Roots of American Democracy

  • Jan 1, 1100

    England 1100s-1200s Monarchs(kings and queens)rule but noble families gained power via land in exchange for loyalty,tax $, and military support

  • Jan 1, 1215

    1215 Magna Carta-nobles force king John, who was treating them harshly, to sign a document

    -Limited power of monarch-no one could be above the law -Everyone would get equal treatment under the law -trial by one's peers
  • Jan 1, 1300

    1300s next king develops a group that represents common people-Parliament


  • 1600s-1700s

    -Accept common law
    -No ruler is above the law
    -Should have basic rights protected
    -Should have a voice in gov't
  • 1619 House of Burgesses(VA)

    -1st representative assembly/legislature in English colonies
  • 1620 Mayflower Compact

    -established direct democracy
  • John Locke, English writer(1632-1704)

    -People are born free, equal, and independent -Born with natural rights to life, liberty, and property that no gov't could take away -Gov't must maintain social contract -People gave up part of their freedom in exchange for protection of natural rights
  • 1639 Fundamental Order of Connecticut

    -1st written constitution in America
    -assembly of elected reps from each town to make laws
    -popular election of governors and judges
  • 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties

  • 1683 Pennsylvania Frame of Government and 1701 PA Charter of Privileges

    -establish basis of US Constitution and Bill of Rights
  • 1688 Glorious Revolution-Parliament removes king James III and replaces him with his daughter Mary and her husband William

    -From this time on, no ruler would have more power than Parliament
  • 1689 English Bill of Rights

    -Further restricted monarchs power -Guaranteed free elections to parliament -Right to a fair trial -Eliminated cruel and unusual punishments
  • Enlightenment

    -Locke and Montesquieu were enlightenment thinkers
    -Believed God had created an orderly universe
    -The laws of the universe could be discovered through the use of human reason
    -Laws that governed nature also applied to human life and society