Glossary for Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

A glossary of terms important to the study of the eighteenth century.

Abbey: A self-sufficient religious community of monks or nuns or both, run by an abbot or abbess and sometimes subject to a higher secular authority through feudal obligation. Abbots and abbesses occupied posts that were socially, politically, and spiritually important and powerful. See also Monastery, Monk, Nun, Nunnery.

Abolitionists: Men and women who campaigned for a complete end to slavery, led most notably in England by William Wilberforce from the 1770’s.

Absolutism or absolute monarchy: A form of government in which monarchs claimed full and absolute authority to rule their lands; generally based upon the concept that monarchs derived their authority from God and thus are responsible only to God.

Agricultural Revolution: The application of new farming and animal husbandry techniques that allowed greater agricultural productivity in the eighteenth century, thus enabling more workers to move into industrial jobs.

Alaafin: A king of the Oyo in Nigeria, Africa.

Allegory: A story, literary work, or play in which characters in the narrative personify abstract ideas or qualities and so give a second level of meaning to the work.

Amir: See Emir.

Anglican: Of or belonging to the Protestant Church of England.

Antinomian: Relating to those who believe that Christians, obeying the inward spirit, are exempt from moral law; considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.

Apprentice: A person, usually a young male, who agreed to serve an employer for a specified amount of time in return for training in a craft, trade, or business.

Aristocracy: A class of hereditary nobility in Europe, established by royal grants of titles and lands. In the Middle Ages grants were made for military service; by the eighteenth century they often were made for a wide range of services to a monarch. See also Gentry, Nobility.

Assignants: Government bonds issued by the French government in anticipation of the sale of confiscated Church lands during the French Revolution.

Bannerman: Warriors of Manchu origin in Qing China, granted special economic and social privileges in return for ethnic and imperial loyalty.

Baroque: A style of art, architecture, literature, and music that flourished in seventeenth and early eighteenth century Europe. Baroque is defined especially by its monumental, dynamic, exuberant, grandiose, and theatrical style; its complex and ornate forms; its illusionism; and its tension. See also Classicism, Gothic, Mannerism.

Bey: The governor of a province of the Ottoman Empire. Also called “beg.” See also Sultan, Vizier.

Bishop: The highest-ranking priest within a diocese, responsible for its administration and the guidance of its clergy. See also Patriarch, Pope.

Boyar: A Russian noble--of the landed military aristocracy--ranking just below a ruling prince.

Broad Constructionist: Person who accepts the doctrine of implied powers in the Constitution.

Bull: A formal papal letter or document issuing an authoritative statement or policy. Named after the pope’s lead seal, or bulla.

Bullionism: A fundamental principle of mercantilism that argues that precious metals are the sole source of value, and that they should be concentrated in a national treasury as a source of international strength.

Bushido: The code of conduct of the samurai (Japanese warrior class), stressing martial prowess, discipline, bravery, and unwavering loyalty to one’s lord. See also Ronin, Samurai, Shogun.

Cabinet: The body of secretaries appointed by a prime minister or president to head executive departments and formulate government policy.

Cahiers de doléances: Petitions for reform drawn up as lists of grievances and submitted to the French crown when the Estates-General met in 1789.

Calculus: A central branch of mathematics first developed during ancient times in Greece and theorized by seventeenth century mathematicians such as Leibniz, Descartes, and Newton. Calculus is concerned, in part, with determining volumes and areas of curved surfaces, with determining the lengths of curved lines, with problems of slopes and areas, and so forth.

Caliph: Islamic ruler claiming both spiritual and secular authority as the successor of the Prophet Muḥammad. See also Imam, Islam, Sharif.

Calvinism: The theology based on the teachings of John Calvin in the sixteenth century, which places supreme faith in God and believes in human fallibility and predestination. See alsoCatholicism, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Canon law: The system of governing the Roman Catholic Church, its bishops, clerics, and laypersons. See also Catholicism, Clerics or clergy.

Cardinal: A high official in the Roman Catholic Church, second only to the pope in authority. Cardinals are appointed by the pope, and the college of cardinals is the body that elects a new pope.

Caste system: In India, a system of rigid social hierarchy, rooted in Hindu teachings, in which each person is born into a specific social rank.

Castle: A fortification with a variety of architectural features designed for safety and defense.

Categorical imperative: The internal sense of moral duty that all people possess, according to the philosophical doctrines of German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Cathedral or cathedral church: The central church in a diocese, the seat of a bishop’s cathedra, or throne.

Catholicism: From the Greek catholicos, meaning “universal,” Catholicism is a branch of Christianity organized in a strict hierarchy and subscribing to a complex body of religious dogma, including belief in transubstantiation, in papal infallibility, and in justification by faith in combination with good works. The two Catholic Churches are the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. See also Calvinism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Islam, Judaism, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Chancellor: The head of the chancery, an officer in a royal household, often a bishop familiar with law, who served as a king’s secretary and was responsible for domestic and foreign affairs.

Charter: A document issued by a lord or king, addressed to the public, in which title to property was recorded or, in a charter of franchise, freedom from servitude of a serf or a town.

