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A Brief Look Back… Early American Government

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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.

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A Brief Look Back…

Early American Government

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Jamestown Colony (1607) is founded by the Virginia Company of London. It is the first permanent English colony in the New World.

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1619 ~ The Virginia House of Burgesses

Founded in Williamsburg, the House of Burgesses is first legislature (elected group who makes laws for everyone) in the New World.

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Mayflower Compact (1620)

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.

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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.

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Thomas Paine and “Common Sense” (1776)

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.

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In “Common Sense”, Paine writes:

“…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.”

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The Declaration of Independence (1776)

A committee is formed to write the Declaration, but Thomas Jefferson writes most of it.

The Declaration officially does two things:

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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.

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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

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In the Declaration, Jefferson writes,

“…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.”

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