Government

  • Jun 10, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta is a document that King John of England (1166 - 1216) was forced into signing. King John was forced into signing the charter because it greatly reduced the power he held as the King of England and allowed for the formation of a powerful parliament. The Magna Carta became the basis for English citizen's rights
  • Jamestown Settled

    Jamestown Settled
    In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia's James River. They were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but managed to endure, earning the distinction of being America's first permanent English colony.
  • Mayflower Compact

    Mayflower Compact
    The Mayflower Compact is a written agreement composed by a consensus of the new Settlers arriving at New Plymouth in November of 1620. They had traveled across the ocean on the ship Mayflower which was anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Mayflower Compact was drawn up with fair and equal laws, for the general good of the settlement and with the will of the majority. The Mayflower’s passengers knew that the New World’s earlier settlers failed due to a lac
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    Petition of Right, a statute of the English Parliament passed in 1628 and accepted by Charles I. This petition stated several fundamental principles of the English constitution. It ranks in importance with Magna Charta (1215) and the Bill of Rights (1689). It was largely drafted by Sir Edward Coke, former lord chancellor.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    In June 1754 delegates from most of the northern colonies and representatives from the Six Iroquois Nations met in Albany, New York. There they adopted a "plan of union" drafted by Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. Under this plan each colonial legislature would elect delegates to an American continental assembly presided over by a royal governor.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765. The new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    The Boston Massacre was the killing of five colonists by British regulars on March 5, 1770. It was the culmination of tensions 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.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    It was a chilly December night when a group of colonists, deemed “The Sons of Liberty”, marched down to Griffin’s Wharf to show their opposition to Britain’s oppression over America. Infuriated and fueled with emotion, they boarded the three Tea Ships that had arrived from London and proceeded to vehemently smash open and dump 342 crates of tea into the harbor.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    After the French and Indian War the British Government decided to reap greater benefits from the colonies. The colonies were pressed with greater taxes without any representation in Britain. This eventually lead to the Boston Tea Party. In retaliation the British passed several punative acts aimed at bringing the colonies back into submission of the King.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    The Congress, which continued in session until late October, did not advocate independence; it sought rather to right the wrongs that had been inflicted on the colonies and hoped that a unified voice would gain them a hearing in London.
  • American Revolution

    American Revolution
    The American Revolution (1775-83) is also known as the American Revolutionary War and the U.S. War of Independence. The conflict arose from growing tensions between residents of Great Britain's 13 North American colonies and the colonial government, which represented the British crown. Skirmishes between British troops and colonial militiamen in Lexington and Concord in April 1775 kicked off the armed conflict, and by the following summer, the rebels were waging a full-scale war for their indepe
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    The Second Continental Congress meeting started with the battle of Lexington and Concord fresh in their memories. The New England militia were still encamped outside of Boston trying to drive the British out of Boston. The Second Continental Congress established the militia as the Continental Army to represent the thirteen states. They also elected George Washington as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    The Articles of Confederation — in effect, the first constitution of the United States. Drafted in 1777 by the same Continental Congress that passed the Declaration of Independence, the articles established a "firm league of friendship" between and among the 13 states.
  • Shays Rebellion

    Shays Rebellion
    The crisis of the 1780s was most intense in the rural and relatively newly settled areas of central and western Massachusetts. Many farmers in this area suffered from high debt as they tried to start new farms. Unlike many other state legislatures in the 1780s, the Massachusetts government didn't respond to the economic crisis by passing pro-debtor laws (like forgiving debt and printing more paper money). As a result local sheriffs seized many farms and some farmers who couldn't pay their debts
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    Perhaps the greatest debate undertaken by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 centered on how many representatives each state should have in the new government's lawmaking branch, the U.S. Congress. As is often the case in government and politics, resolving a great debate, required a Great Compromise.
  • Philadephia Convention

    Philadephia 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.)