Glossary and Terms
History >> American Revolution
Articles of Confederation - An agreement between the thirteen colonies to form a single government under the United States of America. It served as the country's first constitution.
Bayonet - A blade attached to the end of a musket.
Bill of Rights - The first ten amendments to the Constitution that guaranteed the rights of the individual.
Colony - An area of land that is under the control of a country, but not fully part of the country.
Confederation - The group of thirteen states that united together.
Constitution - A set of documents and laws that define the government of a country.
Continental Congress - A group of delegates from each colony or state. It became the first governing body of the United States of America.
Continental army - The official army of the United States that was established by the Continental Congress.
Declaration of Independence - A document which announced that the American colonies now considered themselves independent states and they would no longer answer to the authority of Great Britain.
Democracy - A type of government that is ruled directly by the people.
Federalist - A person who supported the adoption of the Constitution.
Garrison - A military force that is set to defend a fort or city.
Haversack - A type of bag or pack that soldiers used to carry their food.
Hessians - Soldiers from the German land of Hesse who came to fight in America.
Legislature - A branch of government that has the power to make laws.
Loyalist - A person in America who stayed loyal to Britain and the king.
Militia - Citizens who were prepared to fight. They held drills a few times a year and had their own weapons and gear.
Minutemen - Part of the Massachusetts militia that was prepared to fight at a moment's notice.
Monarchy - A government where the power and laws are made by a single person called a monarch or king.
Musket - A smooth bore gun with a long barrel that fired lead balls.
Parliament - The main governing body of the British government.
Patriot - An American that wanted independence from Britain.
Powder horn - A hollowed out horn with a cap used to carry gunpowder.
Ramrod - A long thin rod that pushed gunpowder down the barrel of a musket.
Redcoat - A nickname for the British soldiers taken from their bright red uniforms. They were also called lobster backs.
Regulars - A name that referred to British soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
Republic - A type of democratic government where people elect officials to represent them.
Revolution - The overthrow of a government to establish a new system.
Sons of Liberty - A group of patriots organized by Samuel Adams to protest the Stamp Act and other actions of the British government.
Stamp Act - A tax placed on the American colonies by the British government. It taxed all sorts of paper documents including newspapers, magazines, and legal documents.
Tory - Another name for loyalists who supported the British government.
Treaty of Paris - A treaty signed by both the United States and Britain that ended the Revolutionary War.
Volley - When a large number of muskets is fired at once.
Whigs - Another name for the patriots who fought against the British government for independence.
Learn more about the Revolutionary War:
History >> American Revolution