Christianity: The religion derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ and from the words of the Bible, which is considered sacred scripture. Christianity is practiced by Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox bodies. See also Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Islam, Judaism, Protestantism, Presbyterian.

Church: When used alone, “Church” is generally capitalized in reference to the universal Catholic Church. The term is not capitalized when it refers to the building or complex that hosts services. See also Cathedral.

Classical economics: The theory that economies operate according to natural, self-regulating laws such as supply and demand, and that government intervention should be strictly minimized.

Classicism: A style of art based on the classical period of the Greeks and Romans. Classicism is marked by its simplicity, proportion and harmony, and restraint. The composition of a work of art or the design of a building is meant to be balanced and harmonious, and the representation of a given “object,” especially the human body, is meant to strike a balance between the conflicting demands of realism (the body should look like a “real” body) and idealism (the body should be represented in an ideal, or beautiful, form). See also Baroque, Mannerism, Naturalism, Realism.

Clerics or clergy: A general term for all members of the Church, including abbots, monks, priests, friars, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and others. See also Bishop, Cardinal, Monk, Nun, Pope.

Colonialism: The control and subjugation by one power, such as a country or empire, over an area made up of those who become dependent upon that power. See also Colony, Governor.

Colony: A territory taken, usually by force, and occupied by peoples of a different, usually distant nation (mostly countries of Western Europe). See also Colonialism, Governor.

Commerce: The exchange and buying and selling of commodities, usually on a large scale and between multiple locations. The eighteenth century witnessed increased commerce because of trade between countries and regions of the world, mostly by sea. See also Colonialism, Commodity, Consumption, Mercantilism, Physiocrats.

Committee of Public Safety: A twelve-man committee employing dictatorial power and terror to maintain order in Paris during the French Revolution; similar committees operated in other cities.

Committees of Correspondence: Committees formed in the American colonies between 1772 and 1775 to share grievances against the British with other local colonial governments.

Commodity: Any good that circulates as an article of exchange in a money economy. See also Commerce, Consumption.

Commoner: One who is not a member of the clergy or of a noble or a royal family. See also Peasant, Serf.

Congregational: Of or relating to the Protestant churches that developed in seventeenth century England, which affirmed the critical importance and autonomy of local congregations. Final authority in church matters rested with each congregation. “Congregationalism” is the practice of those who believe in Congregational administration and worship. See also Episcopacy, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Consort: A spouse; when used in conjunction with a royal title, consort becomes the title of a royal spouse, such as queen consort, prince consort, and so forth.

Constitution, British: The collective principles, procedures, and precedents of monarchs, lords, members of Parliament, and other servants of the Crown in governing Great Britain. The constitution is not made up of a single document, nor is it entirely in writing.

Consulate: Form of government replacing the Directory, lasted until 1804. Napoleon was invited to join the Third Consul, but soon became First Consul. See also Directory.

Consumption: Satisfying wants and desires through purchasing and using goods and services. The use of these goods results in their transformation, deterioration, or destruction, which ensures that individuals will continue to purchase new goods, thereby maintaining an economy. See also Commerce, Commodity.

Convent: See Nunnery.

Corvée: A tax of peasant labor in France, requiring labor on roads, bridges, and other public works.

Cossack: The term “cossack” comes from the Turkic for “free warriors.” The Cossacks, frontier warriors in southern Russia, lived as free persons. Slaves and peasants fleeing serfdom often would join them. See also Hetman, Peasant, Serf.

Count: From the Latin comes (companion) and the Middle French comte, the French or Continental equivalent of an earl. The office became a noble title, ranked below duke.

Coup d’état: The armed overthrow of a government by its own army.

Coureurs de bois (runners of the woods): Fur traders who explored much of Canada and Louisiana for France, often marrying Native Americans and embracing many aspects of their cultures.

Court: The group of officials, councillors, and hangers-on assembled at the official residence of a monarch or other ruler. European courts contained a mixture of those who wielded real power, those who served the ruler or the ministers, an entourage of people who merely desired to be near power, and practitioners of the arts who enjoyed the patronage of their ruler.

Courtier: A member of a ruler’s entourage at court.

Creed: A formal statement of belief, often religious or theological.

Creole: A person of Spanish descent born in the New World. See also Indigenous, Mestizo.

Crown: Referring to the sovereign authority of a king, queen, czar, emperor, or empress. See also Czar.

Czar: A Russian or other Slavic emperor. The word “czar” is derived from the Roman title “caesar” and suggests a ruler of equal stature to the emperors of imperial Rome.

Daimyo: Great territorial lords in Japan. See also Ronin, Samurai, Shogun.

Deacon: A member of the clergy ranking just below priest in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. In Roman Catholicism, the deacon is the middle rank of the three major orders, falling between priest and subdeacon in the hierarchy. See also Catholicism, Clerics or clergy.

Deccan: Region of India between the Narmada and Krishna Rivers.

Deism: The religious worldview most often associated with the Enlightenment, which stressed rationality, refused to accept the miraculous, and portrayed God as the great impersonal originator of the natural laws of the universe.

