Colonial Government and Politics

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What is a charter colonial government?

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In the context of American history, a charter colonial government was one that had been formally granted by the English king. Although English settlements in the New World such as Jamestown were funded and organized by private companies, they still needed official permission from the authorities to establish colonies. Such permission would come in the form of a Royal Charter, a formal legal document setting out the rights and responsibilities of those undertaking colonial ventures.

Most charters gave settlers a great deal of leeway in running their own affairs, though of course it was always understood that they still owed their primary allegiance as English subjects to the king. Nonetheless, English settlers took advantage of the relative freedom they enjoyed under the terms of the Royal Charters, using them to build their own communities from scratch, far from the day-to-day control of the king and his government.

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