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America’s Political Heritage
Chapter 4 Study guide
Section 1
13 Colonies
Mayflower compact
The pilgrims were thrown out of England because of religious beliefs
Written plan of government the pilgrims established when landed in Mass.
The colonists were able to governor themselves because England was busy fighting war
in Europe.
Religious Freedoms
Roger Williams founded Rhode Island after being kicked out of Mass for not being a
puritan. Rhode Island allowed any religion while other colonies had certain religions that
could live there.
This was the start of Freedom of religion
Freedom of the Press
John Peter Zenger case, he was accused of lies and put in jail. He was later found not
guilty and released do to his basic freedom of press.
Section 2
Ancient Greek’s Influence on American Democracy
Great Council passed laws that were favorable to the wealthy.
Many Greeks wanted to participate in the lawmaking process.
Citizens were permitted to participate in lawmaking
Only men who owned large plots of land were considered citizens
Ancient Rome’s Influence on American Government
Romans established a Republic
More and more people were permitted to vote.
Romans decided that the laws be written down
English Influences on American Government
Magna Carta- A document granting the rights and privileges.
No taxes without consent
Provided for a jury trial
Parliament- British legislature
Council which granted or denied power to king
Presented their views to the king
Limited King’s power
Bill of Rights- a written list of citizens rights.
A deal made with William and Mary
Gave Parliament more power
Protected freedom of religion and speech
Limited government power
John Locke’s Influence on American Government
English writer
No government can take away a person’s natural rights.
Life, Liberty, property
A ruler can only rule as long as he has the consent of the people.
Montesquieu’s Influence on American Government
French writer
Limited power of government by dividing power. (separation of powers)
3 branches of government
Promoted system of checks and balances
Each section, checks one another to make sure everything is balanced between
Section 3
A clash of views…
First conflict: England believed that Parliament represented all English citizens. The
colonists believed that they were represented by their own Legislatures.
Could not vote for members of Parliament
No colonists were members themselves
 Parliament had little understanding about what colonists need.
Wanted freedom to sell their products to any country
No Taxation without representation
After French and Indian war 1754-1763, England faced huge war debts.
England taxed the colonists, to make up their debts.
The colonist protested “No taxation without representation”
Parliament ignored the protests
Steps toward Independence
Organized the Committee of Correspondence to spread news throughout the colonies.
1774 First Continental Congress met
12 colonies met in Philadelphia, hoping to convince England to respect the
colonists rights. Threatened to cut off trade with England.
1775 The Second Continental Congress
Fighting already begun in Mass. Patrick Henry argued for Independence
1776 Thomas Paine wrote “Common Sense”
This stated reason why we had to go to war with England
The Declaration of Independence
Colonists finally broke from English rule.
The delegates wanted to tell the European countries why they deserved to be free
A committee wrote the Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams
Described purpose of government, giving power to people
List ways in which England ignored the colonies
Organizing a New Government
First after becoming independent the colonists needed to form a new government.
The colonists wanted to have a written plan of government- a compact.
Each state created a constitution, clearly stating what the government can do
Now they had 13 separate governments.
Does this pose a problem?
The Articles of Confederation
1777 the Continental congress drew up a plan for a loose confederation.
Called for a national legislature which each state has one vote
No judicial or executive branches- feared power
Congress had power to:
Make laws, trade agreements, declare war, treaties
Congress had NO power to
To tax, enforce laws,
A Limping Government
After the war the new government faced a challenge of a struggling economy
American merchants could not sell their goods as cheaply as the English
Congress could not help the colonists because they had no power to tax the imported
People started going bankrupted, their farms were being taken away because they could
not sell their crops.
Shays’s rebellion- 1786 - after rebellion many Americans called for a stronger
national government
Heritage – traditions passed down from generation to generation
Legislature- a group of people chosen to make laws
Charter- a document given permission to create a government
Tyranny- abuse of power
Direct Democracy – a form of government where laws are made directly by the citizens
Republic- a form of government where citizens elect representatives to make laws
Natural Rights- rights that people are born with that the government cannot take away
Separation of Powers- Dividing government power among branches
Compact - a written agreement to make and obey laws
Constitution- a written plan of Government
Ratification – approval