American Revolution: Vocabulary

Social Studies American History American Revolution American Revolution: Vocabulary
Students interact with vocabulary words that they will encounter throughout Unit 3: American Revolution.

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In this experience, students interact with vocabulary words that they will encounter throughout Unit 3: American Revolution.

Estimated duration: 30 minutes

Vocabulary words:

  • boycott
  • conflict
  • grievance
  • independence
  • leader
  • loyalty
  • patriotism
  • revolution
  • taxation


  • Learn vocabulary related to the American Revolution.

Unit Vocabulary

Over time, problems arose between the American colonists and the British government. The conflict grew until the colonists finally declared independence. Many people helped the colonies fight for their independence. They worked to form a new government and to establish an army.

  • Learn vocabulary related to the American Revolution.

a fife and drum trio marching in battle, with American flag flying in background

The Spirit of ’76, by Archibald MacNeal Willard (1876)

This lesson builds your vocabulary of words you will use in this unit. The words are:

  • boycott: a refusal to buy certain goods or services
  • conflict: a disagreement or argument between two or more people or ideas
  • grievance: a complaint
  • independence: freedom from control by another group
  • leader: a person who is in charge of a group
  • loyalty: continued support given to a person or thing
  • patriotism: strong feelings of love and respect for one’s country
  • revolution: a major change; a political revolution is the change from one government structure to another one
  • taxation: the collection of money from citizens to fund government expenses

Let’s start with the word revolution. It comes from the Latin root revolvere, which means “to roll back or to happen again.” One of the word’s early uses in English was to describe the movement of heavenly bodies, such as Earth revolving around the Sun. The word also has a special meaning when used in relation to government. A revolution is a sudden, major change in the government. A revolution often results in replacing an old government with a new one.

Draw or upload a picture that shows any type of revolution.

Ask for volunteers to explain their pictures.

Ask students if they can name another type of revolution. They may be familiar with the Printing Revolution (printing press), Industrial Revolution, digital revolution, etc. Ask: How are these revolutions similar to a political revolution? They all contributed to radical changes in the way people lived.

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