Government Timeline

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta is a document that King John of England was forced to sign. The Magna Carta was designed to force the King into ruling by the old English laws. It is said that the Magna Carta was the beginning of Constitutional Government for England. This document was writtrn by Archbishop Stephen Langton. Since this document was changing England's ways of ruling, it changed America's ways of ruling as well.
  • Period: Jun 15, 1215 to

    Origins of American Government

  • Jamestown

    Jamestown
    Jamestown was founded on May 13, 1607. This became the first English settlement in the United States. During the civil war, Jamestown was occupied by many troops. Jamestown is located in Virginia. It is known as one of the original eight shires of Virginia.
  • Virginia House of Burgesses Convenes

    Virginia House of Burgesses Convenes
    The Viginia House of Burgesses Convenes was the representatives assembly in colonial Virginia. The assembly was on division of the legislature established by governor George Yeardley at Jamestown. The createn of Burgesses made Yeardley very popular among the colonists. Originally this was a little more than the governing board of the Virginia Company. This meeting was held to elect representatives.
  • Mayflower Compact

    Mayflower Compact
    This document is a written agreement composed by a consensus of the new settlers arriving at New Plymouth. All forty one of the adult male members on the Mayflower signed the compact. It was written to set up a government from within the people, and it was written by the people who wanted to be governed. The original copy of this document has been lost. This is also compared to a social contract.
  • Petition of Rights

    Petition of Rights
    This document was important in setting out the rights and liberties of the people. Parliament sent this to King Charles the first, complaining of a series of laws. This document had four main principles that Parliament was unhappy about. This was produced by English Parliament; right before the English Civil War. It is written to claim ancient liberties, rather than to establish new ones.
  • Great Fundamentals

    Great Fundamentals
    The Great Fundamentals were adopted by the colonists throughout the whole year of 1636. The Great Fundamentals allowed for the establishment of a general court. This court was made up of the governer and two representatives from each town. These made up the first basic system of laws in the English colonies.
  • Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

    Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
    Three Connecticut towns chose representatives and held a general court at Hartford. The constitution that was adopted at this meeting became known as Fundamental Orders. It did not limit any voting rights. This is the first written constitution in the Western tradition. This states the powers of the governments, and how the powers are limited. Fundamental Orders were created by people who were unsatisfied wit hthe growing members of Anglican reforms.
  • William and Mary take the English Throne

    William and Mary take the English Throne
    This is the day that William and Mary took the throne of England. William was scared that King James II had so many followes still that he would return. After reading the Declaration of Rights, William and Mary accepted the throne. The overtake of the throne was blood free, however many battles were fought after they took the throne. This was a very controversial issue in England.
  • Glorious Revolution Begins

    Glorious Revolution Begins
    This event lasted all through June. This event in history is also known as the "Bloodless Revolution." The sone of James the second was brought up Catholic. Many Whigs and Tories formed an allience and sent a letter that invited William and Mary to bring an army to England and take the throne from James the Second. The country abandoned their King. James II fled, and William and Mary took the throne without any blood being lost.
  • John Locke's Two Treaties of Government Published in Europe

    John Locke's Two Treaties of Government Published in Europe
    This event occured all throughout the month of December. These treaties are often viewed as political philosophies. The theme of the first treaty is revolving around patriarchalism. The second treaties theme is the theory of political society. There were many different ways that these treaties were viewed, some unfavorable. Locke knew his work was dangerous, but he decided to go through with it anyway.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    This Bill of Rights is an act by England's Parliament. This document was passed on Decemeber 16, 1689. The Bill of Rights was pretty much a copy of the Declaration of Rights given to William and Mary. The document laid out certain rights for all Englishman. It was created in the response of threats to restore Catholicism in England.
  • Albany Plan of Union Proposed and Considered

    Albany Plan of Union Proposed and Considered
    This event occured between June 8th and June 24th. Ben Franklin and Thomas Hutchinson drafted a document on colonial untiy in preparation for the upcoming war with France. This document was created around the same time as the French and Indian War occured. The plan enforced new postitions of government, including a President. The Albany Plan of Union was never set in stone, and never an official document. However, it set an example and was used in many upcoming political and congress meetings.
  • First Battle of the French and Indian War at Fort Necessity

