The New England Colonies

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What are  some examples of the government and laws in the new England colonies.

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In the colonies, male land owners could participate in their government by electing people to the Colonial Legislature. However, a governor with higher authority was appointed solely by the king.  Thus, although some people could influence who was elected, colonial government was not truly democratic.  The monarchy of England was limited by the fact that the Atlantic Ocean stood between England and the colonies. 

The government in the New England colonies of the United States evolved between the time that England chartered the settlement of North America in the 1600s and the Declaration of Independence in 1776.  When each colony was chartered, they were established under the authority of the king of England.  At this time, England's form of government was parliamentary monarchy.  In 1620, The Mayflower arrived on land that was outside of the king's approved charter.  The pilgrims were required to produce a new document, now referred to as the Mayflower Compact, to establish their settlement in Massachusetts under the rule of England. Because this document was a collaboration between the pilgrims, it is often viewed as a precedent to more autonomous self-government.  In 1774, the Continental Congress was developed by the colonies to work towards unification and to represent the colonies to the government of England.  


There were many laws imposed by England that were perceived as unfair by the pilgrims.  The Stamp Act of 1756 created a tax imposed on legal documents and newspapers.  Because one was required to buy a stamp each time one of these documents was issued, the king's government would easily become aware of property transfers or publication of information that could undermine their authority.  The Tea Act of 1773 established a monopoly for British East India Tea Company to be the sole merchant of tea in the colonies.  At this time, tea was the typical daily drink in most households.  Any increase in price would negatively impact the quality of life for many.  These two examples of laws show how the monarch's authority could impact the daily lives and livelihoods of those living in the colonies.





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