economic system of the major trading nations during the 16th, 17th, and 18th
cent., based on the premise that national wealth and power were best served by increasing
exports and collecting precious metals in return. Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Oliver Cromwell
conformed their policies to mercantilism
in English history, name given to certain parliamentary legislation, more
properly called the British Acts of Trade. The acts were an outgrowth of mercantilism, and
followed principles laid down by Tudor and early Stuart trade regulations
1712—70, British statesman, brother of Earl Temple. He entered Parliament
in 1741, held several cabinet posts, and in 1763 became chief minister. His prosecution (1763) of
John Wilkes provoked political reformers, and his attempt to tax the North American colonies
internally through the Stamp Act raised opposition not only in America but also among the British
Sons of Liberty-
secret organizations formed in the American colonies in protest against the
Stamp Act (1765). They took their name from a phrase used by Isaac Barré in a speech against
the Stamp Act in Parliament, and were organized by merchants, businessmen, lawyers,
journalists, and others who would be most affected by the Stamp Act. The leaders included John
Lamb and Alexander McDougall in New York, and Samuel Adams and James Otis in New
1736—99, political leader in the American Revolution, b. Hanover co., Va.
Largely self-educated, he became a prominent trial lawyer. Henry bitterly denounced (1765) the
Stamp Act and in the years that followed helped fan the fires of revolt in the South. As an orator
he knew no equal. Several phrases attributed to him–e.g., "If this be treason, make the most of it"
and "Give me liberty or give me death" –are familiar to all Americans. Henry became a leader
among the so-called radicals and spoke clearly for individual liberties
petition against British goods and the Stamp Act
A member of an 18th- and 19th-century British political party that was opposed to the Tories.
Supporter of the war against England during the American Revolution.
1725—67, English statesman; grandson of the 2d Viscount Townshend.
Distrusted for his marked instability, he held relatively minor offices until the 1st earl of Chatham
made him chancellor of the exchequer in 1766
1770, pre-Revolutionary incident growing out of the resentment against the
British troops sent to Boston to maintain order and to enforce the Townshend Acts. The troops,
constantly tormented by irresponsible gangs, finally (Mar. 5, 1770) fired into a rioting crowd and
killed five men–three on the spot, two of wounds later. The funeral of the victims was the
occasion for a great patriot demonstration. The British captain, Thomas Preston, and his men
were tried for murder, with Robert Treat Paine as prosecutor, John Adams and Josiah Quincy as