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Roots of American Democracy

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta/Great Charter

    Magna Carta/Great Charter
    Magna Carta is a very important historical document, which basically gave the people of England rights and freedom from the control and abuse of power of the kings. This was established on June 15, 1215, and was a foundation document in the formation of British Law as it is today.
  • Jan 1, 1500


    Mercantilism is the theory of trade exposed by the major of European powers roughly from 1500 to 1800. It advocated a nation should expect more than they imported and accumlate bundles of gold to make up for the difference.
  • Jamestown Colony

    Jamestown Colony
    English settlers arrived in what is now Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. 214 people set sail for America and reached there destination on May 14, 1607. Not long after arriving, they were attacked by Algonquins, a Native American tribe who had been living there for sometime. Under the leadership of Captain John Smith, they built a fort and other buildings to protect the colony and soon met some friendly Native Americans -the Powhatan- who they traded with.
  • House of Burgess

    House of Burgess
    The first Legislature anywhere in the English colonies was the House of Burgesses. They met on July 30th, 1619 at a church in Jamestown Virginia. Among the 22 members was the governor, who was appointed by officials of the Virginia Company in London. The governor in turn appointed six important members of the colony to be his council. The other 15 members were elected by the colony as a whole, or actually men over 17 who also owned land.
  • The Mayflower Compact

    The Mayflower Compact
    The Mayflower Compact was signed on November 11, 1620 on board the Mayflower, which was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor. Since there was no government in place, some felt they had no legal obligation to remain within the colony and supply their labor. The Mayflower Compact attempted to temporarily establish that government until a more official one could be drawn up in England that would give them the right to self-govern themselves in New England.
  • Plymouth Colony

    Plymouth Colony
    In September 1620, during the reign of King James I, around 100 English men and women set sail for the New World aboard the Mayflower. The ship landed on the shores of Cape Cod two months later, and in late December anchored at Plymouth Rock, where they would form the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. Though more than half of the settlers died during the first winter, the survivors made peace with surrounding Native Americans and built a sufficient economy within 5 years.
  • Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

    Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
    The Fundamental Orders were adopted by the Connecticut Colony council on January 14, 1638. The orders describe the government set up by the Connecticut River towns, setting its structure and powers. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut is a short document, that contains principles that were later applied in creating the United States government. The documant enforced rights of individuals and states some of the powers and limits of government.
  • Culpeper's Rebellion

    Culpeper's Rebellion
    Culpeper's Rebellion was a uprising within the Albermarle section of northern Carolina from 1677-1679. Caused by the efforts of the proprietary government trying to enforce the Navigation Acts.
  • Glorious Revolution

    Glorious Revolution
    Socio-political factors combined with religious issues to produce a chain of events that led to this revolution. The Glorious Revolution was the overthrow of King James II. On June 10, 1688 his son James Francis Edward Stuart began reign.
  • Englsih Bill of Rights

    Englsih Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights was an act declaring that right and liberties of the subject and setting in the succession of the crown. William and Mary had to sign this form in order to take the thrown over England.
  • Salem Witch Trials

    Salem Witch Trials
    Several centuries ago, many practicing Christians, and those of other religions, had a strong belief that the Devil could give people known powers. June-September of 1692, 19 men and women were accused of witchcraft and taken to Gallows Hill in Salem for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens sat in jails for months without trials.
  • First Great Awakening

    First Great Awakening
    The Great Awakening was a period of great revivalism that spread throughout the colonies in the 1730s and 1740s. It deemphasized the importance of church beliefs and instead put a greater importance on the individual and their spiritual experience.
  • The French and Indian War

    The French and Indian War
    The French and Indian was was the beginning of open hostilities between the colonists of Great Britain. British colonists wanted to take over French land in North America and take over fur trade in French held territory. The British fought aganist the French and Natives. In result, a peace treaty was signed between the countrys in 1763. The British overcame and took over the French land and began taxing their colonists to pay for war costs.
  • Albany Plan of Union

