Origins of U.S. Government

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Feudal barons forced King John to sign Great Charter limiting monarchial powers
  • Jamestown

    First permanent English settlement in America established, indirect democracy
  • House of Burgesses

    First representative assembly in America, located in Virginia (indirect democracy)
  • Mayflower Compact

    First governing document of Plymouth Colony written by separatists fleeing religious prosecution
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony

    First direct democracy established in America
  • Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

    Laws of Connecticut preceding Constitution, heavily influencing Constitution as well
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    Navigation Acts

    Series of laws passed by Great Britain putting theory of mercantilism into practice
  • Bacon's Rebellion

    Nathaniel Bacon led an attack on the Virginia Government because they had agreed to keep settlers from taking land from Native Americans
  • Settlement of Pennsylvania

    King of England signs land over to William Penn and Quakers; very democratic society, open to other religions
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    Salem Witch Trials

    Hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts
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    Great Awakening

    spiritual growth movement rooted in colonial America
  • Albany Plan of the Union

    In Albany, NY, colonies debated a plan for a federal union
  • Proclamation of 1763

    British government prohibited colonial settlers from moving past Appalachian Mountains without special permissions
  • Declaratory Act

    Stated Parliament had authority to pass binding laws on American colonies
  • Townshend Acts

    A series of acts, starting in 1767, passed on the British Colonies in order to pay for war and empire, which further angered the colonists after the Quartering Act
  • Boston Massacre

    British troops fire into mob in Boston, killing five men
  • Tea Act

    British Parliament increased tax on tea, angering colonists
  • Boston Tea Party

    Group of colonial patriots disguised as Mohawk Indians board three ships in Boston Harbor, dumped more than 300 crates overboard to protest British tea tax
  • Intolerable Acts

    Five laws limiting the political and geographical freedom of colonists, to punish people of Mass. for Boston Tea Party
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    First Continental Congress

    meeting in Philadelphia with 56 delegates representing each colony (except Georgia)
  • Lexington and Concord

    opening battles of American Revolution following Intolerable Acts
  • Second Continental Congress

    convention of delegates from 12 of 13 colonies succeeding First Continental Congress, approved Declaration of Independence, commissioned creation of continental army under Gen. Washington
  • Common Sense

    Thomas Paine’s pamphlet calling for total independence published, referring to England as ‘royal brute’
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration adopted by Continental Congress
  • Articles of Confederation

    Adopted by Continental Congress, first US Constitution
  • Shays' Rebellion

    NH farmers take up arms to protest high state tax and stiff penalties for failure to pay
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    Federalist Papers

    A series of 85 articles published, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, promoting the ratification of the US Constitution.
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    Constitutional Convention

    Delegates from 12 out of 13 colonies meet in Philadelphia to draft US Constitution
  • Three Fifths Compromise

    Delegates of the Constitutional Convention decided that in determining representation in Congress, five slaves would count as three free men
  • Ratification of US Constitution

    New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify the US Constitution, thus putting it into effect.