How did land ownership contribute to the development of democracy?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Land ownership contributed to the development of democracy. In many places, a person could vote only if he owned land. If a person owned land, he could take part in democratic activities. In our colonies, any policy that limited the opportunity to own land was resisted significantly.

When the British won the French and Indian War, colonists were excited because they saw this as an opportunity to get land cheaply. This would give them voting rights. However, when the British passed the Proclamation of 1763, colonists were prohibited from going to these new lands west of the Appalachian Mountains. This upset the colonists because if they didn’t own land, they weren’t allowed to vote. Thus, some colonists were willing to defy the British and settle in this forbidden area. Many colonists also protested the passage of this law. This law was the first law that led to a growing dispute between Great Britain and its colonies. Owning land meant being able to take part in democracy, specifically by voting. The colonists valued owning land significantly.

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