Major Events for Early American Government

  • Jan 1, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    Signed by England's King John. The Magna Carta was the first document to limit the power of England's monarchs.
  • Jamestown Settled

    Jamestown Settled
    On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company explorers landed on Jamestown Island to establish the Virginia English colony on the banks of the James River, 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. By one account, they landed there because the deep water channel let their ships ride close to shore; close enough to moor them to the trees. Recent discovery of the exact location of the first settlement and its fort indicates that the actual settlement site was in a more secure place.
  • Mayflower Compact written

    Mayflower Compact written
    The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by the colonists, later together known to history as the Pilgrims, who crossed the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower. Almost half of the colonists were part of a separatist group seeking the freedom to practice Christianity according to their own determination and not the will of the English Church. It was signed on November 11, 1620 by 41 of the ship's one hundred and two passengers.
  • Petition of Rights

    Petition of Rights
    Charles I asked Parliament for more money in taxes, Parliament refused until he agreed to sign the Petition of Rights. The Petition limited the king's power in several ways. The king could no longer imprison or punish any person but by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. The king could not impose martial law, or military rule, in times of peace, or require homeowners shelter the king's troops without their consent.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    It was a re-statement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1689, inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. It lays down limits on the powers of sovereign and sets out the rights of Parliament and rules for freedom of speech in Parliament, the requirement to regular elections to Parliament and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution. It reestablished the liberty of Protestants to have ar
  • Stamp Acts

    Stamp Acts
    direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London and carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies. Like previous taxes, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    During a boycott of English goods British troops in Boston fired on a jeering crowd, killing five.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    A greoup of men disguised as Native Americans boarded three tea ships in the Boston Harbor. They broke open the chests and dumped the ship's cargo into the sea to protest British control of the tea trade.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    Offered by Ben Franklin this plan at a British Board of Trade meeting. Franklin proposed the creation of an annual congress of delegates from each ot the 13 colonies. That body would have the power to raise military and naval forces, make war and peace with the Native Americans, regulate trade with them, tax, and collect customs duties.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    In the spring of 1774 another set of laws were passed by Parliament. This time was to punish the colonists for the troubles in Boston and elswhere.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    To protest the Intolerable Acts, prominent colonials gathered in Philadelphia at the First Continental Congress in autumn of 1774. They once again petitioned Parliament, King George III, and the British people to repeal the acts and restore friendly relations. For additional motivation, they also decided to institute a boycott, or ban, of all British goods in the colonies.
  • American Revolution Begins

    American Revolution Begins
    The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America. They first rejected the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them from overseas without representation, and then expelled all royal officials. By 1774 each colony had established a Provincial Congress, or an equivalent governmental institu
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    Leaders convened the Second Continental Congress to discuss options. In one final attempt for peaceful reconciliation, the Olive Branch Petition, they professed their love and loyalty to King George III and begged him to address their grievances. The king rejected the petition and formally declared that the colonies were in a state of rebellion.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    After we won independence from Great Britain we established the Articles of Confederation. This was the nation's first constitution. It created a "firm league of friendship" among the 13 states.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts (mainly Springfield) from 1786 to 1787. The rebellion is named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary war.
  • Philadelphia Convention

    Philadelphia Convention
    At first, the purpose of the convention was to address the problems the federal government was having ruling the states and staying fiscally sound under the provisions of the Articles of Confederation, which had been the prevailing code for the government since 1777. What actually occurred at the Philadelphia Convention was the formation of a new plan of government, which was outlined in the newly-drafted U.S. Constitution.
  • Constitution Convention

    Constitution Convention
    A get together of the the founding fathers and leaders of America to develope the U.S. Constitution.
  • Conecticut Compromise

    Conecticut Compromise
    he Connecticut Compromise (also known as the Great Compromise of 1787 or Sherman's Compromise) was an agreement between large and small states reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that in part defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States Constitution. It proposed a bicameral legislature, resulting in the current United States Senate and House of Representatives.