    The Albany Plan of Union was proposed by Benjamin Franklin at the Albany Congress in 1754 in Albany, New York. It was an early attempt at forming a union of the colonies "under one government as far as might be necessary for defense and other general important purposes" Franklin's plan of union was one of several put forth by various delegates of the Albany Congress.
  • Proclamtion Line of 1763

    Proclamtion Line of 1763
    This Proclamation of 1763 closed lands north and west of the Appalachian Mountains to settlement. The goal of the British was to put a stop to conflicts between the Native Americans and the colonists due to the French and Indian War. However, many colonists had purchased land or had been given land grants in that area in exchange for their military service during the war. Settlers began ignoring the Proclamation Line. Eventually, the colonists were able to get the line moved further west.
  • Pontiac's Rebellion

    Pontiac's Rebellion
    Following the French and Indian War, a new war came about now called "Pontiac's Rebellion." "Pontiac" was a native american tribe leader that forced an attack on britsh force in Detriot, Ohio because of lost elements. The native american lost regions within the Great Lakes, Illinois Country and Ohio.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Because the previous war was so costy, on December 16,1763, King George III and his government began taxing the American colonists. They were hoping to regain control over the colonial government because they had seemed to become independent.
  • Sugar/Revenue Act of 1764

    Sugar/Revenue Act of 1764
    The Sugar Act, properly known as the American Revenue Act, was enacted by Parliament on April 5, 1764. The goal of the act was to help reduce the debt Ameican had fell into because of the costs of the war. The focus of the Sugar Act was to reduce smuggling of non-British goods to avoid taxes imposed by Parliament. The Sugar Act successfully reduced smuggling, but it disrupted the economy. As a result, Americans protested "no taxation without representation," because of it economical impact.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22,1765. the act was imposed upon all Americans colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of paper that was used. the tax monet collected was to be used to help pay costs of defending and protecting American frontier.
  • Virginia Resolves

    Virginia Resolves
    The Virginia Resolves were a series of resolutions passed by the Virginia General Assembly in response to the Stamp Act of 1765. The Stamp Act had been passed by the British Parliament to help pay off some of its debt from its various wars, including the French and Indian War fought in part to protect the American colonies. Since no colonial representatives were elected to the Parliament the only assembly legally allowed to raise taxes would be the Virginia General Assembly.
  • The Sons of Liberty

    The Sons of Liberty
    The Sons of Liberty were started in Boston, Massachusetts in protest of the Stamp Act of 1765. The Sons of Liberty also opposed the Townshend Acts, the Tea Tax, and any form of "Taxation without Representation".
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    The Boston Masscre was the killing of 5 colonist by the British regulars because of the towns maddness over the townsend Acts. The throwing of snowballs, stones and sticks took place as the citizens expressed their anger.
  • Gaspee Incident

    Gaspee Incident
    On June 9, 1772, the Gaspee was chasing a merchant ship believed to be smuggling goods. The Gaspee ran aground in Narragansett Bay. The next night, a group of men boarded the Gaspee. They were led by John Brown, a wealthy merchant from Providence. They wounded the lieutenant who was commanding the ship, and set the ship on fire.
  • Tea Act

    Tea Act
    The Tea Act, passed by Parliament on May 10, 1773, would launch the final spark to the revolutionary movement in Boston. It was designed to prop up the East India Company which was floundering financially and burdened with eighteen million pounds of unsold tea.
  • Committees of Correspondnece

    Committees of Correspondnece
    The Committees of Correspondence were shadow governments organized by the Patriot leaders of the Thirteen Colonies on the eve of the American Revolution. In late 1774 and early 1775, they supervised the elections of provincial conventions, which took over the actual operation of colonial government
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    The Intolerable Acts were a group of acts that took place on May 20, 1774. King George III established these acts as a punishment to the colonists from dumping tea into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    The first Continental Congress met in Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia, from September 5, to October 26, 1774. Carpenter's Hall was also the seat of the Pennsylvania Congress. All of the colonies except Georgia sent delegates. These were elected by the people, by the colonial legislatures, or by the committees of correspondence of the respective colonies. The colonies presented there were united in a determination to show a combined authority to Great Britain.
  • Edenton Tea Party

