Section Focus Question: How did English Ideas about government and trade affect the colonies?
The English Parliamentary Tradition The Magna Carta In 1215, King John signed the Magna Carta (“Great Charter” In Latin). It is an important historical document that took some power away from the king and gave some rights and freedoms to the people.
The Magna Carta was the source of many of the important ideas contained in founding documents of the United States, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
Ideas taken from the Magna Carta: Rule of Law Balance of Power Power of the Purse Security of Private Property Limited Government Due Process of Law Jury by peers
Idea taken from the Magna Carta: Rule of Law Laws exist, and all citizens must obey them. The king is not above the law. If the king breaks the law, his vassals can remove him from the throne.
Idea taken from the Magna Carta: Balance of Power Even though the king is the nation’s leader and authority, his vassals have both the right and the responsibility to check or limit his power.
Idea taken from the Magna Carta: Power of the Purse The king cannot levy any extra taxes “without the common consent of the realm.” Without new taxes, the king cannot increase his army and overturn the balance of power by attacking his vassals.
Idea taken from the Magna Carta: Security of Private Property Things that do not belong to the king (land, tools, livestock) cannot be taken from their owner without their consent. This agreement not only preserves the right of subjects to own property but also stops the king from becoming richer or more powerful by taking property from his subjects.
Idea taken from the Magna Carta: Limited Government There are limits to the powers of both the king and his barons. This idea relates to the balance of power.
Idea taken from the Magna Carta: Due Process of Law Someone who is accused of a crime cannot simply be condemned by the king or his sheriffs. There is a process for hearing both sides of the case and making a fair judgment.
Idea taken from the Magna Carta: Judgment By One’s Peers This idea is the seed of our jury system, which guarantees that the guilt or innocence of a citizen accused of a crime will be decided by a jury of his or her peers.
Parliament.Parliament Under the Magna Carta, nobles formed a Great Council to advise the King. This body developed into the English Parliament which was a two-house legislature. The House of Lords was made up of nobles and the members of the House of Commons were elected. Conflict between King Charles I and Parliament led to the English Civil war in the 1640s. The monarchy fell but was restored in 1660, with Parliament keeping it rights
English Bill of Rights Under the Magna Carta, nobles formed a Great Council to advise the King. This body developed into the English Parliament which was a two-house legislature. The House of Lords was made up of nobles and the members of the House of Commons were elected. Conflict between King Charles I and Parliament led to the English Civil war in the 1640s. The monarchy fell but was restored in 1660, with Parliament keeping it rights.
In 1686 Parliament removed King James II from the throne and offered the monarchy to William and Mary. "Glorious Revolution."This was known as the "Glorious Revolution." (Revolution because they overthrew the last Catholic monarch, Glorious because no one died.) Had to agree to certain conditions which limited their power.
Guarantees of trial by jury, fair and speedy trial, freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishment. It upheld habeas corpus, the principle that a person cannot be held in prison without being charged with a specific crime. No standing armies during peace time. Parliament elected by the people and law making body King cannot tax without the permission of Parliament.
How was the power of English monarchs limited? The monarch needed Parliament’s permission to raise taxes or an army. Parliament was allowed to meet regularly.
The English colonists who settled America brought with them three main concepts: The need for an ordered social system, or government. The idea of limited government, that is, that government should not be all-powerful. The concept of representative government or a government that serves the will of the people.
Colonist expected to have the same rights they had under Parliamentary law. Therefore, they set up legislature in many colonies. The House of Burgesses in Jamestown which became the first legislature in North America. The General Court in Massachusetts. However, the British government gave William Penn full ownership of Pennsylvania. They created the General Assembly in 1701.
By 1760, every colony had a legislature. From 50 to 75 percent of white males in the American However, many groups could not vote, including women, Native Americans, or Africans.
Which groups of people were permitted to vote in colonial elections and which were not? More than half of the white males were permitted vote, but women, Native Americans, and Africans could not vote. Which groups of people were permitted to vote in colonial elections and which were not? More than half of the white males were permitted vote, but women, Native Americans, and Africans could not vote.
The Zenger trial of 1735 helped to establish freedom of the press. John Peter Zenger, a New York publisher charged with libel against the colonial governor Zenger’s lawyer argues that what he wrote was true, so it can’t be libel English law says it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not Jury acquits Zenger because the articles were based on fact. Not total freedom of the press, but newspapers now took greater risks in criticism of political figures.
Zenger decision was a landmark case which paved the way for the eventual freedom of the press. Zenger Case, 1734-5: New York newspaper assailed corrupt local governor, charged with libel, defended by Alexander Hamilton
Why was the Zenger case important? The trial established the principle that the press has both the right and the responsibility to inform the public of the truth.
Regulating Trade Navigation Acts (1651) Under mercantilism, colonies existed to serve the economic needs of the parent country. Series of laws called the “Acts of Trade & Navigation.” These laws tried to guarantee more exclusive trade between England & the colonies.
Navigation Acts (1651) No country could trade with colonies unless the goods were shipped using British or colonial ships. British or colonial ships needed to be at least to have a crew that was 3/4 English or colonial.
Navigation Acts (1651) Certain colonial products could only be sold to England. –Tobacco –Sugar –Rice –Molasses –Furs
Many colonists resented being told they could trade only with England in many cases. Many colonists ignored these laws because they felt the laws favored England and limited the colonists’ chances to make money by not being able to sell goods to foreign markets. Some colonists got around the Navigation Acts by smuggling– that is, by importing and exporting goods illegally.
Why did many colonists resent the Navigation Acts? The Colonists believed the acts hurt them economically.
Section Focus Question: How did English Ideas about government and trade affect the colonies? The colonist enjoyed the traditional political rights of English citizens, but under the theory of mercantilism trade policies were structured to benefit the parent country.