In the context of AP US History (APUSH), Hessians refer to the German soldiers hired by the British to fight against the American colonists during the American Revolution. The term "Hessians" comes from the fact that many of these soldiers came from the German state of Hesse.
The British hired Hessians to supplement their own troops and make up for a shortage of soldiers. The use of foreign troops was controversial at the time, and the presence of Hessians in the colonies was seen as an affront to American sovereignty. The Hessians were well-trained and well-equipped, but they were also seen as mercenaries who had no stake in the conflict.
The Hessians fought on the side of the British in several key battles, including the Battle of Long Island, the Battle of White Plains, and the Battle of Trenton. However, their presence also had the unintended consequence of galvanizing American support for the revolutionary cause.