The Start of our Government

  • Jan 1, 1215

    The Magna Carta

    The Magna Carta
    King John of England agreed, in 1215, to the demands of his barons and authorized that handwritten copies of Magna Carta be prepared on parchment, affixed with his seal, and publicly read throughout the realm. Thus he bound not only himself but his "heirs, for ever" to grant "to all freemen of our kingdom" the rights and liberties the great charter described. With Magna Carta, King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates within the rule of law.
  • Jamestown

    Jamestown
  • Mayflower Compact

    Mayflower Compact
    The Mayflower Compact was a document signed by 41 male Pilgrims on November 21, 1620. By signing this document, the men agreed to form a temporary government and be bound by its laws. The compact became the basis of government in the Plymouth Colony
  • Petiton of Right

    Petiton of Right
    Petition of Right, 1628, a statement of civil liberties sent by the English Parliament to Charles I. Refusal by Parliament to finance the king's unpopular foreign policy had caused his government to exact forced loans and to quarter troops in subjects' houses as an economy measure. Arbitrary arrest and imprisonment for opposing these policies had produced in Parliament a violent hostility to Charles and George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham. The Petition of Right, initiated by Sir Edward Coke,
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    It is proposed that humble application be made for an act of Parliament of Great Britain, by virtue of which one general government may be formed in America, including all the said colonies, within and under which government each colony may retain its present constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter follows.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    On February 6th, 1765 George Grenville rose in Parliament to offer the fifty-five resolutions of his Stamp Bill. A motion was offered to first read petitions from the Virginia colony and others was denied. The bill was passed on February 17, approved by the Lords on March 8th, and two weeks later ordered in effect by the King. The Stamp Act was Parliament's first serious attempt to assert governmental authority over the colonies. Great Britain was faced with a massive national debt following the
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    on the night of March 5, 1770 — five men had been shot to death in Boston town by British soldiers. Precipitating the event known as the Boston Massacre was a mob of men and boys taunting a sentry standing guard at the city's customs house. When other British soldiers came to the sentry's support, a free-for-all ensued and shots were fired into the crowd. Four died on the spot and a fifth died after four days. Six others were wounded.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Nov 1773 - Feeling ran so high that when tea which was taxable under the parliamentary act was about to be landed in Boston in November, 1773, a party of men disguised as Indians rushed to the vessels carrying the tea and threw it overboard. This is known as the "Boston ...The colonists objected so strongly to the new taxes that all were soon repealed except that on tea. Feeling ran so high that when tea which was taxable under the parliamentary act was about to be landed in Boston in November,
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia's Carpenters Hall on September 5, 1774. The idea of such a meeting was advanced a year earlier by Benjamin Franklin, but failed to gain much support until after the Port of Boston was closed in response to the Boston Tea Party. Twelve of the 13 colonies sent delegates. Georgia decided against roiling the waters; they were facing attacks from the restive Creek on their borders and desperately needed the support of regular British soldiers.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    Series of laws sponsored by British Prime Minister Lord North and enacted in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party. The laws were these:
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    Before adjourning in late October 1774, the First Continental Congress had provided for reconvening at a later time if circumstances dictated. The skirmishes at Lexington and Concord in April 1775, and the gathering of an American army outside of Boston provided sufficient impetus to assemble the delegates at the State House in Philadelphia. The first meeting convened on May 10, 1775, the same date as the American capture of Fort Ticonderoga. The Second Continental Congress was presided over by
  • American Revolution Begins

    American Revolution Begins
    The American Revolutionary War of 1775 to 1783 was also known as the American War of Independence. It had begun as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and former 13 united British colonies under the North American continent. However, this war had ended in a global war between several European great powers. The war was the completion stage of the political American Revolution whereas the colonists had denied the rights of the Parliament of Great Britain in governing them without any repre
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    The Articles of Confederation, drafted in 1777 by the Continental Congress, served as the first Constitution of the United States.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    1786–87, armed insurrection by farmers in W Massachusetts against the state government. Debt-ridden farmers, struck by the economic depression that followed the American Revolution, petitioned the state senate to issue paper money and to halt foreclosure of mortgages on their property and their own imprisonment for debt as a result of high land taxes. Sentiment was particularly high against the commercial interests who controlled the state senate in Boston, and the lawyers who hastened the farme
  • Philadelphia Convention

    Philadelphia Convention
    On May 25, 1787, a week later than scheduled, delegates from the various states met in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. Among the first orders of business was electing George Washington president of the Convention and establishing the rules--including complete secrecy concerning its deliberations--that would guide the proceedings. (Several delegates, most notably James Madison, took extensive notes, but these were not published until decades later.) The main business of the Conve
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    A compromise was reached yesterday (June 29th, 1787) in Philadelphia combining the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan. This has been a major conflict for quite a while. The New Jersey Plan was debated for four days, but the larger states rejected it. The Virginia Plan was debated for two weeks. Many believe that the compromise that has been reached is a major progression towards the unification of the States under a Federal System and has solved the problem of state representation. When it a