Major Events for Early American Government

  • Sep 20, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta was the first document forced onto King John of England by the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges.
  • Period: Sep 20, 1215 to

    Major Events

  • Petition of Rights

    Petition of Rights
    English constitutional document that set out specific liberties of the subject that the king is prohibited from infringing. It was produced by the English Parliament, and passed by Parliament in May 1628, and given the royal assent by Charles I in June of that year. It stated that taxes can be levied only by Parliament, that martial law may not be imposed in time of peace, and that prisoners must be able to challenge the legitimacy of their detentions through the writ of habeas corpus.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    Re-statement of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1689, inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. It laid down limits on the powers of sovereign and sets out the rights of Parliament and rules for freedom of speech in Parliament.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    Proposed by Benjamin Franklin at the Albany Congress in 1754 in Albany, New York. It was an attempt at forming a union of the colonies. Franklin's plan of union was one of several put forth by various delegates of the Albany Congress. The plan was ultimately rejected by both the Colonial Assemblies and the British Board of Trade in London.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    A direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These materials were legal documents, magazines, newspapers, and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    Pre-Revolutionary incident growing out of the anger against the British troops sent to Boston to maintain order and to enforce the Townsend Acts. On March 5, 1770 the troops, who were constantly being tormented by gangs, fired into a rioting crowd and killed five men: three on the spot, two of wounds later.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    A direct action by colonists in Boston against the British government and against the Tea Act, which had been passed by Parliament in 1773. On December 16, 1773, after 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.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    A convention of delegates from 12 of the 13 North American colonies that met on September 5, 1774, at Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia. It was called in response to the Intolerable Acts, which had punished Boston for the Boston Tea Party. It was attended by 56 members appointed by the legislatures of 12 of the Thirteen Colonies, the exception being the Province of Georgia, because at the time Georgia was considered a convict state and was not taken into consideration in the colonies.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    Series of laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 relating to Britain's colonies in North America. The acts triggered outrage and resistance in the 13 Colonies. 4 of the acts were issued in direct response to the Boston Tea Party. Parliament hoped these measures would reverse the trend of colonial resistance to their authority that had begun with the Stamp Act. Colonists viewed the acts as a violation of their rights.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    Convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that began soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War. The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved incrementally towards independence, adopting the US Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    Announced that the 13 American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    An agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the USA as a nation and served as its first constitution. It was drafted by the Continental Congress in 1776-77, and was formally ratified by all 13 states in 1781.
  • Shays Rebellion

    Shays Rebellion
    The post-Revolutionary clash between New England farmers and merchants that tested the institution of the new republic, and threatened to plunge the states into a civil war. The rebellion arose in Massachusetts in 1786, 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.
  • Philadelphia Convention

    Philadelphia Convention
    Took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to address problems in governing the USA, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from Great Britain.
  • Constitution Convention

    Constitution Convention
    Took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the USA, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation. The purpose of the convention was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The result of the Convention was the United States Constitution, placing the Convention among the most significant events in the history of the United States.
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    An agreement between large and small states reached during the Constitutional Convention that in part defined legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the US Constitution. It retained the bicameral legislature as proposed by James Madison, along with proportional representation in the lower house, but required the upper house to be weighted equally between the states.