Devshirme: A levy of Christian boys, enslaved for training and recruitment to serve in various parts of the administration of the Ottoman Empire. The recruits formed the Janissary corps and also served in the sultan’s household. See also Janissaries, Sultan.

Diocese: The basic administrative and territorial unit of the Catholic Church. Each diocese is governed by a bishop. See also Bishop, Cathedral, Catholicism.

Direct representation: The selection of representatives to an assembly by citizens who vote directly for the delegates who will represent them.

Directory: The form of government that ruled France between 1795 and 1799. Moderate in nature, it safeguarded many revolutionary reforms and was strongly anti-Royalist, but it operated mainly through a narrow franchise of the wealthy and with military support. See also Consulate, Estates-General, Thermidorean Reaction, Third Estate.

Divine right: The concept that God bestowed the right to rule upon kings.

Dogma: The body of beliefs and doctrines formally held and sanctioned by a church.

Domestic system of textile production: An economic system in which agents distribute wool, yarn, or other products used to manufacture textiles to laborers working in their homes; the laborers then spin yarn or weave cloth in anticipation of the return of the agent who will transport the finished product. See also Putting-out system.

Duke, duchess: From Roman dux, a governor, especially of a military jurisdiction; later, a member of nobility who was lord over several counties (headed by “counts”), who could pass the title duke or duchess to offspring. See also Count.

Dynasty: A line of rulers who succeed one another based on their familial relationships. See also Colonialism, Colony, Empire.

Eastern Orthodox Church: A group of self-governing Catholic churches, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, that split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1054. While the patriarch, or leader, of each branch of Orthodoxy is ranked hierarchically in relation to the others, each branch is essentially self-governing, and the relationship among the various branches is that of a loose federation. See alsoCatholicism, Christianity, Old Believers.

Ecclesiastical: Of or relating to a church.

Edict: An order, command, or proclamation with legal authority.

Emigrés: French aristocrats who fled France during the French Revolution.

Emir: A general title given to Islamic military commanders, rulers, and governors.

Empire: A large realm, ruled by an emperor or empress, which consists of previously distinct political units joined together under a ruler’s central authority. See also Colonialism, Colony, Dynasty.

Empresario: An agent who received a land grant from the Spanish government in return for settling subjects there.

Enclosure: The consolidation of common lands by British landlords to make agriculture work more efficiently; usually required an act of Parliament.

Encomienda: The grant of indigenous labor for a specified period of time to a landholder by the Spanish crown.

Enlightened despotism: Rule by absolute monarchs who embraced reason and progressive reforms as a means of improving their societies, but who refused to accept the Enlightened doctrine that sovereignty resides in the people. See also Divine right, Enlightenment.

Enlightenment: A European worldview progressively developed during the eighteenth century that rejected divine revelation, and a fixed religious and social order in favor of reason, the social contract theory of government, and the desirability and potential for human progress.

Entrepreneur: One who takes risks in business with the hope of making a profit. See also Laissez-faire.

Enumerated products: In legislation passed by the British parliament, these were items produced in the American colonies that could only be shipped to approved destinations.

Episcopacy: A system of church governance in which the bishops hold all authority. See also Congregational, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Established churches: A church supported in part by public taxes.

Estates-General: An advisory body to the king of France that represented the three estates (clergy, nobility, commoners). The body did not meet between 1614 and 1789, but was called by King Louis XVI to meet a growing financial crisis. See also Directory, House of Commons, House of Lords, Parliament, Separation of powers, Third Estate.

Fatwa: A legal opinion or ruling issued by an Islamic legal scholar, or mufti. See also Imam, Mufti.

Free trade: The unrestricted exchange of goods with few or no tariffs. See also Commerce, Commodity, Mercantilism.

General will: According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the belief that the interests of the community or the nation--expressed in common agreement--form the basis of sovereignty.

Gentry: Landholding families ranked just below the aristocracy in terms of social status. See also Aristocracy, Noble.

Girondists: Radical, provincial-based radicals who dominated the early decisions of the government during the French Revolution. They were later ousted by the Jacobins. See alsoJacobins.

Gold Coast: Coastal area of West Africa, corresponding roughly with the coast of modern-day Ghana. See also Ivory Coast, Middle Passage, Slave Coast, Transatlantic slave trade.

Gothic: A style of European architecture between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, especially, characterized by ornateness, strong vertical lines, and pointed arches. The Gothic style strongly influenced seventeenth and early eighteenth century artists and architects. See also Baroque, Classicism.@HG = Governor: The proxy representative of an emperor or central government who rules over a colony or an imperial territory. See also Colonialism, Colony, Empire.

Grand duke: The ruler of a sovereign territory called a grand duchy.

Grand prince: The ruler of a Russian city-state. See also Czar.

Great Awakening: A religious revival that swept the American colonies during the 1730’s, 1740’s, and 1790’s, splitting many denominations in the process and laying a foundation for unity across the colonies.

Gujarat: Region of western India.

Hadith: A tradition or commentary related to the life or teachings of Muḥammad, used with varying degrees of authority as guides to the application of teachings found in the Qu՚rān. See also Islam.

