RETURN TO REVOLUTIONARY WAR MAIN PAGE

Glossary

agitation. The state of being agitated (upset); the arousal of public interest in a cause or controversial matter.
Arnold, Benedict (1741-1801). An American military general during the Revolutionary War who, after being passed over for promotion and investigated for wrong-doing, turned traitor. He was poised to turn over West Point to the British, but was discovered sending materials detailing his plans. His service in the British military put him in position to lead the expeditions that burned Richmond, Virginia and New London, Connecticut.
belligerent. Inclined or eager to fight.
Constitution. The document signed on September 17, 1787, that formally set down the fundamental laws of the United States. It defined how the government should operate, enumerated the freedoms and rights that all people should enjoy, and listed what the government was going to do and how it was going to do it. The importance of this document also lies in its unifying force. Previously, each state was independent, able to make laws that satisfied the needs of its people.
    The country was governed by the Articles of Confederation. The creation of the Constitution gave power to the federal government over matters of national importance, such as the printing of money, dealing with foreign governments, and settling disputes between the states.
Cornwallis, Lord Charles (1738-1805). A British general who commanded troops throughout the Revolutionary War. His most famous battles came against George Washington's forces in 1776. He is also noted for his leadership in North Carolina, where he defeated Nathanael Greene in 1780, and for his expedition into Virginia, where he surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, effectively ending the war.
defiance. Bold resistance to an opposing force or authority; deliberately provocative behavior or attitude.
democratically. Of, marked by, or advocating democracy; relating to forms of government in which representatives are elected by the people.
enclaves. Sections within a larger area made up entirely of members of a minority group (loyalist enclaves existed in the colonies; colonists were predominantly independence-minded).
enlist. To sign up for military service; to register others for military service.
Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790). Statesman, author, inventor, and scientist, Franklin was a central figure in the founding of the United States. His inventions included bifocal lenses, the Franklin stove, and the lightning rod. He is also famous for his discovery of electricity, proving that lightning is, in fact, electricity. He is the author of Poor Richard's Almanack and his Autobiography. A very well-educated man, Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was the only man to sign the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Peace with Greaat Britain, and the Constitution of the United States-four key documents in the founding of the United States.
garrisoned. Established as a permanent military post.
Greene, Nathanael (1742-1786). Military general most noted for his leadership against the British in North and South Carolina in 1780 to 1782. He was regarded as the second-best military man of the Revolutionary period behind George Washington. He held several high-ranking positions throughout his career, and today Greensboro, North Carolina is named for him.
Hancock, John (1737-1793). A wealthy Massachusetts businessman, John Hancock used his social position to influence the independence movement. Militarily, he led an unsuccessful attempt to liberate Rhode Island from British control. However, his influence was greatest in the Constitutional Convention; he served as president from 1775 to 1777. He was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence of the United States with his now famous signature.
isle. An island, especially one that is small.
King George III (1738-1820). Ruler of Great Britain from 1760 to1810. Under his leadership, the British lost the American colonies, but gained new territory in the form of Ireland.
loyalists. American colonists who remained faithful to the British and supported their continued rule over the colonies.
mercenaries. Professional soldiers hired by a foreign country; in the Revolutionary War German troops were hired to support the British effort in maintaining control of the colonies.
militias. Military forces that are not part of a regular army.
minutemen. Armed civilians ready to fight at a moment's notice; these people were key to the American victory because of their ability to respond quickly to British attacks.
outflanked. Moved military forces around behind the enemys forces, thereby gaining the upper hand in battle.
quarter. To house military personnel.
Revere, Paul (1735-1818). An American patriot who attained fame by riding a borrowed horse from Boston to Lexington to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and the townspeople of the pending British attack on Lexington. His actions enabled the minuteman to prepare for the battle. His primary occupation was that of craftsman, and he is well-known for his work in silver and brass. He is also responsible for the development of rolled sheet copper in the United States.
untenable. Not capable of being defended or maintained.
Washington, George (1732-1799). The successful military commander who achieved victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. His achievements were monumental in the founding of the United States. As president of the Constitutional Congress in 1787, he helped write and signed the Constitution. In 1789, he was elected as the first president of the United States of America. He served as president until 1797. In his term several key events happened: The first U.S. census was taken, the White House was built, the Bill of Rights became law, and five additional states joined the Union.

RETURN TO REVOLUTIONARY WAR MAIN PAGE