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LEGO’S OF AMERICA. ROOTS OF UNITED STATES DEMOCRACY. Our English Heritage. American political traditions can be traced by to the Enlightenment (Reason and Science ) England ruled by a Monarch (King or Queen ). MAGNA CARTA -1215. Protected the privileges and authority of the nobles

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lego s of america



our english heritage

Our English Heritage

American political traditions can be traced by to the Enlightenment (Reason and Science)

England ruled by a Monarch (King or Queen)

magna carta 1215


Protected the privileges and authority of the nobles

Landowners have equal protection under the law and right to trial by jury

Limited the power of the monarch by guaranteeing that no one would be above the law


glorious revolution

Glorious Revolution

* Glorious Revolution – Parliament removes James II and invites his daughter Mary and her husband William to rule (peaceful transfer of power)

* Shows Parliament became more powerful than monarch

other english influences

Other English Influences:

English Bill of Rights – free elections, fair trial, elimination of cruel and unusual punishments, restricted monarch’s power

Common Law – system of law based on precedent and customs (based on court systems)

John Locke – philosopher; said people had ‘Natural Rights’ – life, liberty, and property (2nd Treatise of Government)

Social Contract of the people

other english influences1

Other English Influences

Jean-Jacques Rousseau –

Social Contract – government protects the peoples rights and the people will obey the government (as influenced by John Locke)

Baron De Montesquieu

Separation of Powers – divide gov’t into different parts to keep it balanced and avoid one part becoming to strong

self government
  • Jamestown (Virginia)– first English settlement in America; Colony received a charter from the King
  • 1619 – House of Burgesses created – ** first sign of self-government in America
  • 1620 – Mayflower Compact – written plan of government signed by 41 men aboard the Mayflower as Pilgrims reached Plymouth (Mass.)
jamestown virginia
Jamestown (Virginia)
  • 1607
  • Colonists faced a severe struggle trying to grow crops, withstanding diseases, and Indian attacks
  • 1619, the people of Jamestown (several hundred) chose 2 representatives (burgesses) to meet royal governor
  • 22 members made up House of Burgesses – not very successful, but first legislature in America
mayflower compact plymouth
Mayflower Compact (Plymouth)
  • The Mayflower Compact (contract) said:
  • 1. The government would make just and equal laws.
  • 2. The signers pledged to obey these laws.
  • 3. A direct democracy would exist with each adult male allowed to vote, and the majority would rule.
  • **Demonstrated by town meetings. It also established the idea of majority rule.


Mayflower Compact

Mayflower Compact – YouTube


13 british colonies
13 British Colonies
  • By 1733 Colonies (eventually states) were established
  • Similarities among these 13 colonies:
  • Each colony had a governor
  • Each colony had a legislature, most with a two-house system like the Parliament. The governor usually appointed members of the upper house, and the colonists usually elected members of the lower house.
  • Practices in the Colonies:
  • Indentured Servitude – poor people come to colonies, sign 7 year labor contract in exchange for passage to America (many died before end of contract)

Indentured Servitude led to the practice of Slavery.

5 traditions of english heritage still in the u s today review don t need to copy

5 traditions of English heritage still in the U.S. today: (Review, don’t need to copy)

The ruler is not above the law.

People should have a voice in their government.

Citizens have basic rights that are protected by law

A consistent system of common law

A legislature made up of representatives of different groups of citizens

birth of democratic nation

Birth of Democratic Nation

By the 1750’s, the English government saw the colonies as a great source of wealth

Salutary Neglect - The English government basically ignored the colonies and colonists for a long time

1760 – Mercantilism instituted by England

theory that a country should sell more products to other countries than it buys from other countries – ensures $$$$

birth of democratic nation1

Birth of Democratic Nation

King George III began to squeeze all the wealth out of America.

England required the American colonies to sell raw materials to England at low prices and also

Required the colonists in America to buy English products at high prices.

Citizens in the colonies began to suffer financially.