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Evolution of The Colonial Governments in the New World

I need help getting started on this 4-5 page paper on the following topics listed for the evolution of the colonial governments.

a. What were some of the similarities and differences among the colonial governments of the New World?
b. What factors led the American colonies to declare their independence from Great Britain?
c. What problems did the United States face after gaining independence? How did the national government under the Articles of Confederation seem incapable of addressing those problems?
d. What were the major debates during the Constitutional Convention? How did the Constitution address the failures of the Articles of Confederation?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

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One approach to help you with an assingment like this one is to address each section from various sources, which you can then draw on for your final copy. It should be fairly easy to take it to the next step of writing your final paper. This is the approach this response takes. As all academic papers, it will include an Introductions (e.g. including thesis or purpose statement), Body (e.g. addressing the four questions below) and a Conclusion.


I need help with 4-5 pages with the topics listed in detail for the evolution of the colonial governments.

a. What were some of the similarities and differences among the colonial governments of the New World?

Colonial governments of the New World were different based on the types of colonial governments that each set up, ranging from royal, proprietary, or corporate. For example, in 1607, Virginia was the first colony with the first English settlers arriving and founded Jamestown. They were not the first, but they were the first to win a permanent foothold in Virginia. Their motivation was wealth. However, the colonists suffered months and even years of hunger, fever, and death in a hostile wilderness. It was the destiny of their children and succeeding generations to develop the richest and most powerful colony in British America. The plan to colonize Virginia was not a part of any government scheme but an effort by London merchants to discover gold and silver, as the Spanish had done a century before in Mexico and farther south, and to explore for a northwest passage. The Virginia colony was thus established under the auspices of a private corporation known as the London Company (charter by King of England).

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, and formed what was referred to as the "Christian Commonwealth", with the following characteristics:

· Almost all of the New England colonists were Puritans who had a religious as well as an economic interest in coming to the New World.
· They differed in outlook and behavior from their more orthodox Anglican neighbors situated in Jamestown, and brought with them a set of religious doctrines that anticipated the founding of what John Eliot called the Christian Commonwealth, or a blend of theocracy and pure democracy.
· Like the Jamestown colonists, however, they came to the rocky shores of New England under the auspices of the Virginia Company.
· There was a democratization of its social and political institutions, unlike the early tendencies in New England toward aristocracy and theocracy.
· The most significant aspect of this democratic spirit was the emphasis on local self-government, which found expression in the New England town meeting.
· Puritan democracy was reserved primarily for church members.
· The Puritans readily embraced English common law and the English constitutional tradition; and they accepted in principle equality of civil rights.
· They did not endorse the idea of political equality, and they did not believe that all members of society should participate in the political process. In these respects the New England and Southern colonists shared similar political views (McClennan, 2000, URL:

So although there were some differences, like between the Virginia and New England colonies (mainly linked to religion and different views), the colonial governments of the New World shared many more similarities than differences. In all of the colonies, whether royal, proprietary, or corporate, the colonial governments exhibited the same general pattern. For instance, in each colony:

· There was eventually a governor and a bicameral legislature, as in England there was a king and a two-house Parliament.

· In all of the colonies except Rhode Island and Connecticut, the governor was appointed rather than elected.

· The upper chamber of the legislature consisted of the Governor's Council, whose members, except in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, were also appointed; and in the lower chamber the members were elected by the people.

· As in England, executive, legislative, and judicial functions were somewhat mixed, mainly because the Governor and his Council sat as the Supreme Court. There was nevertheless a rudimentary separation of powers between the governor and the assembly.

· All the American colonists were familiar with the idea of a written constitution as a result of their experience with colonial charters, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639) being the most famous. Though the Mayflower Compact was the first political covenant, the Fundamental Orders were for all practical purposes the first modern written constitution.

· An important departure from the English theory of representation was the evolution during the colonial era of the principle of legislative residency. Whereas members of the House of Commons have traditionally been permitted to represent any constituency in the country, no matter where they happened to live, the colonists adopted the distinctively American custom of requiring assemblymen to be residents of the district they represented. In fact, this custom was not written into the Constitution, which provides merely that members of the House and Senate must be inhabitants of the State in which they are elected, but it has continued to be a part of the American political tradition at both the Federal and State levels down to the present

· The principle of geographical representation was embraced by all the colonies, which has also served over the years as a check on overbearing majorities. It asserts the idea that a legislator does not represent just people as such, but people in a broader cultural sense, including their localities and their way of life.

· Unlike the English system, the system of representation adopted by the colonial governments made no allowance for the representation of classes or political privilege, and in this sense rested on the principle of political equality. However, it was not an equal system in terms of religion. Catholics, for example, were often excluded from the franchise; Anglicans were at a disadvantage in New England but dominated the southern colonies. These restrictions also applied in a number of colonies to individuals seeking public office.

· In all colonies, political power was in the hands of the "freemen" or "freeholders," that is, adult white males of some means. Because of the ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses four questions pertaining to the evolution of the colonial governments in the New World. Supplemented with an article expanding on the evolution of the colonial governments.