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American Revolution

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:

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History >> American Revolution

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