What drove the development of self-government in the thirteen colonies?
Many different factors can be said to have driven the development of self-government in the American colonies. The first is their relative isolation from England. News, instructions for royal governors, and other information crucial to the exercise of state power took months to reach the colonies from Britain, and this made it difficult for England to enforce its own policies. In the absence of these policies, governors and colonial assemblies exercised considerable autonomy in making decisions. Another reason that the colonies developed a tradition of self-government was the that the British saw it as inefficient and costly to enforce laws, especially the Navigation Acts, which were intended to regulate trade. Smuggling, the printing of paper money, and other practices ostensibly banned, or at least frowned upon, by England were routinely practiced. The colonies also had a much larger voting population than Great Britain, because a higher percentage of people owned property, and met the qualification for voting. Thus colonists expected that their will would be reflected in the laws, and they thought that local representatives were better positioned to make such laws than a faraway Parliament. Some scholars point to other factors, like the emergence of the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment, which caused American colonists of a variety of social classes to question British rule.