American history I: final exam review



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The Enlightenment

  • European philosophers began to stress the importance of human reason (and deemphasize the role of religion) in solving all manner of social problems

  • Argued that man could come to understand all social, economic, and political relationships because these things were bound by natural laws

  • John Locke: Author of Two Treatises on Government (1689), Essay on Human Understanding (1690)

  • The right of a monarch to rule is not divine, but rather comes from the people

  • All people have the natural right to life, liberty, and property

  • Government exists to protect those rights, not to threaten them; if the government fails to protect people’s natural rights, then the people are entitled to overthrow that government

  • People are not born sinful, but rather they are blank slates (tabula rasa) that are shaped by society and education

  • People can, and should, improve themselves by improving their society

  • Locke’s writings were popular in the Colonies because it backed up their belief that they had protected rights as English citizens and re-enforced their belief that they were building a new and better world than what existed in Europe

  • Baron de Montesquieu: Author of The Spirit of the Laws (1748)

  • Argued for separation of government power into three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial), where each branch limited the power of the other two through a system of checks and balances

  • The Great Awakening

  • Religious counterpoint to the Enlightenment

  • A new movement, called pietism, emphasized the need for people to engage in a more personal and emotional relationship with God

  • Pietism was spread through the holding of revivals (large public prayer meetings led by charismatic and zealous Protestant ministers)

  • Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)

  • New England preacher who wanted to revive the spiritual fervor of the early Puritans

  • Gave “fire and brimstone” style sermons with vivid images of Hell and called for his fellow Christians to repent and become “born again”

  • George Whitfield (1714 – 1770)

  • Best known and most influential of the Great Awakening ministers

  • Anglican minister who openly challenged the authority of ministers who had not been “born again,” leading to serious tensions, and even splits, within many American congregations

  • Consequences of the Great Awakening

  • New religious beliefs stressed an independent relationship with God

  • Older Puritan churches declined in number, while revivalist churches such as Baptists and Methodists surged

  • Baptist churches grew especially strong in the South, where its message of social equality before God struck a chord with poor farmers and slaves

  • Baptist Threat

  • The Planter class tried desperately to suppress the Baptist church, fearing that its anti-slavery message would undermine their control of their slaves

  • Despite these efforts, however, the Baptists continued to grow and spread

  • The French & Indian War

  • The Ohio River Valley

  • By the 1740s, both French and English traders had begun entering the Ohio River Valley, leading to rival claims to the region

  • This led both sides to begin building forts to protect their claims

  • After the French seized an English fort in western Pennsylvania, Virginia governor Robert Dinwiddie ordered a young Virginia militia officer named George Washington to raise a force and retake the fort

  • In 1754, the 22-year-old Washington’s troops fought the French, but were forced to retreat and build a temporary defensive position at Ft. Necessity

  • Eventually, Washington was forced to surrender to the French, leaving them in control of the Ohio River Valley

  • The Albany Conference

  • Representatives from 7 English colonies tried to convince the Iroquois tribe, who controlled western New York, to ally themselves with England against France

  • While the Iroquois refused an alliance, they did agree to remain neutral and not support the French

  • The Albany Plan of Union

  • The representatives who met for the Albany Conference agreed to ask Britain to unite all colonial forces under one commanding officer

  • They also drafted an idea known as the Albany Plan of Union, which proposed that the colonies unite and form their own federal government, but the idea was ultimately rejected

  • Braddock's Expedition

  • In 1755, the British sent General Edward Braddock and 1500 British soldiers to command the defense of the Colonies

  • Braddock appointed Washington as his top aide and marched out to retake Ft. Duquesne

  • Braddock’s army was ambushed by the French and their Indian allies

  • Braddock was killed in the fighting and only Washington’s calm command allowed the British and Colonial forces to escape and retreat

  • Indian Skirmishes

  • With the English defeat, many of the Indian tribes grew bolder and began attacking settlers along the Appalachian frontier

  • For the next two years the English, French, and Indians raided each other along the frontier and the Ohio River Valley

  • The Seven Years’ War

  • By 1756, the fighting between the English and French had spread to an all-out world war – the two enemies weren’t just fighting in North America, but also in Europe, Africa, and India

  • The powerful British Navy gained control of the Atlantic, cutting off French supplies and reinforcements to North America

  • Additionally, the Iroquois began to put pressure on other Native American tribes to end their support for the French, leaving the French badly outnumbered and ill-supplied

