• 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?

Thomas Stone NHS is one of only four parks in the National Park System that have homes of signers of the Declaration of Independence still standing; Adams NHP in Massachusetts, William Floyd estate on Fire Island NS, and the Thomas Nelson House at the Yorktown unit of Colonial NHP are the others.