American History Unit 1-Lesson 4

The Colonial Experience

Objectives


Discuss how the ideals of limited and representative government were evident in colonial governments.


Detail political ideals that the English colonists brought with them to North America.

What Did The Colonists Bring?

People living in the American colonies in the 1770's were in many ways quite different from the people living in Europe. The colonists had brought British laws and customs to America.


Basic Concepts of Government

Limited Government -- The idea that government is not all-powerful. Limited government is that basic principle of the American system of government; that government is limited in what it may do, and each individual has certain rights that a government cannot take away.


Representative Government -- The idea that government should serve the will of the people. Representative government is that system of government in which public policies are made by officials who are selected by the voters and held accountable to them in periodic elections


Landmark English Documents

The Magna Carta -- Magna Carta established the principle of limited government and fundamental rights of English citizens. This 1215 document introduced such fundamental rights as trial by jury and due process of law.


The Petition of Rights -- The Petition of Rights limited the monarch's authority and elevated the power of Parliament while extending the rights of the individual. Challenged the idea of the divine right of kinds, declaring that even a monarch must obey the law of the land.


The English Bill of Rights -- The Bill of Rights redefined the rights of Parliament and the rights of individuals. No standing army, required parliamentary elections.


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