  • Forbes Expedition

  • In 1758, English General John Forbes successfully pushed the French out of Ft. Duquesne and rebuilt it as Ft. Pitt (now Pittsburgh)

  • The French were forced to retreat back into Canada

  • Battle of the Plains of Abraham

  • In 1759, English General James Wolfe moved his forces up the St. Lawrence River and attacked the city of Quebec

  • The English won the battle (although Wolfe was killed), effectively ending the major fighting of the North American theater of the war

  • The Spanish Disaster

  • In 1761, Spain entered the war in support of France, but the English dominated the Spanish, seizing their colonies of the Philippines (in East Asia) and Cuba (in the Caribbean)

  • By 1763, France and Spain sued for an end to the war

  • The Treaty of Paris (1763)

  • Formally ended the Seven Years’ War (and its North American component, the French & Indian War) between England and France

  • The treaty would result in a major redrawing of the map of North America

  • England gained control of Canada and all French claims east of the Mississippi River from France and control of Florida from Spain

  • Spain was given the port of New Orleans and all French claims west of the Mississippi River by France as an apology for getting Spain involved

  • England returned Cuba and the Philippines to Spanish control

  • France was left with only a few sugar producing islands in the Caribbean from what had once been a huge North American empire

  • Pontiac’s Rebellion

  • Just as the French & Indian War was ending, the Ottawa chief Pontiac led an uprising of the Ottawa, Delaware, Shawnee, and Seneca tribes against the British, burning several towns and settlements along the frontier

  • Eventually treaties between the Indians and British were made and the fighting ended

  • Proclamation Act of 1763

  • Not wanting to fight future wars with the Indians (and also not wanting to disrupt the lucrative fur trade in the Great Lakes region), King George issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, declaring colonists could not settle west of the Appalachians

  • This angered many colonists along the frontier who believed that the French & Indian War had been fought to make those very lands available to settlers

  • An Expensive War

  • Britain needed a way to pay off the debt from fighting the Seven Years’ War and to cover the cost of keeping 10,000 soldiers stationed in North America

  • New Prime Minister George Grenville looked to the Colonies to help generate revenues to lessen the economic strain on England

  • Salutary Neglect

  • Britain had long practiced a policy towards the Colonies of “salutary neglect,” or leaving them to go their own way and allowing them to mostly govern themselves; even such rules as were put in place by Parliament had been rarely enforced

  • After the Seven Years’ War, however, Britain attempted to take more direct control

  • Customs Reforms

  • One major source of revenue was customs duties on goods imported to the Colonies, but smuggling was cutting into customs revenues

  • To cut down on smuggling, Grenville passed a law requiring smugglers to be tried by military, rather than civilian courts

  • Colonists argued that the smuggling trials were unfair because they did not follow English common law, allowed no trial by jury, and were too distant (being in Canada) to allow for a speedy trial

  • One of the more famous colonists tried in the new court was businessman John Hancock, who had become wealthy smuggling sugar and molasses into New England

  • Through the help of his lawyer, John Adams, Hancock was never convicted, although one of his ships was confiscated

  • The Sugar Act of 1764

  • Grenville also approved the American Revenue Act of 1764 (commonly called The Sugar Act) which raised the tax rate on sugar, as well as numerous other goods imported to the Colonies

  • The Act also declared those accused of smuggling to be guilty until proven innocent, allowed for the seizure of goods without due process, and banned merchants from suing for the return of their goods if confiscated

  • American merchants were livid at these violations of their rights as English citizens

  • They also began to challenge Parliament’s right to levy taxes against colonists on the basis that the Colonies had no representation in Parliament – hence the motto, “no taxation without representation”

  • The Currency Act of 1764

  • Grenville also approved the Currency Act of 1764

  • This act banned the use of paper money in the Colonies in an effort to control inflation, but angered colonists because it restricted the money supply and made it much harder for them to both borrow money and to pay off debts

  • The Stamp Act of 1765

  • First direct tax on colonists (previous taxes had been on trade)

  • Required that a “stamp” be placed on all printed goods, such as newspapers, posters, wills, deeds, licenses, diplomas, and playing cards

  • The “stamp” was just a mark showing that a tax had been paid

  • The Quartering Act of 1765

  • Required the Colonies to provide barracks for the housing of British soldiers

  • If the barracks were not provided, then soldiers would be housed in taverns, inns, and other personal properties, at the Colonies’ expense

