Building on English foundations of political liberty, the colonists extended the concepts of liberty and self-government far beyond those envisioned in the mother country. While Englishmen had some representation in their parliament, Americans took the system further. All colonies had some form of a two-house parliament system. Some, like New York, had governors appointed by the crown. Others, like Rhode Island, elected their own. Local government also varied between the colonies. The southern states had a strong County government, while the New England colonies relied on town-meeting government. In either case, voting was reserved to land-owning white men.
In contrast to the well-defined and hereditary