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History - Essay Example

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The English colonies were of three types: Royal (governor selected by king) proprietary (selected by proprietor) and self-governing (governor chosen by colonists). Though England was…
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History

Download file to see previous pages... pite the English colonies not having representatives in parliament in England, by the end of seventeenth century all English colonies had some form of representative assembly which more or less resembled the House of Commons in structure and functions.
McGeehan and Gall assert that there were four major landmarks that shaped American constitutional government: Magna carter (1215), Bill of Rights (1689), Common law and Bicameral legislature (3). The kings in England used to have absolute authority over subjects but the Magna carter made them subject to law giving parliament power over tax levies. To tame the powers of the King, it was necessary to establish Representative governments whereby the people had a say in governance. Such governments were thus vital to colonies in attracting investors. The Bill of Rights in 1689 limited the power of kings and queens further as it disallowed interference with parliamentary elections and debates and kings could not suspend laws or levy taxes without parliament consent. On the other hand, rights developed from common law protected citizens from tyrannical governments. England had a bicameral legislature comprising House of Lords comprising clergy and nobility and House of Commons for wealthy middle class. This was the method adopted by English colonists. Before settlement therefore, the colonists had the idea of a limited government (McGeehan & Gall 3-5).
The colonists in New World wanted a government where people were first thus the establishment of representative governments with Virginia being the first to establish the House of Burgesses in 1619 (Ushistory.org). Other colonists followed by establishing assemblies. For example, Plymouth had the Mayflower Compact, Massachusetts had the General Court, Connecticut had Fundamental Orders of Government while Rhode Island operated on principle of separation of church and state (McGeehan & Gall 3-5). Colonies were headed by governor and council who had executive powers of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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