    First Battle of the French and Indian War at Fort Necessity
    The French attacked Fort Necessity on July 3rd, 1754. This war began in the new world. This is because both the English and the French claimed that the Ohio country was their territory. This was just one, of a series of wars between the French and the English. Enland did not officially declare war until 1756; however the battles had begun two years earlier.
  • George III Takes the Throne

    George III Takes the Throne
    George III took the throne following his father, after he died on October 25, 1760. His father was thought to die from a lung abscess from a cricket ball being hit into his chest. George III had ten sons and six daughters with his wife Charlotte. He had high moral standards, and was very thrifty with expenses. He died, after reigning close to sixty years.
  • Treaty pf Paris signed Ending the French and Indian War

    Treaty pf Paris signed Ending the French and Indian War
    This treaty was signed by Great Britian, France, and Spain. This document ended the French and Indian War. This treaty marks the beginning for a long British dominance outside of Europe. This is thought to mark the time when France gave Louisiana to Spain. It is often claimed that by this treaty Britian renounced the English claims to the French throne.
  • Parliament Passes the Sugar Act

    Parliament Passes the Sugar Act
    This is also known as the American Revenue Act, or the American Duties Act. The colonists were upset with this act, and it led to the Revolution. It was created to demolish smugglers, and raise revenue. The purpose of the bill was not to raise trade, but raise revenue. This was created around the time that the Molasses Act was about to expire.
  • Stamp Act Passes by British Parliament

    Stamp Act Passes by British Parliament
    The Stamp Act was introduced by the British Prime Minister, and passed by British Parliament. This basically said that anything on any type of paper was going to be taxed. Again, this act was passed to raise revenue. Colonial business people came to an agreement that they would stop importing British goods, until the tax was repealed. This is often referred to as one of the immediate causes for the American Revolution.
  • Stamp Act Congress Meets in NYC

    Stamp Act Congress Meets in NYC
    Representatives from nine colonies came to NYC for this meeting. The three colonies in which did not send Represntatives agreed to support the works of Congress. On this day, American decided to adopt the Declaration of Rights. They approved its use in writing two letters to Parliament, and petitions to the King. This enclosed thirteen points of colonial protest.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    Colonists were taunting British soldierson this night. Many people gathered as the taunting got bad, and the crowd could not be calmed. A soldier fired a gun, which led to more shots fired. Several innocent bystanders were wounded, and five were killed. The crowd quickly dispersed, but were all very angry.
  • John Locke's Two Treaties of Government Printed in Boston, MA

    John Locke's Two Treaties of Government Printed in Boston, MA
    These treaties were a work in progress during the whole year of 1773. These are a political philosophy. They anonymously were published in 1689. They then were printed in Boston MA, in 1773, after Locke died.
  • Committees of Correspondence are Proposed and Begin to Meet

    Committees of Correspondence are Proposed and Begin to Meet
    This occured during the whole month of March. These are bodies organized by the local governments of the thirteen colonies. These were created for written correspondences outside of the colonies. They rallied opposition on common causes and established plan for collective action. This group made sure that information was given to the proper groups. They were active in the secret Sons of Liberty and Stamp Ac Congress.
  • Parliament Passes the Tea Act

    Parliament Passes the Tea Act
    The Tea Act was created by Parliament for two reasons. One reason was to extend assistance to the East Indian Trading Company. The other reason was to challenge American colonists on the taxation issue. Colonists were very angry with this new law. The colonists were extremely sick of taxes, and didn't want anymore.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    The Boston Tea Party was created and thought of by the Sons of Liberty. They did this in response to the Tea Act. Many of them men that belonged to the Sons of Liberty, dressed up as Indians, and came onto the ships screaming and yelling. They then dumped gallons and gallons of tea into the Boston Harbor. The Englishmen were furious, and this action later led to the Intolerable Acts being passed by congress.
  • Intolerable/Coercive Acts Passed by British Parliment

