• Thomas Stone

    National Historic Site Maryland

Vocabulary List

Vocabulary List for Declaration of Independence

Objective: Students will be able to identify terms used in the Declaration of Independence,

Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize students with the 18th-century terms used in the Declaration of Independence.

Materials: Vocabulary List

Procedure: Review the following terms and definitions with the students. Stress the association of terms used in the glossary with the on-site activity and the Declaration as and Indictment Previst Activity.

1. prohibit -to prevent from doing something
2. import -to bring into
3. impose -to establish by authority
4. harass -to annoy repeatedly
5. repeal -to withdraw by authoritative act
6. quarter -to provide with lodging or shelter
7. grievance -complaint or protest
8. customs -a duty or tax on imported goods
9. assent -expression of agreement
10. coerce -to bring about by force
11. mandate -an authoritative command
12. reconciliation -a settlement, restoration of friendship
13. allegiance -loyalty or obedience
14. constrains -restrains or confines
15. evinces -to show clearly
16. institute -to begin or start
17. invariably -not changing
18. prudence -good judgment
19. tyranny -cruel and harsh government
20. unalienable -incapable of being surrendered or transferred
21. usurpations -taking over

Previsit Activity: Vocabulary for History on Trial

Objective: Students will be able to identify terms used in the legal system of revolutionary America.

Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize students with the 18th-century legal terms which will be used in the on-site program at Thomas Stone National Historic Site.

Materials: Vocabulary list


Procedure: Review the following terms and definitions with the students. Stress the association of terms used in the glossary with the on-site activity.

Legal terms

1. Bar- Physical barrier separating official and public spaces within the courtroom. (Origin of the term “pass the bar,” indicating the transition from layperson to lawyer.)
2. Bystanders- Spectators in the courtroom. (They were required to stand to show their respect for the justices and the court proceedings.)
3. Defendant- A person who is accused or sued.
4. English Common Law- The unwritten law of the central courts in London; a body of law and procedures guaranteeing the security of person and property.
5. Indictment- A formal written accusation charging a person with a crime.
6. Jury- A group of men summoned to assist the court by making a factual determination. (Any man who met the qualifications for voting could sit on a jury.)
7. Oyez- Hear ye! Attention! Usually cried out three times by a court official to command silence.
8. Perjury- The willful telling of a lie while under lawful oath to tell the truth.
9. Plaintiff- A person who brings a suit in court.
10. Verdict- A formal decision or judgment.
11. Witness- A person who has knowledge of a fact and makes it known to the court.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

That Thomas Stone spent his career writing? He was a lawyer, member of committees of correspondence, helped draft the Articles of Confederation, and signed the Declaration of Independence.