Origins of American Government

Timeline created by rudy12
  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    English Great Charter, the charter of English liberties granted by King John in 1215 under threat of civil war and reissued with alterations in 1216, 1217, and 1225.
  • Jamestown

    Jamestown
    Some 100 English colonists settled along the west bank of the James River in Virginia to found Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. Dispatched from England.
  • Virginia House of Burgesses Convenes

    Virginia House of Burgesses Convenes
    First representative government group in the American colonies. Famous delegates include Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. The House met for the first time at Jamestown.
  • Mayflower Compact

    Mayflower Compact
    The Compact is often described as America's first constitution, but it is not a constitution in the sense of being a fundamental framework of government.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    An important document setting out the rights and liberties of the subject as opposed to the prerogatives of the crown. This action favoring the common man was championed by Sir Edward Coke, a prominent parliamentary adversary of the crown. His sparkling resume included public service as Speaker of the House of Commons, Attorney General, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and Chief Justice of the King's Bench.
  • Great Fundamentals

    The Book of the General Laws of the Inhabitants of the Jurisdiction of New-Plymouth is one of the oldest items in the Library's collection of American laws. (1636)
  • Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

    Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
    It has the features of a written constitution, and is considered by some as the first written Constitution in the Western tradition, and thus earned Connecticut its nickname of The Constitution State. John Fiske, a Connecticut historian, was the first to claim that the Fundamental Orders were the first written Constitution,
  • Mary and William take the English Throne

    Mary and William take the English Throne
    In England there were two significant clashes between the two armies, and anti-Catholic riots in several towns. The revolution also led to the collapse of the Dominion of New England and the overthrow of Maryland's government. Mary was Protestant, which is what the people wanted.
  • Glorious Revolution begins

    Glorious Revolution begins
    The Glorious Revolution was when William of Orange took the English throne from James II in 1688. The event brought a permanent realignment of power within the English constitution. The new co-monarchy of King William III and Queen Mary II accepted more constraints from Parliament than previous monarchs had, and the new constitution created the expectation that future monarchs would also remain constrained by Parliament. Also known as the Bloodless revolution.
  • John Locke two treaties of government published in Europe

    John Locke two treaties of government published in Europe
    The book "Two Treatises of Government" is believed to be written in support and justification of the "Glorious Revolution" in England. Political Scientists agree that "Two Treatises of Government" was in actuality a "demand for a revolution." "Two Treatises of Government" is an essay in favor of civil government.
  • English Bill Of Rights

    English Bill Of Rights
    The English Bill of Rights grew out of the Glorious Revolution. During the revolution King James II abdicated and fled from England. Prohibited the monarch from suspending laws or taxes or customs duties without Parliament's consent and the raising and maintaining of a standing army during peace. More importantly, it proclaimed fundamental liberties, including freedom of elections, freedom of debate in Parliament, and freedom from excessive bail and from cruel and unusual punishments.
  • Albany Plan of Union Proposed and Considered

    Albany Plan of Union Proposed and Considered
    The Albany Plan was proposed by Benjamin Franklin at the Albany Congress in Albany, New York. It was an early attempt at forming a union of the colonies, under one government as far as might be necessary for defense and other general important purposes. June 8-24
  • First Battle of the French and Indian War at Fort Necessity

    First Battle of the French and Indian War at Fort Necessity
    . The confrontation at Fort Necessity was the opening battle of the war fought by England and France for control of the North American continent. It was also the opening episode of a worldwide struggle known in North America as the French and Indian War and elsewhere as the Seven Years' War. It ended in 1763 with the expulsion of French power from North America and India. It marked the only time George Washington ever surrendered.
  • George III Takes the throne

    George III Takes the throne
    As king, he exercised little control over policy in his early reign, the government instead being controlled by Great Britain's parliament. Before that, most kings possessed great power over their parliaments. He was also the last British monarch to lead an army in battle. He was the last British monarch to have been born outside Great Britain, and was famous for his numerous conflicts with his father and, subsequently, with his son.
  • Treaty of Paris signed ending the French and Indian War

    Treaty of Paris signed ending the French and Indian War
    Treaty of Peace and Friendship between his Britannick Majesty, the Most Christian King, and the King of Spain. Concluded at Paris the 10th day of February, 1763.
  • Parliament passes the Sugar Act

    Parliament passes the Sugar Act
    Also known as the American Revenue Act or the American Duties Act, was a revenue- raising act passed by the British Parliament.
  • Stamp Act passed by the Birtish Parliment

