Early American Government

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta was an English charter that required King John of England to allow certain liberties and proclaimed that his word was not law. This was huge for the English government because it was the first time royalty was restrained from complete power over its people. The Magna Carta was later modified in 13th century.
  • Jamestown Settled

    Jamestown Settled
    Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the American colonies. It was founded by the London Company which later became the Virginia Company. This was the first place in America where government took place, even though at the time England still had control over it.
  • Mayflower Compact written

    Mayflower Compact written
    The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document written for the American colonies. The Compact was written by American colonists while they were aboard the Mayflower and proclaimed freedom of religion (though not truly free) and agreed upon social contracts.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    The Petition of Right set specific limitations for the King (or royalty) of England. It confirms that taxes can only be given by Parliment, that martial law cannor be imposed during a time of peace, and that prisoners could challenge whether or not thier sentences were legitament.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    The English Bill of Rights was a re-enstatement of the Declaration of Right, which was presented to William and Mary. It lays down limits on the power of sovereign and sets out the rights of Parliment and rules for freedom of speech in Parliment.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    The Plan was an early attempt, by Benjamin Franklin, to unify the American colonies under one government. The plan was rejected by both the Colonial Assemblies and the British Board of Trade but it served as inspiration for writing the Articles of Confederation.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    The Stamp Act was a tax imposed by British Parliment forcing the American colonies to use stamped British papers, which were taxed. Colonist were resistant to the tax and felt it was a violation on thier rights as Englishmen. The Sons of Liberty held violent protests that intimidated tax distributors, until they all resigned thier commissions.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    Tension from a heavy British military presense led to a brawl between British military officials and civillians where the military discharged on the rioting crowd and killed five people. The legal aftermath sparked a rebillion in some of the colonies and overall helped lead to the American Revolution.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    The Boston Tea Party was a protest by Boston Colonists against the British Government and the East India Company, who controlled all the tea that came into the colonies. A group of colonists snuck onto a ship and poured destroyed the tea by pouring it into Boston Harbor. The Tea Party was a resistance against Britaian's Tea Act, which taxed the colonist's tea.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    The Intolerable Acts were a set of laws passed by British Parliment relating to the American Colonies. The acts resulted in resistance in the colonies. They were used as fuel for the American Revolution.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    A convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen American colonies. The congress was called to action in response to the Intolerable Acts and met briefly to consider options. They made several decisions, including the decision to boycott British trade.
  • American Revolution Begins

    American Revolution Begins
    The Revolution began when King George III ignored the Olive Branch Petition, which was a plead to restore peace. On April 18 British soldiers came through the colonies in an effort to destroy the colonist's weapons and on the 19th the Battles of Lexington and Concord took place, thus beginning the American Revolutionary War against Britain.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    A convention of delegates from the thirteen colonies that met after the start of warfare of the American Revolution. The Congress managed colonial war effort and adopted the Declaraion of Independence. The Congress later became known as the Congress of the Confederation.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    A document signed by members of the Continental Congress that stated that the American colonies were free from British rule. The document stated why it was voted for independence almost a year after the beginning of the war with England. The document justified the independence by stating the grievences the colonists had against King George III and by asserting certain natural rights, including the right to revolution.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    The Articles of Confederation was the first Constitution of the United States. The document specified how the federal government was to operate and the adoption of the name "United States of America". After a year of debate the Second Continental Congress approved the document. (date for when it was approved)
  • Shays' Rebellion

    Shays' Rebellion
    The rebellion was the armed uprising in cenral and western Massachussetts and was named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolution. Over one thousand "Shaysites" were arrested and a private army was formed. They led an attack on the federal Springfield Armory and four rebels were killed. It led to calls to reevaluate the Articles of Confederation and caused the Philadelphia Convention to meet. It also produced fears that the Revolution's democracy had gotten out ot hand.
  • Constitutional Convention

    Constitutional Convention
    This was the electing of George Washington to preside and the written version of the Constitution. This still remains one of the most significant events in United States history.
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    This was a agreement during the Philadelpia Convention between both large and small states that defined the legislative structure and repersentation each state had under the Constitution. It proposed the idea of having two legislative chambers and resulted in the current United States Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • Philidelphia Convention

    Philidelphia Convention
    This convention took place to adress problems in governing of the United States of America under the Articles of Confederation after gaining independence from Great Britain. Although the convention was only suppose to revise the Articles of Confederation the members of the convention created a new government instead of fixing its old one.