, they agreed to support the war but had vast opinions about
the purpose of the war. One group was led by John and Samuel Adams, including
Richard Henry Lee of VA, who favored complete independence from Great Britain. The
other was led by moderates as John Dickinson of PA, who hoped for modest reforms and
work toward reconciliation with Great Britain. They will be responsible for the Olive
Branch Petition, Declaration of Independence, organizing and financing the war. It will
be a weak centralized government that struggles with its legitimacy. (132 and throughout
15. Thomas Jefferson: delegate from Virginia, wrote most of the Declaration of
Independence. (pg. 133)
16. Sovereignty: After the Declaration of Independence was signed the colonies started
calling themselves sates which illustrated the belief that each province was now a
separate entity and operated independently of royal authority. The former colonies
marked their independence by writing formal constitution for themselves. Most had
produced republican governments. (pg 133-134).
17. Articles of Confederation: The formation of the government on a national level was
more difficult. Americans were uncertain whether they even wanted a real national
government, the Continental Congress served more as a coordinating mechanism, most
considered the states the real centers of authority. But fighting a war required a certain
amount of central directions leading the colonies to balance the commitment to state and
local autonomy against the need for some centralized authority. In November 1777,
Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, not ratified until 1781, which confirmed
the weak, decentralized system already in operation. The Continental Congress would
survive as the chief coordinating agency of the war. Its powers over the individual states
would be very limited. Congress remained the central and only institution of national
authority. To could give authority to conduct wars and foreign relations and to
appropriate, borrow, and issue money. It did not have power to regulate trade, draft
troops, or levy taxes directly. There was no separate executive, each state had a single
vote in Congress, and at least nine of the states had to approve the admission of a new
state. All 13 states had to approve any amendment of the Articles. The Confederation
existed from 1781 until 1789 was not a complete failure, but it was far from a success. It
lacked powers to deal with interstate issues or to enforce its will on the states; it had little
stature in the world. (pg.134, 155)
18. British surrender at Saratoga: British General John Burgoyne had fought several costly
engagements and then withdrew to Saratoga, where Continental General Horatio Gates
surrounds him. On October 17, 1777 Burgoyne ordered what was left of his army, nearly
5,000 men to surrender to the Americans. For Patriots and people watching from around
the world, the NY campaign was a remarkable victory. It became a major turning point
in the war and it led to the alliance between the US and France. (pg 141-42).
19. “Militia diplomats”: In order for the war to be a success, America needed to secure
trading partners in Europe, Congress began sending representative to European capital to
negotiate commercial treaties. John Adams called the early American representative
abroad “militia diplomats”. They had little experience with the formal art and etiquette
of Old World diplomacy. Since transatlantic communication as slow and uncertain, they
had to interpret the instructions of Congress freely and make decisions on their own. (pg
20. Treaty of Paris: The British and Americans reached a peace settlement, September 3,
1783, it was remarkably favorable to the US in granting a clear-cut recognition of its
independence and a generous cession of territory. (pg 147)
21. Judith Sargent Murray: one of the leading essayists of the late eighteenth century,
wrote in 1779 that women’s minds were as good as men’s and that girls as well as boys
therefore deserved access to education. (pg.150)
22. Small freeholders: the ideal American citizen is an independent land owner and was
basic American political ideology. (pg. 153).
23. Virginia’s Statute of Religious Liberty: written by Thomas Jefferson, in 1786, called
for the complete separation of church and state. As states were moving far in the direction
of complete religious freedom. (pg. 154).
24. Treaty with Spain of 1786: Confederation diplomats agreed to a treaty with Spain in
1786, Spain accepted the American interpretation of the FL boundary. In return
Americans recognized the Spanish possessions in North America and accepted limits on
the rights of US vessels to navigate the Mississippi for 20 years. Southern states were not
happy with the idea of giving up access to the Mississippi, and blocked ratification and
further weakened the government’s standing in world diplomacy.
25. Battle of Fallen Timbers: violence between whites and Indians on the Northwest
frontier reached a crescendo in the early 1790s, a group of tribes led by the famed Miami
warrior Little Turtle defeated Us forces in two major battles near what is now the western
border of OH. In November, 1791 630 white Americans died in fighting at the Wabash
River, in the greatest military victory Indians had ever achieve in battle against whites.
Efforts to negotiate failed because the of the Miami’s insistence that no treaty was
possible unless it forbade white settlement west of the OH River, Negotiations resumed
after Gen Anthony Wayne led 4,000 soldiers into the OH Valley in 1794 and defeated the
Natives in the Battle of Fallen Timers. One year later the Miami signed the Treaty of
Greenville, ceding substantial new lands to the US, in return for a formal
acknowledgement of their claim o the territory they had managed to retain. The US was
affirming that Indian lands could be ceded only by the tribes themselves. (pg. 158-59)
Chapter Objectives: After Reading the Chapter you should be able to discuss following:
The historical debate concerning the nature of the American Revolution and the reasons
American war aims, the problems experienced by the Revolutionary governments in
carrying on a protracted war, and the war’s accomplishments.
The goals and influence of the Declaration of Independence.
The impact of the Revolution on women, African-Americans, and Native Americans.
The types of governments created by the new states and the important feature in their
The contribution of the Enlightenment to the American Revolution and the modern
notion of revolution.
Discussion Questions: As a class we will discuss the following concepts
What did the founders mean by “republic?”
Justify Samuel Adams’ statement: “Rebellion against a king may be pardoned, or lightly
punished, but the man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer
How did Shays’ Rebellion reflect the attitudes and economic problems after the
What were the British and American military strategies during the Revolutionary War?
What title is most appropriate: The American Revolution or the War of Independence?
Free Response Questions: Choose ONE of the following and write a short response.
1. On the eve of the American Revolution, to what extent had the colonists developed a
sense of their unity and identity as Americans?
2. How was it possible that thirteen colonies were able to overcome the greatest military
power in the world and win the Revolutionary War?
3. Was the American Revolution more of a radical or conservative event in terms of the
way in which it shaped American political ideas and institutions?
4. Analyze the effectiveness of the government under the Articles of Confederation.
Sample Multiple Choice Questions
1. In 1775, as conflicts with England intensified, American colonists
A. made extensive efforts to prepare themselves for war.
B. were deeply divided about what they were fighting for.
C. believed England was not willing to engage in military operations against them.
D. saw their larger population as a key advantage over England.
E. considered arming slaves to help build up the colonial army.
2. Published in January 1776, Common Sense was written by
A. Thomas Jefferson.
B. Tom Paine.
C. James Madison.
D. Ben Franklin.
E. James Otis.
3. The author of Common Sense
A. sought to concentrate colonial anger on unpopular parliamentary measures.
B. was an American who had never been to England.
C. sold very few copies of his pamphlet until after the war was won.
D. was arrested by British officials and charged with treason.
E. considered the English constitution to be the greatest problem facing the colonists.
4. The Declaration of Independence
A. borrowed heavily from previously published colonial documents.
B. was never formally approved by the Second Continental Congress.
C. avoided making any direct criticism of the King.
D. called for the formation of a two-party democracy.
E. originally recommended that all slaves be freed.
5. Financing the Revolution was difficult for the American side because
A. hard currency was scarce.
B. the printing of paper money was illegal.
C. foreign nations refused to loan money for its war effort.
D. bonds were not yet in use.
E. the colonists’ wealth had all been kept in London.