    Stamp Act passed by the Birtish Parliment
    When the British Parliament made people buy a stamp to put on all purchased paper products. This was a way for the British to get taxes from the colonists.
  • Stamp act congress meets in NYC

    Stamp act congress meets in NYC
    the stamp act congress...critics of the law called for delegates from every colony to meet in New York City.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    The Boston Massacre was the killing of five colonists by British. It was the tension in the American colonies that had been growing since Royal troops first appeared in Massachusetts in October 1768 to enforce the heavy tax burden imposed by the Townshend Acts.
  • John Locke's two treaties of Government Printed In Boston,MA

    John Locke's two treaties of Government Printed In Boston,MA
    The book "Two Treatises of Government" is believed to be written in support and justification of the "Glorious Revolution of 1688" in England. Political Scientists agree that "Two Treatises of Government" was in actuality a "demand for a revolution", very radical for the 17th Century. This piece of political philosophy was in fact an attack against the autocratic monarchical system. "Two Treatises of Government" is an essay in favor of civil government.
  • The committees of correspondence

    The committees of correspondence
    bodies organized by the local governments of universal the Thirteen Colonies before the American Revolution for the purposes of coordinating written communication outside of the colonies. These served an important role in the Revolution, by disseminating the colonial interpretation of British actions between the colonies and to foreign governments.
  • Parliament passes the tea act

    Parliament passes the tea act
    The Tea Act was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain to expand the British East India Company's monopoly on the tea trade to all British Colonies, selling excess tea at a reduced price.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government. Officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. They dressed up as Mohawk Indians. “No taxation without representation.”
  • Intolerable/ Coercive Acts passed by British Parliament

    Intolerable/ Coercive Acts passed by British Parliament
    Properly known as the Restraining Acts, the Coercive Acts, as they were popularly known in England, were introduced in 1774 by the new government of Lord North, who acted with the direct encouragement of George III. Several voices of caution had been raised in Parliament, particularly those of Edmund Burke and Lord Chatham, who feared that stern measures were charting a course no one really wanted to follow; their advice, however, was not heeded.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia's Carpenters Hall. 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
  • Lexington & Concord /first shot of the revolutionary war:

    Lexington & Concord /first shot of the revolutionary war:
    The Battles of Lexington and Concord were actually the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Monotony, and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of Britis
  • Second Continental Congress:

    Second Continental Congress:
    The Second Continental Congress was presided over by John Hancock, who replaced the ailing Peyton Randolph, and included some of the same delegates as the first, but with such notable additions as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Joseph Galloway, the Pennsylvania conservative, was not in attendance. All of the colonies sent delegates, although the Georgia delegation did not arrive until fall.
  • Common Sense Published

    Common Sense Published
    Written by Thomas Paine, who is one of the founding fathers. Thomas Paine argues for American independence. His argument begins with more general, theoretical reflections about government and religion, and then progresses onto the specifics of the colonial situation.
  • Plan for Confederation

    Plan for Confederation
    In addition to the resolution for independence, Richard Henry Lee moved that "a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation. One delegate from each colony was chosen to sit on a committee "to prepare and digest the form of confederation.
  • Declaration of Independence Proposed

    Declaration of Independence Proposed
    Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, which was then edited by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson took their edits and incorporated them into what would become the version finally adopted. Continental Congress actually voted for independence. John Adams, in his writings, even noted that July 2 would be remembered in the annals of American history and would be marked with fireworks and celebrations.
  • Declaration of Independence Approved and Ratified

    Declaration of Independence Approved and Ratified
    The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, and outlined the reasons why the colonies were seeking independence from Great Britain. The document was written by Thomas Jefferson at the suggestion of the other members of the Continental Congress. He and his fellow committee members made changes in the wording and added other in other important information against King George III of England.
  • First State Constitutions Drafted

    First State Constitutions Drafted
    Before the Declaration of Independence was written, the Second Continental Congress told the states to create a plan of government for themselves. The majority of the state constitutions had a Bill of Rights and had a limited government.
  • Articles of Confederation Ratified

    Articles of Confederation Ratified
    The Articles of Confederation was the first plan of government for the new country. It had a weak central government and a weak bond among the states. All thirteen states approved of the Articles in 1781.
  • Treaty of Paris Officially End the Revolutionary War