    Edenton Tea Party
    The Edenton Tea Party was a polictical protest in Edenton North Carolina in response to the Tea act which parliment passed in 1733. 51 women, led by Penelope Barker, met on October 25, 1774, and signed a statement of protest vowing to give up tea and boycott other British products "until such time that all acts which tend to enslave our Native country shall be repealed."
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    On May 10, 1775, the members of the Second Continental Congress met at the State House in Philadelphia. There were several new delegates including: John Hancock from Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, and Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania.
  • Mecklenburg Resolves

    Mecklenburg Resolves
    The Mecklenburg Resolves was a document stating that all laws that orginated from the British King or Parliament were no longer valid in the American Colonies. It also stated, the only government that was to be over the American Colonies was the Continental Congress.
  • Halifax Resolves

    Halifax Resolves
    The Halifax Resolves is the name later given to a resolution adopted by the Fourth Provincial Congress of the Province of North Carolina on April 12, 1776, during the American Revolution.
  • Townsend Act

    Townsend Act
    The Townsend Act was passed on July 2, 1776. Named after the British Chancellor, these laws passed placed new taxes on glass, lead, paints, paper and tea. Britain eventually repealed all the taxes except tea.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    Conflict between American colonists and British soldiers began in April 1775. The Americans were fighting only for their rights. With the Revolutionary War in full swing, the movement for independence from Britain had grown, and the Continental Congress had to vote on the issue. In mid-June 1776, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin drafted a formal statement of the colonies' intentions. The Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    The Articles of Confederation became effective on March 1, 1781, after all thirteen states had ratified them. The Articles made the states and legislature supreme. There was no executive branch. Judicial functions were very limited. The resulting government was weak. Efforts to make it stronger failed. A convention called in May 1787 to re-write the Articles decided to draft an entirely new Constitution.
  • The Treaty of Paris

    The Treaty of Paris
    The Treaty of Paris of 1763 ended the Seven Years’ War, the American counterpart of which was the French and Indian War. There were many gains and loses in the results of this treaty. For example: Europe withdrew it's armies from Germany, North Amercia recieved Flordia from Spain, and North America also recieved Canada from France.
  • Land Ordincace of 1785

    Land Ordincace of 1785
    Law passed by Congress that allowed the sales of land in the Northwest Territory and set up standards for land sale that became precedents. Among them was the idea of selling mile-square sections of land.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    Shay's Rebellion was armed upsrising in central and western Massachusetts. It was named after Daniel Shays, a vetern of the American Revolutionary War. It started in August 21, 1786 over financial difficulties. A militia that had been raised as a private army and defeated an attack on the federal Springfield Armory by the main Shaysite force on February 3, 1787, and five rebels were killed in the action.
  • Land Ordiance of 1787

    Land Ordiance of 1787
    Considered to be one of the most significant achievements of the Congress of the Confederation, the Land Ordinance of 1787 put the world on notice not only that the land north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi would be settled but that it would eventually become part of the United States. Until then this area had been temporarily forbidden to development.
  • Constitutional Convention

    Constitutional Convention
    The first meeting on the Constitutional Convention was in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. The convention was caled because the government had established the Articles of Confederation and they felt as if the document was too weak to effectively deal with the states' issues. The result of the convention was the U.S. Constitution, which was signed by 38 delegates on the final day of the convention, and ratified by most of the states during the following year.
  • Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers

    Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers
    The Federalists papers include 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the US Constitution. They were Written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in October of 1787 to August of 1788. Unlike the Federalist papers, the Anti-Federalists papers were written in opposition to the ratification and were mostly about opinions instead of facts.
  • Whiskey Rebellion

    Whiskey Rebellion
    The Whiskey Rebellion was a tax protest in the United States in 1789, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who sold their grain in the form of whiskey had to pay a new tax which they strongly resented. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to pay off the national debt.