Half-War: Undeclared naval war of 1797 to 1800 between the United States and France. Also known as the Quasi-War.

Hanoverians: German, Protestant branch of English royal house sanctioned to rule by the Act of Settlement (1701), in anticipation of the death of Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch.

Heresy: Making a statement or holding a belief that contradicts established Church dogma. Heresy against the Roman Catholic Church constituted a serious crime subject to severe punishment and even death. See also Dogma, Heretic, Inquisition.

Heretic: Someone judged to have committed heresy. See also Heresy, Inquisition.

Hetman: A Cossack leader. See also Cossack.

Hinduism: The collective term used by Europeans to denote the variety of Indian beliefs and ritual practices.

Holy Roman Empire: A loosely organized state established during the ninth century and incorporating most of the German and north Italian states. Influence in the Holy Roman Empire during the eighteenth century was contested by Prussia and Austria. See also Empire.

House: A royal or noble family. See also Aristocracy, Dynasty, Empire.

House of Commons: The lower house of the British parliament, comprised of representatives elected by the most wealthy citizens in the country. See also Aristocracy, House of Lords, Nobility, Parliament.

House of Lords: The upper house of the British parliament, comprised of peers representing the aristocratic families of the land. See also Aristocracy, House of Commons, Nobility, Parliament.

Humanism: Born in fourteenth century Italy and embraced by subsequent centuries, a worldview that centralizes humankind and its values and achievements. In contrast, supernatural or religious worldviews often consider humanity to be inferior or intrinsically depraved. Humanism led to individualism, secularism, rational critical thought, and the idea that humankind could triumph over nature. As Humanism blossomed, so did science, revealing physical laws that explained natural phenomena and seemed at odds with biblical and theological explanations of the universe. Humanism also was characterized by a return to classic Greek and Latin (pre-Christian) literature. See also Classicism, Enlightenment, Humanistic, Salon.

Humanistic: Relating to a broad concern with the values or tenets associated with Humanism. “Humanistic” applies to beliefs and practices that are more general and less systematic than does “Humanist.” See also Enlightenment, Humanism, Salon.

Imam: An Islamic religious and political leader. Also, an Islamic ruler in east Africa. See also Caliph, Fatwa, Sultan, Ulama.

Indentured servant: A migrant to British colonies in the Americas who agreed to work for a term of four to seven years in return for the cost of passage and training. @HG = Indigenous: A person or thing native to a particular region. “Indigenous” has replaced the terms “Indian” or “American Indian” in many contexts that refer to the early peoples of the Americas. See also Creole, Mestizo.

Indirect representation: A system of governing in which representatives of a region or interest are not chosen directly by those they are representing. See also Parliament.

Industrial Revolution: The mechanization of Western economies that began with textile production in Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century. See also Agricultural Revolution.

Infidel: One who does not believe in a particular religion. See also Heresy, Heretic, Jihad.

Inquisition: A Roman Catholic court of religious inquiry charged with discovering and punishing heresy. See also Heresy, Heretic.

Invisible hand: Term used by Adam Smith to illustrate the natural law of supply and demand, which works to allocate resources in a given market.

Islam: The religion founded by the Prophet Muḥammad, which, after his death in 632, began to spread throughout the world and contribute to intellectual advancement and the blending of the arts. A person who practices Islam is a Muslim. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Jihad, Judaism, Muslim, Protestantism.

Ivory Coast: Coastal area of West Africa, corresponding roughly with the coast of the modern-day Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. See also Gold Coast, Middle Passage, Slave Coast, Transatlantic slave trade.

Jacobins: Radical political faction during the French Revolution, predominantly comprised of middle-class intellectuals, but who gained support from Parisian artisans and workers. Overthrew the Girondists and dominated the period of the convention between 1792 and 1795. See also Girondists.

Janissaries: From the Turkish for “new corps,” an elite corps of non-Muslim children, usually Christians from the Balkans, recruited as slaves of the sultan. The Janissaries played a key role in the rise of the Ottoman Empire, with some holding high governmental positions. The corps eventually declined in significance beginning in the early eighteenth century. See also Devshirme.

Jesuits: Members of the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus, founded in the mid-sixteenth century, who devote their lives to educational and missionary work. See also Abbey, Catholicism, Mission, Missionary, Monastery, Monk.

Jihad: A holy “war” waged by Muslims against those who do not follow Islam, considered by many Muslims a duty imposed by holy law. See also Fatwa, Islam.

Joint-stock company: A commercial innovation that enabled companies to raise capital by selling shares to individuals, while limiting individual liability for losses. See alsoCommerce.

Judaism: The religion characterized by belief in one transcendent God who has revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets. Judaism is practiced in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Eastern Orthodox Church, Islam, Protestantism.

Judicial review: An implied constitutional power by which federal (U.S.) courts review and determine the constitutionality of acts passed by Congress and state legislatures. See alsoSeparation of powers.

Kabaka: A king of Buganda in Uganda, Africa.

Kabuki: A popular Japanese drama developed in the seventeenth century by Izumo no Okuni, which combines song, dance, and other varieties of performance. Elaborate, detailed, and ornately costumed and designed, Kabuki plays are based on not only legends and myths but also historical subjects.

