Major Events for Early American Government

  • Jul 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta was the first document forced upon an English King by a group of subjects in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. The Magna Carta was drafted to ensure King John of England did not exercise excessive power.
  • Jamestown Settled

    Jamestown Settled
    Jamestown was the first English settlement on the mainland of North America. The settlement was named for King James I of England and was founded in the Colony of Virginia.
  • Mayflower Compact Written

    Mayflower Compact Written
    The Mayflower Compact was written by the colonists who crossed the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mayflower. Close to half of the colonists belonged to a separatist group seeking the freedom to practice Christianity according to their own determination and not the will of the English Church.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    Document that sets out specific liberties of the subject that the king is prohibited from altering. It also states that taxes can only be levied by Parliament.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    The English Bill of Rights delcared the rights and liberties of all Englishmen. The bill specified freedom from royal interference, freedom from taxation, and freedom of speech and debate.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    The Albany Plan was proposed by Benjamin Franklin at the Albany Congress and was an early attempt at forming a union of the colonies. Franklin's plan of union was one of several put forth by various delegates of the Albany Congress.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    The Stamp Act was the first stamp act to be passed by the Parliament of Great Britain and required all legal documents, permits, commercial contracts, newspapers, wills, pamphlets, and playing cards in the American colonies to carry a tax stamp.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    British military presence in Boston led to tension between soldiers and civilians. The soldiers were attempting to enfore British laws that Americans refused to follow. Violence broke out and five citizens were killed when shots were fired into the crowd of people.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Colonists objected to the Tea Act which they believed violated their right to be taxed. Colonists boarded ships in the Boston Harbor and threw all of the tea overboard to protest
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    The Intolerable Acts were a series of 5 laws passed by the British Parliament relating to the Colonies. Four laws were passed right after the Boston Tea Party. Many colonists saw this as a violation of their rights and then the First Continental Congress was formed.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    A convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies that met in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania. The Congress met to discuss an economic boycott of British trade and published a list of rights and grievances.
  • American Revolution Begins

    American Revolution Begins
    Britain imposed a series of direct taxes followed by other laws intended to demonstrate British authority which angered Americas. As a result, conflict broke out and sparked the American Revolution.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    This convention also took place in Philadelphia managing the colonial war effort and moving incrementally towards independence. It followed the First Continental Congress and many of the same delegates were present along with new members.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    On this date, the 13 Colonies became free and independant states and were no longer part of the British Empire. This was the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    On this day, delegates were appointed to begin drafting what became known as the Aticles of Confederation. This confederate constitution was the first constitution of the United States and specified how the government was to operate.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    An armed uprising in Massachusetts led by Daniel Shays. Shays led mainley poor farmers who were angered by debt and taxes. Over 1,000 rebels were arrested.
  • Philadelphia Convention

    Philadelphia Convention
    The result of this meeting was the United States Constitution replacing the former Articles of Confederation. George Washington was the President of the convention. This was also known as the Constitutional Convention.
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    Based off of the New Jersey and Virgina Plan, the Connecticut Compromise was an agreement between large and small states was reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. It defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States Constitution. It proposed a legislature, resulting in the current United States Senate and House of Representatives.