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Governing the Colonies. Peter Zenger’s Trial. The English Parliamentary Tradition. In England 1215, English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta The Magna Carta was significant because it was the first document to put restrictions on an English ruler’s power

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governing the colonies
Governing the Colonies

Peter Zenger’s Trial

the english parliamentary tradition
The English Parliamentary Tradition
  • In England 1215, English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta
  • The Magna Carta was significant because it was the first document to put restrictions on an English ruler’s power
  • It said the king could not raise taxes, people had the right to own property, and right to trial by jury

King John Signs the Magna Carta

the british parliament
The British Parliament
  • The British Parliament was a two-house legislature made up of two houses: the House of Lords and the House of Commons
  • This will be the law making body for England up to modern times

The British Parliament ca. 1600s

english bill of rights
English Bill of Rights
  • In 1689, King William and Queen Mary signed the English Bill of Rights
  • The Bill of Rights:
    • Restated many rights (trial by jury)
    • Upheld habeas corpus
    • King could not levy taxes without the Parliament
    • Influenced American Bill of Rights 100 years later

King William III

colonial self government
Colonial Self-Government
  • The colonists expected to have a voice in their government, just like their English counterparts
  • Many colonies establish their own governments (House of Burgesses, General Court)
  • Not everybody had a voice though (women, Natives, Africans)
freedom of the press
Freedom of the Press
  • In 1735, John Peter Zenger, a publisher, printed articles criticizing the New York governor
  • He was charged with libel
  • His lawyer, Andrew Hamilton, argued the articles were based on fact
  • Zenger was found innocent and his court case helped establish freedom of the press

The Trial of Peter Zenger

regulating trade navigation acts
Regulating Trade – Navigation Acts
  • England still used the theory of mercantilism with it’s colonies
  • To support mercantilism, they passed a set of laws called the Navigation Acts:
    • Shipments to the colonies had to go to England first
    • Colonists had to use British ships
    • Colonies could only sell products to England
  • Positives: colonial traders had a large market, supported the shipbuilding industry
  • Negatives: laws favored English merchants, they could make more money on their own
  • To get around the laws, colonists started smuggling