King: A male monarch who ruled a large region and under whom ruled subordinate lords. A king’s title was usually hereditary and most often for life. See also Czar, Dynasty, Empire, Queen, Sultan.

Laissez-faire: French phrase meaning “allow to do.” In economics the doctrine of minimal government interference in the working of an economy. See also Commerce, Entrepreneur, Mercantilism.

Latitude: The distance between a given point on Earth and the Earth’s equator, expressed in angular degrees. See also Longitude.

Levellers: A group of Protestant radicals that rose to prominence during the English Civil War at the end of the seventheenth century, demanding legal equality and religious toleration. Many Levellers later adopted Quakerism, which gained prominence in eighteenth century England and the North American colonies. See also Old Believers, Protestantism, Quakerism.

Limited (constitutional) monarchy: A system of government in which the powers of the monarch are subject to legislation passed by representative assemblies. See also House of Commons, House of Lords, Parliament, Separation of powers.

Longitude: The distance between a given point on Earth and a line (called the prime meridian) that extends, virtually, from the North Pole to the South Pole, expressed in angular degrees. See also Latitude.

Mannerism: A style of art preceding that of the Baroque, in which painters expressed often highly emotional subjects through distorted and exaggerated forms and with vivid colors. See also Baroque, Classicism, Naturalism, Realism.

Maroon: A runaway or rebellious slave. More specifically, a member of a community of runaway slaves in the West Indies and South America.

Mercantilism: An economic theory first known as “Colbertisme” (after its early proponent Jean-Baptiste Colbert of France) that emerged during the seventeenth century and continued into the eighteenth century. Mercantilism advocated governmental leadership in guiding a nation’s economy toward prosperity. See also Colonialism, Commodity, Consumption, Laissez-faire, Physiocrats.

Mestizo: In Spanish America, a person of mixed Spanish and indigenous ancestry. See also Creole, Indigenous.

Methodism: A pietistic movement within the Church of England led by the brothers John and Charles Wesley, which developed into a separate denomination late in the eighteenth century. See also Anglican, Pietism, Protestantism.

Middle Passage: The voyage across the Atlantic Ocean that slaves endured when being taken from West Africa to the New World. See also Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, Slave Coast, Transatlantic slave trade.

Minutemen: Companies of colonial militia that began to form in the American colonies in the 1740’s. See also Patriot.

Mission: A colonial ministry whose task is to convert indigenous peoples to Christianity. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Colonialism, Indigenous, Missionary.

Mission system: Chain of missions established by Spain in the American Southwest to convert indigenous peoples to Catholicism. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Colonialism, Indigenous.

Missionary: An agent of the Catholic or other Christian church commissioned to travel to a colony or other “distant” location to gain converts from among indigenous populations. See also Catholicism, Christianity, Colonialism, Indigenous, Mission.

Monastery: A place where monks or nuns lived a religious life, frequently including a chapter house for meetings as well as sleeping quarters and various other facilities depending on the work of the monastery. See also Abbey, Catholicism, Jesuit, Monk, Nun, Nunnery.

Monk: A man who has taken religious vows of self-privation, and who lives in seclusion or semiseclusion from the material world in a monastery or abbey. See also Abbey, Catholicism, Clerics or clergy, Jesuit, Monastery, Nun.

Monsoon: Strong and predictable seasonal winds in the Indian Ocean that enabled merchants to engage in regular trade between South Asia and the east coast of Africa

Mufti: A specialist in Islamic law who is not a public official but a private scholar who functions as a consultant. See also Fatwa, Imam.

Mulatto: In Spanish America, a person of mixed African and European descent. See also Creole, Indigenous, Mestizo.

Muslim: One who practices the religion of Islam. See also Islam.

Mwami: A king of Rwanda, Africa.

Mysticism: The practice of many religious faiths, including Christianity and Islam, which emphasize the nonrational, spiritual, and felt rather than intellectual aspects of religious truth as an emotional or transcendent experience. See also Quietism, Sufism.

Natural rights: As part of Enlightened thought, an understanding that all human beings possessed rights such as life, liberty, property, freedom of speech and religion, and equality before the law, simply by virtue of their humanity. See also Enlightenment, Humanism.

Naturalism: An artistic style emphasizing an extremely precise realistic portrayal of an object as it appears in nature. See also Realism.

Nawab: A semiautonomous Muslim prince who cooperated with British colonialists in British India.

Neoclassicism: An aesthetic approach based upon Greek and Roman models, emphasizing balance and order. Neoclassicism developed during the eighteenth century in response to the ornamentation of the Baroque period. See also Baroque, Classicism.

New Lights: Individuals who experienced emotional, personal conversions during the religious revivals of the Great Awakening. See also Great Awakening.

Noble: A member of the landed aristocracy. See also Aristocracy, Gentry.

Nun: A woman who has taken religious vows of self-privation, and who lives in seclusion or semiseclusion from the material world. See also Abbey, Monastery, Monk, Nunnery.

Nunnery: A home for nuns or other persons living in accordance with religious vows. See also Abbey, Monastery, Nun.

