A Brief Look Back… Early American Government. Jamestown Colony (1607) is founded by the Virginia Company of London. It is the first permanent English colony in the New World. 1619 ~ The Virginia House of Burgesses.
Early American Government
Jamestown Colony (1607) is founded by the Virginia Company of London. It is the first permanent English colony in the New World.
Founded in Williamsburg, the House of Burgesses is first legislature (elected group who makes laws for everyone) in the New World.
Pilgrims on the way to Jamestown get lost and land in Massachusetts. Before they leave their ship, they make a pact to make and obey laws for the good of the colony. The Mayflower Compact establishes a tradition of self-government in the colonies.
The French and Indian War (1754-1763) ~ British colonists fight with the French and Indians over land in the Ohio Valley. The king raises taxes to pay for the war, which leads to immediate colonist revolt.
In early 1776, essay writer Thomas Paine writes the pamphlet , “Common Sense”. In a few months, it sold 500,000 copies in the colonies. “Common Sense” convinces many colonists that a break with England is inevitable.
“…To be always running three or four thousand miles with a tale or a petition, waiting four or five months for an answer, which when obtained requires five or six more months to explain it in, will in a few years be looked upon as folly…There was a time when it was proper, and there is a proper time for it to cease … England belongs to Europe, America to itself.”
A committee is formed to write the Declaration, but Thomas Jefferson writes most of it.
The Declaration officially does two things:
1 ~ it formally declares the United Stated independent from England. It lists the reasons for the separation and announces to the world why we need to be our own country.
2 ~ it lists certain fundamental human rights that Americans believe that all people have (rights that the king has ignored) and that no government has the power to take away
“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”