    Intolerable/Coercive Acts Passed by British Parliment
    These set of acts were put forth by England to “restore order” in the colonies after the Boston Tea Party. The colonists were against the Acts which included the Boston Port Act, Quartering Act, Administration of Justice Act, and Massachusetts Government Act and were all thought to be unnecessary. As a result many of the colonies started to drift towards radical views. Although, the only good thing that is thought to come from these Acts is the First Continental Congress.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    This meeting convened in Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia after the Boston Tea Party occurred. All of the colonies sent delegates except Georgia because their borders were being attacked and they needed the British soldiers. The Congress had not yet wanted their independence; therefore they were only discussing the rights and wrongs that were going on in the colonies. The solution they were hoping for was a hearing in London to regain England’s trust.
  • Lexington & Concord

    Lexington & Concord
    This was the first military act for the American Revolutionary war. The reason British troops wanted to march to concord was because they had supplied a great amount of weapons there. They were marching through Lexington when they heard someone fire, everyone broke into open fire. The British troops were still on their way to Concord, however the Americans had slowed them down and would now be armed and waiting for them. The battle that occurred is now known as “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”
  • Scond Continental Congress

    Scond Continental Congress
    After the battle at Lexington and Concord the Congress felt it was necessary to meet again, this time at the State House in Philadelphia. However, this time John Hancock was running the meeting and again all of the colonies sent delegates except for Georgia, and didn’t arrive until that fall. Congress still did not have a legal authority yet went along with major discussion topics such as military issues, finances for war, independence, and legislation. As you can see the colonies government was
  • Common Sense Published

    Common Sense Published
    The colonists did not support the opinion of Independence from Britain and instead it created a huge debate. Thomas Paine had a major contribution to this debate. He wrote a pamphlet about main points like government, loyalty, and most important independence. After this almost all of the colonies were on board with this opinion.
  • Plan for Confederation

    Plan for Confederation
    The planning was delayed til 1777
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    Declaration of Independence Proposed- This is the day that Congress actually voted for Independence. As you can see, the majority of the people voted for Independence.
  • Declaration of Independence Approved and Ratified

    Declaration of Independence Approved and Ratified
    The Declaration of Independence introduced a change to the government view in the colonies. The document was written by Thomas Jefferson and the congress helped finalize it.
  • First State Constitutions Drafted

    First State Constitutions Drafted
    After debating the people would come to a conclusion. It is a basic law for the states. First state to ratify was Delaware and the last was Rhode Island. Once the constitution was instated the colonists chose to be federalists or anti-federalists.
  • Articles of Confederation Ratified

    Articles of Confederation Ratified
    The Second Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft the new document. By this the states would retain sovereignty over all government functions. However it wasn’t specifically relinquished to the National Government.
  • Treaty of Paris Officially ends the Revolutionary War

    Treaty of Paris Officially ends the Revolutionary War
    This ended the war between us and Great Britain. It also showed our independence and created borders for the new nation. Overall the document was signed to create peace for Great Britain, the U.S. and Paris.
  • Meeting at Mt. Vernon

    Meeting at Mt. Vernon
    This meeting included the delegates from Virginia and Maryland. It was like a pre-conference that led to the discussion of the U.S. Constitution. These delegates were charged with dealing with issues on commerce, fishing, and navigating in the waters of the Potomac. These things regulated some of the major problems of the original states.
  • Ordinance of 1785

    Ordinance of 1785
    The goal for this ordinance was to raise money by selling large amounts of land.This land was west of the original states and they got this land after the Treaty of Paris. It created a rectangular survey that provided descriptions and recognized the land.
  • Shays Rebellion Begins

    Shays Rebellion Begins
    This was an armed uprising in Central and Western Massachusettes. The rebels were led by Daniel Shays and known as Shaysites, The rebellion started on August 29 , 1786 . A militia that had been raised as a private army defeated an attack on the federal Springfield Armory by the main Shaysite force on FeRegulators, were mostly poor farmers angered by crushing debt and taxes . Failure to repay such debts often resulted in imprisonment in debtor's prisons or the claiming of property by the County.
  • Annapolis Convention

    Annapolis Convention
    The Annapolis Convention was a meeting at Annapolis, Maryland of 12 delegates from five states that called for a constitutional convention. The formal title of the meeting was a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government. The defects that they were to remedy were those barriers that limited trade or commerce between the largely independent states under the Articles of Confederation.The report asked support for a broader meeting to be held the next May in Philadelphia.
  • Daniel Shay's attack on Springfield Arsenal

