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History Of The American Government Essay

1606 words - 6 pages

History of the American Government

More than 200 years ago, the 13 original states approved the first constitution that united them into the United States of America. However, many things have happened before and after that which have combined to make the United States what it is today. As the New World was being settled, the original colonists who came over were mainly Englishmen. Coming in great numbers and for many different reasons, 435,000 colonists occupied the coastline of America. Up until the Revolution, the "colonists thought of themselves as Englishmen, loyal to the crown"1. They held English ideas ranging from politics to law to human rights. Holding these ideas kept the colonies loyal to their mother country for a time, and with experiencing the English government, it allowed the colonies to form the framework for the new political system. However, "once the war had ended and independence had been achieved the Revolution seemed a happy event"2. The colonists brought many new ideas with them, and along with their newly found freedom and knowledge, they created a system that belonged only to them.

At first, each colony was controlled by a charter granted by the king. Among the colonies were three types, proprietary, charter, and royal. Out of the three, "charter colonies offered colonists the greatest voice in their own government"3. Furthermore, in a charter colony, the people elected their own governors, and although this was the most democratic in allowing direct representation, the colonies were still not completely autonomous. By the second half of the eighteenth century, the king was afraid of the colonies increasing independence and not wanting to lose his governmental and financial control of the colonies, most of the colonies were operated as royal colonies. This meant that basically the colonists had no voice in their own government. Well, the idea of independence did not sit well with most of the colonists at first, but they eventually found themselves drawn together. In 1774, fifty-five delegates from twelve colonies met in Philadelphia, therefore creating the First Continental Congress. However, this gathering had little power in resisting England’s oppressive policies that included such atrocities as the Intolerable Acts.

Well, two years later, the English colonies declared their independence. With the publication of the Declaration of Independence, this became the formal break with English rule. The newly formed country then needed a constitution, and the Articles of Confederation fulfilled this need from 1781-1789. All in all, the Declaration of Independence did not create one new government, but 13 new governments, one in each state. Next, each of the thirteen colonies presented its own plan for government in a state constitution. While at war with Great Britain, the new states began their efforts to unite their separate governments. The Second Continental Congress had better luck in organizing a...

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