    Treaty of Paris Officially End the Revolutionary War
    John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay went to Paris to negotiate a peace treaty with Great Britain. Even though Great Britain’s army surrendered at Yorktown, there were still little battles going on. This treaty officially ended the war and conflict between Great Britain and America.
  • Economic Depression Begins and Hits Massachusetts Hard

    Economic Depression Begins and Hits Massachusetts Hard
    After the Revolution, America had no money. The government owed money to many people and places. The depression caused foreclosure on many farms and homes. It became hard for people to pay taxes because they couldn’t make any money. This caused riots and revolts against the government.
  • Meeting at Mt. Vernon

    Meeting at Mt. Vernon
    Maryland and Virginia were in a dispute over transportation routes, importing, and currency. George Washington offered his house in Mount Vernon as a meeting place for representatives to come to an agreement over the arguments. This is also where the idea for the Annapolis Convention was created
  • Ordinance of 1785

    Ordinance of 1785
    After the Revolution people started moving into the land west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Ordinance of 1785 was a plan for selling the land to landowners. The states gave the power to the national government to sell the land. At this point the nation government needed all the money they could get.
  • Shays' Rebellion Begins

    Shays' Rebellion Begins
    Daniel Shays was a soldier in the Revolution. When it was over and he came back home, he had no money like the most of his friends and family. The farms in his community were getting foreclosed due to the lack of money and resources to make a profit. When he went to the courts to ask for more time to make money, he was declined. This caused a revolt because Shays thought it wasn’t fair that he risked his life for the new country and he and his friends are losing their farms due to the depression
  • Annapolis Convention

    Annapolis Convention
    The meeting at Mount Vernon went so well, Virginians called for another meeting for all the states to only talk about commerce. Eight states ignored this meeting and didn’t send any delegates. At the meeting it was decided to have a meeting in Philadelphia for all states to attend with an intention of revising the Articles of Confederation. This was the only power the delegates were given permission to do.
  • Daniel Shays' attack on Springfield Arsenal

    Daniel Shays' attack on Springfield Arsenal
    Shays got together troops of farmers who were impacted by the depression. They were going to go invade the Springfield Arsenal, but were pushed back by Massachusetts’ militia before they were able to steal the weapon and ammunition.
  • Constitutional Convention Begins in Philadelphia, PA

    Constitutional Convention Begins in Philadelphia, PA
    After the meeting in Annapolis the representatives from each state (with the exception of Rhode Island) met in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to write a new Constitution. Everything decided was voted on and basic majority would win. The original plan was to revise the Articles of Confederation. The men decided there were too many issues and started over.
  • Virginia Plan Proposed

    Virginia Plan Proposed
    James Madison and Edmund Rudolf came up with a plan of government so when they got to the Constitutional Convention they would have something to work with. This was the first plan of government debated at the convention. It had a bicameral legislature with representation based on population. The south thought it was unfair causing them to create the New Jersey Plan.
  • New Jersey Plan Proposed

    New Jersey Plan Proposed
    The small states were unhappy with the Virginia Plan. They thought they were going to be over ruled by the larger states on most of the issues. They thought the Virginia Plan was unfair so William Patterson came up with a plan to satisfy the smaller states. They would have the same Congress as they did at the time. The only difference would be that Congress would have the right to tax, enforce tax, and regulate trade.
  • Connecticut Compromise Proposed

    Connecticut Compromise Proposed
    The Connecticut Compromise was a plan for government with the ideas of both the Virginia and New Jersey plans. It is almost the exact government we have in America. This was the plan that had a bicameral legislature, one with representation based on population and one with equal representation.
  • Three-Fifths Compromise

    Three-Fifths Compromise
    The Three-Fifths Compromise was an agreement between the North and South made during the writing of the Constitution. This settled the argument on whether slaves should be counted in the population or not. The south wanted to have the slaves to count in the population to increase the amount of representatives they have. However, they didn’t want to have to pay taxes for them. The Three-Fifths Compromise said that three out of fives slaves would count towards the population for representation and
  • Compromise on Commerce

    Compromise on Commerce
    The south, reliant on exporting crops, was afraid the north would be able to out vote them in Congress and put a tax on exports. If this would happen, the southern economy would drop significantly. The north was afraid they would have problems with companies overseas and would lose money. The compromise for this issue stated that Congress could not put a tax on exports, but there would be a tax on imports.
  • The Compromise on the Slave Trade