    Daniel Shay's attack on Springfield Arsenal
    The rebellion arose in Massachusetts in 1786, spread to other states, and culminated in the rebels' march upon a federal arsenal. It wound down in 1787 with the election of a more popular governor, an economic upswing, and the creation of the Constitution of the United States in Philadelphia.
  • Daniel Shay's attack on Springfield Arsenal

    Daniel Shay's attack on Springfield Arsenal
    . The rebellion arose in Massachusetts in 1786, spread to other states, and culminated in the rebels' march upon a federal arsenal. It wound down in 1787 with the election of a more popular governor, an economic upswing, and the creation of the Constitution of the United States in Philadelphia.
  • Constitutional Convention Begins in Philedelphia,Pa

    Constitutional Convention Begins in Philedelphia,Pa
    The process of drafting and ratifying the United States Constitution took nearly four years. This timeline documents important events in that process.
  • Virginia Plan Proposed

    Virginia Plan Proposed
    The Virginia Plan was a proposal by Virginia delegates, drafted by James Madison while he waited for a quorum to assemble at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The Virginia Plan was notable for its role in setting the overall agenda for debate in the convention and, in particular, for setting forth the idea of population-weighted representation in the proposed national legislature.
  • New Jersey Plan Proposed

    New Jersey Plan Proposed
    The New Jersey Plan, also known as the Small State, was a proposal for the structure of the United States Government proposed by William Paterson at the Constitutional Convention.The plan was created in response to the Virginia Plan's call for two houses of Congress, both elected with apportionment according to population or direct taxes paid.The less populous states were opposed to giving most of the control of the national government to the legislative body.
  • Connecticut Compromise Proposed

    Connecticut Compromise Proposed
    The Connecticut Compromise, also known as the Great Compromise of 1787 or Sherman's Compromise. It 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.
  • Northwest Ordinance

    Northwest Ordinance
    Considered to be one of the most significant achievements of the Congress of the Confederation. The land north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi would be settled but that it would eventually become part of the United States. Until then this area had been temporarily forbidden to development. Increasing numbers of settlers and land speculators were attracted to that area.This pressure demanded the Congress to pass this Ordinance.
  • 3/5 Compromise

    3/5 Compromise
    The 3/5 compromise was between the South and North. They were fighting over how much slaves should be counted as a person. They needed to figure how much they were counted as a person due to taxing them and being represented . They came to the agreement that each slave was counted as 3/5 of a person. This was important because this would help figure out the population for representation.
  • Compromise on Commerce and the Slave Trade

    Compromise on Commerce and the Slave Trade
    This compromise said that you were aloud to tax on imports, but not exports. The south was afraid about tobacco getting taxed. It aloud the south to still have slave trade. It did not allow congress to tax goods. Congress were not aloud to do anything with slave trade for 20 years.
  • Delaware Ratifies Constitution

    Delaware Ratifies Constitution
    The state of Delaware has ratified the constitution. There were 30 votes for, and 0 votes against. Delaware was the first state to ratify for the constitution. There message was short, and to the point.
  • Pennsylvania Ratifies Constitution

    Pennsylvania Ratifies Constitution
    Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify for the constitution. They ratified 5 days after Delaware had decided to. They had held there convention in Philadelphia.
  • New Jersey Ratifies Constitution

    New Jersey Ratifies Constitution
    New Jersey was the third state to ratify the constitution. In New Jerseys ratification they had paragraphs describing the Constitutional Convention. They also talked about when and where the state legislature had met to discuss, and when the public was worned about the constitution.
  • Georgia Ratifies the Constitution

    Georgia Ratifies the Constitution
    Gerogia was the fourth state to ratify the constitution. Theres was short, and got the point across for them. In gerogias message they talked about the resolutions of the legislature.
  • Connecticut Ratifies Constitution

    Connecticut Ratifies Constitution
    Connecticut ratifies the constitution. They were the 5th state to do so. There message was short and to the point. All they wrote in there message was that they were ratifying the constitution, and that they were there.
  • Shay's Rebellion is Defeated

