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Major Events for Early American Government

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    created to limit the king's powers by law and protect tje suvillians privileges, it was also important in the colonization of American colonies as England's legal system was used as a model for many of the colonies as they were developing their own legal systems.
  • Jamestown settled

    Jamestown settled
    A settlement in the Colony of Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort"
  • Mayflower Compact written

    Mayflower Compact written
    The document was drawn up in response to "mutinous speeches" that had come about because the Pilgrims had intended to settle in Northern Virginia, but the decision was made after arrival to instead settle in New England.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    Major English constitutional document that sets out specific liberties of the subject that the king is prohibited from infringing, Petition contains restrictions on non-Parliamentary taxation, forced billeting of soldiers, imprisonment without cause, and restricts the use of martial law.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    Allowed the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, required regular elections, and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    Albany Plan of Union
    The Albany Congress was summoned by the British government in order to secure the support of the Iroquois Confederacy as an ally in the French and Indian War. The longer term goal of the congress was to increase colonial unity and improve the common defense against France.
  • Stamp Act

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

    Boston Massacre
    Boston, the capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and an important shipping town, was a major center of resistance to unpopular acts of taxation by the British Parliament. When theTownshend Acts were placed upon the colonists, by taxing common imported goods. Colonists objected that the Townshend Acts were a violation of rights and started to protest, at this time the British soldiers started firing into the crowd killing 11 people.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, a city in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the tax policy of the British government and the East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies; 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.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    Series of laws passed in reguard to colonists acting out against government. Four of the acts were issued in direct response to the Boston Tea Party, the British Parliament hoped these punitive measures would, by making an example of Massachusetts, reverse the trend of colonial resistance to parliamentary authority that had begun with the 1765 Stamp Act.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    The First Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from twelve British North American colonies that met at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early in the American Revolution. It was called in response to the passage of the Coercive Acts (also known as Intolerable Acts by the Colonial Americans) by the British Parliament. The Intolerable Acts had punished Boston for the Boston Tea Party.
  • American Revolution Begins

    American Revolution Begins
    When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting on May 10, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War had begun.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    Announced that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    Under the Articles, on paper, the Congress had power to regulate foreign affairs, war, and the postal service and to appoint military officers, control Indian affairs, borrow money, determine the value of coin, and issue bills of credit
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    Protesters, including many war veterans, shut down county courts to stop the judicial hearings for tax and debt collection. A militia raised as a private army defeated a Shaysite (rebel) attempt to seize the federal Springfield Armory in late January 1787, killing four and wounding 20.
  • Philadelphia Convention

    Philadelphia Convention
    Congress called a convention to revise the Articles of Confederation into a more powerful document. Each state appointed delegates to attend a meeting in Philadelphia to develop a more effective and unified constitution. In total, 55 delegates from 12 states were present when the Philadelphia Convention began.
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    An agreement that 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.