Unit 2: American Origins, 1491 - 1754 Key Terms

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Bartolomé de las Casas
Dominican priest who in the early 1500s criticized the cruelty of Spanish policy toward Indians; denounced Spanish actions for their brutality and insensitivity. His criticism helped end the encomienda system.
Christopher Columbus
Claimed islands in the Caribbean for Spain 1492-1504. He established the Spanish empire as he sought a western passage to the Indies. A poor administrator, he died disgraced in 1506.
Columbian Exchange
transfer, beginning with Columbus's first voyage, of plants, animals, and diseases between the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere. This included squash, potatoes, and corn (maize) from the New World and cattle, horses, and smallpox from Europe.
Encomienda system
Early Spanish colonial system where officials provided protection to Indian populations in return for their labor and production; really a form of slavery that lasted until the mid 1500s; stopped because of exploitation and inefficiency.
Hernándo Cortés
Conquered Aztecs in Mexico. He captured the capital of Tenochititl√°n, with its leader Montezuma in 1521; pillaged and destroyed the Aztec civilization.
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Louis XIV's minister who rejuvenated the French empire in the Western Hemisphere. In 1660s, he reorganized and strengthened the colonies of New France.
Northwest Passage
Mythical water route to Asia. The search for the western path to India and China propelled the encounters and exploration of the Western Hemisphere in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Pueblo Revolt
Indian uprising in New Mexico in 1680 against Spain and the Catholic Church. Rebels killed 400 colonists, destroyed mission around Santa Fe; held off the Spanish for 14 years.
Richard Hakluyt
British writer who, in the 1580s, encouraged England to explore and settle in North America. His writings prompted England to embark on its North American empire.
Act Concerning Religion (Maryland Toleration Act)
An act passed in Maryland in 1649 that granted freedom of worship to all Christians; although it was enacted to protect the Catholic minority in Maryland, it was a benchmark of religious freedom in all the colonies. It did not extend to non-Christians, however.
Anne Hutchinson
Charismatic colonist in Massachusetts Bay who questioned whether one could achieve salvation solely by good works; she led the Antinomian controversy by challenging the clergy and the laws of the colony. She was banished from Massachusetts in 1638 and was killed by Indians in 1643.
Anglican Church
Church of England started by King Henry VIII in 1533; the monarch was head of the church, which was strongest in North America in the Southern Colonies. By 1776, it was the second-largest church in America behind the Congregationalists.
Bacon's Rebellion
Attacks by frontiersmen led by Nathaniel Bacon against the Native Americans in the Virginia backcountry; when the governor opposed Bacon's action, Bacon attacked Jamestown, burned it, and briefly deposed the governor before the rebellion fizzled. This revolt is often viewed as the first strike against insensitive British policy, as a clash between East and West, and as evidence of the dangers of the indentured-servant system.
Congregationalist (Puritans)
Believed the Anglican Church retained too many Catholic ideas and sought to purify the Church of England; the Puritans believed in predestination (man saved or damned at birth) and also held that God was watchful and granted salvation only to those who adhered to His goodness as interpreted by the church. The Puritans were strong in New England and very intolerant of other religious groups.
First Great Awakening
Religious revival in the colonies in 1730s and 1740s; George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards preached a message of atonement for sins by admitting them to God. The movement attempted to combat the growing secularism and rationalism of mid-eighteenth century America.
Halfway Covenant
Puritan response to the dilemma of what to do with the children born to nonchurch members as fewer and fewer Puritans sought full membership (visible sainthood) in the church; leaders allowed such children to be baptized, but they could not take communion, nor could nonchurch males vote in government/church affairs.
Headright system
Means of attracting settlers to colonial America; the system gave land to a family head and to anyone he sponsored coming to the colony, including indentured servants. The amount of land varied from fifty to two-hundred acres per person.
House of Burgesses
First popularly-elected legislative assembly in America; it met in Jamestown in 1619.
Indentured servants
Mainstay of the labor needs in many colonies, especially in the Chesapeake regions in the seventeenth century; indentured servants were "rented slaves" who served four to seven years and then were freed to make their way in the world. Most of the servants were from the ranks of the poor, political dissenters, and criminals in England.