    Shay's Rebellion is Defeated
    Shay and his men decided to go and attack. What occurred in the attack on the Springfield Armory was not successful for Shays or his men. A militia that was governed by General Benjamin Lincoln was able to defend the armory. All of Shay's men ran away. Two men were hanged and Shay was sentenced to death.
  • Massachusetts Ratifies the Constitution

    Massachusetts Ratifies the Constitution
    Massachusetts was the 6th state to ratify the Constitution. They were the first state to list changes they would like to see in the constitution. Some things they suggested were about protecting states, and protecting individuals.
  • Maryland Ratifies Constitution

    Maryland Ratifies Constitution
    Maryland ratifies the constitution. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify. There message was short and to the point. They just said that they were ratifying, and that it was in the best interest to ratify for the state of Maryland.
  • South Carolina Ratifies Contitution

    South Carolina Ratifies Contitution
    South Carolina was the eigth state to ratify the constitution. They made few suggestments about changing the constitution. One was that they wanted article 6 to say "no other religious test" instead of "no religious test."
  • New Hampshire Ratifies Constitution

    New Hampshire Ratifies Constitution
    New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify the constitution. This meant that the constitution was defiantly going to be in effect. New Hampshire's ratification message included several suggested changes to the Constitution, including one which would said "Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion."
  • US Constitution Ratified by the Necessary 9 States

    US Constitution Ratified by the Necessary 9 States
    The constitution was officially ratified. They had finally gotten the 9th state to ratify, which was New Hampshire. The first 9 states ro ratify were Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, and New Hampshire.
  • Virginia Ratifies Constitution

    Virginia Ratifies Constitution
    Virginia ratified the constitution. Virginia ratified the Constitution in two steps. The first was the declaration of ratification. The second was a recommendation that a bill of rights be added to the Constitution. They also recommened having amendments be added in accordance with Article 5.
  • New York Ratifies Constitution

    New York Ratifies Constitution
    New York ratifies the constitution. New Yorks ratification message was the longest out of all of the states. Theres included a declaration of rights, and suggested several changes to the constitution.
  • US constitution Adopted/ Constitution Day

    US constitution Adopted/ Constitution Day
    On September 17, 1787, forty-two of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. They were there for only one thing, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America. They had all came to the realization that the Articles of Confederation would not be sufficient. Instead, they would write an entirely new document designed to clearly define and separate the powers of the central government, the powers. That is why they wrote the constitution.
  • Constitutional Convention Ends

    Constitutional Convention Ends
    By September, the final compromises were made, the final clauses polished, and it came time to vote. In the Convention, each state--regardless of its number of delegates-- had one vote, so a state evenly split could not register a vote for adoption. In the end, thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates supported adoption of the new Constitution, barely enough to win support from each of the twelve attending state delegations.
  • Congress meets for the first time in Federal Hall in NYC

  • Congress meets for the first time in Federal Hall in NYC

    Congress meets for the first time in Federal Hall in NYC
    The First United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government. It consisted of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met from March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1791. It was during the first two years of the first administration of U.S. President George Washington, first at Federal Hall at 26 Wall Street in New York City. It later was held at Congress Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • George Washington takes his Oath of Office as the First President of the United States

  • George Washington takes his Oath of Office as the First President of the United States

    George Washington takes his Oath of Office as the First President of the United States
    George Washington was standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York when he took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. Geroge Washington was administrated by Robert Livingston. He was the Chancellor of New York.
  • George Washington takes his Oath of Office as the First

    George Washington was standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York when he took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. Geroge Washington was administrated by Robert Livingston. He was the Chancellor of New York.
  • North Carolina Ratifies Constitution

    North Carolina Ratifies Constitution
    North Carolina is the 12 state to ratify the constitution. North Carolina held a ratification convention. In the convention they drafted a Declaration of Independence, and a list of admendments to add to the constitution.
  • Rhode Island Ratifies Constitution

    Rhode Island Ratifies Constitution
    Rhode Island was the 13 state to ratify the constitution. Rhode Islands message was similar to New Yorks. They listed a bill of rights, and proposed several amendments.
  • Bill of Rights (first ten amendments) Ratified

    Bill of Rights (first ten amendments) Ratified
    12 amendments were originally proposed to the Bill of Rights. 10 of them that were ratified became the Bill of Rights in 1791. They defined citizens' rights in relation to the newly established government under the Constitution.