  • Colonial Resolutions

  • The Stamp and Quartering Acts led numerous colonial assemblies, including Virginia’s House of Burgesses, to issue resolutions declaring Parliament’s actions to be a violation of the colonists’ rights as English citizens

  • The Sons of Liberty

  • Protest group created in Connecticut in 1765 by a merchant named Isaac Sears

  • Organized meetings and protests against the Stamp Act

  • Used terror tactics to intimidate English tax collectors – threatened them with violence, burned their homes

  • Group quickly had branches throughout the Colonies

  • The Stamp Act Congress

  • Representatives from throughout the Colonies met in October 1765 and issued the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, petitioning King George and Parliament to repeal the taxes on the grounds that Parliament had no right to tax the Colonies without allowing them representation

  • Boycotts

  • To avoid the Stamp Act and other taxes, colonists enacted a boycott against any goods the British had tried to tax

  • Particularly damaging, was their refusal to buy imported tea or British cloth, both of which damaged the English economy

  • The boycott led to high unemployment rates in England and badly hurt English merchants’ profits, leading the English themselves to pressure Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act, which Parliament did in 1766

  • Declaratory Act of 1766

  • After being forced to repeal the Stamp Act, however, Parliament retaliated with the Declaratory Act

  • This act stated that Parliament had the power to make laws for, and impose taxes upon, the Colonies

  • The Townshend Acts

  • The economic crisis in England had led to a drop in tax revenues there, prompting Parliament to seek even more revenues from the Colonies

  • Charles Townshend, Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced a series of new laws aimed at the Colonies, starting in 1767

  • Revenue Act of 1767

  • Put new taxes on glass, lead, paper, paint, and tea imported into the Colonies

  • Violators were treated as smugglers and tried in the vice-admiralty courts

  • Customs officials were allowed to enter any property via “writs of assistance” to search for evidence of smuggling without a warrant

  • Businessman Sam Adams filed a “circular letter” of protest against the Townshend Acts, signed by the members of the Massachusetts Assembly

  • The letter once again argued that Parliament had no right to tax the Colonies

  • British officials demanded that the Massachusetts assembly withdraw their letter of complaint, but the assembly refused

  • In response, the British government ordered the Massachusetts Assembly dissolved

  • More Boycotts

  • Merchants in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia then banded together and signed non-importation agreements, further strengthening the boycott against British goods and worsening the economic crisis

  • The Virginia Resolves

  • In May 1769, the Virginia House of Burgesses declared that only they had the right to tax Virginians

  • The Royal Governor dissolved the House in response, but, under the leadership of George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson, they refused to disband and instead passed a law blocking the sale of British-made goods in Virginia

  • The Daughters of Liberty

  • Women also supported the boycott by refusing to drink tea and by spinning their own “homespun” cloth to avoid buying British cloth

  • Suddenly, wearing rough “homespun” became a public display of defiance

  • The Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770)

  • Angry colonists in Boston confronted British soldiers guarding a customs house, resulting the soldiers opening fire on the crowd

  • 6 colonists were killed and 6 were wounded in what came to be known as the Boston Massacre

  • The soldiers involved were charged with murder and put on trial

  • Colonists were further enraged when the soldiers were all either acquitted or convicted of the much lesser charge of manslaughter thanks to the work of their American lawyer, John Adams

  • Repeal of Townshend Acts

  • Tensions were temporarily eased when Parliament announced the repeal of nearly all of its taxes aimed at the Colonies

  • Parliament left only the tax on tea in place, as a symbol of its right to levy taxes in America

  • The Gaspee Affair

  • The British patrol ship HMS Gaspee had been stationed off the coast of Rhode Island to intercept smugglers

  • When it ran aground in June 1772, rather than help, angry colonists burned the ship

  • The British responded by ordering a special investigation and threatening to remove suspects for trial in England, rather than in Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island’s legislative assembly appealed to the other colonies for support

  • Committees of Correspondence

  • March 1773: Thomas Jefferson suggested that the individual colonies remain in constant communication with one another and debate how to react to British provocations through “committees of correspondence” (basically, that each colony regularly provide a report of British activities in their area to all of the other colonies so that responses could be unified)

  • The Colonies would use committees of correspondence to coordinate plans for resisting British oppression right up to the American Revolution

  • In some ways, these committees can be seen as one of the first efforts to “unite” the American people

