U.S. History: Beginnings to 1877

First Continental Congress
(1774) a meeting of colonial delegates in Philadelphia to decide how to respond to the Coercive Acts; delegates petitioned King George III, listing the freedoms they believed colonists should enjoy
American colonists who fought for independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War
American colonial militia members ready to fight at a moment’s notice
Nickname for British soldiers who fought against the colonists in the American Revolution; so called because of their bright colored uniforms
Second Continental Congress
(1775) a meeting of colonial delegates in Philadelphia to decide how to react to fighting at Lexington and Concord
Continental Army
the fighting force created by the Second Continental Congress in 1775 to defend the American colonies from Britain
George Washington
He served as a representative to the Continental Congresses, commanded the Continental Army, and was unanimously elected to two terms as president of the United States.
Battle of Bunker Hill
(1775) a Revolutionary War battle in Boston that demonstrated that the colonists could fight well against the British army; a “moral victory”
Common Sense
(1776) a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that criticized monarchies and convinced many American colonists to break away from Britain
Thomas Paine
An American political philosopher and author, he urged an immediate declaration of independence from England in his anonymously and simply written pamphlet
Thomas Jefferson
A member of two Continental Congresses, chairman of the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration’s main author, and the third president of the U.S.
Declaration of Independence
(1776) the document written to announce the colonies’ freedom from British rule
colonists who sided with Britain in the American Revolution
hired foreign soldiers
Battle of Trenton
(1776) a Revolutionary War battle in New Jersey in which Patriot forces captured more than 900 Hessian troops
Battle of Saratoga
(1777) a Revolutionary War battle in New York that resulted in a major defeat of British troops; marked the Patriots’ greatest victory so far and became a turning point
Marquis de Lafayette
(1757-1834) French statesman and officer who helped finance the Revolution and served as major general because he viewed the American Revolution as important to the world.
Baron Friedrich von Steuben
(1730-1794) Prussian soldier who helped train American forces at Valley Forge in the American Revolutionary War
Bernardo de Galvez
As governor of Spanish Louisiana, he captured key cities from the British, greatly aiding the American Patriot movement and enabling the Spanish acquisition of Florida.
John Paul Jones
(1747-1792) As an American naval officer famed for bravery, his most famous victory was the defeat of the British warship Serapis, during which he declared, “I have not yet begun to fight!”
George Rogers Clark
(1752-1818)As an American Revolutionary soldier and frontier leader, he captured the British trading village of Kaskaskia during the Revolution and encouraged Indian leaders to remain neutral
Francis Marion
(1732?-1795) As as Revolutionary War commander, he formed a group of guerrilla soldiers in South Carolina that used surprise raids against British communication and supply lines.
Comte de Rochambeau
He was a French soldier who commanded the French troops in the American Revolutionary War. He was with General George Washington at the Battle of Yorktown.
Battle of Yorktown
(1781) This was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War and the site of the British surrender to the Patriots in Virginia.
Treaty of Paris of 1783
This peace agreement officially ended the Revolutionary War and established British recognition of the independence of the United States