Oba: A ruler of Benin in West Africa.

Old Believers: Conservative members of the Russian Orthodox Church who were labeled dissidents for opposing church reforms. See also Eastern Orthodox Church, Heresy, Heretic, Inquisition, Levellers, Patriarch.

Ottomans: Turkish rulers of the Islamic world who ruled as sultans from roughly 1281 to 1922. Their conquest in 1453 of the seat of the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Christian Orthodoxy, Constantinople, marked their ascendant power. See also Islam, Ṣafavids, Sultan.

Palatinate: A county or principality ruled by a lord whose rights included those of a king, such as the right to coin money or appoint judges. Also, in Germany, the proper name of a principality. See also Palatine.

Palatine: The lord of a palatinate or a resident of the (German) Palatinate. See also Palatinate.

Papal States: A sovereign Italian city-state, which was based in Rome and ruled by the pope and served as the spiritual seat of his papacy. See also Catholicism, Pope.

Parliament: An assembly of representatives, usually a mix of nobles, clergy, and commoners, which functions as a legislative body serving under the sovereignty of a monarch. See alsoEstates-General, House of Commons, House of Lords.

Paşa: The highest title of rank or honor in the Ottoman Empire. The title evolved to include governors of foreign territories and to viziers of a domestic government. See alsoOttomans, Sultan, Vizier.

Pasha: A man of high rank in northern Africa. See also Imam.

Pashalik: A state formed in Mali, northwest Africa, by the Arma, a military caste descended from Moroccan soldiers.

Patriarch: The head of one of the self-governing branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church. See also Bishop, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Pope.

Patriot: Term applied to Americans during the revolutionary period who believed in the use of force to gain full independence from Great Britain. See also Minutemen.

Patron: One who financially or materially supports an artist, composer, poet, or other creative individual.

Patronage: The practice of awarding titles and making appointments to government and other positions to gain political support.

Peasant: The lowest rank of commoner, who works the land in order to subsist. See also Aristocracy, Commoner, Noble, Serf.

Peninsulares: Persons born in Spain who settled in the New World.

Persia: A term used by Westerners until the early twentieth century to describe the region always known as Iran to Iranians.

Petit bourgeoisie: The lower middle class. See also Aristocracy, Commoners, Gentry, Noble, Sans-culottes, Serf.

Philosophes: French writers and social critics who agitated for progress and popularized the ideas of the Enlightenment. See also Enlightenment, Humanism, Salon.

Physiocrats: French economic school that argued against mercantilistic governmental regulations and believed that sound agriculture was essential to the economic well being of a state. See also Commerce, Laissez-faire, Mercantilism.

Pietism: A way of Christian worship and belief that promoted religion of the heart rather than of the mind. Pietism is closely associated with the rise of Methodism. See alsoMethodism.

Pilgrimage: Journey to a sacred shrine by Christians seeking to show their piety, fulfill vows, or gain absolution for sins. Other religions also have pilgrimage traditions, such as the pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims and the pilgrimages made by early Chinese Buddhists to India in search of sacred Buddhist writings. See also Christianity, Islam.

Plague: A contagious disease caused by a bacterium, which becomes epidemic and causes a high rate of mortality. Called the Black Death during the Middle Ages, it struck on numerous occasions in various parts of the world during the eighteenth century.

Plantation economy: An economic system organized for producing cash crops such as sugar, cotton, tobacco, rice, coffee, and tea, and most commonly utilizing slave labor. See alsoCommerce, Transatlantic slave trade.

Pope: The spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church and temporal ruler of the Papal States. See also Bishop, Catholicism, Christianity, Papal States, Patriarch.

Presbyterian: A Protestant Christian church that is mostly Calvinistic in doctrine. “Presbyterianism” is a system of church governance favored as more democratic than Episcopalianism because it is characterized by a graded system of representative ecclesiastical bodies. See also Calvinism, Catholicism, Christianity, Congregational, Ecclesiastical, Episcopacy, Presbytery, Protestantism.

Presbytery: The ruling body in Presbyterian churches. Also, the part of a church reserved for clergy who officiate. See also Clerics or clergy, Presbyterian, Protestantism.

Presidio: In Spanish America, a military post.

Pretender: Someone who falsely claims to be a rightful ruler.

Privateer: A pirate or pirate ship commissioned or licensed by a government to raid the ships of other nations. Privateers also participated in the slave trade.@HG = Protestantism: A branch of Christianity, incorporating many different churches, which “protests” and rejects Catholic tradition, especially its doctrine of papal infallibility, and believes instead in a religion of all believers who read the Bible for themselves rather than having it interpreted to them by clergy. See also Calvinism, Catholicism, Christianity, Clerics or clergy, Ecclesiastical, Episcopacy, Presbyterian, Quakerism.

Puritan: In Protestant England and New England, one who opposed the ceremonial worship and prelacy of the Church of England. “Puritanism” is the belief and practice of Puritans. See also Anglican, Calvinism, Catholicism, Christianity, Presbyterian, Protestantism, Quakerism.