    The Compromise on the Slave Trade
    The men at the Constitutional Convention didn’t want to talk about slavery. It was an ugly topic that couldn’t be agreed on. To avoid the convention from going on forever or people getting mad enough to get them in trouble, they agreed to not be able to abolish slavery until 1808.
  • Delaware Ratifies the Constitution

    Delaware Ratifies the Constitution
    Delaware became the first state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Thirty-one men signed the agreement.
  • Pennsylvania Ratifies the Constitution

    Pennsylvania Ratifies the Constitution
    Pennsylvania became the second state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Forty-seven men signed the agreement.
  • New Jersey Ratifies the Constitution

    New Jersey Ratifies the Constitution
    New Jersey became the third state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Thirty-six men signed the agreement.
  • Georgia Ratifies the Constitution

    Georgia Ratifies the Constitution
    Georgia became the forth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Twenty-six men signed the agreement.
  • Connecticut Ratifies the Constitution

    Connecticut Ratifies the Constitution
    Connecticut became the fifth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. One hundred thirty men signed the agreement.
  • Shays' Rebillion is Defeated

    Shays' Rebillion is Defeated
    Shays’ followers were defeated at Sheffield by the Massachusetts militia. All of the men were pardoned for the rebellion including Shays even though he wasn’t pardoned until 1788.
  • Massachusetts

    Massachusetts
    Massachusetts became the sixth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Signers of the approval include John Hancock, George Richards Minot, and William Cushing.
  • Maryland Ratifies the Constitution

    Maryland Ratifies the Constitution
    Maryland became the seventh state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Sixty-three men signed the agreement.
  • South Carolina Ratifies the Constitution

    South Carolina Ratifies the Constitution
    South Carolina became the eighth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Signers of the approval include Thomas Pinckney and John Sandford Dart.
  • New Hampshire Ratifies the Constitution

    New Hampshire Ratifies the Constitution
    New Hampshire became the ninth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Signers of the approval include John Sullivan and John Langdon.
  • US Constitution Ratified by the Necessary 9 States

    US Constitution Ratified by the Necessary 9 States
    In order for the Constitution to be approved, they needed at least nine of the thirteen states to ratify it. After New Hampshire approved of the Constitution, the document had enough authorization to become the new plan of government for the United States of America.
  • Virginia Ratifies the Constitution

    Virginia Ratifies the Constitution
    Virginia became the tenth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. The document stated that they should have a Bill of Rights.
  • New York Ratifies the Constitution

    New York Ratifies the Constitution
    New York became the eleventh state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Signers of the approval include John M’Kesson and George Clinton.
  • US Constitution Adopted/Constitution Day

    US Constitution Adopted/Constitution Day
    This day is celebrated as the day the Constitution was signed by nine states. Some other states didn’t want to approve the Constitution because they were afraid of a strong nation government and what it could do. They also didn’t like the fact that it didn’t have a Bill of Rights.
  • Constitutional Convention Ends

    Constitutional Convention Ends
    After months spent on debating in a hot room in the middle of summer, the Constitutional Convention ended with the signing of the Constitution. It was signed by thirty-nine of the delegates sent from each state except Rhode Island.
  • Congress meets for the first time in Federal Hall in NYC

    Congress meets for the first time in Federal Hall in NYC
    Citizens of the United States elected 22 senators and 59 representatives. Congress had two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. They met in this temporary capital for sixteen months until the capital was moved to Philadelphia.
  • 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 left his home in Mount Vernon and went to New York City after the Electoral College unanimously voted him the first President of the United States. He took his oath on the balcony of the Federal Hall adding the additional phrase, “So help me God” which has been said by every president since.
  • North Carolina Ratifies the Constitution

    North Carolina Ratifies the Constitution
    North Carolina became the twelfth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Signers of the approval include Samuel Johnson, J. Hunt, and James Taylor.
  • Rhode Island Ratifies Constitution

    Rhode Island Ratifies Constitution
    Rhode Island became the final original colony to become a state. It became the thirteenth state of the United States of America by approving the Constitution. Signers of the approval include Daniel Updike and Daniel Owen.
  • Bill of Rights (First 10 Amendments) Ratified

    Bill of Rights (First 10 Amendments) Ratified
    James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights to Congress. Three-fourths of the state legislatures agreed to add a Bill of Rights to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights grants citizens of the United States rights that cannot be broken. Some rights are the right to bear arms, right to a speedy, fair trial, and rights of accused persons.