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Roots of American Democracy Chapter 2 Section 1 Our English Heritage.

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1 Roots of American Democracy Chapter 2 Section 1 Our English Heritage

2 Influences from England’s early government  Many of the rights that American citizens enjoy today can be traced back to the political and legal traditions of England.  When English people began settling here in the 1600’s they brought with them a history of limited and representative government

3 Influences from England’s early government  England was ruled by a Monarch (a king or queen), however the noble families had considerable power.  The monarch gave them ownership of vast lands in exchange for their loyalty, tax payments, and promises of military support

4 King John  Inherited the throne in 1199  Treated the nobles harshly  He was jealous of their wealth and influence  The nobles rebelled in 1215 and forced the king to sign the Magna Carta

5 Magna Carta  Magna Carta is Latin for great charter  This document protected the nobles privileges and upheld their authority  It also granted rights to all land holders  Rights that eventually came to apply to all English People

6 Magna Carta  Lead to equal treatment under the law  Trial by one’s peers  The magna carta was a contract that limited the power of the monarch by guaranteeing that no one would be above the law, not even the king or queen

7 Parliament  The parliament grew in power and size until eventually it split.  Into the house of lords (nobles)  And the house of Commons (citizens)  Over time the parliament became more powerful than the monarchy  This lead to the Glorious Revolution

8 The Glorious Revolution  Parliament removed King James II from the throne and invited his daughter Mary and her husband William to rule instead  No violence  From this time on no ruler would have more power than the legislature

9 The English Bill of rights  A document that stated that the monarch could not suspend parliaments laws Could not create special courts Impose taxes or raise an army with out parliaments consent  The bill of rights also guaranteed Free speech Free election And right to a fair trial

10 Common Law  A system of laws based on precedent and customs  Precedent – a ruling in an earlier case that was similar

11 Bringing the English Heritage to America  Even though the colonist were far from home they remained loyal subjects of England  The keep a strong sense of the English political system  They accepted common law and believed that the ruler was not above the law

12 Jamestown  The first permanent English settlement in North America was Jamestown 1607  Was created by a charter from King James  A charter is a written document granting land and the authority to set up colonial governments.

13 The Virginia House of Burgesses  In 1619 the colonist chose two representative from each county to meet with the governor and his council.  These 22 men were called burgesses and they formed the House of Burgesses  The first representative legislature in English colonies  This marked the beginning of self government in colonial America.

14 Plymouth  In 1620 a new group of colonist known as Pilgrims arrived in America  They build a settlement called Plymouth in Massachusetts  They drew up a written plan for government called the Mayflower Compact  A compact is an agreement among a group of people.

15 The Mayflower Compact  The compact stated that the government would make Just and equal laws for the general good of the colony.  The signers pledged to obey those law  This set up a Direct democracy in which all men would vote and the majority would rule

16 Early Colonial Governments  By English colonies stretched from Massachusetts in the north to Georgia in the south  Each colony set up its own government  Each had a governor and a legislature with elected representatives

17 England takes a Hands off Approach  As time passed the governments took on more and more power and responsibility  While the king and parliament were preoccupied with matter in England  America soon grew used to making their own decisions.  They built towns roads, and organized their own churches, schools, and hospitals.  All with out the help of Great Britain.


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