Putting-out system: Early system of manufacturing in which merchants furnished households with raw materials that would be processed by workers in their own homes. See alsoDomestic system of textile production, Industrial Revolution.

Quakerism: A Protestant group that began in seventeenth century England, which rejected ritualized forms of worship. Traditional Quaker worship services are not led by ordained ministers and do not involve the recitation of a religious creed. Women play a major role in Quakerism, since Quakers believe that men and women are equally suited to preach the word of God. Quaker religious beliefs are egalitarian and humanitarian. See also Levellers, Protestantism, Puritan, Shakers.

Queen: A female monarch who ruled a large region. A queen’s title, unlike that of the king--which was usually hereditary--was often gained upon marriage to a king. Some wives of kings were called “consorts,” or “queen consorts,” instead of “queens.” Also, queens would become “regents” if they lived after the death of their husband-kings and were pronounced virtual rulers during the minority of monarchs to be, who was usually the queen’s son. See also Consort, King, Queen-Mother, Regent.

Queen-mother: A former queen who is the mother of a current ruler. See also Queen, Regent.

Querelles des femmes: A literary movement begun in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that debated (quarreled over) the subject of women. The movement intensified during the eighteenth century as the findings of the disciplines of anatomy and medicine added further interpretations to the debates.

Quietism: In religion, quietism refers to a mysticism that teaches, among other things, suppression of the will to obtain spiritual peace and perfection. Politically, quietism is the withdrawn or passive attitude or policy toward world affairs. See also Mysticism.

Raison d’état: The concept that the interests of the state (“reasons of state”), rather than moral or philosophical concerns, may justify a course of action.

Rajputs: Members of a Hindu warrior caste from northwest India.

Realism: In art, the attempt to depict objects, human figures, or scenes as they appear in real life; that is, without distortion or stylization. “Naturalism” is often used as a synonym for realism. See also Mannerism, Naturalism.

Rector: A religious leader. In some Protestant churches, the leader of a parish; in the Roman Catholic Church, the head of a church that has no pastor or a cleric who shares duties with a pastor. See also Catholicism, Clerics or clergy, Protestantism.

Recusant: An English Roman Catholic, especially of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, who refused to obey the teachings of and participate in the services of the Church of England, thereby committing a statutory offense. See also Catholicism, Protestantism.

Regent: One who temporarily governs in place of a monarch or other ruler who is too young or infirm to govern for him- or herself. Oftentimes, a regent is the monarch’s mother. See also Queen, Queen-Mother.

Regular clergy: Monks and nuns who belong to religious orders and live according to a monastic rule. See also Clerics or clergy, Jesuit, Monastery, Monk, Nun.@HG = Regulators: Vigilante groups active in the 1760’s and 1770’s in the western Carolinas of North America.

Reign of Terror: The period from September, 1793, to July, 1794, when more than twenty thousand people were executed on the orders of revolutionary tribunals, ostensibly to protect the French Revolution.

Republic: A political unit not ruled by a monarch, especially one governed by a group of representatives chosen by and responsible to its citizens. See also Parliament.

Rococo: An artistic style that developed in France during the early eighteenth century, emphasizing ornamentation, grace, and lightness, and focusing on the pleasures of the aristocracy. See also Aristocracy, Baroque, Classicism, Neoclassicism.

Ronin: A masterless samurai in Japan. Because serving one’s master well was the central value of the samurai code of bushido, ronin were usually considered dishonorable, either because they had failed their lord or because they had willfully rejected the code. See also Bushido, Daimyo, Samurai, Shogun.

Royalist: One who favors monarchical government and the power of a ruler. See also Directory, Divine right, Tory, Whig.

Ṣafavids: An Islamic empire in Iran (Persia), founded in 1501 and ended in 1722. Shīՙite Islam, developed by the early Ṣafavids, continues to be the dominant religion of Iran into the twenty-first century. See also Islam.

Salon: An informal social gathering of artists, writers, and other intellectuals who met in private home. Salons were especially associated with France in the eighteenth century. See alsoEnlightenment, Humanism, Humanistic, Philosophes.

Samurai: A member of the Japanese warrior caste, especially a warrior who served a daimyo and who subscribed to a strict code of conduct called bushido. See alsoBushido, Daimyo, Ronin, Shogun.

Sans-culottes: Meaning “without kneebreeches,” the term refers to the lower-middle classes and artisans of Paris associated with the first outbreaks of rebellion during the French Revolution. See also Petit bourgeoisie.

Satire: A literary style that uses wit, sarcasm, humor, and such to point out human vices, follies, and immoralities.

Secular: Nonreligious, either in content or in context. Thus, secular can be a simple antonym of “religious,” but it can also refer to members of the clergy who live and act in the public sphere rather than spending their lives in religious seclusion in a monastery or abbey.

Secular clergy: Parish clergy who did not belong to a religious order and lived among the people. See also Clerics or clergy, Regular clergy.

Separation of powers: System of divided governmental powers, advocated by Montesquieu in his Spirit of the Laws (1748). Influential in the development of the U.S. Constitution. See also Direct representation, Estates-General, Judicial review, Limited (constitutional) monarchy, Parliament.