Jonathan Edwards
Congregational minister of the 1740s who was a leading voice of the Great Awakening; his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God attacked ideas of easy salvation and reminded the colonists of the absolute sovereignty of God.
John Smith
Saved Jamestown through firm leadership in 1607 and 1608; he imposed work and order in the settlement and later published several books promoting colonization of North America.
John Winthrop
Leader of the Puritans who settled in Massachusetts Bay in the 1630s; he called for Puritans to create "a city upon a hill" and guided the colony through many crises, including the banishments of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson.
Mayflower Compact
Written agreement in 1620 to create a body politic among the male settlers in Plymouth; it was the forerunner to charters and constitutions that were eventually adopted in all the colonies.
Economic doctrine that called for the mother country to dominate and regulate its colonies, the system fixed trade patterns, maintained high tariffs, and discouraged manufacturing in the colonies
Navigation Acts
Series of English laws to enforce the mercantile system, the laws established control over colonial trade, excluded all but British ships in commerce, and enumerated goods that had to be shipped to England or to other English colonies. The acts also restricted colonial manufacturing.
Roger Williams
Puritan who challenged the church to separate itself from the government and to give greater recognition of the rights of Native Americans; he was banished in 1635 and founded Rhode Island. (Critics called it Rogue Island.)
Salem witchhunt
Period of hysteria in 1692, when a group of teenaged girls accused neighbors of bewitching them; in ten months, nineteen people were executed and hundreds imprisoned. The hysteria subsided when the girls accused the more prominent individuals in the colony, including the governor's wife.
Salutary neglect
Policy that British followed from 1607 to 1763, by which they interfered very little with the colonies; through this lack of control, the colonies thrived and prospered. It was an attempt to end this policy that helped create the friction that led to the American Revolution.
Society of Friends (Quakers)
Church founded by George Fox which believed in "The Inner Light" - a direct, individualistic experience with God; the church was strongly opposed to the Anglican Church in England and the Congregationalist Church in America. In 1681, William Penn established Pennsylvania as a haven for Quakers persecuted in England and in the colonies.
Stono Rebellion
Slave rebellion in South Carolina in September 1739; twenty to eighty slaves burned seven plantations, killed twenty whites, and tried to escape to Florida. The rebellion was crushed. All the slaves were killed and decapitated, and their heads were put on display as a deterrent to future uprisings.
Government organized and administered by the church; in Massachusetts Bay colony, only church members could vote in town meetings. The government levied taxes on both church members and nonmembers and required attendance for all at religious services.
William Penn
Quaker founder of Pennsylvania; he intended it to be a Quaker haven, but all religions were tolerated. The colony had very good relations with Native Americans at first.
Widespread occurrence of an infectious disease, such as smallpox, in a community at a particular time.
New England Colonies
Northernmost British colonies inclusive of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded primarily as a refuge for Pilgrims and Puritans seeking religious freedom for themselves.
Middle Colonies
British colonies between the New England and Chesapeake Colonies inclusive of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. The Middle Colonies were primarily characterized by their religious and social diversity.
Chesapeake Colonies
British colonies inclusive of Virginia and Maryland. Further south, these colonies were characterized by an economic dependence on cash crops like tobacco.
Southern Colonies
Inclusive of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. South Carolina in particular became increasingly reliant on slavery because of an economy dependent on labor-intensive crops like rice and indigo.
Metacom's (King Phillip's) War (1675-1676)
Conflict between New England colonists and Native American groups. The alliance of Native Americans was organized in resistance to restrictive Puritan laws that deprived them of their land and livelihood.
Chattel Slavery
Characterized by the dehumanizing treatment of people as personal property and commodities to be bought and sold.
Protestant Evangelicalism
Trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity that stressed the preaching of the gospel, personal conversion experiences, the Bible as the sole basis for faith, and active spreading of the faith.
to support; to be in favor of
independent decision-making within a structure
separation of a whole into its component parts
aggressive; hostile
resources used to accumulate wealth or power
examining two or more items to establish similarities and differences
to show or illustrate
to speak on behalf of a cause or idea
showing ill will