Colonial Government and Politics

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What type of government did the colonists have?

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The type of government the Thirteen Colonies practiced varied by colony and depended on how the land was chartered by the King. One type of government was the basic Royal Colony. These colonies were owned and governed directly by the King. Virginia, Georgia and New York are among the few. Essentially, the land was owned by the King and he was able to choose who governed it.

A second type of government was called a proprietary colony. This system started when the King granted vast acres of land to an individual owner of the charter. This person had the power to enact his own system of government but was still closely managed by the King. Maryland and Pennsylvania were two proprietary colonies.

A third type of government was the self-governing colonies. These colonies essentially were dissenters, usually for religious reasons, who left a colony to establish a new one. They were then granted a join-stock company, which had the ability to create its own government. Once again, however, the King watched closely and could revoke the charter at any moment. This happened in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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