  • The Tea Act of 1773

  • Thanks to war, corruption, mismanagement, and American boycotts against British tea, the British East India Company, one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world, was deeply in debt and on the brink of collapse

  • Parliament decided that it had to act to save the Company

  • Parliament allowed the East India Company to begin selling tea, almost completely tax free, directly to American shopkeepers

  • The elimination of the taxes, plus the removal of the “middleman” (American merchants) meant that the price of tea dropped, making British tea cheaper than smuggled in Dutch tea in the Colonies

  • When the East India Company shipped 1200+ chests of tea to American ports in October 1773, American merchants (coordinated by the committees of correspondence) refused to allow the ships to unload in New York or Philadelphia

  • The Boston Tea Party

  • In Boston, however, the tea ships were raided by colonists disguised as Native Americans and the tea was destroyed by throwing it into Boston Harbor

  • Despite there being hundreds of witnesses to the raid, no one offered to identify the raiders to the British

  • The Coercive Acts (1774)

  • Parliament responded to the “tea party” by passing four punitive bills:

  • 1. Boston Port Act: Boston’s port was closed until the city paid for the damages (about $2 million in today’s money)

  • 2. Massachusetts Government Act: All officials in Massachusetts would be appointed by the royal governor and all town meetings were banned

  • 3. Administration of Justice Act: British soldiers charged with crimes against colonists would be returned to England for trial

  • 4. Quartering Act: Local officials would have to provide housing for British soldiers in areas of unrest, even if that meant housing them in people’s homes

  • To enforce the Acts, General Thomas Gage was named military governor of Massachusetts and given 2000 extra soldiers to command

  • Parliament also passed the Quebec Act, expanding the colony of Quebec into the Ohio Valley, thereby taking away land that had historically been the territory of the American colonies

  • The Intolerable Acts

  • The Coercive Acts + the Quebec Act = what colonists began to cal “The Intolerable Acts”

  • While King George had meant for these acts to break the will of the American Colonies and bring them back in line, what they actually did was galvanize the Colonies against the British

  • Virginia Sides With Boston

  • May 1774: The Virginia House of Burgesses, under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, declared the placement of British soldiers in Boston to be an invasion

  • Virginia’s governor dissolved the House, but once again, they continued to meet and, through correspondence, called on other colonies to send delegates to create a colonial congress to decide the next course of action

  • First Continental Congress

  • Sept. 5, 1774: The First Continental Congress met for the first time in Philadelphia

  • A heated debate followed, with some delegates demanding armed resistance to British rule and others arguing that the time had come to form a unified American government (akin to the Albany Plan of Union)

  • In the end, the Congress rejected both violent resistance and the creation of a central government in favor of a formal petition known as the Declaration of Rights and Grievances

  • The Declaration condemned the Intolerable Acts and announced an organized boycott of British goods, while still expressing loyalty to the King

  • Massachusetts Rebels

  • Massachusetts, however, began openly defying the British by illegally creating their own Congress and electing John Hancock to be their head of state, even going so far as to authorizing him to raise an armed militia

  • Across Massachusetts, militias began to drill and prepare to fight

  • The ideal was that these men should be ready to fight “at a minute’s notice,” earning them the nickname Minutemen

  • Other colonies, especially in New England, began to follow Massachusetts lead and defy English rule while preparing for war

  • Loyalists

  • The move to throw off British rule was divisive, however – not every colonist supported independence and many remained loyal to the King

  • These came to be known as Loyalists or Tories, and came from all walks of life, but were especially strong amongst Anglican ministers, wealthy landowners, and frontier farmers (who needed British troops for protection from the Indians)

  • Loyalists were strongest in the South and in New York

  • Patriots

  • Those who supported independence (or at least fighting for recognition of their rights as Englishmen) were called Patriots

  • Patriots were strongest in New England and Virginia and tended to come from the “middle class” background of artisans, urban workers, lawyers, and mid-size farmers

  • Gen. Gage Strikes

  • April 1775: Parliament ordered Gen. Gage to secure Massachusetts, even if it meant fighting, by arresting the Massachusetts Congress and securing all weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by the colonial militias

  • April 18, 1775: 700 British soldiers set out from Boston, under cover of darkness, to seize the weapons depot at Concord, Mass.

  • Colonial sentries, including Paul Revere, who had been watching the British troops set out to warn the surrounding communities and to rouse the militias
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