Basic Concepts of Government
• The need for an ordered social system, or government.
• The idea of limited government, that is, that government should not be all-powerful.
• The concept of representative government—a government that serves the will of the people.
The Thirteen Colonies
There were three types of colonies in North America: royal, proprietary, and charter.
• The royal colonies were ruled directly by the English monarchy.
• The King granted land to people in North America, who then formed proprietary colonies.
• The charter colonies were mostly self-governed, and their charters were granted to the colonists
Section 2 The Coming of Independence
British Colonial Policies
• Until the mid-1700s, the colonies were allowed a great deal of freedom in their governments by the English monarchy.
• In 1760, King George III imposed new taxes and laws on the colonists.
• The colonists started a confederation, proposed an annual congress, and began to rebel.
Growing Colonial Unity
• In 1643, several New England settlements formed the New England Confederation.
• A confederation is a joining of several groups for a common purpose.
The Albany Plan
• In 1754, Benjamin Franklin proposed the Albany Plan of Union, in which an annual congress of delegates(representatives) from each of the 13 colonies would be formed.
The Stamp Act Congress
• In 1765, a group of colonies sent delegates to the Stamp Act Congress in New York.
• These delegates prepared the Declaration of Rights and Grievances against British policies and sent it to the king.
The Continental Congresses
First Continental Congress
• The colonists sent a Declaration of Rights to King George III.
• The delegates urged each of the colonies to refuse all trade with England until British tax and trade regulations were repealed, or recalled.
Second Continental Congress
• In 1775, each of the 13 colonies sent representatives to this gathering in Philadelphia.
• The Second Continental Congress served as the first government of the United States from 1776 to 1781.
•On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
•Between 1776 and 1777, most of the States adopted constitutions instead of charters
Common Features of State Constitutions
The principle of popular sovereignty was the basis for every new State constitution. That principle says that government can exist and function only with the consent of the governed. The people hold power and the people are sovereign.
The concept of limited government was a major feature of each State constitution. The powers delegated to government were granted reluctantly and hedged with many restrictions.
Civil Rights and Liberties
In every State it was made clear that the sovereign people held certain rights that the government must respect at all times. Seven of the new constitutions contained a bill of rights, setting out the “unalienable rights” held by the people.
Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances
The powers granted to the new State governments were purposely divided among three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Each branch was given powers with which to check (restrain the actions of) the other branches of the government
Section 3 The Critical Period
The Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation established “a firm league of friendship” among the States.
Congress was given the power to declare war, deal with national finance issues, and settle disputes among the States.
The States promised to obey Congress, and to respect the laws of the other States. Most other powers were retained by each State.
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
One vote for each State, regardless of size.
Congress powerless to lay and collect taxes or duties