America within the British colonial system
The king chose governors of each colony except RI and CT. They executed the local laws, appointed many minor officials, summoned and dismissed the colonial assemblies, and proposed legislation to them. Governors had no security of tenure, and they are thousands of miles away from London.
Each colony had a legislator except Pennsylvania. Which consists of two houses: lower and upper house. Lower house had general legislative powers. On the other hand, the king appointed the upper house as well and they served primarily as advisors to the governors. Most colonial legislators were practical men. They pursued their own interests. They extended their influence by slow accretion.
The king’s Privy Council had the responsibility for formulating colonial policy. It could and did disallow specific colonial laws, but it did not proclaim constitutional principles to which all colonial legislatures must conform. It acted as a court of last appeal in colonial disputes and handled each case individually.
James II brought NY, NJ, and all of New England under one administration, and he apparently planned to unify the southern colonies in a similar manner. Although, his actions were deeply resented by the colonists, as a result, no further important efforts at unification were attempted. In 1696, colonial policy was effectively determined by a new Board of Trade. It reviewed all the laws passed by the colonial legislatures, recommending the disallowance of those that seemed to conflict with imperial policy. It fluctuated over the years, but the Privy Council and the Crown nearly always accepted its recommendations. Colonists did not like having their laws disallowed, but London exercised this power with considerable restraint. The MOST famous colonial agent was Benjamin Franklin, although colonial agents barely could ever exert much influence on British policy. The British never developed an effective, centralized government for the American colonies.
Mercantilism: Navigation Acts, salutary neglect
Colonies were important for economic reasons, chiefly for a source of raw materials. British officials developed a number of loosely related policies that later were known as mercantilism. A nations prosperity and power was determined with how much raw gold and silver it had. 17th century, if a country could make itself as self-sufficient as possible and also keep its citizens busy producing items sought in other lands, it could sell more goods abroad than it imported. This was known as having “a favorable balance of trade”.
Parliament enacted the Navigation Acts, which were put into effect over a period of half a century. It was designed to bring gold and silver into the Royal Treasury, to develop the imperial merchant fleet, to channel the flow of colonial raw materials into England, and to keep foreign goods and vessels out of colonial ports. The Navigation Acts of 1660 reserved the entire trade of the colonies to English ships and required that the captain and three-quarters of this crew be English. It also provided that certain colonial “enumerated articles” could not be shipped carried, conveyed or transported outside the empire. The English looked on the empire broadly; they envisioned the colonies as part of an economic unit, not as servile dependencies to be exploited for England’s selfish benefit.
Great Awakening: Whitefield, Old Lights/New Lights, Edwards
One of the first of these developments was the so-called Great Awakening. The Awakening began in 1740s and it began in the Middle Colonies as the result of religious developments that originated in Europe. Ministers sought to instill the evangelical zeal and spiritual enthusiasm they had witnessed among the people n Germany and in England. Their example inspired other clergymen. Another surge of religious enthusiasm followed the arrival in 1738 of the Reverend George Whitefield. He was a marvelous pulpit…