Colonial Government and Politics

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What is one of the most important differences between a democratic republic and the British government at the time of the American Revolution? 

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In short, the British government at the time of the American Revolution was not at all democratic. The British government operated according to what they called the English "constitution," shaped by a series of political developments over the preceding centuries. Atop the British government was the King and his ministers,...

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In short, the British government at the time of the American Revolution was not at all democratic. The British government operated according to what they called the English "constitution," shaped by a series of political developments over the preceding centuries. Atop the British government was the King and his ministers, who also in many cases served in Parliament. Parliament was composed of the House of Lords, who were not elected, and the House of Commons, whose members were elected. So the British government had some claim to being a representative one. But the reality was that very few men (probably less than ten percent) could actually vote. This was because of stringent land requirements for voting. Similar requirements existed in the British American colonies, but land ownership was much more widespread and extensive there, so more people could vote. Another factor was that representation in the House of Commons was not based on population, and social and demographic changes in the kingdom changed the political landscape in such a way that many people were not even represented in Parliament. Old boroughs, mostly rural, had members in Parliament, but growing urban regions like Manchester did not. While the British people had more freedoms than others in Europe, ultimately it was not a democratic republic.

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