Colonial Government and Politics

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How was Colonial America a democratic society?

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The colonies had some democratic features, though they were not democracies. Each colony with a royal charter had a governor appointed by the King. This governor was nominally in charge of running the colony and ensuring compliance with English law. However, each colony also had a legislature that passed laws...

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The colonies had some democratic features, though they were not democracies. Each colony with a royal charter had a governor appointed by the King. This governor was nominally in charge of running the colony and ensuring compliance with English law. However, each colony also had a legislature that passed laws for the internal governing of the colony. As long as these laws did not conflict with English law, there would be no real objection to governing role of the legislatures. These legislatures were generally elected directly by the population, though usually only property owning men were allowed to cast a ballot.

In addition to the legislatures, several of the colonies, especially in New England, had a flourishing practice of local governance through town hall meetings that were regularly attended by the people to directly comment on proposed actions.

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