AP U.S. History Notes

Chapter 8: America Secedes from the Empire, 1775-1783

mercenary - A professional soldier who serves in a foreign army for pay. “Why bring in outside mercenaries . . . ?”

indictment - A formal written accusation charging someone with a crime. “The overdrawn bill of indictment included imposing taxes without consent. . . .”

dictatorship - A form of government characterized by absolute state power and the unlimited authority of the ruler. “The [charges] included . . . establishing a military dictatorship. . . .”

neutral - A nation or person not taking sides in a war. “Many colonists were apathetic or neutral. . . .”

civilian - A citizen not in military service. “The opposing forces contended . . . for the allegiance . . . of the civilian population.”
traitor One who betrays a country by aiding an enemy. “. . . they regarded their opponents, not themselves, as traitors.”

confiscate - To seize private property for public use, often as a penalty. “The estates of many of the fugitives were confiscated. . . .”

envoy - A messenger or agent sent by a government on official business. “Benjamin Franklin, recently sent to Paris as an envoy, jested [about] Howe. . . .”

rabble - A mass of disorderly and crude common people. “This rabble was nevertheless whipped into a professional army. . . .”
arsenal A place for making or storing weapons and ammunition. “About 90 percent of all the gunpowder . . . came from French arsenals.”

isolationist - Concerning the belief that a country should take little or no part in foreign affairs, especially through alliances or wars. “The American people, with ingrained isolationist tendencies, accepted the French entanglement with distaste.”

hereditary - Passed down from generation to generation. “[The alliance] involved a hereditary foe. . . ..”

blockade - The isolation of a place by hostile ships or troops. “Now the French had powerful fleets. . . in a position to jeopardize Britain’s blockade. . . .”

privateer - A private vessel temporarily authorized to capture or plunder enemy ships in wartime. “More numerous and damaging than ships of the regular American navy were swift privateers.”

graft - Taking advantage of one’s official position to gain money or property by illegal means. “It had the unfortunate effect of . . . involving Americans . . . in speculation and graft.”

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How to cite this note (MLA)

Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Chapter 8: America Secedes from the Empire, 1775-1783" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 May. 2024. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/vocabulary/chapter-8-america-secedes-from-the-empire/>.