Major Events for Early American Government

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    This is an English charter that challenged England's monarchy to attempt to limit it's power. It required King John of England to proclaim certain libertires, such as law of the land. This document is considered the foundation of many constitutions.
  • Jamestown settled

    Jamestown settled
    This was the first permanent English settlement in the US. It is located on Jamestown Island in Virginia.
  • Mayflower Compact Written

    Mayflower Compact Written
    This was the first governing document of the Plymouth colony. It was basically a contract stating the settlers would follow the rules.
  • Petition of Rights

    Petition of Rights
    This document set out specific rules that the king had to abide by. Produced by the English parliament and most importantly inclosed that taxes could only be levied by by Parliament, martial law may not be imposed in time of peace, and prisoners had the rights of habeous corpus.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    Limited the powers of the sovereign, set out rights of Parliament and rules of freedom of speech. Also, it condeemed King John of England for going against Protestants liberty of having arms for their defense.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    This proposal was made by Benjamin Franklin in Albany, New York. It was an attempt to form one union from the 13 colonies.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    A law directed to colonists that imposed a tax on stamped paper that they were required to use. These documents included newspapers, legal documents, etc.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    This incident resulted when redcoats killed 5 civilians. A mob had formed in front of a British sentry and soon riot broke loose. The soliders fired into the crowd, killing 3 people. Two later died.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Unjust taxes were being put on imported tea and many colonists became fed up. They dumbed three shiploads of tea into the Boston Harbor to show their disapproval.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    Also known as the Coercive Acts, this was a series of laws passed by British Parliament in response to the Boston Tea Party. The goal was to reverse colonial resistance against parliament authority; however, many colonists saw this as an infringement to their rights.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    12 of the 13 colonies sent forth legislatures to discuss the options of what to do about the passing of the Coercive Acts (Intolerable Acts) which punished Boston for the Boston Tea Party. This took place in Carpenters Hlal, Philadelphia.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    This meeting was held shortly after the American Revolution began. They managed warfare and soon established Congress.
  • American Revolution begins

    American Revolution begins
    The American Revolution brought the colonists together to break free of English rule. The conflict lasted 8 years and is also known as the American Revolutionary War and the US War for Independence.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    This was the official declaration that the 13 colonies of the United States were no longer under the rule of England. Independence day is now celebrated on this day.
  • Articles of Confederation written

    Articles of Confederation written
    This was the first constitution of the United States. It gave permisison for the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with Europe. Also, it helped territorial battles with Indians.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    Many farmers in Massachusetts couldn't afford to pay their debt for housing, so thousands were arrested. Daniel Shays and many other farmers rebelled against the the sherrifs, closed down courts and liberated imprisoned farmers.
  • Philadephia Convention

    Philadephia Convention
    Gathered in 1787 to discuss problems of governing the United States, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation. They wanted to make a new government instead of fixing the old one. This convention created the United States Constitution, and George Washington presided over the convention.
  • Constitution Convention

    Constitution Convention
    Also known as the Philadelphia Convention. This meeting resulted in the Constitution.
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    This agreement was reached during the Constitutional Convention. It defined legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the U.S. Constitution.