Serf: A peasant bound to the land through contract. Serfs were given a parcel of land on which to live and work, but any surplus they produced was owed to their landlord as rent, tax, or tribute. See also Commoner, Gentry, Peasant.

Shakers: The followers of Ann Lee, who preached a religion of strict celibacy and communal living. See also Jesuits, Quakerism.

Sharia: Islamic holy law. See also Caliph, Fatwa, Islam, Ulama.

Sharif: A Muslim who claims descent from the Prophet Muḥammad. See also Caliph, Imam, Islam.

Shia: The Muslims of the Shīՙite branch of Islam. See also Imam, Shīՙite, Sunni.

Shīՙite: The branch of Islam that holds that Ali and the imams are the only rightful successors of the Prophet Muḥammad and that the last imam will someday return. See also Imam, Shia, Sunni.@HG = Shogun: A Japanese military ruler. See also Bushido, Daimyo, Ronin, Samurai.

Shogunate system: The system of government in Japan in which the emperor exercised only titular authority while the shogun (regional military dictators) exercised actual political power.

Siege: A military operation in which a city or other territory is cut off from the outside world in order to compel its surrender after food and other supplies are exhausted.

Slave Coast: Coastal region of West Africa along the Bight of Benin and along the coasts of modern-day Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. The area was a major center for the slave trade among African rulers and European nations, from about 1500 to the late eighteenth century. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw increased slave trading, thus the region’s moniker. See also Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, Middle Passage, Transatlantic slave trade.

Social contract: Theory most eloquently argued by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau that government gained its authority from the people, who could justly rebel if the “contract” were broken.

Spice Islands: The group of islands that make up the easternmost part of Indonesia. The Spice Islands are so named because the area was the center of the European spice trade. See alsoMercantilism.

State: An autonomous, self-governing, sovereign political unit. See also Estates-General, Parliament.

Succession: The passing of sovereign authority from one person or group to another person or group, or the rules governing that process.

Sufism: Islamic mysticism. A Sufi is one who practices Sufism. See also Islam, Mysticism, Quietism.

Sultan: Beginning in the eleventh century, any political and military ruler of an Islamic state or emirate (as opposed to the caliph, the religious authority of the Islamic state). Applied mostly to Ottoman rulers. See also Caliph, Ottomans.

Sunni: Muslims who adhere to the orthodox tradition of Islam, which acknowledges the first four caliphs, the religious authorities of Islam, as rightful successors of the Prophet Muḥammad. See also Imam, Islam, Shia, Shīՙite.

Swahili: A language spoken in coastal East Africa, combining Bantu and Arabic elements.

Thermidorean Reaction: The reaction against the Reign of Terror and the extreme radicalism of the French Revolution; associated with the establishment of the Directory. See alsoDirectory, Reign of Terror.

Third Estate: The branch of the French Estates-General representing all except the nobility and the clergy; served as the basis for the first French republican assembly. See also Estates- General.

Tory: In England, the party that supported royal power in the face of challenges by Parliament. Opposed by the Whigs, and one of the two dominant political parties throughout the eighteenth century. See also Parliament, Royalist, Whig.

Transatlantic slave trade: The trade in slaves, mostly from Africa, that crossed the Atlantic Ocean from and between East Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. See alsoMiddle Passage, Slave Coast.

Transportation: The British policy from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries of shipping persons convicted of the most serious offenses to Australia as an alternative to capital punishment.

Treaty: An agreement or arrangement between, especially, two nations and made by negotiation.

Tributary system: A system in which, from the time of the Han Empire (202 B.C.E.-220 C.E.), countries in East and Southeast Asia not under the direct control of empires based in China nevertheless enrolled as tributary states, acknowledging the superiority of the emperors in China in exchange for trading rights or strategic alliances.

Tsar: See Czar.

Tulip Age: A period between 1718 and 1730 when European styles and attitudes became fashionable in the Ottoman Empire.

Ulama: Muslim religious scholars who serve as interpreters of Islamic law. See also Caliph, Imam, Islam, Sharia.

Umma: The community of all Muslims, as distinguished from kinship affiliations common in early Middle Eastern lands. See also Islam.

Urdu: A Persian-influenced literary form of Hindi, written in Arabic characters and widely spoken along the trade routes of Southern Asia.

Vizier: Title given to high officials of Islamic nations. In the Ottoman Empire beginning around 1453, the viziers were specifically ministers to the sultan. The chief minister was known as the grand vizier, and members of the council that assisted and filled in for the grand vizier were called dome viziers. Use of the title was later expanded to include other important domestic officials, as well as provincial governors. See also Bey, Caliph, Imam, Islam, Sultan.

Whig: In seventeenth century England, a political party opposed to absolute royal authority and favoring increased parliamentary power; one of two dominant political parties throughout the eighteenth century. See also Parliament, Royalist, Tory.

Writs of assistance: Legal documents that enabled British officials in colonial America to search for smuggled goods.

Zen: A Japanese form of Buddhism based on disciplined meditation and closely associated with the samurai code of bushido. See also Bushido, Samurai.

Categories: History Content